posted on 15-Dec-2002 5:38:42 PM by Deejonaise
Author: Dee aka Deejonaise aka Deelicious aka Boy

Category: M/L others, it's gonna be a little weird.

Disclaimer: Don't own em.

Rating: R for now.

Summary: The sequel I said I wasn't writing to Revising Normal. It's Connor. I just couldn't leave that kid alone.

Author's Note: There will be ANGST. Lots o' it and character death. Be prepared. But for those of you who read me you know I'll fix it in the end. And yes, that's right, this is now THREE stories I'm writing simultaneously. I'm gonna be crazy in a month.

Feedback: I live on the stuff, people.



Exiting Normal

Chapter 1

“So I’m guessing Max is freaking over the blue hair, huh?”

Liz glanced up from slicing onions to where Maria stood in the threshold of the kitchen walkway, her shoulder propped against the doorjamb while she observed Kaelen Stafford, her husband, her twin sons and Liz’s two sons watching football on television. Rahsha Stafford smirked at the question but didn’t glance up from grating the cheddar cheese for the macaroni casserole.

She and Liz had already had a lengthy discussion about Connor and his blue hair earlier that morning. Liz was worried that Connor’s sudden rebellious streak might have an adverse effect on his younger brother Jamie, who set out to emulate his older brother’s every word and deed. Rahsha had to admit that she was a little worried about what sort of influence Connor’s behavior might have on her daughter as well.

Connor, her daughter Alyson, and Isabel’s son Kevin had formed a rather tight clique during the years with Connor the unspoken leader of their group. Whenever and whatever trouble Connor got himself into it was almost a sure bet that Allie and Kevin wouldn’t be too far behind him. Normally, Rahsha wouldn’t have been so worried about their typical teenage antics if she hadn’t noticed the surreptitious glances that Connor and Allie seemed to be passing each other lately. Rahsha wondered if it might be time for her to talk to her little girl about birth control… She frowned at the thought.

Maria couldn’t keep from gaping. Not even Liz’s laughing warning about Connor’s punked out style had prepared Maria for the very real shock of seeing him. In place of the dark, unruly locks that had once been his trademark Connor was now sporting short, spiky hair that was highlighted with an indigo blue. Combined with the earring in his left lobe and the brow piercing above his left eye Connor Evans more resembled a street thug than the valedictorian of his senior class.

Liz shrugged and resumed her rapid slicing. “I’ve had three days to get used to it and I still cringe every time I see him.” Though she had given up trying to understand her son’s logic long ago Liz still found herself continually flabbergasted by his actions.

Maria moved away from the doorframe, resuming her task of peeling sweet potatoes. “Are he and Max still fighting like crazy?”

Liz bobbed her head with a tired sigh. “Max wants Con to go to medical school,” she explained, “Con doesn’t know what he wants. He thinks Max is trying to control him. It’s an endless cycle of drama.”

“He’s just acting out,” Rahsha interjected smoothly, “He’ll get over it.”

“You think this is just a phase,” Liz inquired, wanting desperately to believe that it was.

“Connor’s a good boy, Liz,” Rahsha assured her friend despite her earlier thoughts, “I think he’s just trying to figure out who he is right now.”

Maria nodded her agreement. “We went through exactly the same thing when we were kids, remember, Liz?” Liz fixed her with a dubious glance. “Well, maybe not exactly…” Maria muttered in afterthought and then she chuckled to herself. “God, blue hair…”

But Liz didn’t share her laughter. She couldn’t help but recall Max’s reaction to Con’s latest rebellious stunt. Con had deliberately stayed out of their sights until it was time for dinner. Liz suspected that his intention had been to shock them completely. He had plopped down into his seat, hair newly dyed, with an expression that dared anyone to say anything to him. No one at the table said a word for at least a minute. Not even Jamie, and it was hardly ever a time when he wasn’t jabbering on about something. He had just stared at his brother with dark brown eyes rounded in shock.

Finally, Max had picked up his knife and calmly cut into his steak as if his son weren’t sitting at the dinner table with blue hair. “I hope that washes out,” was all he said.

Connor sat through dinner fuming. He had pulled the stunt to goad his father and was incensed when his plan had backfired. The two hadn’t spoken more than terse syllables to each other in days. The antagonism between them was especially hard for Liz considering the holiday season. Today was Thanksgiving, after all. Their whole family would be in attendance for dinner and Connor and Max couldn’t even bring themselves to speak to one another.

Liz wanted to bang her fist against the countertop in frustration. The problem was that they were too much alike. That was the very reason Connor and Max butted heads as much as they did. Neither was willing to give. It was either their way or the highway. There was no middle ground. What made the situation even worse was that they always managed to drag Liz smack in the middle. She was always torn between backing up her husband’s decisions and defending her son. It was an impossible situation.

Both Max and Connor were much too stubborn to admit they were wrong. They would rather brood around each other in haughty silence. Liz had just about reached the end of her patience with their behavior. “I’m thinking I just might lock the two of them in the bedroom until they work out their differences,” Liz muttered more to herself than Maria and Rahsha.

Maria slanted her a wry glance. “Somehow I don’t think that would do much good.”

“Yeah, are you trying to mend fences or widen them?” Rahsha asked bluntly.

Liz had to love her friends. They always gave it to her straight. “I guess you’re right. They’re both supposed to be mature adults, I’ll let them figure things out on their own,” Liz decided with an ironic smile.

The three women had just fallen back into small talk when Connor breezed into the kitchen, heading over towards the refrigerator. “Uncle Mike and Kaelen want some beer,” he explained casually, making an excuse for being in the kitchen when it had clearly been forbidden. “I’ll be so quick,” he assured them, grabbing up a sausage ball and popping it into his mouth before Maria could rap his knuckles. He favored her with a charming grin before hitching his head in greeting to Maria’s daughter who stood in the far corner of the kitchen glazing a ham alongside her god sister. “Hey, Mel.” And then he turned his attention to the dark haired girl who stood next to her, his eyes softening considerably. “Hey, Alyson,” he breathed softly.

That’s what did it. Alyson. The soft, deliberate way he dragged out her name. Not Allie, not Al, but Alyson. Rahsha, Maria and Liz froze at the seductive tone in Connor’s voice, their mouths dropping slightly. Unaware of their mothers’ scrutiny, Allie blushed and lowered her eyes, offering him a secret smile. “Hey, Con.” They exchanged sweet, goofy grins before realizing that they had an audience. Connor covered quickly by clearing his throat and diving for the refrigerator. Gradually, the activity in the kitchen resumed.

While her son rummaged through the refrigerator Liz took a moment to study him, silently lamenting the changes in him. He wasn’t her baby anymore. Gone was the cherubic little boy who would pick wildflowers for her in the spring. In his place was a beautiful young man with his father’s hypnotic eyes and her charming smile. He was tall and rangy, at least an inch or two taller than his father. He reminded her so much of Max except for he was wilder, freer, and definitely bolder. Liz couldn’t help but marvel at how quickly the time had gone by.

When Connor straightened finally, his arms full with two Bud Lites and three Cokes, he found his mother staring at him wistfully, a smile hovering on her lips. He ducked his head self-consciously, as he always did when he caught her looking at him that way. “What?” he said, his face coloring slightly, “Mom, you’re staring at me again. It’s creepy.”

Liz couldn’t help it. Connor was her miracle. Because of him all her dreams had come true, all Max’s dreams, too. He was the reason that happily ever after had been possible for their family, even if he didn’t remember any of it. Though it might be a mother’s bias, Liz thought her eldest son was absolutely breathtaking, both inside and out. She would never stop marveling over him, not as long as she lived. But she knew she was unnerving him by staring so she said mildly, “I was just wondering how you were enjoying the game.”

Connor lifted his lean shoulders in a shrug. “It’s okay, I guess…” he hedged, “It would be better if--,” He cut himself off at the last moment, realizing what he had been about to say. It would be better if his dad were there. He clamped his jaws together defiantly.

But he didn’t break off soon enough and Liz was well aware of where his thoughts had been headed. “I’m sure your dad will be here shortly,” she reassured him quietly, only realizing her mistake after the words had left her mouth.

Connor’s expression became downright stony. “I don’t care,” Connor brazened, but his lower lip trembled slightly, “I don’t care what he does.”

“Con, I know you want to fix this rift between you--,”

“No! No, I don’t, alright!” he cut her off furiously, “He’s the adult! Let him apologize to me!” And then he stomped from the kitchen with an exasperated huff before Liz could say anything further.

Liz stared after him in speechless affront. “My god, he is so moody,” she muttered crossly.

“Is this what I have to look forward to with Mel and the boys,” Maria quipped, trying to lighten the mood somewhat, “because I think I just might run away from home.”

“MOM!” Mel wailed, clearly not pleased with her mother’s joke. Only Allie didn’t laugh at her indignant outburst. She was too busy staring after Connor, her eyes clouded with concern.

~*~~*~

“So are you still pissed off or what?”

Connor Evans looked up into his girlfriend’s smiling green eyes and forgot he was supposed to be angry. He grabbed hold of her hand and pulled her down on top of him so that her body lay flush against his. “God, baby I missed you so much…I’ve been surrounded by preteens all damned day when all I wanted to do was taste your skin,” he whispered, plunging his fingers into her hair and fusing their lips in a deep kiss. He lost himself in her taste, her scent, allowing the tension of the last few hours to drain away from his body. “So how did you manage to sneak away?” he asked when they came up for air, “I thought all you womenfolk were on mandatory KP duty.”

“You know I never did like that tradition,” Allie grouched, “The women sweat in the kitchen cooking all day while the men lay about drinking beer and watching football.”

“Hmm,” Connor responded, stroking at her mouth with his thumbs. God, he wanted to kiss her again. He wanted to kiss her forever. “So how’d you get away?” he asked her again.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Allie teased, running her fingers through the short, blue spikes of his hair. Her eyes darkened a little as she surveyed him. “I’m still getting used to this. I wish you hadn’t cut it.”

“You don’t like it?” Connor surmised.

“I don’t know…” Allie hedged sweetly, nipping at his chin, “Lemme think about it some more.”

“Anything I can do to persuade you?” Connor invited wickedly.

In the second their mouths touched again Alyson Stafford’s world tilted off its axis as it always did when Connor Evans kissed her. Heat ignited between them as she opened her mouth eagerly for his tongue, moaning a little when Connor dragged his hands down her back to cup her ass, bringing her into closer contact with his vibrant erection. They undulated against each other in a slow, steady rhythm before Connor broke the kiss and gasped harshly, “Did you lock the door?”

Alyson nodded, eager to fuse her lips with his again. “We can’t stay long,” she breathed against his mouth, running her tongue along his lower lip, “Your mother thinks I came in here to tell you that your grandparents are here.” Their lips crushed together again, tongues tangling, passionate and fierce with an abandon unique only to young teenage lovers.

Connor lifted his hips against Alyson’s, grinding into her in a desperate need to be closer, trying futilely to ease the ache in his groin while only managing to intensify it. Finally, he groaned and pushed her away, rolling upright in his bed.

“What is it?” Allie panted, her green eyes glazed with the desire he had inflamed. Her cheeks were flushed with heat, her mouth swollen and pink from his ravaging kisses. Connor wanted to push her back against his bed and discover the other parts of her body that were pink and swollen. He tried not to moan aloud at the thought.

“We can’t keep doing this, Allie” Connor told her, drawing up his knees and pressing his forehead against them almost painfully. Not even the deep, even breaths Kevin had advised him to take did anything to ease the desire rampaging through his body. But then what did Kevin Whitman really know? He’d had just as much sexual experience as Connor, even less really. Still, Connor continued to breathe deeply, if for no other reason than to calm his excited nerves.

Allie stared at her boyfriend, feeling exhilarated and powerful that she could do such things to his body. She was glad to know that she wasn’t the only one who lost control. “Con, what’s wrong?” Allie pouted, trailing her fingers lightly down his back. She leaned against him, tracing the small stud in his earlobe with the tip of her tongue. “Don’t you want me, baby?” she breathed into his ear provocatively.

Connor groaned again. “You know I do.”

“Then why’d you stop?” Allie moaned. She caressed his inner thigh, her fingers dangerously close to his throbbing groin. “I don’t want to stop…I know you don’t either…”

Connor bit back a grunt of pleasure at the sensation her stirring breath was causing against his fevered skin. He swallowed and grabbed her questing hand, bringing it against his chest. “You’re too young,” he argued, “You’re just fifteen, Al.”

“Almost sixteen,” Allie reminded him mutinously, “And don’t pull that age crap on me, Connor Evans. You know it’s just a lame excuse.”

Connor didn’t bother to deny her accusation. “Your father will kill me.”

Allie rolled her eyes heavenward. He always got like this whenever they talked about making love. “Con, my father loves you,” she protested, “You’re like the son he never had.”

“That’s because he doesn’t know I want to nail his daughter.”

Allie’s exasperated smile became teasing and wantonly playful. “You want to nail me?” She nuzzled against his neck, purring against him like a kitten. Connor couldn’t keep himself from grinning at her antics. A brief tussle erupted between them, provoking a tickling match and shrieks of laughter. But all too soon their play turned serious and they found themselves kissing once again. They fell back against his bed with tangled limbs.

The sudden jiggling of his doorknob jarred them both apart. Connor and Allie froze, both trying to come to grip with the fire that was now raging in their blood and only from a few stolen kisses. The rattling of the knob was quickly followed by a tentative knocking. “Connor?”

Connor stiffened even more at his mother’s voice. He placed his index finger against his lips indicating that Allie should be as quiet as possible. “Yeah Mom?” he called out a few seconds later.

“Honey, your grandparents are waiting to see you.”

Allie slipped her hands beneath his shirt, her fingers strumming over his tight nipples. Connor swallowed back a groan of pleasure. He managed to keep his voice steady when he replied, “I’ll be there in a minute, Mom.” And then he jerked Allie against him and rolled onto his back taking her with him, determined to kiss her mischievous grin off her face. But before he could his mother’s voice intruded again.

“Con, you haven’t seen Allie, have you?” Liz asked carefully and the suspicious tone to her voice made Connor suspect that she knew exactly where Allie was at that moment and she was warning him to rectify the situation. “I’ll expect you in the dining room in two minutes,” his mother intoned stiffly, “Both of you.”




[ edited 23time(s), last at 13-Feb-2003 6:49:19 AM ]
posted on 15-Dec-2002 11:27:46 PM by Deejonaise
limegreenli and Lolita you will get the entire story eventually.*wink* kittens now how'd you get so smart.

Remember, when I told you this story would be weird well I meant it. The first ten chapters or so might be somewhat confusing but the plot will reveal itself, trust me. And remember, character death, be prepared.

Dee
posted on 16-Dec-2002 8:44:59 PM by Deejonaise
This is my last update of the day. I decided to save it for last because I wanted this part to be perfect. Thanks for all the marvelous feedback, you guys. The fact that you stick with me despite the morose turns of my fics really means a lot. Thank you all again.

Chapter 2

Liz didn’t have a good feeling. At a quarter to six the worry that had been prickling her since five o’clock had bloomed to outright alarm. As Liz made her way back to the dining room her mind was only half preoccupied with what Connor and Allie had been doing together alone in his locked bedroom. Allie had been only gone for ten minutes. How much trouble could they possibly get into in ten minutes. Liz thought a moment, remembering her own teenage years. All it took was the flip of a zipper to make a baby. She made a mental note right then to talk to Max about getting together with Kaelen and Rahsha to discuss the apparent budding romance between their children.

Resolving to do just that as soon as Max got home Liz switched her thoughts to more pressing business. Max was more than thirty minutes late. She had expected the lateness, however, Max had warned her that he probably wouldn’t be stepping in the door until twenty minutes after five. Yet, here it was fifteen to six and he still wasn’t home. He hadn’t called either.

Liz entered the kitchen where her mom, Diane, Amy DeLuca, Rahsha, Kaala, and Maria were busily preparing to set the dining room and fold away tables with dinner. The kitchen wafted with the tantalizing aromas of sweet potatoes, glazed ham, macaroni and cheese and fresh baked yeast rolls. Isabel sat on a kitchen stool, picking at the apple and sausage stuffing Kaala had prepared and watched her friends and family bustle about with avid interest. But she made no move to help. Typical Isabel. Liz fixed her with a dry smile. “Not gonna help, Isabel?”

“I don’t cook,” she stated succinctly, lifting her shoulders in a shrug of indifference, “And I don’t set tables either.”

“So I gathered,” Liz joked, trying to hide her burgeoning worry but not being at all successful. Her attempt at a smile failed miserably and she looked over to the phone where Isabel’s fourteen-year-old daughter Missy was actively chattering away. Would her niece answer the phone if call waiting buzzed, Liz wondered.

Rahsha patted her on the shoulder. “Maybe you should try calling the office again,” she suggested gently.

“Maybe she could if Missy ever stopped gabbing long enough to get off the phone,” Isabel snapped pointedly, leveling her daughter with a quelling stare, “Hang up the phone, Melissa.”

As if suddenly realizing she was the center of everyone’s attention Missy grimaced and muttered a quick, “I gotta go, bye,” into the receiver and then handed the phone to her Aunt Liz. Only when her mother’s attention was diverted elsewhere did she roll her eyes in teenage exasperation.

Liz quickly dialed Max’s office number, muttering a soft, frustrated curse when she got his office mail once again. Liz hung up and dialed his cell. His voice message came on almost immediately. She clicked off the phone in aggravation. “He should be here by now,” Liz mumbled, “It’s only a twenty minute drive from his office.”

“Maybe he stopped off to get something special for you,” Diane suggested as she carried the turkey off to the dining room.

“Yes, everyone knows how my brother loves to lavish you with surprises, Liz,” Isabel teased with a smug smile.

Liz couldn’t deny it. In the twenty years she and Max had been married he had spoiled her abundantly. God, twenty years, Liz thought. Had they really been married that long? Had she really been blessed with twenty glorious years with her soulmate? And Max still looked at her everyday as if he was falling in love with her all over again. He looked at her like she was the only person in the world that he could see. Though Liz knew that Max loved Connor and Jamie fiercely she also knew without words that she was the one who owned his heart, just as he owned hers.

Realizing that she might very well be overreacting, Liz placed the phone back in its cradle. “You’re right,” she sighed, “He’ll call soon…I’m sure.” But even as she said the words Liz wasn’t at all convinced. Still, she managed to hide her uncertainty behind a brilliant smile.

She turned away from the phone and the moment she did so Missy swooped down like an eagle falling upon hapless prey. She scooped it up once more, ignoring her mother’s long-suffering sigh of disapproval. Isabel’s look clearly ordered Missy to get off the phone, a look Missy pretended she didn’t see. Liz was still smiling over the exchange between Isabel and her daughter when Connor and Allie came skidding into the kitchen, looking guilty, red-faced and ravaged.

“What on earth happened to your hair, girl?” Kaala exclaimed when she saw Allie, noticing how her unruly curls fell about her face and shoulders in disarray, “Were you and Con wrestling again or something?” Connor and Allie both met each other’s laughing gaze, pinching their lips together to keep from giggling. Kaala hardly noticed the exchange. “Get over here and give me a hug.” Allie dutifully did as she was bidden, blushing the entire way. Rahsha and Liz traded meaningful glances.

“Where’s Karah,” Allie asked her aunt, glancing around the kitchen for her cousin.

Kaala Valenti’s eyes lit up with the mere mention of her thirteen-year-old daughter, the most precious person in her life next to Kyle. Sometimes it was still unbelievable to Kaala that she was actually married with a child, that she was actually happy. At one time she had just accepted that she would spend her life alone, but now here she was, surrounded by family and friends and happier than she had ever been. Kaala’s contentment deepened when she thought of the newest life growing just beneath her heart. She couldn’t help it. Kaala felt like the luckiest woman alive.

She grinned at her brother’s daughter now, marveling over the similarities between Allie and her daughter. They could have passed for sisters; the resemblance between them was so strong. They both had the same dark brown hair with the tendency towards riotous curls and the same flashing green eyes, teenage replicas of herself and Kaelen.

Yet, Kaala was still surprised by how well Allie and Karah got along with each other. It was almost effortless between the two of them. She didn’t think she’d ever seen them fight with each other, at least not seriously. Kaala was glad. It had taken her an unusually long time to achieve that sort of comfortable camaraderie with Rahsha and even still they sometimes had their awkward moments. But then Allie and Karah didn’t have the same worries that had plagued Kaala growing up. She had to be grateful for that as well.

Presently, Kaala smoothed her niece’s unruly hair back from her face. “Karah is more than likely with Mel at the moment probably terrorizing Jamie and the twins,” Kaala answered wryly.

“No, I think you might want to flip that around, Kay,” Rahsha laughed, “More likely Jamie and the twins are terrorizing Karah and Mel.” All the women shared a snort of laughter over that one. It was a well-known fact what rambunctious misfits Maria’s ten-year-old twins were, well known to everyone except Maria herself.

Connor shifted nervously from one foot to the other, feeling acutely uncomfortable in a kitchen full of females. He knew if he stayed much longer he’d be put to work and for a male on Thanksgiving that was the kiss of death. The moment the thought entered Connor’s mind, however, Karah’s grandmother, Amy Valenti snagged hold of his shirt and asked him to help carry her pies into the dining room. He did so quickly, hoping to get out of there as soon as he could. The moment he was done he announced, “Well, I’m just gonna go find Kevin.” He made a desperate spin for the exit but Connor should have known that escape wouldn’t be that easy.

Before he knew it he was hugging his Aunt Isabel, his Aunt Kaala and both his grandmothers in greeting and they were all smooshing his cheeks between their hands and peppering his face with kisses. Connor rolled his eyes at the attention, loving it and hating it all at once. It was no secret that with all the grandparents, aunts and family friends Connor was undoubtedly the favorite.

Both of his grandmothers remarked and cooed over how tall he’d gotten, how handsome he’d become, how respectful he was as if they didn’t see him every single week. The way they carried on Connor might have thought he’d found the cure for cancer. But he had to admit it was quite wonderful being adored.

Nancy Parker fingered her grandson’s hair in groaning distaste. “You know I hate this, don’t you? My God, what were you thinking?”

Connor grinned at her expression, not at all offended. He bent to kiss her cheek. “Relax, Grandma. It washes out,” he assured her with a lopsided grin.

“Thank God,” Diane Evans muttered, giving her grandson’s forearm a pinch, “The things you young people do these days.” Connor swallowed back his accommodating sigh as his grandmother launched into one of her “Why when I was your age” monologues. At that point Connor was pretty sure he’d be stuck in the kitchen forever. His uncles and cousins would never let him live it down.

Deciding to take pity on her wayward son, Liz smiled and said, “Con, why don’t you help me carry these trays of chips and salsa into the living room for the guys, okay?”

Connor flashed his mother a grateful smile and gladly took up the try she indicated. He would have hauled an elephant on his back if it had gotten him out of that kitchen any quicker. With one last, lingering smile at Allie, Connor followed his mother from the kitchen.

As they walked together towards the living room Liz stated tersely, “I expect for you to explain to me exactly what you and Allie were doing alone in your locked bedroom later, Connor. I mean it.”

A groan of acute embarrassment rumbled in Connor’s chest. “Mom…please!”

“Just tell me one thing,” Liz continued, ignoring his mortified outburst, “Please tell me you’re not having sex. I can take anything if you tell me that…well, anything but drugs. No sex and no drugs.”

“I’m not doing drugs, Mother,” Connor grated between clenched teeth.

“Are you having sex?”

Could the floor just swallow him up right now? “Oh help,” Connor muttered, rolling his eyes toward the ceiling as if praying to the gods to put him out of his misery then and there. And then he closed his eyes and blew out a defeated sigh. “Mom, I’m not having sex with Allie, okay.”

“Ever,” Liz persisted boldly, “Don’t ever have sex with Allie, better yet, don’t ever have sex…promise me.” Connor didn’t answer his mother, but only ducked his head shyly, color creeping into his cheeks. Of course, he didn’t promise her either. Oh, they would definitely need to have a talk later on, Liz decided.

The moment they entered the living room with the snacks the men fell on them hungry vultures. By the time they had set the food trays down on the coffee table half the chips and salsa was gone. Liz slanted them all a disgusted glance that none of the men seemed to notice. Philip Evans sidled around them to give his grandson a hearty slap on the back. “Well, if it isn’t Mr. Blue Hair himself,” he guffawed, eliciting laughter from the group, “I’ve been hearing about this new do of yours all afternoon. The piercing weren’t enough you had to turn yourself into a human flare as well?”

Connor accepted his grandfather’s good-natured ribbing with a weak smile. “Yeah, ha, ha, Grandpa. You’re just a regular comedian,” he muttered as he was pulled into his grandfather’s strong embrace. His Grandpa Jeff quickly followed suit, crushing Connor in a hearty hug.

“How’s it going, Sport,” he greeted Connor warmly and then he added because he couldn’t resist, “You look a little blue.” Again the living room erupted in laughter, but this time even Connor couldn’t keep from smiling.

“I’m glad you guys are having so much fun with this,” he laughed, sinking down into an empty chair, “Really…warms my heart.” He ran his fingers through his spiked hair self-consciously. Connor was definitely beginning to regret the decision. He hadn’t even gained the satisfaction of irking his father. Typical.

“Hey, Con, I think your hair’s awesome,” Kevin announced, momentarily taking his eyes from the television screen to acknowledge his cousin’s presence, “You rule, dude!” He raised his hand for a high five. Connor didn’t disappoint.

“No, he does not rule, Kevin,” Liz contradicted firmly, passing her stern gaze between her son and nephew, “What Connor did to his hair is not acceptable.” She surveyed the young men in the living room. “I don’t want any of you doing this to yourselves, is that clear?” There was a halfhearted muttering in response to her edict. “Is that clear?” Liz intoned again. The boys immediately chorused a snappy “yes maam” realizing that Liz meant business.

“Aww, Liz, come on, lighten up, will ya?” Kyle said as he munched on a tortilla chip, “Boys will be boys, you know?”

“Spoken like someone who has never raised them,” Liz retorted smartly. Her comment was followed by series of hissing “oohs.”

“Yet,” Kyle tacked on stubbornly, speaking of Kaala’s latest pregnancy though hardly anyone was paying attention to him.

“When do we eat?” Jim Valenti demanded, voicing the thought that was on all the men’s minds. They had been tortured with the sweet smelling aromas of Thanksgiving dinner all day and they were more than ready to dig in.

“We’ll probably be sitting down shortly,” Liz answered, “ so don’t fill up on the chips.”

“Fill up on the chips,” Michael scoffed, “This is a just light snack…I’m ready for the main event.” He patted his slight paunch for emphasis.

“Yeah, Liz, we’re starving,” Kaelen agreed, “What’s taking so long? You girls have been cooking all day. Can’t we have a little appetizer or something?”

“I’m still waiting for Max.”

“I thought you said he’d be late,” Alex reminded her before growling aloud at the television over a missed play.

“Not this late.” Liz’s reply was drowned out by their manly groans as their team received a penalty and lost yardage.

Then at that moment the television screen went blank. “Hey, what the fu--,” Jamie exclaimed; only to swallow his curse when he caught his mother’s narrowed stare, “—heck,” he finished up lamely.

And then the picture burst to life again, flashing a late breaking bulletin across the television screen. “We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this late breaking news,” the anchorwoman proceeded, “Just one hour ago at roughly 5:00 p.m. a large semi carrying highly flammable materials crossed over the Interstate median into on-coming traffic. Details are sketchy at this time, but it has been confirmed that the fuel trunk exploded following the accident. Reports say that over a dozen vehicles are thought to be involved in the crash but it is unknown as of yet how many have been injured.”

Liz froze, an odd feeling of foreboding passing through her body. Now she knew. She knew where the creeping feeling in her heart had been coming from. Something had happened to Max, something terrible. How Liz knew that fact with absolute conviction she didn’t know, but she didn’t doubt for a second that her feeling was true. She gripped the back of the sofa tightly as the news report continued with further details.

“Eyewitness reports say that the truck had been going northbound on US 285 when it swerved suddenly before flipping onto its side and careening over the median into oncoming traffic. Again there has been an accident along Interstate US 285 near the Highway 52 exit. Right now fire crews are on their way out to the scene where the blaze has gotten terribly out of control. Some cars have been damaged by the falling debris as far as a one mile radius.” The screen suddenly filled with an aerial shot of the scene. Nothing could be seen for the billowing, black smoke and leaping orange flames. The news anchor’s voiceover accompanied the visual images. “It is believed at this time that the semi’s driver was killed on impact. We have no further details as to other injuries or fatalities at this time.”

Connor stared up at his mother in speculative interest. “Highway 52? Isn’t that the exit Dad takes to get home?” At his question, Liz’s face completely drained of color. She didn’t look at him, didn’t utter a sound. Connor felt alarm begin to bubble forth in his stomach. “Mom?”

“Someone get me a phone,” Liz whispered, her eyes glued to the television screen. Liz could feel her body freezing over, becoming stiff and numb, preparing for the worst. She barely noticed as her dad looped his arm around her shoulder and guided her over to the sofa to sit down.

“Lizzie, now don’t get worked up over nothing,” he whispered against her temple reassuringly, “Max just might be stuck in the traffic and that’s it.” He twisted a glance to Jim over his shoulder. “Do you think you could call your people…find out what’s going on for us?”

Jim nodded tersely, already flipping open his cell phone.

Liz shook her head, her eyes still transfixed blankly ahead. “No, Dad, that’s not it,” she murmured softly, twisting her hands in painful dread, “Something bad has happened to him…I can feel it.”

Suddenly, Phillip Evans was pressing a telephone into Liz’s palm and barking to Connor, “Take your cousins back into the game room now!”

Connor jumped to his feet, the apprehension in his belly bursting into full-fledged panic. So much was happening so fast and he didn’t fully understand it all, but he had figured out for himself that something was terribly wrong. Apparently, his mother believed his father was involved in that accident somehow. “Wait, I’m not going anywhere!” he protested loudly, “What are you guys talking about? Mom, I thought you said Dad was working really late tonight? He’s still at work, right? Right?

Kaelen attempted to keep the situation calm. He usually played the peacekeeper when Max wasn’t around. He couldn’t help but wonder if that was about to become a permanent situation. “Connor, your brother is terrified right now,” he said, flicking a glance to Jamie whose face had gone chalk white. The horrified fourteen-year old was looking back and forth between the television screen and his mother’s blanched face, already jumping to the same conclusions as his brother. Kaelen continued on in a voice low enough for only Connor to hear. “Your mother is a little upset, okay. She’s worried because your father is late and this news bulletin isn’t helping. Max probably just got tied up on a case…you know how hard your Dad works. I’m sure everything is fine, but right now we just have to try and keep things calm.”

The entire time Kaelen was talking to him Connor stared at Liz. His mother was dialing the phone, hanging up and dialing all over again. She did it almost obsessively. Connor could see she was on the verge of tears.

“I can’t feel him, Dad,” Liz mewled over and over again as she mechanically punched the buttons on the phone, “I can’t feel him anymore.”

Suspecting he might go crazy if he stayed in that room one more second, Connor said, “Come on, Jamie, Kevin, Mikey, Max…come on…we’ll hang out in the game room for awhile.” But as the boys obediently shuffled from the room Connor couldn’t shake the feeling that his whole life was about to change irrevocably.




[ edited 3 time(s), last at 17-Dec-2002 11:49:37 AM ]
posted on 17-Dec-2002 1:53:45 PM by Deejonaise
Okay, I want to preface this part. Please remember that this is an M/L story. Frenchkiss70 made a good point...there can't be a Max and Liz story without Max. Please keep that in mind as you read this...

Remember, feedback is always appreciated.



Chapter 3

Only a tense silence remained between the adults once the children had been shut away in the game room. What they didn’t realize was that the children were following the news coverage the same as them. Sometime during the escalating panic Connor had quietly slipped back into the living room to wait for news with his mother. He was hardly noticed by anyone except Liz. Everyone was gripped by the events unfolding on the television screen. Even after the football game resumed the living room remained thick with silence. Eventually Jeff Parker had stood up and clicked off the game and still no one spoke. Everyone watched Liz and Connor carefully without being too obvious about it, but Liz and her son remained oblivious.

They sat huddled together on the sofa, barely looking at any one but each other. Liz gripped her son’s hand wordlessly, trying to comfort him and herself as well. Just that one, desperate touch conveyed all the tumultuous emotions rampaging through Liz’s body at that exact moment. She tried to draw on Connor’s strength, just as he was drawing on hers.

Jim Valenti had left shortly after his phone call. Though he hadn’t received any details about the accident his presence was much needed down at the scene. After Jim was gone Liz would occasionally slide a desperate glance towards the front door, silently willing it to open. When it didn’t she would look at Connor and force a tremulous smile for his sake. But Connor wasn’t fooled by his mother’s attempt at reassurance. He could see the truth reflected in her brown eyes, growing duller as the minutes passed. Connor could feel himself accepting the inevitable as well. He didn’t need confirmation. He just knew it. He knew that his dad was dead.

He looked at his mother now. Her eyes had wandered over to the door once again, but Connor somehow knew that she wasn’t looking for his father. She’d never been looking for him, Connor recognized with dawned understanding. Because she didn’t expect Max to come home anymore than Connor did. Liz was only waiting now, waiting for her world to collapse, waiting for heart to be shattered into a million pieces, waiting for the life that would go on without Max in it.

