posted on 23-Dec-2001 2:59:25 AM by majesty
Hi everyone,

I said I was going to do a Christmas fic, and this is it, only I am not really sure I like it, as usual. It is the normal angsty, no neat solution type of fic that you are probably used to from me. This is my first Non-NC-17 fic. Alot of the story consists of parts of Season 2 and some of Season 3, including dialogue, so if you don't want to read through alot of that, just skip this story. I wasn't even sure I was going to post this, but it's 60 pages that I worked on, so I figured why not?

It's not the best thing I've ever written, but like I said, I spent alot of time trying to piece this out.

I hope at least some of you enjoy it.

I am going to try to get another part of Flagellation out before I leave town for the holidays on Christmas, but I can't promise anything.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Majesty



MAX

December 25th, 2001

I don’t know what will be different this time. I don’t know what will make Liz believe that I am ready, finally. I am ready to turn things around. To put everything behind us and begin anew. I don’t know if she’s ready for that.

These days without her have been colorless. The world doesn’t seem as bright. The holiday spirit eludes me because I am not sharing it with her. As hard as I try to focus on finding my son, she is always in the back of my head.

For awhile, unconsciously, I was hoping that my distance, that my preoccupation would slowly drive her away. Because I don’t deserve her, and I know that. Not after all I have done.

I am fighting with myself. I know she deserves better, yet the thought of being without her scares me to death. For awhile, she made it easy for me to continue this argument inside. She was there no matter what. She supported me unconditionally while I immersed myself in the search for my son. I could leave, and she was waiting for me when I got back, when the side of me that couldn’t be without her took over.

Lately that has changed, and she has been distant, and I realized that I was going to have to either fight for her, or let her go, because if I didn’t, a side would be chosen for me.

As I sat and watched Isabel and Jesse look at each other lovingly across the table tonight, I chose my side without even thinking about it. I had to fight for her. I had to try to make myself worthy of Liz. Because someday I wanted that home with her. I wanted to have holidays with her. I wanted to be able to hold her whenever I could, and I wanted to protect her. I wanted us to be to each other what we had always dreamed…soulmates, lovers, friends. I wanted my life to start now, because it had been put on hold by destiny for too long.

As I climb up the ladder to her balcony, fear grips my stomach yet again, fighting with the anticipation of seeing her face after so many days apart.

She is sitting on the lounge, where I have seen her so many times before, cuddled in a blanket, and my heart quickens as it always does when I am near her.

Liz?”

She sees me, and I pause, waiting for her to speak, hoping that she will speak.

“What are you doing here Max?” she asks.

“It’s Christmas,” I say.

“I couldn’t not see you on Christmas. Can I…?” I ask, motioning to the lounge.

“You shouldn’t be here Max. My parents…” she says.

“They’re in the restaurant, and it looks like their busy. I checked,” I say. I can hear the sadness in her voice. I wonder if I am too late, if too much has happened.

“Come up then,” she says.

I climb over the ledge, taking my time, wanting to drink in the very sight of her, because her mere presence calms me and excites me at the same time. I realize that it is only when I am not around her that I am this person that I don’t like, that I can’t face. When she is near, I am everything I ever dreamed I could be, because she always believed in me.

I sit down next to her. I need to be close to her. I’ve waited long enough and it’s been torture.

I lean over and feel the gentle caress of her lips touching mine, and my spirit soars, as it always had.

But she is motionless, and I feel a sadness about her, that perpetual sadness that is there, though she barely ever says a word about it these days. I pull away, and she looks down. She won’t look at me.

“What’s wrong Liz?” I whisper.

“I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately Max,” she says.

“I’ve been thinking about us. Where we’ve been, where we’re going…”

It can’t be any more than I’ve been thinking about us, I think to myself.

“I’ve been thinking about that too Liz,” I say, wanting to tell her all I’d learned about myself in the past few days. I wanted to tell her everything I’d realized, and

“Let me finish Max. I need to say all of this. The thing is, I think we’re going nowhere fast. So much has happened, and there’s so much that is against us right now. I don’t see how this can work. I wanted it to work, believe me I did. But I need more than you can give me,”

“Lately, I’ve been feeling really lost, like I’ve lost myself. And I did, because I love you so much, and I wanted to badly to be with you.
But it’s not good for me. I don’t like what I’ve become. I love you, but I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be the steadfast girlfriend who waits around for you while you’re out on your investigations. I want more for myself. I *deserve* more,” she says.

“You’re right, you do,” I said, knowing that everything she said is true.

“Liz, you’re not the only one who’s been thinking about us. I know it hasn’t seemed like it, but now more than ever, you’re on my mind every second of the day, I swear it. Because when I think about you, I believe anything is possible. Like I believe someday I’ll win your parents’ trust back. I believe that with you here with me, I can save my son. But most of all, I believe that we could still have a chance to make *us* work. I know that I’ve done a lot of things wrong. I wish more than anything I could take them back, but I can’t. And those things will be with me for the rest of my life. I hate myself for what I’ve done to you, for what we’ve done to the others, for what happened to Alex because he was our friend,” I say. It is still painful for me to talk about, knowing that I couldn’t save him, that I was powerless.

“I feel like two people at once,” I say, trying to find the right words to explain how I feel.

She looks sharply at me, surprise written on her face. I don’t question it.

“There’s one Max that knows that things that I’ve done are unforgivable. That there was no way in the world you should have given me another chance. That Max tells me that I should let you go to salvage the happiness you’re entitled to. Everything has been unfair to you Liz. This whole situation, the way I’ve been acting. I know that, and I know I should just walk away. Because I don’t deserve you, not after everything that’s happened,” I say. I know this is also the truth, because above all, I have been selfish.

“But then there is this other Max, and he needs you like he needs air to breathe. And he doesn’t know how to live without you, because you’re everything to him. He knows that he’s been wrong, and he knows that he doesn’t deserve you, but he can’t stay away from you. He can’t stop trying to make it up to you. He doesn’t dare to think that you might not ever forgive him, might not ever love him again the way that you used to,” I finish. I can only hope that she can find it in her heart to believe me, to somehow know that I am telling the truth.

Her eyes fill with tears, and I would do anything to take them away.

“Max, you have this…responsibility now. You have to find your son, and I completely understand that. I really do. But I just can’t wait around anymore. I know you think you mean what you just said to me, but you’ve changed so much in the past year. You’ve become someone I don’t even know. And maybe I’ve become someone different too. I’ve tried to pretend that things are the same…that we are the same, but we’re not. I feel disconnected from you,” she said softly. And I couldn’t deny it. I hadn’t tried to connect with her, afraid of what she might see, that I really was all that Cal had said I am.

“I know,” I say. “Because I’ve pulled away from you.”

“Why?” she cries. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I am afraid,” I say.

“Of what?” she asks.

“I’m afraid that you’ll see the real me,” I answer.

“Maybe I need to Max. And maybe you need to see the real me too,” she says.

“I…Liz, I can’t,” I tell her.

“Then I don’t think we have anything else to talk about,” says looking into my eyes, and then I see the certainty. I am going to lose her. I can’t lose her, not now, not after all I’ve learned. Not when I finally get it, that I have been selfish. Not when only now did I fully appreciate everything she is to me.

I can feel the tears coming, and I can’t stop them. I can’t lose her.

“No!” I say angrily. It’s time she knew the real me. It’s time to show her all that I am, all that I have done. Maybe it will be my downfall, or maybe it will be my salvation. I know that showing her myself, my true self that I may lose her, but if I don’t open up to her now, I’ve already lost her.

“You’re right, I’ve been a coward for too long. You need to know it all, everything,” I say, and she nods at me.

She nods. I can’t move. There’s no turning back now.

My hands are on her face, much like the night I first revealed myself to her in the Crashdown. In so many ways she looks exactly the same, but her eyes reveal all that has changed.

I look into the dark reflections in her eyes, feeling her hair whispering over my hands, and after so long, too long, her soul touched mine once again.

She thinks that my destiny is with Tess. Her heart breaks as she hears my mother say the words she wanted so much to believe weren’t true. She loves me but she has to let me go.

“It’s just the four of us now…” I say, and those words cement her decision.

Though I tell her that nothing’s changed, that I love her, she cannot stand in the way of what she thinks is meant to be.

One last kiss, she thinks to herself. She wants one last kiss. She sees the confusion in my eyes, the hurt that mirrors her own as her lips caress mine, and she utters two words that break her heart.

“Goodbye Max.”

Walking away from me is the hardest thing she’s ever done. She turns and looks at me one last time as I call out to her. She sees that I don’t understand why she needs to walk away, because I love her, more than anything. She turns and runs down the hill, away from me, away from us.

She runs to her Aunt’s in Florida for the summer. She runs from the memories of us chasing her every waking moment, and in her dreams. There is no escape from the pain she feels every time she thinks of me, being in my arms, knowing that she would never feel the same about anyone ever again. Because I was the one, that true love she had always dreamed of, the person who was her other half, her heart, her life-mate.

As summer winds down she becomes more and more nervous, knowing she has to return to Roswell again, knowing she has to face me. She keeps in touch with Maria over the summer, and the last time she calls her, she asks her not to tell me that she is coming back.

Too soon she is on a plane home, and feeling the fear that she would weaken when she saw me. Maria had told her that nothing had happened between Tess and me, and it put a little spark of hope in her mind against her will. But she knows that being with me was a mistake and could put the fate of a whole planet in jeopardy. She can’t live with that.

She avoids everyone for days after she gets back, calling for an interview for an assistant at Congresswoman Whitaker’s office.

She is nervous about that too. It would be her first real job away from the Crashdown, but she feels she needs to make changes in her life. If she does that, maybe it would be easier for her to let me go.

She is waiting for Whitaker and hears my voice, and she feels the familiar tightening in her stomach. She turns and she looks at me and her breath catches in her throat, because the time away from me has dulled her memory of what it was like to be near me, without her even realizing it. The racing of her pulse, the quickening of her heartbeat, the fluttering in her stomach all comes rushing back to her.

A breathy “hi” is all she can manage for a second. She is trying desperately to remain cool, hoping that I don’t see the effect my presence has on her.

I tell her she looks different and she cringes inwardly, because despite her appearance, she has not changed inwardly, after all the self-chiding, prayers for resolution and will-power, and promises to herself that she would never let herself feel this way again, because her heart couldn’t stand it.

She is grateful when the Congresswoman walks up, because she is afraid of where our conversation is going. I tell her that Tess and I are just friends. She is afraid of what I might say next, what I might ask, and afraid that she wouldn’t say no if I did.

She has the job at the congresswoman’s office, away from the Crashdown, and from the chance that I might run into her there.

But I do anyway one night, and I stop her. She tries to just get by with a quick “hey”, and I stand in front of her.

“Let me ask you a question. I know what you said...that things couldn't go back to the way they were, but pretend they could for just one second. Could you and I go back, too? “ I ask, and her heart breaks, because it is what she wants more than anything. But things are different now, and my fate is sealed. I am a King, and she can’t compete with Tess. I have responsibilities to a whole other world.

“I...I can't pretend, Max,” she says, and I touch her arm and she gets a flood of images.

All of those tender moments, all of those passionate moments between us flash through her mind, and she can’t help but smile experiencing them again, for they were the best moments of her life.

“What?” I ask, knowing she has seen something in me.

“Nothing. Good night,” she says.

Against her will she is hopeful now, that maybe there is a chance for us, and that maybe Tess isn’t the answer to my destiny. She doesn’t seem to be, at least until she sees me walking with her one night while driving with Maria, and the reality of the situation hits her again.

She has been a fool. There is no way things can work between us. The best thing she can do is to push me away, for my sake and her own.

And she tries her best, but I won’t let her go. I tell her my intent in the Crashdown.

“I need to talk to you,” I say.

“Max, I need to talk to Maria,” she says, wanting more than anything to get away from me, away from her hurt.

“Look, you need to hear this,” I say.

“Maria tried to explain to me about you and Tess the other night, ok? But I don't...”

“This isn't about Tess. It's about you and me. You think I'm gonna forget about you or get over it or something, but...but I'm not. I don't...I don't care about my destiny or my planet or anything else. All I care about is you. So just know this...I'm coming for you, Liz,” I say, and walk away leaving her watching after me. Maybe she was wrong after all. I am fighting for her, when I didn’t back at the pod chamber that day the spring before.

Maria takes her to a psychic with Alex. She doesn’t believe in any of this and is disgusted that she allowed Maria to get her here. But hearing what the psychic said, she was more than ready to believe.

“I've never seen the cards fall like this before. The boy, he's different,” the psychic says.

“Yeah ,” she replies.

“He's very important, this boy. A leader,” the woman continues.

“Yeah, he has this whole other destiny...one that doesn't include me,” she says.

“No. He chooses love,” the woman counters.

“What?” she says in disbelief.

“He chooses you,” the psychic reiterates.

“No, no, no, no, see, that's impossible,” she argues.

“The reading is clear. You marry your true love. You have happiness. The card here? Intimacy, sex. You will not be left wanting,” the woman finishes.

And she is on a high for a few hours desperately wanting to believe that what the woman said is true.

A blinding flash draws her attention to the balcony. And she shrinks back as she sees a pair of boots attached to leather-clad legs. And when those legs bend and their owner’s face appears she gasps, because it is me, yet it can’t be me.

It can’t be me. How?

But it is me, and I want her to help me save the world.

At first she doesn’t believe its me. But when he predicts that I will be serenading her from the street, and it happens, there is no way she can’t.

He tells her that she has to help him change the future, because if she doesn’t, it will mean the end of the world fourteen years from now. He needs her help.

“Why don't you just go to Tess?” she asks.

“It's you I trust. It's you I have faith in, and because it's not just about getting me close to Tess. I need you to help me fall out of love with you,” Future Me says.

She doesn’t want to believe what he says, but realizes that if he is telling the truth, she has to help because she loves me so much, because if she doesn’t, people we love are going to die.

And so she goes to Tess and offers to help her get together with me. She sets her up at a table to wait for me, with a book, John Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors.

She and the future version of myself watch from an office across the street.

“So, um...did we get married?” she asks. She has to know. If she would never have me she at least wanted to know what might have been.

“Liz, you know I can't...” Future Me says, and she is sorry she asked, sorry she put me in that position.

“You...I know, you can't talk about it. I'm sorry. I know,” she says sadly, realizing that if I tell her, it could affect the future.

But I must have had some empathy toward her, toward her wistful expression as she looks out of the blinds at the present version of me sitting with Tess.

“We eloped. We were 19,” Future Me says.

This revelation shocks her.

