posted on 28-Dec-2001 7:25:08 PM by sylvia37
Title: Everything to you
Author: Sylvia P.
E-mail: Magoulas⊕Charter.net
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13 for language
Disclaimer: I don’t own them, but I’d like to borrow them for a while just to fix things.

Synopsis: Set after "Control". If any of you read my "Conversation" series, you know that dialogue is my thing. I can't stand it when they don't have meaningful conversations and let things slide. I got this in my head after that episode and it won't leave me alone.

I'm not sure where it's going, and although I'm a Dreamer through and through, I can't guaranty that this will be a happy dreamer ending, but I hope that you'll read anyway. I REALLY REALLY need to here from you good, bad or indifferent. PLEASE, PLEASE let me know what you think. I live for your comments. Have I begged enough?



Everything to You Part 1

As she came through the swinging door of the Crash Down, Liz’s dull gaze lifted to see a shadow through the glass doors. She stopped short and her heart began to pound as Max opened the door and walked through. A myriad of emotions cascaded through her as she took in his tired appearance, prominent among them, relief that he was safe.

“When did you get back?”

“Just now.”

He moved toward her slowly, his expression betraying his trepidation. Max had driven like a madman all night trying to get back. He felt a little light-headed from lack of sleep, but he’d had to stop here before he went to Michael’s. He couldn’t sleep until he knew if she would forgive him for not calling her. God, that wasn’t even the half of it.

Liz noticed his hesitation and her feelings of betrayal and disbelief at his lack of care for her feelings came rushing in. Shaking her head slightly, she said, “You didn’t call.”

Max’s empty stomach fluttered nervously at the look of resigned anger on her face. He moved forward another step. “I was driving all night. I had to get back to see you.”

Liz shook her head again even as her heart did a little leap at his words. “I’m talking about yesterday.”

She gestured toward his pocket. “You thought it was important enough to call your sister about her wedding, but not important enough to call and tell me you were alive.” She felt her anger heighten as he dropped his gaze guiltily.

“Liz…”

“I was getting ready to blow off school, and my father and everything to come to LA and find you because I thought you were hurt or dead or….and then I talked to Isabel and she said you called.” Her voice cracked slightly as hurt tears gathered, making her dark eyes shimmer.

Max stepped forward again, his arms outstretched. He felt his stomach drop another inch when she stepped back. Dropping his arms, Max looked at her pleadingly. “I..I missed our call date because I found the guy. You know, the Clapper Loader who became a movie producer. He’s the shape shifter just like you said, and I was at his house trying to…..anyway, we…we found the ship and….”

Max hesitated, swallowing painfully as his failure and regret over his actions of the last few days rose like bile in his throat. “We tried to make it work but…. it was too damaged from the crash. I’m ..I’m… sorry.”

“Were you at his house when I called?” Liz asked, the hurt beginning to recede a little bit at his explanation. His regret was obvious, and he looked so tired and miserable that her own hurt feelings were being overidden by her love and concern for him.

He hadn’t slept again. Or eaten probably, she thought. His beautiful face still had the power to make her heart flutter in her chest, but the toll of his quest to find his son showed in the strained lines and the thinness of his physique.

Oh God. “When you called?” Max repeated as his sluggish brain tried to come up with an answer that would not get him thrown out into the street.

“Yeah, I called you finally after Maria convinced me that I should, and you didn’t answer your phone. Were you….”

Liz stopped as she realized that Max wasn’t looking at her. His desperate expression registered in her brain, and she felt her stomach cramp.

“You did it on purpose.”

“I..I..” He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t lie to her. Of all the things he’d done over the last few months, the one thing Max hadn’t done was lie, and he couldn’t start now.


“Were you going to leave without talking to me?” Liz whispered, unable to project because of the lump that had formed in her throat. Her dark eyes were large in her pale face as she stared at him, her expression pleading with him to dispute what her heart was telling her. “ Please tell me that isn’t true, Max. Please tell me I’m wrong.”

His mouth worked for a moment, but no sound came out. Nothing he could say would make the reality of his actions any better. Finally, Max closed his mouth and dropped his gaze to the floor, his own tears gathering as the weight of his guilt crashed in on him.

“Oh my God…” Liz turned away from him, covering her mouth with her hand, and Max closed his eyes as the sound of her quiet sob stabbed him in the heart. Opening them again, he saw her narrow shoulder’s shaking and he was compelled against his will to reach out in comfort.

Liz stiffened the moment she felt his fingers on her arm and he quickly dropped his hand, rubbing it across his shirt where it covered his stomach. He felt sick from lack of food, and what he’d done to Liz and wished for the thousandth time that he could turn back the clock and make this all go away. God, he’d fucked things up royally.


“Liz…please let me explain….” He stopped abruptly as she squared her shoulders and turned back to face him. Her eyes, normally so animated and sparkling with her inner glow, were dull with the pain he’d inflicted, and he realized with another stab of remorse, that they’d looked like that far too often lately.

“I came in second again, didn’t I Max?” Her husky voice cracked with the effort of suppressing tears, and the sound rasped along his already taut nerves. “You had a choice to make and I lost. Just like before when you thought you were going home and you were leaving me here with a killer.”

“Liz, I had a responsibility to…”

“Yeah, I know.” Liz cut him off with a wave of her hand. “You have a responsibility to the child you created. The child you made with another Alien because you had to see what it was like but now you’re over it.” Her voice had begun to rise, and she stopped abruptly and turned her back.

If she wasn’t careful, she was going to turn into a screaming shrew. Taking a deep breath, she tried to get a hold of her emotions. She hadn’t meant to bring up old wounds, but Liz realized that no matter how much she loved him, she hadn’t really gotten over what had happened. She told him that she would help him find his son, but she hadn’t realized how much the constant reminder of his actions last year would cause this particular wound to fester.

“You know Max, I’m an idiot. This isn’t your fault…it’s mine.”

Max, who’d been staring at the floor trying to come up with anything that would make this better, looked up in shock. “How is it your fault?”

Liz turned back to face him. “It’s my fault because I love you and I thought that would be enough. I made the choice to take you back even after everything that happened because I love you. You’ve changed but…”

Liz searched the luminous amber eyes. “ I could still see glimpses of the Max I fell in love with and I…I thought if I just loved you and helped you, that I could get him back.”

She shook her head with resignation, and looked at him somberly. “But you’re not him. You’re someone I don’t even know.”

Max thought he would pass out from the force of the panic that surged through him at her words. He was losing her. He was losing her and he didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t lose her. He’d lost his family, his reputation and any respect that he’d ever had because of his quest, and now he was about to lose the only good thing he had left. God, how could he have let this happen.

“Liz, I’m still me. I just….please let me explain what’s been happening.” Max said hoarsely. “All the way home last night, I thought about everything that’s happened since before Tess left. I spent all night trying to figure out how my life got so out of control.”

He stopped and waited to see if she would listen, and let out the breath he’d been holding when she sat on a stool at the counter and looked at him expectantly. He turned his back for a moment trying to get his thoughts in order, then turned back around and started slowly pacing around the room.

“You know, all my life, all I wanted was to be human. Isabel, Michael and I never let anyone close, never had friends, not even our family because we were afraid of what could happen. When I would watch you with Maria or your other friends, all I ever wanted was to be human so I could be a part of your life.” He stopped his wandering to face her, a small smile lifting the corner of his mouth. “And then you got shot, and I couldn’t let you die. It was the only time in my life that I was glad I was an Alien.”

“Afterward, even though you accepted me and loved me, I still just wanted to be able to be normal so that we could be together and I could give you the life that you deserved, but I was selfish. I wanted you so much, that I couldn’t let you go even though I knew that being who I am put you in danger.”

His eyes darkened with remembered pain as he stopped to look at her. “When you walked away after we got the message from our mother and then I saw you with Kyle, it was like being in heaven and then being thrown into hell.”

“Are you blaming me for the choices you made?” Liz questioned without rancor. She understood the pain she’d put him through better than he realized. It was the same pain she felt when she’d learned he slept with Tess.

“No! No, I’m not saying that,” he said rather desperately, concerned that she’d misconstrued his words.

“I’m saying that that’s when I started to realize that no matter how much I wanted it, I was never going to be human. I was never going to have the life I wanted.” Max looked at her sadly. “I think that slowly, as I accepted that fact, I started accepting my Alien side.”

“Then finally, when we got taken hostage by Brody, and that Alien device went off and I remembered our other life, it’s like part of me that had been asleep, suddenly woke up.” Gesturing agitatedly, he tried to explain what had been going on inside him since that night.

“I’d felt it a little before that, mostly when Tess first came and was mind warping me, but now I could feel it inside.” Max laid his hand on his chest. “ This part of me that had been a king, who’d been raised to be in charge of a planet, was making itself known. When Tess started helping me remember more, it got worse. I didn’t even realize it was happening….that I was changing because it felt so much a part of me.”
He lifted his regretful gaze to her face. “And because I didn’t have anyone to anchor me in this world, I started drifting toward the other.”

Liz nodded, her own expression reflecting his. She was glad that he was finally opening up to her, but it was hard to face the truth of their actions. They’d both made mistakes and the unfortunate repercussions were going to follow them the rest of their lives.

Max took in her expression and said, “I’m not blaming you for that. I know you made the choices you made out of love for me and concern for everyone. I just want you to understand.”

Liz nodded again, and Max continued hesitantly, as the hardest part was coming up. “ When we fought over Alex, it’s like my human side just shut down. You pointed out the truth, that I was in denial because it would be mean that we were responsible, and I couldn’t accept it.”

“It’s like everything about myself that I’d ever feared had come true.” Max looked at the floor, his voice hoarse with suppressed tears. “ You had chosen someone human over me, and someone I cared about died because we put him in danger. When Tess came along and told me she would be with me forever, I…I just let go of the human in me and literally embraced the Alien part..” He glanced at her as he shook his head in wonder at his own stupidity. “It was stupid and it was selfish and I’m going to pay the price the rest of my life.”

Max sighed and rubbed his hands over his face, tired beyond belief but unable to stop the words now that he’d started. He needed to get this out because Liz deserved to know what had driven his actions over the last few months. He’d been keeping her at arm’s length without even realizing it, and he needed to fix it. God, he hoped he could fix it.

“When you found out what she had done, and I realized what I had let happen…to you…to me….to all of us, I just wanted to find the part of myself I’d given up. I never stopped loving you, I just buried away in my heart where it couldn’t hurt me anymore. When I asked you if we could start over, I was hoping that by letting myself love you again, that I could find what I’d lost.” He looked up to find that she was looking at him solemnly, her expression giving nothing away.

“I could still feel the Alien pull inside me, but I was ready to let it go and be the person you fell in love with.” Max closed his eyes for a moment. “God, I wanted that so much. Just to have you back, and be Max Evans again, not King Zan.”

Finally stopping, Max pulled out a chair from one of the tables, and sat down. Looking up at her as he leaned over to rest his arms on his knees, Liz saw the film of tears in his eyes as he gazed at her. She felt her heart twist at the look on his face.

“Then I got the vision of my son.” Max dropped his gaze and stared at the floor as he spoke. “ I’m not sure I can describe to you what it was like or what it’s been like since.” He hesitated a moment. “ It’s…it’s this constant ache inside of me. Sometimes it’s faint and I hardly feel it….and sometimes it’s so intense it doubles me over.”

Looking up again, Max’s expression was desperate. “ I can feel his feelings. I don’t know how because he’s so young, but I can feel him and…and… it’s wonderful and awful at the same time. When I told you he’s in trouble, it isn’t like he told me that or I saw it. It’s just his feelings.” Max stopped to swallow painfully. “ He’s so afraid and…and …so lonely.” He dropped his head in his hands. “I can’t stand it sometimes because I can feel his loneliness. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be so alone on a planet where you don’t belong, but he feels it.”

The tears he’d been holding in finally laced down his cheeks as he continued brokenly. “And I’m not there. I’m not there to protect him, or..or help him.. or anything.” His fists clenched on the sides of his head before running through his hair agitatedly. “ I just let him go with that….Tess…and it’s my fault. Sometimes I can feel him begging for me to come for him and it’s all I can do to keep from going insane.”

Max finally looked up, the shimmer of his tears making his amber eyes almost translucent. “That’s why I’ve been so desperate. That’s why I ignored my human feelings and made Langley help me even though he begged me not to, and that’s why I didn’t answer the phone. I…I was so close to being able to help him and I…just couldn’t let the chance get away.”

Getting up from the chair, he stepped toward her, his gaze pleading with her. “ God, I’m so sorry, Liz. I need you. I love you so much….and I know I’m not what you need or want me to be….but I swear I’ll try. I just….please don’t leave me. Please…..”


**TBC
Should I go on?


[ edited 65time(s), last at 19-Feb-2003 8:04:52 PM ]
posted on 3-Jan-2002 7:46:53 PM by sylvia37
Hey, thanks you guys for all the feedback. Wow, everybody has an opinion. Didn't realize I was picking a subject so near and dear to everyone's heart. Guess I should have considering how they've messed up our show. This past Tuesday was a little balm to my soul, but I don't think it's going to last.

Here is the next part. Once again, I beg and plead for your feedback. I live only to read your comments. No seriously, I love it. Please let me know what you think. Be kind, this is only my second fanfic ever so I plead lack of experience. Thanks again for reading.


Everything to You Part 2


Liz stared at him with tears in her own eyes, wishing desperately that he’d told her all of this before. “Oh God Max. Why didn’t you tell me? No one should have to go through this alone. Why didn’t you just let me in so I could help? That’s all I wanted.”

She got up from the stool and walked around him, closing her eyes and rubbing them tiredly. She knew now what she needed to do, but she didn’t know if she had the strength. Part of her wanted to throw herself in his arms and make believe that everything would be OK, but the other more practical part knew that it wasn’t that simple. She’d spent a long, painful time thinking about their relationship lastnight, and in light of his revelations today, she knew what her heart was telling her to do. It didn’t make it any easier. She loved him so much.

Turning to face him once more, she steeled herself against the effect he had on her. “ I know you need me, Max.” Liz shook her head. “But I can’t just be someone you turn to when you need help researching or figuring something out. You say you love me, but I can’t feel it. I hear the words but they’re meaningless.”

Her heart broke at the expression on his face as her words cut into him, but she kept going, because it was the right thing to do. For both of them.

“When I made the decision to be with you and help you find your son, I knew that I wasn’t going to be your top priority and I accepted that. I felt the change in you too, but it didn’t matter because we loved each other, and we were working toward the same goal.”

“I could feel you pulling away from me even before you left.” Liz gestured vaguely toward the apartment upstairs. “ Maybe it’s because of my father and not being able to be together without looking over our shoulders, but I ignored it because I…..I don’t know.” She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment. “I just wanted you so much, and I was willing to put up with the little you gave me because of that.”

Liz looked down at the floor and took a deep breath.

“I…I don’t think I can do it anymore, Max. I understand what you were telling me about why you did what you did, and I understand your desperation so much better now but….that’s the point, I guess.”

She looked at his devastated face and went on resolutely before she lost her nerve. “You have to do this. You have to find a way to get to your son. No child should be so unhappy, and I couldn’t stand in the way of that.”

Liz shook her head and new tears gathered in her eyes as she spoke “But I also can’t do this anymore. I thought a long time last night when I was waiting for you and I realized that I’m worth more than this. I can’t be second in your life. I can’t be an after thought.”

The tears spilled down her cheeks, and her voice was soft as she looked at him, the love she still felt for him shining from her eyes along with the pain. “You spoiled me, Max. You told me I meant everything to you once, and I don’t think I can be less than that now.”

“I want to be somebody’s everything, again.” Liz smiled sadly through her tears as she gazed at him. “ I really wanted it to be you, but it isn’t going to happen. At least not right now. Maybe when you find what you’re looking for….”

Max was dying. He didn’t know how anyone could stand this much pain and still be alive. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I’m not going to be your girlfriend anymore. I’m saying that I love you, but I don’t want to be with you that way. No more sneaking out, no more secret meetings at school. You need to concentrate all of your efforts in finding your son… without having to worry about my feelings or anyone elses.”

Max stepped toward her intending to take her arms, but Liz stepped back, closing her eyes and shaking her head. He stopped and pleaded with her instead. “Liz. Please don’t do this. Please. I know I’ve screwed up everything again, but I promise….”

Liz shook her head again as she cut him off. “Don’t make promises, Max.” She looked into his desperate eyes willing him to see the truth. “You know I’m right. You have to do this.”

He stood there staring at the floor, unable to form a coherent thought. After his devastating failure to make the ship work, and his realization of how he’d ruined another man’s life, this blow was almost more than he could take. She was leaving him, and he could only stand there and sway, his weary body crying out for sleep, his broken heart in a million pieces at his feet.

“What are you going to do?” he finally asked hoarsely, afraid of her answer. “ Are you going to…look for someone else?”

Liz closed her eyes as her heart twisted at his trembling question. Liz wanted to hold him. She wanted to take him in her arms and sooth away the hurt that she’d brought to those desolate eyes, but she forced herself to stay where she was. Even if he managed to keep the promise he wanted to make, he would always be torn between her and his son, and she wouldn’t put him in the position of having to choose again. As much as it hurt right now, in the long run, they would both be better off. If it was meant to be that they should be together after he found his son, then they would find their way back to each other. Liz had to believe that or she wouldn’t be able to let him go.

“That’s not what this is about, Max. I still love you. I always will. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone else right now to get involved, and I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I’m just going to concentrate on school and work and fixing my relationship with my parents.” She shook her head. “I’ve really let my grades go since all of this started, and I need to fix that if I’m going to get into a decent college now. I'm not sure about Harvard, but I can still make up for it if I try hard enough.”

Max felt another stab of remorse slice through the pain. God, he was such a selfish prick. She’d ruined her life because of him and all he could think about was his own wants. “I’m sorry, Liz. God, I’m so sorry I messed up your life so bad.”

Liz was shaking her head even before he’d finished speaking. “Don’t blame yourself for my choices, Max. I made them with my eyes wide open, and now I have to deal with it.” She looked pointedly into his eyes. “Just like you do.”

Going behind the counter, she reached under it and grabbed a paper bag. She lifted the lid to the donuts and put several in the bag.

Walking toward Max, Liz handed him the bag and gestured toward the double doors. “I…really think you should go now. My Dad’s going to be down any minute.”

Max stared at the bag in his hand then turned in a daze towards the glass doors. He took a few steps then abruptly spun around, “Liz, I…please..”

“Just go, OK Max?” she said, her voice strained by the tears she was suppressing. Her hands were gripping the sides of her uniform in an effort to still their trembling. If he didn’t go soon, she was going to lose her resolve and she couldn’t allow that to happen. “You really need to sleep. I’ll…. see you tomorrow at school and we’ll talk about what else happened on your trip.”