Liz couldn’t explain her certainty at all. It had been years since she and Max had shared that alien connection between them. Yet, today she had felt it flare brilliantly. She had felt the warm rush of Max’s love for her flow over her body, through her skin, almost knocking her off her feet with its intensity before it simply winked out, as if it had never been in the first place. At first, Liz had been apt to dismiss the blinding sensations as a flukish occurrence, but at the first news bulletin, the revelation that the accident had occurred around 5:00 p.m, Liz had known immediately what those surprising electrical currents had been. Somehow, someway Max had reached across space, across time in his final moments to tell her he loved her one last time, to tell her good-bye.

She had never considered that it would end this way, completely without warning. Liz had anticipated a long life with Max, growing gray and wrinkled together while sipping lemonade in old rockers on the porch under the setting sun. Clichéd and fanciful yes, but her fondest wish still. Max had been a part of her for so long Liz didn’t know if she could function without him. But she’d have to learn, Liz realized with a heavy heart, she’d have to learn.

The shrill ringing of the telephone suddenly jarred Liz from her dejected thoughts. Everyone in the living room jumped, staring at the phone as if it were a coiled snake. No one made any move to answer it.

Finally, on the fourth ring, Connor slid a glance to his mother and said stiffly, “I’ll get it.” He reached forward and clicked on the phone, swallowing past the large, dry lump in his throat before croaking, “Hello?” He was silent for a long time as he listened to whoever was on the other end. “Yes, I understand,” he said, his face betraying not a hint of emotion, “…We’ll be there as soon as possible. Thank you for telling us…goodbye.” He ended the call with a soft sigh. When he looked up again fourteen pairs of eyes were pinned on him in painful anticipation. His honey colored eyes were luminous with unshed tears as he surveyed the crowd before him. “That was Jim,” he whispered gently, “They found him.” Liz only nodded; already prepared for the words she knew would follow. “He wants us to come down to the morgue to identify his body.”

The moment the words left his mouth a loud keening filled the room. His grandmother and Aunt Isabel. Connor was barely aware of his Uncle Alex and grandfather ushering them from the room. He couldn’t take his eyes from his mother’s pale features. She rubbed her damp palms against the sides of her skirt. She didn’t cry, didn’t blink, it was as if she had been carved completely out of stone.

“Can you bring me my jacket, please?” she asked Kyle hoarsely, barely looking in him direction when she made the request. Almost in a daze, Kyle wandered off to fulfill her request. She rose unsteadily to her feet, rebuffing the concerned attempts from her mother, father and Maria to assist her. “I need someone to drive me to the hospital, please,” she stated calmly, shrugging into the jacket Kyle held out for her.

“I will,” Connor volunteered quickly, already scooping up his car keys from the coffee table.

Realizing the young man’s intention, Kaelen roused himself up out of his grief-induced stupor and protested, “Con, I don’t think that’s a good idea, okay. Why don’t you let me or Michael--,”

Connor stabbed him with intense eyes leaping with repressed fury and grief. “No! He’s my dad and I’m fucking going!” he snapped sharply. His tone brooked no argument. His expression clearly said he would fight anyone who tried to stop him. Connor stared around at the faces of his desolated family and friends, daring them to contradict him before returning his softened gaze to his mother. “Let me just get my jacket and we’ll go, okay?” he told her gently.

While Connor had gone to retrieve his jacket Liz turned to Maria and asked, “Can you watch after Jamie while I’m gone, please? Try to keep him calm.” Liz closed her eyes and swallowed, determined not to give into her tears, not here, not yet. She still had so much ahead of her, so much to do. She couldn’t give into her sorrow…not until it was all done. After she had taken a moment to compose herself Liz began again, her voice raspy with emotion. “Don’t tell him, alright…I want to do that. When I get back…I’ll tell him when I get back.”

Maria could only nod her agreement, tears streaking her pale cheeks. “God, Liz, I’m so sorry,” she moaned, feeling helpless and torn apart all at once. She pulled a stiff Liz into her arms and sobs. “I can hardly believe he’s gone…it’s like a dream, you know.”

“It’s a nightmare,” Liz muttered into her shoulder, shrugging away. She reached forward and brushed away Maria’s falling tears, forcing a tight smile. “Just try to keep the kids calm, okay? Do that for me,” Liz finished just as Connor came back into the room. He placed his hand against the small of his mother’s back and ushered her gently towards the door. “We won’t be long,” Liz whispered in reassurance to her shell-shocked family as they left. The moment they cleared the porch audible sounds of grief could be heard emanating from the house.

Liz wordlessly climbed into the front seat of Connor’s mustang convertible, a present for his sixteenth birthday, and waited for her son to start the car. They had made half the drive in utter silence before Liz finally said, “Your father knew that you loved him, Con…don’t doubt that.”

Where nothing else had caused Connor’s tears to spill over his mother’s soft words were his undoing. He tried without success to swallow back his sobs but they tore from his chest anyway. Realizing he was about to completely lose his fragile hold on his emotions Connor steered the car off onto the shoulder of the road and turned into his mother’s waiting arms, shaking uncontrollably. “It’s gonna be okay, baby,” Liz crooned into his gel stiffened hair, “It’s gonna be okay.”

“Why, Mom?” he sobbed into her neck, “Why? Why?

Liz didn’t have the answers and she had the very same questions tearing through her mind right at that moment. Why Max? Why now? Why like this? They weren’t supposed to end this way. They weren’t supposed to end at all. It still hadn’t hit Liz completely. She still couldn’t grasp it. Was Max really dead? Was she really going to the morgue to identify his body? How had they got here, Liz wondered dully, how the hell had they gotten to this point?

She waited for the last of her son’s sobs to die down before speaking again, continuing to hold his shaking body fast against her. “Don’t blame yourself and don’t regret,” she advised him tearfully, “You had a fight and that was all. Don’t blame yourself.”

“I told him I hated him,” Connor choked out, “I told him I couldn’t wait to leave so I’d never have to see him again…but I didn’t mean, Mom…God, I didn’t mean it…”

“I know, sweetheart…I know you didn’t…”

Countless moments seemed to go by. Liz didn’t know how long they stayed there, how long she held her weeping son in her arms, but when Connor finally pulled away it was clear that he was in no shape to drive. His expressive eyes were swollen and rimmed with red, their honey depths vacant and dark with pain. Wordlessly, Liz exited the car and walked around to the driver’s seat. Connor slid over to the passenger’s side without argument. Minutes later, Liz had jerked the clutch into gear and they were once again gliding into traffic.

As she drove along the Interstate Liz couldn’t help but quirk her lips in a reflective half smile. Even the simple act of driving a stick shift reminded her of Max. She could still remember clearly when he had taught her to drive one. They had been living in Woodstone then and their lives had been more complicated than Liz could have ever imagined. Still, those days had been so perfect, with her and Max tearing down the highway, the wind whipping away at their hair, always laughing, always lost in each other. And Max had never admonished her once. Even when she had stripped the gears at least three times…

How he had laughed over that! He had teased her mercilessly for weeks afterward. Liz could still see him laughing, could still see his easy smile that lit up his entire face, his achingly beautiful face... And that’s when it hit her. That morning, when he had roused her from sleep with his deep, languid kiss, that had been the last time. The last time she would kiss him, the last time she would gaze deep into his eyes, the last time she would see him smile at her in that lazy, lopsided manner of his. Now his only smiles and laughter would be the ones she’d committed to memory. Her reality had all changed in the fraction of a second. His smiles were all lost forever now.

By the time they had reached the hospital Liz could feel herself begin to splinter apart emotionally. She held on determinedly, however, resolute to be strong for her sons, for her family. Now was not the time to give into her grief…not when so many people were depending on her to be tough.

Liz took a deep breath and swiveled around to face Connor. “You don’t have to come in there with me, Connor,” she whispered gently, “It’s enough that you drove me here. Thank you.”

“I want to go.”

“Connor, sweetheart, it won’t be pretty,” Liz warned him, “Do you understand what I’m telling you? The accident was very, very bad and there was a fire…they would have never called us down here if your father weren’t beyond all normal recognition.”

Though his mother spoke the words softly, almost cautiously they still slashed at Connor’s senses like a thousand knives. This was his mother’s way of telling him that his dad’s body would be totally fucked up. Connor knew that if he went inside with her what they saw would be something imprinted on his mind for the rest of his life. Just the very idea made him groan in agony.

But when he looked over at his mother, looking so tiny and forlorn while valiantly fighting to be strong Connor knew he couldn’t let her go alone. He had to be strong for his mother, had to be someone she could lean on, the man of the house. Connor knew that if the circumstances were reversed that his father wouldn’t allow his mom to go alone. He was determined that neither would he. He had been an extreme disappointment to his dad in life, he wouldn’t continue being so in death. He owed his dad that much. Setting his jaw in tight determination Connor replied without hesitation, “I’m going with you.”

Silence fell between them as they made their way into the hospital and down to the morgue. Liz’s boot heels clicked loudly against the white tiled floor as they strode purposefully towards their destination, echoing through the empty halls. Only when they were directly before the entrance to the morgue did Liz finally pause in her stride. And then she inhaled a deep breath and pushed through the swinging doors.

It was frigidly cold inside the room. Connor shifted uneasily from side to side, half expecting to see dead bodies lining the wall and littering the floors. But there weren’t any dead bodies, at least not where he could see. There was only a small desk set in a room comprised of freezer-like compartments. Connor wondered sullenly which one housed his dad.

They had only been waiting a few moments when a man finally approached them and introduced himself as the County Coroner. Liz reached out automatically to shake his hand. “I’m Liz Evans,” she began steadily, “I’m here…I’m here to identify my husband’s body.”

The coroner nodded and then flicked a glance to Connor, who was standing just beyond Liz’s shoulder, trying not to appear as ill as he felt. “Are you sure you want him to stay?” the man asked.

Liz never had a chance to respond because Connor had already bitten out a chilly, “I’m staying.”

Again the man nodded and then turned away to retrieve something from his desk. “These are the personal effects I found on the body,” he explained, passing Liz a small Ziploc bag, “Do you recognize any of these items?”

Wincing slightly to his reference to Max as a “body” Liz stared down at the contents in the small plastic bag. Max’s wedding ring, the Rolex watch she had given him for their 10th wedding anniversary, the gold, link bracelet the boys’ had given him last Christmas…and his glasses. Those damned, hated glasses of his! Liz closed her eyes, the tears slowly rolling down her cheeks as she pressed the treasured items against her breasts. “They’re his,” she finally choked out, feeling like she might lose consciousness at any given moment. She actually swayed. Connor reached out to steady her, holding her trembling body against his chest.

“Mrs. Evans, you don’t have to do this,” the coroner assured Liz sympathetically, “I can make a positive identification without putting you through further pain. Sheriff Valenti’s id was more than adequate.”

“I want to see him,” Liz insisted hoarsely.

“Maam, the body retained severe injuries and some--,”

“He’s not a body!” Liz burst out suddenly, startling both the coroner and her son with her vehemence, “His name was Max Evans, do you understand? Max Evans! He was the finest man I’ve ever known.”

The coroner didn’t take offense at her tone, recognizing easily the severe pain that Liz and her son were enduring. When he began again his tone was less clinical, strangely gentle and serene. “Your husband sustained fatal injuries, Mrs. Evans, as well as some second and third degree burns to most of his lower half, much of it done post mortem. His body was severely mangled in the wreckage and I don’t think it’s wise that you--,”

Liz smiled eerily and reached out to touch his hand, silencing his protests. “I want to see my husband. I want to tell him good-bye,” Liz whispered in interruption, “Please…take me to him.”



posted on 19-Dec-2002 7:25:49 AM by Deejonaise
AN: This is the last hard part. The angst level starts to come down after this. I promise. Oh and I'm issuing Dreamer insurance right now. The ending will be completely happy, not bittersweet at all.

Chapter 4

Only when she finally saw his mangled body did Liz dissolve into harsh, wracking sobs. And not because of the monstrous injuries he’d suffered. Liz didn’t really see the deep wounds and jagged, charred flesh that disfigured his striking face, neck and torso. She didn’t see the broken bones and exposed muscle and sinew. When she looked down at him all Liz saw was her husband, his face beautiful, serene, smiling just as she had seen him earlier that morning. But when Liz reached out to caress what had been left of his features, she recoiled a bit at the stark coolness of his skin. Where the deep gouges and blood and gore had not undone her, the lifeless feel of his skin beneath her fingertips tore her apart.

She turned into her son’s arms, her sobs breaking from her almost violently. Connor glanced away, nodding for the coroner to replace the sheet, unable to see his father in such a condition. “It’s him,” he confirmed hoarsely, his throat constricted with unshed tears.

“I’ll start the paperwork then,” the coroner said as he turned away. And then he stopped and faced the weeping pair once more. “For what it’s worth…he died on impact. He didn’t feel a thing.”

Oddly enough Connor did find the reassurance comforting. He had seen firsthand the injuries his father had endured. To think that his father might have suffered in agony before finally succumbing to death chilled Connor’s blood. He was glad it had been quick. Tenderly, Connor stroked his mother’s hair, stirring her from his shoulder. “Mom, we should go.”

“We can’t leave your father here,” Liz whispered, brushing at her wet cheeks.

Her words broke what was left of Connor’s heart, tore him into tiny pieces. He took hold of her hand, sandwiching it between his own. “Mom, Dad is dead,” he explained to her gently, almost as if she were a child, “There’s nothing we can do for him now.”

“I could have healed him…once.” Her eyes were vacant as she said the words. She was someplace else entirely. Liz lifted her eyes to Connor, her expression blank. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Fear caused him to squeeze her hand tighter. “Mom?”

“I should have been able to heal him.”

“Mom, please don’t do this,” Connor begged, “please don’t blame yourself. There’s nothing you could have done. You’re only human.”

“Yeah,” Liz laughed a little madly, “only human. I’m only human.” She lifted slightly wild eyes to her son. “That’s what I wanted, right?” Liz started to laugh and cry almost hysterically, “That’s what I wanted…that’s what I wanted…and now look at it…and now look at the damage…” She started to quake with sobs once more.

Connor pulled his mother against his side, holding her against him protectively much the way she’d held him when he was younger. “Come on,” he said, urging her towards the exit, “Let’s go home.”

~*~~*~

By the time Connor pulled the Mustang into front of their house Liz had managed to compose herself considerably. Connor cut the engine and swiveled around in his seat to face her, his expression full of soft concern. “Are you doing better now?”

Liz nodded and sniffled back her tears before asking Connor quietly, “Will you help me tell your brother?”

“Whatever you want, Mom.”

Liz fiddled with her wedding ring, her eyes blurring with tears once more. “I don’t know if I can do it,” she choked after a long pause.

“I’ll be there with you,” Connor reassured her bravely, “We’ll do it together, okay?”

Closing her eyes, eternally grateful for his unswerving support and loving attitude. In the back of her mind Liz realized this wasn’t a burden that Connor should have to carry. Connor was only a seventeen-year-old boy, after all. He couldn’t possibly be ready for this kind of responsibility. Yet, he made it so effortless to lean on him. He shouldered her emotional burden without any hesitation. Connor was a born leader, a natural protector. So much like his father that it ripped at Liz’s heart… Even looking at him was painful…seeing Max’s beautiful face…

“I know I should get out,” Liz said when she still hadn’t made any effort to move from the car some five minutes later. “I-I will,” she stammered, nodding a little compulsively, “Soon…I promise…I will…”

“Take all the time you need, Mom.”

A few minutes later Liz finally pushed from the car, her heart heavy. The driveway was still full with cars, alerting Liz to the fact that none of her friends and family had gone home. Liz regretted that a little. Not because she didn’t want their support, but because she didn’t want so many people there when she told Jamie the truth. Liz closed her eyes, shuffling towards the front door slowly. God, she dreaded telling Jamie more than anything. He adored his father, idolized him… News of Max’s death would rock his world. Who was she fooling, Liz wondered. News of Max’s death had rocked all their worlds.

When they finally reached the front door Liz hand shook so badly she couldn’t even fit the key into the lock. Connor wordlessly removed it from her trembling fingers and unlocked the door. Liz favored her son with a grateful, far off smile.

The moment they cleared the foyer Jamie ran out in the hall to meet them, his features pale and anxious. He darted one look at his mother then brother and knew instantly that the news wasn’t good. And then he shattered, clasping his hands over his ears and screaming out an agonized, “No!” He shook his head wildly, as if trying to ward off their expressions, as if trying to close his mind to what their eyes had already told him. “I don’t want to hear it,” he cried hysterically, “I don’t want to hear it! I don’t want to hear it!” And then he bolted from the room, as if he could escape the truth by running away.

Liz started to go after him, but Connor caught her by the elbow and held her back. “Just give him a sec, okay?”

She nodded glumly in agreement, more because she didn’t know what to say to Jamie at that moment than because she really believed he was better off by himself. She started to remove her jacket when Rahsha, Kaala and Maria stepped tentatively into the foyer, their faces gravely hopeful. Sensing his mother’s need to talk privately with her friends, Connor plucked her coat from her fingers and tactfully excused himself.

“So was it him?” Rahsha asked quietly once Connor was out of earshot. Liz nodded because at that moment she was unable to form a single syllable. Kaala fell back against the wall, stifling her sob with her hand while Rahsha just stared at her in open shock.

“Oh, Liz, I’m so sorry,” Rahsha murmured tearfully as she cradled a weeping Kaala against her.

Maria ran shaky fingers through her unkempt hair. “God, I was hoping it would be some kind of mistake, you know?”

“Yeah, me too,” Liz managed to push past her aching throat.

“Isabel and Diane wanted to go with you earlier,” Maria told her softly, gingerly twining her fingers into Liz’s hair, “but Philip thought that you and Connor needed to do it alone.”

“It was better that they didn’t go,” Liz said, “The accident was pretty bad…” She was still trying to blank out the utter chilliness of his skin, the horrific evidence that the accident had imprinted all over his body and face. She opened her mouth to say more when a sudden crash sounded from the back bedroom. Liz’s eyes rounded in immediate alarm. “Jamie!” she exclaimed and took off running.

By the time Liz reached her bedroom Connor was already there, his arms banded around his wildly weeping brother in an effort to restrain him. Jamie fought in his brother’s arms wildly, his arms and legs flailing with the effort to free himself. Her bedroom had been thoroughly trashed. There was broken glass and debris all over the floor. The bed sheets had been ripped from the bed and tossed about haplessly, the mattress thrown askew. Liz stared at her youngest son in sorrowful anguish, her heart twisting to see his handsome face streaked with tears, contorted in grief.

The moment Jamie met his mother’s eyes he stopped struggling in his brother’s arms. His knees buckled beneath him and he sank to the floor, his chest heaving with harsh tears. Liz went to him immediately, enfolding him in a tight, motherly embrace. Jamie held her tight, as if he were afraid she might disappear at any given second.

“Mom, is he really gone?” Jamie croaked into her shirt, his fingers twisting and untwisting in the material. He clenched her tighter. “Please tell me it’s not true…”

“Oh my baby, I wish I could,” Liz murmured, wishing she could gather up his hurt into her own heart, “Shh…shh, it’s alright…it’s alright.” She looked up at Connor. His tears were flowing freely, as well. He seemed so much more boy than man to Liz in that moment. She held out her arms to him and he gratefully fell into them. Liz held both her sons fast against her, gently rocking them back and forth while crooning soft words of reassurance into their hair.

~*~~*~

Connor woke up a little after twelve a.m. He groaned and rolled over in his bed, his head aching dully with the movement. His heart felt inexplicably heavy and for a moment he wondered exactly why. And then he remembered. It hit him all over again with the force of a battering ram. His father was dead. Just the thought alone rocked him to the core. He still couldn’t process it, still couldn’t quite grasp the situation even though he had seen the evidence with his own two eyes.

Thank God, it had been painless, Connor mentally reassured himself. But the thought didn’t provide as much comfort as it had before. After all, the end result was still the same. His father was gone…he was never coming back.

With a grunt he sat upright, belatedly realizing that someone had removed his shoes and socks and had, apparently, tucked him beneath the covers. Connor didn’t remember any of that. The last clear recollection he had was huddling on the floor with his mother and brother, bawling his heart out.

He swung his feet over the edge of the bed, incurring a slight dizzy spell when he stood too quickly. When he had steadied himself Connor shuffled off for the bathroom and clicked on the light, wincing at the brilliance that suddenly filled the room.

He dared a look at his reflection in the mirror and he recoiled. Only one word described how absolutely awful he looked at the moment. Craptacular. His nose and eyes were swollen and red, his face grimy with the salty tracks of his tears. He switched on the faucet and splashed his face vigorously with cold water. His movements were mechanical, deliberate. The pain and anguish he felt made his actions sluggish.

Connor stared back at his reflection once more, watching as the rivulets of water ran down his face. They were soon joined with his tears. Suddenly, he remembered his last conversation with his father three days before with startling, bleak clarity and the recollection made him cringe.

He and Allie had cut school that day. It wasn’t something they did often, but with a family a large as theirs it was sometimes impossible to have a moment alone together. When the chance for privacy didn’t arise naturally sometimes they would make concessions. That day they had spent the afternoon in the desert making out in the back of his car. By the time he had finally come home his father was already in the living room waiting for him. Connor closed his eyes, recalling every word of their heated conversation:

“Where have you been?” his father demanded the moment he cleared the door.

“School,” Connor replied casually, carefully avoiding Max’s scrutinizing gaze. But as he started to duck around and head for his bedroom his father blocked his path.

Max’s expression was absolutely stony as he regarded him. “That’s the first lie I’ve caught you in, Con,” Max bit out, glaring at his eldest son, “You want to try again?”

Typical of a teenager cornered by his own wrongdoing Connor took the defensive. “Obviously, you know I wasn’t at school so why the hell did you ask?” he snapped.

“You watch your tone with me, young man!”

“Why are you grilling me?” Connor cried, “I ditched a couple of classes. Big deal! It’s not like I do it all the time!”

“How do you think ditching those classes is going to look on your college applications, Connor?” Max charged him.

“What if I don’t want to go to college,” Connor shot out, answering his father’s question with one of his own, “Don’t force your dreams on me! You can’t control every aspect of my life! God!”

“I’m not trying to control you, Connor,” his father protested, “I only want what is in your best interest.”

“Well, don’t okay!” Connor snapped, “I can take care of myself…I know what I’m doing!”

“No, I don’t think you do,” Max contradicted, “And until you figure that out I’m revoking your driving privileges.”

“That’s complete bullshit!” Connor exclaimed before he could stop himself. At that second he was too angry to think straight.

“There just went your phone privileges as well,” Max added calmly.

Connor glared at him. “God, I hate you!” he cried, “I can’t wait until I’m away from this place then I’ll never have to see your face again!”


Then I’ll never have to see your face again! The words echoed over and over in Connor’s mind making him feel sick. And then he was suddenly curled down over the toilet puking his guts out. There really wasn’t much in his stomach so all he did was a fair amount of dry heaving but still the episode left him spent and trembling. Connor fell back against the wall of the bathtub, his breath heaving in and out of his lungs as shame rolled through his body in boiling waves.

He and his father hadn’t exchanged more than terse, polite phrases in the commencing three days after their fight. So those ten, hateful words had been his father’s last memory of him. Connor groaned, his stomach lurching in self-disgust once again. Now he couldn’t erase it. He couldn’t apologize, couldn’t take back those words and say what was really in his heart. That he loved his father, that he’d spent his whole life trying to live up to his father’s expectations and that his resentment had come, not from his father’s high standards, but from his own inability to reach them. Now he’d have to live with his transgression for the rest of his life. Maybe that was his punishment for being such a bastard in the first place…

Connor shoved himself to his feet and crept from the bathroom down the hall to his mother’s bedroom. He peeked inside. His mother lay asleep in her bed with his little brother curled up against her side. Connor internally battled the urge to join them. Even at seventeen he still desperately needed his mother’s comforting presence, especially now when he felt more lost than he ever had in his life.

Deciding after some thought not to join them after all, Connor padded off for the kitchen. That’s when he realized that his family had never gone home. From one of the guest bedrooms lamplight emanated from the crack beneath the closed door. Connor crept closer, barely able to make out the muffled voices inside. He began checking the other spare rooms in the house, as well as the game and family rooms. Sure enough, no one had gone home. For some reason that filled Connor with a tremendous sense of relief. Maybe sleeping alone in his bed wouldn’t be quite so bad after all, not when he knew his family was there…

But he wasn’t quite as alone as he thought. When he returned to his bedroom Allie was there sitting on his bed, waiting for him.

posted on 19-Dec-2002 1:58:17 PM by Deejonaise
Kzinti_killer: Thank you so much for the compliments. I'm glad you're willing to go through with this fic despite the angst level. And I agree, reading my fics all in one swoop is probably best, lol.

MamaDee52: Keep feeling those vibes, girlfriend. You're close, incredibly close...

mareli: I know this part must have been bad if I did you in, after all, we both know that angst is your bread.*wink*

tay_brio2: Well now I know that I accomplished what I set out to do. This part was largely autobiographical so you have no idea how much your kind words mean to me. Thank you.

moonieADT: Thanks for hanging in with me...I know it's tough, although you are certainly one to talk. Clearing the Air is killing me.

Asabetha: This is totally a Dreamer fic. All will be restored, I guarantee.

frenchkiss70: You may be onto something there... Hmmm...*wink*

mpls muse: LOL! I'm so sorry. I guess I should put a warning on this fic: DO NOT READ WHILE AT WORK, lol!

AN: Okay, now for the author's note. I am going out of town Sunday morning and I won't be back until January 1, 2003. I've got to work Friday and Saturday night so I'm not going to have much time between now and then to do much writing. However, I am going to post at least one more part on each of my fics before I go and then there will be a two week dry spell.

I'm trying to use the time between now and tomorrow evening to write ahead on them as much as I can. That way when I come back you won't have to wait for an update while I'm catching myself up to speed. So that's it in a nutshell.

I hope you all enjoy your holidays.

Dee


posted on 20-Dec-2002 11:10:52 AM by Deejonaise
Here's my last update before I go on vacation. I'll see you next year! Enjoy your holidays.

Chapter 5

Connor stepped inside the darkness, closing the door firmly behind him. “What are you doing in here?” he whispered to her tentatively, plastering his body back against his door as if he were afraid to get any nearer.

“I saw you walking around in the hallway,” Allie whispered back in explanation, “I wanted to make sure you were alright.” She edged closer to him. “Are you okay?” And then she scowled and emitted a disgusted snort. “That was a stupid question…of course you’re not okay. I’m sorry.”

Connor shook his head tersely in denial, his eyes warily following her movements. “It’s not stupid…” he denied softly, ducking his head a little. He watched her advance closer towards him with a horrid sense of dread. Her eyes were wide, luminous, soft with love and tender feeling. Connor didn’t think he could stand her compassion right now, not when he felt so undeserving. When Allie reached forward to caress his face he twisted away from her touch. “Don’t--,” he choked out.

“Why?” Allie whispered, her heart crumbling to dust at his reaction, “You’ve barely spoken to me since you got back from the hospital.”

“My dad just died and I had to go and identify his body,” Connor rasped painfully, “…what do you want me to say?”

The pain glowing in his eyes caused Allie to retreat back a step, but she didn’t take his distance personally. By now she knew Connor Evans pretty damned well and when he was hurt…well, he acted like a first-class asshole. Allie had resigned herself to this fact long ago, but his reaction twisted in her gut now. Not because she felt rejected but because she knew he was in horrendous pain and he wouldn’t let her help him.

Connor sidled around her and made his way back to his bed, curling down onto the mattress and huddling near the bed frame. “I want to be alone now,” he muttered dully, pulling his knees against his chest.

Allie ignored his request and crept over to the bed, stretching out behind him and curving her body around his. “I’m not going anywhere, Con,” she whispered in his ear, feeling him shudder when she did, “You don’t have to talk about it…I can just hold you right now if you want.”

For a moment he lay stiff in her arms and Allie prepared herself from his rebuff when he suddenly yielded and shifted so that he was facing her. His honey eyes burned in the darkness of his room, shiny with the intense emotions raging through him. “We can talk…but not about my dad, okay?” he conceded in a whisper, threading his fingers through the curling hair at her temples.

Allie swallowed past the aching lump of tears in her throat. She fixed him with a trembling smile. “What do you want to talk about then?”

“I love your hair,” her murmured, watching how her hair sprang to life about his fingers, curling over his digits, concealing them in its dark glory.

That actually started a genuine smile from her. “You love my hair?” It had been the last thing she expected him to say.

Connor continued sifting his fingers through her curls, skimming her cheeks, her lips, her delicate ears. “You’re so beautiful, Alyson,” he whispered reverently, brushing soft, feather-like kisses across her mouth. In the back of his mind Connor knew his actions weren’t appropriate, but he hurt so much… The pain was crushing inside his chest making it hard to breathe. Would it be so wrong to forget…just for a while?

But when he tentatively deepened his kiss, dipped his hot tongue into her mouth Allie reared back and stared at him with stunned eyes. “Connor?”

“Don’t,” he whispered, covering her mouth over with his once again. He nibbled at her lips, gradually increasing the fervency of his kiss with every tentative foray of his tongue. His hands traveled down her back to cup her buttocks and bring her closer against his body. And then he slipped his hands around to her front, his fingers playing at the edge of her nightshirt. Without ever breaking contact with her mouth Connor began tugging the shirt up her midriff.

Surfacing from that sweet, hot world created by his kisses, Allie dragged her lips across his cheek, stilling his fingers. “What are you doing?”

He couldn’t look at her then, he was too afraid that he might see accusation in her eyes…or disgust. Connor buried his face in her throat. “Don’t you want to?” he whispered against her skin.

Allie fingered his hair. She did want to. She had dreamed of making love to Connor for a long time now, but he had always halted thing between them before they could go too far. He said he couldn’t, in good conscience, take her virginity when their relationship was still a secret from their parents. Allie thought his hesitation stemmed from something deeper. She well knew that Connor hadn’t had any sexual encounters prior to her. He wanted Allie to be his first and had told her that several times. Allie suspected that he wanted to be sure that she definitely wanted the same. He was giving her the time to change her mind.

But this time was different. Connor wasn’t acting out of love or even lust, but some desperate need to hide from his emotions. He’d only hate himself more when it was all over. Allie grabbed hold of both his hands and brought them to her lips. “Connor, you don’t want this…not this way…I know you don’t…”

He pulled back and stared at her, his throat working spasmodically at her words, silent tears meandering over the ridge of his nose and absorbing into the pillow beneath his cheek. “Allie, please…” he pleaded hoarsely. He trailed his fingers down the slope of her breast, playing at the hard ridge of her nipple where it poked through her nightshirt.

Though it broke her heart to refuse him Allie remained firm. She pulled his hand away and murmured a gentle, but resolved “no.” As expected Connor rolled away from her angrily, presenting her with his back. “Then just get the hell out!”

Allie knew it was his grief talking, but this last rejection set her off. Her patience with his attitude came to a grinding halt. “You’re kicking me out because I won’t sleep with you?” she gasped out incredulously, “What kind of a first class bastard are you, Con?”

He jerked at her words, hurling himself from the bed. When he glared down at her his face was streaked with tears, twisted in agonized pain. “The kind whose… last words to his father were…‘I hate you,’ alright!” he sobbed.

“Oh God, Con…” Allie groaned, regretting her impulsive words immediately. She knew all about the fight Connor had with his dad following their little excursion to the desert. Allie had even suggested that Connor apologize several times. After all, they had been in the wrong having cut school and all. But Connor had refused to do it. He believed that merely apologizing would be tantamount to admitting that he regretted what happened between them or that he was ashamed and he was neither.

Allie couldn’t help but feel partly responsible for the argument he’d had with his father and the fact that Connor was in such agony over it now doubled her guilt. She was the reason that his father had died estranged from his son. She was the reason they had fought in the first place. She was the reason that Connor was currently flaming himself with guilt. Allie felt herself shaking with the implication of it all.

When Connor began suddenly cramming his bare feet into his sneakers Allie sat up in surprise. “Con, where are you going?” she asked him when he shrugged into his jacket.

“I need air,” was his only reply as he grabbed up his wallet from the nightstand and slipped it into his jacket pocket.

Allie was out of the bed in a flurry of movement. “I’m going with you.” She slipped her feet into her fuzzy pink house slippers.

Connor glared at her stonily. “I want to be alone, Al.”

The look she returned was just as stony, just as belligerent, just as determined. “Well, I want to be with you,” she countered coolly, “so I guess that puts us at an impasse.”

His emotions veered crazily once again. Careening from grief to anger to mild amusement, Connor found himself smiling at little at her wording. Allie had quite an SAT vocabulary. She was always knocking him on his ass with the things she said.

Finally, Connor shook his head in chagrin, deciding not to fight her further. Allie could be tenacious when she took an idea into her head and no force on earth could change her mind. He’d just waste time if he stood there and tried to argue with her. Rolling his eyes a little in disgust, Connor sighed, “Come on then.”

After pulling one of Connor’s baggy sweatshirts over her head, Allie climbed after him through his bedroom window. Together they raced around the house to where Connor’s car was parked against the curb. “Where are we going in such a hurry?” Allie asked breathlessly when they raced down the street.

Mindful of the mild admonishment in her tone Connor eased up on the gas pedal and lifted his shoulders in a shrug. “I didn’t really have a particular destination in mind,” he told her. But he felt almost compelled to pull onto the Interstate and head in the direction of the desert, towards Vasquez Rock.