“We were 19? Wow, that is so young. That is too young,” she says, secretly thrilled that she would have been married in two years time to the only one who would ever hold her heart.

“That's what I said, but you said that Romeo and Juliet were even younger than us, so we drove to Vegas. Got married at the Elvis chapel. Congratulations, kids,” Future Me laughs wryly.

“So we didn't have a real wedding,” she says, a little disappointed.

Oh, we had a great wedding. You called Maria, Michael, Isabel, and Alex, and had them meet us halfway. We spent the whole night singing and dancing in some dive outside Phoenix, and at the end of the night, "I Shall Believe" came on the radio,” Future Me says.

“I love that song,” she says, knowing that every time she hears it, she thinks of me.

“I know. Everyone else was exhausted, but not us. Oh, we danced...just the two of us. And ever since then, it's been our song,” Future Me says.

She tries to imagine what the night might have been like, the night that would now never come to pass.

“If this works...I'm not gonna have that day,” she says sadly.

“No, you won't,” Future Me replies.

All looks like it is going to plan, until present me looks up from the table and sees them peering through the blinds, and quickly starts across the street to the office, opening the door.

She panics.

“Max,” she says shakily.

“Were you watching?” I ask.

“Um...” is all she can think to say.

“So, it was all a setup,” I say.

“Yeah,” she replies guiltily.

“You tried to get Tess and me together?” I ask in disbelief.

She doesn’t know what to say.

“Look, I know that you must hate me right now. I, um...”

And then I grab her and my lips are over hers, and she can’t think because those flashes of us together are running through her head again. I drag my lips away from hers and she is wishing that our kiss would never end, that she could forget what the future version of myself has asked her to do.

“I felt that...and I know you did, too, and I know you think that...that I need to let you go...for the sake of Michael, and Isabel, and my race...so you went to Tess. But she can't be you. Tess can never be you,” I tell her fiercely.

“Max, we have to stop this. We have to. I am telling you that we have to,” she says desperately. Her heart can’t take this.

“Go out with me on Friday. There's a Gomez concert in Santa Fe. I have tickets,” I say.

Oh how she wanted to say yes, but the future, his future, their friends’ future depended on this.

“No. No, Max. I can't go out with you ever again. Please stop doing this,” she cries.

“I can't,” I tell her.

%*%*%*%*%*%*

She knows that I am not going to give up. The future version of me knows it too and tells her she has to do something else. And so she comes to me, to my window, and she is in my room, saying the hardest thing she’d ever have to say to anyone. And as she’s saying it, her heart is breaking.

“Don't say anything, ok? Um, because I...I came in here with this whole speech, and once you start talking, my speech doesn't apply, and everything gets changed, and I just want to make sure that I say everything to you, so just don't say anything. Just don't say anything. Ok, I...I just re-read "Romeo and Juliet", and you know, the first thing that I realized is that isn't even the title. It's called "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet". They die. You know, she's this young girl, she...she's younger than me, and she dies. Look, I think the reason why people think that it's such a romantic play is they don't know what it's like to be put in that position...but when your life and...and other people's lives are...are put at risk, there isn't anything romantic about it. Max, you can't stop what's happening to you. I mean, your life will always be dangerous, but my life, it doesn't have to be. My life is only in danger if I am with you. I...I want to be in love with boys...normal boys. I...I want to see my 21st birthday. I...I want to have a wedding day. I...I...I want to have children...and I want my children to be safe. You know, Max, if...if you truly love me, you'll let me go. I may love you, but I...I don't want to die for you,” she finishes, hoping that it rings true, hoping that I will believe it, because she doesn’t know what else to do.

But it doesn’t work. I still love her, even after that.

“It didn't work. We have to do something else,” Future Me says.
“No, I...I can't,” she says, feeling as if she were going to snap.

“You have to,” Future Me says fiercely.

She starts to cry.

“Do you know how hard it was for me to tell him that I didn't want to die for him? He's the only reason that I'm alive right now. You...you've...you gotta come up with another plan. Please go to someone else. I...I just...I can't do this anymore,” she says tearfully.

“Just 25 minutes before I came here, I held Michael in my arms...dead. Isabel died 2 weeks before that. Now you have to do this. You have to find a way. All of our lives depend on it,” Future Me tells her.

So she comes up with the most drastic measure yet. She asks Kyle to help her. She wants to make it seem as if they slept together. Kyle tries to question her, but she won’t divulge her reasons.

And they are there in bed, and she is trying not to think about what this will do to me, what it will do to her. What it will do to us.

But it is too late, because I am at the window, and she sees the look of utter misery and betrayal on my face as I back away dropping the tickets.

She is sitting with the future version of me, feeling as if she has effectively destroyed me.

“I've fought a thousand battles...but watching you do that was the hardest thing I've ever had to do,” Future Me says.

She is crying, for all that is lost, for all that we would never have.

“The look on his face...on your face,” she says.

“Maybe it's for the best. For you, too,” older me says.

She can’t believe what she is hearing.

“What are you talking about?” she asks.

“I saw you with Kyle. He's turning out to be a...a great guy. Maybe it would be better for you to be with a human,” I say to her.

She looks at me incredulously, as if I have missed a crucial detail.

“Don't you realize what you are to me...and you're always gonna be? You're the love of my life. Everyone else is gonna be second best. There'll never be another you,” she says, with a wistful smile.

Then she asks for her wedding dance, the one she would never have. It represents the life she would never have with me.
posted on 23-Dec-2001 2:59:51 AM by majesty
MAX (Continued)

As my future self takes her in his arms, she wonders what it would have been like to have those years with me, to know love like she has never known before, that perfect bonding with her soul-mate. And she relishes this moment, because she knows what I have become, what we have become, and that we had never stopped loving each other. A strong hand twirls her and she smiles spinning back toward that face that is so familiar, yet not, because it is marred with heartache and loss and sacrifice. But it’s gone, I am gone, and she is left standing alone in the night.

It worked. I had given up, and history had been changed. She feels her heart break as she looks up at the stars, where I had come from and where I would probably someday return. Somewhere in her heart she had believed that even after everything, even with things as bad as they appeared, that I wouldn’t give up on her.

Then the next day the news about Whitaker’s “car accident” appears on the news. Her wake was being conducted in Copper Summit. She feels as if she is going to lose her mind. She couldn’t deal with this on top of what she’d done to me. She can’t look at me as we all gather to discuss the ramifications of this latest event. Isabel has killed Whitaker trying to save Tess. So why in the world was there a report that she had died in an accident? We go to the Congresswoman’s office and look through her things and find a notice from the Universal Friendship League in Copper Summit that her membership was expiring and she calls only to hear a distinct hang-up when she starts asking questions. We decide we have to investigate, and that she has to come with us, as she is the only legitimate link to Whitaker.

She doesn’t want to go, to be near me, to have to bear my accusatory gaze, but she knows that all of their lives may depend on it.

And so she finds herself driving the jeep, and she feels my gaze and looks into the rear-view mirror to see Tess asleep with her head on my shoulder. But I am staring at her in the mirror, my eyes locking with hers.

She breaks the gaze, unable to sustain the hurt in my eyes.

“I'm...I'm ok up here...if you want to get some sleep,” she says.

“I haven't slept since I saw you with Kyle. Liz, I know you, and I don't believe that you would do that to me. It doesn't make sense. Tell me what happened,” I say pleadingly, and this cuts her like a knife, because I don’t understand, and would never know the truth. She can’t tell me, because it would cost us all more than she could bear.

In Copper Summit, she is able to put it to the back of her mind as she meets and talks to Whitaker’s parents. They offer to let us stay with them. Soon enough though, she is again overwhelmed with what she has done to me, and she can feel the palpable hurt that is pouring from me in her direction. She has to get away from it, from me, and so she tries to sneak off on a walk, but I won’t let her.


“Liz! Liz, what are you doing? We agreed none of us would go anywhere alone.” I say to her, and she sighs in desperation.

Fine,” she says, turning to walk back to the house, to be anywhere but alone with me. But I don’t let her off that easy.

“Wait,” I say, blocking her.

She cringes inwardly, not ready for the confrontation. She isn’t ready to have to face what she has done. She isn’t ready to face me.

“Max, look. There's just...there's nothing left to say,” she says, at a loss as to what else to say, hoping that I will let it go.

“Except the truth,” I answer.

“We have already been through this!” she says desperately.

“So far, all I know is what I saw, and what I saw can't be true, because it means everything I felt in my heart for the last year is a lie! Now, you owe me an explanation, and I want it right now!” I yelled.

“No. No this is too hard. I knew it would be hard to push him away, but I never thought about what would happen after. I never thought about having to face him. I just thought he’d never talk to me again,” she thinks to herself.

“Please quit shouting, Max. You're scaring me,” she says, trying any ploy to make me go away, to get the focus away from what was really going on.

“That's a lie, too! You're not scared. You're hiding something,” I answer her.

“I'm not,” she insists, hating that she has to lie to me, because she loves me, and she wanted more than anything to be able to tell me the truth.

“What the hell is going on with you, Liz? We never lied to each other, never kept a secret from each other,” I ask, the hurt in my voice like a needle in her heart.

“You know, you have got me up on this pedestal, Max, and...I'm not this perfect person. I made a mistake. Look, Kyle and I made love. The end. “I'm sorry,” she says, knowing that this is it. That these would be the words that would push me away.

And I did avoid her and she notices it. She is grateful to be back in Roswell after we destroyed the Skins’ harvest. She hopes that this is the end.

But it isn’t. The Skins make everyone in Roswell disappear with a strange alien energy. Her parents are gone. Alex is gone. Every human is gone but Kyle, the Sheriff, and Maria and herself because they weren’t in town when it happened. The skins are in town looking for us, and she feels as if her whole world is falling apart.

Valenti disappears and she realizes that time is catching up and that the humans will disappear. Kyle looks at a postcard on a rack in the UFO Museum and remembers the rod sticking out of the billboard, which isn’t in the photo, and she agrees with him that the humans should go to see if they can neutralize it.

There is so much that she wants to say to me that she can’t, so much that she wants to tell me. But there isn’t time, and it won’t solve anything. She leaves with Kyle and Maria without speaking what she so desperately wants to say.

Driving toward the outskirts of town, she panics.

“No! I can't leave it like this!” she says wretchedly.

“Excuse me?” Maria says.

“Max. No, I walked out on him without explaining what happened between you and me,” she says to Kyle.

“Huh?” Maria says, confused.

“I didn't even say good-bye!” she cries.

“Look, you've got a job to do. Max has got a job to do. When everybody's done with their job, you can make nice,” Kyle says.

“He'll never know!” she says, anguished, hating to believe that she might disappear without me ever knowing how much she really loves me.

“He's Max. He'll always know. Right?” Kyle asks.

She disappears.

Maria disables the rod, and she is back, but Kyle was wrong. I didn't know. I never knew.

And she watches as we become tortured strangers, passing each other, uncomfortable in the other’s presence. And she hates it.

Things seem to take on a new meaning for her. As she sits in class, she listens to the teacher lecture. She sees that I am listening too.

“A black hole...that's what's left after a star dies. And that's exactly what happened last week, my friends. The spectacular, stellar, implosion of a red giant, unheard of in the history of astronomy...the first time a post-main sequence star burning in its prime suddenly and without warning violently exploded in a supernova of a hundred million degrees and disappeared, a process that typically takes many thousands of years. What could have accounted for this...remarkable loss?” the teacher asks.

Class ends, and she catches up with me in the hall.

“Hey. Kinda weird about that star, huh? Kinda sad. It just doesn't seem that something burning so bright could just...burn out,” she said, hoping against hope that I would know what she meant, that I would understand, that I would forgive.

“But it did,” I say flatly and walk away.

She watches me as I sit in the booth at the Crashdown later that night, as it empties out and still I sit there. She needs to say something to me. She needs me to forgive her. She needs me in her life, in any capacity, and she needs it desperately.

“Um, do you want anything else from the kitchen? 'Cause it's gonna close,” she says timidly.

“No, thanks,” I say.

The monotone ring of my voice, and the way that I can’t look at her is making her crazy. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She understood that we couldn’t be together, but why did it have to be this way?

“I hate this. I hate that we can't even be around each other. Long before we kissed...we were friends. We talked. We laughed. I don't understand why we just can't go back to that,” she said.

“We can't. I can't. I just...I need time,” I say.

“Ok. I understand that. I do. I...I can respect it. But, um...I don't want you to hate me,” she says. She can’t bear it if I hate her. If I thought that badly of her. If I couldn’t even be in the same room with her. And I can’t. I leave.

She begins to think that there is nothing she can do to change the way I feel. In a way, she doesn’t blame me, but it still hurts more than any pain she has ever experienced in her life.

And it only gets worse, because Rath, Lonnie and Ava show up in town. And I pull even further away from everyone, and she doesn’t know why. One night I come to her window. She is surprised, but so glad to see me.

“Hi,” she says.

“You said...you wanted to be friends...and I thought about it. And...I realized that...that I can't be friends with you because...I'm still hanging on...to you. To what we had. So...I decided to make a clean break. Here,” I say, handing her the pocket knife.

“Max, this is yours. I gave it to you last Christmas,” she says sadly, thinking that she can’t believe that it has come to this. That I hated her that much.

“I'm giving it back. I'm...I'm going to New York with Rath and Lonnie and...and Tess...to the summit,” I say.

“Are you gonna come back?” she asks alarmed.

“I don't know. I can't think that far ahead,” I say, and she feels a panic in her heart that she might never see me again, that I am going with Tess, and going away from her. But she had to warn me about what the future version of me told her.

“Wait, um, Max...um...when...when you're at the summit, the Granolith, ok? It's powerful, and it could be really dangerous if the wrong people get their hands on it,” she says.

“What are you talking about? How do you know anything about the granolith?” I ask suspiciously, and she realizes she has said too much. But she couldn’t help it. She needed me to be safe, after all she had given up.

“Oh...I can't tell you. But I just...I know, and...please, Max. You have to trust me,” she says, praying that he could find that trust I used to have in her before her betrayal.

“I guess that's the problem, Liz,” I say, and I leave.

Ava stays behind, and she learns the ugly truth, that Lonnie and Rath plan to kill me. They need to do something. Isabel tries to dreamwalk me.

“Damn it! It's not working. I can't reach him,” Isabel says frustrated.

“Yeah, but you gotta try again,” Michael insists.

“Won't do any good. He's not hearing me,” Isabel answers.

“Ok, so um, what's plan "B"?” she asks.

“There isn't one,” Isabel says dejectedly.

“Liz can do it,” Ava says.

“What?” Isabel says, confused.