He turned again toward the doors, every step an effort. A small part of him knew she was right, but the pain of having lost her was overshadowing every thought, every emotion. His long, lonely life stretched interminably before him, and he wished he could just go to sleep and never wake up. Or better yet, wake up and find out that this was all a nightmare. A long, horrible nightmare.

“Max…”

He hesitated, keeping his back to her for a moment until he could pull himself together enough to face her.

“You can promise me two things.” Liz looked at his now remote expression with unease. God, she hoped she hadn’t pushed him over the edge with her decision. If he shut down too much, she was afraid that he’d completely let his Alien sidetake over, and they would lose him forever. “ Promise me that if you have another vision and it’s too much for you, you’ll call… someone to help, OK?” She gestured towards him. “You don’t have to go through it alone.”

When he didn’t answer she went on hesitantly. “Um…and the other thing is….if you find a way to leave…you know…the planet….at least let me know so I won’t be worried.” Liz swallowed the panic that arose in her throat at the thought of him leaving. “ So I’ll know why you’re gone.”

Max looked at her a moment before nodding. Turning back to the door, he finally made his way out. Climbing into the Chevelle he put the key in the ignition and sat there.

Liz, who had turned back toward the counter so he wouldn’t see her tears, waited to hear the now familiar sound of the Chevelle’s engine. When she didn’t, she turned around and looked through the doors.

Max was sitting in the car, not moving. As she watched, he lay his head on the steering wheel, closed his eyes clenching his fists. She could almost feel the waves of defeat and despair coming through the glass.

She had to….Liz had unconsciously taken three steps toward the door when Max finally lifted his head. Liz saw the tear tracks reflecting on his cheeks even through the hazy glass. He put the car in gear and backed out of the parking space.

Liz turned away from the door and slowly made her way back to the counter, sitting down on one of the stools. Covering her face with her hands, she shuddered in reaction to what had just happened and fought the storm of tears that was building. Hearing a noise, she looked up to see her father coming through the swinging door.

“Liz. Are you OK?” Jeff Parker’s brow wrinkled in concern as he took in his daughter’s pale face.

"Uh…no Dad. I don’t feel very good. Do…do you think you could call Tammy to come in for me today? I think it might just be a…cold or something.” Liz dropped her eyes as the lie left her mouth. At least she wouldn’t have to do that anymore. A stab of anguish ripped through her at the thought.

“Sure Honey. You just go upstairs and get in bed. I’ll take care of things.”

Liz smiled wanly at him. “Thanks Dad.”

Slowly trudging up the stairs to her room, Liz swallowed convulsively to keep from crying until the door was firmly locked. Then, throwing herself on the bed, she buried her face in her pillow and sobbed. Why did it have to hurt so much? Hiccuping and sniffing, she reached for the phone and pressed speed dial for Maria.


[ edited 3 time(s), last at 8-Nov-2002 10:53:54 PM ]
posted on 22-Jan-2002 8:06:01 PM by sylvia37
Ok, this is a re-post of Part 3. Since it was only out for couple of days, I hope that some of you will still let me know what you think. I'm working on part 4 and hopefully, will have it done by the weekend.

Thanks again for reading, and please, please, please, let me know what you think. Begging is so pathetic, isn't it?


Everything to You Part 3

“So you’re saying he just ignored your phone call and was going to leave the planet without saying a word?”

At Liz’s nod, Maria shook her head in amazed exasperation. “I can’t believe that! What the hell is wrong with him? You know, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt, but he has really crossed the line this time. What did he say when you confronted him?”

Liz sniffled and explained the whole conversation. By the time she got to the end, she was crying again. “Oh, God Maria. It was so hard to let him go.”

Maria grabbed a tissue and handed it to Liz. “I know it was, babe. But you did the right thing. If he was going to leave without telling you, then he’s obviously lost his grip on his priorities. I know he loves you, but he can’t treat you that way and expect you to just be here waiting.” Her heart broke for her friend, and she was going to kick his ass the next time she saw Max. The boy had obviously lost his mind.

“So does this mean you aren’t going to even talk to him anymore? I mean are you just going to completely cut him out of your life?”

Personally, Maria thought that was exactly what she should do, but she realized right away that that was going to be nearly impossible. If it were her and Michael, she knew she wouldn’t be able to just let him go completely. Thank God she didn’t have to worry about Michael disappearing. He might be an insensitive jerk sometimes, but he’d stayed on this planet for her and she loved him for that…and so much more. He tried really hard to make her happy and he’d come such a long way from Mr. “I have to be a stone wall”. She was really very lucky. So was he. Not many girls would be willing to put up with him.

“I don’t know, Maria.” Liz answered her question shakily. “I told him we’d see each other at school and talk about the rest of his trip. I just….I can’t quit caring what happens to him just because I’m not seeing him anymore. I love him.” Shaking her head, she closed her eyes as the unstoppable tears laced down her cheeks. “I don’t know how to stop doing that. I’ve loved him for so long, it just feels like a part of me. I don’t know how to just be me anymore.”

God, that was so pathetic. How had she let herself get so wrapped up in Max’s life that she didn’t have one of her own? Liz stopped right there. She knew how. Because before Future Max came back, her and Max’s life had been the same. They’d had the same goals… to love each other and to try as hard as they could to have a normal life. Even after they’d gotten the message from his mother, she’d been a hair’s breath from taking him back before Future Max appeared and turned everything upside down.

What she wouldn’t give right now to have the Granolith back. She’d find a way to make the damn thing work and go back in time herself and fix this mess. They would all work together to stop the end of the world and she and Max would be together. Liz gave herself a mental shake. It was too late for that. She couldn’t change things and her and Max’s life were on different tracks now.

Even so, she didn’t think she would be able to completely cut him out of her life. They were connected. On some basic level, they were always going to be connected because he’d healed her that day in the CrashDown, and if nothing else, because of Maria and Michael. But it was time to stop wishing for the impossible and start figuring where she was going to go from here. She would just have to find a way to make it work. Her life was going to be the priority now, not his.

“You know I’m here for you, Liz. Whatever you decide, I’ll be behind you. I love you.” Maria reached out to hug her.

“I love you too,” Liz said, hugging her back tightly. After a few moments, she let go, wiped her eyes and took a deep breath. “I’m just going to concentrate on other things, you know. Work on my grades, fix things with my parents, just….try to get my life back on track.” Liz looked down at her hands. “I’m not going to avoid him, but….he just isn’t going to be my first concern anymore.”

Maria nodded at her thoughtfully. “Are you sure you’re going to be able to do that? I mean, I have all the confidence in the world in you, babe, but seeing him without really being with him….that’s going to be tough.”

“I can’t just stop loving him, Maria,” Liz said quietly. “I can’t just turn it off like a faucet. Maybe in time…I don’t know…. I’ll be able to let go completely, but…until then, I’m still going to worry about him. And I really hope he finds a way to get to his son because he’s not going to have a life either until he resolves this.”

Liz sighed and looked back up at Maria. “Can you do me a favor?” At Maria’s nod she said, “ Can you ask Michael to keep an eye on him? Just make sure that he sleeps once in a while and gets something to eat. He just looks so.…I know he isn’t taking care of himself and….and I’m afraid he’s just going to get worse now without…without someone to take care of him.” Liz peered at Maria through her lashes, afraid that her friend would think she was pathetic for still caring about this, but she was reassured when Maria nodded.

“I’ll ask him, but I can’t guaranty he’ll do it. Babysitting Max is not high on Michael’s list of priorities. You know, we are so sad. We should write a book. We can call it “Alien Losers and the Women who Love Them”.

Liz giggled and the two girls lay back on the bed to stare up at the ceiling.

“Thanks for trying. And thanks for listening. Again. I don’t know why you put up with me.” Liz glanced sideways at her friend.

“Because your father’s my boss?” Maria smiled as Liz punched her in the arm. “OK, enough about aliens. Here’s my suggestion. Ben and Jerry’s and…..complete makeover. It’s time for a whole new you. What do you say?”


Max drove. Aimlessly, completely numb to his surroundings. He wasn’t up for a run in with Michael about how he could have exposed them to the outside world with his foolishness in LA, but he didn’t really have anywhere else to go. So…he drove.

He barely noticed the desert landscape as the Chevelle kicked up dust on the open highway. His thoughts were focused on the hole where his heart used to be. The radio played in the background and the songs only made him feel worse. When Nsync’s “Gone” finally came on, he ripped the knob off and tossed it out onto the road, sending a blast of heat through the radio for good measure, melting the offending thing into the dashboard. It didn’t really make him feel any better.

Without realizing it, he ended up outside what used to be the pod chamber. Turning off the car, Max sat there contemplating the destruction that the launching of the Granolith had wrought, the sight barely penetrating the fog of despair that had enveloped him since Liz told him to leave.

He was so tired. Not just from driving all night, but his soul was tired. In his short eighteen years, he’d experienced so much, he felt a hundred years old. The brief periods of true happiness in his life…mostly with Liz… were overshadowed by the bad things. They swirled around in his head until he wanted to scream with it. His torture by the FBI….Liz leaving him at the Pod Chamber….seeing Liz in bed with Kyle…fighting with the Skins…...not being able to save Alex…..realizing that the child he created was dying…..the decision to leave earth, leave Liz behind….finding out that Tess had killed Alex….getting caught by the police at the convenience store….all the lying, and hiding and sneaking around…they ran through his brain like a horror movie that wouldn’t stop. The small fraction of time that he and Liz had been truly a couple before Tess came and the brief moments of pleasure they’d had together since she’d left seemed remote, as though they had happened to someone else.

Tess. Max rubbed his hands over his face as though trying to wipe out the memory. Everything seemed to lead back to her. Since the day she’d entered his life, it had taken a downward spiral that he had never recovered from. Sometimes in his darkest moments, he wished he’d just killed her at the pod chamber despite the fact that his child was inside her. Shame immediately followed the thought. Even if he had known what was going to happen after he’d had to make that split second decision to let her live, he was not sure that he could have just wiped his child out of existence. Not after he’d connected with him that first time. He was the one who was guilty, not his child.

He’d been trying to make up for his irresponsible behavior with Tess since the day he found out about the pregnancy, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. He continued to make one mistake after another, hurting Liz in the process. Sighing, Max thought about all of those movies and lectures they’d gotten since junior high school about safe sex and unplanned pregnancy. Well, he was certainly the poster boy for that. It had completely ruined his life.

One of the worse things was that he could barely remember the sex. He remembered being at the observatory. He remembered Tess showing up. After that it was really a blur until the culmination. And, of course waking up in the morning with Tess in his arms. His face grew hot thinking about his discovery that he’d just spent the night in an open place after losing his virginity to a girl that…..well, that wasn’t Liz.

Max had wondered about his lack of memory since that night. The thought that Tess had mind-warped him had crossed his mind but at this point it didn’t really matter. He’d slept with her and now she had his son. The way it happened was not really the issue anymore. The fact that Liz had taken him back despite his lapse in judgement was a testament of her love for him, and he’d taken that love and basically thrown it away.

Max supposed that it was his just reward. He would probably never have sex again. Liz didn’t want him anymore, and the one time he did it, he couldn’t remember. He couldn’t imagine himself getting involved with another human girl, and besides, he’d learned his lesson as far as relationships were concerned. He sucked at it. No ifs, ands or buts. And, since meaningless one - night stands were out of the question, that was it. This store was closed for business.

Leaning his head back against the seat, he closed his eyes and thought about the things Liz had said to him. She still loved him. She could feel the change in him.

I’m worth more than this.

That was certainly true. She was worth everything. Everything that had happened since he’d healed her.

You say you love me, but I can’t feel it.

The words made his blood run cold. He loved Liz. He loved her more now than he ever did. When had he lost the ability to project that to her? He thought back over their time together since Tess left. They’d touched, they’d laughed, they had made out like there was no tomorrow, but they hadn’t really connected.

Max remembered how it used to be for them before this happened. It didn’t take any effort for a connection to spring up between them. All Liz had to do was be in the same room, and his whole body would start to hum with awareness. When they touched, or even stood close to each other, the air between them would almost shimmer with their bond. Now, there was nothing. No, scratch that. Max could still feel Liz’s love for him. She just couldn’t feel his. Somehow, his wiring got screwed up, and he didn’t realize it until it was too late.

Max was torn. His soul was fragmented. It was as though two people were fighting a battle within him, and he didn’t know who was going to win. What he’d said to Liz was true. She’d been his anchor in this world when everything else was spinning out of control, and when he’d lost her, he’d lost everything. Now that it had happened again, he didn’t know if his human self could survive.

Did Michael and Isabel go through this? He knew that Michael had had problems in the past, but did he still feel this way now that he’d settled down into domestic bliss with Maria? Did Isabel ever feel torn? Max doubted it. Thinking about his phone call about her new fiancé, he frowned as this added worry wormed it’s way into the jumble of thoughts and questions going through his mind.

Max covered his face with his hands. God he was so afraid. Afraid of being truly alone for the first time on earth, now that Michael and Isabel didn’t need him, and Liz didn’t want him. Afraid that he wouldn’t be able to save his son from whatever threatened him. But mostly, he was afraid that he would lose his human soul to the alien inside him. That Max Evans would be lost forever.

He had to find a way to stop it. He had to find a way to integrate the two parts of himself so that he could have his life on earth, and save his son as well. He wanted both. He needed both. Liz’s words again came to mind. If Max found what he was looking for, they might still have a chance.

That was his hope. He would do what she asked of him. He would leave her alone to live her life, and concentrate all of his efforts on finding his son. After all of the sacrifices she’d made for him, this was the least he could do. And maybe, when it was over, they could start again. If she hadn’t already found someone else. The thought ripped through him with ferocity, bringing bile to his throat. He wouldn’t think about that now. He couldn’t.

Sighing wearily, Max reached over and grabbed the bag of donuts Liz had given him. The emptiness in his stomach had started to gnaw a hole through to his spine, and the light - headedness was back. He really needed to take better care of himself. Just as this thought passed through his brain, he felt a now familiar tug on his senses. Dropping the bag of donuts, he grabbed his head as he lost focus and everything went black.

The darkness surrounded him like a blanket and Max tried to focus as the usual disorientation set in. Taking a mental grip, he concentrated on the small consciousness that was his son and gasped as the feelings washed over him.

Fear. Fear surrounded him, closing his throat, blocking the air in his lungs. His son was petrified. Completely unaware, Max’s body began to tremble.

Back in his mind, anger at his own helplessness froze him for a moment, then he concentrated again, trying to project calmness and support through the small connection. He was rewarded by a lessening of the fear and a small spark of hope, and Max focused harder on that spark, trying to feed it with soothing thoughts and encouraging feelings. His head was beginning to pound, but he kept it up as long as he could, knowing it was the only thing he could do right now to help. As the fear lessened even more, the connection weakened. A last thought flickered through his mind as the link faded, but it was gone before he had a chance to grasp it.

Max ran his hands over his sweat -dampened face before opening his eyes. It was dark. How long had he been here? Trying to see his watch in the gloom, Max realized that the whole day had passed while he had been out of it. He must have fallen asleep after the vision took hold of him. Starting the Chevelle’s engine, he grabbed a donut out of the bag, and shoved it in his mouth as he drove toward the road that led to Roswell.

Thinking about the vision he’d had, Max realized that it was stronger than any of the others. Like he could almost hear his son in his mind. What did that mean? And why was he so afraid? Max was determined to find out.


posted on 26-Jan-2002 10:09:03 PM by sylvia37
Hey you guys. Sorry. I know it's the weekend and the new part isn't quite done. I worked hard on it last week, but I ended up having to go out of town on Thursday and I just didn't get it done. Don't be mad, please!!!

I'm really flattered that you guys were looking for the new part, and I will try my very hardest to have it out.....Ok I can't make promises because my husband is here visiting from Saudi Arabia and he doesn't leave again until Wednesday next week. I only get him for three weeks so I have to spend all the time I can with him. Yippee, he'll be home for good in May.

Anyway, I'll work hard and try to get it done as soon as possible. Thanks so much for reading. I love you guys.

Sylvia
posted on 28-Jan-2002 6:41:49 PM by sylvia37
Hey you guys. Well, that didn't turn out to be too bad. I missed the weekend by one day. So here it is. Part 4. Spoiler warning for "To have and to Hold".

I am shamelessly begging once again for feedback, but please be gentle, my feelings are delicate. Please let me know that you're reading since I can't see the view numbers anymore. I look forward to you're comments.

Note to Flora: Sorry about the weekend. I'll try to do better next time I predict when I'll post. Thanks for you're kind comments.




Everything to You Part 4

“Liz, I’m leaving. I’ll see you at the reception. OK honey?” Jeff Parker’s voice floated through her closed bedroom door.

“OK Dad. Bye,” Liz answered back as she continued applying mascara. Capping the tube, she took one last look in her bathroom mirror before entering her room. She decided this new look Maria had given her was only for special occasions. Glancing at the clock, she saw that she still had some time before Maria came to pick her up for the wedding.

Liz shuddered as she thought about what Isabel’s reaction was going to be to the dress they’d found. On the other hand, if Isabel hadn’t been so preoccupied, she could have gotten her own replacement dress, so really, it wasn’t her and Maria’s fault. Besides, she could always do a little alien magic and tweak the dress into presentability.

Liz sat down at the vanity to do her hair. She tried to keep her mind off the other thing that had her worried about this wedding, but it was an impossible task. Max was going to be there. And she was going to be standing next to him. She was going to have to walk back down the aisle with him after the ceremony. Liz sighed as her nervous fingers dropped the barrette for the second time. Get a grip, she told herself firmly. It’s not like you haven’t seen him for the last two weeks.

That was true. She had seen him in the last two weeks. But that was all. She hadn’t spoken to him or actually been in close proximity to him since their conversation in the Crash Down. It wasn’t by her choice either. Max had taken it upon himself to all but remove his presence from her life. They hadn’t really been allowed near each other in school as it was because of her father, but they had managed a few stolen moments during the day. Now he made sure to sit on the opposite side of the room in any classes that they shared. He rarely showed up in the Quad for lunch, and when he did, he ate by himself or with Michael. She’d seen him at the library several times, but as soon as he spotted her, he went in the opposite direction.

Liz had prepared herself to deal with their new status as more or less friends. She’d told him during their confrontation that they would talk at school about the rest of his trip to LA, but when he hadn’t shown up for lunch that day…or the next…or the next, she realized that he was avoiding her.

Running a brush through her long tresses, Liz sighed. What had she expected? After all, she’d pretty much dumped him, and although he was the one who had started it with his callous treatment of her feelings, she was the one who’d ended it. She was the one who told him to concentrate on his quest and not worry about her feelings, and she knew he wasn’t’ doing it out of malice or anger, but in a conscious effort to let her live a normal life. So why did it bother her that he was doing what she asked? Liz stared at her hair in the mirror for a moment, then let out a faint curse and took it all down to start over. What a shitty time to have a bad hair day.