Traffic was slow going northbound. The four lanes of the highway had been narrowed to two following that evening’s accident. As they approached the Highway 52 exit they could see large black clouds of billowing smoke still rising in the dark night. The firefighters were continuing to battle the blaze caused by the fuel truck. Southbound traffic was backed up for miles while the rescue workers were still tirelessly pulling victims from the wreckage.

“Don’t look, Connor,” Allie advised softly as the slowly crept by the scene.

Compressing his lips in a tight, grim line Connor cut his eyes away from morbid scene to his left. But the thought permeated his senses despite his best efforts to keep it suppressed. Less than twenty feet away from where he sat was the area where his father had taken his last breath. Tears smarted in his eyes at the realization, but he stubbornly refused to let them fall. Connor gripped the steering wheel firmly. He blinked several times, fixing his eyes ahead even as the light cast from the fuel flames danced over his window shield.

Allie reached across the clutch between them and laid her hand against his thigh. Neither of them spoke a word as Connor guided them determinedly through the slow moving traffic. It took nearly half an hour to maneuver through the congestion. Those thirty minutes were some of the most agonizing Connor had ever experienced. Every second Connor was tortured with thoughts of his father’s last moments. Had he been scared? Did he realize what was coming or had it happened too quickly? What were his last thoughts? Connor tormented himself with the questions until they were finally clear of the traffic and speeding down the Interstate unencumbered once more.

When they finally reached Vasquez Rock Connor climbed out of the Mustang and then walked around to the passenger side to assist Allie. They clambered up the steep rock face together until they came to a heaping pile of stone and rubble. Connor fell down onto a large boulder, surveying the rocky jumble before him. “I’ve always felt at peace here,” he said softly as Allie came to perch herself next to him.

“I know.” Whenever Connor needed to think he would come to this place. He had even brought her there a couple of times, but for the most part this place had been his private sanctuary since even when they were kids. “I’ve always wondered what your fascination is with this place,” she mused aloud. All she saw when she looked about was crumbling rock and debris, but Connor saw a wonderland.

“I don’t know…” Connor sighed, trying to convey into words exactly how this place made him feel, “…I’m just connected here…” He trailed off into silence, dropping his head so that his chin touched his chest.

“Do you want to talk about it now?” Allie asked him softly. She reached for his hand and twined her fingers with his.

“I’ve never felt this way before,” Connor uttered and Allie could feel his tears falling onto their clasped hands, “It’s like I hurt so bad I want to scream, break something…just I don’t know… It won’t ease, Allie…it won’t ease…”

“You only just found out your father was dead eight hours ago, Connor,” Allie whispered gently, “You’re supposed to be in pain.”

Connor brought their hands to his lips. “What are we going to do without him?” he sniffled against her fingers.

Allie started to touch her lips to his forehead, but she never made it that far. The sky suddenly flashed with a blinding, white light. The force of it blew them apart and knocked them to the hard ground with enough force to tear the breath from their chests. Allie’s head struck a small stone when she fell and she lost consciousness almost immediately.

As Connor struggled to push himself upright he was hit with another bolt of light that instantly immobilized him. He collapsed back against the ground, his body paralyzed. Connor stared up helplessly into the dark, starry night, clinging desperately to awareness when his line of sight suddenly filled with an incandescent, yellow being with large, piercing black eyes. It was the last thing he saw before falling into oblivion.



posted on 4-Jan-2003 2:00:09 AM by Deejonaise
Chapter 6

Conti beis di toosh, Xe-Rad.

His first conscious thought was that he hurt all over. The pain was unbelievable, mind shattering. It saturated his skin, flowed in his blood. He could hardly bear it. His flesh felt sensitive and scoured; as if it were being prickled all over with a thousand knifepoints. And inside his body his blood felt like it was boiling, scorching his veins and arteries. He whimpered against the sensation, yearning to curl himself into a fetal position in an effort to dull the ache. But as he tried to do just that it finally penetrated his muddled senses that his wrists and ankles were manacled.

Connor finally managed to crack open bleary eyes, slowly and painfully coming into awareness. The first thing he recognized was that he was in some sort of cavern. The calcified remnants of stalactites hung from the cave ceiling right above his head. A glowing yellow light filled the small space, bathing his skin in an otherworldly sheen. Connor slowly became aware of other things as well. Namely, that he was strapped down to some stone like slab. And tightly, too, Connor realized, when he tested his binds experimentally. But the question was why. Connor tried to work through the fog of his mind to figure out what had happened. And then, with a stunning clarity he hadn’t expected, he remembered.

He and Allie had been abducted by aliens. Just the simple thought alone was too ludicrous to contemplate; yet it was the unequivocal truth. Before he lost consciousness Connor had seen the proof with his own eyes. He could still see those big, soulless black eyes staring down at him intensely. If he weren’t scared absolutely shitless at the moment Connor might have actually laughed at the irony of it all.

Unlike his parents Connor did not believe in aliens. The very fact that his father, a prominent litigation attorney, and his mother, a biochemist, bought into such drivel had seemed completely ridiculous to him. He had attributed their steadfast conviction to one too many hits off the peace pipe in their younger years. Yet they had believed, much to the derision of their sons, and they had tried to raise Connor and Jamie to believe as well. Connor would have never suspected that his parents’ harebrained notions had actually been based in fact.

Connor struggled against his bonds anew, gritting his teeth against the pain his struggles caused. A quick glance around the room told him that Allie was not there which panicked Connor all the more. He struggled hard, on the verge of tears that were elicited both from pain and from grief. Of all the times to get abducted by aliens, Connor thought to himself acerbically.

Conti beis di toosh, Xe-Rad.

Connor went perfectly still as the voice drifted through his mind once more. The first time he had been flirting with the edges of consciousness and couldn’t be sure he’d heard the voice at all. But now it sounded again, more distinct this time, and Connor knew he hadn’t been mistaken. However, that wasn’t what chilled him and froze his movements. It was the fact that he understood the words. “Your destiny awaits you, Xe-Rad.” A violent trembling started in Connor’s legs, working its way up his torso as he gave himself over to panic. He started to open his mouth to scream in his highest falsetto when a man suddenly filled his line of vision, a human man with fathomless black eyes.

“There is no need to fear, Xe-Rad,” the man told Connor, only his lips didn’t move as he spoke. Instead his eyes transmitted a wealth of feeling, speaking to Connor just as clearly as verbal communication. Connor’s trembling increased tenfold. The decision to scream was looking better and better.

Connor tried to control his fear but it saturated his body. He could feel this man, this being inside his mind, strolling around his thoughts as if he were taking a Sunday afternoon walk. “Who are you…” Connor rasped against the pain in his body, in his head, “What are you?”

Again the man responded without speaking. “I am your past…your future and your present, Xe-Rad, my lord.” And then the man bent humbly before Connor, bowing his head reverently. “I am your servant.”

“Xe-Rad?” Connor croaked, touching his tongue to his dry, cracked lips, “I think you must have me confused with someone else.”

“You are indeed the son of Maxwell and Elizabeth Evans?” the being surmised. Connor’s eyes widened to realize that this creature knew exactly who his parents were. He was beginning to sweat with fear, but he found himself nodding anyway, almost like he couldn’t help himself. Something was compelling him, driving him, flowering open within his chest. Something both alien and familiar all at once.

By now Connor was shaking so terribly that his bonds rattled. The being made some attempt to soothe him, stroking his hair back from his face in an oddly tender gesture before pulling his hand away. “Then there is no mistake. You are the chosen one…you are Xe-Rad.”

Connor was inclined to think that the creature before him was just plain certifiable but something about the name just seemed to fit. And that’s when Connor realized something. The entire time the creature had been speaking none of it had been in English, yet Connor had responded to him flawlessly. The realization filled Connor with a newfound panic and he began struggling again, his movements causing him to cry out against the ache it caused.

“You are in pain,” the man observed in mild concern.

Connor bit against his upper lip and gritted in English, “No shit Sherlock.” Seeming to take no offense at Connor’s sarcasm the being waved his hand over Connor’s body, bringing slowly down the length of him, from his head to his toes, emanating warmth wherever he touched and easing Connor’s discomfort. “Your body is reacquainting itself with your lost energy,” the man explained emotionlessly, “It is why you feel such pain.”

“Reacquainting with what--,” Connor shook his head in disbelief and stared up at the man in fearful amazement. “Who the hell are you?” he whispered again. This couldn’t be real; Connor thought hysterically, he had to be somewhere passed out drunk right now.

Switching smoothly to English, the creature replied, “I am Pey-La and I am your servant.”

For some reason this new statement made Connor feel bold and he queried brashly, “If you’re my servant then why am I the one strapped to a table?”

“We could not be assured that you would remain with us.”

Connor’s burgeoning bravado shriveled in his chest. “We?” he asked fearfully. The being swept his arm wide and brought attention to the four other creatures present, each standing in one corner of the cavern. Unlike the man they didn’t look human, but were exactly like the glowing being Connor had seen before he passed out. “Are you going to kill me?” Connor demanded shakily and then he burst out, “Where’s Allie?”

“Allie, my lord?”

“Allie…the girl who was with me?” Connor gritted through clenched teeth.

“Your mate?”

“Yes!”

“She is resting, my lord,” Pey-La answered as if that were the most logical conclusion for his young master. “She suffered a small contusion on her head, but is recovering quite comfortably.”

While Pey-La spoke Connor’s mind was operating at a frantic pace. Though he and Allie had obviously been abducted, and by neurotic aliens no less, Connor didn’t think they were on a ship. He seriously doubted they had left the planet earth, which provoked a series of questions for Connor. Didn’t aliens usually take people to their spaceships after they abducted them? Were they just trying to calm him before performing the horrific experiments he’d heard so much about? Also, Connor wondered why these aliens seemed so familiar with him, as if they knew him somehow. But what was even more frightening was that Connor felt that he knew them as well. Frowning, Connor asked tentatively, “What does Xe-Rad mean?”

“Chosen one.”

Connor absorbed that newest tidbit and pondered aloud, “If you’re my servant like you say then you’ll release me if I command it, right?”

“You wish to be released, my lord?” Pey-La inquired calmly. Before Connor could even voice the word “yes” aloud the bonds banded around his wrists and ankles were released. Connor swung upright, rubbing gingerly at his chafed wrists. That was easy, he thought. He decided he’d try again. “Bring Allie to me,” he commanded.

“As you wish,” Pey-La returned, inclining his head toward one of the being’s in the distant corner. The creature floated away to do Pey-La’s bidding.

The fact that these creatures seemed so compliant to serve him made Connor feel both uneasy and awed. “Why did you bring me here?” he asked.

Pey-La’s eyes gleamed brightly, almost seemed to smile at him. “To fulfill your destiny, my lord.”

A few moments later the alien creature returned with a visibly hysterical Allie in tow. The moment she saw Connor she ran to his side, hugging him against her fiercely. “Oh, thank God!” she cried, holding him as if she never intended to let him go, “I thought they had hurt you…or killed you! God, Connor, what’s going on?”

Connor stroked at Allie’s cheeks in reassurance, looped his fingers through hers. Now that it seemed that he had the upper hand over these creatures, though he didn’t have a clue why, some of Connor’s anxiety was beginning to fade. “These…these…” he trailed off and looked toward Pey-La, his eyes full of question, “What are your kind called exactly?”

“Antarians, my lord,” Pey-La replied respectfully, “Specifically, my race is called Jnui.”

Jnui,” Allie whispered aloud, “Why does that sound so familiar to me?”

Connor swiveled around to face her in surprise. “You, too?”

“It is familiar because it is your heritage,” Pey-La answered for them, “It is your destiny.”

For the moment he went ignored by Allie and Connor while they carried on their own private conversation. “Is he crazy?” Allie asked quietly.

“I don’t know,” Connor whispered back, “They seem to think that I’m some chosen one…Xe-Rad…that’s what he’s calling me. I don’t know what’s going on, Al.”

Allie glanced fearfully around the cavern walls. Unlike Connor she didn’t feel any ease at all. The very fact that these creatures seemed familiar to her only served to heighten her anxiety. She couldn’t help but feel that they should flee from these beings, run fast and run hard. “Connor, we can’t stay here,” Allie told him urgently, “It’s got to be morning by now. Your mother’s gonna go insane with worry if you’re not home…she doesn’t need the added stress right now.”

Nodding his agreement, Connor turned his attention to Pey-La once more. “I would like to go home now,” he stated, fully expecting for his request to be carried out. He received a rude awakening.

“I can not, my lord.”

The anxiety crept back in, slow and insidious. “I command it,” Connor declared with more force than he felt.

Pey-La’s answer remained unchanged. “I can not, my lord.”

“You said that you are my servant,” Connor accused him fervently, “That means you must do what I command you!” He was so intent on exercising his masterly rights that he didn’t catch the incredulous look Allie sent his way.

“I can not release you, Xe-Rad,” Pey-La replied, almost sadly.

“Why not?” Connor all but cried, “It’s what I want!”

“Because you have not yet fulfilled your destiny,” Pey-La stated.

“Destiny!” Connor snorted in response, “What destiny? I’m seventeen frickin years old, I don’t have a frickin destiny. I’m just trying to get through the day!”

“You are far more than the average human teenager, my lord,” Pey-La countered, raising his arms. Suddenly, the rocky wall before them rolled back to reveal a giant, glowing chamber. It rather reminded Connor of a large hourglass; only it seemed to swirl with an incandescent gelatin liquid rather than sand.

“What the hell is that?” Connor whispered.

Pey-La’s eyes fairly glowed his response. “Your destiny.”

posted on 8-Jan-2003 12:22:40 AM by Deejonaise
Chapter 7

Connor was stupefied. He gripped Allie’s hand tightly, not because he was frightened, but because he feared that Pey-La was telling him something true. Connor could hardly process it all. His father’s death had barely had time to sink in. Connor was still grieving, yet here he was trapped in a cave with a demented alien who told Connor that he was the only hope for his people. No, that wasn’t what Pey-La had said at all. He had said “our” people, clearly including Connor and Allie in his statement.

He couldn’t help but lament why this was happening to him now, of all times. His father was dead. The thought seemed to revolve around in his head every five seconds. And yet, the situation he was facing at the moment was so absurdly surreal that even the reality that his father had been killed in an automobile accident was beginning to seem like a dream. Maybe none of it had happened at all, Connor supposed with frantic hope. Maybe he was still at home; sound asleep in his bed and stuffed to bursting with Thanksgiving turkey and sweet potato pie.

Yet even as Connor tried to convince himself of these things he knew better. His father was really dead. He really had been kidnapped by aliens. These creatures were, indeed, familiar to him. But what Connor didn’t understand, what was scaring the hell out of him was why they were familiar to him.

For the moment Connor ignored the large device Pey-La had referred to as the “Granolith,” although the moment it had been revealed to him it had begun a powerful pulsing and focused solely on the strange alien being before him. Chewing at his lower lip thoughtfully, Connor speculated aloud to Pey-La, “So I assume that you believe I’m some kind of alien…your kind to be exact?”

“I do not believe it, my lord,” Pey-La stated implacably, “I know it.”

That’s it; Connor thought mockingly, this dude is definitely one patty short of a double cheeseburger. It was one thing to abduct him, but to try and convince him that he was actually an alien as well…that was just crossing the line. Connor drew himself up straight, banding his arm about Allie’s shoulder tightly as he did. “Listen up, Pee-ha or Pey-Ra or whatever the hell your name is…my name is Connor Evans. I’m just a kid and I lost my father today…I only want to go home. So do whatever alien voodoo you have planned and then let us the hell outta here.”

Pey-La calmly ignored his belligerence. “I am aware that Maxwell Evans is dead,” the stoic alien informed Connor quietly.

It was the calm acknowledgement in his tone that made Connor freeze. His fingers pressed into Allie’s shoulder reflexively as he began to tremble once more. He trembled at the implication of Pey-La’s words. Had they been watching him, watching his family? And for how long? How long had these creatures been out there waiting for their perfect opportunity to take him? Had they simply been waiting for his father to die? Did they have something to do with his death? The questions ricocheted around in Connor’s mind until he thought his head would explode. “You know my father is dead?” Connor inquired carefully, “How? How do you know that?”

“Because I tell you the truth. You are the chosen one, my lord…the hope for our people,” Pey-La responded solemnly, “Let me show you.” And then he reached forward and settled the pads of his fingers against Connor’s forehead.

The moment Pey-La made contact with his skin Connor was bombarded with a series of disjointed images. Behind his eyes a story unfolded, only not just pictures but emotions as well. Connor saw his parents as children. He could feel his mother’s gentle kindness as a child of eight and his father’s painful awkwardness at that same age. Connor found himself present the first time his father ever laid eyes upon his mother, the moment when Max Evans fell instantly, finally, and irreversibly in love.

And then Connor felt overwhelmed by his father’s loneliness, the burning desire to touch, to belong while remaining on the outside, always yearning for something he could not have. Max’s shy reverence towards Liz as he watched her from afar became Connor’s. He felt the emotions keenly, as if the experience were happening to him and not his father. Connor was saturated with Max’s fierce need to protect Liz, to cherish her, to simply adore her. Before that moment Connor had never realized how deeply his father had truly loved his mother or for how long he had.

Their life passed before him like a picture show. First as separate individuals and later together, after his mother was shot and his father’s secret was revealed, in the moment where they were bonded for life. Their experiences were laid bare for Connor, their emotions made as real to him as his own. He could feel his father’s fear and relief and wild hope when he finally shared the truth about himself. Connor was flooded with his mother’s elation when she realized that Max Evans loved her, plain, boring, nerdy Liz Parker…that he thought she was beautiful. He quivered with desperation while he absorbed the damage the FBI had inflicted upon them. Nearly in tears, he witnessed his own conception and his parents’ marked disgust once the act was done.

There was such pain between them, so much confusion, but longing, too and love and fierce desire. The pictures came at Connor at a dizzying rate even as he tried to block them. But it was no use fighting. He saw it all. The first time they made love, their elopement in Vegas, Bayok’s deception, Zrei’s death, meeting Kaelen, Rahsha, and Kaala and his very own birth. The first one, he realized, the alien one.

The images collided in his head, inundating him with one burning realization. He had never really known his parents at all. He had never known himself. His entire life had been a lie. The flashes continued on, chronicling his rapid growth, his part in his parents and family’s human transformation, his subsequent death and rebirth. And finally, the recognition of who he was…what he was. The knowledge that Pey-La had spoken the complete truth and that he wasn’t some crazy old alien after all.

When Pey-La’s fingers finally dropped away Connor was weeping openly. He grieved for the pain his parents experienced because of him, he grieved for the lies they told him, but mostly he grieved over his father’s death and all the lost chances that resulted with it. When Connor finally lifted his eyes to Allie he discovered that she was crying, too, and staring at him with a naked expression of love and awe. She fingered his chin almost reverently and he knew that she had “seen” everything he had when Pey-La touched him. “Connor…” she whispered in wonder.

Connor’s eyes darkened and he lowered them, partly in shame and partly in self-disgust. “I’m some kind of freak,” he muttered.

Allie forced his gaze back to hers, cradling his wet cheeks between her hands. “Oh God, no,” she whispered in protest, “You’re special, Connor…you’re wonderful…so exquisite, baby,” she told him tenderly, punctuating each statement with a gentle kiss, “You’re no freak…you’re like some kind of miracle.”

“I ruined their lives,” Connor sobbed quietly, burying his face in the crook of her neck.

“You gave them their greatest joy,” Allie argued tenderly, lightly stroking her fingers along the delicate skin of his nape.

“I’m not human,” he mumbled and then he lifted his head and laughed a bit, “At least I haven’t always been.” Connor shivered a little. “They lied to me, Al. How could they do that? How could they not tell me who I was, who they were?”

Allie shook her head sympathetically. “They lied to us both, Connor. They all did…but maybe they had their reasons.” She, too, was coming to realize the web of deception her own parents had woven around her. Kaelen and Rahsha Stafford had a whole other heritage, a heritage they hadn’t seen fit to share with their daughter. Allie feelings ran parallel to Connor’s. She felt hurt and betrayed and lost, as if her entire life had been nothing but one grand hoax.

Try as they could, Connor and Allie could barely reason it out. The truth was almost too ludicrous to contemplate, but something that could not be denied. His parents…her parents were aliens, beings from another world. Or, at least, they had been before Connor altered their DNA with his powers and made them all human.

Altered their DNA with his powers??? Holy flipping Frito, he’d once had powers! Just the idea sent Connor reeling mentally. At one time he had been the most powerful being in the Universe. But he had given up his destiny, his birthright without a second thought because he had wanted his parents more. And because he had chosen that road he had changed his life, his parents’ lives and the lives of Allie’s parents, hell even Allie’s herself, irrevocably. What Connor couldn’t figure was if the change had been for the better or the worse.

Connor couldn’t help but wonder if his father would have survived the accident had he the use of his powers. Could he have foreseen the tragedy somehow? Maybe he would have been able to prevent the collision, maybe he would have been able to heal himself, maybe Liz could have sensed the disaster before it occurred.

An endless list of maybes rumbled in his heart but in the end Connor felt completely responsible for what could have been and wasn’t. Now he fully understood the reasoning behind his mother’s words at the morgue the night before. I could have healed him…that’s what I wanted…and now look at it…and now look at the damage… Yes, now Connor understood completely. Because Connor had changed her his mother had been unable to bring his father back, because he had made her human.

So in some twisted way it was completely his fault that his father was dead. He had taken away the means to prevent the tragedy even if his intentions had been good. He had unwittingly destroyed his own family while trying to save them. The realization made Connor feel sick to his soul, made him want to die.

Connor began to tremble, but it was a moment before he realized that the reaction wasn’t due to sorrow, but to something else entirely. His body felt suddenly overrun with a hot surge. He felt mildly dizzy as a force like he’d never known begun to pump through his veins. In parallel action the Granolith began the hum louder, burn brighter. Beside him Allie gasped, half in horror, half in wonder. Connor jerked his gaze to her face, mesmerized by her stupefied expression. “What is it?” he asked hoarsely.

“Connor, you skin…God, your eyes…they’re glowing silver,” Allie breathed, grabbing hold his hand and bringing it up to his line of vision. “What’s going on?”

His flesh was a translucent gold, more light than actual skin. Through the light pierced jagged lines of blue energy. In horror, Connor glanced down to find that his entire body had taken on the strange glow. Jerking up his head, he fixed Pey-La with a panicked induced glare. “What’s happening to me?” he demanded frantically, “What have you done?”

“I have done nothing,” Pey-La replied calmly, “This is who you are…who you have always been…”

“Why?” Connor groaned, feeling his energy surge and swell in his body. It was too much for him and he doubled over with the force.

Allie fell over him with a soft cry of concern and hissed up at Pey-La, “Why is this happening? What do you want from him?”

“He is to lead us to the new Antar as foretold by our ancestors,” Pey-La answered.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Allie cried out, irate and terrified all at once. In her arms, Connor was twitching fitfully and moaning with whatever changes were mutating in his body. His skin felt incredibly hot, the intense light radiating from his person was almost blinding. The feeling was so powerful that Allie could feel the surges throughout her own body, could feel some fundamental change taking place deep within her. “Tell us what’s going on!”

“The Granolith has begun his transformation,” Pey-La said, “I can change nothing now.” He knelt before Connor and gently cupped his face, lifting the boy’s pain glazed eyes to his own. “You know what you must do, Xe-Rad?”

“Yes,” Connor uttered hoarsely, although he didn’t understand exactly how he did know. But he knew one thing with certainty: he had to enter the Granolith and complete his conversion. It was his birthright.

Reading his thoughts, Pey-La stroked Connor’s damp hair gently and nodded. “I have looked for you for all eternity it seems,” he whispered reverently, “I had thought once that I would never see this day, my lord.”

“Why did you wait until now?” Connor asked him weakly. His trembling was finally starting to subside, his energy settling in his body with a low hum. Gradually, his skin lost its shining light but he could still fill the force simmering just below the surface of his flesh. Connor slowly uncurled his body, straightening into an upright position.

In that moment, Connor knew with absolute conviction that all he had seen and heard was the truth. He looked at Pey-La before him, saw past the human façade and well concealed anxiety to the sincerity in his heart. He didn’t want to hurt Connor or Allie. Pey-La only wanted to return home, to find a place where he belonged once more. Only Connor could give that to him. He understood that now. “You have known where I was for the last ten years,” Connor announced calmly, “Why did you never come for me before now?”

“Your father would have been against it and furthermore you were not yet ready,” Pey-La said, “We wanted no conflict with Maxwell Evans. He has always had our deep respect, as has your mother.”

“So you have been waiting for my father to die all this time?” Connor accused in a sob.

“We were waiting for you to come of age, my lord,” Pey-La countered gently, “Your father’s death was an unfortunate occurrence, but it must not prevent you from doing what you must…what you were born to do.”

Connor knew his words for truth. He sighed. “Yes, I understand.”

Throughout their cryptic exchange Allie’s gaze had bounced back and forth between Connor and the strange alien being who now seemed to have his captive attention. She didn’t completely understand what was going on, didn’t know why Connor seemed to trust this Pey-La all of a sudden, but she sensed the change in him.

From the moment Pey-La had shown him the truth and he had seen his parents’ life unfold firsthand Connor had been slowly withdrawing into himself. Allie knew him too well. He was blaming himself for his father’s accident, probably believing that he could have prevented it. As if his guilt weren’t already great enough, Allie thought miserably. This was the last thing he needed because when Connor felt bad he almost always acted out in self-destructive ways.

Allie squeezed him against her, grabbing hold of his chin and jerking his face towards hers, breaking the hypnotic connection Pey-La seemed to hold over him. “Connor, what are you doing?” she demanded in a furious whisper, “We can’t stay here. Your mother and Jamie need you. We have to go home, remember? Make them let us go!”

Connor wouldn’t meet her gaze, but closed his eyes and swallowed hard. “I can’t go home, Alyson.”

“What?” she burst out, “Tell me you’re not listening to this whack-job, Con!” And then she lowered her voice so that only Connor could hear her words. “I don’t trust these things…how do we know that any of what he showed us was true?”

“It was true,” Connor croaked, shrugging from her arms and rising unsteadily to his feet. He turned to Pey-La. “I’m ready now.”

Allie surged to her feet, her heart suddenly filled with a nameless panic. She grabbed at Connor’s elbow just when he would have walked away. “What are you doing? Are you just going to go with this…this person? Have you gone completely insane!”

Connor slid his hand down the soft skin of her cheek before letting his hand fall away. “Allie…I wish I could make you understand…”

“And you do?” Allie charged, tears gathering in her green eyes, “Why are you doing this, Connor?”

“I don’t belong here,” he whispered, “I never have…I never will.”

“Connor, who cares!” Allie exploded, “Who the hell cares? You have a family…people who love you. I love you! What about me?”

Connor looked away, her words obviously striking a guilty chord within him. “You don’t understand…”

“No, I think I understand too well,” Allie replied tightly, “I didn’t know you were such a coward, Connor Evans.”

Connor couldn’t bear it any longer. He turned away from the mute accusation in her eyes and followed Pey-La to his birthright and destiny. As Connor closed the distance between the Granolith and himself he could hear Allie sobbing harshly behind him, but he fought to block out her cries. He was doing the only thing left available to him, Connor told himself fiercely. He couldn’t go home now. Not when he knew the truth. His mother might not blame him now because she was still too raw with grief and sorrow, but one day she would. One day she would look at him with hate because he was the reason her husband was dead. Connor didn’t want to stick around to see that day.

When he and Pey-La finally stood directly before the Granolith Connor felt the low hum in his body rise to a fevered pitch. The stunning power of it was almost unbelievable. “What is this thing really?” Connor whispered to Pey-La, but he didn’t use words. He spoke with his mind, as if he had been doing so all his life.

“It is an ancient and revered temple from among our people,” Pey-La told him telepathically, “Reserved only for the chosen one, my lord.”

“What do I do?”

“The Granolith will reveal all you need to know,” Pey-La replied, “You have only to step inside…”

But when Connor would have disappeared into the swirling silver confines of the temple he heard Allie cry out his name. When he turned around she was running towards him and flinging herself into his arms. “Don’t do this,” she begged shamelessly, burying her tear-streaked face in his neck, “Please, please don’t! Don’t leave me, Connor…not like this…don’t do this…” She lifted her face to his then and their mouths met in a kiss that was almost primal. They drank at each other’s lips as they drank in air. In those moments more than just their flesh was fused, but their souls and hearts as well. They were one in every sense of the word.

When Connor finally broke away he was panting and crying all at once. He framed her face with his hands, pressing his forehead against hers fiercely. “I need you to understand something,” he told Allie in a breathless, emotional rush, “It has always been you…from the moment I laid eyes on you when you were just a baby, Al, I knew I would love you for the rest of my life…”

“Connor, please—,”

“No, listen to me,” he interrupted tearfully, “I have never known anyone like you ever…your beauty, your grace…God, your loyalty… I never deserved you, but you’ve always been my heart, Allie. I always knew that you were meant to be mine and that I was meant to be yours…and I need you to know that no matter what happens to me after I step inside that thing…I will always, always believe that.”

Allie held fast to his hands, digging her nails into his skin in her effort to hold on. “Don’t--,”

“Tell my mom and Jamie that I love them and I’m sorry…I wish I could make it right…”

“Connor, if you go your mom’s not gonna make it,” Allie argued tearfully, “She needs you too much.” I need you too much, she added silently.

Connor offered her one last, sad smile before untangling her arms from around his neck and stepping into the dense silver swirling within the Granolith chamber and disappearing completely. And the moment he did Allie screamed out loud. She felt the low rumble that was beginning to take place within the rocky cavern, saw the brilliant pulses of light that were flowing from the Granolith chamber and did the only thing she could thing of. She threw herself in after him.

And then all hell broke loose.

posted on 10-Jan-2003 8:35:48 AM by Deejonaise
Chapter 8

When Connor’s eyes finally fluttered open he groaned against the sunlight filtering down onto his face. He squinted his eyes against the light and lifted his hand to shield away the sun’s brilliance. Awareness crept in gradually. Connor stretched his limbs against the vague ache he felt there. As he did he came to realize that he was slumped down against the brick wall of a darkened alley. An alley, Connor mentally questioned, his forehead creasing in a frown of confusion. He began roaming his eyes about, quickly taking in his surroundings.

The alley was dark and cruddy and overwhelmed with the musty, fetid smell of rotting garbage. Upon closer inspection Connor also saw that he wasn’t alone. Only a few feet further down the alley a couple of transients crouched in a makeshift box, fast asleep. Beyond them there was a woman, likely a hooker, pleasuring her latest john. Disgusted, Connor jerked away his gaze, scrunching his nose in distaste.

How the hell had he gotten in an alley, he wondered. Furthermore, why was he there in the first place? He shifted slightly against the brick wall behind him, intending to push himself to his feet when he became aware of another sensation, a strange heaviness against his left side. He glanced down to find Allie’s sleeping form tucked beside him, her curling, dark hair spread out over his lap and thighs. Her fingers lingered tantalizingly close to his manhood, but she seemed oblivious. He whispered her name gently and grabbed hold of her hand, bringing it against his stomach. He half expected her to be a dream.

But she was no dream. The moment his fingers curled around her hand she grunted in sleepy displeasure and lifted her head. For a second her eyes darkened with confusion before they focused on him completely and then they softened with relieved delight. “Connor?” she croaked, pushing herself up alongside his body. She snuggled against him lazily. “What happened?” As she became aware of their surroundings, however, her languid expression gradually gave way to disgusted horror. “Why are we in an alley?” she asked, bolting upright, her smooth brow creased in a frown of panicked confusion.

“I don’t know,” he said, raising himself up so that he was right alongside her, “Last thing I remember was stepping into the Granolith chamber and then…nothing. Come on.” He struggled to his feet and then pulled her onto hers. “We need to find out where we are…and what happened.” Then Connor frowned with a new thought, “What are you doing here anyway?”

His question caused Allie to duck her head, as she suddenly felt somewhat responsible for their newest predicament. “Now that’s the tricky part…I…uh…kinda…followed you…into the Granolith,” Allie admitted meekly.

“Yeah, I figured that part out for myself,” Connor responded with only mild sarcasm.

Allie narrowed her eyes on his twitching lips. “Anyway,” she forged ahead, “Something weird started to happen after I jumped in after you…I don’t know…the chamber started to collapse in on itself or something. You passed out a little while later and then so did I.”

“Well, the chamber wasn’t exactly meant for you,” Connor chastened, “You weren’t supposed to follow me, Allie.”

“And you weren’t supposed to leave,” Allie countered defiantly, “So I guess we’re both guilty of doing things we weren’t supposed to, huh?”

They stared one another down for a few seconds more before Connor finally sighed and pulled her against him in a tender hug. “It doesn’t matter…I’m glad you’re here.”

Sagging with relief, Allie squeezed him hard. “But where exactly is ‘here’?” she murmured into his jacket. When she pulled away, she cast another glance around the alley. The hooker and her john were thankfully gone now, but the bums remained. Allie shuddered. “Can we get outta here, please?” she asked Connor plaintively.

Connor nodded his agreement, but as they turned to exit it was then that he noticed Allie was wearing only house slippers. He frowned at her incredulously. “Where are your sneakers?”

Allie ducked her head again for the second time in five minutes. “You were in a hurry when you left the house, remember? I didn’t have time to run and get them.” She lifted her shoulders in an indifferent shrug under Connor’s disapproving glare. “If I had gone you would have left me. It’s not a big deal, Connor.”