“What are you talking about?” Liz asks.

“Max brought you back from the dead. You've been changed,” Ava answers.

This latest revelation leaves her stunned. How had I changed her?

“What do you mean by changed?” she asks.

“Look, there ain't enough time to explain. You just gotta trust me here. If Max brought you back, then...you're different now,” Ava says.

Ava tells her that she can connect to me in New York through Isabel. At first it seems like it isn’t going to work, but then she sees me on the street, and she cries out to me. She is desperately hoping that I see her and I do. I step forward and the connection is gone. She is back in the Crashdown.

She knows I am safe, and she is grateful. Even if I never speak to her again, she is grateful.

But then I am back, and I come to see her. It is strange and wonderful for her to see me without the accusation in my eyes. She is still reeling after finding out from Ava that she has been changed.

She looks in the mirror, seeing me watching her from behind.

“I keep looking for some sort of change,” she says.

“You mean like..?” I say smiling, putting up two fingers near the top of her head, as if she has alien antennae.

Her heart soars at my grin.

“Yeah. Something like that. It's nice to see you smile again,” she says, and she truly means it.

“I want to thank you for saving my life,” I say.

“I guess that makes us even,” she answers.

“And...I'd like to...start again...our friendship, that is. I mean...I miss it,” I say haltingly.

My words are the greatest gift she could receive, she thinks.

“Yeah. Um...I miss it, too,” she says, looking into my eyes.

“There's just one thing I have to say. One thing I have to ask...and...I promise I'll never ask it again,” I say, and her body stiffens, because she knows what I am going to ask.

“Yeah. Go ahead,” she says.

“Did you...sleep with Kyle?” I ask.

Why did it have to keep coming back to this? That night was like a nightmare that she never wanted to relive again. But now, I trust her. She knows it. Now was the time to have courage, to seal this destiny forever and move on, wherever it took them, and she nods slightly.

“Ok. I'll see you tomorrow,” I say, climbing out the window.

She is glad that we became tentative friends, but she wanted so much more. She wanted me, all of me. She wanted to be able to find a way to keep Tess here and still have the only thing she ever wanted, my love, my heart.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

The trip to Vegas is bittersweet. Seeing the signs for the Elvis Chapel, where we would have gotten married. Feeling my distance even though we had said we’d be friends. She is just about giving up on the trip altogether. I tell her I am leaving.

She is playing pinball when I come up behind her.

“Not bad,” I say, and she turns.

“Oh, well, yeah. Yeah after playing 6 hours and a 1000 quarters, you sort of get a rhythm going,” she says uncomfortably.

“Yeah, I heard you were down here. I just want to let you know I'm leaving,” I say.

This was just topping off this nightmare of an excursion.

“Oh! Is everything okay?” she asks.

“Yeah, yeah. It's just...Vegas. Kinda make your skin crawl,” I say.

“Yeah,” she says wistfully, looking at the Elvis Chapel poster.

“I mean, who would ever want to get married in an Elvis Chapel, right?” she says, hoping that somehow something would click in my brain about the future we never had. But how can it? I never knew it existed, and she knows that.

She sees me look at the poster.

“Not me. Not in this lifetime,” I say, and she chides herself. What was she thinking?

“Yeah...” she says sadly.

“Well, I've got a plan to catch, so...” I say.

“Yeah, right,” she answers.

“See you in Roswell, Liz,” I say.

“Yeah,” she answers.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Maria has planned this big dinner at a club, and she doesn’t even want to go, but doesn’t want to hurt her feelings.

She is sitting by herself at the table, looking at the others dancing.
Suddenly, she feels a tap on her shoulder. She looks up to see me holding out my hand out to her. She takes my hand and we begin to dance.

“I thought you'd be at the airport right now,” she says.

“I was on my way, but I had this weird moment,” I say to her.

“What do you mean?” she asks, curious.

“Well, I saw this vision. You and me, jumping out of the cab like we'd just been married in Vegas,” I say.

Her throat tightens as she realizes her wish has come true. He has seen the future, only he doesn’t know it.

“That's weird,” she says, her voice catching.

“Yeah, it was like this memory flash of something that really happened, but then...” I trail off.

“Max. Oh Max,” she starts to say.

It runs through her mind to tell me everything. She wants this over. She wants this agonizing awkwardness between them to be gone. She wants back what she has lost. She wants me to look at her with total trust again. She wants to see that soul-capturing love shining in his eyes that was there every time he used to look at her. But it was still too dangerous. There was still so much at risk. And the moment passed.

*%*%*%*%*%*

She’d kissed Sean. And she didn’t feel anything. She liked him, but she didn’t feel anything, except guilt about how I might have felt about it. This only reinforced her belief that there would never be anyone else for her but me.

Prom was coming and she hasn’t seen me in days. She’s been thinking about it a lot lately. Ever since I had healed her, ever since I had opened myself up to her, she’d been dreaming of going with me. She had even bought a dress last year. But I had not been around, and things were so strange between us.

She is writing outside in the quad at a picnic bench.

“Hey,” I say as I sit across from her.

“Oh, hey,” she says, trying to act non-committal at seeing me, at me talking to her for the first time in weeks.

“There's a, there's something I've been wanting to tell you,” I say.

“Yeah?” she asks, looking over to see a couple hug in excitement, knowing the girl just got asked to the prom.

“The prom,” she says wistfully.

“Yeah,” I answer.

“Yeah, it seems like Michael and Maria aren't going,” she says, skirting the subject.

“Well, I, I think that one might be a little too early to call,” I say.

She realizes that she has to say something about what she has been thinking for the past few weeks.

“It's really weird. You know... A year ago I was so certain that the four of us would go together. I always picture that moment, you know, walking in through those double doors together. I even bought a dress,” she says.

“You did?” I say surprised.

And she is embarrassed, a little.

“Yeah. Well, you know it was around that time last year when we first kissed and everything seemed so...” she trails off.

“Simpler,” I finish.

“Yeah. Max, I know that we're not seeing each other and I accept that, I do. But, um, this is my prom, you know, it really means a lot to me. I, I've put a lot of thought into it,” she says.

“Well, you know, we can go,” I offer.

“We can?” she says, feeling a spark of hope rise.

“Yeah, I mean, okay, fine, we're not together, but we're also not with anyone else,” I say.

“Right. I, I mean it doesn't have to be some life changing thing. It can just... you know we can just go and have a good time,” she rationalizes.

“I would love that,” I say.

“Me too,” she says, smiling. “Oh, um, so was there something that you wanted to tell me.”

“Right, I'm starting to remember things. About my planet, my life, my other life,” I say.

“Wow,” she says, wondering if he remembered Tess.

“Yeah, yeah, it's, it's weird, like, for the first time I can remember things. You know, like what it smelled like. What it felt like to be there,” I say.

“Yeah, that, that's great,” she answers.

“Yeah, I've been dying to tell you,” I say.

“Yeah, yeah, that, that, that must be really exciting. Wow, so um, do you remember like actual people, you know, like Michael and Isabel?” she asks.

“Yeah, more like their energy than what anyone actually looks like,” I say.

I haven’t offered and she has to know.

“Right, what about Tess?” she asks.

“Yeah, I remember her too,” I say softly, and her heart falls.

“That's great,” she says almost dejectedly.

%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

She’s missed the bus, and Sean pulls up, offering her a ride. Initially she refuses, but relents.

“Listen, about the other night, um... I, I know it was a mistake what I did, okay? But I, I just wanted to say that when, when we kissed, it was um, it was the first time that I ever felt at home, in this town. So...” he says.

“Look, Sean, I'm, I'm going to the prom with Max,” she says, not wanting to hurt his feelings.

“Oh, well, you should've just told me you guys were back together. I mean, I don't feed off another man's taco platter, so...” he says.

“No, well, we're not back together, we're just going to the prom,” she explains.

“Right,” he says, nodding his head.

“Mm hmm,” she answers distractedly.

“Hey, my hat's off to the guy,” he says suddenly.

“What is that suppose to mean?” she asks defensively.

“Nothing, just uh, you know, nice operation he's got going...” he says.

“An operation?” Liz says a little angrily.

“Yeah, I mean, you know, he's free to play the field and yet he's keeping you off the market,” Sean says.

“That's not what's happening Sean. You have no idea who Max is okay? Because if you knew him you would know that he is above and beyond that way of thinking. He is an incredibly, incredibly honorable guy,” she retorts.


%*%*%*%*%*%

She and Maria have caught Michael at Juanita’s.

“Why?! Why?! Why, why?! I just don't understand, I wish, I wish that I hadn't seen that, I wish that I hadn't figured it out, I wish...” Maria says, letting the sentence hang.

“Maria, we don't know for sure that anything happened. You know we could be reading into this whole thing,” she answers.

“That's why you have to go and ask Max,” Maria sniffles.

“No, Maria, I do not think that's such a good idea,” she interjects.

“Please!” Maria pleads.

She agrees and walks up to his house. As she gets to the window, she sees me hugging Tess, and we're both smiling. She walks away.

*%*%*%*%*%
posted on 23-Dec-2001 3:00:23 AM by majesty
MAX (Continued)



Sean stops her at the Crashdown and she is upset. She yells at him, tells him her life is falling apart, and he offers to take her somewhere. They wind up breaking into the bowling alley.

“So um, can I tell you my theory?” Sean asks.

“Can I stop you?” she returns.

He laughs.

“You and I are, are really different people,” he says.

“That's your theory,” she says a little derisively.

“But the thing is, that if we're so different then why do I feel so much every time I look at you? I mean it's not completely one sided is it? This town. Every body's always looking at me, like... there's Sean, just got back from juvie. What's crazy Sean gonna do next? And that's what I figured out about you. You're not that different. I mean this whole arrangement you have with Max, it's like you're not together but you're not apart. I mean I bet you can't even talk to me without wondering what Max is gonna think about it. But meanwhile, you're not getting what you need from him, are you? You're suffocating Liz. We both are,” he says, and she realizes he is right.

Prom night comes, and she is still torn up over seeing Tess and I together.

I tell her she looks beautiful, but it is bittersweet for her, because she thinks I want to be with Tess.

We sit at a table in the gym.

“So...,” I say uncomfortably.

“Yeah...” she says with the same awkwardness.

“You wanna dance?” I ask.

“Sure,” she says.

We walk to the dance floor and the music changes to slow music.

My arms around her are making her heart hurt. She needs to get her hurt out. She needs to tell me what she is feeling.

“Max, I just want to say that I feel really weird,” she says.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“I mean I saw you with Tess,” she reveals.

“Saw me what with Tess?” I asked, obviously confused.

“I saw you with her. I came by your house yesterday to talk to you about something and you were with her,” she said.

“We were just trying to find out things about where I came from, that's all,” I say almost defensively.

“I know, I know, I mean, you know, you keep saying that. but you um, keep on leaving out this really pertinent fact. That you were married to her. I feel like my whole life for the past year has been waiting for some really bad news. Oh, you know, by the way Liz, I remember Tess, and I love her. It's really paralyzing,” she says, her voice brimming with emotion.

“I know it's not easy,” I say.

“No, Max, it can be. It can be really, really easy. You know, we both just stop pretending,” she says fiercely.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“You know, maybe we're both just holding on to something that'll never be. Max, maybe we should just let go. I have been in so much pain this whole year, and it's like I'm suffocating,” she says in an anguished voice.

“Liz,” I start to say, and she shakes her head, because I have no easy answers for her.

“Um, I should go, you know, for Maria,” she says.

“Right,” I say.

“She's all alone tonight,” she says.

“Go ahead,” I say.

“Max,” she starts.

“Go ahead,” I say again.

%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

She is in the hallway, and she sees us. I am sitting on the bench next to Tess, and our lips are entangled in a tender embrace. She feels as if she is going to be sick. This is what she’d sacrificed everything for. This was what was supposed to happen, but she felt as if she were going to die.

She threw out the corsage I gave her and ran out the doors, tears streaming down her face.

Again she is with Sean Deluca, and they are in the bowling alley. As she slides down the alley, she finally accepts what she has told me earlier. Because she didn’t actually quite believe what she had said to me. Now she did. It was time to move on.

But life has a way of throwing situations at you; tragedies, the unspeakable, the unhealable.

Alex is dead. And she is numb. She watches me get into that van, and she is numb. She knows I can’t help him, but she feels cold, nothing but cold.

I come out and shake my head, and Isabel runs off and she tells me to go after her. She is left standing there alone. No one is there to comfort her. No one is there to tell her things are going to be ok.

She goes to the auto wrecker, and she finds the photo of Leanna.

She is wandering the streets, and it overwhelms her. She is sick at the side of the road, and suddenly she knows needs to see me. She needs my comfort.

She tells me she doesn’t want to be alone. We sit while I give her something to eat, and she tells me she saw me kissing Tess. She tells me she is ok with it.

She needs to know that we will always be friends, and I tell her we would be. That we would find out what happened.

Which totally throws her for a loop when I tell her after Alex’s funeral that I believe, like Valenti, that he nay have committed suicide. This was like the ultimate betrayal to her, after everything we have been through.

She finds concert tickets in a book in his room. Why would someone buy concert tickets if they were planning on ending it all? But when she tells all of us this, I discount it. I tell her that his grades have fallen, that there is proof that he wasn’t in a right frame of mind. She doesn’t believe it, and tells me that I don’t want to believe that it wasn’t an accident, because then I would have to face the possibility that I am responsible. We all seperate, humans and hybrids. Kyle is the only one who sticks with her. He thinks that something isn’t right.

That night, in the Crashdown she spreads photos on the table. There were photos of her Maria and Alex, all of us together. As she looks at them, all of the loss and sadness of Alex’s death rises to the surface, and she cries. She cries for Alex, who had such a bright future. She cries for all she has lost, because she changed the future. She cries because she feels utterly alone.

She is beyond hurt that I don’t believe her, that it wasn’t an accident. Because she always thought that no matter what, at the very least, we had faith in each other. She vows to find out the truth.

As she starts investigating, she only becomes more resolute when I confront her, when I tell her to stop because she is drawing attention to all of us. That she is putting all of us in danger. But Alex was her best friend, and she owes him that, to find out the truth, the reason why his life ended before it had really begun. This quest allows her able to push the thought of never seeing him again to the back of her mind.

She makes calls to Alex’s host family, the Olsens in Sweden, where he had allegedly stayed for a few months. They don’t return her calls. She investigates the building in the photo she found in the car of Alex and Leanna, a girl he became close with in Sweden.