It just hurt, that’s all. Not the fact that he was avoiding her, but being cut off from him hurt. She hadn’t expected it to happen so abruptly. But he had taken the decision out of her hands by simply being around her as little as possible. And really she knew in her heart, it was better this way. Better for both of them. Make a clean break of it. No need to dwell on the pain by constantly being together but not really together. That’s why this wedding was going to be doubly hard. It was the first time since their break up that they had to interact.

Abruptly, Liz got up from her vanity. Forget the hair. Maybe Maria could do something with it when they got there. Turning to her bed, she picked up her dress and stepped into it, reaching behind her to pull up the zipper. She turned back to mirror to check her appearance and as she leaned over to search through her jewelry case for the earrings she wanted to wear, Liz forced herself to stop thinking about Max, something she’d grown good at the last couple of weeks. Mentally, she went over the list in her head of things that needed to be done. The dress, the flowers, the rings…everything seemed to be in order.

Her Dad was taking care of the reception, although she knew that she’d have to step in and help once everything got under way. That was OK. Any thing to keep occupied. That was her motto these days. Tilting her head as she put on her earrings, Liz spotted the pile of papers and books on her desk. She still had a lot of schoolwork to get done this weekend. Maybe she could duck out of the reception early and come home.

Liz didn’t mind being busy. In fact, she reveled in it. Since her decision to take charge of her life again, she’d jumped back into school with both feet. Her science friends got over their initial surprise of seeing her at last weeks science club meeting pretty quickly after having been noticeably absent all year, as did the Year Book Committee. She’d talked with all of her teachers about her grades, finding out that they really weren’t all that bad, just not up to her usual standards. Next week, she had an appointment with the counselor to look into scholarships and colleges. She had applications to fill out.

Liz smiled a little to herself as she slipped on her shoes and grabbed her purse. As hard as it had been to adjust, the last two weeks had also been really good for her. It was as though she found just a little bit of herself that she’d lost. This was the Liz Parker she recognized, the girl who loved science and always had a plan. The girl who held up convenience store clerks at gun - point was not who she wanted to be. She didn’t think it was who Max wanted to be either, but he had to make that decision on his own.

Liz felt a little pain in her heart as she made her way down stairs. She missed Max. She missed the touch of those strong hands, and she especially missed his kisses. Even if he hadn’t been completely hers the last few months, she missed the part of him she’d had. But she wouldn’t go back to the way things were. She didn’t want to. She heard the horn outside just as she stepped through the swinging door to the Crash Down.

********

“Ow! Maria, could you not try to rip the hair completely out of my head?” Liz looked at her friend in the mirror as she rubbed the spot where hair used to reside. Maria just stared back at her as she combed, not the least bit offended. “Sorry, sweetie. You were the one who begged me to do something. I never said I was a professional.”

Liz stuck her tongue out, but didn’t say anything else as Maria worked on her stubborn locks. Looking in the mirror again, she could see Mrs. Evans helping Isabel on with her wedding dress. She was thankful that Mrs. Evans had shown up when she did for more reasons than one. Although Isabel had tried to put on a brave face when they showed her the dress they’d found, Liz could tell she was upset. It had been an opportune moment for Mrs. Evans to walk in with her own wedding dress making Isabel doubly happy to have a beautiful dress to wear and have her mother at her wedding. Liz was glad for her.

“Mom, this is so gorgeous. It’s perfect.” Isabel turned back and forth in front of her own mirror, trying to see all sides of the dress. She turned back to her Mother to hug her again. “What made you and Dad change your minds?”

“Oh, well it was your brother actually. He came by to pick up his shoes and we had a little chat. He made us see things a little more clearly.” Mrs. Evans smiled at her daughter. “Oh, honey. You’re so beautiful. You know your father and I just want you to be happy. That’s all that matters.”

Isabel smiled back tremulously. “I am happy, Mom. Jesse makes me happy.” She would not think about the dreams of Khivar. This was her special day and nothing was going to ruin it.

Liz looked down at her hands hiding her expression as Maria tugged on her hair. Max had convinced his parents to come to the wedding, even though he wasn’t sure about it himself. That was such a sweet thing to do for his sister. It almost made up for breaking her fiancé’s nose, Liz thought with a little smirk. She couldn’t believe they’d gotten into a fight at the bachelor party.

“All done, babe. What do you think?” Liz looked up and saw that Maria had managed to tame her unruly hair into a decent style. “It looks great, Maria. Thanks.”

There was a knock at the door. “Everyone decent?” Kyle stuck his head in after being told to enter. “Too bad.” He gestured behind him. “ The photographer’s here. He wants to take pictures of the bride and bride’s maids.” Kyle held the door as the women exited the room, then led the way to where the photographer waited.

Twenty minutes later, they were finished, and Isabel’s mother gave her one last kiss before Kyle walked her to her seat. Liz and Maria got in place and as they waited for the music to start, Liz saw Max, Michael and Jesse take their places at the altar. She plastered a smile on her lips and walked slowly with the music to where they and the minister waited, trying to avoid looking at Max as she took her place and turned towards the back. Everyone rose and Isabel stepped forward proceeding down the aisle on her father’s arm.

After Mr. Evans gave her over to Jesse and Isabel handed Liz her flowers, they all turned towards the minister. Unable to resist any longer, Liz glanced at Max. God, he looked great in a Tux. His broad shoulders filled it out perfectly, and for a moment she allowed herself to remember what it was like to be wrapped in that strength. Pulling her gaze away, she missed the look that Max gave her just as she glanced down.

Max’s starved eyes roamed her petite form for just a moment before looking back at the bride and groom. He swallowed against a suddenly dry throat as he couldn’t help but glance her way again. She was so beautiful. The familiar smell of the soap she used, and the way her lashes lay against her skin as she looked down caused his chest to tighten painfully. Max hadn’t been this close to her in two weeks, and his senses cued in on everything they’d missed. Prying his eyes away, he forced himself to pay attention to the ceremony. The minister finished speaking and Isabel and Jesse started saying their vows.

Liz, feeling his gaze, looked up just as he turned back to face the front. He seemed intent on the ceremony, but she knew he’d been staring at her. Sighing inwardly, she started to turn away, when his head came around slowly and his eyes locked with hers. Time trembled to a halt as their gazes held and the sound of the minister’s voice suddenly sounded loud to their ears.

“ Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?”

The rest of the sentence was lost as the room seemed to fade, and another room in another time came into focus for a moment.


The bride and groom were standing before a man in a sequined jumpsuit, dark hair slick with gel. “Do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?” The Elvis minister looked at the two as the petite, dark haired girl stated her acceptance. “Then, by the power vested in me by the state of Nevada, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You can kiss the bride.”

The groom turned to the girl and swept her into his arms, kissing her hard. They smiled giddily at each other, before turnng back to the Elvis minister to thank him. “Congratulations kids.”


Michael jabbed him for the second time in the ribs. “Max, wake up man. He needs the ring.”

Max jerked his eyes away from Liz’s suddenly pale face as reality abruptly forced the vision away. Reaching shakily into his pocket, he handed the gold band to Jesse, avoiding Isabel’s death stare, then glanced at the girl across from him. Max could see that Liz’s hands were shaking as well but she stared down at the flowers she was holding refusing to meet his gaze again. Had she seen it too?

The vision of their smiling faces lingered in his head as the rest of the ceremony went by in a quick haze, and before they knew it, it was time to walk down the aisle behind the newly married couple. Max stepped toward Liz and she hesitated, clutching the flowers to her like a lifeline.

“Liz,” he said softly, trying to get her to look at him, but she didn’t, finally placing her trembling fingers on his arm. They moved slowly down the aisle behind the happy couple, and Liz immediately let go of him when they reached the back, moving quickly away. Max started to go after her, but was immediately thwarted by the crush of people wanting to congratulate the bride and groom. He lost sight of her in the crowd.

A little while later, having worked his way through the mass of well-wishers, Max spotted her, but before he could approach, he was grabbed by Kyle. “ Hey man. The photographer wants you guys back up at the altar for pictures. Find Michael, will ya? I’ll go tell the girls.”

With that he was gone, and Max could do nothing else but go look for Michael as asked. He found him, and as they approached the altar, Max could see that the photographer was already setting up shots with the wedding party along with the parents. They endured another thirty minutes of pictures, and Max tried to catch Liz’s eye during the interim but she stayed well away from him, only coming near when they had to be together for a picture.

He almost managed to corner her when they were done, but the sight of Maria’s glare stopped him, and he watched as she disappeared into the Jetta headed to the reception. Max had been avoiding Maria as much as possible since he’d had to endure a tongue lashing from her the night he’d come back from LA. She was royally pissed at him for his treatment of her best friend, and he couldn’t blame her. He’d listened in stoic silence as she’d ripped him up one side and down the other, and since then, he’d tried to make himself scarce every time she came to Michael’s, spending lots of time at the library doing homework or working overtime at the museum. He’d run into Liz a few times at the library, but he avoided her as well, hoping she hadn’t noticed him coming in.

Max realized that he’d managed to alienate himself from almost everyone he loved, no pun intended. First, his parents, then Liz and Maria. With Isabel getting married, the only person he spent any real time with was Michael and that wasn’t very much between his two jobs and school. Besides, spending time with Michael wasn’t one to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so basically….he was alone. Cue the violins, he thought sourly. You have no one to blame but yourself.

He and Michael made their way to the Chevelle, and headed for the reception hall. As he drove, Max brooded silently, staring fixedly out of the windshield. Michael finally broke the silence. “What the hell’s wrong with you, Maxwell? I thought Isabel was going to kill you for zoning out at the altar.” Michael looked at hi s friend’s profile waiting for an answer.

“Nothing’s wrong with me,” Max said finally, after a moment’s hesitation. He didn’t want to talk to him about his vision, knowing Michael would have nothing sympathetic or constructive to say. He had voiced his opinion of Max’s stupidity about this whole situation more than once. Max just wanted to get to the reception and talk to Liz.

Michael started to pursue his questioning, but changed his mind. Obviously Max didn’t want to talk about whatever was bothering him, and honestly, he didn’t think he’d be much help. Maria had asked him to try and keep an eye on him, which was funny because she’d made it quite clear the other night what she thought of Max’s recent actions, however, Liz had asked her to ask him, so she did it. He’d actually tried to fulfill this request, but Michael’s schedule was completely full, and there wasn’t much time for checking to make sure Max was sleeping and eating properly. Hell, he’d barely managed that himself. Besides, Max was a grown man. If he decided to stay out all night or skip a few meals, there wasn’t anything Michael could do about it. He cared about Max, they were brothers, but he wasn’t his keeper.

When they finally got to the hall, everyone was already eating and mingling, and Max made his way through the party guests, acknowledging handshakes and congratulations as he went. He finally saw Liz talking to her Dad by the kitchen and started to head that way when he was stopped by his mother.

“Max, honey. Can you come sit with us for a little bit? I’d really like to know what you’ve been doing lately. I know you don’t live with us anymore, but I still worry about you. Your father and I both do.” Max looked down at his Mother’s pleading gaze and sighed inwardly at this new interruption as he nodded, knowing that he owed his parents his attention. He hadn’t forgotten what Cal had said to him the night he left LA. He’d caused his mother enough heartache.

They hit the buffet table, then sat down catching up on each other’s lives. His father didn’t contribute much to the conversation, just seemed to watch him with an unreadable expression on his face. Max was sorry that he had allowed the relationship with his dad to deteriorate to this level, but he didn’t feel equipped at the moment to try and fix it. He needed to find Liz. He didn’t know what he was going to say when he did, but he just needed to talk to her about what he’d seen. Somehow, he would find a way to bridge the gap with his dad at a later time.

Promising his mother to see her later, he got up from the table and headed for the kitchen. Peering around the corner, he saw the wait staff and Mr. Parker, but no Liz. As he looked back at the room full of people, he saw Isabel coming his way, and groaned to himself. He couldn’t ignore her on her own wedding day, but if one more person stopped him, he was going to lose it. Trying not to seem frustrated, he listened as she grilled him about his toast to the wedded couple. Finally, after assuring her for the third time that he wouldn’t embarrass her, she let him go and he once again, scanned the room for Liz.

Spotting her petite form in all these people was not easy, but finally he caught a glimpse of what looked like her dress on someone headed out into the hallway. Max rapidly made his way to the exit, making it into the relative quiet of the hallway unaccosted. Looking right, then left, he saw her disappearing around a corner, and took off in that direction. Practically skidding to a halt as he came around the corner, he finally saw the object of his search standing by a window, staring out.

Liz turned as he approached, and the sadness in her expression answered his question before he even had a chance to ask it. “You saw, didn’t you?” he said rather redundantly, and she nodded. Max closed his eyes briefly, several emotions vying for his attention, among them, regret that he’d caused her more heartache and his own sad feelings over the loss of their happiness.

“Liz, I…I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to….I didn’t do it on purpose. It just…happened. I don’t know why you….saw it too.” Max looked at her anxiously.

Liz swallowed as she looked down at her hands, trying to keep the tears in. She’d held it together this long, but she’d known the minute she had to face him, she’d lose it. “ Maybe it was because we were so…you know… emotional….because of the wedding.” Or because we still can’t let go, she thought. “Is that how it happened last time? When we were in Las Vegas?” Liz inquired, taking in the familiar way he shoved his hands in his pockets, still not looking directly at him.

“Yeah, pretty much. One minute, I was looking at this other couple, and the next, it was us.” Max could see that she was nervous, her hands trembling slightly as she clasped them together. Hoping to diffuse the situation, he tried to lighten the mood. “So…the Elvis Chapel. What were we thinking?” He smiled slightly hoping she’d join in, but when she still didn’t look up, he lifted her chin, and his heart twisted at the tears shimmering in her eyes.

“Liz…”

“We…we just looked so happy.” She stopped as her voice cracked. The tears slid down her cheeks, and Max looked at her for a moment before he opened his arms and she stepped into them, burying her face against his jacket. He held her tightly, his own eyes filling as the realization of everything they’d given up hit them.

When Liz had finally told him about Future Max’s visit, she’d included his description of their wedding, and Max had shared the memory of his vision in Las Vegas by connecting with her. They tried not to dwell on the fact that their previous life was sacrificed for nothing, especially since the outcome of that sacrifice was so devastating. As a result, they hadn’t dealt with the pain… and now it had come back to haunt them.

Happiness had radiated from them in the vision they’d shared, and it made the devastation of their breakup in this life even more acute. Somewhere along the way, they’d lost those two people, and they cried together for the life they would never have.


Max let go of her to bring his hands up to her face. Tears still trembled on her lashes and his thumbs caressed them from her cheeks as he whispered, “I’m sorry.” The words conveyed a multitude of regret over all of the pain his chaotic, alien life had caused her over the last three years.

Liz smiled sadly through her tears. “Me too.” She gazed into the glistening amber eyes, wet with his own tears, and wanted nothing more than to crawl back into his arms and let their comforting strength surround her for a while. But despite the momentary unity of their shared grief, nothing had changed. She took his hands from her face and stepped back, trying to regain her composure. Max wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, and watched her do the same.

“Liz…I..”

“Max! Where the f..,” Michael’s voice carried around the corner right before he came into view. He cut off abruptly when he saw them together, sorry to have interrupted what looked like an important conversation. He gestured toward the reception hall reluctantly. “Isabel’s about to blow a gasket looking for you. It’s time for your toast.”

“Tell her I’ll be there in a minute.”

Michael nodded and left, and Max turned back to Liz to find her completely in control once again.

“You should go. Isabel’s waiting for you.” She managed to look composed despite the fact that she desperately wanted to break down again. As soon as possible, she was going to make her excuses and go home. She needed to be alone to deal with this.

“Are you sure you’re OK?” he asked reluctantly. Max didn’t want to leave her, but he couldn’t keep Isabel waiting on her wedding day.

“Yeah. Go on before she comes looking for you herself. She’s stressed enough as it is. I’m just gonna stay here for a minute….you know…and then I’ll be there.”

“OK.” Max looked at her for another second as if to ascertain that she was telling the truth, then turned and sprinted down the hall toward the waiting guests.

Liz held on until he disappeared around the corner before letting the renewed tears fall.

posted on 6-Feb-2002 7:46:31 PM by sylvia37
I wanted to say thanks to all those who left feedback. Your words are very encouraging. I'm sorry I haven't posted but my computer's been acting up and, since my husband went back to Saudi Arabia, I seem to be very busy.

I will try to finish part 5 soon but I just wanted to let you know that I haven't abandoned this.

Thanks again.

Moonlit Jade:
I love your name, and you're comments are so sweet. Thank you for reading and talking to me.


Sylvia

posted on 8-Feb-2002 7:34:48 PM by sylvia37
Well finally, here it is, part 5. Spoiler warnings for "To have and to Hold" and "Interruptus". As you can probably tell, I'm sort trying to follow the episodes, with my own twist. Mostly because of the glaring ridiculousness of them. Not to say that my story isn't ridiculous, but it's mine.

Thanks for reading and once again, FEED BACK IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED, even begged for. I want to know what you think. Just be kind and encouraging.


Everything to You Part 5

Thank you God, Liz thought as she finally entered her bedroom.

Having made her excuses to Isabel and Jesse and her Dad, Liz left the wedding reception in search of solitude, promising to see them later at the Crash Down. She’d begged Maria for the keys to the Jetta, telling her that she needed to get home to do schoolwork, but Maria immediately knew something was wrong. She’d had to spill the whole story in the bathroom when Maria dragged her in there, demanding an explanation, then try and make her face presentable. Puffy eyes and a red nose were a dead giveaway. Maria was very sympathetic, hugging her and telling her that she’d get a ride with Max and Michael to see the married couple off on their honeymoon, so Liz finally managed to make her escape, luckily without encountering Max again. He was occupied dancing with his mother.

She sighed wearily as she removed her shoes and padded to the vanity to put her jewelry away. After removing her dress, she put on a pair of jeans and a shirt and went into the bathroom to wash off her makeup and let down her hair. Eyeing the books on her desk, she went instead to the bed and lay down, tiredly draping an arm over her eyes as she finally allowed herself to the luxury of giving in fully to her sorrow now that she was by herself.

Tears leaked from behind her closed eyelids as the whole thing played out in her mind once again. When Future Max had described their wedding, she could hear in his voice the same look she’d seen on their faces in the vision. Utter joy. Complete awe in finally being together forever, and in the depth of their love. That was the only way to describe it. And that is what had been stolen from her and Max.

Liz turned her head into her pillow and sobbed. She wept for herself….she wept for Max….she wept for the whole unbelievable tragedy of it all. They’d given up a love that most people only dream of…for nothing.

And then there was Alex. She sobbed harder as his face came to mind. God, she missed him. She missed how he used to make her laugh and his loyalty and…so many things.

Anger pushed it’s way through the sorrow, and she resisted the urge to pound the bed in childish frustration. What a fucking waste! All of the suffering; hers…Max’s….Alex’s parents…his friends…for what? They hadn’t saved the world. Hell, they didn’t even know what was going to happen now. They had no idea what was being planned for the earth now that supposedly Tess had gone back to Antar with Max’s son.