Shaking his head, Connor expelled a long-suffering sigh. “Whatever,” he told her, taking her by the elbow, “Let’s figure out where we are right now and then we’ll worry about getting you some shoes.”

As they burst out into the full sunshine beyond the alley Connor muttered to himself, “There has to be a reason why I’m here. Pey-La said the Granolith would tell me what I needed to do.”

Though he hadn’t been addressing her Allie responded as if he had. “So it sat us in an alley with bums and prostitutes?” she burst out incredulously, “Totally wise move there…yeah right!” She glanced around the street, scrutinizing the businesses and restaurants and frowning slightly. “Con, does this place kinda look familiar to you?” she asked him as they began walking in no particular direction.

Connor felt that vague prickling of familiarity as well. “Yeah, it kinda reminds me of--,”

“Oh my God!” Allie suddenly burst out in interruption, “There’s the UFO Center and…and the Crashdown! Hah, Connor, we never even left Roswell!”

The realization shocked Connor into immobility. He could only stand there on the sidewalk in stupefaction. He was really home. He hadn’t gone anywhere after all. Connor was mildly disappointed to find it so. He had expected that the Granolith would bestow him with some great alien wisdom, but it had been nothing but an alien dud. Obviously, he wasn’t such a “chosen one” after all, Connor surmised to himself. While part of him was relieved to be home the other half of him was dreading the prospect of facing his mother again.

Connor glanced down at his watch. It was half past noon now. His mother would have definitely noticed his absence by this time and she’d be perfectly frantic. Connor supposed he couldn’t avoid her forever either and he didn’t want to worry her unnecessarily. Besides they needed to talk. He had, at least, a bazillion questions to ask her, namely why she had lied to him all of his life.

“Come on, Al,” he said, grabbing hold of his girlfriend’s hand and leading her across the street towards the Crashdown. “We’ll have some breakfast and then I’ll call my mom and let her know we’re safe, okay?”

“No,” Allie contradicted once they were safely across, “First you’ll call your mom and then we’ll have some breakfast. Don’t procrastinate, Connor.”

“Procrastinate?” Connor parroted, “Geez, Allie, isn’t a little early to start with the SAT words? I don’t have my dictionary on me.”

“Laugh it up, comedian boy…I’m serious,” Allie retorted laughingly, “Call your mother.”

Connor offered her a snappy, mock salute. “Yes, maam.”

She pinched at his muscled midriff through his jacket. “I’m not teasing, Connor,” Allie insisted, forcing herself not to smile at him in return, “Your mother is probably freaking out by now…my mom, too. We need to let them know we’re safe and then take our sweet time getting home.”

Gradually the laughter faded from Connor’s face as he absorbed the impact of what a confrontation with their parents would mean. Not to mention that there could be no more running from his father’s death. Funeral arrangements would have to be made. Connor didn’t want to think about it. Instead, he focused on the lies he’d been told all his life and why they had been told to him. “They’ve got a lot of explaining to do,” he said quietly.

“And we’ve got a lot of questions,” Allie agreed, “It will all work out.”

Connor shook his head, that far off, saddened look darkening his eyes once again. “I don’t know how we will ever trust them again, Al.”

Allie laced her fingers through his as they pushed through the entrance of the Crashdown. “We just will,” she assured him. She started to say more but her words trailed away as they entered the restaurant, a bewildered scowl beginning to crease her brow. “It looks different in here.” Jeff Parker had made several renovations in the last few years but none of them were in evidence at the moment. “Did your grandpa change the place again?”

Connor thoughts, however, were currently occupied elsewhere. He was, instead, aware of the burning scrutiny that was being directed towards him and Allie as they made their way for a booth. And why shouldn’t they be stared at, Connor thought to himself. They had to make an interesting pair. Allie in her pajamas, extra large sweatshirt, and house slippers and him with his spiked blue hair and eyebrow ring. Not to mention the fact that they were extra grimy from their nap in the alley. Sniffing furtively at his jacket Connor was grateful that they, at least, didn’t smell as bad as they looked. Connor chuckled to himself over the thought.

“Go call your mom,” Allie told him as she plucked up a menu, “I’ll order us some food while you’re gone.” She rubbed her hands together in mouthwatering anticipation. “I’m so starved I could eat this table.”

Connor finally noticed the change in the restaurant then. “Hey, you know this place looks different from the last time I was here,” he announced suddenly.

“I just said that to you not five minutes ago,” Allie replied with a roll of her eyes.

“Grandpa had all the booths reupholstered and the floor redone,” Connor mumbled to himself, “I wonder what happened.”

“Maybe he liked it better the old way,” Allie suggested, already becoming absorbed in the menu. Allie wasn’t up for hashing out the mystery. All she wanted was food. She hadn’t had anything to eat since the day before at lunch.

“He hadn’t said anything about making changes,” Connor speculated aloud, “After all that griping he did about giving the Crashdown a makeover and then he just goes back to the old way…that’s just weird.”

“He probably just recently did it,” Allie told him, “We haven’t been here for a few days, remember Connor, cuz you’ve been grounded.” She glanced up at him from the menu. “Stop stalling and go call your mother.”

He smiled down at her. “You’re a brutal woman, Alyson Stafford, you know that?” Allie only lifted her brows in expectation. Connor leaned down to brush her lips with a soft kiss. “Okay, I’m going…I’m going…”

However, as Connor stumbled over towards the payphone he couldn’t shake his feeling of unease. He had been coming to the Crashdown since he was old enough to remember. It had been his after school hangout nearly everyday of his life. He knew the menu by heart, the waitresses and cooks by name, and every nook and cranny of the place blindfolded. His grandparents lived above the restaurant, for crying out loud! He had spent more time here than at school. But as Connor glanced around the Crashdown now, nothing seemed familiar to him. He didn’t recognize the waitresses or the cooks, not even the décor.

To say the least, it was odd. Especially because literally everyone who worked in the Crashdown knew Connor by name and face. He was Liz’s boy, Jeff and Nancy’s grandkid. There was hardly a time that he stepped into the Crashdown that he didn’t have someone approach and chat him up. He was in school with at least half the waitresses. Everyone knew him and Connor knew every one. Or at least he had. The people in the restaurant now didn’t seem even remotely familiar to him and vice versa.

He thought about bypassing the call to his mother altogether and going straight up to his grandparents’ place but decided against it. The chances were great that they wouldn’t be home anyway. Only Amy DeLuca had left their house the previous night while the rest of the family had remained. Connor figured that his grandparents were most likely at his house going frantic with worry right along with his mother. Connor was quickly coming to realize that his call home could not be avoided.

Fishing around in his pocket for loose change, Connor fed coins into the payphone then reluctantly dialed his home phone number. It seemed to ring endlessly before an unfamiliar voice finally answered on the other end. For a moment, Connor was so taken off guard by the strange, sleepy voice that he couldn’t speak. “Hello?” the voice prompted in annoyance.

“Who is this,” he demanded belligerently.

“Who is this?” was the equally belligerent response.

A coldness suddenly settled over Connor and he felt his heartbeat begin to increase with heavy thumps. Something was definitely odd here… He decided to try a different approach, his brain already forming a chilling conclusion as to why things didn’t seem quite right. “May I speak to Liz Evans, please?” he asked more politely.

“There’s no one here by that name.”

“Is this 555-6734?” he persisted.

“Yes, but no one named Liz Evans lives here.”

Connor swallowed hard. “I’m sorry if I wasted your time,” he whispered and placed the phone back in it’s cradle. Oh yeah, something was definitely not right.

A few feet away from him a man sat in a booth alone, quietly reading the paper and sipping at his coffee. “Excuse me, sir?” Connor began politely, “Can you please tell me what date it is?”

The man frowned up at Connor, clearly startled. He stared for a moment, as if trying to assess rather Connor meant him harm or not. After all, towering above him was a rangy kid well over six feet with blue hair and a somewhat serious expression. But looking in the boy’s eyes all he saw was confusion. There was no menace, whatsoever. Still staring intently, he answered Connor’s question. “It’s Sunday, kid.”

“No, I don’t mean the day,” Connor clarified, “I need the date.”

The man was looking at Connor as if he thought the young man was completely certifiable but the man answered his question anyway. “It’s September 19th,” the man supplied and then, just to be perverse, he tacked on, “1999.”

“Thank you,” Connor replied absently, stumbling away from the table. He was reeling. 1999? 1999? The Granolith had sent him back in time twenty years? It couldn’t be true. It was impossible, improbable! Time travel was not a reality. It defied physics, defied reason, defied every rule of science he was aware of and yet here he was, smack dab in the middle of September 19, 1999. What the hell? First abducted by aliens, now this. Could his life get any weirder?

Connor was still in a daze when he made his way back over to the booth. “Took you long enough. I was beginning to think you weren’t coming back,” Allie muttered when he approached, but he hardly gave her any acknowledgement. She had already ordered their drinks but Connor didn’t notice that either. Assuming the reason for his shell-shocked reaction was the conversation he’d had with his mother, Allie said, “It will be better when you see her in person. But don’t badger her, okay, Con? She’s probably real fragile right now?”

Connor still didn’t respond. He couldn’t help it. He was in utter shock. Allie snapped her fingers before his fixed gaze. “Hello? Connor!” Finally, he looked at her, but his eyes were still glassy and unseeing. “What the heck’s the matter with you?” Connor opened his mouth to try and tell her, but the words didn’t seem to want to come out. He could only stand there, working his jaw and not uttering a single sound. And just when he thought his day couldn’t possibly get any stranger…it did.

The bells to the Crashdown entrance jiggled gently, drawing his attention. Connor glanced up and froze in dumbfounded shock, his breath hissing in a sharp intake as tears immediately sprang to his eyes. Exasperated, Allie cried, “God, Connor, what’s the matter with you?” But he didn’t look at her. His eyes remained locked on something just beyond her head. Finally, pushed beyond her limits of teenage patience Allie snapped, “What the hell are you looking at?” And then because he wouldn’t answer her she swiveled around in her seat to see for herself.

The moment she did Allie fell into the same slack-jawed daze. Her green eyes rounded in incredulous shock. “Oh. My. God,” she breathed, “Uncle Max?”


I'll have the next update on Tuesday morning...until then have a good weekend!
posted on 13-Jan-2003 7:23:59 AM by Deejonaise
I got this done sooner than I anticipated so here it is:

Chapter 9

Allie’s brain resumed its normal function before Connor’s did. He was still staring in dumbfounded amazement, ineffectively working his jaw when Allie began gesticulating wildly. “Oh my God, Connor!” Allie burst out excitedly, “Uncle Max is alive! Your dad’s alive!”

It was her overjoyed exclamation and the fact she looked ready to flip a cartwheel right there in the middle of the Crashdown that finally restored Connor’s power of speech. Shaking his head slightly, he made a grab for Allie’s elbow but missed as she hopped from the booth and started across the restaurant straight for his father. “Wait, Allie!” he cried, catching her around the waist and hauling her back to the booth, “You can’t go over there!”

Allie beat at his forearms with her fists. “Hey, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t we go? That’s your dad over there, Connor, and Uncle Michael, too!”

“You just can’t,” he said defiantly, pushing her back against the booth and blocking her with his body, “There’s some stuff you don’t understand.”

“Who the hell are you? Did you hit your head or something when you used the phone?” she exclaimed sarcastically, as she attempted to dodge around him with no success, “Connor it’s your dad!”

“That’s not my dad, Allie” Connor replied, although his heart ached to say it, “at least, not the way we knew him.” He balked inwardly at how wooden the words sounded to his ears. Logically, he knew that the Max Evans before him was not the same man who had died in a car accident only a day earlier, but at the moment Connor’s heart was having a difficult time separating the two. All he saw was the man who had raised him, taught him to ride a bike, and played touch football with him. Younger, slimmer, but definitely still his father. Connor could hardly believe it. His dad was less than ten feet away and he couldn’t even approach him.

“Connor, are you blind?” Allie exploded in disbelief, “Of course, that’s your dad!”

He gripped her by the shoulders in a futile effort to calm her. “Allie,” he stated evenly, “there’s something I have to tell you.” Ignoring the incredulous expression on her face he gently pushed her into the booth and then scooted in beside her. “What I’m about to say to you may seem completely ludicrous, but I need you to keep an open mind, alright?”

Allie just stared at him as if he’d sprouted a second head. When she opened her mouth to speak her words were tempered with a calmness she didn’t feel. “Connor, in the last twenty-four hours my favorite god-uncle was killed in a traffic accident, I’ve been kidnapped by aliens, discovered that my boyfriend is some sort of golden child, and been transported through some gigantic hour glass into an alley populated with bums and hookers.” As Allie progressed in her tirade her words grew increasingly stringent, her careful composure slipping away to reveal her barely contained panic. “I’m tired, I’m hungry and I want to go home. Now I’d like to think I’ve taken all that rather well. But now I find out that my previously dead god-uncle, who is sitting less than ten feet away from here coincidentally, is apparently alive, but NOT my god-uncle. Connor, you either tell me what’s going on or I’m going to start screaming!”

“You’re already screaming!” Connor bit out furiously, embarrassingly aware that he and Allie had drawn several curious stares, “If you calm down for a minute I’ll explain.” Huffing over the censure she heard in his tone, Allie glared at him but obediently pinched her lips closed. When he was duly satisfied that she had regained her composure and they had lost some of their audience Connor began again, his voice barely above a whisper. “Do you remember when I told you that the Granolith would show me what I was supposed to do?”

“I remember you mentioning that…yes,” Allie replied tightly, “But I also remember that it sat us down in the middle of a grimy alley.”

“That’s not all it did, Al.”

It was the cryptic edge in his tone that finally sliced through her tired annoyance. A strange chill crept down her spine. She regarded him with wary eyes, almost afraid to ask what had happened now. “What did it do this time, Connor?”

“I think it might have sent us back in time.”

She actually laughed at that. Just threw her head back and totally let go. Allie laughed and laughed…that is until she saw that Connor was absolutely serious. Her mouth fell open once more. “No. Friggin. Way.”

“I’m serious,” Connor confirmed in a burning whisper, “I asked a man what the date was and he told me it was September 19, 1999.”

“1999!” Allie exploded, drawing stares once more. Her cheeks blooming with color she lowered her eyes and continued in a more moderate tone, “1999? Connor, that’s twenty friggin years! We haven’t even been born yet!” At that moment the waitress delivered their breakfast to them. Her nametag read “Agnes.” Both Connor and Allie favored her with plastic smiles and waited for her to walk away before resuming their conversation. “Why would the Granolith send us back in time twenty years to September 19th?” Allie demanded, “What the heck happens September 19th?”

“I don’t have a clue,” Connor answered in bewilderment. “I don’t know what any of this means, but I don’t think we should have any interaction with our family until we figure it out.”

“What are you saying?” Allie asked in confusion, “You just want to pretend like we don’t know them or something?”

“Allie, whatever we do in this timeline could mess with our own,” Connor warned her in a whisper, “The risk is too great that we’ll change our own futures. We’re talking about our very existence here.” He craned his neck over the top of the booth to catch another glimpse of his father.

“Well, are they still here?” Allie asked a moment later.

Connor nodded, but his gaze didn’t waver from his father. “Still here,” he confirmed, “I don’t think we should try to leave until they’re gone.”

“This is so crazy,” Allie snorted in disgust, “Your father is less than ten feet away from us and you can’t even go over and speak to him. This must be killing you, Con.” She laced her fingers through his with gentle sympathy.

Connor gratefully squeezed her fingers. “I’m alright,” he replied dismissively, but his bravado fell flat. Sixteen years old or not Max Evans was still his father and Connor almost couldn’t contain the urge to go over to him and apologize profusely for the horrible things he’d said before. But Connor forced himself to be logical. Were he to do that his father wouldn’t have any idea what he was talking about or who he was for that matter. He was a stranger to this Max Evans. And that, perhaps, hurt Connor more than anything else…that his own father wouldn’t know him. But, despite his depressing thoughts, Connor still found himself glancing over longingly in his father’s direction.

He felt his heart thud as he watched his father only half listen to whatever Michael was telling him. Or at least Connor had to assume Max was half listening because the entire time Michael was talking Max’s attention seemed to be diverted elsewhere. A faint smile touched the corner of Connor’s lips as he processed that fact. He supposed some things never did change. His father only half listened to Uncle Michael in their time as well. But Connor couldn’t help but be curious over what held his father’s rapt attention. He followed the direction of his father’s gaze and when he did his heart thudded once more.

The sixteen-year-old version of his mother was waiting on a young couple only two tables over from him and Allie. For a moment, Connor was merely struck silent by how girlish his mother seemed with her dark hair pulled back into a simple ponytail and those ridiculous, springy antennae topping her head. Connor thought that his mother looked unbearably pretty right then. It was strange really because he had never pondered his mother’s looks before. He’d had friends who thought she was hot, but just the mere mention of Liz Evans as a babe made Connor want to gag. Now Connor grudgingly acknowledged that his mother was actually quite beautiful. No wonder his father had always been so content to watch her from afar. Connor nudged Allie’s shoulder. “There’s my mom over there,” he told her, hitching his chin in her direction.

Allie slid her gaze covertly in the direction Connor indicated and they both watched and listened as Liz chatted up the table across from them. “Okay, I have got one Sigourney Weaver, that's for you,” Liz said as she placed the steaming food in from of the man, “And one Will Smith. Can I get you guys anything else? Green Martian Shake? Blood of Alien smoothie?” Connor couldn’t help but smile. His mother had always told him that she had been quite a capable waitress when she worked at the Crashdown but he’d never been able to picture her waiting tables at sixteen. Now he was seeing the evidence with his own eyes.

“No, thanks. We’re good,” the man told Liz with a smile.

But being the efficient waitress she was Liz didn’t pass up the chance to butter up her guests. With a wide, innocent smile she asked, “Are you guys here for the crash festival?” Connor felt the inclination to roll his eyes. In his time the Crash festival was still going strong as well. He and Allie had found the event as lame as they had entertaining. Back then it had been one gigantic joke between Connor and his cousins. Aliens, indeed! But now it chilled him to know that the ’47 crash he had derided for most of his life had been real and had involved his own father.

Dismissing the morose turn of his thoughts, Connor focused his full attention on Liz. He felt his grin widen as his mother continued to chat the couple up and then produced a photo from her apron pocket. He couldn’t believe how sweet and innocent she looked, two adjectives that he would have never used to describe his mother before. However, he was distracted from hearing her words by the sudden approach of his Aunt Maria as she offered refills to the booth on just the other side of them. He and Allie slid down in their seats, their breath locked in their chests. Only when Maria walked away did they finally exhale. “I can’t believe that was actually Maria,” Allie said in shock, staring after her, “She just looks so different…”

“…they all do…it’s like being in a dream.”

“I always had a hard time picturing them young,” Allie breathed in wonder, “And now here we are seeing it in real life.”

“Yeah.”

Allie expelled an amazed sigh. “I can’t believe we actually went back in time, that we’re trapped in another dimension with the teenage version of our family.” She pressed her palms against her aching temples. “I mean…how did our lives get so phenomenally weird in such a short period of time?”

“I’ve been asking myself the same question over and over since last night,” Connor said quietly, “I still don’t get why the Granolith chose to send us back here, to this particular time and place. What could it possibly want me to do here?” Connor’s gaze slid over to his father once more. Max Evans had yet to end his intense study of Liz. In fact, he had barely touched the food that had been served to him he was so caught up with watching Liz. “I don’t think my parents are together yet,” Connor remarked to Allie after studying his father for a few minutes.

“Why do you say that?” she asked.

“I’ve been watching them,” Connor told her, “My mother looks my father when she thinks he isn’t looking and my father is looking my mother when he thinks she isn’t looking.” To emphasize his point, Liz suddenly glanced up from behind the counter where she had been talking with Maria and stared straight at Max. The moment she did Max dropped his eyes and began picking at his food. Connor groaned over their antics. “See what I mean…it’s a wonder my dad actually got my mom pregnant at this rate!”

Allie shuddered at the unspoken reference to her Aunt Liz and Uncle Max having sex. “Eww, Connor…that’s so gross.”

“Imagine how I feel,” Connor bantered sarcastically.

Allie suddenly sat up straight with an idea that occurred to her. “Maybe that’s why you’re here,” she suggested, “Maybe you’re supposed to get them together sooner or something…”

“No, there’s something else that brings them together,” Connor denied absently, “There’s got to be another reason why I’m here.” Before he could say more a commotion suddenly broke out in the booth in front of them. Connor pushed himself up in his seat to see better.

“…you ask me to give you another day!” an angry voice exclaims, “You’re running outta time!” Suddenly, there was the sound of breaking dishes as the enraged man swept all the remains of his meal to the floor. With the crash of the dishes the entire restaurant went silent. The angered man surged to his feet brandishing a gun as he did. Connor heard Maria cry out his mother’s name just as he shoved Allie down and jumped from the booth. All Connor knew was that there was a gun and his mother seemed frozen in the path of fire. And he didn’t think, just reacted from his gut. “I want the money today,” the man thundered, “Not tomorrow!”

Everything seemed to unwind fairly quickly after that. The two combatants struggled over the gun while Connor did a diving tackle towards his mother. The gun discharged with an echoing boom the moment his body slammed against hers. Seconds later, Connor felt a fiery slice across his shoulder as he and his mom crashed to the floor and rolled against the side of the condiment station. Pandemonium set in immediately after.

Both Connor and Liz rolled upright, their expressions dazed and pained. “Oh my God!” Liz exclaimed when she realized that her savior was bleeding, “Are you alright?” Her hands hovered over his bleeding shoulder, her brown eyes wide with helpless horror. And that’s when Connor realized what he’d done. He had just made the biggest mistake of his life.

He had just changed his parents’ destiny. Again.

posted on 15-Jan-2003 12:11:10 AM by Deejonaise
Small reassurance. This will not be a revisiting of Back to the Future where Liz falls for her son. The ick factor is just too much for me. Breathe easy, lol.
posted on 16-Jan-2003 6:34:13 AM by Deejonaise
Chapter 10

It seemed like three million people had surrounded him in less than thirty seconds. Connor felt a little claustrophobic as the crowd pressed in on him. There were the curiosity seekers, the genuinely concerned, and the frightened confused, but all were trying to discover one pertinent fact: what the heck was going on.

The crowd flocked about him like flapping birds, their constant chatter unintelligible to his ears. In fact, Connor was barely concerned with them or the stinging pain in his shoulder. He was still reeling from the events that had occurred five minutes earlier. His mother had almost been killed and she would have been had he not intervened. No. That wasn’t right at all. She wouldn’t have been killed…far from it; she would have been saved in every sense of the word. She would have found the love of her life. And Connor had just screwed up that possibility beyond belief.

But Connor hardly had the opportunity to ponder over the ramifications of his actions. On one side of him he had his mother hovering near, asking him continually if he was all right while shaking uncontrollably herself and on the other was Allie, silent and concerned, her beautiful face pale and full of fear. The expression on her face clearly indicated that she wanted to run. Connor understood the feeling. He wanted to run as well, but they were hopelessly walled in. From left to right people, in general panic, filled his line of vision. There was no way for him and Allie to slip out quietly.

Max Evans trained his gaze steadily on Liz Parker, his long-time secret love, silently thanking Fate that her life had been spared. The moment that gunshot had echoed through the Crashdown his entire world had ceased turning. He had flung himself from the booth with no clear path of intention, only knowing that he would do anything necessary to help her. But in the end his help had been unnecessary. He reached the counter just in time to see Liz and her savior roll upright looking dazed and scared.

He breathed a sigh of relief to know she was okay, although, it did smart somewhat that he hadn’t been the one to save her life. In his daydreams he had always pictured himself as Liz’s white knight, but reality always had a way of slapping him to his senses. Still, Max’s extreme gratitude was enough to drown out any envy or sorrow he might feel. All that mattered to him was that Liz Parker was alive. The thought that she had come so near to death made him shudder. Max didn’t know what he would do if anything ever happened to her.

Max watched Liz now, her face both shaken and amazed as she lingered at the side of the boy who’d saved her, silently willing her to look at him. Unfortunately, she couldn’t seem to tear her intense gaze from the blue haired boy. That hurt, watching her stare at him that way, but Max squelched the feeling. Instead, after ascertaining for himself that she was indeed okay, Max slowly melded back into the crowd, his heart aching. As he did his gaze met with the blue haired boy’s eyes. The moment they stared at one another was like an electrical current flowing through Max’s body. Max actually felt jolted with the sensation and for that brief second he couldn’t tear his eyes away. It was as if he knew the boy somehow, as if he meant something to Max… But just as quickly as the connection had flared it died and Max’s gaze fell away. He nodded his head towards Michael and together they both quietly winded their way out of the Crashdown.

Connor actually groaned aloud when Max left, feeling the full weight of his impulsive action. This was supposed to be the day his father risked everything to save the girl of his dreams, the day when his parents’ destinies would intertwine forever. The shooting had been the catalyst for their relationship, the event that had bonded them together in the first place. Now how would they fall in love, Connor wondered grimly. His father would never approach his mother without tremendous incentive. Connor realized that he might well have blown his parents’ only chance to get together, which didn’t bode well for his future existence at all. Before he had been worried about merely changing the timeline now he realized that his actions might preclude his birth altogether. Connor wanted to kick himself.

“What’s the matter?” Allie asked anxiously when she heard him groan, “Are you in pain?” She nervously chewed at her lower lip as she watched crimson begin to bloom across the surface of Connor’s jacket. On instinct, she pressed her napkin against his wound to staunch the bleeding. “Here,” she urged, pulling him back against her body, “Lean back against me.” Connor gratefully accepted her invitation, shutting his eyes and desperately trying to shut out his thoughts.

“I called an ambulance,” he heard Maria announce to Liz. Connor popped open his eyes once more, finding that Maria had suddenly filled his line of sight. She stooped down to their eye level, scanning briefly between her best friend and the cute, mystery guy who’d saved her life. Staring at Liz intently to check for any unseen injuries Maria asked, “You sure you’re okay, chica?”

Liz let out a breathless, nervous chuckle. She was still dazed over what happened, but managed to put on a brave face despite her continued trembling. “I’m fine…thanks to Clark Kent over here.” She offered Connor a shy smile, which he returned weakly.

Maria favored Connor with an appraising look. “You got some balls of steel, bud…jumping in front of a bullet like that,” she stated brashly, “What’s your name?”

Connor flicked a glance at Allie before he answered haltingly, “C-Connor.”

“Nice name,” Maria smirked, clearly checking him out and obviously pleased with what she saw. She missed the hot glare Allie sent in her direction. Maria looked over his shoulder, where Allie was still pressing her napkin tightly against the wound. “So how bad is the pain?”

“It hurts like hell,” Connor grunted softly.

“At least you’re talking,” Maria quipped brightly, “That’s a good sign.”

“Right now I’d settle for a good, strong narcotic,” Connor said through his teeth.

Both Liz and Maria laughed a little at that. “The paramedics should be here in a few minutes,” Maria assured him, “In the meantime, I’ll do something about this crowd we’re gathering. You look a little closed in.” She stood up then and began pressing back the crowd. “Alright people, that’s enough for now! Show’s over! Can’t a guy bleed in peace? Geez!”

Liz crept closer beside Connor, her brow furrowed in concern. “Can I get you something?” she asked softly, her brown eyes wide and luminous as she stared at him.

Something about the way she was staring at him made Connor feel infinitely uncomfortable, almost as if she recognized him somehow. He scooted over towards Allie a little more. “No, I’m fine…really,” he replied, clutching at his burning shoulder. He tried to struggle to his feet. “Maybe we should go--,”

“You can’t go!” Liz exclaimed, reaching out to steady him and keep him on the floor, “You need to go to a hospital.”

“She’s right, Con,” Allie whispered in his ear, “You’re losing a lot of blood…you need a doctor…”

“I’m fine,” Connor ground out only to rock back against Allie with a sudden dizzy spell. The episode left him breathless. “Maybe I will wait a little while,” Connor conceded, leaning back in Allie’s arms. The feel of her warmth surrounding him was immensely comforting.

“That was a really brave thing you did,” Liz told him when he had settled down again, “You…you saved my life.”

Connor and Allie exchanged uneasy glances once more. “Um…yeah,” Connor said. She was still staring at him in that intense way and it reminded him nostalgically of the way she often watched him when he was home, with a mixture of pride and reverence and love. Connor found it singularly disconcerting to know that, at sixteen, she still watched him in the same exact way…and she didn’t even know who he was.

Liz continued to smile at him, her brown eyes shining. “Thank you.” Liz didn’t understand her feelings, but something about this boy seemed hauntingly familiar to her. Strangely, she felt as if she’d known him all of her life…or she had known him all of his. It was too weird, Liz thought, mentally giving herself a shake. She had never seen this guy before in her life, but she couldn’t deny the strange connection she felt for him, an undeniable pull. She felt protective towards him, almost motherly… Crazy!

But even as Liz dismissed her feelings as ludicrous she continued to stare at him intently, looking desperately for an answer to why she felt such an intuitive bond with him. And there was something memorable about the way he was looking at her now, with a mixture of embarrassment and adolescent self-consciousness, almost as if he’d looked at her that way before… But that was impossible! She was just shaken up right now and her brain was clearly on the fritz!

“Where’s my daughter!” Liz was unexpectedly jerked from her thoughts by the sudden agitated bellowing of her father. And then he was pushing his way through the crowd right alongside the paramedics. He fell down beside her, cupping her face in his hands and bringing her forehead against his with a massive sigh. “Thank God you’re alright,” he breathed.

Liz was only half aware of him. She was torn between reassuring her father and watching the EMTs work on Connor’s lacerated shoulder. In the end, however, she forced her gaze to her father along with a wavering smile. “Dad, I’m fine,” she told him shakily, “I just had a scare that’s all.”

“A scare?” Jeff Parker parroted dubiously, “A scare, Lizzie? I heard there was gunfire.”

“There was,” but before her father could have a full-fledged stroke Liz rushed to add, “I’m alright…thanks to him.” She pointed a timid finger towards Connor, who was currently flinching and trying not to curse while the medical techs poked at him.

Jeff Parker looked in the direction his daughter indicated and frowned. The kid was obviously a punk, complete with spiked blue hair and an eyebrow ring. The way he looked Jeff was inclined to believe the boy had been the one responsible for the gunfire, rather than actually provided some sort of help. “That kid?” he couldn’t help but snort.

“No, it’s totally true, Mr. P.,” Maria confirmed, after taking a hefty sniff of her cypress oil, “That kid saved Liz’s life. Everybody was screaming and ducking under the table but not him. He did a running dive straight for Liz.”

“It’s true, Dad,” Liz added insistently.

Jeff bounced his look of slack jawed amazement between his daughter and her best friend. And then he looked at the punk kid again. “Unbelievable.” He shook his head wryly and assisted his daughter to her feet. “Come on,” he said, “They wouldn’t let your mother through…she’s worried sick…”

“What about Connor?” Liz protested, hanging back as her father began pulling her through the crowd.

“We’ll come back and thank him later,” Jeff said decisively. But his reassurance obviously fell flat with Liz. She was still staring after Connor as she and her father disappeared into the crowd.

“Ouch…hey, that friggin hurts!” Connor exclaimed as the female EMT began administering antiseptic to his wound, “Do you have to be so rough?”

“Do you have to be so stubborn,” she countered boldly, ignoring his surly attitude and continuing on in her ministrations without missing a beat. “The bullet sliced you pretty deep,” she said brusquely, “I still think you should see a doctor and get it stitched up.”

Connor glanced down at his shoulder. The wound was ugly, leaving his flesh jagged and torn but the bleeding had slowed considerably. And the pain…he’d just grit his teeth and bear it. “I can handle it,” he grunted finally.

The EMT only flicked him an indifferent glance before dressing his wound. “This could get infected, you know,” she told him when she was done, trying one last time to convince him to take a trip to the hospital.

“I’ll watch it,” Connor replied stubbornly.

“Connor, maybe we should,” Allie urged him, her tone shaky with uncertainty. He’d already lost so much blood and he did look really pale…

Connor lifted his uninjured arm and caressed her face. “I’m fine, baby,” he reassured her softly. Allie offered him a tentative smile, sighing against his palm. They didn’t notice the smirking glances exchanged between the EMT and her partner.

As Allie hoisted Connor to his feet the female med tech instructed them, “You need to clean and dress the wound every hour in order to prevent infection.”

“Is there anything in particular I should use,” Allie asked as she looped Connor’s arm around her neck. He leaned against her heavily, alerting her to the fact that he was more hurt than he let on.

“Peroxide will do,” the EMT answered and then she added in a gentler tone, “If he spikes a fever take him to the hospital…no matter what he says.”

Allie nodded. “I will.” She and Connor hobbled as quickly as they could for the Crashdown exit.

When Liz burst back through the thinning crowd the paramedics were just beginning to pack up their equipment. Connor was nowhere to be seen. Liz scanned the Crashdown anxiously before asking the female paramedic, “Where did he go?”

“He refused medical treatment,” she answered shortly.

“So you just let him go?” Liz burst out incredulously, “He was shot…bleeding! How could you just let him leave?”

“Hey, what’s happening?” Maria asked, popping up beside Liz on the tale end of her outburst.

“The EMTs just let Connor walk out of here,” Liz clarified sarcastically.

The male paramedic spoke up for his partner then. “Look we did what we could,” he told them, “He didn’t want to go to the hospital. We can’t make him do what he doesn’t want to do, so we cleaned and dressed his wound and then he left.”

“Do you know where he went?” Liz demanded frantically, “What direction?”

The EMT shrugged and shook his head. “Sorry.”