Things are coming to a head. She decides to go to Sweden herself to talk to the Olsens. As she is waiting for her cab, I pull up in my jeep. I demand that she drop this. She tells me I can’t play the “King card” on her. I tell her if she goes, our friendship is over. She tells the driver to leave.

As she is getting ready to board the plane, she gets a call from the Swedish Embassy. The building Alex and Leanna were standing in front was torn down in 1994.

She and Maria go to Las Cruces after finding out Alex sent emails from there. They spot Leanna, but she eludes them. Through a student, they find out about the computer Alex was working on, and they find that the information he was working on was deleted and sent to Leanna via email. Michael shows up as the are in the computer lab.

They check Leanna’s room, as it appears she has left the campus. They find magazine renewal notices and property rental bills for a piece of land outside of Las Cruces. They get there and a laptop is set up in a room off the kitchen, but when they enter it it sets off a security device. Michael uses his powers to launch it outside right before it blows up. They approach the laptop. On it is the translation to the book. The book that tells them how to operate the Granolith.

She doesn’t know what to think about this, but she knows that now we have answers.

She is sitting with Maria, Kyle and Sean when I walk up with Michael and I ask her if we can talk alone.

We go up to her room, and she wonders what I could possibly have to say to her.

“You were right, about Alex. He was killed by an alien. I prayed that that wasn't the case but it was. We're responsible,” I say.


“I never blamed you Max. I never blamed any of you,” she says, her heart aching, wanting more than anything to take back these past six months.

“I know. I know you didn't,” I say.

“I never wanted to lose you,” she says, thinking of all the pain we’d both been through.

“Me either,” I say softly.

“Liz, I need all the information that you have on Leanna,” I tell her.

I tell her I am going to take care of her, and she insists on going with me, because Alex was her friend.

She can tell something is wrong with me, but she remains silent. Together we go to Las Cruces, and we slip into the heating duct. We see Leanna through the grille. She is sewing and she pokes her finger with the needle. She thinks there is something off about it, but can’t put her finger on it. She tells me that something doesn’t feel right.

I tell her to she can go if she wants and she leaves me there, using my powers to build an explosion. In the hall it hits her. Leanna is human. She runs into her room and shouts fire.

As she gets her out, and grabs the tissue with Leanna’s blood on it, I am in the hall. She isn’t an alien, she tells me.

Enroute to Roswell, I pull over. She is looking at me confused.

I tell her that Tess and I slept together and that she was pregnant. Her heart drops into her stomach, her dream of that special moment gone with the mere utterance of a few words. I had slept with her, with Tess. They were going to have a child.

She told herself it was bound to happen, that it was supposed to happen, but then why did it hurt so much? It was the whole reason she had changed the future. The thought of it was making her nauseous, but she had to put it aside. They had to find Alex’s killer.

It’s proven Leanna is human when we look at it under a microscope.

I ask her if Leanna is innocent, then who is the killer?

She says she doesn’t know. Whoever did it set up Leanna. She says we have to find the killer before someone else gets hurt.

I tell her I can’t do that.

She doesn’t understand.

I tell her that my son is dying in this atmosphere, and that we are leaving, at dawn.

She could take a lot of things, but her realization that I was, we were going to abandon them with a killer still on the loose, made fury course through her body. All of her anger at me erupted.

“You can't leave before this is resolved,” she says.

“The way the granolith works...” I start to say.

“I don't really want to hear about how the damn-” she grates.

“I know you don't-” I say, and she interrupts.

“You can't just leave us with a killer out there,” she says angrily.

“I don't have a choice!” I tell her.

And she snaps.

“Not anymore, but you did and then you got Tess pregnant!” she yells.

I know you're upset,” I say.

This was too much for her to bear. My betrayal was complete.

“I-I trusted you, I gave you everything. I jumped off bridges for you, I broke laws for you, I risked getting shot for you, I trusted you! And you go off-- God, with Tess-- God, I saved myself for you!” she yelled.

“Saved yourself? You slept with Kyle!” I yell back.

She stares at me for a moment, realizing what she has just revealed.

“Take me home,” she says softly.

*%*%*%*%*%*%

The ride to the Crashdown is silent. She has no words to describe her despair. I am leaving her. I’m leaving her with a killer roaming around because I had gotten the girl she hates most in the world pregnant. She wants to crawl up in a ball and go to sleep, to forget, to erase me from her mind. But she knows that that will never happen. She loved me so much that there was nothing that can make her forget me, or what I have done to her.

We sit in front of the Crashdown in the jeep.

“I always thought when we graduated I would give you my ring. It looks like I won't graduate, so this is something from where I'll be,” I say giving her the pendant, and she looks down at it with a mixture of disbelief and anguish.

“I can't believe that this is what I have of you. I can't believe that after everything...” she says tearfully. Why did things have to end up this way? It was all her fault.

“Liz, you never slept with Kyle, did you?” I ask.

It was time I knew. There was nothing that could change what was going to happen. I was leaving, and there was nothing to stop it, not even her love.

She shakes her head, affirming my question. She sees the tears welling in my eyes, and hears the break in my voice as I speak.

“I wish, I wish this all could have been different. I wish that so much,” I say, as I lean over to kiss her, and for that split second, she feels my lips on hers and she wonders how she will do without this, because I will be gone, in another galaxy, in another life, with Tess. Reluctantly our kiss breaks.

“I guess that this is our goodbye. Just tell me one thing…do you love her?” she asks. She has to know before I go, if what we had was ever real, or just a diversion for me.

“Not like I love you,” I say, and she gets out of the jeep.

As she walks to the door, she looks back one more time at my face, as I try to smile, my lips are quivering, and she knows it’s time to turn away. She opens the door and goes inside, breaking down as soon as she in the door. What was she going to do without me? Even when we weren’t speaking, even when I couldn’t look at her, she still knew I was there. She still knew that she could tell me the truth about what happened the fall before. But now I would never know.

She had saved Isabel and Michael’s lives at the price of her best friends. But she had prevented the end of the world. She should feel good about this but she couldn’t. She wanted things to go back to the way that they were. When we were in danger, but we were in it together. When above all else, we always trusted each other implicitly.

Tomorrow I would be gone forever, and her heart would go with me, even though I had betrayed her, even though I had slept with Tess.

She and Maria find out that Alex was mind-warped when they see Maria’s mother pacing the kitchen, talking about their abduction by Brody. They call her, and she starts an incessant tapping with her fingers, the same tapping Maria had noticed Kyle doing earlier.

They go to Kyle and they try to get him to remember, to concentrate in his room, and he remembers. Tess was mindwarping Alex. He is telling her he can’t do it anymore. He wants out. She blasts him with another powerful mind-warp and he falls to the ground dead. Kyle witnesses this and Tess mind-warps him, having him help her bring his body to the car, thinking it was luggage.

They rush to the pod chamber to tell us, hoping they aren’t too late, but the door to the chamber is sealed.

Michael comes out and they tell him, and they all rush into the chamber.

She tells me that Tess killed Alex. I tell them all to get out. She leaves with the others, standing outside, wondering what I will do to Tess, wondering if I will leave anyway. But moments later I rush out of the chamber and grab her hand, leading her away from it.

She feels my arms go around her as the ground shakes, and she buries her head in my chest. She feels betrayed by me, but she is overwhelmed by the relief that I didn’t leave.

The Granolith breaks through the rock, launching into the sky as we watch it leave.

I tell her I’ve been really wrong about a lot. But I was right about one thing: To get her into my life, to be around her, to love her. She doesn’t know how to feel about what I said. On one hand she is happy that I’ve realized that I was wrong about a lot, but so much had happened, and so much had changed. She didn’t know if any of us would ever be the same.

Isabel looks at me and asks me what we do now.

I say that I have to find my son.

Those words eat at her, but she understands.

She feels betrayed, but she cannot stay away from me. When I ask her on a date, she accepts.

She is nervous about our first date A.T., or “After Tess”, when she asks me why I slept with her. And my answer? That she was like me and I had to explore it, but I was over it. I tell her that I have no way off the planet, and that she paid a lot to know me, and that I want to make her happy. I want to make her dreams come true if she would let me. And she is more than ready to do that. But that very same night I have contact with his son, and she feels like she fell to the wayside again.

The logical part of her brain tries to tell her that this wasn’t going to change, that my son would always come first, but her heart doesn’t want to hear that. Her heart told her to join me in my search and to help me, because she wants to be with me in any capacity that she can. She tells me this, and we begin our search for the diamond, for a way to find my son.

Her father doesn’t like me. With good reason I guess. I almost made his daughter a felon.

She is so certain that she is doing the right thing in helping me create a diversion in the convenience store. Even after we are caught and she is sitting in a jail cell, she is defiant that we did the right thing.

The judge decides to put her on trial for robbery. She is afraid of what is going to happen to her if her case reaches trial, but she wants me to find my son. When I sneak in to ask her to run away with me, she tells me to do what I need to do, to find the ship. She doesn’t want all of this to be for nothing. She loves me so much that she is willing to face whatever punishment is dealt to her so that I can have closure, so that I can save my child.

She is shocked when she is let off on a technicality, but her father tells her she can never see me again.

For awhile she cherishes the stolen kisses we manage when her father isn’t looking.

We aren’t to see each other, which makes things even more difficult.

She finally puts her foot down at Isabel’s wedding and tells him that she is going to dance with me. Trying to get her Dad to come around is going to be an uphill battle, and one that now she isn’t totally sure is worth fighting. Yet she can’t help herself when it comes to me.

She knows I don’t love Tess. She knows I never did, not like I love her. But my son? The search for him has consumed me for the past four months. Finding the diamond, the spaceship, Cal. She knows that I never told her all that happened with Cal Langley, only that the spaceship didn’t work, and that I had ruined Cal’s life.

This thought keeps nagging at her, that if it had worked, I would have left, left them, left Earth. I tell her I will call her from LA after she spoke to me the first few days I was there. When she did speak to me, I was with another girl, Bunny, who I told her was a friend.

She tries to laugh it off, telling herself that she trusts me, but it sticks in the back of her mind, along with a lot of other little things. I didn’t call her from LA after that. I said I’d call, she thinks to herself.

That morning I come into the Crashdown after driving all night from LA, she is angry. She is angry with me for not calling. She is angry with me because she felt like she was the consolation prize, someone to run to when things aren’t going my way. Yet even angry, her heart leaps when she sees me through the window. She tells me that she thought the relationship we had was one way, with all the effort coming from her end.

I try to put my arms around her, and she backs away. She tells me no. For those few seconds, she is strong. But I was so upset, she couldn’t yell at me anymore. And so she takes me into her arms, and I cry and tell her I am sorry, and that I would never leave her again. But sometimes she thinks I already have. She thinks I left her the moment I was contacted by my son.

Kyle tells me he’d seen Khivar. Michael and I follow Isabel to La Jolla, leaving her and Maria behind, again.

While we are away, she and Maria notice that my father is asking questions around town about me. When she tried to tell me over the phone, I tell her I love her but I have to go. She spits it out anyway. And then I tell her to find out what she can, and I hang up on her.

I ask for the pendant back. The pendant I gave her when I thought I was leaving with Tess. She understands why I need it back. I need to hide it from my father, but it hurts her. It hurt her that I was yet again taking back something that meant something to her. I took my love back after she could not join the circle to heal Michael in the cave. I took it back again last year after I thought she had betrayed me. I took my friendship back too, and yes she knows some of that was her fault. She pushed me away, and she lied to me. She accepts that.

She thinks she just deluded herself into thinking that somehow I would know that she was lying. Somehow I would understand why she did it, even though she hadn’t told me. She thinks to herself that the time for telling has passed. What good would it do now? If I knew about the future version of myself, it would only make me feel more guilt for what happened in the months following, and would only push me further away from her.

She wonders why I never tried to connect with her, to find out the truth of what happened that night. She surmised that maybe I thought it would be too painful, or maybe I was just dealing with too much destiny to handle it. Maybe Tess had an influence on me.

So many questions that aren’t answered and may never be now. She still wonders if I was mind-warped when I yelled at her in the Valenti’s house when she went to see Tess to talk about her powers. Was that Tess that made me act like that, or was it my own inability to accept that aliens may have had something to do with Alex’s death? I was cruel and mean, and she’d never seen me like that before. And it hurt. She likes to think it was Tess behind that, but she can’t be sure.

She and I never talk about these things. She doesn’t know why, whether it’s just that there’s never time, because we have so little of it together these days, or if it is because somewhere deep down, we are afraid of the answers we will get.

The distance between us has grown greater since I came back from LA.

She and Maria talk after Maria’s friend Billy comes to town and makes her realize how much she has given up being with Michael. But Maria loves Michael.

She tells Maria that being with me, she has given up a lot, has given up a lot of her dreams. And she knows now how much it has cost her.

Maria realizes that she cannot be what she needs to be when she is Michael’s girlfriend, and she breaks it off with him.

She wonders if Maria doesn’t have the right idea. She’s had so much heartache in the past year, and it didn’t seem like it would be ending anytime soon.

Maybe it was time she gave up the dreams that included me.

Maybe tonight should be the night that she started anew, and tried to pick up the pieces of what was left of her life.

My eyes open as I hear her voice, her sweet voice whisper…

“Max…”


LIZ

December 25th, 2001

It’s Christmas and I feel like I am waking up.

Another year has gone by, and my life has again changed more than I could have ever imagined at this time last year. And I thought that things couldn’t get any worse.

But this year Alex is not here to give me some goofy gag gift. This year, Isabel has moved on from Alex and she is married. This year Michael faces Christmas alone, without Maria. This year, Kyle is struggling to support his Dad, who still hasn’t really found himself after losing his job as Sheriff. This year, Tess is no longer on this planet. This year, Max and I almost became felons. This year, Max is a father, no longer a virgin, no longer the person I thought I knew. This year, I am no longer the person *I* thought I knew. Am I holding onto something that just doesn’t exist anymore?

I sit here and I stare at the soft lights on the little tree on my balcony, trying to figure out what happened to all of us. Maria is the strong one. She was able to let Michael go, in order to be the person she needed to be, to follow the dream she let die when Alex did.

I told Maria that she should really think about her decision, whether she wanted to stay with Michael or not. Because we all gave up a lot knowing them, loving them. Maria gave up her dream, I gave up my sense of self, Jim Valenti gave up his job, Kyle gave up the trust he had given to Tess and his right to be a teenaged boy, and Alex gave up his life.

I keep pushing these random thoughts I get to the back of my mind, not wanting to deal with them, not wanting to think about them. The little hurts along the way, the little things that Max has said and done that should have turned me away from him.

But talking to Maria before she broke things off with Michael made me really think about my life and what has happened.