All she knew for sure was that pushing Max and Tess together had had disastrous results for everyone. Max had allowed himself to fall victim to her machinations and Alex was dead. If Tess had left Roswell as in the original future, none of that would have happened, but Liz’s pretense of sleeping with Kyle had given her just the incentive she needed to go ahead with her scheme. It was unlikely that even if she’d known about her role in the future of earth that Tess would have changed her plans. She’d wanted Max and she’d wanted to go home. Liz doubted that anything short of a complete lobotomy would have made a difference.

She rolled onto her side and pushed strand of damp hair from her face. She felt raw and bruised inside and finally facing the losses she’d suffered and the choices she’d made over the last year coming so soon on top of her break up with Max…it was enough to make her believe she’d never feel truly happy again.

Ridiculous. She knew it. But Liz felt like she’d earned the right to wallow in self-pity for a while. Eventually, she’d have to pull herself together when the others arrived from the reception, but for now, she lay on her lonely bed and gave in to her grief.






Max was dancing with Isabel as he surreptitiously scanned the room for Liz. He’d reached a point where he was probably going to have to brave Maria’s wrath to find out what happened to her. She hadn’t reappeared after their conversation and he was pretty sure she’d left. Max would have ducked out himself if it hadn’t been for the fact that he was the best man, not to mention the bride’s brother.

The vision he’d shared with Liz, and their subsequent conversation gnawed at his soul and left him feeling depressed and guilt-ridden. The unfairness of being cheated out of the life they should have had was a bitter taste in his mouth, and knowing that it was mostly his own fault was even worse. The fact that his future self had been the one to set this all in motion was almost too much to bear. Liz blamed herself for the choice she’d made, but he knew the truth. Apparently age hadn’t improved his decision-making skills, if he’d thought that being with Tess over Liz was a good idea no matter what the circumstances. Never mind the fact that his future self hadn’t known at the time that Tess was still a manipulative bitch and a potential killer. It was his fault, and his actions had caused a chain of events that hurt everyone he loved. End of story.

Pulling his attention back to Isabel with an effort, he glanced at her somewhat preoccupied face. He’d been getting weird vibes from her all day. “Is, are you OK?”

She looked back at him, and smiled brightly. “I’m fine. It’s my wedding day, and I’m married to the man I love. Why wouldn’t I be OK?”

“You just seem…I don’t know….worried.” He looked at her seriously. “Jesse will be safe and you know that I’ll still be here for you. I’m your brother. Nothing will ever change that.”

Isabel looked at him through the tears that had gathered at his words. She should tell him about the dreams. He was going to be so upset if finds out that she’d been having sudden dreams about their worst enemy, and she didn’t tell him. Opening her mouth, she started to speak, then abruptly closed it. No. No, she would wait. She didn’t want anything to ruin her honeymoon. Then she’d come home, tell Max everything and let him help her worry about it then.

She hugged him as the song ended. “Thank you. The same goes for me too.”

Max turned as Jesse came up to claim his bride for another dance, and he headed toward Maria who was peering over Kyle’s shoulder at the digital camera in his hands. “Quit taking pictures of the chicks, you Horndog, and start taking some of the bride and groom,” she said slapping him on the shoulder.

Maria looked up as Max approached and he was surprised by the expression of sympathy that crossed her face. Liz must have told her. “Hey. Um…do you know…” he stopped as she shook her head.

“She left a little while ago.” Maria watched as he closed his eyes for a second then opened them nodding in resignation, and she felt the last of her anger melt away. She could see that he was hurting as much as Liz, and he was probably blaming himself enough for two people. Max sat down at the table and absently played with a left over fork, his closed expression precluding any conversation.

Kyle had gotten up, headed to the dance floor, when Max got a weird sensation. Energy surged through him suddenly, and he jerked his head up to see Michael stopped in mid stride looking around. He got up from the table and quickly joined him. “Did you feel that?”

“Yeah. What the hell was it?”

“I don’t know, but keep your eyes open. I’m going to see if Isabel felt it.”

Max turned in time to see Isabel headed toward Jesse from the dance floor, leaving a bewildered Kyle standing alone. He tried to reach her before she got to him, but she had already latched onto Jesse’s arm before he could. Intending to try and get her alone for a moment, he was thwarted by Jesse’s announcement that they had to leave or they wouldn’t make their flight.
The expression on Isabel’s face was happy, just as you’d expect any young bride to look, but Max knew her. She was hiding something. He could see the underlying nervousness…and fear. She must have felt it too. He turned and tried to casually survey the party guests, but he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Michael joined him a few minutes later.

“I looked in the halls and out front. There’s nothing. What the hell was that Maxwell?” he said agitatedly. His instincts to fight and protect had jumped into full gear the minute the weird surge of energy had run through him, and it only heightened his sense that something was wrong.

“I don’t know, but we’re leaving now so let’s talk about it at the Crash Down. I’ll try to get Isabel alone over there.”

A few minutes later, the guests gathered outside and threw rice at the happy couple as they ran to their car and headed to the Crash Down to get ready for their Honeymoon. Max, Michael and Maria piled into the Chevelle and followed.

"Admit it Michael. It was pretty cool that I got "Ivy" to play at Isabel's wedding." Maria smiled smugly at Michael who ignored the look and shrugged. "They were Ok, I guess. "Linkin Park." Now that would've been impressive." Maria rolled her eyes.

As they continued to trade barbs, Max only half listened to their banter, his thoughts preoccupied with the new development….and with Liz. She’d tried to put on a brave face when he’d left to give his toast to Isabel and Jesse, but he knew she was hurting and he’d hated leaving her like that. Strengthening his resolve, Max decided he’d talk to her one more time just to see if she was OK, then leave her alone. Let her go back to her normal life. She deserved peace and happiness, and the only way for that to happen was for him to stay away from her. He’d caused her enough heartache.

When they pulled up to the Crash Down, they stepped out of the car, and Max and Michael shed their coats and ties before entering the restaurant. He found out from Jesse that Isabel was upstairs changing so he searched out Liz instead. Max spotted her carrying a tub of dishes toward the back, so he quickly intercepted her on the way to the kitchen.

“Liz, “ he said as she looked up, and startled by his sudden appearance, the tub tilted in her hands. Max grabbed it from her nerveless fingers and apologized. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Liz shook her head, and pushed a wayward piece of hair behind her ear. “You didn’t.” She glanced at him for a second, then looked away, feeling slightly uncomfortable about her wan appearance. She felt rung out from her bout of tears and strangely vulnerable.

"I looked for you at the reception after….you know….but Maria said you left."

Liz looked up, her large eyes dominating her tired features. "I…I just needed to be alone for a while."

Max set the tub on the counter and took in her red rimmed eyes and pale cheeks with concern. “Are you OK now?”

Liz sighed and looked up at his handsome face, wishing she could lie and say yes. “I will be, eventually. It just caught me by surprise, you know. The..the vision. It made everything so…real. I hadn’t let myself think about it before.” She gazed up at him as he nodded his understanding. Seeing the underlying grief and guilt in his own expression, Liz asked, “Are you OK?”

Max shook his head. “Yeah. I just….” His eyes dropped from hers, swallowing the lump in his throat, suddenly wishing he could be alone to give in to his pain. Her compassionate expression was unraveling his composure. She always managed to bring all of his emotions to the surface, undermining his natural ability to keep them at bay.

"Max, it wasn't your fault…" Liz stopped as he shook his head.

"I hurt you." Max said hoarsely. "I didn't mean to, but I did. And I'm sorry." The words felt inadequate, but it's all he had.

"Max…", Liz turned toward the kitchen as her father called her name, then faced back around to find him walking away from her. She watched with a heavy heart as he picked up a suitcase and headed out the door towards Jesse's car. She wanted to comfort him, but knew she couldn't. Picking up the tub of dishes, Liz went into the kitchen and put them by the sink then went to see what her father wanted.

After packing the car, Max waited for Isabel to appear so he could talk to her, but when she didn’t, he finally went looking for her. Stepping into the kitchen, he walked in on her, Michael and Kyle in the middle of an obviously tense discussion. They all looked up as he approached.

“What. What’s going on?” Max looked at them as they glanced at each other warily.

Michael finally spoke. “It’s Khivar. Khivar was at the fucking wedding.”







posted on 14-Feb-2002 7:44:00 PM by sylvia37
Thanks to everyone who posted feedback. I have to say that I had hoped to hear from more of you, but I guess that just means that you either don't like it or you don't like the fact that Max and Liz aren't together in this story so far. I know how you feel. Sometimes, I can't read stories where their not together either. So why, you may ask, am I writing one? Good question. Honestly, I couldn't tell you. Maybe it's because I just can't stand what they've done this year and it's my way of trying to make it more reasonable. I don't know. Whatever it is, I'm glad that those of you who do like it are sticking with me. I love hearing from you.

Part 6 has spoiler warnings for "Interruptus". This part is a little short because I've had computer problems and I wanted to get this out before I couldn't. Let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.


Everything to You Part 6

"You’ve been having dreams about Khivar. And you didn’t say anything."

Isabel suppressed the urge to flinch at the tone in Max’s voice as he expressed his displeasure. Sometimes he had that whole "King of an entire race" thing down pat. Then, of course, she realized that made her a Princess and he’d better watch who he was talking too.

"I thought they were just dreams, Max. I didn’t want it to ruin my wedding, and I don’t want it to ruin my honeymoon. I only get one honeymoon."

Isabel was looking at Max belligerently and Michael realized instantly that this situation was threatening to turn into an all out sibling war. He moved immediately to stop it. " Look, it doesn’t matter now. What matters is that Khivar is here. On earth. Now what the hell are we going to do about it?"

Max stopped glaring at Isabel long enough to answer Michael’s question. "I don’t know. It’s obvious that he wants Isabel…or at least he wants to use her for some purpose."

Isabel looked distraught and her expression grew panicked when she heard Jesse calling her. The others were going to show up any minute. "I have to go, Max. What are we going to do? What if he follows me? What if he…" Isabel’s words tripped over one another as she realized that her marriage could be over before it started.

Max grabbed her arms and forced her to look at him. "Isabel, Isabel calm down." He took a deep breath and tried to get a grip on his own emotional state. His anger had dissipated somewhat in the face of his sister’s distress. "You are going to go out there and go on your honeymoon with your husband. Michael and I will figure out what to do about Khivar."

Max looked at all three of them. "Did anyone besides Isabel see him?"

Michael and Kyle shook their heads, but Kyle suddenly realized something. "I might have gotten him on camera." He reached into his pocket and pulled it out.

"OK, here’s what we’re going to do. After Isabel leaves, Kyle and I will go back to Michael’s and look at the pictures. Michael, you get done as soon as you can and meet us at home. We’ll figure it out from there." The authority in his voice had everyone moving before they even realized it.

It was a good thing because Jesse poked his head through the door just as the group broke up. "Come on Mrs. Ramirez, we’re going to miss our plane."

As they headed toward the swinging door, Max waited until Isabel and Jesse were through before stopping Michael and Kyle. "Listen, I don’t want Liz knowing anything about this, OK?"

He looked at Michael. "I don’t care what you tell Maria, but make sure she knows that Liz is not to be involved."

Michael knew what was going on with them so he just nodded, but Kyle looked at him strangely for a moment. He started to say something, but the look on Max’s face made him decide to ask Maria about it later.

They piled out into the café as Isabel was making the rounds, saying her goodbyes. Max immediately saw Liz sitting at the counter with Maria, but he quickly glanced away when she looked up at his entrance. He wanted to say something. He didn’t know what was going to happen with Khivar, but knowing he was possibly going to be in a dangerous situation made him want to say something….anything really just to able to speak to her one last time before he left. But she wouldn’t understand, and he didn’t want to give her any hint that there might be something wrong.

When Isabel got to Max, she hugged him compulsively and he tried to reassure her as best he could without giving anything away. "It’ll be OK," he whispered as she let go, and Isabel gave him a trembling smile in return.

As soon as they were gone, Max said a quick goodbye to his parents, and moved toward the door behind Kyle. He turned one last time to look at Liz, who was staring after him, a sad expression on her face. He almost went to her then, that expression tearing at his heart, but stopped himself before he could give in to the impulse. He knew she was feeling the same things he was, but it wouldn’t help either of them to keep rehashing the past. They both needed to look to the future, and he was going to try to do what he could to make sure that his life didn’t interfere with her dreams anymore. She deserved that.

Max gave her a small half smile, his eyes briefly caressing her face, before he turned back to the door, knowing that his heart was staying here with her. He quickly ran to the Chevelle, and headed to Michael’s.

***************

Max and Kyle looked up from the camera they were watching when Michael entered with Maria. Michael immediately threw his jacket and tie on the couch and joined them. He peered over Kyle’s shoulder at the picture of the man who'd destroyed them.

"That’s him?" He turned to frown at Maria when she jostled him aside to get a look. "Ooh", she breathed, then looked at Michael innocently. "I’m just sayin’".
Michael scowled at her and turned back to the picture.

"So what’s the plan, Maxwell? We’re going to La Jolla and kill him right?" Michael was itching for a fight.

Max’s nodded, trying to control his own thirst for vengeance. He didn’t want to analyze all of the feelings this encounter with his old enemy invoked, but eventually, he would have to confront them. The energy surge at the wedding reception had awakened the alien inside him, and he knew Michael was feeling it too. Still, his brow creased with concern at what they were about to do. They were planning someone’s death.

"Yeah, it looks that way. We have to assume that he knows where Isabel’s going, and we need to get there before he does something to her or Jesse. All we know for sure is that he wants Isabel. We have no idea what else he has planned."

"How are you going to just kill him? I mean, isn't he stronger than the two of you?" Maria looked worriedly at Michael as she voiced her fears. Knowing he had once been a soldier and actually watching him go off to fight were two different things.

"We have to do this, Maria. We don't have a choice." Max understood her concerns, and for once, he was glad that Liz wasn’t here. At least she was being spared the worry. Michael moved to put his arm around Maria, and she leaned against him taking comfort, even as she accepted the truth of Max's words.

"I'm gonna go change and call the airlines to find out when the next flight to La Jolla is." Michael turned toward the bedroom, and Maria moved to follow, but Max stopped her.

"Did Michael tell you about Liz? Please don't say anything to her about this. She doesn't need to be involved." He looked at both Maria and Kyle as he said this, but he was mostly speaking to Maria. The expression on her face didn't add to his comfort level.

"I'm not going to lie to her, Max. I won't volunteer anything, but if she asks me, I won't lie." Maria gazed at him expectantly and he nodded in resignation. He couldn't ask her to lie to her best friend. He'd done that to Liz too many times in the past, and no good ever came of it. The truth always came out in the end.

"Well I, for one, wish I could be in Liz's shoes. I would really prefer not knowing that two aliens are chasing a third evil alien to California to try and fry him before he kidnaps a fourth alien. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, you know?" Kyle shook his head before saying goodbye and wishing them luck.

Maria looked like she totally agreed with him as she went to join Michael in the bedroom, leaving Max to get ready on his own. She found him buttoning up his shirt, phone to his ear and she sat down heavily on the bed as she waited for him to finish. What do you say at a time like this when your boyfriend is going off to kill someone? It was like a bad B movie.

Michael turned the phone off and looked over to see his girlfriend sitting unhappily on the bed. Sighing he went and sat down next to her. She leaned against him.

"I don't want you to go." Maria knew it was unreasonable the minute the words left her mouth, but she couldn't help herself.

"We have to, Maria. That asshole killed us! He's after Isabel." Michael pulled away to look at her teary eyes.

"I know that. But don't ask me to be happy that you're going off to assassinate someone. And if he hadn't killed you in that other life, you wouldn't be here right now, so I can't be completely mad at him." She leaned up to kiss him, and as she pulled back, she was surprised to see the vulnerability in his own dark eyes before he glanced away.

"Maybe you'd be better off if he hadn't."

Maria tried to make him look at her, but he wouldn't. "Where is this coming from, Michael? Is this because of Max and Liz?"

"Yeah, I guess. It's just….sometimes ….don't you ever wish…you had a boyfriend who was normal?" This was a big step for him. Fighting evil aliens was one thing, but as far as he'd come in the last year, admitting his greatest fear like this was terrifying.

Maria put her hands on his cheeks and brought his head up. "Look at me, Michael." She waited until his reluctant gaze met hers. "Yeah sometimes I do wish we lived a normal life. But I never wish that you weren't a part of it. I love you. I can't imagine how boring my life would be without you."

Michael stared at her for a moment, and for that brief moment, Maria saw the Michael that no one else got to see. He looked happy, almost innocent, and one side of his mouth curved up in a smile. It absolutely melted her heart that she'd brought that expression to his face. Leaning up, she put her mouth on his, and he immediately wrapped his arms around her small body, deepening the kiss, taking her breath away.

A few minutes later, they ended up lying on the bed, Michael's hands doing delicious things to her softer body parts. Breathlessly she pulled away from his kiss. "Promise me, Michael. Promise me you won't do anything stupid. Promise me you'll think before you come out blasting." Her lithe fingers were unbuttoning the shirt he'd just gotten into as his worked the zipper down the back of her dress.

"I promise," he said, his own breath coming out in pants. Right now he'd promise her anything. Cupping his hand to the back of her head, he pulled her lips to his, and there was no more talking as they immersed themselves in each other.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Feb-2002 8:35:00 PM ]
posted on 22-Feb-2002 6:49:31 PM by sylvia37
Thanks to everyone who left feedback. You guys are awesome. I love hearing from you.
Here's part 7. Once again, spoiler warning for "Interruptus"

Please let me know what you think, I WANT to hear from you. I LIVE to hear from you. Really, thanks to all of you who talk to me.


Everything to You Part 7

Liz watched surreptitiously over her shoulder as Maria headed toward Kyle’s booth for the 4th time. Staring as the two of them engaged in a hushed conversation, she wondered not for the first time what was going on.

She’d elected to do her homework downstairs because she’d finally gotten sick of sitting in her room being depressed, figuring that she could eat and talk to Maria during her shift. But Maria had all but ignored her and she and Kyle were being really weird. That on top of the fact that Michael had called to switch shifts for tomorrow and the next day, had her worried. Something wasn’t right.

Maria sat down at the booth leaning over as she talked to Kyle and her anxious expression finally decided it. Liz got up from the counter and walked over to where they were sitting.

“Suppose he discovers the interstellar love triangle and the alien hit squad winging it’s way to honeymoon central?”

Kyle and Maria looked up simultaneously as Liz approached, immediately trying to act nonchalant. “Hey guys. What’s up?” Liz observed their guilty expressions, as Kyle answered.

“Liz,” Kyle greeted her glancing guardedly at Maria. “Nothing’s up. Uh, we were just….um discussing our….Calc midterm. You know how I suck at math. Maria was helping me.”