Liz stared at the retreating backs of the medics in mounting frustration. For a moment she thought about tearing out the Crashdown in search of Connor, but then her body was suddenly overwhelmed with the magnitude of what had happened. She wilted against Maria with a shuddering breath, grateful when her friend wrapped steadying arms around her. “This has been some day, huh?” Maria snorted softly as she led Liz over to a nearby booth, “You almost get shot today and your hero runs off before you can even say thank you. Weird.” And then Maria laughed to herself. “He was hot though. I wonder who he was,” she mused aloud.

That was a good question, Liz thought, one that she didn’t have the answer to…yet.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 16-Jan-2003 10:16:19 AM ]
posted on 19-Jan-2003 9:55:53 PM by Deejonaise
Now I know you guys are probably wondering about when you'll get Max and Liz...I'm building to that point. Just hang on. Now on with the story.


Chapter 11

“Connor, let’s sit down!” Allie cried when he stumbled against her for the fifth time in three minutes, “You need to rest.” She guided him over to the nearest park bench, her heart tripping a little over Connor’s pasty color and non-lucid state. He closed his eyes, his head lolling against the back of the bench. “You don’t look so good, baby,” Allie told him anxiously.

“Don’t feel good,” Connor muttered with a shiver. He had tried several times to heal himself, but he hadn’t yet developed the coordination to control his powers so all his efforts proved futile. Now he was very near delirium, shaking with fever and pain.

Allie palmed his sweating brow in fearful concern. “Let me take you to the hospital, Con.” They had been walking the streets of Roswell for hours now with nowhere to go. Connor had been so upset following the shooting that it had taken her nearly half an hour to get him to tell her the reason why.

He had changed destiny. That’s what he told her. But Allie had already suspected as much for herself. She had seen the flashes of his parents’ life together the same as he had. She was well aware of what he had changed. Without the shooting there was no FBI and without the FBI interference he wouldn’t be conceived and if he wasn’t conceived then his parents wouldn’t go to Woodstone and on and on until the life they had known in 2020 was completely unraveled. The implication set Allie to trembling but she would let herself think about it now, not when Connor was so sick.

She nuzzled against his clammy cheeks; her tears running warmly down his neck. “Please, please, Connor,” she begged in a whisper, “Please let me take you to a doctor.”

“You can’t,” Connor rasped, shivering anew, “…not human…not the same.” He opened his eyes then and looked at her with a gaze made liquid silver, no pupils just glowing silver irises. “They’ll know…”

Allie whimpered. “What do I do?” she sniffled, “How do I help you?”

“Take me…take me to my dad.”

~*~~*~

Max jumped at the sudden banging on his window, but settled back against his bed when he realized it was only Michael. As was his custom Michael didn’t wait for an invitation but merely climbed right inside the window. His movements were smooth as he did so, the effect of many years of practice. When he was fully inside he favored Max with a grimacing frown. “So you alright?” he demanded shortly.

Lifting his eyes from his math assignment with total disinterest Max intoned dully, “Why wouldn’t I be alright?”

Michael flopped across the bed, unsettling Max’s homework but not showing an ounce of remorse over doing so. “Maybe cuz Liz Parker almost bought the farm today,” he suggested irreverently.

Max didn’t bother to suppress his grim smile at Michael’s wording. “Let it never be said that you’re not a sensitive guy, Michael,” he quipped mockingly.

Unaffected, Michael only shrugged. “It’s true, isn’t it?” he challenged, “So are you okay about it or what?”

Finally, Max tossed away his textbook in disgust. “Of course, I’m not okay,” he retorted in a quick burst of fury, “Liz Parker almost died in front of me today.” Yet, just as quickly as his anger flared it faded out, leaving Max his usual even tempered self. “You know how I feel about her, Michael…how I’ve always felt about her.”

“Yeah, I know,” Michael replied almost resentfully, “which is exactly why I came here.” He paused for a moment before continuing, “What exactly were you going to do today when you jumped up from the booth, Max?”

He didn’t need to ask to what Michael was referring. Max already knew. In those chilling moments following the gunshot Max had been ruled by instinct alone. He’d flung himself from the booth with no clear direction of what he would do, but knowing he would do something. Michael had made some attempt to grab for him, his expression clearly demanding, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?,” but Max had brusquely shaken him off. At the time his only thought had been for Liz Parker.

“What would you have done if that kid hadn’t pushed her out of the way in time?” Michael asked him when his first question was met with resentful silence.

“I would have done what I had to,” Max answered vaguely, before dropping his eyes away and staring down at the bed comforter.

“What you had to?” Michael cried out incredulously, “What you had to? Does that mean you would have exposed us?” He jumped from the bed in his fury and began pacing the length of Max’s room like a caged animal. “Is that what you’re telling me, Maxwell?”

“I would have helped her…if it came to that,” Max responded distantly, feeling his heart rate increase with the impending confrontation. Max didn’t like to fight, especially with Michael. He was always so unpredictable and moody that Max never knew what to expect from him from one moment to the next. With those qualities involved Max was willing to bet there would be plenty of yelling involved, which was ridiculous in his opinion. Michael was mad…because of what he might have done? “Look, it doesn’t matter anyway,” Max told him now, “She didn’t get hurt…end of story.”

“No, it’s not,” Michael argued tightly, “If that kid hadn’t pushed her out of the way who knows what you would have done.”

“Who knows?” Max repeated laconically.

“I mean, what the hell is with her anyway,” Michael demanded, more to himself than to Max, “Everyone else is diving under tables yet she stands there like a block of wood. Does she have shit for brains?”

“Watch it,” Max warned him coolly.

That Max would dare speak up for her after virtually admitting that he would have exposed their secret to save her life sent Michael into a tailspin of fury. “You are friggin unbelievable!” he hissed at Max through his teeth, “Do our rules me nothing to you?”

“Of course, they do--,” Max protested lamely.

“They should,” Michael snapped harshly, “You’re the one who made them up, after all!” Michael halted in his pacing long enough to stab an indignant finger in Max’s direction. “That’s what I don’t get about you, Maxwell,” he said in an angry huff, “You go through all the trouble to make up the rules and then just break them when it’s convenient for you.”

Finally pushed beyond his limits of patience Max drew himself upright on his bed and pinned Michael with a steely, golden stare. “First of all I didn’t break any rules,” Max countered with quiet anger, “And secondly, had I done so, it wouldn’t have been a matter of convenience, but of life and death.”

“That boy was shot,” Michael spat, “I didn’t see you running over there to heal him!”

“It wasn’t a matter of life and death,” Max argued.

“It might not have been with Parker either,” Michael pointed out, “Not that you would have waited around to find out.” He blew out a gust of air, his anger seemingly spent for the time being. “See that’s the problem, Maxwell. Your judgment goes straight to hell when Liz Parker is involved.”

Was that true, Max wondered, did his judgment go to hell when Liz Parker was around? Max decided to examine the facts. He had known Liz for all of his life, had shared more than half his classes with her. From that first day when he’d stepped off the school bus with Isabel and seen her face Max had been enthralled. From the very beginning there had been something magnetic about her, something pulling him towards her, compelling him to be close. He had spent most of his elementary, junior high, and high school years simply watching Liz Parker go about life. But that’s all he’d ever done, all he would ever do.

He’d had fantasies where he confessed everything to her, not just his intense feelings for her but his alienness as well. In his dreams she never rejected him, but always took him into her arms with an open heart. But that was fantasy. Max had never, in real life, come close to that. Though Liz Parker was his lab partner and he sat beside her everyday in school, even with a temptation that great, Max had not given into the urge. He’d kept his distance from her, despite the difficulty in doing so, and he would continue to do so.

Yet with that silent promise to himself a curious achy feeling settled in Max’s heart. It seemed he had spent his whole life keeping his distance from Liz Parker, feigning indifference to her when she was, in reality, his entire world. It was pure torture to sit so near to her in class, to smell her sweet perfume and hear her tinkling laugh and pretend through it all that he wasn’t affected. Max might have been able to continue doing so the rest of his life if need be, but not after today, not after almost seeing her killed.

Today’s near catastrophe begged the question: what would he have done if Liz Parker had died? Max knew that answer without thought. He would have died right along with her. Nothing mattered, not the search for his origins, not his family or friend, nothing if he didn’t have Liz Parker in his life, if he couldn’t at least see her smile. Max had never admitted his intense feelings for her aloud to anyone, but the way he felt was pretty obvious. Though Isabel and Michael knew he liked her he’d never told them that he loved her. Max suspected that Michael was already aware despite that and that was the reason he was so angry right now. Seen from that perspective, Max could understand why Michael was accusing him of allowing Liz Parker to affect his judgment. He could understand, but he didn’t necessarily agree.

Max sighed and reclined back against his pillows, conceding to give Michael the battle because he just didn’t feel like arguing. “Okay, you’re right,” he said with a shrug, “I acted irresponsibly today. There I said it.”

“That’s it?” Michael snorted, “You almost expose our secret and all you have to say is ‘I acted irresponsibly’?”

“I’m not going to apologize,” Max informed him stubbornly, “If she’d been shot my priority would have been to help her. I don’t feel bad about that.”

Michael stabbed at furious finger at him. “Well maybe that’s the problem, Maximillian!” he retorted hotly, “Your priorities are all mixed up! Since when is it okay for you to sacrifice Isabel and me just to prove you’re some knight in shining armor?”

Max opened his mouth to rebut that statement when a girl suddenly materialized in his window. He jumped, startling Michael with his low yelp, who jumped as well. “Who the hell are you?” Michael demanded, already stalking towards the window.

Allie leaned against the windowsill breathlessly, her heart thundering with terror. She’d had to run the last two blocks alone. Connor hadn’t been able to make it. He had lost consciousness soon after they left the park. Left with little choice, she had dragged his limp body behind some shrubs and then covered him over with leaves, hoping to hide the freaky manifestations that were beginning to happen to him. And then she had run for Max Evans’ house like her life depended on it. Allie rather believed it did.

“I need your help,” she told Max frantically as he slowly approached the window, “My boyfriend is hurt…you’re the only one who can help him.”

“You’ve got the wrong guy, sister,” Michael told her rudely, “Go get your fix somewhere else, alright!”

He started to close the window on her when Allie screamed out, “Wait!” Michael narrowed his eyes on her, clearly mistrustful. “I’m not a junkie!” Allie sobbed, “I was in the Crashdown this morning. My boyfriend was shot…please…”

And that’s when it hit Max completely where he had seen her before. She had been in the Crashdown that morning. He remembered looking over at her hovering near the boy who saved Liz and feeling that same weird sense of awareness he felt when looking at her boyfriend. He felt as if he knew her. “Max, please…” Allie pleaded.

“How do you know my name?” he asked her warily.

“I’ll explain everything later,” Allie promised, “Just please come with me now. He needs you…I don’t think he has much time.”

The implication was clear: she knew he could heal and she was asking him to heal her boyfriend. But the realization didn’t fill Max with anxiety. In fact he wasn’t threatened by the girl’s knowledge at all. He stared into her intense green eyes, knowing he had seen them before and knowing that he could trust her. Max nodded almost without thought. “I’ll come with you.”

But as he started to climb from the window Michael caught hold of his arm and ground out, “What the hell are you thinking? First Parker and now this chick! What’s next…you gonna heal the world?”

Max shrugged out of Michael’s grip. “I gotta go, Michael,” he said softly in excuse, “I can’t explain it. I just feel like I know her.”

“YOU FEEL LIKE YOU KNOW HER!” Michael shouted incredulously.

From the corner of his eye Max could see Allie out on the lawn, impatiently pacing the grass while casting anxious looks toward the window. He had to go. “Michael, I won’t argue with you,” Max told him, pushing himself through the window, “We’ll talk when I get back.”

“The hell we will,” Michael retorted sarcastically, following him, “If you think you’re leaving without me you’re more screwed up in the head than I thought.”


posted on 20-Jan-2003 10:41:55 PM by Deejonaise
I was just reading some of the posts and I had to giggle because everyone is wondering what will happen...well, so am I, lol. It's funny, I usually map out my stories in little outlines so I know exactly where I want to go. But this one has so many directions and I just don't know which one to take.

Still trying to figure it out though. In the meantime, enjoy the ride!


Dee
posted on 21-Jan-2003 12:21:50 AM by Deejonaise
quote:
Cinder originally wrote:

I need a reminder...who are Allie's parents? Is it Michael and Maria...for some reason I forgot.


It's Rahsha and Kaelen. Oh and keep the questions coming...that way I know all the issues I need to address.

And yes...I'm lurking.
posted on 21-Jan-2003 12:43:28 AM by Deejonaise
Okay, I had this written so I decided to go ahead and post it. However, I'm still mulling over how I want this fic to go so it might be a few days before I post again. Don't hate me.

Thanks for all the feedback, you guys. This story is the baby of all my fics. I love it the most so I really appreciate your input on it.

Now on with the story.


Chapter 12

“Kyle, do you think we’re stagnating?”

Kyle Valenti paused in mid-chew, a bewildered frown creasing his forehead as he surveyed his girlfriend. Liz had been terribly wound up following the shooting at the Crashdown earlier that day. In an attempt to be a caring and sensitive boyfriend Kyle had suggested they go out. He’d taken her to see some chick flick that put him to sleep and afterwards he suggested they go to the local pizzeria for a slice. He actually thought he was being ultra sensitive, despite the fact Liz seemed moody and taciturn most of the evening. Kyle blamed her grumpiness on the near death experience. However, now that she was using the SAT words with him Kyle knew he was in serious trouble.

He quickly chewed the bite of pizza in his mouth and swallowed. “What are you talking about, Liz?” he asked in mild frustration, “Didn’t you have a good time tonight?”

“It just seems a little forced that’s all,” Liz said, moodily picking at the remains of her pizza slice. She knew she wasn’t being fair to him. Kyle had been trying really hard, but none of his efforts were touching Liz. They never really had. It had taken a near death experience for Liz to realize it. She wasn’t in love with Kyle Valenti, far from it.

He didn’t make her stomach flutter when he passed by, or make her toes curl whenever he uttered her name in that breathy way, he didn’t have eyes of liquid gold that made her feel like she was melting away. Simply stated, he wasn’t Max Evans. He was the consolation prize.

She’d had oodles of time to think following the shooting. The police had detained them for hours it seemed, trying to get a statement from everyone who had been present. All the waiting around had provided Liz with some needed moments of clarity. For so long she had been merely going through the motions. She got her A’s, she did her job, she even dated the captain of the basketball team, but Liz had never examined whether her life was truly what she wanted it to be.

Don’t be mistaken. Liz Parker liked being a good girl. Being good was ingrained in her bones, flowing through her bloodstream, so much a part of her personality she’d do well to have the word “good” tattooed across her forehead in large, red letters. Yes, she was good…and boring. And that was exactly her problem. Liz Parker had never taken a risk in her life because, heaven forbid, if she actually had to relinquish control of something.

And control was the main issue for Liz. She could control her grades, she could control her work, she could even control her feelings for her boyfriend, but what she couldn’t control were the wild, abandoned emotions Max Evans evoked within her.

It seemed like she had been obsessed with him half her life. She spent her days just willing him to look at her, to say something that didn’t pertain to schoolwork. Maria insisted that Max watched her all the time, but Liz had never seen any evidence of it. He sat beside her everyday in Biology and she might as well have been a warty toad for all the attention he paid her. But still she had yearned and pined and yearned some more, but she had never dared to tell him how she felt.

She had never even considered doing so before. The prospect for failure was too great. Before she had begun dating Kyle she had convinced herself that Max Evans didn’t even know she was alive. Liz was certain that if she even attempted to speak to him she would come away utterly humiliated because he wouldn’t even have any idea who she was. After she had started dating Kyle her excuse had been their involvement.

She had a boyfriend. It didn’t matter if she fantasized about Max Evans. She had a boyfriend. It didn’t matter if she had L.P. loves M.E. doodled all over her notebook. She, Liz Parker, had a boyfriend. And she was perfectly happy about it. Or, at least, she had been until she was almost shot today. And then Liz Parker started thinking and regretting.

Regret. It kind of snuck up on her. Had she died today there would have been so much regret. True, she would have been dead so in the long run it wouldn’t have mattered, but in almost dying Liz saw clearly the things she was missing out on. She was letting fear dictate her life. Did she really want that? In her desperate need for control she had boxed herself in, and not just with Max Evans, but also with so many other things. Did she really like the box or had she just grown accustomed to it? Liz spent so much of her time scared of doing the wrong thing that she ended up doing nothing at all and that had to stop.

She thought about her relationship with Kyle. He was good-looking, charming, really a pretty decent guy, but she didn’t love him. He was just a safe, sure bet. Liz could see that now and in being with him she had done herself, as well as Kyle, a disservice. Liz didn’t want to play it safe any longer. She wanted to taste life…she wanted to live it and in order to do that she was going to have to relinquish some control.

“Kyle, are you happy with me?” Liz asked when she surfaced from her thoughts.

Kyle threw down his napkin in disgust. “What’s with you, Liz?” he demanded shortly, “I know you were shaken up about this morning, but right now you’re just acting weird. Asking me if I think our relationship is stalemating, asking me if I’m happy with you--,”

“Stagnating,” Liz corrected in soft interruption, “I asked if you thought our relationship was stagnating.”

“Whatever!” Kyle retorted, “You’re acting strange and I wanna know why.”

No fear, Liz told herself fiercely, just plunge right in and do it! “I think I want to break up,” she told him bluntly.

Kyle didn’t move for a full thirty seconds. He scratched his head thoughtfully. “You think?” he queried.

“I know,” Liz clarified gently, “I know I want to break up.” Kyle just stared at her in stunned disbelief. “There’s no one else,” Liz rushed to reassure him. At least technically, Liz added in thought. “I just don’t feel that way about you, Kyle,” she went on to explain, but from the look on his face she was only making things worse the more she said. “Don’t be mad, please. I still want to be friends.”

“Don’t be mad?” he whispered incredulously, “Are you crazy? I take you out on a date, spend nearly $50 trying to make you feel better and you break up with me?”

Liz reached for her purse. “If this is about the money I can pay for half,” she offered gently. She started to dig down into her bag, but Kyle’s icy glare halted her movements.

“You’re friggin unbelievable, Parker,” he sneered bitterly. After a few seconds, however, he managed to restrain his temper. “What’s with you, Liz? Are you still freaked out about this morning, is that it?”

“This isn’t about what happened at the Crashdown this morning,” Liz denied.

“Isn’t it?” Kyle countered silkily, “I heard about how you were all preoccupied with trying to find that guy who pushed you out of the way. You got a thing for him or something?”

“No!”

“Then why are you doing this!” Kyle shouted.

“Because you don’t give me butterflies!” Liz shouted right back. They had the attention of the entire restaurant by then. Liz felt her cheeks burn hot with humiliation. She lowered her eyes. “Just please take me home now,” she ordered quietly.

~*~~*~

When they found Connor darkness had completely fallen with only the pale glow of the moon to illuminate the night. He was right where Allie had left him, covered over with leaves and twigs, completely delirious and burning up with fever. Though his eyes were closed, he chanted in a strange language, which Allie suspected was their native tongue. He sounded almost like he was saying a prayer. Allie quivered at the thought. Connor didn’t look good at all. His skin had taken on a faint glow that was unlike the glow he’d had before in the cave. This glow was a pale, sickly green that surrounded his body like an aura. As she watched the light seemed to darken ever so slightly as the seconds passed. The more it darkened, the faster Connor seemed to chant.

Michael recoiled backwards when he caught his first full view of Connor’s prone form. “What the fu--,”

“He’s like you,” Allie explained softly, scooting to cradle Connor’s head in her lap. She stroked gently at his sweat-dampened hair and his eyes fluttered open briefly at her touch before rolling shut again. The whites of his eyes, the irises, all of it was now the same incandescent silver.

Her soft statement caused panic to bubble up in Michael’s gut. In his fear, he roughly grabbed hold of Allie’s arm and yanked her to her feet. “What do you know about that, huh?” Michael demanded, ignoring the whimpering sound of fear she made, “Who the hell are you?”

“God, what’s wrong with you?” Allie cried out, pulling at his fingers. But it was no use. His grip was like iron.

“Let her go, Michael,” Max ordered quietly.

“Don’t you even want to know why she knows so much about us?” Michael ground out angrily, jostling Allie roughly with each word he spoke.

“Let her go now.” The words were obviously an edict; one Max clearly expected to be obeyed. He and Michael locked eyes in a long concentrated standoff before Michael finally broke the stare and reluctantly released Allie. Michael all but flung her away from him, his lip curled in a sneer of disgust.

“Asshole!” Allie tossed out the moment she was clear of grabbing distance.

Michael ignored her, advancing on Max until the two of them stood nearly nose to nose. “You’re making a big mistake, Maxwell,” he warned, jabbing his finger in the center of Max’s chest for emphasis.

Max didn’t blink, not even mildly intimated by Michael’s belligerent attitude. “That’s a chance I’m willing to take, Michael,” he said evenly.

“And you’ll screw me and Isabel in the process, right, Max?” Michael retorted bitterly, loud enough for only Max to hear. But this time Max didn’t deign to respond and instead just turned away.

Rubbing at her smarting arm, Allie directed a hateful glare at Michael before falling back down to her knees beside Connor. Max knelt down with her. Together they worked to pull Connor’s blood encrusted from his injured shoulder. He hardly seemed aware of their ministrations at all. His chanting continued on without a break. “What is he saying?” Max muttered when they had finally freed Connor of his jacket.

“I don’t know,” Allie replied nervously. She laid her palm across Connor’s forehead. His skin was burning to the touch. “He’s got a fever,” she observed a little hysterically.

“His wound must be infected,” Max told her, “That’s why he’s so sick.”

“Well, if he’s like us why didn’t he take care of the wound himself,” Michael snorted from behind them.

Allie threw a caustic glance at him over her shoulder. “He tried,” she retorted stiffly, “But he can’t control it. The power’s there, but he can’t make it do what he wants it to.” Surprisingly, her explanation shut Michael up. He knew very well how frustrating it was to have otherworldly powers and be unable to use them because you had no control. Though he was still convinced Max was making a mistake he tried to keep his grumbling to a minimum after that.

Turning imploring green eyes towards Max, Allie pleaded, “Will you help him, Max? Will you heal him…please?”

Max was reeling. He didn’t understand how this girl knew so much about him and she obviously knew a great deal. She definitely knew that he had healing powers and she knew his name, something he had NOT told her. Of course, it was possible she had overheard Michael use his name when she was outside his window but Max doubted it. She seemed much too familiar with him despite that. For those reasons alone Max knew that he and Michael should probably get the hell out of there right then, but something in the girl’s gaze was holding him. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was somehow connected to her…and her boyfriend as well. Max closed his eyes and took a deep breath. She had said that her boyfriend was like them. Looking at him now Max could see that he was definitely not human. Perhaps that was the reason he felt the strange connection, Max reasoned. But then he wondered why he felt it and Michael didn’t.

The girl’s voice broke through his thoughts once more. “Please, please, Max…you’ve got to help him,” Allie begged, her eyes glistening with tears of fear and grief.

Max nodded his agreement and behind him he could hear Michael swearing fluently, but Max ignored him. He had to be quick or they’d be sure to draw attention. Already they had been outside for quite a while. Any longer and some well meaning citizen might think to call the cops.

Glancing around quickly to assure himself there were no would be witnesses, Max laid his hands against the boy’s oozing wound before closing his eyes in concentration. The instant Max touched him his senses were inundated with a montage of flashes. Max was suddenly in another place, holding a little dark haired boy of eighteen months against his side.

“Connor, this is Alyson Elizabeth Stafford,” he explained gently as Rahsha stooped down low to give him and Connor a closer view of the baby. Max grabbed a hold of Connor’s small, chubby hand and guided his fingers along the baby’s downy cheek. “Isn’t she pretty?”

“Pretty,” Connor echoed, his eyes wide with innocence, “Pretty Allie.”

Rahsha laughed a bit at Connor’s enraptured expression. “Looks like Connor just gave us a nick name for her,” she said.

“My Allie,” Connor suddenly stressed.

“No,” Max corrected his son gently, “Uncle Kaelen and Aunt Rahsha’s Allie.”

His son looked him straight in the eye and enunciated once more: “My Allie.”


And then the scene changed as yet another life memory washed over Max. He chased behind his six year old son in the park, holding his bike steady as Connor pedaled like there was no tomorrow.

“Don’t let go, Daddy!” Connor cried out in a laugh as he pedaled his bike even faster, “Don’t let go!”

“I’ve got you, Con!” Max told him, but in truth Connor had pedaled for the last block on his own with Max only running beside him closely. Finally Max fell away and called after his son, “You’re doing great, baby!”

However, the moment Connor realized that his father had let go he went careening off the bike trail and into a nearby tree. Max was at his son’s side in an instant, torn between concern and laughter when Connor finally rolled over with a disgruntled scowl. “You let go!” Connor accused hotly.

“Yeah, I did,” Max admitted in chagrin, brushing at the leaves that clung to his son’s t-shirt, “But you gotta admit it, Connor…for a second there, you were flying, bud.”

Connor was by no means resistant to his father’s engaging smile. His frown gave way to a wide grin of pride. “Yeah, I was, wasn’t I?”


The love Max felt for him in that moment was still swelling in his chest when he was catapulted through yet another flash, this one of a nine year old Connor as the star of his food group play in the fourth grade.

His son was a tomato.

While Max balanced the camcorder in one hand he had a hard time holding back his beaming grin of pride as his son sang and danced his way around the stage. He smiled over at Liz, who was just as enthralled. In her lap their six-year-old son Jamie was fast asleep. Max leaned over to kiss the sleeping child’s temple. “I guess he isn’t finding his brother’s performance all that exciting,” Max laughed softly, smiling into Liz’s eyes.

She smiled right back. “You know Jamie…if food isn’t involved he’s not interested.” As she laughed at her own joke Max was suddenly struck by how beautiful she was. He briefly turned the camcorder on her expressive face. She shielded away in response. “Max!” she exclaimed, “You’re supposed to be taping Connor not me!”

“Do you have any idea how breathtaking you are to me?” Max asked solemnly, “Or how much I love you, baby?”

“Max!” Liz said again, but somehow it was uttered more breathily than the first time, “People are starting to stare.”

“Let them,” Max replied in unconcern, “I’m worshipping my wife.” But she looked so mortified and blushed so brightly that Max relented and turned the camcorder back on their son. However, a few moments later when he glanced aside to see if she was upset by all his attention he found her staring at him with a soft expression of love. He couldn’t help but kiss her right then and there, in the middle of everything. When he looked back at his son through the camcorder again, Connor’s eyes were trained directly on them and he was rolling his eyes in exasperation, but grinning, too.


Max thought he would grow dizzy with it all. Scene after scene of a life he didn’t remember, but one that seemed so startlingly real. His next flash came from Connor exclusively. In that moment Max felt exactly what it was like to be him. He knew his emotions, his dreams, his life.

Connor opened up his locker, frowning a bit when a folded piece of paper fell out. He bent down to retrieve it and started to stuff it right back inside when he noticed his name scrawled across the front in familiar handwriting. Curious, Connor unfolded the note and began to read.

Connor,

This was the only way I could think of to tell you how I feel. Every time we’re face to face and I look into your eyes the words just fly right out of my head. I know you probably don’t feel the same. I probably don’t exist for you at all, but that’s okay because I’m not writing this to change your mind. I just wanted to let you know. You’re my whole world Connor Evans. You have been since I was old enough to walk. I loved you then before I even knew what “love” meant and I love you today, now that I do. I will always.

-A.

Connor folded the letter and slipped it into his back pocket, his entire body quivering with disbelief. Allie loved him? She loved him? The knowledge weakened him so that he had to lean against his locker just to keep his balance. God, she loved him! And she thought she didn’t exist for him? He obsessed about her everyday, she consumed his every thought. Should he sit closer to her? Should he compliment her hair? God, should he touch her beautiful, soft skin? Should he kiss her? Connor groaned. His constant state of agitation was the main reason he treated her with such indifference. Loving her to distraction was especially hard because he didn’t know how Allie felt about him. And now he did… Oh God.

“Hey, Connor, dude you okay?” Rolling his forehead to one side Connor found his cousin Kevin eyeing him strangely. “You sick or something?”

Connor popped upright. “Kev, have you seen Allie?” he asked in a rush.

“Yeah, in the hall. But she’s got gym this period, so--,”

Connor didn’t hear the rest of what Kevin said because he had already taken off for the gym in a dead run.


The scenes flashed by him at lightening quick speed, giving him small snatches of Connor’s life, going faster and faster until they ended abruptly with one significant occurrence: his own death.

“I could have healed him…once.” Liz’s eyes were vacant as she said the words, as if she was in another world entirely. She lifted her gaze to Connor. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Connor felt himself begin to panic at her eerie tone. “Mom?”

“I should have been able to heal him.”

“Mom, please don’t do this,” Connor begged, “please don’t blame yourself. There’s nothing you could have done. You’re only human.”

“Yeah,” Liz laughed a little madly, “only human. I’m only human.” Her eyes were wild with grief when she looked at him. “That’s what I wanted, right?” Liz started to laugh and cry almost hysterically, “That’s what I wanted…that’s what I wanted…and now look at it…and now look at the damage…” Her sobbing was uncontrollable by this point.

Connor pulled his mother against his side, holding her against him protectively much the way she’d held him when he was younger. “Come on,” he said, urging her towards the exit, “Let’s go home.”


Max snapped back into the present with a jolt violent enough to knock him backwards. Once he’d steadied himself again Max looked down at the boy’s face and found himself staring into eyes that were the exact reflection of his own. Max felt a disbelieving calm settle over him even as his heart began an awful hammering. Looking into those eyes so hauntingly like his own Max uttered the first words that came to his mind as the shock over what he’d just seen totally overwhelmed him, “Holy crap.”



posted on 21-Jan-2003 1:56:53 AM by Deejonaise
quote:
Cinder originally wrote:
The funny thing is that some of the memories seemed to be from the older Max's perspective and not actually Connor's perspective. How is that possible? How could Connor have a memory of his parent's conversation during his school play if he was across the room?


I'm glad you asked this. (Yes, still lurking) Okay, this will come into play later in the story but the memories were meant to be from both Connor and Max's perspective. The only events Max saw from Connor's perspective were the note and his death. The rest was his own and how he felt. I'm taking this somewhere, trust me. After all, Connor and Allie have gone back in time right so there's bound to be some loopy consequences.

In addition, I've had a brainstorm while I've been sitting here obsessing and I know exactly where I want to take this. The perspective thing will make more sense later...trust me.*wink*

Well, I'd better go to sleep before my brain turns to mush. Thanks for all the feedback people and being so patient with me while I sort this monster out, lol. Goodnight.

Dee
posted on 23-Jan-2003 11:06:28 PM by Deejonaise
Chapter 13

The second Allie saw that Connor had regained consciousness she fell across him with grateful sobs. She didn’t register Max’s dazed demeanor at all. She was too overwhelmed with relief. “Thank God!” she cried, laughing and crying all at once, “You had me totally freaking out!”

Connor favored her with a feeble grin. “You never freak out,” he teased softly, but there was a bittersweet edge to his tone. Her haggard appearance testified to the fact that Allie had experienced a harrowing two days. He continued to smile at her lovingly while she scrambled around to help him gingerly push to his feet. Though Allie was only a good five inches shorter than he was her build was very slight and Connor was hesitant to put all his weight against her. However, in his weakened state he could do little else than lean into her yielding body. She had only just settled his exhausted body against hers when Michael pushed up in their faces.

“Start explaining,” he demanded tersely, “Who the hell are you and how do you know so much about us?”

Fed up with his rudeness, Allie planted her hand in the middle of his chest and shoved him belligerently. “Hey, back off!” she ordered stiffly, “Can’t you see he’s still weak and dizzy, asshole!” Allie might have been horrified by her response if she hadn’t been so furious. She’d ponder the wisdom and weirdness of cursing out her “uncle” later, but in the meantime she couldn’t help but find the teenage Michael Guerin a complete jerk.

Connor smirked a bit at her fiery response, but pulled Allie back against him to keep her from launching herself at Michael. Though he appreciated her willingness to defend him and her antagonism towards Michael was justified Connor could also understand why Michael was so upset. “Shh, don’t,” he soothed, when she still looked on the verge of jumping Michael, “They deserve an explanation. Besides, he doesn’t intimidate me, not as an adult and definitely not as a sixteen year old kid.” Connor racked Michael with a derisive glance as he said the words.

Max might have laughed at the impertinent comment if he weren’t still staggered by the things he’d seen. If the flashes were true then that would mean that the kid that he’d just healed was…his kid? How was that even possible? It wasn’t, Max considered with finality. The boy couldn’t be any older than he was. It was physically impossible for Max to be his father. Besides that, Max hadn’t even had sex! Didn’t you have to have sex to be a father? Holy crap, Max thought, feeling overwhelmed all over again.

He stared over at Connor in incredulous shock; the flashes he had seen continued to nag at him, trying to see some snatches of recognition. There were some similarities, Max would give that, but he had to admit that the blue hair and piercings were throwing him off. The kid just looked…hard, something Max couldn’t identify with. He wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to either. At that very moment Connor lifted his head and their gazes locked in silent exchange. Max felt a shudder of recognition pass through his body once more and try as he might he couldn’t ignore it.

