posted on 27-Dec-2001 2:11:49 AM by TaffyCat
Author: Taffy
E-Mail: sstuller⊕
Title: Christmas Night
Category: Max
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, just borrowing them. Promise to return them only slightly used.
Notes: Picks up after Samuel Rising. This is a short stand alone piece. It just bugged the crap out of me that SR never even touched on what kind of Christmas the Evans had without their children, especially considering this was supposedly a "family" themed episode. So I added a bit to it, hope you don't mind.

He lies back on Michael’s sofa with a smile on his face, feeling good about things. He and Liz had skated till well after midnight, or more precisely she skated, he fell on his butt, a lot. But a sore rear was a small price to pay for the smile that Liz had throughout the night, a smile that matched his. His eyes grow heavy and he begins drifting off to sleep thinking of Samuel and congratulates himself for helping bring Samuel’s family closer together. As the night progress, his dreams take on a strange surreal tone.

He’s back at home standing around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. He smiles broadly as he watches a very young version of himself and Isabel coming running out wearing new Christmas pajamas and all excited about their first visit from Santa Claus. Younger versions of his Mom and Dad come out grinning from ear-to-ear at the joy and excitement of their children. He watches the joyful morning progress to early afternoon and his grandparents come over loaded down with even more toys for him and Isabel. He laughs as his grandpa gets down on the floor and starts playing with him and his new race car set. His head turns towards the kitchen as his mom tells him and Isabel to go get dressed and to be sure to wear the new outfits that she had laid out the night before. Grandma goes to help Isabel with her tights and to fix her hair and Dad and Grandpa help him straighten out his new sweater that he got all twisted while putting it on. As a family, they all take their seats in the formal dining room and wait for those wonderful smells from the kitchen to be served up. A little later while no one but him is watching a little Isabel kicks a little him under the table and then sticks her tongue out at him for no reason other than to bug him. He cracks up as the little him waits until he thinks everyone is again distracted before taking a big helping of mashed potatoes and flings it at Isabel. The look on Isabel’s face is still priceless. Of course this action lead to him getting yelled at followed be a very firm talking to and later being sent to bed early, but as he recalls he remembers it as being worth it. Looking again at his sister, he was right, it was.

His laughter dies down as he is once again standing at their Christmas tree, but this is a Christmas he doesn’t recognize. There are presents under the tree, but the look and the feel of everything is different. He looks over at the mantel and sees only two stockings with Philip and Diane neatly stenciled on them. He looks around the room some more and realizes that there are no signs of him or Isabel. No pictures lining the walls, no special gifts that they had given or made over the years, no sign of them ever having been there at all. We watches his very young parents come down stairs. His dad is trying to be very cheerful but there’s no mistaking how forced it is. His mom is having even less success. He notices the plastic bracelet on his mom’s wrist. He gets closer for a better look and realizes that his mom was wearing a hospital bracelet and that she must have just been released from one. His parents had never been talkative about what had happened but he did know that the around Christmas before he and Isabel came to be with them, Mom had suffered a late term miscarriage and had nearly died, along with the equally devastating news that it would be potentially fatal if she ever happened to get pregnant again, it had made for a hard Christmas that year. He swipes at his tears that are threatening as he watches his dad sit on the floor next to Mom and hold her tight as she sheds the tears that he’s trying to fight.

As he swipes again at the tears he realizes that the scene is once again different. The room looks like it does today, or rather when he last saw it when he stopped off to pick up his shoes for Isabel’s wedding, that is plus the Christmas decorations. He makes a point to look over at the mantel and smiles as he spots his stuffed stocking hanging there next to his parents’. On the sofa is a box with one for Isabel and Jesse sticking up along with several presents for them. His mom and dad once again come downstairs Christmas morning, but it is once again to an empty house. He watches as his parents exchange their stockings and how his mom looks longingly at his untouched stocking. They keep up a brave front throughout the morning, going through the motions of their family traditions, but this year there are no food fights between him and Isabel, no laughter of excitement and joy from their children, instead the house is sadly quiet. He gets a sick feeling as his mom excitedly answers each phone call, each door bell hoping it would be him and getting sadder each time when it’s not. In the afternoon they get dressed and leave with the box full of presents. He stands in the now empty room and looks at the presents left under the tree, untouched. They all have his name on them. It’s now late that night as his mom quietly comes back downstairs and stares at the unlit Christmas and cold hearth. She sits on the sofa holding herself tight as the tears steadily fall.

He awakes with a sudden jerk, totally disoriented. As he runs his hand over his face he’s surprised to see his hand come away wet. He can’t get that last image of his mom, sitting there crying, out of his head. Feeling like he’s going to start balling his eyes out himself if he doesn’t stop thinking about, he has no choice but to make sure that this was really only a dream. He quickly looks for his clothes and slips a pair of semi-clean jeans, sweatshirt, socks that he’s not certain are his and shoes on. He grabs his jacket and car keys and is out the door before he has time to think any more.

He pulls up to his parents’ house that until this fall he had called home. The only home he had ever known. A place where he had always known he was loved. A home he had turned his back on. He stands at the front door and doesn’t have clue as to how he should do this. He still has his house key, but it’s the middle of the night and his parents’ most likely would think he’s a burglar. Losing his nerve, he hangs his head in shame and pain and turns away from the door. He didn’t even have the excuse of dropping off presents; he hadn’t bought any, feeling that while he had gained a family with Liz, he had shoved his old one away in the process. Sniffling, he steps away from the porch and starts to head back to his car.

She thought she heard something. She had been sitting there having a good cry by herself when she thought she heard footsteps on the front porch. She gets up and flips on the outdoor light and peaks out the front window. Her mouth drops open in shock, as she sees her son getting into his car. She quickly moves back to the door and flings it open wide. Not caring if the neighbors see or what they say, she runs half way down the front path calling to her son to stop. He does and as he turns back around she can see that his cheeks are tearstained and eyes are red, much like hers. She just stands there in her nightgown and barefoot as her son comes running back into her arms. “Welcome home, Max”.

The End.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Dec-2001 2:24:13 AM ]
posted on 27-Dec-2001 2:58:45 PM by TaffyCat
Actually I hope that Philip doesn't stop digging. IMO, he did not drive Max away. Max, irregardless of the blazing chad with him being portrayed as still a minor in the court system, should actually be 18 and an adult. Max broke some very basic rules that I would think any house would have (lying, stealing, having a gun, running off with his minor girlfirend across statelines)and was made to pay the consequences. It was Max's choice to leave, Philip did NOT throw him out. It is Max's missguided belief that his parents are safe as long as they don't know, which I think a load of BS, that is keep them apart. The Evans, both Diane and Philip, have tried to show that they still cared and loved him, Diane in obvious concerned Mom ways, wanting Max's cell #, sending casseroles to Michael's, giving $$ to Isabel to give to him, but then so has Philip. If Philip did not care or love Max, he wouldn't give a damn about what kind of trouble he's in, he wouldn't be spending his time, money and effort in trying to dig deep enough to find out the truth so he can help his son. He also wouldn't have gone to bat for him in Utah, both in getting the charges dropped and then continuing to help Max get Liz off.
Go back and rewatch that fishing scene in Behind the Music, Philip clearly tries to tell him that he doing all this because he's afraid for his son and wants to help, to protect him, only to discover that his son is still lying to him. So no, Philip is not the problem, Max and his stubbornness is. Even Liz asked him "why don't you just tell him?" at the beginning of BTM and she's right, again.