Maria tried not to roll her eyes at that lame excuse, as she realized instantly that Liz knew something wrong. They’d done a piss poor job of hiding it from her so far. Oh well, sorry Max, she thought.

“And what do interstellar love triangles have to do with Calculus?” Liz looked at him expectantly, as Kyle tried not to squirm under her scrutiny.

“Well…um…” Kyle’s eyes slid away from her skeptical gaze, and Maria finally sighed.

“Give it up, Kyle. She knows there’s something going on.”

“Yeah, you two are pretty blatant. So, what’s this about? What aren’t you telling me?” Liz’s curiosity spiked up a notch as they looked at each other warily.

“Look, Liz. It’s nothing. Really, it’s no big deal.” Kyle tried to look sincere under her sharp gaze.

“Then why do you look so worried?” Liz stared at Maria who was avoiding eye contact completely, then she looked back and forth between the two of them. Neither one spoke up. Sighing in exasperation, Liz finally said, “OK. That’s it. Upstairs. Both of you. Right now.”

Maria started to protest. “Uh, Liz. I have tables….” Liz cut her off.

“Tracy can watch for a minute. I’ll tell her. You two go up to my room. I’m right behind you.” Liz grabbed them each by the hand, ushering them toward the swinging door.

A few minutes later, she entered her room to find them in a heated discussion, that stopped abruptly when she came in.

Staring pointedly at them she said, “OK spill. What are Max and Michael up to and why are you trying to keep it from me? It is about Max, right? Otherwise, I’d already know about it.”

“You know Liz. This whole dominatrix attitude is a good look for you. Have you thought about black leather and dog collars?” Kyle was inching toward the door as he said this, but Liz pointed forcefully at the bed and chastened, he sat down.

“Maria, what’s going on? I know something’s wrong or you two wouldn’t be so secretive.”

Maria sighed. “Look Liz. Max didn’t want you to know because of this whole “avoid involving Liz in anything alien related” kick he’s on, but I told him if you asked, I wasn’t going to lie so here it is.” Looking at Kyle in resignation, she plowed ahead.

“Khivar was at the reception.”

“Oh my God! What was he doing there?”

It was Kyle’s turn. “He’s after Isabel. It turns out she’s been having dreams about him for a while now, but she didn’t tell anybody…Ok she told me….and Michael….but she didn't tell Max. And now apparently he’s returned to claim his alien love goddess or some shit. Anyway, he showed up at the reception, and danced with her. I got pictures.” He whipped out the camera and Liz leaned over to look.

“Wait. He looks like a human.”

Maria pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. “We know. Look at this.”

Liz looked at the paper, and gasped. It was a picture of a missing man named Denny Ridgley. Apparently he’d been missing for a while, and his wife was distributing posters.

"That's him. Oh my God. Khivar's taken possesion of a human." Liz looked up at Kyle and Maria who wore a pained expression on her face. "What? What else aren't you telling me?"

"Max and Michael have gone to La Jolla to kill him."

**************

As the plane streaked across the sky toward La Jolla, Max moved restlessly in the confines his seat, trying to get comfortable. His nerves were on edge, and he couldn’t keep from shifting or glancing enviously at Michael who slumbered peacefully as though they weren’t headed toward a showdown with an evil alien.

Stretching his legs out as far as the seat in front would allow, a smirk graced his lips as Max thought about why Michael was in such a state of relaxation. Their disheveled appearance after he and Maria reappeared from the bedroom this afternoon might have something to do with it, not to mention the blush on Maria’s cheeks as she’d avoided his gaze or the self-satisfied look in Michael’s eyes. Max had waited to needle Michael until after Maria left, but he couldn’t stop the spark of jealousy that stabbed him as they’d tenderly said goodbye at the door.

Really, he was happy for Michael. After so many years of unhappiness and self -doubt, he had someone who loved him in spite of his obvious flaws. What was funny is that Max had had that too, he just hadn’t appreciated it enough. Ironic that Michael would turn out to be the smarter of the two of them.

Thinking about Liz, Max rubbed a tired hand over his eyes then closed them wearily. Earlier, in Michael’s apartment, he’d been glad that she wasn’t there, but he amended that thought now. A vulnerable part of him wished she was there supporting him as Maria had done for Michael. He would liked to have known that someone cared enough about him to be worried, but he immediately dismissed the thought as selfish. He knew Liz would be worried about him if she knew what was going on, which was precisely why he didn’t want her to know. She’d spent way too much time riding this alien roller coaster he was on, and she had nothing to show for it but heartache and disappointment.

His only regret was that if this turned out badly, he wouldn’t be able to tell her again how much he loved her and how sorry he was that he’d made her so unhappy. Actually, it was still better this way. She was probably sick to death of his apologies anyway. “Sorry” only goes so far before it loses it’s meaning.

Shaking his head, Max tried to rid himself of his maudlin thoughts. He was really pathetic. Forcing his mind away from his non-existent love life, Max shifted again as his thoughts drifted back to the problem at hand.

Khivar. A shudder ran through his body as the long forgotten feelings of anger and pain he’d kept in check threatened to take over. Although he and Michael had discussed the energy surge at the reception and how they’d both felt the malevolence of it, Max hadn’t told him just how violent a reaction he was having.

Something inside him seemed to recognize the sudden presence of the man who’d taken his planet and the lives of those he loved, even though he couldn’t remember the details. His own alien energy was roiling beneath the surface, and he just hoped he could keep a level head. They couldn’t afford to go off half cocked against someone who was probably much stronger than they were.

Glancing at Michael’s sleeping profile, Max sighed as he thought about what was going to happen. He hadn’t told Michael what his plans were for Khivar, but he knew that it wouldn’t go over well. Michael wanted to find him and kill him, plain and simple. Max had other ideas.

Khivar lived on Antar. Tess had taken his son to Antar. Max was going to find a way to get Khivar to tell him about his son. This was his chance, and he wasn’t about to allow it to get away. Michael would just have to understand, or, if he didn’t, Max would have to pull rank. He didn’t enjoy doing that, but this opportunity was too important to let his feelings for Michael’s sensibilities stop him. Somehow, Khivar was going to give him the information he wanted or Max would die trying. He had nothing left to lose. Then they would kill him.

*************

"Drive any slower, Maria and we’re gonna be at a standstill." Kyle griped at her from the back seat.

"Look, bud. We're about to break and enter a law office. I do not want to look suspicious."

"Oh. I'm sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking," Kyle said sarcastically. He sat back against the seat, crossing his arms as he murmured audibly, "Like going 20 miles an hour in 40 mile an hour zone doesn’t look suspicious."

Liz's lips curved upward as she stared out the Jetta's window. Breaking and entering. She sighed as she shook her head. God, how did they get into these situations. Oh yeah, that's right. It was her idea.

After Maria and Kyle had given her the whole story on Max and Michael's assassination plot, they’d decided to try and call Max as soon as possible after the plane landed to let he and Michael know that Khivar had possessed a human. They were going to have to come up with some other plan.

Then Kyle and Maria dropped the bomb on her about Mr. Evans asking questions about Max and Tess. Maria had overheard him questioning her father, then he showed up at Kyle’s to question Mr. Valenti. As usual, when it rained, it poured. Max was going to freak.

The three of them had been brainstorming about what to do, when Liz remembered that Maria was going to water Isabel's plants while she was away. She had the key to the apartment, so Liz surmised that maybe they could find Jesse’s keys to Mr. Evan’s office and investigate. They could try and find out what Mr. Evans knew so far.

Liz sighed as she thought back to her brief conversation with Max on the phone. Needless to say, he was shocked to hear from her.

“Max. Thank god you’re still alive.”

“Liz? How did you…..?”

“It doesn’t matter right now. Did you kill him?”

“Kill him…?”

“Khivar. Did you kill Khivar?”

“No, but….”

“Good. You can’t kill him Max, he’s a human. Khivar possessed him. His name is Denny Ridgley and his wife has put up posters all over town looking for him.”


She could hear Michael yelling for Max to get off the phone.

“Max, please be careful.”

“I will. I…..have to go.”



The conversation had ended pretty abruptly after that, but Liz could hear Michael in the background saying something about him getting away, so she understood. Thank God she’d reached them before they’d done something horrible. Max would never forgive himself if he’d killed an innocent man. For that matter, neither would Michael. Another disaster averted.

Hopefully, they could figure out a way to get Khivar without loss of life. Especially their own. Liz shuddered thinking about them facing their enemy alone, not to mention the possibility of exposure. She decided against mentioning his father for right now. Max had enough on his plate.

So here they were getting ready to break into Mr. Evans’ law office and Max didn’t even know it. She had to admit that it kind of hurt that he hadn’t told her what was going on, although she should have guessed something was up after seeing the look he gave her before he left the Crash Down earlier. He was spending all of this energy trying to keep her out of the alien loop, and here she was performing an illegal act to get information for him. Can you say “dysfunctional”? Liz swore to herself that this was her last act of lunacy for the alien cause. After this, it was the straight and narrow.

Maria finally pulled into the parking lot behind the building where the law office was located. They sat in the car for a moment making sure no one was around, then exited, flashlights in hand. They crept up to the door, and Liz tried several keys before finding the right one.

“Try not to use your flashlight unless absolutely necessary. Someone might see the light from outside,” Kyle whispered as they got their bearings. Luckily, there was emergency spot lighting throughout the ceiling, so they could see pretty well. The girls nodded and the three of them separated to check things out.

The only sound in the room for a while was the shuffling of papers and the opening of drawers until Maria finally broke the silence with a gasp. “Oh my God, Liz! Come look at this.”

She was standing at Jesse’s desk and Liz quickly joined her. “What? Did you find something?”

“You are not going to believe this. You know that nice old man, Mr. Gonzales at the bakery? Well, get this. He’s been cheating on his wife with some slut from Clovis. It’s right here.”

“Maria,” Liz whispered in exasperation. “That’s not what we’re here for.” Liz paused. “Does it say her name?” Liz leaned over to look at the paper.

Maria smirked smugly at her then looked down. “Yeah, it’s……Margaret somebody. Oh wow, there’s pictures,” she said pulling them out of the file. “Eww. He’s leaving his wife for this?”

“Uh…guys…” Kyle’s voice came from across the room and the girls turned simultaneously.

“You might want to look at this.”

Liz and Maria walked to where Kyle was standing by the bulletin board. “What is it?”

“I think we hit pay dirt.” Kyle pushed up on the bottom of the board and another one below it was revealed.

Both girls gasped. “Oh my God!

TBC..


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 22-Feb-2002 6:52:19 PM ]
posted on 23-Feb-2002 5:58:50 PM by sylvia37
Nickey,

Thanks for the encouragement.

Roswellluver,

Thanks for always replying. I always look forward to hearing from you.


Sylvia
posted on 24-Feb-2002 8:06:02 PM by sylvia37
Jade,
As usual, you're so sweet. I love hearing from you.

Alien614,

Thanks so much. I'm definitely planning to continue, hopefully have the next part up during or by the end of the week. Thanks for reading.

Sylvia
posted on 26-Feb-2002 9:40:28 AM by sylvia37
Thanks for all of your comments. I love it when people care enough to voice an opinion.

Isis, Lelea, Frenchkiss,

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

Lelea,

I know no one feels particularly sorry for Max at this point but since the show does such a poor job of showing where he's coming from, I just had to change it. I'm not sure I'm doing such a great job, but I'm trying. Thanks for your encouragement and thoughts.

I'm going to try and have the new part out by the end of the week. Hopefully.

Sylvia
posted on 27-Feb-2002 6:59:53 PM by sylvia37
Well, guess what. I got this part done before I said I would. It's acutally a little short, but I found a good stopping place so I'm going ahead and posting. I already have about half of the next part written so hopefully it won't be so long between posts.

Thanks again to everyone who left comments. I tried to address all of you individually. Please, once again let me know what you think. I love hearing from all of you. Thanks again for reading. That goes to all you lurkers out there too. Thanks.


Everything to You Part 8

Max and Michael were sitting on the ground behind a bush on the back lawn of the hotel, waiting for dawn. Their confrontation with Isabel regarding her inability to resist Khivar had underscored the need to destroy him, but now, of course it was going to be much harder since they couldn’t just kill the human body he inhabited. They still didn’t know what they were going to do about that.

Max’s mind was going a mile a minute, keeping him from relaxing, his thoughts gravitating between his conversation with Liz and Isabel’s comments about Vilandra taking over her mind. He could hear the worry in Liz’s voice for his safety and it warmed his heart even as he was sorry for the umpteenth time that she was being dragged into his mess of a life. And of course, once again, she’d saved him from doing something unforgivable. If he lived to be a thousand years old, he’d never make up for the times she’d saved him from himself. Sighing, he looked over at Michael who appeared to be almost asleep.

“Uh Michael?”

Max received a grunt in reply.

“You know that stuff Isabel was saying about Vilandra being inside her and wanting to take over?

“Yeah.”

“Do you ever….you know….feel that way? I mean…like your alien side wants out?”

“Of course I do. Where the hell have you been the last 13 years?” Michael finally opened his eyes to glance at him in sardonic disbelief.

Max flushed. “What do you do to ….you know …stop it?”

Michael just looked at him for a moment, then said resignedly, “It’s Maria. She kind of….I don’t know….grounds me I guess. Just being near her. Ever since I just accepted that we were supposed to be together…I’m just ….calmer.” He closed his eyes again leaning back as he finished."And you damn well better not tell her because I’ll never hear the end of it.” His lip curled up in one corner thinking about his feisty girlfriend. God he hoped he lived to see her again.

Max's lips twitched at his friend's comments. That’s what he’d thought the answer was going to be, but it didn’t really make him feel better about his own situation. On the one hand, it was nice to know that he wasn’t alone in his feelings of being split in half, but on the other, the answer to his problem was an impossibility. The person who grounded him….his anchor to his human self …was Liz. Rubbing a rough hand over his stubbled chin, he sighed. He’d give just about anything to feel that security again.

Glancing at Michael again, his brow creased in a frown. He needed to tell him about his plans to question Khivar.

****************

Liz, Maria and Kyle stared at the bulletin board in disbelief. All of their names were splashed across it in one fashion or another, Max, Liz and Tess seeming to be the most prominent.

Liz reached a trembling hand out, tracing her name in black letters, under the words “Crashdown” and “Shooting”. Oh God. How long had he been doing this, she wondered. Just since her and Max’s stupid stunt at the convenience store? It had to have been. Max’s vague answers and unwillingness to tell him what was going on caused this. Both of his parents were concerned, caring people. Of course Max’s Dad wouldn’t just let this go after what he’d witnessed.

“Michael’s going to have a conniption,” Maria whispered. Understatement of the year, she thought. Lord, she hoped he wouldn’t suggest they kill Mr. Evans. Maria swallowed as she looked at her own name tacked up under “Conspirators”. Kyle’s was there too.

“What are we going to do now?” Kyle’s natural tendency to joke seemed to have left him temporarily in light of this situation. His eyes roamed over the words and names on the board. All the times they'd gone "camping", the missing jeep…it was all there. When you added it up, how could it not look suspicious.

“There’s nothing we can do right now,” Liz answered. She carefully pulled the other board over the offending one. “We can’t do anything until we tell Max and Michael. They are the ones most affected by this.” The horrible thought crossed her mind that if they didn’t make it through their confrontation with Khivar, they wouldn’t have to deal with this. She shook the thought away. Of course Max was coming back. He had to. “We’ll deal with it then.”

“You won’t be dealing with it at all, if I know Max,” Maria said as they set about straightening the things they’d touched. “He’s not going to want you to be involved in whatever they decide to do. You know that, right?”

Liz looked at her best friend thoughtfully. Maria was right, of course. Max had made it clear that he didn’t want her involved in anything to do with his life these days. And though it hurt on the one hand, he was doing it for the right reasons on the other. It sort of reminded her of the old days when they had agreed not to be together, but she kept managing to be in the middle of everything.

Well, this time she would honor his wishes, Liz decided. She’d already sworn to herself this was her last illegal act. Now, she would just let him deal with this new wrinkle and keep her nose out of it.

“I know, Maria. I’m not getting involved. You guys can tell him what we found and I’ll just completely stay out of it,” Liz said with conviction, completely ignoring the niggling doubts lingering in her stomach.

Maria listened to this bit of bullshit as she stared at her friend’s profile for a moment, before turning to look at Kyle who had an equally disbelieving expression on his face. Sure you will, Lizzie, she thought.

Apparently Liz had no idea that it simply wasn’t in her nature not to get involved when someone she cared about needed help. She might be able to distance herself for a while, but Maria was betting that it wouldn’t be long before she was back in the thick of things. She’d agreed with Liz that she needed to stop making Max’s problems her priority, but Maria knew there was no way she could completely cut herself off from the alien happenings. How could anyone who’d been around for the last two years be able to just let it go, much less someone like Liz. She thought about trying to talk to her about it, but she knew that Liz and Max were going to have to figure it out on their own.

Maria shook her head as she, Liz and Kyle quietly made there way back out to the car, the two of them waiting for Kyle to make sure the coast was clear. How did the two freakin’ most stubborn people from any planet manage to find each other in a universe as big as this. It boggled the mind. Maria’s thoughts turned to Michael as they headed back to the Crash Down. Please be safe, she thought.

***************

This stupid situation was getting worse by the second. Max and Michael raced to catch up with Isabel, who was too far ahead of them to see. A security guard had stopped them as soon as they made to follow her, having seen them get up from behind the bush. He questioned them for several minutes about why they were following one the hotel’s guests and why they were loitering in the first place and, by the time they convinced him they knew Isabel and weren’t out to kidnap her, she was out of sight. Now they were frantically searching the woods trying to find her.

As they ran, Max could still feel Michael's irritation coming at him in waves. As expected, his plan to try and talk to Khivar had not gone over well.

"I can't fucking believe this. This guy already killed us once, and you want to have a conversation with him."

"I need answers Michael. This is the opportunity I've been looking for."

"Yeah, well while your talking, he's going to take the opportunity to fry us."


This discussion had ended abruptly when Isabel passed them on the way out to attract Khivar's attention. Now as they hunted for them, he could feel his nerves and the strange energy that signaled his alien instincts begging for action. It he'd had a choice, he wouldn't stop to ask questions either, but the thought of his son in danger overshadowed his trepidation. He'd only had one short vision since the day at the pod chamber and though the visions left him feeling exhausted and sick, not having them scared him more. The fact that he could still feel the low hum deep inside was the only thing that let him know his son was still alive.

The same malevolent energy from the wedding reception had both he and Michael skidding to a halt. They turned almost simultaneously toward it and quietly crept forward where they could now hear voices. Stopping behind a large rock formation, they peeked over the top to see Isabel in the arms of Khivar, but instead of pushing him away, she was clutching him to her.

Max felt a surge of pure rage over take him at the sight of his sister in the arms of his enemy. Coming out from behind the rock, he threw up his hand and sent a bolt of energy at them, the force of which flung Isabel to the ground and Khivar back several steps.