Swallowing hard, Connor shrugged out of Allie’s arms and slowly closed the distance between them, flexing his shoulder experimentally. “You do good work,” he told Max, unable to think of anything else to say that would break the awkward silence that had cropped up in the aftermath.

“I-I saw things,” Max stammered by way of reply, “Felt things…like your memories and…and mine...”

“Um…yeah…” Connor hedged uncomfortably, “You’re probably wondering about that, huh?” Max gave a slow nod. “I’ll explain everything to you,” Connor promised, glancing around self-consciously, “Just not here alright?”

In the end they drove back to Max’s house with Michael muttering curses in the front seat the entire trip. In the backseat Connor gripped Allie’s hand tightly, his stomach churning with nerves. She offered him a reassuring smile, which Connor couldn’t quite return. He was obsessing at the moment. With each hour that passed he seemed to muck up his future more and more. Connor didn’t completely trust the wisdom of divulging future events to his father, but he really didn’t have the choice anymore. The look on his father’s face told Connor that much more had happened than a healing. Something else had happened, too. Already their time travel was causing a weird schism in this world. Connor could feel it.

Once they arrived at the Evans’ residence the four teens climbed in through Max’s bedroom window where they would attract the least attention. Max wasn’t in a particular mood to try and make explanations to his parents right now. At present, he had more pressing things on his mind. He could only thank God that Isabel was at the mall with friends because he seriously couldn’t deal with her and Michael together.

Max waited until everyone had made their way through his bedroom window before he spoke. “So tell me what’s going on?” he requested calmly, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“Can I sit down?” Connor asked, “I’m still a little shaky…”

Max nodded towards his bed. “Go ahead.”

Connor took a seat on the bed and tugged Allie down beside him. He grabbed hold of her hand and pressed it into his lap before beginning. It was as if he believed he could gain strength through simply touching her. He flitted a nervous look her way. Allie squeezed his hand in response, giving him a small, almost imperceptible nod. She was encouraging him to do it, to go on and just tell them the truth. Realizing he couldn’t stall any longer Connor took a deep breath and simply said it: “My name is Connor Evans and I’m your son. I’m from the future.”

There was at least thirty seconds of silence following his outlandish statement. The expressions of frozen disbelief and comical dismay on both Max and Michael’s faces would be forever ingrained in Connor’s mind. In the commencing seconds he could swear he could hear the infernal ticking of a clock, signaling the seconds of his old life, the life he’d left behind, passing away. Connor was finally facing the serious prospect that he might never see his mother or brother again. The idea made him quiver.

Finally, Michael snorted a laugh. “That’s it!” he taunted, “That’s the best you could come up with?”

“Look, I know it sounds crazy,” Connor rushed out, “But it’s the truth. We’re…Allie and I…we’re from the year 2020.”

Michael actually gaped at this point. “You’re completely off your nut!” he stated with calm incredulity. He turned to Max with a disgusted frown. “This guy’s noodle is seriously cooked! Are you hearing this cockamamie bullshit he’s shoveling?”

“It’s not bullshit. I’m not crazy,” Connor denied quietly, “and I’m not lying. I’m here from the future.”

“I saw things…” Max said again, “…people…what was that…?”

“My memories…and…and I think yours, too,” Connor told him and when Max still looked dazed, unable to accept what he was telling him Connor added, “I can’t explain it, but it’s the truth, Dad.”

“Don’t call me that!” Max responded sharply. He was more than a little unnerved. He had enough to deal with considering the possibility that this boy was actually from the future. But to really be his son…to really be his son? Max just couldn’t wrap his mind around it for the moment and having Connor call him “Dad” out loud was just too much.

But his outburst stung Connor a little. His expression closed off, becoming hard and unreadable after that. Allie’s heart twisted to see that pain slash across his face but she knew Connor would turn away from any gesture of comfort she might offer. “Look do you want to know the truth or not,” he demanded brusquely.

“You’re saying you’re my son,” Max burst out wildly, “We’re nothing alike.” He raked Connor’s person with a deliberate once over, ignoring Michael’s “You can say that again,” comment as he did.

Connor glanced down at himself. It was true that they didn’t seem all that similar at the moment. Max with his cargo khakis and preppy boy haircut and Connor with his baggy denims and chain, not to mention the eyebrow ring. That was definitely throwing Max off. He kept glancing at it every few seconds as if he expected for it to disappear. Connor scratched his blue hair with a wry grin. “No, I don’t guess we’re too much alike, but I’m definitely your son.”

“In those flashes…I saw myself pushing a little boy on a bike--,”

“That was me,” Connor clarified, biting his lip to keep from smiling over the memory, “You said you wouldn’t let go and you did. I crashed into a tree and ended up bruising my knee. Mom yelled at you about it for the rest of the day.”

“Mom?” Max repeated blankly.

“I think you already know that Liz Parker is my mother.”

Michael actually snickered aloud at this. “Shut up!” Max ordered him sharply. He turned to face Connor once more, his expression looking as if it had been carved from stone. “In the future I’m married to Liz Parker?” Connor confirmed that with a slow nod. “And we have a son.”

Connor held up two fingers. “Two sons,” he corrected, “I have a younger brother named Jamie…he’s fourteen.”

Max buried his fingers into his hair, rocking back and forth on his heels in palsied agitation. “This is so unreal…” he mumbled to himself.

“Exactly,” Michael snapped, overhearing Max’s comment, “You can’t actually be buying this, Maxwell.”

Max looked up at Michael, his emotions riotous within him. “I saw it, Michael,” Max whispered, astounded, “I saw everything he’s saying… God, I felt it…”

“He’s messing with your head,” Michael told him, “This has got to be some kind of trick. Time travel is NOT possible!”

Max ignored Michael’s ranting for the moment. “Who’s Rahsha?” Max asked suddenly, full of questions once again.

“My mother,” Allie answered, “My father’s name is Kaelen…Kaelen Stafford.”

“Kaelen,” Max murmured, “I remember that name…he was…is important to me…I think.” Max’s eyes widened then as he studied Allie closely. “So that would make you Alyson,” he concluded with a ghost smile. He could still remember from the flash how possessively a toddler Connor had referred to her as “my Allie.” From the way Connor was holding her hand right now she definitely was “his Allie.” Max felt oddly touched by the sweet picture they created, they reminded of himself, of a love he’d known and shared before, which was impossible because he’d never BEEN IN A RELATIONSHIP!. “How do I know them…your parents…Rahsha and…and Kaelen?”

“You don’t,” Connor replied, “at least, not yet.”

“Oh my god,” Max breathed, “I have to sit down.” He drifted over to his desk chair and sank down. There were so many things running through his mind at the moment he didn’t know what to say or think.

In the future he was married to Liz Parker and they had two sons together. It was unbelievable. It was amazing. It was his wildest fantasy! It was…completely ludicrous! Max couldn’t believe what Connor was telling him, but conversely he couldn’t discount it either. He didn’t want to. Marrying Liz Parker was his dream come true after all. But then he had so many questions.

How did they get together? Did she know he was an alien? How ever did she discover his secret? How did she react? Obviously, their children weren’t normal so how did they handle their alien heritage? How did they meet Rahsha and Kaelen Stafford? Why did he suddenly know their last names as if he’d always known? The questions flitted through his head, on and on until Max thought his skull would simply burst open.

And of course there were the dozen other things he’d seen in the flashes, namely his death. Why had it happened? What happened? Why had Liz said that she could heal him? Was she like him, after all? Was that why she didn’t turn away when she learned of his alien status? And if she could heal him, why hadn’t she?

Connor watched a myriad of emotions flutter across his father’s face: amazement, shock, disbelief, but above all confusion. He could well imagine the hundred different questions playing over in Max’s mind right now. “Maybe I should start from the beginning,” he sighed tiredly.

“That would be peachy,” Michael interjected sarcastically, “You could start off by explaining why you happened to be there to save Liz Parker’s life this morning…coincidental, don’tcha think, if she’s your mother like you claim.”

“We never intended to come back in time,” Connor explained, “We--,” Just then his stomach rumbled loudly.

Max’s gaze snapped to his face sharply. “Are you hungry?”

Connor lowered his eyes in sheepish consternation. “I haven’t eaten in nearly 28 hours…I’m starving.”

Max jumped up from his chair. “I can get you something to eat then.”

“No, I want to explain to you--,”

“You need to eat,” Max insisted firmly. He couldn’t entirely explain the feeling but the moment he discovered Connor was hungry something paternal kicked up inside him. All he knew was that he couldn’t let his kid be hungry. His kid? Oh God, he needed to take a minute to himself. The sooner he got out of that room to think the better. “I can fix you a plate of leftovers from our dinner tonight…or maybe a sandwich,” Max offered.

“Whatever’s fine…I’m not particular.”

Max flicked his gaze at Allie. “What about you?”

“A sandwich is fine for me,” she muttered warily.

“Good,” Max said with a nod, “I’ll be back.” As he turned away he called back to Michael, “Are you coming?”

“No. Friggin. Way,” Michael answered. Max was much too raw to stand there and argue so he just shrugged and left. When Max was absolutely out of ear shot Michael fixed Connor with an icy glare. “This is quite a game you’re running on my friend, you know.”

“It’s not a game,” Connor retorted, rolling his eyes.

“You obviously know how he feels about Parker,” Michael concluded, continuing on as if Connor hadn’t said a word, “That’s why you’re using her against him now. Liz Parker is your mother?” he snorted sarcastically, “Yeah…and I’m the Pope!”

“I hadn’t realized you were Catholic, Michael,” Connor returned coolly.

“Don’t bullshit me, kid,” Michael advised tautly, “What is it that you’re really after?”

“I’m just trying to get home, man.”

“Yeah…right!”

“What’s with you?” Allie cried out in exasperation, “Why are you so damned mistrustful of us? You already know he’s like you, isn’t that enough?”

“No, it ain’t,” Michael retorted, “I’m just having a hard time with the fact that you two show up from out of nowhere and you have knowledge of a secret we’ve kept for over ten years,” Michael supplied acidly, “And you still have yet to give me a decent answer as to how you do.”

“Michael, you’re an alien,” Connor reasoned, “Is it such a stretch to your imagination to believe we traveled through time to get here?”

Michael had to admit his argument made sense. Once you discovered that alien life forms actually existed time travel was just a drop in the bucket. Still skeptical however, Michael folded his arms across his chest. “You know so much, future boy, tell me something futuristic. Who’s president in 2003?”

“George Bush, Jr.,” Connor replied.

“Did you just pull that name out of your ass or what?” Michael scoffed.

“You wanted answers…I’m giving them to you,” Connor retorted in frustration, “Believe them or not!”

“Okay, then, tell me something personal about me,” Michael challenged, “You say you’re from the future so you should know something about me, right?”

Connor thought for a moment. “You love hockey.”

Michael pinned him with an “oh brother” look. “That’s the best you got?”

Connor was floored. He’d never considered that he would have such a difficult time convincing them of who he was. He had assumed that the flashes would speak for themselves. Apparently not. And he really didn’t have the time to try and convince them. With each second that passed his future was altering drastically. But Connor knew he would never get anywhere if he couldn’t get them to believe he was telling the truth. What Connor didn’t know was what he could possibly tell Michael that would influence him. He started to hang his head in defeat when Allie murmured, “Your foster dad…Hank…he beats you up. The only people who know about it are you, Max and Isabel and now us.”

All the mockery drained away from Michael’s face then, as well as the color. He started trembling visibly. “How…how did you know that?” he stammered.

“Because we’re telling you the truth,” Allie answered quietly, “Now will you believe us?”


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Jan-2003 11:09:01 PM ]
posted on 27-Jan-2003 9:23:15 AM by Deejonaise
Chapter 14

Max was considerably calmer when he finally returned from the kitchen with a tray loaded down with bologna and cheese sandwiches, potato chips and cherry colas. He set the tray on the edge of his bed and watched as Connor and Allie fell upon it like they hadn’t eaten in five years. Max had never seen anyone, in his life; consume so much food so fast. When they were done they both actually sighed with relief and patted their full bellies. “You were hungry,” he observed with a hint of surprise.

“We left home on Thanksgiving day,” Connor told him, “We didn’t even get to taste it.”

“Oh yeah?” Max inquired casually, “Why not?”

“You were killed in an automobile crash,” Connor replied bluntly. If it was one thing he didn’t care about changing in the future it was that. He’d tell his Dad the truth a hundred times with every single detail if he could prevent that fatal crash from happening again.

“Wow,” Max uttered after a few, speechless moments, “You don’t mince words, do you?”

Connor just shrugged. “I don’t see much point in doing so.”

Again Max found himself reeling. The situation was just too unbelievable. He was sitting in his bedroom, talking to his future son about his future death. The weird factor in his life was getting seriously out of control. He leaned back against his desk and ground the heels of his hands into his eyes. “Is that why you came back? To keep me from dying or something?”

“Like I said before…I never intended to come back in time at all. It just sorta happened.”

“It ‘sorta happened,’” Michael exclaimed, “You end up twenty years in the past and all you can say is it ‘sorta happened’? Geez!”

“Look, it happened the night Dad…Max died, okay,” Connor explained stiltedly, “I was really messed up…I needed some air. Allie and I decided to take off for the desert. While we were out there we were abducted by these…these creatures.”

“Creatures?” Max repeated blankly.

“Aliens,” Connor clarified, “Like you.”

“Like you,” Michael pointed out dryly.

“Until two nights ago I didn’t even believe aliens existed okay!” Connor retorted, but then instantly regretted his outburst. As if they weren’t already burning to ask him a million questions his sudden confession had just generated about a million more. He suppressed the urge to groan. “I’ll explain that part in a minute,” he told him, “Right now let me finish with how I got here in the first place.” Only after they both had nodded their agreement did Connor continue. “Alright…so Allie and I have been abducted by aliens and it turns out that we’re like them, too. They tell me that I have this destiny like I’m supposed to be a savior for our people or something and the weird thing was, inside me, I knew that it was true.”

Connor paused, still stunned even after so many hours of knowing the truth. “Anyway,” he pressed on, “They said I had to enter this temple chamber. They called it a Granolith and they said that the only way I could fulfill my destiny was to become one with this temple and so I did.”

“And so you did?” Michael grunted with an incredulous grimace, “Some strange alien kidnaps you, tells you you’re the chosen one of alien people you didn’t know existed and asks you to step inside some…some granolith and you just do it? Man, that shit for brains thing must be hereditary.”

It took Michael’s blunt assessment of the facts to make Connor’s realize just how monumentally stupid he’d been. Sure he had known on some level that Pey-La had been telling him the truth, but that didn’t justify his making such a rash decision. Connor had never once considered the possible consequences, the prospect that he might never see his family again. It had briefly crossed his mind but he hadn’t really thought about it. Now Connor wanted to kick himself in the ass because the likelihood that he might never see his mom again was devastating. It didn’t matter that he was trapped in another dimension with their teenage selves. The Max Evans and Liz Parker of this time might have his parents’ faces, but they definitely weren’t his parents…yet.

Connor frowned to himself as the thoughts flitted through his mind. “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time,” he said in defense of himself.

“It never seemed like a good idea to me,” Allie muttered. Her frank honesty earned her nothing more than a sour look from her soulmate. Allie just shrugged in response. “It’s true,” she said simply.

“Allie, baby, you’re not helping,” Connor groaned.

Breaking up their banter, Max asked, “So what happened after you…you became one with the granolith?”

“I don’t know really,” Connor sighed, “Allie jumped in after me and then I passed out. When I woke up again I was in an alley across the street.”

Max nodded his head at the implication of that. “So basically what you’re saying is you don’t know why you’re here and you don’t know how to get back, right?”

“Essentially.”

“Great,” Max muttered to himself.

“I understand this must feel completely weird to you,” Connor sympathized, “but imagine for a second how I feel. My dad had just died and I find out my entire life has been a lie all in the same day.” Max’s head was beginning to ache. It was hard keeping up with all the convoluted plot changes and twists, but one thing he definitely couldn’t understand was how Connor had grown up NOT knowing he was an alien. “You guys never told me,” Connor answered, reading Max’s thoughts, something he hadn’t realized he could do until he did it, “As far as I knew my parents were human. Annoying, nosy as hell, but human.”

Max scowled at him. “Did you just, like, read my mind or something?”

Connor scratched his head. “Uh yeah…sorta.” And then he snapped upright, needing to get to the heart of the matter so they could start fixing things…hopefully. “Look, Dad…Max,” he corrected when Max gave him a long suffering look, “my being here is seriously messing with the future. Today I made a major mistake and it could possibly mean the end of my existence, present and future.”

As if he didn’t have enough to preoccupy his mind with all these strange happenings and the possibility of an unknown ability and now there was more? Max felt like cowering. “What are you talking about?” he groaned.

“This morning, at the Crashdown, when I saved Mom from being shot,” Connor clarified, “That wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“What do you mean it wasn’t supposed to happen?” Max demanded, but already his heart had begun a curious pounding as if he were well aware of what was about to come.

“Mom was supposed to be shot today,” Connor said, “And when she was, well…you healed her.”

“I knew it!” Michael exploded, “I knew it! I knew it! I friggin knew it!” He stabbed Max with accusing brown eyes. “You did sell Isabel and me out for Parker after all!”

“Calm down, Michael,” Max replied evenly, “You’re freaking out over something I didn’t even do.”

“Only because your kid here changed history!” Michael retorted.

Max’s gaze slashed over to Connor. “Is that what you did?”

Connor answers with an almost imperceptible nod. “After you heal mom and she knows your secret the two of you get together and you stay together until your death. But because I stopped the shooting you never healed her. You don’t heal her; she doesn’t know your secret. She doesn’t know your secret, you don’t get together…you get the picture. On and on until I don’t exist.”

“So what are you telling me here?” Max asked, slow to grasp whatever it was Connor wanted from him. So far Max had learned that Connor had entered into a granolith the day after his father, Max, had died to fulfill a destiny he hadn’t known about in the first place only to travel back in time twenty years and prevent a shooting that eventually led to his parents’ marriage and subsequent birth. Max pressed his fingers against his pounding temples. Now he truly understood what people meant when they said “too much information too fast.” That’s exactly how he felt at the moment. Like his head would explode.

“Dad, if you don’t do something to fix this I’m not gonna be born,” Connor said urgently, “Do you understand?”

“Whoa…” was all Max could say.

“That’s not all,” Connor added reluctantly.

Max had to groan again. He was doing a lot of that, he knew, but the things he was being told were groan worthy. “God, there’s more?”

Connor was reluctant to pile more onto his father’s shoulders, especially when Max looked ready to snap at every moment, but Connor had to make him understand the significance of what he’d changed. Maybe then Max would be motivated to help undo some of the damage…if he could. “After you heal Mom you bring on the scrutiny of the local police who, in turn, give their findings over to the FBI and they begin investigating you to see if the findings are true.”

“Well, then that’s good, right,” Michael interjected, “Without the shooting there’s no feds involved. We definitely don’t need them finding out who we are.” He shivered slightly when he thought of what might happen to them if they fell into the government’s hands.

“But see that’s the thing,” Conner said hesitantly, “Without the feds so many other things in our life unravel, too.”

“How is that?” Max asked and he wanted to bang his head for doing so because he just knew he was gonna regret it.

“For starters, our family won’t be the same,” Connor told him, “I’ve got tons of uncles and aunts and cousins back home. If you and mom don’t get together then everyone else won’t either.”

Max finally caught on then. “You mean Allie’s parents?” Apparently, Connor wasn’t just worried about his own future, but about his girlfriend’s as well. Connor confirmed Max’s suspicions with his next words.

“Yeah, I’ve possibly messed up Allie’s existence, too, but she’s not the only factor, okay,” Connor replied, “There’s also Aunt Isabel and Uncle Alex and Michael and Aunt Maria and Uncle Kyle and Aunt Kay, not to mention Amy and Jim…I mean they still might get married, but it won’t be the same.” Connor knew he was babbling but he didn’t know how to make them understand without confusing them even more. “I mean so many things might not happen, people might not be born just because of what I did!”

“Hey, hold on a minute!” Michael said when it seemed Connor was on the verge of hyperventilating, “You’re spazzing out, dude, and I don’t think…” Michael trailed off, his eyes suddenly widening, “Hey, did you just say Michael and Aunt Maria? Am I married in the future?” Michael had considered the possibility for Max, even for Isabel, but never for himself. He, Michael Guerin, was destined to be alone. And he’d always been okay with that prospect…until he heard that maybe it didn’t have to be that way. Now his heart was thundering with a whole new sense of hope.

Allie tugged on Connor’s sleeve, drawing his attention. “Maybe you shouldn’t tell them any specific details,” she whispered for only him to hear, “We don’t want to screw things up any more than they already are.”

But Michael heard her anyway. “Screw things up!” he exclaimed, “Things are already screwed up! What can giving me one tiny detail matter? This Maria…do I know her yet? Where do I meet her? What does she look like?”

Connor also didn’t see the harm in telling Michael the whole truth. The situation couldn’t possibly be more fucked up than it was now. Maybe he could fix, at least, one thing by pointing Michael in the right direction. “It’s Maria DeLuca,” he said, “You know…Mom’s friend.”

“Maria DeLuca!” Michael parroted with a grimace of distaste, “You mean that wacky chick with the blond hair Parker’s always hanging with! The hippie? I marry that crazy, oil sniffing freak? Did the Apocalypse happen or what cuz I can’t see myself marrying her unless we were the last ones left on the planet and both my hands were cut off! Why her, my God, why the hell did I marry her!”

As Michael continued on in his rant, Alyson Stafford turned to her boyfriend, her expression both knowing and complacent and said lightly, “He took that rather well, don’t you think?”

Connor could do little more than sigh and roll his eyes in frustrated exasperation.

posted on 30-Jan-2003 7:04:03 AM by Deejonaise
Max and Liz come face to face in the next chapter...finally, lol!

Chapter 15

“You’re just going to let them sleep in your bed?” Isabel asked of her brother as she stared at the sleeping couple on his bed. Connor had his body spooned behind Allie’s, his visible hand spanning her abdomen to hold her back against him. Allie, in turn, entwined her fingers with his while her other hand was tucked beneath her head as she slept. Isabel was momentarily struck by how adorable they looked. She backed away and closed the bathroom door with a soft click before turning to face Max. “How are you going to explain that to Mom and Dad?”

Isabel still hadn’t completely digested the incredible tale Max had told her when she returned home, but it was gradually beginning to sink into her brain. Lying in Max’s bed only ten feet away was Max’s son, a son who wasn’t supposed to be born for another four years. Isabel could well understand how he felt somewhat overwhelmed. Her question didn’t seem to help matters either, though she hadn’t meant to put him on the defensive. But she could see that she had and Max looked even more agitated than before.

“I didn’t know what to do, Isabel,” he burst out anxiously, “They didn’t have anywhere to go, okay!”

She laid her hand against his shoulder, squeezing it slightly. “Don’t freak out,” she murmured, “I’ll help you cover, alright?”

Max slumped as relief washed through him. Feeling somewhat more at ease knowing Isabel would support him, he loped over to the bathtub and sat down on the edge. “I have no idea what I’m going to do,” he sighed, dropping his face into his hands.

“Are you absolutely sure this guy is for real?” Isabel asked, “Cuz the idea that I marry Alex Whitman just seems completely absurd to me.” She was managing to adjust to every other part of the story but marrying Alex Whitman…no way! Isabel hadn’t even been entirely sure who Alex Whitman was until Max described him and even then she couldn’t picture him clearly. He was just a faceless nobody to her in a sea of faceless nobodies and yet she was supposed to marry him? He was supposed to be the love of her life? Yeah right! Was her future nephew on crack or something?

From his perch atop the sink Michael smirked at Isabel, watching as her thoughts chased their way across her face. “Now you know how I feel…imagine marrying Maria DeLuca,” Michael shuddered at the thought, “But it’s definitely true. That kid is on the up and up.”

“Oh, you’re a believer now,” Max prodded sarcastically, “Why the change of heart?”

“Well,” Michael answered, producing a small, leather pouch from behind his back, “I stole his wallet.”

“I can’t believe you did that,” Max sputtered indignantly, surging to his feet. But when he started to snatch the wallet away Michael moved it out of his reach. “Give it over, Michael!”

“Do you want to know what I found in it or not?” Michael challenged.

Max fell perfectly still. Though he was fairly certain Connor and Allie were telling them the truth the reality of that had still not sunken in. Perhaps if he had some more concrete evidence he might be able to assimilate the information quicker. His conscience warred against his curiosity for a few seconds more before his curiosity finally won out. Max relaxed his stance and backed up a few steps. “What did you find?” he asked evenly.

“Driver’s license,” Michael said, plucking the plastic card from the wallet and handing it over to Max.

“Connor Maxwell Evans,” Max read aloud, “He’s seventeen. He was born on April 17, 2003.” He laughed a little to himself as he read further. “He’s taller than me…go figure.” Max passed the identification to Isabel in turn.

Isabel studied it with the same close scrutiny before passing it back to Michael. “He looks more like you in that picture, Max,” she remarked somewhat thickly, “I like him better without the blue hair.” She flicked a glance over at Michael. “What else did you find in there?”

“Family photo, picture of the girlfriend, two notes, sixty two dollars, and a condom,” Michael provided. He passed them items to Max just as he’d done the driver’s license.

Setting aside the condom and money on the sink, Max looked over the photos. The first was a picture of him, Liz and both their boys. He and Liz were seated together; holding hands while the boys towered behind them. Max only vaguely noted how tall they were. Until Max saw that picture it didn’t sink in fully that he had married Liz Parker. Now the reality struck him like a barreling MAC truck.

She looked different from the way she did now. Older, more mature and a hundred times lovelier. Her hair was styled in a more sophisticated style and piled atop her head in shiny ringlets. There were small crinkling laugh lines at the corners of her eyes when she smiled. She was dressed in a simple red blouse and straight black skirt that Max found infinitely sexy. The diamond ring on her finger caught the light of the camera and gleamed brightly where their hands were clasped. She looked indescribably happy and at peace. It swelled Max’s heart to know that he’d played some part in that. He traced her beautiful face lovingly before examining his sons.

The first thing Max noted about Connor and Jamie were that they looked exactly like him and Liz. There was no denying that those boys were the product of them both. Connor was almost the carbon copy image of Max with only a few exceptions. His mouth and his chin were definitely his mother’s. As for Jamie, he had Max’s nose, ears and brow line but the rest of his face was hauntingly reminiscent of his mother. Especially his eyes, a deep doe brown that seemed to look past the surface and straight to the soul. Max looked into those eyes and all he saw was Liz. Both boys were both stunningly beautiful, Max decided objectively, smiling their identical smiles. He imagined that he and Liz must have been extremely proud of them. Feeling tears prickle at the back of his eyes, Max finally moved his eyes downward to examine his own likeness.

He might not have recognized his own face were it not for the loving way he clung to Liz’s hand. Dressed in a three-piece suit with a full beard and a pair of wire rim glasses Max was left speechless by his own appearance. He could see no traces of the shy teenage boy he’d once been, but instead, in his place, he saw a self-assured father of two. His throat working with convulsive emotion, Max finally passed the photograph to Isabel.

“Wow,” she breathed after a long, drawn out pause of examining the photo, “You have a really beautiful family, Max, or…at least you will…or…I don’t know…” She huffed an maddened sigh and passed the photo back to Michael. “Will none of this happen now that Connor’s changed the sequence of events?”

“Don’t know,” Max answered, looking over the next picture. It was a class picture of Alyson. She smiled so sweetly for the camera that Max felt compelled to smile back. He flipped the photo over and read the back. To my baby. Max found his grin widening at the description. Ah, young, innocent love… He caught himself at the tail end of the thought. Young innocent love? What was he, forty? He was still young himself. This whole situation was causing him crack up.

His mind still preoccupied with the strange feelings that had begun to surface inside him, Max unfolded the two notes. Both were love letters. One he recognized from his flashes earlier and only scanned it briefly. The other he didn’t recognize. But as he started to read a few lines he cheeks began burning like fire. The note was from Allie again, but this time instead of professing her undying love she told Connor, rather graphically, what she wanted to do to his body and what she wanted him to do to hers. Max supposed their love wasn’t as innocent as he first supposed.

Tactfully folding the note together Max cleared his throat and said to Michael and Isabel, “We’ll just leave that one alone.”

~*~~*~

“So what gives?” Maria DeLuca demanded when a breathless Liz fell into the passenger seat of the Jetta the next morning.

Liz fixed her with a wry glance. “Good morning to you, too, Maria.”

“Don’t play dumb, Lizzie,” Maria retorted, “You, like, never call me for a ride to school!” She jerked the car into drive and guided them out onto the road.

“Don’t you think you’re exaggerating just a bit?” Liz replied mildly.

“No, I don’t. Ever since you started dating Mr. Mustang you’ve been catching your rides to school with him,” Maria clarified, “So I ask you once more, what gives?”

Liz sighed. She knew she wouldn’t be able to keep the secret from Maria much longer and besides she didn’t really want to anyway. “I broke up with Kyle last night,” she stated simply and waited for the blowout. Maria didn’t disappoint.

“You what?” Maria exploded. Her reaction was so violent that she almost took them off the road. With a daring swerve and a loud screech she veered them back into traffic once more. When they were steady again she tossed Liz a sheepish look. “Sorry.”

“Are you trying to kill me?” Liz cried, pressing her hand to her thundering heart.

“It’s your fault,” Maria cried right back, “You can’t tell me that kind of information while I’m driving!”

Liz only shrugged. “I don’t know why you find it so shocking,” she remarked.

“Well that could be because, only yesterday, you were waxing on about how ‘steady’ and ‘loyal’ and ‘dependable’ he was,” Maria reminded her, fluttering her lashes ridiculously as she enunciated each word.

“I’ve changed my mind.”

“In the space of twelve hours?” Maria asked in amazement and then her eyes widened when she considered one possible reason for the break-up, “Did that cretin make a move on you, Liz?” She blew out a disgusted breath, already making up her mind that her conclusion was correct. “God, jocks…they think they’re God’s gift!”

“He didn’t make a move on me, Maria,” Liz said with a heaving sigh.

“He hit you?” Maria guessed dubiously.

Liz slanted an “Are you crazy” look in Maria’s direction. “Come on! This Kyle Valenti we’re talking about here,” she scoffed.

Maria rolled her eyes impatiently. “Well, if he didn’t make a move and he didn’t hit you why’d you break up with the guy?”

“I wasn’t in love with him,” Liz said softly, as if she were dropping some great bombshell. Unfortunately, the news did not come as a surprise to her best friend.

“Well, no duh, Liz!” she mocked, “I could have told you that one!”

“Anyway,” Liz continued on pointedly, “I decided that life’s too short to spend it with the wrong people so I broke it off.”

“When did you do this?” Maria wanted to know. They had finally reached school property. Maria maneuvered the Jetta into an empty parking space before setting the emergency break and cutting the engine. She turned to face Liz expectantly. “Well?”

“Last night.” Liz steeled herself for Maria’s indignant outburst. She didn’t have to wait long.

“You broke up with Kyle Valenti last night and you’re just now telling me?” she cried out, her mouth gaping open, “I can’t believe you!”

“Maria, Kyle was extremely upset last night and so was I,” Liz explained lamely, “I just didn’t feel like talking afterwards.”

“Of course, he was upset, Liz,” Maria quipped derisively, “He takes you on a date to make you feel better and you break up with him…even Quasimodo got better treatment. And then you don’t call me on top of that…Liz, I’m seriously hurt here.”

“Shut up,” Liz ordered with a smile.

“I’m serious, Liz,” Maria continued to tease, “breaking up on a date…not a good idea when you’re not the driver, okay.” The two friends exchanged girlish giggles before settling down again. “So what are you going to do now?” Maria asked, half serious.

“I’m exploring other options,” Liz replied vaguely.

“Exploring other op--? Oh my God, oh my God,” Maria shouted, “You’re going to put the moves on Max Evans, aren’t you? Fi…na…ly! Hallelujah!”

“God, Maria, can you get a grip,” Liz laughed, enthused by her friend’s excitement despite her admonishment, “I thought I might say hi to him that’s all.”

“Hi?” Maria parroted, “That’s it?”

Liz favored her with a look. “What? What’s wrong with hi?”

Maria draped her arm across the back of Liz’s seat, leaning in close. “Liz, babe, you’ve only pined after Max Evans for nearly your entire school career,” she began wisely, “You do not put the moves on your longtime crush by simply saying ‘hi’, okay.”

Pursing her lips in serious thought, Liz asked after a few seconds, “Well, what do you think I should say?”

“How about ‘I want to lick you up and down like you’re a peppermint stick and I needed it to live,’” Maria suggested baldly.

Caught between laughing and blushing at the idea Liz sputtered out, “I don’t think I’m that bold, Maria.”

“Babe, you gotta carpe diem!” Maria advised, “Seize the friggin day, girl, and then you’ll get the guy!” She hopped out of the car then, giving Liz no choice but to gather up her books and follow after her in flabbergasted silence.



posted on 30-Jan-2003 1:20:40 PM by Deejonaise
So everyone's trying to figure out how this fic is going to go. I'll give you a hint: think of it as a cross between Back to the Future and the Terminator. Things will start to unfold in the upcoming chapters though you probably won't understand completely until near the end of the fic. I told you it was gonna be weird.*tongue*

I'll update again on Sunday.