I was wrong that I deceived Max with Kyle, but I was doing it for the right reasons. I still cannot come up with one clear plausible explanation for why he slept with Tess. And I don’t want to think about his explanation for it. The first thing that flew out of his mouth when I told him that I couldn’t believe that he slept with her was that I had slept with Kyle. Was I to believe it was revenge? Payback?

It’s getting cold up here, but I don’t want to go inside just yet. The cool air is making me feel alive. I hear carollers on the street below, and it makes me smile. I am finding that little things make me smile lately. Like Maria’s singing. I am glad she’s gone back to it.

Or the way Kyle looks in a mechanic suit. Kyle knows how funny he looks too. He remembers a time, like I do, when we were all just normal teenaged kids in high school, before Czechoslovakians came into our lives. Before his Dad got involved, he was just a basketball player, my boyfriend. How much his life has changed. I don’t think he’s cut out for the grease-monkey life in a garage. He’s asked me to help him study for his SAT’s. I think he’s going to try to go to a community college. He’s getting his life in order. Managing his priorities. And I am happy for him.

I look at the frame on the small table next to me, and even though I feel sad, I have to smile. The photo of Maria and I in our Crashdown uniforms with Alex sandwiched in between us always makes me smile. Alex had so much going for him. Alex is gone. But Alex lives on in both Maria’s and my own hearts, in our memories, in our love for him.

I’m feeling very morose today. Today is supposed to be a happy day.

I haven’t gotten Max a gift. It just didn’t seem right. Last year he’d given me back the engraved pocket-knife I’d given him, and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy anything this year. I guess it’s because when I bought that for him, I was so sure about how I felt, so sure about the way he felt about me.

Things were keeping us apart, but even that didn’t seem overwhelming, because I knew without a doubt how we felt about each other, and that we could get through anything together, even if we were never anything more than friends. That unrequited love, that innocence was there, that isn’t any longer.

When I used to look up at the sky before I met Max, I just thought it was beautiful. After I found out what he was, it took on a whole meaning for me. It opened up a whole new realm of possibilities knowing that his home was out there somewhere. But now, it has closed everything in again, making everything smaller, to know that his son is out there.

I don’t hate his son. I can’t hate an innocent child. But sometimes I think to myself that I don’t know if I am really ready to take that on too. With everything in my life in an uproar, do I have the strength to accept a child? A child that is not my own? I don’t doubt that Max will take care of him. Max is trying desperately to be responsible regarding his son, at the expense of everyone and everything else in his life. He doesn’t come to school. He’s living with Michael. He doesn’t work. I think Michael is pretty much supporting Max at this point. Food, shelter, gas money…Michael has become a surrogate parent himself, with his job at Meta-Chem.

Max’s son. If I want to be with Max, that child is going to be a part of my life, because he’ll be a part of Max’s.

In spite of it all, in spite of everything, I still love Max. I can be hurt, I can hate him, but I still love him at the same time. Is there something wrong with me?

The Max I fell in love with was gentle. He loved me as much as I loved him. He’d loved me longer than I ever could have known before he saved my life in the Crashdown that day.

And the first time he said it, “I love you,” was the most amazing moment in my life. We were in danger of being killed, hiding from the FBI, Max had been tortured, and we had been shot at, jumped off a bridge, and had run until we couldn’t run anymore. We were in the most frightening and horrible circumstances we could possibly be in. But then he said it, and it all seemed not to matter. I feel a lump in my throat every time I hear the words that he said to me in my head.

“Whether I die now or fifty years from now my destiny is the same. It’s you, I want to be with you Liz. I love you…” he had said, and I believed it. I believed in some act of cosmic kismet, we were meant to be together. That we were soul-mates. He felt my pain and I felt his. Whatever happened, we dealt with it together.

But at the time, his loving me meant the end of the world. When I found out he slept with Tess, his not loving me was the end of *my* world. Because Tess will always hold that over me. Tess will have had the most special thing that Max had to give. What he was meant to give to me, and what I was meant to give to him. It was supposed to be special, and important, and something worth saving yourself for.

Am I the only one left who hasn’t given that to someone? Isabel, Michael, Maria, and Max have. The only one I am not sure about is Kyle. And it’s not something that I can just come out and ask him.

It makes me angry that what was supposed to be our special moment was thrown away by Max, and that now it has ramifications that will be with him for the rest of his life.

I am finally being honest with myself. I am finally allowing myself to have my own feelings about what happened.

Since last spring, I have tied myself up in what happened to Max. I became so wrapped up in my empathy for him, because it was easier to think of things from his perspective than from my own. Somewhere along the line, I lost myself. That somewhere was when Max told me that he’d done a lot of things wrong, but he’d been right about one thing, loving me.

We were both wrong for some of the things we’d done. I told myself that. I made that my excuse for allowing myself to help him.

Then this summer he told me that it was something he had to explore. Explore? Was he just exploring his feelings for me too? Was he going to be “over it” with me when he found his son?

The thought of that scares me. I feel like I have two different people living in my body. The one that loves Max no matter what, and the one that sees the truth, what doesn’t make sense, what the things I don’t want to face really appear to be.

So far, the girl who loves Max no matter what he does is winning out over the sensible girl who is crying out that I need to get a backbone, that I need to get some self-respect. I have been letting Max run all over me for months.

Perhaps our problems are not much different than any other teenaged couple’s, really. Take away the whole alien thing. Everyone has a friend that is so caught up in a jerk who they say is “the love of their life”. They get stepped on and used, and eventually they lose their sense of worth and who they are.

I don’t know if Max even realizes the way he’s been treating me. I thought he did after he got back from LA, but now I’m not so sure. Things seem to be going back to the way that they were. It’s not that I don’t think he loves me, because I think he does. But I am just not sure of how much anymore.

I’ve given up a lot to know Max. He’s said it before, and he’s right.

I have given up my sense of normalcy. I have had many close calls with the law. I’ve been in fear for my life from skins, beings not even of this planet. I have jumped off bridges, been chased, been shot at. Above all, my heart has been broken more than once.

But I accepted all of those things willingly because I was so sure about how I felt about him, and the way he felt about me.

The thing is, I’m not sure where things go from here. Before it didn’t matter, but after Tess it matters more than anything. I need to know I am important to him. I need to know that if he wants to be with me that I fit into his life somewhere, not just taking up space, and not just being his Nancy Drew sidekick. I don’t mind being the sidekick, I mean, I practically forced it on him, but I need more of him.

I need more than just feverish making out in the alley when we are able to steal a few moments together. I need more than the outings stealing diamonds and robbing convenience stores, or sneaking into his father’s office. I need some small piece of Max that isn’t touched by his son. That’s selfish isn’t it?

For the past few months, every moment we have spent together aside from Isabel’s wedding has been tied into finding his ship and finding his son. I know has to find his child, and I know at some point he is going to leave to do that. And that will be painful, but I can deal with it if I know that I hold some piece of his heart. That I hold a place in this grand scheme.

I’ve wanted to say all of these things to Max, but I’ve been afraid. I had the courage to say some of them on our first date after Tess left in the Granolith. But when Max was contacted by his son, that all changed. Because even though he told me he was here to stay, that he had no way home, suddenly he was going to find one because his son was in trouble.

I knew he was feeling guilty because of it, because of what he had told me, and he started to pull away from me. And I was terrified of that. I know what it is like to be without me. So I drew him back to me, helping him search for a way to his son.

I am at an impasse, and I have to be prepared for the consequences of any decision I make now.

I can’t ask him to stop searching for his son. I have no right, and I really don’t think I want him to. But I can’t delude myself any longer. I can’t continue on this path, for my own sanity. Is there an answer? Is there a way to make it work? I can’t see it right now.

Today is Christmas, the time when everyone should be with loved ones, and here I sit on my balcony while Max has dinner with his family at Isabel’s. There is no way my father would let me see him today, and no way I would be able to sneak out, and the truth is, I don’t really know that I want to. I am sick of us being a dirty secret, of hiding, of waiting.

“Liz?”

I turn my head and he’s on the ladder, waiting there for me to invite him onto the balcony.

“What are you doing here Max?” I ask him dully.

“It’s Christmas,” he says, as if I didn’t know. “I couldn’t not see you on Christmas. Can I…?” he says, pointing to the lounge.

“You shouldn’t be here Max. My parents…” I start to say.

“They’re in the restaurant, and it looks like their busy. I checked,” he says, and I can tell hearing the tone of my voice, that he senses something is wrong. I can see it in his face.

“Come up then,” I say to him, and pull my knees up. I watch him climb over the ledge as I have done so many times before, but it’s different this time. I am different this time.

He sits down at the end of the lounge, and he leans over to give me a kiss. His lips touch mine, and they feel perfect. I close my eyes, and just feel them touching mine, his lips capturing my lower lip softly, holding it. Even after everything, I love this. To be kissed by Max is heaven, even without the flashes. We haven’t had those since he kissed me after he found out that I was trying to set him up with Tess, when I was trying to push him away, to save the world.

I stay completely still, because it is bittersweet, and he pulls away slowly, looking at me with questioning eyes. I lower my own eyes because if I look into his too long, I get lost.

I feel his fingers push my hair behind my ear, and his voice, that beautiful voice that is music in my ears, whispers softly to me.

“What’s wrong Liz?” He is concerned, genuinely concerned, and I feel a little flare of hope in my heart.

For months, other than the post-LA incident, I haven’t allowed myself to let it show on my face that anything is bothering me. I couldn’t take the chance that I would have to explain it. I wasn’t ready. I was afraid of losing him.

“I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately Max,” I tell him in a voice that I am sure is going to betray me by cracking.

“I’ve been thinking about us. Where we’ve been, where we’re going…” I can’t look at him. I don’t want to see what his reaction is to this, because I’ll lose my nerve, and if I don’t say it now, I know I’ll never say it.

“I’ve been thinking about that too Liz,” he starts to say.

“Let me finish Max. I need to say all of this. The thing is, I think we’re going nowhere fast. So much has happened, and there’s so much that is against us right now. I don’t see how this can work. I wanted it to work, believe me I did. But I need more than you can give me,” I say, still not daring to look up.

“Lately, I’ve been feeling really lost, like I’ve lost myself. And I did, because I love you so much, and I wanted to badly to be with you. But it’s not good for me. I don’t like what I’ve become. I love you, but I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be the steadfast girlfriend who waits around for you while you’re out on your investigations. I want more for myself. I *deserve* more,” I finish.

“You’re right, you do,” he answers quietly. “Liz, you’re not the only one who’s been thinking about us. I know it hasn’t seemed like it, but now more than ever, you’re on my mind every second of the day, I swear it. Because when I think about you, I believe anything is possible. Like I believe someday I’ll win your parents’ trust back. I believe that with you here with me, I can save my son. But most of all, I believe that we could still have a chance to make *us* work. I know that I’ve done a lot of things wrong. I wish more than anything I could take them back, but I can’t. And those things will be with me for the rest of my life. I hate myself for what I’ve done to you, for what we’ve done to the others, for what happened to Alex because he was our friend,” he says.

“I feel like two people at once,” he says.

I can’t believe he’s saying this. He and I are so much alike.

“There’s one Max that knows that things that I’ve done are unforgivable. That there was no way in the world you should have given me another chance. That Max tells me that I should let you go to salvage the happiness you’re entitled to. Everything has been unfair to you Liz. This whole situation, the way I’ve been acting. I know that, and I know I should just walk away. Because I don’t deserve you, not after everything that’s happened,” he says, his voice ringing with sadness.

“But then there is this other Max, and he needs you like he needs air to breathe. And he doesn’t know how to live without you, because you’re everything to him. He knows that he’s been wrong, and he knows that he doesn’t deserve you, but he can’t stay away from you. He can’t stop trying to make it up to you. He doesn’t dare to think that you might not ever forgive him, might not ever love him again the way that you used to,” he finished.

I can feel the tears threatening to spill over in my eyes. His words are so sweet, that they hurt. They hurt because I want to believe them, but I can’t. Not after everything.

“Max, you have this…responsibility now. You have to find your son, and I completely understand that. I really do. But I just can’t wait around anymore. I know you think you mean what you just said to me, but you’ve changed so much in the past year. You’ve become someone I don’t even know. And maybe I’ve become someone different too. I’ve tried to pretend that things are the same…that we are the same, but we’re not. I feel disconnected from you,” I say to him.

“I know,” he says softly. “Because I’ve pulled away from you.”

Now this is an interesting turn of events.

“Why?” I ask. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I am afraid,” he answers.

“Of what?” I say.

“I’m afraid that you’ll see the real me,” he says.

“Maybe I need to Max. And maybe you need to see the real me too,” I answer.

“I…Liz, I can’t,” he says.

“Then I don’t think we have anything else to talk about,” I say sadly, finally getting the courage to look up at him.

In his eyes are the same tears that I have in my own. My heart aches, literally aches. I can feel it tight in my chest.

“No!” he says with ferocity.

“You’re right, I’ve been a coward for too long. You need to know it all, everything,” he says, sounding almost defeated.

And these last words from his mouth scare me, but I know that there is no turning back.

I nod at him. For a long moment he is frozen, as if he is afraid to touch me. And then he lifts his hands and his fingers slide across my cheeks through my hair to gently cup my head. I stare into the golden depths of his eyes once again, anticipating the connection between us that has been absent for so long, and I realize in this moment how much I have missed it. Whatever came of this, I know now more than ever that it is the right thing to do, to come clean, to be cleansed of all the secrets and fears between us.

Images fly at me from all directions.

I feel the agony of the vision of Kyle and I in bed together. It rips through him. Though I was hurt when I deceived Max, I had no idea of the depth of devastation it wreaked on his very soul. Through him I felt as if my heart was literally being ripped apart.

Run, he thinks. Run away from it. And he does.

He runs to the park and collapses onto a bench. He feels like he literally cannot breathe. For hours he sits there, a zombie, with tears rimming his eyes. He stares straight out into the night, not daring to dwell too much on what he had seen. Barely touching on it was destroying him.

And then she is there. Tess. She asks if he wants to talk. He says no. She asks if he wants her to leave.

And oddly enough, he doesn’t. He doesn’t want to be alone. But he can’t talk to Isabel, and he can’t talk to Michael. They know him too well. She doesn’t know him well at all, and that alone is a comfort. Because she would not say I told you so. She would not try to tell him that he should have known his heart would be broken getting involved with me.

I hate experiencing this through his eyes, because it was the beginning of the end. I had no idea she’d seen him that night.