"Get your fucking hands off my sister."


TBC...
posted on 1-Mar-2002 7:39:14 PM by sylvia37
Thanks to SciFi, Melk, Lelea and Roswelluver for your comments.

I should have part 9 up by tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
posted on 2-Mar-2002 7:55:33 PM by sylvia37
Hey, two posts in one week! Here's part 9 and this is the first time I've posted something like this so I REALLY REALLY REALLY, REALLY REALLY need to here from you. Please let me know what you think. I love hearing from you. Here we go.

Everything to You Part 9

“Shit, Max! Way to get their attention.”

Max didn’t react to Michael’s exclamation as he carefully kept his hand extended toward Khivar. He watched his sister rise to her feet and his enemy finally turn to face him. Studying him briefly, he realized he could still feel the evil energy radiating from him as well as see it in the unearthly glow in his eyes. His own energy simmered below the surface begging for release but he kept a tight reign, trying not to allow it to rule his head.

“Isabel.” Max called to his sister and she raised her head from where she was brushing the dirt from her dress to stare at him. Max was taken aback to see a strange glow to her eyes as well. Obviously she was losing her battle with Vilandra.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t former King Zan and his sidekick Rath. What an unpleasant surprise. Good shot, by the way. You should savor it. It’s the only one you’re going to get.”

Khivar’s sardonic voice triggered previously buried memories and emotions in Max. They were disjointed and vague but the impotent rage he’d felt was frighteningly familiar. Long forgotten from a time when he’d watched his family die and his planet stolen. His gaze narrowed as Khivar took Isabel’s hand and pulled her closer, and he was completely unaware that his own eyes were slowly taking on their own otherworldly sheen.

“Let go of his hand, Isabel” The unmistakable command in his voice caused Isabel to blink and step forward slightly, and for a brief moment, both Max and Michael saw only Isabel staring back at them before the unearthly glow took over and she stepped back. She glanced at Khivar who smiled at her, before turning back to face Max and Michael.

“Let us go.” The voice barely qualified as Isabel’s and Max shivered at the sound of it. He could feel Michael’s tension next to him, and chanced a glance at him. He had a strange look on his face even as he stood ready to attack. Max didn’t have time to wonder about it as he turned back to his sister. He decided to try a different tact.

“Isabel, think about Jesse. Think about how much you love him. Think about Mom and Dad. They’re your family. You can fight this. You can fight him.” Max saw her eyes flicker as his words penetrated and he felt a small flare of hope.

“Good try, Zan, but she’s coming with me. Don’t make her kill you again. It would be redundant.” Khivar smirked at them and Isabel’s head whipped around to stare at him as Max growled menacingly stepping forward.

“Wait!” Michael shouted as he grabbed his head for a brief moment. When he looked up again his mouth was curved in a faint smile and his eyes were lit with relief. “She didn’t kill us the first time. It was you. You betrayed her.” Michael rubbed a hand over his forehead. “I remember. You told her you wanted peace with the family and convinced her to let you into the city with your men to call a truce. When she did it, you killed everyone.” Michael’s eyes burned into hers as he willed Isabel to remember. “You didn’t betray us, Isabel. He did.”

Max was breathing quickly, working to get control of the volatile unrest inside him. He could see Isabel’s uncertainty, so he urgently gave it one last ditch effort to reach her. “Isabel. We need you. Jesse needs you. Don’t let him win. Don’t let him take your family away from you again.”

Time stood still for a breathless moment as Max watched Isabel’s eyes flicker again, then in the next instant they faded to their normal brown as she yanked her hand from Khivar’s and flung herself at Max. He drew in a harsh breath as he caught her and pushed her quickly into Michael’s waiting arms, never taking his wary gaze from Khivar’s. Stepping in front of the two of them, he stayed ready to protect his family as he finally faced his enemy on equal terms, feeling more in control for the moment.

Khivar’s lip curled in contempt as he gazed upon the royal teens. “You were always so stupid, Vilandra. Beautiful, but stupid. Giving up being the Queen of a whole planet to stay here with a bunch of lowly humans. You’re all so pathetic.” His switched his withering gaze to Max. “Especially you, Zan. A boy playing in a man’s world.”

Max allowed the words to roll over him without reaction, choosing instead to focus on his own agenda now that the immediate threat to Isabel was gone. “I’m not interested in your opinions. I want to know about my son. Where is he and what have you done to him?”

Max waited for answer with baited breath, but the reaction wasn’t what he expected. The look of confusion and surprise that crossed his enemy’s face was quickly replaced with speculation, but Max had seen it. His heart started to pound in panic.

“Your son.” Khivar drew the word out as he crossed his arms in front of him. “Well, that little bit of information is privileged. I guess you’ll just have to keep wondering.”

“Forget it, Max. This prick isn’t going to tell you anything. Let’s just do him.” Michael was ready to end this now, but Max still didn’t have any answers, and the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach was telling him something he didn’t want to face at the moment.

“No! I want the truth, Khivar. What the hell happened to my son and Tess? Tell me!” Max’s voice had risen in volume with his growing agitation, and Isabel and Michael both looked at him in surprise. His eyes were glowing fiercely and he was losing it right in front of them.

Khivar took that exact moment to make his move. Throwing out a hand, he sent a strong blast of energy at them. Max reacted in time with his shield, but the power of the blast knocked the three of them off their feet, dazing them for a few precious moments. Khivar turned, taking off at a dead run.

Max recovered first, and immediately hauled himself to his feet stumbling as he chased after his enemy. His heart was pounding with fear but the need for answers was driving him on. Racing forward, he stopped short as he entered a clearing to see Khivar several yards in front of him stopped, reaching out a hand into nothingness. The next moment, a swirling mass of light appeared in the sky above his head. The mass became cone-like in shape and reached to the ground.

Realizing instantly that this was some sort of transportation back to Antar, Max recklessly raced forward, his intentions clear. This was the way to his son. This was his chance. And that asshole was not going to get away.

Just as he reached the heaving mass of light, intending to jump, he was tackled from behind, a heavy weight knocking the breath from him as he hit the ground. Struggling against the weight holding him down, he gathered his energy and heaved it off of him, staggering to his feet as he was finally able to take a deep breath.

Looking around wildly, he realized in a devastating instant that the light was gone and Khivar had left the planet. His chance was gone. Again. He jerked around to see Michael being helped to his feet by Isabel, from where he’d been thrown several feet by Max. Covering the distance between them quickly, he grabbed the lapels of Michael’s shirt, dragging him forward to face his wrath. Michael’s hands covered his trying to break the fierce hold.

“God dammit, Michael! Why did you do that? I could have…..Why didn’t you let me…”

“Max! Stop it! You’re choking him! Stop,” Isabel cried out as she tried to pull her brother away from Michael, but he shrugged her off, and threw Michael to the ground, stumbling a few steps away then bending over at the knees as he dragged in fierce gulps of air.

Michael was also in the same position, struggling to breathe normally as he looked over at his leader and friend. “Max, I couldn’t let you go. Khivar probably has men waiting for him up there. It would have been suicide.”

He stood up and looked into Isabel’s worried eyes, unable to give her any reassurance. They were both stunned by Max’s actions, and more than a little concerned for his sanity. This was not the Max they’d grown up with. The person who’d just impulsively tried to throw himself into an unknown alien vessel, was not the boy who’d constantly begged Michael to think before he acted, and always told them that acting normal was their best defense.

Max fell to his knees, trying desperately to control the urge to vomit. All of the rage and pain and alien energy was threatening to pour out of him, and he struggled to contain it. He felt cool hands on his neck as Isabel tried to comfort him, and he let her, wishing desperately that it was Liz. He needed Liz. He needed her to hold him and tell him he was OK. That he was human and not some alien monster that just tried to choke his best friend. Oh God, he needed her so much.

Glancing around as his traitorous body trembled with reaction, he saw Michael was talking to someone, and for an instant, he thought Khivar hadn’t made it through the transport, but he realized that it was actually Denny Ridgely’s body that was still here. Michael was helping him to his feet, and he said something to Isabel about taking him to call his wife. Isabel nodded saying they’d meet him in the bar in a few minutes.

“Max. Are you all right? Can you stand up?” Isabel’s anxious question brought his head up for a moment and he nodded, rising slowly with her help. They stood there for a few moments letting him get his bearings. Finally able to think a little more clearly, Max looked at his sister in concern.

“Are you OK?”

She smiled at him, partially in relief to see her brother looking at her with a normal expression on his face, and answered. “Yeah. I’m OK. Thanks to you guys. You saved me. Well, you and the thought of leaving Jesse. I really need him, you know. I’m just beginning to realized how much.” Looking at him with her own concern, she asked, “Are you OK, now? You really scared us, Max. I’ve never seen you so out of control.”

Max dropped his gaze and swallowed painfully. “I..I’m sorry. I didn’t…..” He looked up to find her gazing at him with compassion and his eyes filled with unbidden tears. Isabel hugged him to her, and he buried his face in her shoulder for a moment, just needing the reassurance that he was actually loved by someone after his horrible actions.

They separated but Isabel kept her arm around his shoulders as they headed for the hotel bar.

**********

The plane hit an air pocket and a few minutes later the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign came on. Michael was listening to music through some airplane earphones and Max was staring out the window at the hazy clouds. They’d managed to get a flight out of La Jolla fairly quickly. Michael had mentioned something about scuba diving, but although Max had told him to go ahead and stay without him, Michael had chosen to come home.

Isabel was going to try and salvage the rest of her honeymoon. In spite of everything that had happened to her and Max, she was ecstatic to find out that she hadn’t betrayed them in their former life, and relieved that she could now enjoy her honeymoon with a clear conscience. It seemed impossible, but the whole incident had only lasted about 30 minutes. Luckily, Jesse was a heavy sleeper.

Max glanced at his friend and sighed. He needed to apologize to Michael. He’d barely put two sentences together since this morning, and he felt bad that it had taken him this long to say it.

“Michael?” He tapped him on the shoulder when he didn’t respond to his voice.

Michael opened his eyes in inquiry then removed the earphones when he saw the serious look on Max’s face.

“What?”

Max opened his mouth, but no sound came out for a moment as he tried to put into words how sorry he was for what he’d done. He owed Michael his life, but for some reason, saying “I’m sorry” and “Thank you” to Michael always came hard. Maybe it was a “guy” thing.

“I know what you’re gonna say, OK? Forget it. It’s not important.”

Max looked at him, his gaze apologetic. “No, Michael it is. I….I was out of control and..and you stopped me from ….and then I…..” Max swallowed the lump in his throat. “I’m sorry. You were only trying to help me and I…I’m just sorry.”

Michael looked at him a moment before nodding. He started to put his earphones back on, but stopped, closing his eyes for a minute in indecision. Then he looked at his friend who was back to staring out the window.

“You need help. You know that, right? I mean…I don’t know what that was back there….but it wasn’t you.” Michael waited for Max to respond, and for a moment, he didn’t think he’d heard him, but then Max turned to look at him and he saw the pain and fear reflected in his eyes before he turned away again.

“I know.”

That was all he said, and sighing with a slight shake of his head, Michael put the earphones back on, closing his eyes.

Max waited tensely for Michael to say something else, but when he didn’t, he let out the breath he’d been holding and went back to his churning thoughts, the nausea from earlier still burning a hole in his stomach. Michael was right of course, but knowing Michael was right, and being able to do something about it were two different things.

He’d learned a very important lesson from today’s events. It was something he’d always known, but today had just brought the point home with resounding thoroughness. His talk with Michael about Maria and Isabel’s comments about Jesse just reinforced it. They all needed humans to help them stay grounded and in touch with their human sides. The loss of almost all the human companionship in his life had caused him to lose touch with reality today and only Michael’s quick thinking had saved him from his own stupidity.

Liz.

Max closed his eyes wearily. God, he missed her. Missed her and loved her and needed her more than his next breath. So now what? What was he going to do? Nothing had really changed since his return from LA. He was still in limbo as far as his son was concerned which meant that he couldn’t concentrate on his relationship with Liz and give her the attention she deserved.

That thought gave way to the other questions swirling through his head. The look of confusion and surprise on Khivar’s face when he’d asked about his son was burned in his memory. It had been brief but it spoke volumes. Max shifted in his seat as the sick feeling in his stomach intensified.

Khivar didn’t know he had a son.

It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t. Max closed his eyes leaning his forehead against the glass. OK, if it was true, then what did it mean? Max rubbed his temple as he tried to think.

Maybe Tess was hiding on Antar and Khivar didn’t know anything about her and his son. Max mentally shook his head. No, that seemed really unlikely. For one thing, there’s no way the Granolith could have returned without someone knowing about it, and why would Tess want to hide from Khivar, unless she was afraid because she hadn’t returned with the royal four as agreed? Was that likely?

Max sighed in frustration. None of this made sense. Khivar’s actions and reactions today pretty much eliminated the possibility that Tess had made it to Antar. No matter how much Khivar may have wanted Isabel, Max couldn’t see him letting the opportunity to taunt him about his son go by if he’d known about him.

Max ran an agitated hand through his hair as he opened his eyes to stare sightlessly out the window. The next possibility was one that he hadn’t even considered until now, but the thought of it filled him with hope and dread at the same time. What if Tess never left earth? What if it has just been some massive mind-warp or, worse… the Granolith had crashed without them being aware of it? None of them had explored the pod chamber or the area around it since that horrible day. What if…..

Max shifted restlessly again, glancing at Michael, as though the chaos of his thoughts was somehow causing a disturbance in the air particles surrounding him, but his friend was oblivious to his turmoil. He turned back to the window.

What if Tess and his son had been on earth this whole time? His hands clenched into fists as he fought the urge to spring from his seat to pace out his agitation. The need for action was making him crazy. He had to get out to the pod chamber and see if there was some evidence of what really happened. If Tess and his son were really still on earth, then at least he had a ghost of a chance of finding them.

Max took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down. They had a ways to go before they reached the airport so there wasn’t going to be an outlet for his frustration any time soon.

He was distracted from his wayward thoughts by the hostess asking him if he wanted a drink. Ordering a Coke, he absently wished he had some Tobasco, when Michael produced a miniature bottle from his pocket. Leave it to Michael to be prepared for a food emergency.

He downed the drink quickly, savoring the burning sensation in his throat, hoping it wouldn’t further upset his stomach. As he chewed ice, Max thoughts went back to the problems at hand.

First, he needed to get to the pod chamber, and second he needed to find a way to have some contact with Liz without causing her any harm or disturbing her life. She’d proven with her phone call to him about Khivar, that she was unable to resist helping him with his problems if the need arose and although it made him love her even more, he didn’t want her to be in that position again. Just being near her might be enough to help him ease some of the turmoil he was going through. He’d have to think about it. There must be a way.





posted on 8-Mar-2002 7:13:31 PM by sylvia37
You guys are so awesome!!! Thanks for all of your comments and speculation. I love it!

Lelea and Nicky,

Thanks for the bumps. That is so sweet.

Here's part 10. Sorry for the delay, but I just don't have as much time to write as I used to. Please don't stop reading or leaving me your comments. I love it. I was actually going to post a note tonight, but managed to get to a stopping point so I decided to post instead.

I love hearing from you so let me know what you think.



Everything to You Part 10


“What were his exact words?”

“He said he’d think about it.”

“That’s it? What’s there to think about? It’s a brilliant idea. How long did he say he was going to think about it?”

“I don’t know, Maria. Until he decides, I guess.”

Maria rolled her eyes as she swung around to face Liz who was coming out of her bathroom pulling a sweater over her head. “How can he not see what a great idea this is? A teen Karaoke night at the Crash Down will have them standing in line at the door. The place will be packed.”

“Maria, you don’t have to convince me. It was my idea too, remember? I think he’ll go for it. We just have to be patient.” Liz pulled her hair out of her shirt and picked up the brush from the vanity, running it quickly through the strands into her usual smooth style. She glanced in the mirror and stopped to put on some lip gloss.

Maria gave a long-suffering sigh, then stared at Liz for a moment before changing the subject. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

Liz glanced at her friend’s face in the mirror before answering. “Yeah. You said they’re getting rid of everything. I have to give it back to him.” She put down the lip gloss, before reaching into her jewelry box to bring out the pendant, rubbing her thumb lightly over the whirlwind symbol. The memories associated with it were both good and bad, and she allowed them to wash over her as she caressed it. The night Max gave it to her thinking he was leaving the planet, had to rank as one of the worst nights of her life, but it didn’t make this any easier.

Liz slipped the pendant into her pocket and turned to face Maria, acknowledging her sympathetic gaze with small smile. “ Let’s go.”

Maria slipped off the bed, following her down into the restaurant. They stopped at the pickup window, where they retrieved the food Liz had ordered earlier. Reaching under the counter, she pulled out a bag and started packing the food up to take with them to Michael’s.

Maria gazed at her friend’s passive face as she filled the bag. “You know I can just give it to him for you. You don’t need to do this.” Maria didn’t expect to be taken up on the offer, but she made it anyway. This game of avoidance that Liz and Max were playing was taking a toll on both of them, Max especially.

Maria frowned when she thought about the night he and Michael came back from La Jolla. Max already looked like he’d been through hell, but when she and Kyle sprang the news on them that his father was investigating him, she thought he was going to spontaneously combust right in front of her. Michael, as predicted, had a fit and the two of them had insisted on going to his father’s office that night. She watched as Max stared at the bulletin board, the way his trembling fingers ran over Liz’s name eerily reminiscent of the way hers had done the same thing. Michael was pacing around muttering obscenities, but Max just stood there silent, his dark eyes stark in his pale face. The decision that everything alien related had to be hidden was made later back at the apartment.

Insight into Max’s reaction had also come later that night when she and Michael were in bed, as he’d explained what happened on their trip. The description of events was bad enough, but Michael confessing that he was worried about Max shocked her to the core. It had to be bad if Michael was willing to voice his feelings without prompting.

“No, Maria. I need to do this myself. When he gave it to me, he thought it was the last time we’d ever see each other.” Liz sighed as she tried to find the words to express her reasons. “He needs to know that it meant something to me too. I can’t just let you give it back to him.”

Maria looked like she wanted to say something, knowing Liz was holding back, but she nodded instead and they picked up the bags and headed out to the Jetta. The trip to Michael’s was made in relative silence except for the radio.

As Liz stared out the window lost in her thoughts, she admitted the truth to herself. Her explanation to Maria was not the only reason she wanted to return the pendant in person.

She wanted to see Max.

Her brow etched in worry as she replayed Maria’s description of their trip to La Jolla in her head. The thought that he tried to throw himself aboard an alien transport device without a second thought, scared her. His desperation to find his son seemed to be increasing and she guiltily wondered if her pushing him away had something to do with it, but she immediately dismissed the thought. She wouldn’t feel guilty for the choice she made for them to be apart. Liz knew in her heart it was the right decision, and the fact that he was trying so hard to adhere to her wishes meant that Max felt that way too.