Dee
posted on 3-Feb-2003 1:04:05 AM by Deejonaise
Chapter 16

Max’s stomach was churning with agitation and nervous energy when he finally pulled into the student parking lot of West Roswell High School. As he cut the ignition to his dilapidated jeep Max had the sudden wild urge to run screaming from the vehicle entirely. So far his day had maintained a surreal quality that Max couldn’t seem to shake. He had been sure that when the sunlight filtered through his blinds that morning he would discover that all the bizarre happenings of the night before had been some absurd nightmare. But no. He had awakened to Michael’s morning breath and an aching crick in his neck from sleeping on the floor. And when he dared to peek in his bed…there lay Connor and Allie snuggled up together under the sheets. It hadn’t been a dream at all.

That’s when Max had heard the dull movements coming from beyond his bedroom door. The last thing he needed was for his parents to come into his room and find a strange couple sleeping in his bed. As good as Max was about covering up and keeping secrets even he couldn’t come up with a plausible explanation for that one.

Realizing that he didn’t have much time to waste, Max had hustled Connor and Allie from the bed and into the bathroom. It hadn’t been an easy task. The two teens were obviously exhausted and rousing them had been next to impossible. Somehow he, Isabel and Michael worked out the means to all be washed up for school while keeping Allie and Connor out of sight. Yet Max wasn’t at all worried that his parents might find Connor and Allie in his room. They could easily avoid Philip and Diane until they left for work. No, the thing that was twisting Max’s gut in knots wasn’t the fear of discovery but the uncertainty of what the hell he would do next.

Max gripped the steering wheel tightly now and stared, unseeing, out the front windshield. He could feel Michael and Isabel’s curious stares lingering on him in concern, but Max ignored them presently. Yes, he was freaking out and he felt damned well entitled! Less than twenty-four hours ago he had been visited by the future version of his eldest son telling him that if Max didn’t fix the future then he wouldn’t exist.

That was a tall order for Max. He was still trying to drive it into his skull that someday he would possibly wed Liz Parker. Future complications aside, that news alone had been huge. He had never imagined having a conversation with Liz Parker that didn’t revolve around Biology much less expected to marry her. But even knowing that was his future, or had been, Max didn’t find the prospect of approaching her any easier.

Smooth was not an adjective Max would use to describe himself. In his entire life he’d never attempted to talk to a girl, much less flirt with one. But Connor had made himself very clear the night before. Max would HAVE to talk to Liz, he would HAVE to flirt with Liz otherwise their entire future, his and Allie’s specifically, would be compromised, if it wasn’t already. Max might have been resentful over having the whole situation dumped in his lap so unceremoniously if Connor hadn’t turned to him, his vulnerability plain in his eyes and said pleadingly, “Please, Dad…” And so now Max felt compelled to right the wrongs that had spiraled out of one unselfish act and he felt like he would go insane as a result.

The irony of it all was that Connor had done a good thing. Saving Liz Parker’s life: good, dying from a gunshot wound to the gut: bad. And yet the consequences they were all suffering now just generally…well sucked. Yeah, now he and Liz weren’t in danger of being kidnapped by some freaky FBI guy, but then they were also going to miss out on all the good things that came out of that as well. They weren’t going to get married, they weren’t going to have any sons, and they weren’t going to live happily ever after. Of course, in the back of his head, Max realized he could still have all these things, but the question was did he have the courage to pursue them. That was the part he didn’t know. His future was no longer certain. He would have to make it up as he went along, which meant that anything could happen and it was that unknown factor that made Max hold back. But then he didn’t have much choice but to plunge into the unknown because if he didn’t his son’s future was over.

The pressure for success was so unbelievable that Max felt suffocated by it. He felt the burden weigh down on his shoulders like a fifty-pound weight. If he succeeded the possibilities were endless, but, oh, if he failed… Max pressed his forehead against the hard surface of his steering wheel, welcoming the dull force doing so created. He would have stayed that way forever if not for Isabel. A few seconds later Max felt her place a hand against his shoulder. “Max, are you okay?” she whispered tentatively, “You look like you’re gonna be sick.”

Max peeked one eye up at her. “I’m having a little trouble…yeah,” he quipped mockingly, “What gave it away?”

“Max, we can’t stay out here all morning,” Isabel argued reasonably, “The bell for homeroom is gonna ring soon.”

“I know…I just…” Max reared backwards and raked his fingers through his hair in an agitated gesture. “I need a minute, okay.”

“It won’t be that bad,” Isabel said in reassurance, “Connor said that Liz Parker is already in love with you to begin with…it shouldn’t be so hard.”

Max favored her with a sour look. “She might like me, but I doubt she’s in love with me…not yet anyway.”

“So then do you think you can make her fall in love with you?” Isabel smirked.

Max wanted to laugh in outright misery at the idea. Still, he tried to put on an optimistic face. “I’m gonna try,” he rallied.

“Well, don’t expect the same from me!” Michael snorted from the backseat, “No way in hell I’m chatting up that weird DeLuca chick! It ain’t my kid’s life on the line.”

Isabel raked him with a scathing look. Leave it to Michael to make the situation worse instead of better. “That’s not necessarily true, Michael,” she countered coldly, “Connor said that you and Maria had children…what about their futures? If you don’t get with Maria they cease to exist.”

Michael was clearly unmoved by the prospect. In fact, he made the universal gesture of playing the violin as if to say, “cry me a river.” “What about you, huh?” he retorted hotly, “I don’t see you running to Whitman on winged feet, Isabel!”

Isabel sniffed disdainfully. “Alex Whitman is not in my same social circle,” Isabel replied with queenly hauteur, “I do not date geeks…period. You and Maria DeLuca, on the other hand, do run in the same social circles. It makes perfect sense for the two of you to get together.” The more she talked, the redder Michael became. As she finished off the last of her scolding he was positively grinding his teeth with irritation. “Besides Maria DeLuca is kinda cute in a hippie, flower child sorta way.”

“Then you marry her!” Michael shot out.

“Michael, you’re acting like a child,” Isabel admonished coldly.

“And you’re a stuck-up snob!” Michael snapped right back.

“Can you two just cool it?” Max exploded softly. It was the quiet fury they heard in his usually mild tone that shut them down. Both Michael and Isabel stared at Max with wide, surprised eyes. “We’ll just take this one step at a time,” he said, “Neither of you need to do anything right now. First I’ll talk to Liz and then…we’ll just sort out the rest as we go.” Because he could sense an argument coming Max quickly hopped out of the jeep and slammed the door before it could begin.

He walked swiftly in order to put some much-needed distance between Isabel and Michael but his steps slowed considerably when he noticed Liz Parker and Maria DeLuca a few feet ahead of him. His heart hitched painfully at the sight of them before it resumed a furious pounding. He inched behind them, his every nerve ending screaming at him to approach while his feet shuffled on reluctantly. Max knew that if he was going to talk to Liz Parker this was as good a time as any. Ignoring the sweat that had suddenly damped his palms as well as his furious heartbeat, Max half-ran, half-jogged to catch up with them.

However, in his haste to catch them Max tripped over his shoelace and went sprawling…straight into Liz Parker’s back. He tumbled against Liz, the impact of his body colliding with hers sending her textbooks flying from her arms and across the parking lot. Liz soon joined them as she went careening into the asphalt. Max went down atop her with a startled yelp, half covering Liz when he did.

“Oh my God, Lizzie!” Maria cried, already stooping down to assist her dumbfounded friend to her feet. She shot a dubious look at Max as she did. “Who are you today? Super-klutz? You almost killed her!”

“I know…I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” Max babbled, scrambling around to recollect Liz’s scattered books. I’m such a moron, he thought, feeling mortification flame his cheeks. It was definitely not the way he envisioned their first conversation going, taking Liz Parker out like he was an oncoming missile. When he finally straightened to face her Max cringed. Her perfect school ensemble had been ruined; her clothing was streaked with oil and dirt, her hair escaped from its tidy ponytail. Dipping his head in humiliation, Max held out her books to her as Liz pushed her disheveled hair from her eyes. “Sorry,” Max offered lamely, grappling to keep all her books balanced in his arms, “Are you alright? You’re not hurt, are you?”

Liz smiled at him weakly and shook her head, somewhat discomfited herself. “You just knocked the wind out of me, that’s all,” she reassured him, brushing the remnants of dirt and rock from her pants.

Maria began relieving Max of his burden. “What were you doing?” she asked crossly, “Practicing your running tackle or something?”

Amazingly, Max’s face reddened even more. “I…uh…tripped on my shoelace,” he explained shamefully.

Liz flicked a glance down at his shoes. His laces were indeed untied. “You might want to take care of that,” she advised him softly, but Max hardly responded to her statement.

He was staring at her in speechless amazement, unable to comprehend that he was actually standing so close to Liz Parker, that he was actually having a conversation with her not focused on science. Even with her hair escaping its prim ponytail and her clothes grimy with oil Liz Parker was stunningly gorgeous. And here he was, actually having a conversation with her…well, sort of… In fact, Max realized, this had been the most he’d spoken to her in their entire lives. Max found himself grinning like an idiot with that discovery.

“Max, are you okay?” Liz asked tentatively when he continued to stare at her in silence, his mouth stretched in a dazed, dreamy grin.

Max realized then he was standing there and gawking at her like he was a mute imbecile. He tried to regain his composure without much success. “I…uh…I…” he stammered. Max completely missed the grin Liz was biting back and the muffled snicker from Maria he felt so horribly flustered. So much for laying the major mack, Evans, Max said to himself derisively, she probably thinks you’re a perfect moron.

But Liz didn’t think he was a moron at all. Far from it. She thought he was the cutest thing she’d seen in a long time. She found his obvious discomfort endearing. Liz felt both amazed and flattered to know that she, Liz Parker, geek extraordinaire, had Max Evans at a loss for words. “Did you hit your head when you fell?” Liz asked gently, but by now it was evident to him that she was teasing. Relaxing a bit, Max favored her with a chagrined smile accompanied by a sigh of relief. “It’s okay,” Liz continued, grinning up at him, “I won’t hold it against you for trying to kill me.”

“Well, I had to do something to get your attention,” Max rejoined softly and then almost coughed aloud when he heard himself. Where the holy heck had that come from?

Liz lowered her head with a blushing smile. “Were you trying to get my attention, Max,” she simpered girlishly.

Max gulped nervously. He had come this far; he might as well take it the entire way. “Well…uh…yeah…” Not suave, not brilliant, but he got his point across…at least, he hoped he had.

“Wow,” Liz sighed, smiling, “Why would you want to get my attention, Max.”

Maria watched the exchange while rolling her eyes in laughing disgust. “Could it be because he likes you, Liz?” she observed loudly, shoving Liz’s books into her unsuspecting arms. “I’ve got to haul ass to homeroom,” she said, already skipping backwards in plan for her retreat, “I expect full details when you get there.”

By the time she’d gone Liz had blushed every shade of red known to man. Now it was her turn to stutter and stammer. “I…I don’t know…she’s just…Maria is…she doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” Liz finished up quickly and then, because she couldn’t help it, she added in meek question, “Does she?”

Max wanted to lay his soul bare to her right then. I love you, I adore you, I worship the ground beneath your lovely feet, his heart shouted. But he could tell her none of those things. Not yet. She wasn’t ready to hear it. Max would have to start simple. “Well,” he began softly, “I’d be lying if I said I haven’t noticed you, Liz.”

“You’ve noticed me?” Liz all but squealed in return, “You’re serious?”

Max inclined his head in a shy nod. “Look, Liz, I can’t believe I’m telling you this, especially because I almost flattened you, but…I think you’re a great person…I’ve always thought that,” he admitted with a blush, “It’s just I’ve always been too shy to tell you…but after nearly killing you today I guess I owed you the entire truth. I like you, Liz Parker, I like you a lot.”

“Wow…” was the only response Liz could think to give him.

“Look, I know you’re dating Kyle Valenti,” Max rushed to add, feeling the perspiration on his palms increase, “but I just wanted you to know how I feel…that I like you and I think you’re really wonderful. I’ll just go now before I say something to further humiliate myself.” He ran off then, unable to remain and hear her response, to join Michael and Isabel across the parking lot. They had watched the entire exchange, caught between anticipation and laughter.

Liz stared after him, blinking in shock. Had that really just happened? Had Max Evans really said he liked her? She looked at him now, walking off with his sister and best friend. He cast a look over his shoulder at her, smiled slightly and raised his hand in a brief wave. She wiggled her fingers back, a sappy smile curving her lips though she was hardly aware of it. They kept eye contact with one another while Liz drifted forward towards the school entrance, her heart doing funny little flips in her chest as she stared into his eyes. Liz wasn’t aware of her surroundings at all. She was in Max Evans’ land, singing a litany over and over in her heart. He likes me, he likes me, he likes me!

She was so caught up in her mooning, still so stunned by his revelation that Liz didn’t realize she was walking straight into the path of a speeding car.

posted on 4-Feb-2003 11:42:45 PM by Deejonaise
Okay, allow me to explain a few things before I post the next part. Remember when I mentioned in the beginning that things would get a little weird...well, welcome to the weird zone. This story will eventually break off into several separate storylines that will ultimately converge as the fic progresses. A lot of things may not make sense at first, but trust me when I say it will all fall into place. That said...on with the story. Oh, and this part may be considered slightly NC-17. You have been warned.

Chapter 17

They came for him in the night when he was asleep and unsuspecting. The first thing he caught sight of when his eyes snapped open was the flowing fullness of their tribal gowns billowing around him like ominous clouds. But he couldn’t scream. They’d made sure to take the desire from him. Trust us, they said. And he did. Knowing it was foolish, knowing it would be the end of him, he did. Because they were inside his mind, in his thoughts, walking about as if they belonged there. He rose from his bed and followed them without fight, instinctively knowing it would be the last time he would see his room, the last time he would think of her. Tonight they would end his life and he knew it. Knew it and followed them anyway. As he passed by the lamplight his face was illuminated eerily, revealing the haunting blankness that dulled his green eyes.

Allie bolted upright in the bed with a terrified scream, her body drenched in a cold sweat. She was shaking so badly in the wake of her nightmare that she didn’t realize that Connor had come running from the bathroom to wrap her in his arms until she heard his soothing voice stirring against her ear, “Shh…shh…it’s okay, baby…it’s okay…” He stroked his hand up and down the length of her trembling back but nothing he did seemed to calm her.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod,” she chanted in outright panic. Those were the only words she could think to say because her mind felt overloaded with the images that had dominated her sleep. Usually once she awakened her dreams would dissipate like mist a dawn, but that was not so with this dream. This dream held on tenaciously, continued to assail her with its sense of urgency. It seemed to be more than a dream…more like an omen.

Allie pressed her flushed face into Connor’s naked, crying harshly but at a loss to understand why. Nothing had happened in the dream. All she had was an instinct; an impression of evil…and it didn’t make any sense.

Connor threaded his fingers through her hair, framing her face so that he could bring her gaze to his. He pressed small, butterfly kisses over her cheeks and mouth. “Tell me what happened, baby,” he urged gently.

Allie circled her fingers about his wrists, clinging to him as if she thought he would evaporate as easily as a dream. She met his gaze with wild eyes. “I had…I had a nightmare,” she stammered haltingly, “It seemed so real…”

“What about?” Connor prodded, easing down onto the bed so that he could lean her back against him. Allie laid her head against the solid wall of his chest, forcing herself to focus on the comforting tenderness of his touch as he stroked her hair back from her forehead. “Tell me,” he said, “It can’t be as bad now that you’re awake.”

“I was dreaming about my dad,” she replied once her shaking had finally calmed, “He was in his room lying in the bed. He was thinking about my mom and how much he loved her…how he wanted to leave and take her with him. And then the room was full of these…people in white robes. They came to take him. They were going to kill him and he knew it and he wanted to run but he couldn’t. They had his mind and they wouldn’t let him.”

As Allie described her dream to him Connor felt lacerated with guilt. He knew exactly why she was feeling so anxious. The last few hours he had been focusing on how uncertain his future had become that he hadn’t closely considered how lost Allie must feel as well.

Her parents had led Allie to believe that they’d met Connor’s parents in Roswell, New Mexico while attending school. Never once had they ever mentioned Woodstone, Nebraska. Both Allie and Connor had discovered why through the visions Pey-La had given them. Kaelen Stafford and Rahsha Quinn’s childhoods had been full of oppression and fear. It was little wonder that when the opportunity for escape finally presented itself they grabbed for it with both hands. But now Connor had to wonder if they would take that chance without Max and Liz to influence them.

The possibility for fixing what had gone wrong was looking more and more grim by the moment. Changing the past had sort of a ripple effect. Even if he did manage to get his parents together that didn’t insure that he’d get the others together as well. And even if he did succeed in accomplishing that impossible feat it didn’t mean he wouldn’t inadvertently change something else in the process.

Connor felt like his mind was about to splinter apart. On the one hand, he thought it would probably be best for he and Allie to cut their losses, find the granolith, and return to the future, no matter how uncertain it may be. But on the other hand, Connor knew he couldn’t leave with the future for his parents, for her parents so tentative. He had to do what he could to fix the mess he’d made. Connor was so lost in his brooding thoughts that when Allie spoke he actually jumped in surprise.

“Don’t do that,” she ordered softly, giving his forearm a light pinch.

“Do what?” Connor inquired innocently.

“You know what,” Allie said knowingly, “You’re blaming yourself again. You always do that…you always take responsibility for things you can’t control.”

Connor didn’t bother keeping up the pretense. She knew him too well besides. He couldn’t lie to her. “And why shouldn’t I?” he countered dully, “I’ve screwed everything up, Al. I’m the reason you’re so worried about your dad right now. It’s not just about the shooting either. This whole crazy thing started because I insisted on going through that damned granolith in the first place.”

She tipped up her head to smile at him. “I’ll admit that it wasn’t one of your smarter moves,” she teased, “But if I know you at all, Connor Evans, and I’d like to think I do, you’re already coming up with a back-up plan.” She turned more fully in his arms prepared to say more when her mouth suddenly fell open in shock. “Oh my God!” she uttered, “You don’t have any clothes on!” She scrambled upright and twisted around, her eyes round and wide.

Connor impulsively jerked up the bedspread to cover his lower half. Amazingly, he’d forgotten in those few seconds that he was completely nude. “I…I took a shower!” he rushed out defensively, “See, I washed out the blue dye!” He pointed at his damp hair in explanation.

“I didn’t know you were naked!” Allie exclaimed.

“I wasn’t trying to be! I heard you scream and I just came running!”

Allie continued to stare at him, her mouth agape. Her throat worked spasmodically, her eyes slowly traveling down the length of him then back up again. In looking at him Allie suddenly realized how long it had been since they’d kissed, really kissed. It seemed a lifetime ago when they were just teenagers and the biggest crisis they had faced was what they would wear to prom. Allie yearned for that time again, no matter how brief. She wanted to forget, if only fleetingly, that their lives had turned completely upside down and that their futures were no longer set in stone. She wanted to forget that, even as she sat there, the old life she’d known was fading away.

With that determination, Allie quirked her lips in a provocative half smile and murmured throatily, “I’ve never seen you naked before.” It was rather ironic, but sadly true. As close as she and Connor had become and as frequently as they made out she’d never seen his completely naked body. She crept closer to him. “I like it.”

“Al…Allie, what are you doing?” Connor stammered when she continued to close the distance between them. He grew uncomfortable under her hungry gaze, pressing backwards as she pressed forward. “Stop looking at me like that!”

“I can’t help it,” Allie whispered, her gaze drifting downwards once more, “You’re so perfect…so hard.” She took her leisurely time admiring the rippled perfection of his lean chest. Under her intense scrutiny the flat, brown disks of his nipples hardened into small pebbles of arousal. Allie lifted her hand, dragging her fingers lightly over one stiffened peak. Connor gasped at the contact.

“Don’t,” he whispered, but he made no effort to twist away.

Her shock over finding him naked lessened, Allie scooted nearer, running her fingers over his smooth flesh once more. She spread her hands across his pectorals, scraped her palms against his tightened nipples. “Connor, you feel so warm,” she breathed gently, leaning forward to press her lips against his heated skin. Connor moaned, plunging his hands into her hair to draw her closer. Allie kissed her way up the column of his throat until she met his lips. Their mouths crashed together in a devouring kiss, tongues tangling with the heated excitement that had suddenly sprung up between them.

Connor felt like his blood was boiling. He and Allie had made out plenty of times but never when he was naked. The way she was touching him now, her hands strumming over his chest and shoulders, was making him dizzy. But it was when her fingers dipped low to explore beneath the sheet that Connor finally jerked away, his eyes glazed over with restrained passion. “We can’t,” he panted against her cheek.

“Why,” Allie moaned piteously, “Why? Why?” She already knew the answer, but for once, good God, she wanted him to stop being so damned responsible. It was a quality she adored about him while simultaneously irritating the hell out of her.

“This isn’t the time, Allie,” Connor told her, gently cupping her cheek, “or the place. When we make love I want it to be for us. I definitely don’t want to do it in my teenage father’s bed…that’s just creepy.”

Allie gave a slow nod of understanding and pushed herself away from his warm skin. Embarrassment and desire made it impossible for her to meet his gaze. “I guess I’ll go take a shower then,” she muttered, shoving from the bed. But Connor reached out to grab her wrist before she could leave. “What is it?” she said, looking away from him.

“Allie, come on,” Connor urged, “Look at me.” When she finally did Connor could see that she was on the verge of tears. “Don’t look that way, baby,” he pleaded tenderly, “It’s not that I don’t want you.”

“I know it,” Allie replied, but she didn’t sound at all convinced.

Connor tugged her down beside him and pressed her hand to where his penis still throbbed. Her cheeks burned, but she didn’t pull her hand away. “I do want you,” Connor murmured, nuzzling against her cheek, “I always want you, Alyson.”

Just the way he said her name made Allie shudder. She closed her eyes, her lips finding his in light, feinting kisses. “When we get home…” she prompted breathlessly, her fingers trailing from his groin up to the smooth skin of his neck and shoulder, “…I don’t want to wait anymore, Connor. I want you to make love to me.”

Her words thrilled him for two reasons. One because she wanted him to make love to her, and the simplicity of her request turned him on immensely, and two, she obviously had complete faith that they would return home, that somehow in the end Connor would fix it. Connor was filled with the burning need not to disappoint her. “As much as you want,” Connor groaned in promise, “Over and over.”

Allie pulled back from him then, all smiles once more. “Good,” she stated brightly, “so what do we do first?”

Her capriciousness sparked an affectionate smile from Connor. He didn’t care really as long as she was smiling. “First I get dressed and you take a shower,” he replied, shoving her from the bed, “Then we try to find the granolith. There’s got to be a reason it sent us here.”

~*~~*~

There were aliens among them.

Special Agent Jonathan Lennox had known that fact for upwards fifteen years. Fifteen years he had dedicated himself to hiding that fact. Fifteen years he had made it his sole duty to spin explanations. Fifteen years of extinguishing those who would bring the truth to light. Fifteen years and it finally seemed the threat had abated. Fifteen years of lying and subterfuge and he was bone tired.

Lennox might have been able to continue pushing himself to do the job; he might have been able to go on lying to himself, but for his new boss. Marcus DeVoe. The man was a sadist, not to mention the fact he had usurped the position Lennox had coveted for five years. Unlike his superiors, Lennox didn’t want to study the aliens, but wanted to discover a way by which they all could coexist.

From the limited time the FBI had retained them in captivity Lennox had learned they were capable of great power and possessed an extensive technological background. Imagine if human beings could harness that power and technology for themselves, imagine the scientific strides they could make. Lennox knew that those strides could only be achieved if through the maintaining of peace between their two species. Rounding them up and hoarding them like cattle wasn’t the way.

Lennox knew this. He had even told his superiors that very thing on numerous occasions. He had pointed out to them that had the aliens wanted to destroy earth they would have done so long ago. They had the power and the means and yet they held off from doing so. Lennox knew he had made an impression.

But there were still those in the ranks who believed these visitors from space were a threat and were adamant on treating them accordingly. Lennox believed that was the very reason Marcus DeVoe had been promoted to chief officer of the Special Unit. His desire was to seek and destroy. DeVoe had no interest in gaining knowledge from the aliens. He merely wanted them all dead. But Jonathan Lennox’s plans had been the complete opposite of DeVoe’s agenda and that was the very reason he was denied the position he so coveted.

The committee had been calculated when choosing DeVoe to head up the Special Unit team. They saw in him the killer they needed. A man who would get the job done quickly and efficiently. To the outsider DeVoe might appear classy and urbane, but Lennox wasn’t fooled by DeVoe’s slick ways and outward charm. He had seen the man’s eyes. DeVoe didn’t have their country’s best interests at heart or the Unit’s for that matter. Like his predecessors he was self-involved and would value human life next to nothing when it fell to getting what he wanted. And like his predecessors he would fail. Which meant that more innocents would have to die to protect the secret, which meant that Lennox would have more blood on his hands.

Agent Jonathan Lennox knew there were aliens among them. He just wasn’t so sure anymore that they were the monsters.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Feb-2003 11:44:54 PM ]
posted on 5-Feb-2003 12:18:59 AM by Deejonaise
Okay just some further clarification. First off, Agent Lennox is a new character. You will discover later that he is a disgruntled and disillusioned agent of the FBI. He will play an important part in Connor's future, but in a good way...sorta. And yes, the dream Allie had was definitely for a reason...you could say it's prophetic.

I can promise you all that you WILL NEVER guess where this fic is going in a million years. I'm so excited about it I could scream. This is the first piece of fanfiction I've written where I've had to do extensive research in order to write it. I promise you won't be disappointed. Confused and uncertain at times maybe, but definitely not disappointed.

Dee
posted on 5-Feb-2003 6:56:36 AM by Deejonaise
quote:
daniz1010 originally wrote:
I can't wait to see where this is going. Great part between Allie and Conner.

I can't think any more, I am really tired (My 19 month old daughter still doesn't sleep through the night!!). Can't wait for your next post.

Danielle*happy*


I feel your pain. My fifteen month old seems to possess the same affliction, lol.

As for Lennox and other characters I may introduce you should know that they are all products of the first timeline, but because of the sequence of events their voices are not heard. When Connor changes the shooting, he changes that sequence of events.

I'm going to try and give an example and not be confusing. Let's say you have an original timeline where a woman trips on the sidewalk and is hurt. Because she does a jogger is held up in his morning jog for a few minutes to assist. Now say someone goes back in time and changes that event. The jogger is not held up because the woman doesn't trip. However, he makes it home sooner only to find that his home is being burglarized and is summarily killed. The point? The man's home is still burglarized, but in the first timeline his stopping to help the tripped woman saved his life. Take that one event away and everything changes...

Now you have some idea of where this story is going.*wink*

Dee

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Feb-2003 6:58:27 AM ]
posted on 6-Feb-2003 3:56:19 PM by Deejonaise
Chapter 18

An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale shook Southern California at almost the precise moment Alex Whitman did a running dive for Liz Parker and pushed her out the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Liz tumbled to the asphalt from the second time that morning. The vehicle whooshed past her and Alex only milliseconds later, creating a vacuum and pulling at their jackets with its intense speed. As Alex stared after the retreating taillights he noted that the car didn’t even brake. Liz was impervious to all this as she was once again trying to adjust herself. When she rolled upright her expression was more than a little disgruntled. “What is it with people knocking me down today?” she demanded a little shrilly.

“I only just prevented you from becoming a hood ornament, but I can understand your irritation at the gesture,” Alex remarked acerbically. He grabbed hold of her extended hand and pulled her to her feet, “Gee, thanks, Alex, for saving my life,” he mocked.

Liz flashed him a plastic smile. “Thanks, Alex!” she piped with false brightness. But she hardly looked at him as she did. Instead her humiliated gaze meandered over to where Max stood with Isabel and Michael. Or was standing. He was presently running his way over to her side. So much for her hope he hadn’t seen anything. “Oh just great,” Liz groaned as she brushed off the seat of her pants, “now my humiliation is complete.”

“Liz, are you okay?” Max burst out when he reached her, his eyes scanning her body for any visible injuries. Before he could stop himself he pulled her into a grateful hug. “God, you could have been killed.”

Liz was so taken aback by his sudden embrace that she couldn’t think at first. Her senses were overwhelmed with the feel and smell and heat of Max Evans. She melted against him, feeling at home in his arms, as if she were meant to be there, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. And then she caught sight of Alex’s bewildered expression and it finally struck Liz how odd it was to have Max Evans hugging her. Stiffening with self-consciousness, Liz shrugged out of his arms. “Oh…um…I’m okay, Max,” she stammered, peeking up at him through her lashes.

Max realized then just how forward he’d been. She had to think that he was crazy just running up and hugging her for no reason. But God, it had felt good to hold her and smell the sweet scent of her hair. However, he realized that his actions had come totally out of the blue for her. Max took a hasty step back, feeling his ears redden with embarrassed agitation. He’d been doing a lot of blushing since plowing into Liz Parker that morning. His entire world had been off kilter since. No, Max mentally corrected, it had been off kilter since before that moment, but running into Liz Parker that morning had sent him to the clouds. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he rushed out, “I wasn’t trying to crowd you or anything.”

“No!” Liz protested loudly, startling both Max and Alex with her vehemence. She tried to reign in her rampaging emotions. “I mean it’s okay to hug…I liked you hugging me…I mean…I understand why you hugged me because…you were worried…and sometimes when you’re worried you hug people…and I’m babbling…I…I’m babbling, aren’t I?”

“Yuh, you are,” Alex butted in with an amused grin.

Liz fixed him with a glare. Alex swallowed his answering sarcasm. “What I’m trying to say,” she clarified once she’d redirected her attention to Max, “is I’m not offended that you hugged me or anything. It was nice.”

“I just didn’t want you to think I was trying to make a move on you or anything,” Max explained, “Just after yesterday morning I was a little shaken up.”

Liz didn’t have time to ponder over the fact that Max Evans obviously cared for her more than she could have ever imagined because Alex had burst out, “Wait, what happened yesterday?” Usually Liz loved him but at present he was annoying the heck out of her. She rolled her eyes in exasperation. He wasn’t acknowledging any of her subtle nods that he should make himself scarce. “Alex!” she moaned.

“Tell me what happened yesterday,” he persisted stubbornly.

“There was a fight at the Crashdown yesterday,” Max said, “Liz was almost shot.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Alex exclaimed.

Liz stooped down to gather up her textbooks with Max’s help. “Nope,” she said as she stood once again, “That would make two near death experiences in two days.” She favored Alex with a jaunty smile. “I’m glad I have a strong heart.”

Alex’s face was expressionless when he replied dryly, “I think you’re seriously unbalanced, you know that, right?” The bell for homeroom rang almost immediately after and all three teenagers groaned. “We’d better get a move on,” Alex said, but as he and Max started to turn for the school Liz held back.

“Wait!” she cried in dismay, “I can’t go in there looking like this.”

Both young men cast her an appraising once-over, but Max’s consideration was a lingering one. She was right, he noted mildly. She couldn’t go into the school looking as she did. Though she still looked absolutely breathtaking to Max that didn’t negate the fact that her neat ponytail had been utterly destroyed and her clothes obviously grimy. Max felt a sheepish blush creep to his cheeks for the role he played in her appearance.

“I have to go home and change,” Liz went on frantically, “and I don’t have a ride. Maria’s already inside.”

“I’ll take you,” Alex volunteered.

“No, let me.” The words flew from Max’s mouth before he could think to stop them. His offer received him odd looks ranging from amazement to amusement from Alex and Liz. He knew he was probably being really forward, but he was helpless to stop himself.

“You…you want to take me home,” she stammered. What was it about Max Evans that made it impossible for her to form a coherent sentence? “You don’t have to do that,” she added graciously, but her heart was hammering with the hope that he would.

“No, I want to,” Max said, causing her heart rate to increase even more, “It’s partly my fault that you have to go home and change in the first place.”

“And Alex’s, too,” Liz added absently.

“Hey, I was only trying to save your life,” Alex cried in affront, “It’s hardly the same thing as being a klutz.” However, neither of them was paying him any attention. Both Max and Liz were gazing into each other’s eyes, sappy smiles of infatuation pulling at their lips. Alex chuckled to himself at the picture. “Well, since neither of you knows I’m alive anyway…I’ll just go now. Catch ya later, Liz.” As he suspected, they hadn’t noticed his leaving at all.

“So is it okay?” Max asked softly, “Can I take you home?”

Max was soaring. That morning, when he had pushed his creaking body from the floor, he had known he would have to face Liz Parker, he had anticipated having to speak to her but he had never in his life imagined it going so well. Er…uh…if you could call mowing her down well. But all in all she had dealt with the situation in laughing humor and she didn’t seem to hold a grudge.

From afar Max had worshiped Liz Parker for most of his life. He knew her routine, what food she liked to it, how she fiddled with her hair when she was nervous, the exact pitch of her beautiful laugh. He knew all those things perfectly, but Max could admit that he hadn’t really known her.

He could assume that she was loving and kind merely based on the people that surrounded her and how she was highly spoken of by their teachers and their peers. Max had even gained firsthand knowledge from sitting next to her in class. She was always sweet; never once hesitating to share her notes with him needed them. But he hadn’t known the extent of her loveliness, her sheer perfection really until today.

Max had knocked her down, dirtied up her clothes and messed up her hair. Two sins, he had learned from Isabel, that were cardinal rule breakers to a girl. Had Liz Parker been anyone other than her wonderful self she would have denounced him for an idiot on the spot. Even if she hadn’t pitched a holy cow over it Max would have still expected her to be angry. But she hadn’t been. She had shoved up from the asphalt with a smile on her face, a smile that she had directed at him. And that’s when Max knew…Liz Parker really was the love of his life.