But she puts a hand on his shoulder and he is glad it is there. They sat like that for a long time, and he told Tess what had happened, and she looked genuinely sad for him. And honestly, even knowing what I know now, I would have thought the same thing he did, that maybe she wasn’t as bad as we all made her out to be. How could any of us have known that she was his biggest betrayer? It makes me sad to think that I pushed him toward her, even though it was he who told me to do it.

I dimly wonder what experiences, what memories Max is seeing in my head while I watch this play out.

Somehow Max cannot believe that I would do what I had done with Kyle. And if I had, it had to have been for a reason, because it wasn’t me. He knows this wasn’t me. He knows I would never do something like that to him.

And he confronts me with it, and I tell him I made a mistake, and that it was over between he and I.

Still he holds onto that for awhile, and then Lonnie and Rath show up and everything changes. Suddenly he knows that Isabel is keeping the secret of Vilandra’s betrayal of Zan from him. He feels betrayed by everyone, and so he leaves with Tess and Lonnie and Rath for the summit in New York City. Tess is the only one that is sympathetic to him he thinks. Tess is the only one who is standing by him.

The summit was not successful, and afterwards he is walking with Lonnie and Rath and Tess along a street and he hears me call his name. I am standing in traffic and he can see me shouting something at him, but he can’t hear me, and he steps toward the street just as a scaffolding collapses from the building above. He hears the tremendous crash and turns to see the death he narrowly escaped. Then he turns to look for me and I am gone. But so are Lonnie, Rath and Tess.

He runs, never stopping until he reaches the subway tunnel where they lived, and he finds Tess alone and almost comatose. Lonnie and Rath are gone.

I wonder now if they are really gone, or if Tess was working with them too.

Max is in my room. He thanks me for saving his life and I tell him that we are even. He says he wants to talk about us, and I feel my heart swell hopefully, until he tells me he just wants to start over, to be friends. I nod, and then he asks me again, did I sleep with Kyle, and I nod my head. That huge pang of sadness runs through his body as he accepts it, finally. He doesn’t think I would lie to him now, not after saving his life. But what he doesn’t realize is that was the whole reason I was lying to him in the first place. To save his life. To save all of their lives.

Then there is Vegas, and he doesn’t want to be there. He and Michael wind up in jail, and they argue, and Max wants to get on a plane back to Roswell. He comes to tell me he is leaving. The conversation is strained between the two of us, and then the Elvis Chapel comes up. He sees a strange look come over my face, and he wonders what put it there, but I don’t really volunteer anymore conversation, which leaves him no other option than to walk away. And he does. He hails a cab, and something makes him turn back to the hotel. He sees a groom lift a bride into his arms, and as they turn, he sees it is us. His heart pounds in his chest, and he stares wide-eyed at the vision before him. For it was so real, and it was something he only ever dreamed of with me.

And then he can’t leave. He dresses for the club, and goes downstairs and he sees Maria singing. He sees me sitting alone at the table and he just watches me for a long moment, loving me even though he thinks I betrayed him.

Just as I love him now even as he betrayed me.

We dance and he thinks to himself that it feels good to have me in his arms again. Like coming home. And I smile up at him, and he smiles at me, and for that moment all is well with the world.

But it was not to last, because he started to spend more time with Tess. And he started to remember his life on Antar with her.

He is overwhelmed by the beauty of his planet and the beauty of the beings who inhabited it. They were beings of light. The colors, the landscapes and the sea were indescribable. And Tess, or Ava, she was beautiful as well. Even I can see that as I see what he remembered. And she wasn’t evil. She really did love him. And somehow, that doesn’t bother me because I can see how someone like Max *can* inspire love like that.

Because on his planet, he was even more beautiful than he was here. And he truly did love Ava, but it was a different love than he and I have. I can sense it through his memories. Now I understand what he was saying when I asked him if he loved Tess, and he said “not like I love you”. Because the love he had for her was a gentle love, a familiar love, but not the all-encompassing, soul shattering love that we have between us. It was the kind of love that happens from knowing someone all of your life, knowing that this person was the one picked to be your mate by your parents, and the more complacent love of a childhood friend.

She died with him. She died for him, and though I hate what she became here under Nasedo’s wing, I couldn’t hate her for what she was on Antar, for a life that I was not a part of, for caring for Max.

But Nasedo *had* warped her here on Earth. Twisted her developing mind with stories of power and deception. That is not what she was on Antar. But it was what she would become if she gave Max and the others over to Khivar. She did not remember much of Antar herself. She must have thought if she got Max to remember, he’d be willing to go with her.

He is so torn about telling me what he remembers, because I was always the first person he shares things with, and he wants to share these things he had finally remembered. He knows that I would be the one to understand how important that is to him. But how can he tell me about Tess? That he remembers loving her?

He is surprised when I asked him if we could go to the prom together, but he is happy that I ask. It had always been me he day-dreamed about going with. Day-dream being the key word, because he never thought he’d be going at all.

Something is weighing on his mind. He remembers Tess. He remembers kissing her at a party, but he doesn’t want to think about it. Because he loves me. He doesn’t quite understand how we’ve gotten to this point. A year ago he could have told me anything, and that alone was more precious to him than anything else he could think of. Because before he saved me, he had never been able to share anything with anyone. Talking to me, telling *me* things was not the same thing as telling Isabel and Michael. There were just some things that couldn’t be said to them. There were things they didn’t understand, or didn’t want to hear. Not being able to talk to me was torture. But he can’t tell me about this. Because he knows that I won’t understand, and it would only push me further away from him.

He is nervous in his tuxedo, checking himself in the mirror endless times before Isabel tells him nothing is going to change the next time he looked in the mirror, so he should just give it up. They are going to be late.

And then he is walking into the Crashdown, and he sees me, and he forgets to breathe for a moment. When I walk toward him, it seems to him I am doing it in slow motion. He thinks to himself that I am a vision from heaven, if there is a heaven.

We are all smiling for the camera, all of us together for the last time.

Then we are at the prom, and we dance. He senses something is wrong with me and he wants to ignore it, but I don’t let him. For that moment in time he wants to believe that maybe things could change, maybe I might give *us* another chance.

But then I break his heart again. I tell him that I feel like my whole life for the past year has been waiting for some really bad news. Oh, you know, by the way Liz, I remember Tess, and I love her. It's really paralyzing. I tell him we should just stop pretending. I tell him maybe we're both just holding on to something that'll never be. That maybe we should just let go. I have been in so much pain this whole year, and it's like I'm suffocating.

He tells me to go to Maria. His heart is so heavy. He knows it’s over between us.

He watches me dance with Maria, and I am smiling and it breaks his heart. He knows what knowing him has done to me. He turns and walks out of the gym, because he feels like if he keeps looking at me, his heart will break.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 23-Dec-2001 2:02:22 PM ]
posted on 23-Dec-2001 3:01:00 AM by majesty
LIZ (Continued)

He sits in the hall on a bench, alone again much like the night he saw me with Kyle.

Tess spots him, and he sees her. She tells Kyle to go ahead without her, and she sits with him.

She tells him he looks sad.

He tells her he thinks it’s really over between he and I.

He looks at her, this person he used to love on another planet, in another life, and thinks to himself that maybe I am right. That he has caused me to be unhappy. That maybe this was meant to be, he and Tess. Maybe he should force himself to believe it, for both of our sakes, so that I can move on. She is like him. I am not. And because I am not, I have been hurt. Perhaps Destiny is real, whether he likes it or not, and my pulling away is proving it.

He has been remembering things lately, about Antar, about her. She’s been helping him since they all returned from Vegas. He tells her that he remembers kissing her at a party. She says she remembers it too.

And he kisses her. There is no connection, not like the connection he and I have, but it is not unpleasant, the kiss. It is just…there.

And then Alex is gone. He has to try to heal Alex, to raise him from the dead, and he is scared. He looks at me and he knows I am about to fall apart.

We stand outside the morgue and Valenti distracts the driver. He gets into the morgue van. He unzips the bag, and tears fill his eyes as he sees the pathetic remains that were once his friend, our friend Alex Whitman and he knows that it is beyond hope. But he tries anyway, for us, for Alex. But Alex is gone.

I want to cry all over again as I see him, with tears in his eyes and blood on his hands, not wanting to leave the van, not wanting to tell us that he failed us. But he knows he has to. And he thinks to himself that he will never forget the look on my face when he tells us Alex is gone.

He is surprised to see me at his house. There is, and always will be this part of his heart that calls out to him when he sees me. He is worried, because I look tired, and drained. He hears my stomach growl. He thinks to himself that my face is so endearing when it turns the pink shade of embarrassment. He makes me macaroni and cheese, and we sit across from each other. He is still confused about what happened between Tess and he the other night. But nothing prepares him for what I have to say when I tell him I saw them, and that it’s ok. He is embarrassed a little, but more sorry that I saw it. He didn’t even know what to make of what happened that night. Again, he wishes that things could have been different. He wishes he had stopped me that day when I walked away from him at the pod chamber. Because he thinks that letting me go that day was the beginning of the end. When I ask him if we could be friends, his heart twists a little. He had wanted so much more from me, for me. But he wasn’t any good for me. Being with him had only caused me misery and danger. But he cannot let me walk out of his life. He knew he was being selfish, but he couldn’t help it. And so he says yes.

He feels like such a failure at Alex’s funeral, watching us all fall apart. He is the healer. He should have been stronger. He should have been able to bring him back. Terrible accident, he keeps telling himself, until after the funeral when Valenti tells him that he thinks Alex committed suicide.

Deep down in the days that followed Alex’s death he swallowed the fear that it wasn’t an accident, that it had something to do with everything Alex knew about those who were not human, his friends, Isabel, Michael and himself. And the Sheriff gave him what seemed to be concrete evidence that it wasn’t, and he grabbed onto that theory like his life depended on it.

When I confront him with the ridiculousness of that theory, he lashes out at me, because he doesn’t want to think about it. That Alex may have been murdered because of them. Taking it out on me and pushing me further away was easier than dealing with the guilt of finding out that maybe he was murdered.

He tells me to drop it. I won’t. I keep at it, and he gets angrier and angrier with me. He doesn’t understand why I won’t just accept what he feels is staring me right in the face. He starts to think that maybe I blame them, that maybe I think I will be next.

Tess tells supports him. Tess tells him I am wrong, that it wasn’t his fault that it happened, or that he couldn’t bring Alex back. He feels that Tess is the only one who is there for him. Isabel is in her own world of grief. She wants to go away to college. Max tells her he won’t allow it. They argue terribly. She tells him he is killing her. He doesn’t relent. He can’t. He can’t let her leave. Everyone was leaving him.

I…well I was doing exactly what he feared, finding out the truth.

The day I was leaving for Sweden was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He finds out what I am doing, and he tries to stop me. He feels almost desperate, that he needs to stop me before I go too far, before I go off the deep end. In his mind, he thinks that the grief is driving me crazy, and that it will expose them all.

He is angry with me, and he tells me that if I go, our friendship is over, but when I walk away, he feels as if his world is falling apart.

I tell him that he can’t play the king card with me, but that wasn’t what he was trying to do at all. He wanted to hold onto the hope that I was with him no matter what, and when I left, he knew that he was truly alone. Michael believes that they belong here. Max is starting to think that they don’t.

He had never felt so alone in his life, and feeling this through him, even though it was for different reasons, I felt his sense of grief and abandonment was just as palpable as mine had been at that time.

He went to the observatory, to be able to look at the stars, to feel a connection to his planet, to something, anything. He thinks he realizes that he has been denying what he was.

And she was there. She said she knew he’d be there. He tells her that he’s been hiding from himself, his alien side. That he is all alone.

And she tells him she will be there for eternity.

This is so hard for me. To know that I pushed him to this. To know that he felt so abandoned that he felt that Tess was the only person he could turn to.

He is almost drunk on his grief. He tells her that he is ready to wake up, but what he really wanted was to forget. To forget about my betrayals, both with Kyle and now with Alex’s death. He wanted to forget that Isabel wants to be far away from him, in San Francisco. He wants to forget that being here on Earth is putting us all in danger. He wants to forget that if the time ever came when they would leave, there was the distinct possibility he would be going alone.

They make love, but it does nothing to ease any sadness. It is empty and meaningless, because he doesn’t love her. In fact, it only makes him feel worse waking up next to her. He feels like he used her. She is ecstatic, and all he can think about is me. That he hates me and he loves me.

But I am not there. Maybe he can forget. Maybe if he couldn’t make me happy he could make Tess happy. Even if it cost him his own happiness.

He tries to talk to Isabel about it, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She hates him as well. Doesn’t she realize that they need to stay together?

Tess tells him she is pregnant. He is stunned. He is horrified. He tells Michael and Michael is angry with him. This child could jeopardize all of them. They don’t know what it will look like. He tells Max that maybe Tess should *take care of it*. This flares a small hope in Max’s mind, that maybe she will, and this mistake can be remedied.

But Tess does not want to get rid of their child. And he realizes that he has screwed up again.

But then he connects with his child. Tess is in pain and he connects with it, and it’s a boy, a son.

Even I feel the wonder he feels at connecting with something that is a part of him. I think I understand now, why he has to find him.

He realizes that he has to start taking responsibility for his actions. He has messed everything up, with Isabel, with me, with all of us. He will make this right. He will support Tess and the baby, even if it means giving up every dream he has ever had.

He will not screw this up. This child did not ask for any of this. This child is sick. It is dying in this atmosphere. He realizes that they will have to leave, find a way back to Antar. But he can’t read the book. He can’t make the Granolith work, and his son is going to die.

He feels as if his world is coming down around him and he has no one.

He falls apart in the alley, and Isabel finds him. He tells her everything, and she is there for him. Even after everything he has done to her, she is there. And Michael brings the answer. The translation. And he tells him it was me. That I found the translation, and that Alex was murdered.

He is overcome with guilt. Guilt that he didn’t believe me. Guilt that I had to go through this alone. Guilt that he is going to have to leave me behind because he loves me. But he is not worthy of me after all he’s done. He knows that now. But it doesn’t make him love me any less. He realizes that he only loves me even more.

There is a murderer out there and he has to find them before they leave. He is so intent on taking care of it, assuaging his guilt before he goes, that he almost kills an innocent girl.

He knows he has to tell me about Tess, but he doesn’t want to. When he does, it’s the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. He tells me that they slept together. He sees the hurt I try to mask with indifference. And then he tells me she is pregnant, and he knows that this effectively just killed anything that might have been between us.

When I prove to him that she is human, he gets angry. He is angry because he knows now that he will be leaving that murderer here, with me because they were leaving that night.
He tells me, and I am yelling at him.