It didn’t stop her from worrying, though. Being apart from him for two short weeks hadn’t diminished her love or concern for his well being and she just needed to see for herself that he was OK, although from the way Maria had described things, it didn’t seem likely. Just the fact that Max tried to hurt Michael however unintentionally made it obvious that he was losing his grip. Max was not a physically violent person. He obviously wasn’t himself.

They entered Michael’s apartment a few minutes later and as they deposited the food on the counter, Liz glanced around looking for Max. Michael saw the question in her eyes. “He’s in the bedroom. I think he just got out of the shower.”

Liz headed that way, knocking lightly on the door, before turning the knob. “Max?”

***********

Maria turned to Michael as they finished emptying the bags, and seeing his closed expression, walked up to where he was sitting on a stool and rubbed her hand across his back. “Are you OK?”

Michael turned, sliding his arms around her waist as he buried his face in her neck, breathing in the scent of her honey colored hair. His lips rested there for a moment before he answered. “Yeah. I’m just glad it’s not me in there.”

He lifted his head and leaned forward for a kiss, hoping it conveyed all of the things he couldn’t put into words, his extreme gratitude for her presence in his life and his love. As they kissed, he allowed her a peak into his mind and emotions so she would know what he was feeling. It was still hard for him to let her in, but today, he needed her to know. Everything felt really out of control right now. The only thing that felt stable in his world was Maria.

If Maria was surprised by his actions, she didn’t show it. She just kissed him back with all the love in her heart and silently rejoiced at the rare glimpse into his heart.

************

“Max?”

Liz’s voice was soft as she entered the room and glanced around. As she shut the door behind her, the bathroom door opened and Max stepped through holding his shirt. He stopped short when he saw her.

“Liz.”

They stared at each other for a moment not speaking. Max drank in her appearance like a man dying of thirst before he lowered them to the floor. But Liz had seen the emotions he couldn’t hide. Surprise, relief, longing…guilt. She’d also noted the dark circles and hollowness around them. Had he slept at all?

“Liz, what are you doing here?”

Max stepped further into the room, and suddenly realizing that he was still holding his shirt, lifted his arms and pulled it over his head. Liz felt the familiar tingle in the pit of her stomach as her eyes couldn’t help but roam over the sculpted chest and ribbed stomach muscles visible to her starved gaze before the shirt came down. Lord, she’d have to be dead for the sight of that naked beauty not to effect her. She quickly averted her eyes when he looked at her inquiringly.

“I…uh…Maria told me she told you about your dad’s investigation.” She was sorry she brought it up as the worry lines on his face deepened. He nodded shakily and sat down on the edge of the bed. As Max ran an agitated hand through his wet hair, absently drying it with his powers, Liz approached and sat down next to him, her concern overriding her initial caution.

“Are you OK?” She realized the foolishness of the question as soon as it left her lips. Of course he wasn’t OK.

“Sorry. Dumb question.”

Max shook his head as he answered. “It’s OK. I just can’t believe this is happening. I mean….he’s my dad. I..I didn’t think…” he stopped, swallowing as his voice cracked.

Liz reached out unconsciously for his hand, unable to witness his distress without comforting him. “He cares about you, Max. He’s worried and he knows something’s wrong. How could he not after what happened with the convenience store?” She looked at his bent head for a moment before saying gently, “Maybe you should tell him the truth.”

Max was shaking his head before the sentence even left her mouth. “ We can’t. We can’t put anyone else in danger. After what happened to Alex, we swore we wouldn’t involve anyone else. We just….it’s..it’s too much…” He got up from the bed, pacing as the stress he was feeling surged through him. Taking a deep breath, he turned to face her noting the concern in her dark eyes as she watched him.

“I..I haven’t had a chance….I didn’t thank you for what you did. If you hadn’t called, we might have done something really bad.” His gaze turned apologetic as he said, “And then what you did at my dad’s office….I’m just sorry that ….you know….that you were involved. I really tried….”

Liz cut him off. “Don’t apologize, Max. You didn’t ask me to do any of it. Besides,….you know how hard it is for me to resist an illegal break in.” She smiled at him hoping he’d respond, but he didn’t and her own smile disappeared as her concern deepened.

“Seriously, Max. It’s OK. I…I’m just glad you weren’t hurt.” And you didn’t leave the planet, she thought silently.

He acknowledged her statement with a small half-smile. “So…you didn’t finish telling me what you were doing here?”

Slipping her hand into her pocket, she felt the smooth surface of the pendant, and sighed. “Um…Maria also told me you were going to hide everything, you know, alien related so I…I wanted to, um…” she hesitated as the finality of what she was doing, hit her. The pendant was all she had left of their relationship besides a few worn pictures, and she hadn’t allowed herself to think about the reality of giving it back to him. It was like one more nail in the coffin.

Liz swallowed tears as she removed the pendant from her pocket, silently holding it out to him. Max looked down seeing what was nestled in her palm, and his stomach dropped. He’d been avoiding this since he’d come across his own half of the pendant last night when he and Michael gathered the things they were going to hide. Indecision now etched his brow as his need to keep his secret warred with the thought of taking this symbol of their relationship back from Liz.

Max looked into her solemn eyes, shimmering with unshed tears and saw no judgements, just acceptance. And he suddenly knew he couldn’t do it. Not because she was looking at him with her broken heart in her eyes, but because he wanted her to have it. No matter how worried he was about being discovered, this was more important. Even it they never managed to find there way back to each other, he wanted her to have some piece of him and his origins. She already owned his heart, but maybe by leaving this physical symbol of their love with her, it would keep the dream alive, and he knew she would keep it safe. He trusted her.

Taking a step forward, Max shook his head and took the pendant from her hand. He slid the chain around her neck, carefully pulling her hair free before allowing it to slide out of sight inside her sweater to rest against her heart.

Liz shook her head, her voice husky. “You don’t have to do this, Max. I’m not your….” He cut her off with a finger to her lips.

“It’s yours. Always.” Gazing into her dark eyes, he let her see all the things he was feeling, before he finally said, “Keep it safe.”

Liz stared back at him, a tear finally escaping to slide down her cheek as she nodded. Their eyes lingered for a moment before Max stepped back, shoving his hands in his pockets. Liz continued to gaze at his beloved features, seeing the strain and exhaustion etching tired lines in his face. Her emotions were simmering close to the surface and she couldn’t stop herself from voicing her concern.

“Why, Max? Why did you try to follow Khivar? You promised you wouldn’t leave without telling me. Have you had more visions?”

His eyes slid guiltily away from hers as he bent his head. “I don’t….I don’t know. I just…..when we confronted him, I could just feel all this…..alien energy….from him and from me. And then when I saw the transport, I just…..it was a way to get to my son and I had to take the chance. I know I wasn’t thinking clearly but….Michael stopped me and then I…..tried to…” Max couldn’t finish the sentence. His breath hitched as he tried to suppress his emotions. “I’m sorry.” He rubbed his hands tiredly over his face. When he looked up, his eyes were bitter.

“The worst part is that it was all for nothing. Khivar didn’t know anything about my son.”

Liz looked at him in surprise. “He said that?”

“No, but I could tell. When I asked him where he was, he had no idea what I was talking about.”

Max looked at Liz, seeing that her agile brain was already going a mile a minute coming up with possible scenarios, and his love for her swelled even as he expressed his fears.

“The only thing I could think of is that Tess never left earth. It that’s true then there has to be some evidence at the pod chamber. I need to find out.” Desperation tinged his voice and his eyes darkened with urgency.

“But now with my dad investigating….I can’t take the chance that he has someone following me. I’m just going to have to wait…or …I don’t know!” he cried out in frustration.

Liz stared at him, indecision written in her features. The same old crossroads. She battled with herself as the offer sat on the tip of her tongue, and she tried to reason it out. It wouldn’t be dangerous or illegal….. but at the same time…. here she was again, smack in the middle of an alien crisis. Shit, shit, shit.

“I’ll do it.”





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Mar-2002 9:01:22 PM ]
posted on 15-Mar-2002 5:53:04 PM by sylvia37
Well thanks to everyone who commented. You guys are awesome.

Lelea

Thanks for the bump. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Welcome to Mandyhanford. Thanks for reading.

Angela,

I meant to say after you last post, that I agree that it's always driven me crazy the Max never seemed interested in getting any information from Khivar. Did that seem obvious or what? I swear, continuity people!!

Anyway, here's part 11. Oh, just a side note. In my Roswell world, Maria would not leave Michael for some guy she kissed at band camp when she was 13. Don't even get me started.

Love you guys. Please talk to me. I want to hear from you. Please?????



Everything to You Part 11

“What?”

“I said, I’ll do it. I’ll go investigate the pod chamber.”

“No.” Max shook his head adamantly.

“Look Max. It’s not dangerous or anything, and I’ll take Kyle and Maria so….”

“The answer’s still no.”

The unmistakable command in his voice caused Liz to raise her eyebrow at him. Max toned down his stance a little but didn’t budge on his answer.

“Liz, I appreciate the offer, but you don’t need to do this. I’ll figure out a way….somehow, but….I don’t want you to waste your time….”

Liz cut him off. “It’s not a waste of my time, Max. I’m just helping out a ….friend, that’s all. You , Michael and Isabel can’t do it, and … I know it’s really important to you…so it’s no problem.”

God her loved her. He loved her so much it hurt. But this was exactly what he was afraid of. As much as he wanted to, Max couldn’t let her get pulled back into his problems. He ran a weary hand over his chin.

“Liz….I can’t let you….”

“Max,” Liz cut him off again as she shook her head. ‘I’m not asking your permission.” She smiled slightly to take the sting out of her words, realizing that they’d had this conversation once before. God, it seemed like a lifetime ago that they’d argued about her going to the reservation about the pendant. She touched it unconsciously as she continued.

“I’m going. I promise I’ll be careful, but I’m still going.”

As she said this, Liz realized that her earlier reluctance was gone. Just because she and Max weren’t together as a couple, didn’t mean she couldn’t help him. Going to the pod chamber to gather information wouldn’t be going back on her decision. She had accepted that Max had to do what he was doing, and that he couldn’t give her what she wanted in their relationship. But it didn’t mean they couldn’t be friends. Being just friends was painful, but it wasn’t as painful as cutting him completely out of her life. And looking at what his life had become, she knew that he needed her. She couldn’t turn her back on that.

Max just stared at her for a long moment, struggling to contain his suddenly wayward emotions. Maybe it was because he was so exhausted…. or because she was so beautiful when she was stubborn or….he didn’t know. What he did know was that he wanted to take her in his arms and never let her go. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her and…and beg her forgiveness….and ….

Max blinked back tears as he stood there doing none of those things. He couldn’t say the things that were on the tip of his tongue because he wasn’t worthy of her love. Part of him was so thankful and wanted to grasp her offer of friendship with both hands, and the other part was racked with guilt that he couldn’t seem to let her go.

Seeing his struggle, Liz said, “Look Max. I want to do this, Ok? When I told you that I couldn’t be your girlfriend anymore, I didn’t mean for us to just be completely cut off from each other. I’m sorry I didn’t say it before.” She looked at him apologetically.” I…we can still be friends, and doing this for you is not interfering with any other plans I have.” She bent her head forward saying sincerely, “ Let me help.”

Max was once again overcome with too many emotions to speak right away. She floored him with her capacity to give of herself, even to people who’d hurt her in the past, and he was humbled beyond belief. His earlier revelation on the plane that he needed humans…needed Liz …to stay balanced, came back to him, and he realized that this was the answer to his problem. She was saving him again. He just needed to make sure that he didn’t overstep his bounds or depend too much on her help and friendship. Her life was more important than his.

“I…thank you,” Max finally said, his voice husky with suppressed emotions. But his amber eyes reflected everything he was feeling, and Liz quickly dropped her gaze, overwhelmed by the love and gratitude shining at her from them.

“Um…Ok well…I’ll just go tell Maria and we can get together with Kyle and decide when we’re going to go.” She moved toward the door, but turned back when she remembered. “Oh, and I brought food, you know..from the Crash, so..come on when you’re ready and eat.” Liz smiled tentatively at him, and he returned the gesture with a slight curl of his lips.

Liz stepped into the other room to find Maria and Michael already eating.

“Hey, babe. Everything OK?” Maria asked as Liz walked up to the counter.

"It's better." Liz pushed stray hair away from her cheek before saying quietly, "I'm worried about him, you guys. He's so….he hasn't been himself for a really long time now."

"What happened in there, Liz?"

"Nothing really, it's just…he looks so tired and I suggested that he might want to… you know, tell his parents the truth and he got so upset. Has he been sleeping at all since you got back, Michael?"

Michael shrugged as he continued to chew for a moment. "I don't know, but I don't think it's been much. I heard him pacing last night, and he was up before me this morning. "

Liz siged worriedly. "Listen Maria. I have a favor to ask you.”

Michael and Maria listened as Liz told them about her conversation with Max, ending with her request for Maria to come to the pod chamber with her.

“So what are we looking for exactly?” Maria asked when she was finished, secretly pleased that Liz and Max finally seemed to be forning some sort of relationship again..

“Anything that might tell you what really happened to the Granolith.” The three of them turned their heads to see Max coming out of the bedroom as he answered Maria’s question, looking much more relaxed and in control, although still just as tired. Liz immediately moved to fix him a plate and he took it from her thankfully, along with the bottle of Tobasco sitting on the counter.

“What do you think happened?”

“I don’t know. I just know that Khivar was bluffing when he wouldn’t tell me what happened to Tess and the baby. You could tell too, couldn’t you Michael? Did you see his face when I asked him about them?”

“Yeah, I guess he did look surprised for a minute.” Michael’s lips twisted. “But I’m not sure that means she didn’t make it back to Antar.”

“I know, but that’s what I need to find out.” Max looked at Liz and Maria. “Anything you find will be helpful.”

They all finished eating, and as the trash was thrown out, Michael looked at Max. “Do we have everything we want to hide here now?”

Max’s eyes clouded over as he sighed. “Yeah, I think so. I guess it’s time.”

Liz and Maria looked on curiously as Max and Michael gathered all of the things they’d collected to store, and entered the bedroom. Clearing out a space in the small closet, Max held out his hand and a light appeared, radiating at the back wall towards the floor. As he continued, a hole eventually appeared in the wall, growing larger as he worked. When he finally stopped, there was enough space between the outside wall and the closet to fit the box they’d prepared. Wedging it in there, Max immediately repaired the wall, leaving a small mark on it. They all sat back looking at the space, satisfied that it was a good hiding place, easily gotten to if needed but not readily apparent to anyone else. They put Michael’s things back in the closet and moved out to the living room.

Max sat down on the couch, wearily rubbing his eyes.

“So, what are you going to do about your father, Max?” Maria asked as she sat down.

Max looked at her. “I don’t know. Nothing for right now. He doesn’t really have anything incriminating as far as alien things are concerned. I think his suspicions are leaning more towards something illegal so as long as we don’t give him anything to find, he can’t really do anything about it. It’s just the fact that we don’t know what he’s got planned or if he’s having us followed or what.” Max sighed and closed his eyes. It hurt to know that he couldn’t trust his own father anymore. Not that he didn’t realize his Dad had a right to be suspicious, but growing up, the one thing he and Isabel could always count on was their parent’s love and support. Now, with everything else going on, he didn’t need this extra worry. God, he’d made a mess of things.

Liz saw the fear and despair in he expression before he closed his eyes and her heart ached for him. She walked over to Maria and quietly whispered to her. Maria nodded and grabbed Michael's arm.

"Come on spaceboy. Let's go to the mall. I need to pick up some….stuff for my mom."

Michael wasn't fooled. He'd witnessed Liz's concern and the exchange between the two friends. He frowned at Maria as she dragged him toward the door. "I'm not going to the damn mall, and it's my fucking apartment so I'm not…"

Maria leaned up to whisper in his ear, and his expression changed. Liz smirked at the eagerness in which he now moved to leave.

"Later," Michael said as he dragged Maria out the door.

Liz turned back toward Max who seemed oblivious to the goings on around him. Exhaustion permeated every line of his body. Liz moved to the couch, lightly touching his arm to get his attention.

"Max. I'm going to sit over here for a while and look at Michael's history report. He asked me to proof it for him so, you know…if you want to just sleep or something, it won't bother me." She looked into the hazy amber eyes hoping he'd take her up on her suggestion.

Max sat up and looked around, just realizing that they were alone. Rubbing his eyes he shook his head. "No. I actually need to read that chapter in chemistry still." He stood up, going to his book bag to pull out his book. Gesturing toward the counter, he said," I'll take the stool. You take the couch."

Liz groaned inwardly and shook her head at him. "Uh…I'd rather have the stool, if you don't mind. I just prefer to be at the counter. It's easier for me to make corrections."

"OK," Max said tiredly sitting back down on the couch. Opening his textbook, he found the right page and started trying to concentrate on chemistry. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, considering how boring it was and, of course, Liz being an added distraction.

Liz sat at the counter and started on Michael's paper. She glanced up occasionly to see Max struggling to stay awake as he read chemistry. She smiled to herself when he finally lay down, stretching his long frame across the cushions, resting his book on his chest as he read. She could see his lids blinking ever so slowly, and he kept shaking his head, as though trying to jar himself awake. But it was a losing battle, as his exhaustion finally won out, and the book fell from his hands to land on the floor as he gave in.

Liz rose quietly and moved toward the couch, picking up the fallen chemistry book and laying it aside. Pulling the blanket from the back, she covered him, sitting on the edge of the cushion. She stared at his now peaceful countenance, forever amazed at the long lashes that lay against his skin. She wanted desperately to touch his face, kiss his lips, lay down with him. Time and circumstances hadn't changed her feelings for him, just her feelings about their situation. His vulnerability made her ache to comfort him, but she didn't give in,…couldn't give in. Liz allowed herself to trace a gentle finger from his temple down across a strong cheekbone, then sighed as she rose from her position. Crossing to the counter to finish Michael's paper, she sat down, watching protectively over the man who still held her heart.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Mar-2002 11:28:38 PM ]
posted on 21-Mar-2002 8:01:38 PM by sylvia37
Hey everyone. I was blown away by the awesome feedback. Thanks so much to all of you for reading and taking the time to post your comments. Keep 'em commin, because I love hearing from you. I hope I can keep you guessing for a while.

Here's part 12. Please let me know what you think. We're starting to deviate from the show now, but I may still use elements from the episodes if I think they fit.
Thanks to everyone for your support.


Everything to You Part 12

“Tell me again why I had to get up at the crack of dawn to do this? I mean, you don’t think the clues are still going to be there when normal people are awake?” Kyle griped from the back seat of the Jetta.

“I told you already. It’s less likely that someone will follow us this early in the morning, and besides, if they do, it will look like we were going hiking for the day,” Liz answered in exasperation.