Yes, he had the knowledge that they would be married in the future someday. He’d seen the pictures, had the evidence lying at home in his bed right that very moment. But now, at that second, staring deep into Liz Parker’s fathomless brown eyes Max felt himself falling and he knew with absolute conviction why this woman owned his heart. And he knew, absolutely knew she would own it forever. “It’s alright then,” he asked again, “I can take you home?”

Liz graced him with a shy smile. “I’d like that…yeah,” she answered.

As Liz walked back to the jeep with Max she couldn’t help but wonder what Max Evans was doing to her. Her knees felt jittery, butterflies had taken flight in her tummy and Liz suddenly had the feeling that this would be the biggest moment in her life. Why? Why, she wondered. Because Max Evans had knocked her over? Because he had this awesome way of staring at her like she was stunning? Because when looking into his soft, golden eyes Liz felt like she’d come home? In those brief seconds Liz had known irrefutably who she was and to whom she belonged. Max Evans. She didn’t understand the whys and why fors, but Liz wasn’t absolutely certain that Max Evans was her future. Perhaps he always had been.

“I’ve never been inside your jeep before,” she remarked when she’d situated herself in the passenger’s seat, “It’s nice.”

“It’s a relic,” Max rejoined with a smirk, “but I like it.”

Liz stared at him with star struck eyes and murmured softly, “I like it, too.”

The look that she was giving him now was loaded with meaning. Max understood that the moment was about much more than Liz simply liking his car. She felt it, too. This magnetic connection that had compelled him to be near her since the first time he’d ever saw her. A longing, a desire to be close, one that could not be denied or ignored. Oh yes, he was certain that she felt it, too. She couldn’t hide it. Her feelings bloomed forth in her heart and were made radiant in her eyes.

Up ahead the sky was gathering ominous storm clouds but Liz and Max hardly noticed the obscuring of the sun. The world outside the jeep had faded away, leaving only the two of them. Max drove blindly towards the Crashdown, but his vision, his head was filled only with Liz. In those moments they were the only two people existing. They were lost together in laughter, in conversation, and in each other. They were falling in love…just as they were destined to do.

However, the more they talked the more Max was filled with a queer reminiscent sense, as if he’d been in this moment with her before. He was still mentally shaking his head over the sensation when Liz remarked teasingly, “You know, you should really get this fixed.” She was referring to the tear in his ceiling above her head. Liz ran her fingers along the ragged seam, feeling gusts of air from the outside wind sting against her fingers.

Max flicked a glance at the tear. “I’ve never noticed it before,” he said with a shrug.

“How can you not?” Liz laughed, “It only lets in a draft that feels like Antarctica.”

“I’ll put it on my to do list,” Max promised with a smile. The words had just left his mouth when a flash suddenly overtook him.

“Wow,” Liz commented, “It looks good in here, though.”

“Well, my dad had it washed last week,” Max said, “I, uh, finally fixed that tear in the roof.”

Liz glanced up at the canvas ceiling. “Impressive,” Liz commended, tracing her fingers over the spot where the tear once was, “What did you use?”

Max glanced at her blankly. “Uh, my, uh powers.”

Liz laughed at the stupefied expression on his face. “That doesn’t really count then, Max…you cheated.”


The flash was over as quickly as it had begun, but when it was finished Max knew with absolute certainty that it was a memory. He even knew all the circumstances that surrounded the conversation. He and Liz hadn’t spoken to each other in weeks because…because he had broken up with her. At the time of that conversation, Max had been harboring suspicions that she might be pregnant and he was waiting on the edge of his seat for her to give him the news. However, during that precise moment, just driving along in the jeep laughing with her, Max had momentarily forgotten his anxiety, forgotten everything really. Just like now.

He looked over at Liz, his face completely drained of color. When Liz saw his waxen complexion her smile faltered somewhat. “Max, are you okay?”

“I…I…” How did you tell the woman of your dreams that your futures were intertwined and she was destined to marry you? It didn’t seem like a first date conversation at all and, if Max wanted to be technical, even if it was he still couldn’t tell her. They weren’t on a date. So he decided to tell her something more acceptable. “I was just thinking about how beautiful you are when you laugh.”

Ducking her head, Liz blushed prettily. “You think I’m beautiful,” she giggled girlishly.

“I always have,” Max confessed quietly.

Liz tried to cover her discomfiture with a scoffing chuckle. “There are prettier girls,” she stated casually.

“Not that I’ve noticed.”

They fell into another one of those long, intense stares that transmitted every ounce of feeling they shared without a word being spoken. They might have gone on staring at one another until time indefinite if the moment weren’t suddenly shattered by a loud thudding noise against the hood of the car.

Max jerked his eyes to the windshield. “What the--,” He never finished his thought. It was hailing. It was hailing in Roswell, New Mexico. Not tiny sized hail either, but hail the size of golf balls. It began to pelt and thud against the jeep with increasing rapidity. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Max uttered in amazement.

Liz eyes were also locked on the windshield, staring out at the storm in wide-eyed wonder. “Me either,” she murmured, “Maybe you should pull over…”

Max started to do just that, but he was unprepared for the gathering force of the storm. A sudden wind gust slammed against the jeep even as the hail thundered down mercilessly. Max was jolted by the sheer power of the gust and he lost control of the jeep, spinning out into the middle of the road and into oncoming traffic. Liz’s scream of terror coincided with the piercing screech of the tires as Max narrowly avoided missing a head on collision. He tried to swerve back onto the right side of the road when the jeep was again whipped by the wind. The vehicle spun out of control once more, careening over into a nearby ditch and flipping twice, crunching and groaning with the screeching howl of twisting metal, before finally skidding on its side to an ominous stop.

Next update Sunday night.

posted on 7-Feb-2003 7:06:16 AM by Deejonaise
I can see that this fic is generating more questions than answers so let me clear up a few things:

1. Remember in Revising Normal when the prophecy said that in order for Connor to be the chosen one he has to be born of a mother who is neither antarian or human? That still has to happen. In fact, that's the running theme in this story, you can't change who you are or who you are destined to be with. Fate will always have her way.

2. Now why did Connor come so far back in time? Let's think about it. The one main component that has changed since he changed the shooting. FBI interference. They know aliens exist but they don't know that Max, Michael and Isabel are the aliens. Now without the FBI investigating them what other events are set into motion? Remember the scenario about the woman and the jogger? Metaphorically speaking, the FBI is the woman so what happens now? Hmmm....


I'm hoping I cleared up some things without giving away the plot. I promise it will all be explained as the story unfolds though. Thanks for sticking with me through the confusing twists and turns.

Dee

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 7-Feb-2003 7:23:05 AM ]
posted on 9-Feb-2003 9:03:04 PM by Deejonaise
Chapter 19

“Are you sure this is the place,” Allie asked nervously, pressing more closely against Connor’s side while holding her jacket together against the biting wind.

Connor ran his hands along the craggy surface of the rock face. “This is the place I saw in the flash,” he told her absently, “I think it’s supposed to open but I don’t know how.”

Allie watched the dark storm clouds gathering in the distance. “Well, whatever you do you need to do it fast,” she said anxiously, “There’s a storm coming and it looks like it will be bad.”

That morning after Allie was done with her shower she and Connor had sat down together and faced some hard truths. Their futures were pretty much shot. Connor knew this. The most he and Allie could do was make sure their parents got together and let the chips fall where they may. Allie’s parents were already a couple and, with luck, so would his parents be as well. Even if their parents didn’t somehow find each other and become friends that didn’t really matter. No matter what Connor knew he would find Allie again because he was meant to. He was meant to be with her. He’d carried the instinct with him all his life and he still felt it just as strongly today. Nothing would stop them from being together.

But Connor had to face the sad truth that he couldn’t save it all. Connor acknowledged that fact with brimming regret, but there was truly nothing he could do. Short of sitting on Michael and Isabel and forcing them into relationships with Maria and Alex the situation was hopeless. And even if he somehow convinced them both to go after their future loves there was no guarantee that their feelings would be reciprocated. At least, Connor knew that was definitely the case on Michael’s end. Aunt Maria barely liked him in the future and they were married. Connor couldn’t imagine how she felt about him now.

Besides that Connor didn’t really know for sure if they even had the luxury of staying just to straighten it out. Though he was by no means a physics whiz and nowhere near the scientist his mother was Connor knew that there had to be consequences for traveling back in time. He just had an ominous feeling in the pit of his stomach. He and Allie couldn’t stay here…they had to go home. Wherever and whatever home was now.

And that was the very reason they were in the desert, trying, without results, to open some secret cavern in Vasquez Rock. Connor ground his teeth in frustration, pounding the rocky surface with his fist. “This is bullshit!” he cried, his angry shout echoing eerily through the vast canyon.

Allie stroked his shoulder soothingly. “Maybe it’s not here,” she murmured.

“It has to be here,” Connor argued in defeat. He pressed his forehead against the cave face. “I don’t think Pey-La took us from the state…even the city. The granolith has to be here, Allie. This is the only place it could be.”

“Connor, it was there in 2020,” Allie reminded him gently, “We don’t know where it is in 1999. It could be anywhere.”

She was right and Connor had never stopped to consider that detail before. He turned his back against the rock face and slid down to the dusty rock surface below, his expression lost and dejected. “What the hell are we going to do, Allie?” he asked miserably, “We can’t stay here.”

Allie crumpled down beside him and looped her arm around his shoulder. “Maybe we have to,” she said sadly, “Maybe this is what the granolith wanted.”

“No,” Connor insisted, his jaw set in a stubborn line, “There’s something else…I feel it. We have to find the granolith and get home, Al. We’re not meant to stay here.”

“But how?” Allie cried, “We don’t even know where it is or even where to look!”

Connor suddenly lifted his head as a new realization struck him. “Woodstone,” he told her excitedly, “We’ll go to Woodstone! Surely someone will know Pey-La there!” Before Allie could process what he was suggesting Connor was already shoving to his feet and pulling her along with him.

“Wait! Wait, Connor?” Allie protested, holding back, “What about your dad and your mom? What about getting them together! We can’t just leave!”

His eyes pierced her with a steady look. “I’m telling you we can’t stay here, Allie. We have to go,” he said gently. But she only continued to stare at him with a forlorn expression. Connor decided to try cajolery. “Just think…you’ll see your parents and…and maybe we’ll be able to salvage something.” When Allie still looked uncertain he pulled her close against him. “This is the only shot we have,” he murmured into her hair, “I need you to be on my side, baby.”

“I am on your side, Connor,” Allie vowed, “I’m always on your side.” She exhaled a deep breath then asked, “What do you want to do?”

He grinned at her, a combination of love, admiration and relief. He knew she was frightened and unsure, but she was still willing to trust him even after the colossal errors he’d made thus far. If he had never realized the depth of Allie’s loyalty for him before Connor definitely understood it now. He pressed a tender kiss to her lips. “First we’ll go back to the house and I’ll leave a note for my dad…then we hitch a ride to Woodstone.”

“Won’t he be worried?” she asked anxiously.

“I think he’ll be relieved,” Connor replied without rancor, “I’ve been nothing but a headache for him since I arrived.” His mouth twisted in a humorless smile. “He’ll probably be glad to be rid of me.” Not wanting to discuss it further or examine the tumultuous feelings tumbling through him at that moment Connor grabbed hold of Allie’s hand and began leading her down the face of the mountain. “We’d better hurry up,” he told her, “before this storm hits.”

A short distance away, a figure emerged from the shadows and began to follow them.

~*~~*~

It was the gentle rattling of his keys on the nightstand beside his bed that finally roused Kaelen Stafford from his deep sleep. And that’s when he became aware that his keys weren’t the only things shaking. So was his bed…so was his entire room. It wasn’t a violent shaking, but one that definitely did not go unnoticed. Yet, just as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped and his room settled into stillness once more.

Kaelen sat up slowly, his gaze traveling around his room in slow deliberation. There was no permanent damage as far as he could tell. Some crooked poster pictures and a disordered dresser but nothing major. Still he was hesitant to move from his bed. He did, however, have the forthought to reach for the phone and call Rahsha but he never made it that far. Kaala was already bursting into his room, talking a mile a minute as she did.

“Did you just feel that?” she exclaimed loudly, flopping onto his bed, “I think we just had a quake…can you believe it? An earthquake in Woodstone, Nebraska! That’s like totally phenomenal!”

Kaelen finally managed to relax and favored his sister with a sour glance. “I doubt it was an earthquake, Kay,” he said mildly, rolling his eyes for effect, “You’re so melodramatic.”

“How much are you willing to bet?” Kaala challenged coolly.

“Nothing!” Kaelen retorted, tossing a pillow at her, “Now get out of my room so I can get dressed!”

“Wait, where’s your remote?” Kaala demanded, ignoring his edict as she usually did. She groped around in the covers for said object. “Let’s see what they’re saying on the news. Aha!” she cried, finally finding her quarry. She clicked on the television. “Let’s find out what’s happening, shall we?”

Kaelen snatched the remote from her fingers and punched the power button. “Go to your room and find out there,” he intoned stiffly, “You have your own T.V.”

Kaala plucked the remote right back. “But it’s not nearly as nice as yours,” she responded cheekily, clicking on the set once again. Kaelen started to argue further but Kaala shushed him as the newscaster came onto the screen.

…this has just been the latest in a string of natural disasters around the globe. At approximately 4:53 a.m. this morning, Mountain Standard Time, Mt. Campi Flegrei in Italy erupted without warning raining rock and pumice down on the neighboring city of Napoli. Hundreds are feared dead, many more injured. Only one hour later, after a near twenty-year silence, Mt. St. Helens blew smoke and ash into the sky, scaling as high as 65,000 ft. The volcano hasn’t seen such activity since it’s devastating eruption in May of 1980. Several smaller disasters have occurred world wide in the span of ten hours…earthquakes, hailstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes spanning across the globe from Australia to America…

Kaelen looked over at his sister in stunned speechlessness. “What the heck is going on, Kaelen?” Kaala breathed, her eyes round with confused fear. They jumped with the sudden ringing of the telephone, brought back to their senses. Kaelen swiveled around and dived for the phone on the third ring. “This is Kaelen.”

“Oh my God,” Rahsha burst out the moment she heard his voice, “I thought something horrible had happened. You didn’t call right away and--,”

“I’m fine. Kaala’s here,” Kaelen explained quickly, his tone even and calm because he didn’t want to excite Rahsha any more than she was already, “We’re watching the news together. You’ll never believe what’s going on.”

“I’ve seen it,” Rahsha told him, “The elders are gathering for a summit…they don’t know what’s happening.”

Kaelen gripped the phone hard, feeling his heart begin to pound with renewed panic. “Has Galek said anything or Ruaak?”

“You know they wouldn’t tell me even if they did know,” Rahsha sighed, “But something big is happening…I can feel it.”

~*~~*~

A throng of stupefied students along with their teacher gathered around the window overlooking the football field to watch the hail pelt down. Inside the classroom the harsh thudding of the storm against the roof resounded through the silent classroom. Only Isabel Evans held back from the window, an intense feeling of panic spreading through her belly. Max had never showed up for homeroom. He hadn’t showed up for first period either. Her last glimpse of him had been in the student parking lot while he chatted with Liz Parker and Alex Whitman. She hadn’t seen him since…or Liz for that matter.

She stared at the back of Alex Whitman’s head now, her pride and worry at war with one another. On the one hand it took every ounce of restraint she had not to go over to him and ask him if he’d seen her brother. The likelihood was too great that Max had somehow managed to woo Liz Parker after all and they were off somewhere making goo-goo eyes at each other. But the likelihood was also great that he had gone out in that storm, too. She had been watching Alex Whitman for the last twenty minutes now and he looked worried.

Finally, Isabel couldn’t bear the uncertainty anymore. She crept over to where Alex stood, fidgeting nervously near the window. “So I saw you talking to my brother earlier this morning,” she announced by way of greeting.

Alex literally jumped in response, his expression like that of a deer caught in the hypnotic glare of a car’s headlights. In that moment his entire mind went horrifyingly blank. He blinked several times. Had Isabel Evans just spoken to him? He had seen her lips move, but had the words been directed at him? Alex could only stand and stare, slack-jawed.

Isabel suppressed the urge to roll her eyes in outright annoyance. “Earth to Alex!” she snapped in irritation, “Have you seen Max since this morning or not?”

“Huh?”

Isabel closed her eyes and mentally counted to ten. When she spoke again, her words were enunciated in a fierce whisper, “I’m going to say this slowly…since you seem to be having trouble comprehending English. Have. You. Seen. My. Brother?”

Her tone washed over Alex like a bucket of ice water. He suddenly realized he was standing there making a complete idiot out of himself. Clearing his throat in an effort to reclaim some of his lost dignity Alex stammered, “He’s gone…he…he left.”

“Yeah,” Isabel agreed with dripping sarcasm, “I’ve figured that part out for myself. I’m trying to figure out where he’s gone.”

“He took Liz home.” Alex didn’t know why he was surprised that the answer didn’t satisfy her.

“Why?” Isabel demanded, “Why would he take her home?” Already her head was being filled with images of her brother seducing Liz Parker and Isabel thought she would gag from the thought alone.

“She needed to change her clothes,” Alex explained lamely. Isabel snorted in response, her demeanor clearly saying, “yeah right!” “It’s true,” Alex insisted, “They left a little after the homeroom bell.”

Again Isabel began to quiver with anxiety. The bell for homeroom had rung over two hours ago. That should have been plenty of time for Max to take Liz home and bring her back. Isabel had the ominous premonition that something terrible had happened to her brother. Suddenly, the idea of him and Liz locked in a passionate embrace didn’t seem so disgusting. Anything was preferable to the possibility that he might actually be hurt. “And he just left in the middle of a hail storm?” Isabel exploded in a furious whisper.

“It wasn’t hailing then,” Alex told her. He watched her beautiful face blanch of color and she swayed slightly. Alex reached out to steady her and couldn’t help but be surprised when she didn’t shove him away. She even allowed him to assist her to the nearest desk so that she could sit down.

Alex couldn’t help but be floored by her reaction. Isabel Evans was known about school for her reputation as an Ice Princess. Her primary concern was her social status among her classmates. In fact, she barely even acknowledged her brother in the hall. And yet Alex could see firsthand that she obviously cared deeply for him, despite her outward indifference. Her outward beauty had always captivated Alex, but in that moment, he found himself captivated by her heart as well.

He knelt down beside her, wanting to reach out and tuck her hair behind her ear but knowing she would reject any attempt he made to touch her further. “I’m sure they’re alright,” he said gently, “Max has always struck me as a level headed sort of guy…I’m sure he pulled over somewhere before the storm got too bad.”

Isabel nodded stiffly, swallowing past the lump of fear gathering in her throat. But as she looked into Alex Whitman’s crystal blue eyes she found herself oddly comforted by his words. For the first time ever Isabel could see how she might have found him attractive. The realization was jarring and unwelcome and she reared backwards in response to it. “You’re probably right,” she said tersely, “I’m sure I’m just worrying over nothing.”

Sensing that she had withdrawn from him Alex inclined his head in a sad, little nod and straightened. He started to say something more to her but Isabel had already averted her head, thereby dismissing him. Left with no other choice, he shuffled back over to the window to rejoin his classmates.

posted on 11-Feb-2003 11:49:52 PM by Deejonaise
Chapter 20

He hurt. That was his first thought. Just the idea of moving was simple agony and still he tried…and regretted the attempt. It took Max several moments to realize the mewling sound he heard was his own whimpering. And then a new sound permeated his senses. A rapid tapping against the metal frame of the jeep. Max pried open his eyes, his vision blurred and doubled at first. He blinked several times against the urge to black out. That’s when he recognized that the world was on its side. Max frowned at the realization before it finally saturated his brain that the jeep had flipped onto its side and he was still suspended in his seat, held there only by his seatbelt. And then he looked down.

Another mewling gurgle escaped his throat when he first saw her. His first initial reaction was to panic. There was so much blood and she was so very still that Max was almost positive she was dead. He tried to shift in his seat but he found the effort horrendously painful. Max didn’t doubt that he had more than a few broken bones. But at the moment he didn’t care. He could only think of Liz, her body hanging lifelessly against her seatbelt, blood pouring from a tremendous gash in her head.

“Liz?” Max croaked painfully, trying to work his hands through the twisted metal of the jeep to find his seatbelt clip, “Liz, answer me.”

He heard it then, a faint, whimpering moan. Thank God. Thank God. Thank God. She was alive! Max didn’t need any further encouragement. He pushed past the pain slicing through his body and finally managed to unbuckle his seatbelt. As he freed himself of the restraint he held onto the steering wheel and braced his feet against the floor in order to keep himself from tumbling forward.

When he had finally steadied himself, Max inched from his seat with painstaking slowness and lowered himself down beside Liz. She still wasn’t moving but as he got closer Max could detect her nearly imperceptible breathing. He crouched down in the backseat, ignoring the god-awful pain in his chest as he did.

There wasn’t anything to think about, Max decided, already flattening one hand over her chest and the other over her forehead. He was going to heal her. He did it in the first timeline and he would do it in this one. He would heal her in as many timelines as he had to because there was just no way he’d simply lay there and watch her die. Especially now, when he knew what a beautiful future they could have together. Especially now, when he could feel that magnetic pull he felt for her blossoming into something more.

Max closed his eyes, channeling the reserves of his energy and strength though his body and into hers. The flashes that began washing over him then were like a cooling balm. Initially, he was overwhelmed with darkness, but then, after a few seconds, the powerful visions began. First alien symbols and stars flashing out at him from vast darkness and then Liz’s smiling face.

Her eyes sparkling up at him as she tiptoed from their sons’ room, her finger pressed against her lips in a gesture for quiet. Liz, flipping and jumping as gracefully as a gazelle, on the monkey bars at the park, her tan legs glinting in the sun. Liz, her face contorted in a grimace of agonized pleasure as he drove into her again and again. Liz, expanded with his child, glowing and beautiful. The mental fragments came in no particular order, handing him only glimpses of the life he’d shared with her. But now Max was certain it had been a good one, despite the price they had paid to have it, his life with Liz had been bliss.

The flashes faded out gradually as Max’s energy slowly ebbed from his body. As Max began to return to his senses he became aware of three things. Firstly, in his weakened condition he had given all he had to Liz, leaving none of his healing power for himself. But even then he knew it hadn’t been enough. Liz’s injuries were numerous and mostly internal. He had repaired what he could but Liz would still need a doctor.

Secondly, the hailstorm outside was finally beginning to lessen. He could hear the pounding of the ice begin to recede and finally discern the distant wail of paramedic sirens. Max sighed a silent prayer of thanks for that small miracle. When he finally opened his eyes he discovered that Liz was conscious now, her pain-glazed eyes staring up at him intently.

“Wha--,” Liz paused to clear her throat, surprised by how groggy and disoriented she sounded. She tried again. “What…happened?”

“We were in a car accident,” Max told her gently, stroking her hair tenderly, as if she were a child, “The jeep flipped…don’t you remember?” Liz closed her eyes, trying to recall the moment of impact but all she could retrieve was a blank wall of darkness. After several frustrating moments, she shook her head. “It’s alright,” Max soothed, “Don’t worry about that right now…just try to relax…”

“I hurt…hurt everywhere,” she groaned.

“I know, baby,” he murmured in sympathy, hardly aware of the endearment. It slipped from his mouth easily, the most natural thing in the world to him. God, how Max wished he could take away the pain for her, but he had already given her every last bit of himself and there was nothing left.

“Are…Are the boys…okay?” Liz rasped out breathlessly, “I don’t…hear them.”

Max frowned over her question. He had healed the gash on her forehead but it was highly possible that her head injuries were more extensive than that. She was evidently hallucinating right now. “Liz, we’re alone,” he told her gently, “I was taking you back home to change your clothes, don’t you remember?”

The concentrated scowl that furrowed Liz’s blood stained forehead told him that she did not. But still she sighed with relief. “Connor and Jamie aren’t with us?” she murmured tiredly, “Thank God, thank God, thank God.”

Max went utterly still. There was no mistaking that he’d heard her right just now. True, he’d sustained a head injury as well and his thinking was a little muddled, but there was no way he had misunderstood. Liz had just asked about their sons…their future sons! Sons she shouldn’t even be aware of, sons who hadn’t been born yet, much less thought of! Max began to tremble all over, from pain and foreboding. He couldn’t even begin to fathom how Liz knew…he wasn’t sure he wanted to either.

Liz groped for his hand blindly, caught hold and brought it against her mouth. “What…about you, baby?” she asked painfully, “Are you hurt?”

“It’s not anything I can’t live with,” Max murmured thickly. His heart contracted at the familiarity in her tone, the gentle, unconscious way she was caressing his hand.

Her lips quirked in a humorless smile. “You always say that,” she whispered. She gasped against the constricted feeling in her chest. “I’m so…tired.”

“No, Liz!” Max gave her a brusque shake when she would have drifted off into unconsciousness, causing Liz’s eyes to snap open once more. “Don’t go to sleep,” he coaxed tearfully, “Talk to me…about anything…just don’t go to sleep.”

It obviously pained her to fulfill the request but she still expended every amount of energy she had to make the effort. After expelling a tremulous, staccato sigh, Liz said with a faint smile, “You still haven’t fixed the garbage disposal.”

Max could only gape. “The garbage disposal?” he whispered dubiously.

“You’ve been procrastinating for months now,” Liz chided softly, “I may have to break down and call a plumber after all.” Max could only close his eyes and lean down to press a kiss to her forehead. What could he say? She was remembering things he didn’t. He didn’t realize he’d begun to cry until Liz reached up to finger the wetness on his cheek. Their eyes met in a solemn stare. “Am I going to die?” she asked.

“No, Liz…” Max promised, gathering her against him as much as he could, “…I won’t let that happen.”

They stayed that way together, wrapped close in each other’s arms, with the sirens wailing in the distance.

~*~~*~

Connor and Allie huddled beneath the rock canopy and watched the hail pour down. “This just seemed to come from nowhere,” Allie commented in awe, pressing even closer against Connor’s side, “When has it ever hailed in Roswell, New Mexico?”

However, Connor hardly heard her. He was too preoccupied with holding back his scream of frustration. Nothing had gone the way he’d planned. First the search for the cave entrance had been an utter waste of time. He had been so sure that he would find the granolith there, but his instincts had been wrong. Allie had made a good point. Though the granolith had been in Roswell in 2020 that didn’t guarantee that it was there in 1999. Which begged the question if the granolith wasn’t in Roswell where the hell was it and where the hell did he begin to look?

He supposed that his suggestion that they look in Woodstone had been a good one, but it also presented a host of new problems. How they would get there and how they would find the granolith once they arrived. And even if Connor had managed to figure those two things out the present hailstorm would have put a crimp in his plans anyway. Connor was starting to feel like the Fates were conspiring against him. And to make matters worse it had dropped at least ten degrees since he and Allie had been in the desert.

Connor glanced at her now, noting how her teeth chattered and she shivered in the biting wind. “Do you want my jacket?” he offered, already shrugging out of it and draping it across her shoulders.

Allie snuggled against him with a grateful smile. “You’d think with all this leather I’m wearing I wouldn’t feel a thing,” she joked. That morning she had raided Isabel’s closet for clothes while Connor had helped himself to his father’s. Connor was grateful that they had because if Allie had kept the clothes she’d worn through time she’d be a human Popsicle right now.

The thought made him smile and he slanted a glance at Allie, looping his arm around her shoulder to pull her even closer. “I’m sorry I got us in so much trouble, Al,” he murmured into her neck.

Allie favored him with a dour look before rolling her eyes. “You always get me in trouble, Connor,” she replied wryly, “It’s just never been this bad before…” Her words trailed to a whisper as she caught sight of something dark advancing in the distance, gliding through the hailstorm with the impetuous of a runaway locomotive and just as impervious. And then her eyes widened with disbelief. “…and I think it just got a lot worse,” she added right before a piercing strobe of light exploded above their heads.

~*~~*~

Maria DeLuca stalked through the halls of West Roswell High on a mission. She had not seen her best friend since that morning in the parking lot and now she was beginning to worry. It had taken her a while to reach that point. Her first reaction to Liz’s prolonged disappearance was annoyance. After all, Liz was supposed to give her the full scoopage of what was happening with Max Evans. However, when Liz didn’t show up for homeroom Maria felt her excitement give way to irritation. But then with the onset of the hailstorm, which had thankfully ebbed now, Maria’s irritation was starting to give way to worry. The storm had long since ended but Max and Liz still hadn’t returned to school.

Having found her prey, Maria cornered Alex at his locker where he was removing his books for his next class. She closed his locker with a decisive clang, barely missing his fingers when she did. “Hey!” he protested as he snatched by his hand, “What’s with you? Those were my precious, guitar playing fingers you almost crushed!”

“Where the hell is Liz?” Maria demanded, cutting straight to the point.

Alex turned to face her with an exasperated sigh, leaning his shoulder against his locker door. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he replied with a shrug, “The last time I saw Liz she and Max Evans were pulling out of the parking lot in his jeep.”

“They left?”

Alex inclined his head in a nod; somewhat disappointed that Maria was not surprised to hear that Liz and Max Evans were talking. He didn’t know why he bothered. Of course, Maria would be privy to this information before him. “Yeah, they left,” he confirmed with a sigh, “a little bit after the bell for homeroom rang.”

“Do you think they might have gotten caught in the storm?”

“That’s possible.”

“It doesn’t make any sense!” Maria cried, “They were just talking when I left! Why would Liz leave with Max Evans in the first place?”

“She needed to change her clothes,” Alex replied simply.

Maria’s initial tirade was halted by his response. Her mouth fell open in shock. “He took her home so she could change her clothes!”

Even a village idiot could have discerned the conclusion Maria had drawn for herself. Alex began shaking his head profusely and waving his hands, as if he were trying to ward her off. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! It’s not even about that, Maria!” he bit out in a whisper, “Get your mind out of the gutter!”

“I’m just drawing the logical conclusion,” Maria replied cheekily. She scooted closer to Alex, lowering her voice in a conspiratorial whisper. “Look, I saw the way Max Evans was looking at Liz today. It definitely wasn’t a ‘I want to hold your hand’ sort of look, trust me.”

Alex’s answering expression was deadpan. “You’re sick.”

“I’m right,” Maria insisted, waggling her finger at him. She emitted a snort of disgust. “I can’t believe I was worried about that girl. She’s probably somewhere sucking face with Max Evans as we speak. The slut.”

She was cut off from making more decidedly flippant comments when the principal’s voice sounded over the intercom: “Attention students. The president has just declared the a national state of emergency.” Alex and Maria exchanged bewildered frowns as his announcement continued. “Due to the recent rash of national disasters and deadly storms we’ve have seen across the country today our school day will be abbreviated and classes will end following this announcement. Travel safe and God be with you.”

“Travel safe and God be with you?” Maria repeated in disbelief, “Just what the hell is happening, Alex?”

posted on 13-Feb-2003 3:44:28 AM by Deejonaise
Hello All.

Well, let's just say I'm disheartened. Honestly. I haven't felt this disappointed since Roswell went downhill. First of all, Jen007 is leaving the board, which is monumentally sad since she's the one that started all this to begin with. And I'm not just saying that...you see I was actually around when she did. I remember reading her and Cristina and Linda's fics. I remember lurking. I remember posting Growing Up, Growing Apart and Falling in Love over there. Hey, I even met Anne over there. The fact that Jen feels the need to leave the board over this plagiarism issue is saddening to me. But what is equally saddening is how the issue has been so debated in the first place.

I am by no means a saint and I hope when I mess up, which I am bound to do, I will be given a second chance. However, the issue with latahart and Linda shouldn't have been about second chances. Before this whole thing with them came up plagiarism was an offense punishable by banning on this board. There was NO TOLERANCE involved. How do I know? I had been lurking on this board only a few months when the issue arose and the person in question was summarily banned. Now here's my question for you: You don't think that person was sorry? You don't think they wanted a second chance? Did they get one? No. So why should it have been any different for Linda and latahart?

A lot of us here write fics. We know personally what it's like to put our blood, sweat and tears into it. I know I do. There are some days when I don't sleep just so I can write the stories I do. There are like a hundred little notes I've written to myself scattered all over the house for the fics I'm writing and future ideas. Now here's the problem. It comes down to a matter of trust for me and for all the members here. Whether Linda and latahart were sorry or not, the wavering over whether to ban them compromised the integrity of this board...at least for me anyway. Why? Because I can't help but wonder if they were willing to steal ideas from a published writer what would stop them from doing so to me...or any other fanfiction writer here. I'm not saying I'm the next Danielle Steele or anything, but what I write I'm pretty proud of and I'm quite territorial about it.

I don't feel, in good conscience, I can continue posting on this board so I'm leaving. From this point on I'm going to post my fics over at Outer Haven, http://pub13.ezboard.com/bouterhaven45775. For a long time I believed this board was about respect, respect for the mods, respect for the writers and respect for the readers, but for the last few days all I've seen is disrespect and, maybe it makes me ideal or a wuss or sanctimonious or whatever, but I can't stay here. Knitzi_Killer said it best. If you're going, go. If you're staying, stay, so I'll be doing the former.

Like I said, I'll be over at Outer Haven if you wanna read me. I'll be back with the link. Thanks for all the feedback and support, peeps! It's been much appreciated.

Dee

For some reason it's not letting me link the board, but if you type in the address it should take you straight to the site.

[ edited 5 time(s), last at 13-Feb-2003 6:29:24 AM ]