I trusted him, I gave him everything. I jumped off bridges for him, I broke laws for him, I risked getting shot for him, I trusted him! And he goes off-- God, with Tess-- God, I saved myself for him!

No, he thinks to himself. No it can’t be true. Not this, not after everything.

I tell him to take me home, and he can’t get it off his mind. He has to know. He pulls up in front of the Crashdown. I haven’t said a word to him.

There is so much that he wants to say to me. He wants to tell me that he loves me now more than he could have ever imagined. He wants to tell me that he is sorry for everything, for all the pain he has caused me.

He gives me the pendant, and he tells me that he always thought he’d give me his ring when he graduated, but it looks like he isn’t going to. That the pendant was something from where he’d be.

He wanted to say that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He wanted to stay, but he knew he couldn’t. There were so many things he wanted to tell me. He wanted to say thank you, for making him feel human. He wanted to say thank you for everything I had done, all I had sacrificed.

I tell him that I can’t believe that this was all I would have of him.

And the moment comes, and he has to ask, has to confirm what he knew now in his heart.

You didn’t sleep with Kyle did you? He asks, almost hoping I would say yes. Because he couldn’t bear it.

I shake my head, and his heart is broken.

He wishes he hadn’t been so selfish. He wishes he had been able to face the truth. He wishes that he’d never gotten involved with Tess, that he’d never doubted us. That he hadn’t given up on us, because that short time has changed his life forever. All the more reason to believe that I was meant to be with him. When we were together, we could face the world. Now he had to face a new world without the person he loved most in the world, and that thought scared him to death.

He wishes that things could be different. He tells me this.

He kisses me, and my lips on his are bittersweet, because it was like coming home, after so long. But he was leaving home, never to return, and his life would never be the same without me. He knew that now more than ever. If only he had trusted his heart, had trusted me.

And then I ask him, does he love her?

And he says, not like he loves me. Because he loves me with his heart and soul, body and mind, and he knows that when he leaves, a part of him will slowly die. He feels a fondness for Tess, and admittedly a closeness that he would rather didn’t exist at all. But she has been there for him. He remembers the gentle love he had for her on Antar, but it was not the love that we had. The love that he feels for me is blinding, powerful, completing. He will never be complete again.

I say goodbye to him, and I go into the Crashdown, and he breaks down. How is he going to find the strength to leave me? How can he leave his soul-mate? His life? His one true love? It was his punishment for doubting me, for the mistakes he made, for the damage he had done, and he would pay with every last breath he took. For better or worse, he was going to be responsible for once.

Saying goodbye to Valenti was hard. Taking Tess’s hand to walk through the tunnel was harder, because being with me, even for those few minutes only poignantly reminded him what Tess was not. She was not me. She had told him that he would forget about me when he got to Antar, after she found out that he had kissed me, but he knew better than to think his punishment would be that merciful. He would remember me every waking minute, and in his dreams, the love that he could never have again.

It was time to go, and Michael stepped back. He wasn’t going with them. And his heart was broken yet again. His best friend was staying behind, for the girl that he loved. And he was jealous, because he wanted to do the same. But he was also happy for Michael, that he would have a chance to be happy with Maria. He says goodbye, knowing that he will probably never see him again, and Michael leave the chamber. The moment has arrived. The time to say goodbye to Earth, to his humanity, to all that he loved, his parents, and most of all…me.

In his mind, he silently pleads with me to forgive him somehow, for leaving, for everything that he has done.

And suddenly I am there, and I am telling him the truth, that Tess murdered Alex. For a split second he doesn’t want to believe it. He doesn’t want to believe that he could have been such a fool, that he destroyed everything for a girl that could be capable of such a horror. Kyle tells him it is true, and when he looks at Tess, he sees the truth in her eyes, and something inside him snaps.

She tells him the truth, that Nasedo made a deal with Khivar, to deliver them with an heir. He feels so betrayed. Nasedo was supposd to protect them.

He wants to kill her but he can’t. She is carrying his child. He wants to make her stay to make her suffer, but in doing that his son would suffer as well. He hates her. He hates her more than anything for ruining his life, for ending Alex’s, for causing me so much pain.

He tells her to go. He tells her it isn’t over, and he swears to himself that someday he will find her, and that she will pay for what she has done to all of them.

She is in the Granolith, and he can feel the hate filling his heart, hate that he has never experienced before, because he trusted her, because she deceived him. Everything she’d told him was a lie. She didn’t love him. All the things she said about destiny were a lie. She wanted him dead. She used him to get pregnant.

He leaves the chamber, and the first thing he sees as he steps into the sunlight is me. He grabs my hand, and we run. He has to protect me at all costs. As the chamber explodes, he shields me in his arms, wondering if I am repelled, because he slept with Alex’s murderer, because she was carrying his child. He is repelled himself.

He tells me he’s been really wrong about a lot. But he was right about one thing: To get me into his life, to be around me, to love me.

And then he says he has to find his son.

He feels as if his life had turned completely upside down. He and Isabel had made up this whole ruse that they were killed in the jeep, even making a videotape for his parents. He accepted that he would be leaving, that he had no choice, and now he was here still, with nowhere to go but back to Roswell, back to me. It was what he had wished for more than anything the night before as he said goodbye to me. He wanted nothing more than to be able to wake up and realize that the year had been a bad dream and that everything was ok between us.

But being here now scared him, because he had to face what he was, what he had done to me, to everyone. And he realizes that he was running away from facing up to his actions. In some small way he had welcomed leaving with Tess, because he had messed things up so badly. He would have left and not had to deal with what he had done here.

He had been afraid of leaving and he’d been sad, but he would have been millions of miles away from my eyes, with the look in them that told him how hurt I was, how he had cut my heart so deeply that it might never heal.

Over the next few days, he realizes that he has to face up to what he had done, and he had to try to fix things, to be the person he had never been on Antar.

He is so nervous asking me out, to talk. He was afraid of what I might say, and of what I might not say.

When I came out of the Crashdown that night, he feels as if his body is frozen, because he thinks I look so beautiful.

He wanted it to be special, that night.

He tells me he just wants to put everything that happened behind us.

His heart falls when I tell him know that I would, too, if I had impregnated an alien killer who murdered one of our best friends and then left the planet with my unborn child.

He asks me if I am still holding onto that.

I tell him It's hard not to. He slept with Tess, and then he got her pregnant. I tell him I don't know how to just move past that. He hurt me.

How does he explain what happened that night? How can he tell her of the despair he felt, the betrayal he experienced, about how bad he felt after it was over? He wasn’t ready to talk about it, the anger, the hurt he was feeling that night. He knew it was selfish, after everything I had been through, that he was feeling this way. He thought I wouldn’t understand, that I would think his hurt inconsequential to my own. He wanted to take little steps with me, to make it work right this time. He knew he couldn’t live without me, and telling me what he was feeling at that time would only make me walk away from him. And so he knows he can’t connect with me, not now.

He didn’t know when he would be able to talk about it. As much as he wanted me back, he couldn’t make himself that vulnerable yet. Too much had happened. Maybe someday, when he could be sure nothing would come between us. But not now, not when things were so shaky.

And so he tells me that meeting someone like him attracted him. He admitted that. It was something he had to find out about, and now he’s over it.

I told him that it's not that simple, and he panicked for a second. He couldn’t lose me. I was the only thing that mattered to him here other than his family.

He tells me he's not going anywhere, that they’ve lost our only way home. There's no way back. That he wants to be with me.

I ask what about your son?

He is at a loss. This child didn’t ask to be conceived, and because of his mistake, he was going to be raised by Tess. He hated to think about it, that there was nothing he could do about it, that there was no way to find him.

He tells me that there's nothing he can do about that. He's gonna be born in another world, a world that he had nothing to do with. If there was any way to get him back, he would do it in a heartbeat, but there was no way. He’s accepted it, and he would have to live with it for the rest of his life. He wonders if I can accept it. He knows I am beyond hurt over what happened.

He tells me that I've paid a lot to know him. That I’ve been hurt and I've been put in danger. That he wants to make that up to me. He wants to make my dreams come true. He asks if I would let him do that?

I don’t answer him.

We are lying on the dock, and we are holding hands, and he is thinking that this was one of the things he missed the most about us. The easy conversation that used to flow between us. The private laughs, the deep conversations, the looks I used to give him. That look has changed since Tess came to town, he knows. There is a new pain, a new awareness in my eyes, one that has grown progressively more powerful since the day I walked away from him at the pod chamber.

Yet again, the never-ending battle is being played out in his head. He is thinking again that he is selfish. What right did he have to try to claim my heart again after all he’d done? But how could he not, how could he not be with me, how could he survive without me? I was his balance, the window to his human side.

He wants to live in the moment. He wants both of us to live in the moment, not thinking about everything for just one night.

So when I brought up my mother’s rules, he had the answer. It was time to be impulsive, to have fun, to show Liz the more daring side of him.

So skinny dipping would be out of the question then? He asks, and he feels a heady sense of empowerment as he strips out of his clothes.

He is enjoying the look of utter shock on my face as he finishes, and he knows if he doesn’t push me a bit, I am not going to go along with this. His whole body is on fire just looking at me.

The jump into the lake is a shock, but it cools the raging heat coursing through his veins momentarily. He goads me, trying to get me to join him. He half-believes that I won’t. He is pleasantly surprised when I start to take off my top. Live in the moment, yes.

As he is watching me he feels a numbness spreading over his body. At first he thinks it is the coolness of the water, but it quickly spreads through his limbs, crawling up into his mind. It is powerful, frightening. He senses fear, he senses blackness. He can’t move, and water is slowly seeping into his mouth.

“Help me…”

A connection, he recognized it. His son. He’d felt it when he touched Tess’s stomach. It was familiar, gentle, innocent. So unlike his mother. He was afraid. It was dark and cold. A sense of chaos prevailed around him. He couldn’t see the boy, only feeling sensations.

Chaos, darkness, fear. Blinding fear.

A flash of a ship appeared in his mind.

Help me.

And then I was pulling him out of the water.

That chilling fear has invaded his bones, reminding him of his weakness, his mistake, his culpability, his responsibility. It has woken him from this little day-dream that he could be happy here. He had been stranded here, and thought he’d never see me again. And now, his son, who he had thought he would never know had contacted him. He needed him.

How could he explain this to me? How could he ask me to understand? He couldn’t, and so he didn’t speak until we got to Michael’s.

He tells us he has to find his son, and he sees the look in my eyes, and realizes how unfair this was to me. And he comes to the realization that he has to pull away from me.

He is looking through Tess’s things. He finds a letter from Nasedo, with a drawing of a diamond. It says that the diamond is the only way to communicate with his planet. As he is reading it, I come into the room.

I ask him what he is doing, and he doesn’t know how to answer me, so I do it for him.

He was looking through Tess’s things.

“Yes,” he answers.

He sees the realization and hurt in my eyes as I say that this part of his life isn’t over after all.

He spent endless hours trying to find some clue about the diamond, anything.

Suddenly I am in the room and I am in his lap, and he doesn’t know what to think.

I ask him if he loves me.

He wonders how I can even ask? He wonders what has come over me.

“Who are you?” He asks.

He feels a flare of hope, a small spark when he sees the article in my hand. Perhaps there would finally be an end to this. Perhaps he could get his son back. Perhaps he could make everything right after all.

The diamond was going to be in Santa Fe in two weeks. He had two weeks to prepare.

“I want to do this with you Max,” I say. “Together.”

How could she want to be a part of this? How could she want to be a part of finding the result of what had been the biggest betrayal she had ever experienced?

“Why?” He asks.

My answer only made his love for me even stronger.

“Because if I had lost a child, I would want you to help me find him,” I say.

“But that's only part of the reason. The other part is that I don't want you to slip away from me. I know what it's like to be with you, and I know what it's like to be apart from you. And I would rather be with you,” I say.

“I don't know if I could live with myself if anything ever happened to you,” he says.

How could he ask her to help him? After everything? My answer, my complete faith in him makes him think that anything is possible.

“Max, you're an alien king. What could ever happen to me?” I say.

He tries to imagine a time when everything was normal. It was farther back than he could remember.

He is nervous at the party. He sees the diamond in the case, and he knows that this is his only chance. His tuxedo is uncomfortable. He smiles at me, feeling my unquestioning faith in him.

He feels a sense of elation when we leave, with the diamond. He smiles at my giddiness, at the excitement of what we had done. I am smiling, I am happy. I am happy with him. He wishes I was happy because of something wonderful he’d done for her, not because they were trying to fix one of his many mistakes.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 23-Dec-2001 2:30:27 PM ]
posted on 23-Dec-2001 3:01:27 AM by majesty
LIZ (Continued)

At the Crashdown in the stairway, I practically attack him, and he is taken aback, but quickly feels the rush of love and desire that is never far away when he is with me. He doesn’t quite know what to make of my newfound aggressiveness, but for now, he doesn’t want to question it. He is just happy that I am with him, that my lips are on his, that I am exploring his mouth, that my hands were on his body, that his own hands were threaded through my hair, that I am in his arms. For once he doesn’t want to talk about the diamond, or his son, or anything else. He wants to just be, just feel, just love.

And then my father is at the head of the stairs, looking at us disapprovingly. He feels my father’s growing distaste. He knows that Jeff Parker thinks that he is the reason for my keeping late hours, for dressing strangely, for acting even more strangely.

He walks out under the disdainful gaze of my father after I go up the stairs.

He has done his research. He has come to the conclusion that there are only five government facilities large enough to house a spaceship. When we get to the last one, it is a convenience store.

He realizes that the ship is housed underneath the store. He knows he can’t do this alone, but he doesn’t want to ask me. The store is open 24 hours. He needed to distract the clerk.

He has a gun. He really doesn’t want me involved. He knows he can’t argue with me.

As we sit out in front of the convenience store that night, he thinks to himself that he didn’t think it was possible to love me any more than he already did, but I had stuck by him, even after what he’d done.

He kisses me, and wants to open our connection more than ever, so that I might feel just how much he loves me, but then I would know everything, and now wasn’t the time.

He thinks his heart will burst out of his chest as I hold the gun on the clerk.

He is through the wall and down the stairs, and before him is the most amazing and frightening sight greeting him at the bottom of the stairs.

The ship. Reality. Leaving. Leaving Isabel and Michael. Leaving me. Finding his son. Facing Tess. Facing Khivar. Facing his new destiny.

It is overwhelming him.

And then I am shouting for him.

The police.

He runs up the stairs and realizes the police are too close. He is afraid for me. Afraid they will find the diamond. He throws the car into drive, and we are speeding with the police cars behind us. He tosses the diamond.

We are caught.

He is in jail, and he is lamenting his stupidity in allowing me to be involved in this.

His father is furious, wondering what the hell has gotten into his son, but he won’t tell his father anything.

The judge lets him off, and I am going to trial, and he is frightened beyond words. He wants to do something, anything to get me out of this mess, and so he dresses as an officer and he breaks into the jail.

At that moment, he was completely ready to run away with me, far away from the mess he’d made of things. He wasn’t thinking of anything but getting me away.

And I tell him that he has to find the ship, that I wasn’t ready to go with him and that he had to make the trouble we were in worth something.

And so he goes back to the convenience store, only to find that the ship is gone, and that his father had followed him. His father is questioning him, and it pains his heart that he can’t confide in him, but he couldn’t get anyone else he loved involved. He kept thinking of what had happened to me. His father demands to know what he is up to.

There is a powder on the floor. His father uses it to get me out of the charges, but he doesn’t get off that easy. His father questions him again, demanding to know what trouble he was in. He can’t tell him, he just can’t.
His father will not accept that. His father tells him he can’t come home, and he is devastated. He had lost me, and he had lost his family.

He lays in the car, looking up at the stars, in utter despair. How had he managed to make such a mess of things yet again? How could he fix this? He has the diamond and no ship. He has his freedom and so do I, but he doesn’t have me. He knows the way home, but doesn’t know where to find his transportation. He has a father but no family.

He has to see me, but he hates that it has to be stolen moments, sneaking away from my father whenever possible.

This wasn’t fair to me. I didn’t deserve this. He needed to do something right for once. He knew I wanted him to find his son, and he would make everything we’d been through worth it.

Suddenly he is being questioned about a death in Los Angeles. A clue. He has to go. I tell him I want to go with him. He can’t let me go. He can’t let me dig myself in deeper. He loves me too much. He has to let go.

And so he goes alone, and he finds the dailies I told him about over the phone, and Cal Langley, director/producer extraordinaire, reveals himself to be his true protector.

He hates Cal for abandoning them. He hates that they were left alone to deal with what they were, never knowing who was behind them, always looking over their shoulders. Cal could have helped them, guided them, but he didn’t. He abandoned them. He became as human as he could, trying to abandon all that he was, a shapeshifter, his protector.

He realizes that Cal must do what he tells him to, and he has no qualms about making him do just what he wants. He needs to find his son. He needs to make this right. It is consuming him.

Cal finds the ship. He orders him to fly it.

Cal begs him not to make him leave. He wants to stay. If he shapeshifts to fly the ship, all he had worked for would be lost.

He doesn’t care. He needs to find his son. He needs to make things right. He needs to be responsible, to take control of what he had let go for too long.

The ship breaks down, and so does Cal. He is broken.

Cal tells him he was always selfish, that things were not good back on Antar. That he never wanted to see him again.

He tells him that his mistake was not embracing his human side, because his alien side was not his better half. He tells him to look at all the people he has hurt in the process of getting what he thinks he needs.

He tells him to go home, to try to recover all he’d lost in his selfishness.

On the drive back to Roswell, Cal’s words haunt him, and he realizes that in the process of doing what he thought was the right thing, he has harmed more people, including me. He can’t call me, because he needs time to process all that he’d done. How can he tell me that he’d made things worse yet again? And yet, how can he not?

He truly realizes everything he has put me through. He realizes what he’s taken away from Cal. He has played his “King Card” too strongly for too long, always thinking of himself and what he wanted.

He wouldn’t let Isabel go away to college. He tried to make me stay when I was leaving for Sweden, threatening to pull his friendship away. He’d pushed the blame for Alex’s death away from himself.

He doesn’t want to face that he had let Tess get away with their son.

He needs to see me now more than ever. He needs the comfort of my embrace. He needs to talk to the one person who could lessen this burden, that can make him feel like he isn’t a total failure.

He drives all night, and is never so glad to see the looming spaceship over the Crashdown.

He gets out of the car and walks to the door seeing me standing inside, and he has an overwhelming desire to take me into his arms.

I step away from him. I tell him he didn’t call. I tell him that our love was one-sided lately. I can’t do this anymore.

He feels all of the pent-up emotions flooding his heart, and he can’t control it. He has lost everything, his son, me.

And suddenly my arms are around him, and he grabs onto me as if his life depends on it. I am his weakness, I am in his heart, and I am never going to leave it. I am forever his love, as much as he tries to drown it out, for both of our sakes.

The soft lull of my words of comfort and my gentle embrace are the only thing that keeps him from going over the edge.

And he is sorry. It is too late, but he needs to say it. He has been wrong all along. He is lost and he cannot find his way. He thinks to himself that I am the beacon that guides him, leads him, pushes him, and embraces him with my healing light.

There are small moments of tranquility, a lull in all the chaos that is his world. There are little actions that speak volumes, and
my courage in telling my father that I was going to dance with him at Isabel’s wedding is a sign to him that I am not giving up on him. That my heart belongs to him, for better or worse.

And then Khivar’s presence becomes known, and he becomes the Antarian King yet again. He has to go to La Jolla after Jesse and Isabel. He has no choice. Their lives depend upon it. And so he pushes all that he loves and all that is important to him yet again and leaves with Michael. He shuts off all feeling, all emotion. He has to.
And Khivar is gone, and he is back again in Roswell. In another lull. He realizes that this will be his life, running, fighting the enemy because of who he is. He realizes that it is now all or nothing.

He avoids me in the days before Christmas. As he thinks back on everything that has happened and realized his complete selfishness and my complete lack of it, he knows now more than ever that I balance him, or I could, if he gives me a chance, if he lets me in. Because in his mind he knows that asking me to be with him, to be his soul-mate again, now more than ever, is a momentous thing to ask. Something that he probably had no right asking. But he had to, because he knew that things couldn’t go on anymore the way that they had. He needed to re-invent himself, to become a person that was worthy of my love, that was worth living a life of danger with. He needed me, and my love to be the man that he should have been aspiring to be all along.

And so tonight he is here, to ask my forgiveness again, to ask for another chance, to make my dreams come true, for real this time. He was ready.

The connection is broken, and again I feel his hands on my face and my tears are on his hands.

I look into his eyes and I see anger. I see the anger he has for me. For whatever he has seen through his connection to me.

Max…


posted on 23-Dec-2001 3:01:50 AM by majesty
DENOUEMENT

Here they sit, together finally with no secrets between them.

Max lowers his head, trying to hide the mixture of anger and regret for what they have all been through. He is unsure again, after experiencing the depth of what she’s been through this past year, and yet he is angry, angry for what was stolen from them.

For Liz, she is still reeling at all Max had lost, all the guilt he was carrying around, just like she was. He had made mistakes, mistakes she had never understood until now, until she went through what he went through, felt what he felt.

“Max,” she says again softly, afraid. “What is it? Talk to me,” she says.

He looks up at her and his eyes are filled with tears, his jaw clenched.

“I’m angry,” he says.

“I’m angry that our happiness has been stolen from us. I am angry that our life together, that life we had will never exist now. I am angry that Alex is dead, and that we are in this situation. You could have told me, we could have worked it out, together. Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked.

“Because you asked me not too,” Liz replied, and he knew she was right.

“Do you hate me?” he asked quietly. “Do you hate me for all I’ve put you through, for all you’ve lost because you’ve known me?” he asked.

“You want to give up on us,” he said resignedly. “I guess I don’t blame you.”

But after all she had been thinking earlier, she still loved him. And now she knew everything, all of his mistakes, his darkest thoughts, his failures. He had finally opened up to her, and there was nothing standing between them any longer, not even the truth.

“No Max,” she said, her fingers touching his cheek. “I thought you’d given up on us. We can’t keep going around in this destructive circle anymore. We can’t change what’s happened. And if we can’t forgive each other, this is never going to work. I understand now, how you were feeling. But I can’t be this part-time girlfriend anymore. I can’t take you pulling away from me again. I *need* you, all of you, otherwise I have to walk away. You once said that we could face anything, as long as we’re together. I still believe that, but I am not sure that you do anymore.”

“Liz, I couldn’t stand it if I hurt you again. I’ve been so stupid over the past year. I’ve made so many mistakes,” he started.

“We’ve both made mistakes, and we have to live with the consequences,” she said sadly.

“Alex wasn’t your fault,” he said angrily. “I asked you to change the future. Even fourteen years from now I was making all the wrong decisions.”

“Max, I think we made that decision together,” she said. “How could we not? We loved each other so much, even after everything. You told me that,” she said. “You’re still afraid, aren’t you?”

“How can I not be?” he asked. “Do you realize how much I am asking of you to be with me? I have a child out there somewhere. Tess is still out there, and she hates all of us. We are all still in very real danger. How can I ask you to just accept that, when your life would be so much easier without me? I saw all you went through. I felt all the pain you felt Liz. And it broke my heart,” he said, his voice cracking. “We’re so different.”

“Max I told you a long time ago that I don’t care. I don’t care what you are, I don’t care what I’m not. I love you, and I always will. Even if you walk away from me now, I will still love you for as long as I live,” she said.

“But you’ll be safe,” he argued.

She sighed, taking his hand.

“Max, sometimes safe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s worth it to live dangerously, for someone who means the world to you. I might be safe without you, but I’ll never be happy. Connecting with you tonight after all this time, has only made me realize that as imperfect as we both may be, we have one thing that is perfect, the way that we still love each other, even after all we’ve been through,” she said.

He pulled her to him, cradling her head against his chest, looking up at the sky. He realized that the charade they’d played together since Tess left was not real. They desperately tried to gloss over what had happened, not talking about it, letting it fester, and it had only made them grow apart, even though they both convinced themselves that they were together, that all would be ok.

“What if it doesn’t work out?” he asks quietly.

“I can’t think about that,” she answered, her voice muffled in his jacket.

“I think it’s time we stop anticipating what might happen, and just let us be what we are, without destiny, without what-ifs,” she said.

His arms tightened around her as his lips rested on her hair.

“No more secrets between us ok?” he asks quietly. “Even if a future version of me from 30 years in the future visits you.”

She chuckled lightly.

“No more secrets,” she agreed.

As they sat quietly wrapped in each other’s embrace, he became pensive.

“What about my son Liz,” he asked.

She pulled away from him slowly, looking into his eyes.

“Your son is a part of you Max. I can’t tell you that when you find him that it won’t take some getting used to, but I need you to find him. If you don’t, it will haunt you for the rest of your life,” she says.

“I wish…I wish he was yours, yours and mine,” he said, not sure if he was saying the wrong thing.

“Me too,” she answered, looking into the tawny depths of his eyes.

“I hope some day we’ll have a child of our own,” he said, his fingers tracing her face, “and that child will be the most cherished baby the world has ever known.”

“I like that idea,” she said, as his hands drew her face to his, and their lips met for the first time in ages without any secrets, without any lies, and their connection flared stronger and brighter than ever, they wrapped each other in the glow of their love that remained intact, even after being through hell and living to talk about it.

Her arms wrapped around his neck as his tongue gently met hers, exploring her mouth. Heartbeat matched heartbeat in a perfect rhythm as their bodies touched and pressed together, needing to feel the closeness that had been absent for so long.

Suddenly, he pulled away, and she moaned lightly with disappointment.

“I almost forgot,” he said. “I have something for you.”

“Max,” she protested, as he pulled a small box out of his jacket.

“Max, I don’t,” she started, and he put a finger to her lips, pressing the box into her hand.

“Just open it,” he said.

She looked down at the small black cube, almost afraid to open it, not knowing what to expect.

“Go ahead,” he said smiling.

She looked at him quickly, and then focused on the small box again, slowly opening it.

Inside, nestled in blue velvet, was a shiny gold ring, with an aquamarine stone set in the middle. West Roswell High Class of 2002 was carved around the perimeter.

She smiled as a tear fell onto her cheek.

She looked up at him.
“I…I never thought I would be able to give this to you, and it was something I dreamed about for as long as I can remember,” he said, trying to keep his voice from cracking.

“I’m sorry that I had to take the pendant away. I know now how much that meant to you. But this…this means a lot to me, because it’s something that I wanted you to have, more than anything. Someday, I’ll replace that with another ring, one that will be a promise that we’ll never be apart again. It will mean that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together, and that I will do whatever I have to, to keep you safe, to make your dreams come true,” he said.

“I love you,” she whispered, touching her lips to his, her salty tears wetting them.

His lips slid across her cheek, and he drew her gently to him. Her cheek rested against his neck, and his fingers threaded through her hair, gently caressing her.

For a long while they remained that way, completely still in each other’s embrace.

Reluctantly he pulled away.

“Try it on,” he said, softly, and she slipped it on her finger.

“It’s too big,” she laughed softly, taking it off her finger and putting it on her thumb.

“I’ll have to get some tape,” she said.

He smiled.

Together, they lay quietly on the lounge, Liz leaning on Max’s chest, looking at the ring.

Suddenly she frowned.

“I didn’t get anything for you Max,” she said, upset.

He smiled and drew her further onto his chest, turning her so her cheek rested on his heart.

“You just gave me the best gift I could ever wish for Liz. Your forgiveness, and your heart. I promise to protect it from now on, with everything that I am,” he said.

“Merry Christmas Max,” Liz said.

“Merry Christmas Liz,” he answered softly, kissing the top of her head, and then looking up at the sky, that held the promise of a new future, of love, and of new beginnings.

MERRY CHRISTMAS - THE END








[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Dec-2001 4:01:51 PM ]
posted on 23-Dec-2001 3:59:34 PM by majesty
Thanks everyone *happy*

Yep, this is just my usual attempt to make sense of what has been given to us on the show. There is too much that goes unsaid. Like Liz, I feel like we've sort of been disconnected from Max since Heart of Mine. I just tried to create some feelings for him that aren't there in the show, as well as tried to make Liz "wake up", so to speak. I hope it worked.

I am glad you all liked it, and I hope you all have a happy holiday.

majesty
posted on 23-Dec-2001 10:30:19 PM by majesty
Angela,

I just sent you an email *happy*

Yes, I did pick aquamarine for March. I actually had to look that up, as I am not really "up" on birthstones.

I feel as you do, about Zan resurfacing too frequently. I have been grappling with Max's selfishness since last season, and am constantly trying to find a believable way to justify it, or at least make it tolerable enough so that Liz *might* forgive him without seeming like a doormat (I know, I know, that phrase has been overdone). I don't know if I succeeded, but I am going to keep on trying until I can satisfy myself with an explanation. I don't think what he did can be excused really, but I tried to find a palatable way for it to be understood.

Thanks for the feedback!

majesty