She turned back to the front. The other reason was because she wanted to get this done as quickly as possible for Max’s sake. Although he hadn’t said anything, she knew he was chomping at the bit for this information. As stressed out as he was about everything, she didn’t want to torture him any longer than necessary. Besides, she was just as anxious as he was to know what happened to Tess and the Granolith.

“At least you didn’t have to put up with Michael this morning. Why he won’t just come out and say he’s worried about me, I don’t know. He just gets surly and uncommunicative, and I just want to kill him.” Maria shook her head in irritation. “Try waking up with that in your bed.”

“Well, that’s a picture I won’t be able to get out of my head for a while.” Kyle lay down in the back seat, flinging an arm over his eyes. “Wake me up when we get there.”

Maria ignored him and turned her attention back to Liz. “I still can’t believe your Dad said we could have the Karaoke night so soon. Are we even going to have time to get the flier’s up?”

“Yeah. They’re all done and I called for an ad in the paper. You want to help me put up the flier’s this afternoon when we get back?”

“Of course. The more people, the more fun. I can’t wait. This is gonna be such a blast.”

Liz smiled at Maria’s enthusiasm. “You know Dad is expecting us to work too, right? “

“I know, I know. Don’t worry. We’ll keep the masses fed and still have time to do our thing on stage.”

Liz’s eyes widened at this statement. "Our thing? No, Maria. Uh, uh. There is no “our”. There is only your thing. You aren’t getting me up there.”

“Oh, come on Lizzie. You know the minute you see everyone else up there, you’ll have to bust a move.”

Liz glanced at her friend sideways, and they both burst out laughing.

“Hey keep it down up there. Can’t a guy sleep on his way to a secret alien hideout without being woken up by a bunch of giggling girls?”

Liz laughed again and threw an empty gum wrapper at him. “Shut up.”

They continued to laugh and talk up until they reached the turn off, then the mood got quiet as they finally parked the car. They didn’t want to be too close in case they were being watched somehow.

They exited the car and hiked on foot to the rock formation that used to be the pod chamber. As they approached, the three of them contemplated the destruction. The top of the formation had basically been blown away when the Granolith launched and although there was no trace of the alien substance that had poured from the rock during the launch, they could see where the outside of the formation had been changed. It was as though molten lava had run over it, smoothing and reshaping the surface. It looked nothing like it did before that horrible day.

“So what are we looking for exactly?” Kyle asked as they stopped a little ways away from the formation.

“Nothing specific really. We just need to see if there’s anything to indicate what happened to the Granolith or Tess. I don’t know exactly. Just look for anything unusual.” Liz started toward the rocks and Maria and Kyle followed more slowly.

“Wait Maria.” Kyle stopped her with a hand on her arm as he watched Liz start to circle the outside of the rocks, her eyes on the ground.

“Why is she doing this? For that matter, why are we out here doing this? I mean, she and his majesty are broken up, right?”

Maria sighed. “Yes they did break up, but they’re still friends.” She looked at him questioningly. “Besides, you know what’s been going on with Max’s dad. They couldn’t come out here and do it themselves.”

“But that’s just it. Why do we care? I mean, hasn’t he hurt her enough? He’s not worth this, Maria.”

"Liz thinks he is, and that's all that matters," she answered him bluntly.

Maria continued to contemplate his statement for a few minutes before continuing. “You know, a few weeks ago I would have agreed with you. I was furious at him for they way he’s treated her. But now……” Her eyes followed Liz’s movements as she answered him solemnly.

“He screwed up and now he's paying for it. You know what Tess did to you and your Dad and Alex. She was manipulating Max too. I don't pretend to understand everything that happened, but Liz explained enough for me to know that there's more going on than meets the eye.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing his actions,” Maria continued, shaking her head, “ because he let Tess do those things and acted like an asshole to boot, even after she left. He’ll need to do some major groveling before he can make up for that.”

Maria paused. “But he’s trying, and since they broke up, he’s been trying to avoid involving Liz in any of this alien crap. She just always manages to be in the middle.”

Maria looked back at him. “Max didn’t ask her to do this. Liz volunteered. She still loves him, Kyle. You saw how he was when they got back from La Jolla when we told him about his Dad. She saw him too. He’s hurting and you know Liz isn’t going to turn her back on him when he needs her. That’s just the way she is.” Maria sighed and started walking toward the rocks. Kyle followed reluctantly, only somewhat appeased by Maria's words.

“Hey guys. Come here.” Liz called them from around the other side of the formation and they hurried to see what she found.

When they reached her, Liz was looking at the ground. “What is it? Did you find something?”

“It’s more like what I didn’t find.” Liz gestured at the ground in a sweeping motion.

“Look at this. Doesn’t it seem odd to you that the ground is so clean? I mean, it’s dirt but there’s no debris. No rocks, no branches, nothing.”

Kyle and Maria were surveying the ground as she spoke, and Kyle finally looked up to answer her. “Yeah, I see what you mean, but is that such a big deal? We all saw that metallic shit spouting out of the rock when the mother ship left. Maybe it just obliterated everything.”

“But it’s almost too clean. Like it’s been….swept up or cleaned …or something.” Liz’s wide- eyed gaze looked at them for agreement.

“I gotta go with Kyle on this one, babe,” Maria said. “I think you’re grasping at straws. The heat from that damn thing almost singed my eyebrows off.”

Liz looked doubtful. “I guess….”

“I’m gonna climb the rock and look inside,” Kyle said as he stepped towards it.

The girls nodded and continued to search around the outside, each taking an opposite direction.
A little while later, they heard Kyle calling them from inside the formation. Liz and Maria scrambled to climb one of the less steep sides of the rock, before peering down into the gaping hole.

“Kyle?” Liz called down. She couldn’t see him but she could hear him.

“You’d better get down here,” came the answer and Liz and Maria looked at each other apprehensively before gingerly climbing over the rocks into the hole. Making their way carefully down the other side, they finally reached the ground and looked around. The place was empty which was strange in itself, and they finally saw Kyle crouched on the floor staring at something. They hurried over.

“What is it?” Liz asked as she squatted next to him. Kyle pointed and she followed the direction of his finger to look at the ground. Liz gasped as she saw what he was looking at. Almost unnoticeable in the corner where the wall curved sharply was a large, distinct boot print. Liz looked up as Kyle lifted her to her feet.

“That’s not all.” Kyle said leading to another remote area. He lowered himself to the ground again and the girls followed. Pointing once again, they saw a small red smear on the wall, and what looked like the plastic cap to a pen, but Liz gasped again when she realized what it was.

“That’s a…”

“Yeah, the lid to a syringe. That’s what I thought it was.” Kyle shook his head.

Maria looked at them in astonishment. “Does that mean what I think it means?”

“Yeah Maria,” Liz said shakily, staring at the tell tale bloodstain. “It means someone else has been here.”

TBC...
posted on 27-Mar-2002 8:13:09 PM by sylvia37
Wow, you guys. Thanks so much for the feedback. I was actually just going to post a note tonight, but managed to finish the part.

Mareli and Pixie Chic,

Thanks for the bumps. I appreciate it so much.

Just to clarify, a couple of people thought that the evidence the girls and Kyle found included the cap to a pen. They actually only found the boot print and the top to a syringe. Liz thought it was a pen cap at first, but then she realized it wasn't.

Here's part 13. Please let me know what you think. I live to hear from you. Really, no lie.


Everything to You Part 13


“Yeah. Yeah. That sounds good. Thanks Kyle, and thank your Dad for us too. Bye.” Maria clicked off the phone and turned to the others waiting anxiously to hear what she had to say.

“Mr. Valenti got there a little while ago. He took the cast of the print and the syringe cap. He’s going to get them to his friend as soon as he can, and he’ll let us know when the analysis comes back. Oh, and he’s got the blood sample. You can pick it up at the house.”

“Did he say how long the analysis is going to take?” Liz asked glancing sideways at Max when he remained silent, and her heart twisted when she saw his expression before he rose from his chair to face away from them, tension in every line of his body. She could tell that he was holding on to his control by a thread, and she ached for him.

The girls had arrived at Michael’s a little while ago after leaving Kyle at the Pod Chamber. He was going to wait for his Dad to show up and gather the evidence. He had a friend at the FBI in Washington who could process the boot print and finger prints from the syringe cap for them. It might not yield anything helpful, but it’s all they had.

When they got to the apartment, they’d found Max pacing the floor and Michael ready to kill him. Liz had seen Max’s anxiety the minute she came through the door, and she hadn’t relished giving him the news that someone else had been to the pod chamber. When they mentioned the smear of blood on the wall, all of the blood had drained from his face. He’d sat down heavily on the couch, his head in his hands, and Liz had known immediately what he was thinking. Images of his time in the White Room had been haunting her since they’d left the pod chamber, so she could only imagine what he was going through.

“No. He didn’t give me the details, but I got the impression that it might take a while because he’s doing it under the table, you know what I mean? It’s being done as a favor for someone who is no longer in law enforcement so….”

“So basically we’re sitting ducks, until we find out if he can identify where the cap came from. And that’s a big fucking “if”. Michael’s agitated voice finished Maria’s sentence.

“It seems to me that if they knew about you guys, wouldn’t they have done something about it by now?” Maria said. “I mean, they had to have discovered the pod chamber right after the Granolith launched, right? That is what probably alerted them.”

“Maybe they just haven’t figured it out yet,” Max said quietly as he finally turned around. His expression was tightly controlled but the haunted look in his eyes gave away his feelings. “If the blood is really Tess’s, then it’s safe to assume that they have her. The question is, why haven’t they come for us if they really do have her? I don’t think she’d hesitate to give us up to them. She hates us….especially me.”

Max dropped his gaze. “You guys weren’t there with us when she ….” He hesitated a moment, remembering the things she’d yelled and the look on her face when she entered the Granolith. He closed his eyes. “Just trust me. The only other thing I can think of is that she’s…..dead,” he finished in a whisper.

Liz’ concerned gaze was centered on him. “Maybe not, Max. She might hate us, but she must realize that we’re her only hope of rescue. I don’t think she’d be foolish enough to risk that.”

“If that bitch thinks that I’d waste one second of my life to rescue her, she’d in for a huge disappointment,” Maria declared vehemently. “I say we let her rot.”

“I don’t care about Tess,” Max’s voice came quietly. “I only care about my son. If she was hurt, that means he could be too. What if they have him and he’s…he’s…” Max couldn’t finish. The thought that his son might be hurt and in the hands of people who only wanted to experiment on him was too much.

Liz rose and put her hand on his arm, feeling the tremors as he struggled to contain his emotions. “Max, why don’t you come with me to Kyle’s to pick up the sample. We’ll go to the school right away. Maybe the blood isn’t even Tess’s.” She knew it was false hope, but she couldn’t bear to see him like this and not do something.

Max nodded, glancing at her gratefully before moving toward the door. He looked at Michael’s closed face and started to say something, then changed his mind. He knew Michael was angry, and blamed him for what was happening, and he accepted the responsibility. His saying he was sorry wouldn’t change it, and besides, he and Michael knew each other well enough to know what the other was thinking. There was no need for words between them right now. He would talk to him later when they were alone.

Liz turned to Maria and hugged her. “Thanks for coming with me, Maria. I’ll be back later and we can put up the fliers then.”

Maria hugged her back. “Don’t worry about it if you can’t,” she whispered. “I’ll understand if you need to stay.” She pulled back, looking into her friends worried face, and smoothed Liz’s hair back with comforting hands. “He’ll be OK.”

Liz smiled at her friend, and hugged her again quickly. “Thanks Ria.” She headed toward the door behind Max.

“Why don’t I drive?” Liz said as they approached the car. Max handed her the keys and they took off to Kyle’s house.


********************

Maria turned away from the closed front door to see Michael brooding on the couch. She walked over and sat beside him, not saying anything for the moment. She could tell he was in a dark mood and wanted to help, but she knew that any words from her might get a reaction that they would both regret. Finally, after several minutes of tense silence, she said, “Wanna talk about it?”

Michael came out of his reverie to look at her at her, before frowning. “No.”

Maria stood. “OK, well then I’m just going to go and leave you to wallow in whatever it is your wallowing in. I’ll be out posting fliers if you want me.” She grabbed her purse and started toward the door.”

“What do you want me to say?” Michael had risen from the couch and was looking at her in angry exasperation. “Do you want me to tell you that I’m angry…that I’m frustrated…that I’m…afraid?

Maria turned back from the door and faced her volatile boyfriend. “That’s a start,” she said forcefully.

“Fine. I’m angry, I’m frustrated and I’m afraid,” he said in irritation. “I’m angry at Max for this mess that he created… I’m frustrated because we have to wait for the evidence, and I’m afraid because…..” he stopped to run an agitated hand through his already unruly hair.

“Why are you afraid, Michael?” Maria asked gently. She’d put her purse back on the table and was waiting patiently for him to answer her. She knew how hard it was for him to open up, and she’d wait all day if she had to.

“I’m afraid because….because we’re all in danger again, and ….” He stopped again then spoke as though the words were wrenched from him. “I don’t want to lose you, OK? I’m afraid because I finally have a life that’s worth something and I don’t want to lose that.”

Maria stood stock still for a moment before walking up to him and putting her arms around his neck, forcing him to look into her eyes. “You’re not going to lose me.” She looked at him solemnly, willing him to believe her. “I trust you, Michael. I trust you to keep me safe.” She reached up to kiss him, framing his face with her hands, and felt the breath leave her body as he hauled her against him in a bone crushing embrace, his lips covering hers in a searing kiss of passion and gratitude. Picking Maria up, his mouth still fused to hers, Michael carried her into the bedroom and proceeded to thank her the rest of the morning.


**************************


Arriving at the Valenti house, Max and Liz waited after knocking on the door and a few seconds later, Kyle answered.

“Hey, Kyle. We’re here to get the sample that your Dad got,” Liz said as they entered the house.

“Yeah, it’s in here,” said as he turned. “Dad?” he called out, and Mr. Valenti came into the room from the kitchen.

“Hey, kids. I got your sample right here.”

Max approached the kitchen table and saw the equipment and evidence lying there waiting to be sent. He stared at the cast of the boot print then turned his attention to the syringe cap encased in the plastic bag. Picking it up carefully, he held it in his hand, closed his eyes and concentrated, trying to see if he could pick anything up from it. Sighing in frustration, he opened his eyes and replaced it on the table.

Nothing?” Liz asked. She’d caught what he was doing, and grimaced in sympathy when he shook his head.

Max turned to Kyle and his Dad. “Thanks for everything. This is really important to me and…and I really appreciate what you’re doing.” He turned to Kyle. “Thanks for going with them.”

“Yeah well, you know me. Always up for an Alien crisis.”

Max took his jibe in stride, knowing he deserved much worse. This situation was completely his fault and now he was putting all of the people he cared about in a potentially dangerous position by helping him. He owed them more than he could ever repay.

He and Liz made there way to the car, after Mr. Valenti warned them to be careful, and drove to the school. Max opened the door with his powers and they hurried to the lab. He waited as Liz set up the equipment, admiring the confident way she went about it. She was in her element here, and Max knew there was no way he could stand in the way of her pursuing her dreams. Science was what she loved and he was just grateful that she was willing to share her skill and knowledge to help him.

After putting the sample that she’d prepared under the microscope, Liz glanced at him quickly before looking into the lens. Biting her lip, she raised her head, her expression saying it all.

“I’m sorry, Max. It’s….it’s not human.”

Max nodded and swallowed heavily. He’d known it before they’d even looked but the confirmation still shook him. Seeing that Liz was already putting the lab back in order, he automatically moved to help her. When they’d finished, he turned to gaze at her, his eyes shadowed but grateful.

“Thanks for doing this. I….I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“You’re welcome,” Liz said, looking up at his resigned face. “I’m sorry, you know…I mean, you must be worried about Tess…..” she struggled to keep the bitterness from her voice.

Max stopped her with a finger to her lips. “I already told you that I wasn’t worried about Tess,” he said gently. Whatever feelings I may have had or…or thought I had for her, died the day we found about Alex. I’m only worried about my son.” Max moved away from her, running his finger over the lab table.

Liz nodded, her eyes shining with tears as she acknowledged painfully, “I know you love him a lot.”

Max’s head came up quickly at her statement, his eyes startled for a moment and seeing her expression, looked at her regretfully before lowering them. He took a moment to answer.

“I don’t know if….if it’s love exactly.” He looked up again when he realized how that must sound. “I mean, I guess it is in a way, but …but it’s more….” Max sighed and closed his eyes.

“I’m responsible,” he said finally. “I created this person who…who didn’t ask to be created and I’m responsible for that. Whatever the circumstances were, I am the one who made the mistake and I can’t let him suffer because of it. I have to find a way to help him. I….I have to,” Max finished resolutely.

Liz stood there silently, trying not to let her emotions get the better of her. It was on the tip of her tongue to throw caution to the wind and tell him how much she loved him, how much she missed him. This was her Max speaking. This was the Max she fell in love with so long ago. He’d been missing for a long time now but, Liz realized with a start, since their confrontation when he came back from LA, her Max was gradually reappearing. In spite of the incident in La Jolla, and his continuing struggle to keep his alien side at bay, this man standing before her was the same one who’d loved her since the third grade, who risked everything to save her life….whom she shared a connection with that couldn’t be broken.

Liz continued to struggle with her feelings as they made their way out of the building to the car. Nothing had changed. He still had to save his son. That was the bottom line. Just because he was changing back into her Max didn’t make the situation any better. She still didn’t want to put him in the situation of having to choose between the two of them. The thought helped Liz get her wayward emotions under control. She resolved to be his friend, help him as much as possible, but that was all. It’s all they could have right now.

As they drove toward the Crash Down, Liz decided to try and take his mind off his troubles.

“So…um… are you coming to the Karaoke night at the Crash?”

Max glanced at her sideways before turning his attention back to the road. “Um….I don’t think so. I’m not really a Karaoke kind of guy.”

Liz grimaced then smiled ruefully. “Me either, but Maria’s bound to do something to get me up there. She always finds a way to make me do stuff I swear I’ll never do.”

She looked over at him. “You don’t actually have to do anything. I mean, Michael’s going to be there and you know he isn’t going to do it. You could just come and…you know… hang out. Relax for a while.”

“I don’t know….”

“If you don’t come, you might miss out on me making a complete idiot out of myself. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” Liz looked at him smiling hopefully.

OK, how could he resist that look. “OK. If I don’t have to work, I’ll be there. But only because you promised me a freak show,” he teased smiling. Liz smacked him on the arm, and he kept his smile all the way to the Crash Down.


TBC...
posted on 2-Apr-2002 7:40:55 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. First of all, thanks for the comments. I love it when you talk to me.

Second, I didn't manage to get the next part done today, and I really tried but some unexpected stuff came up and I didn't finish. And since I didn't finish, unfortunately, that means the next part won't be out until sometime next week because I'm going out of town tomorrow until Sunday.

I'm sorry it's going to be so long, but please don't give up on me. I'm about a quarter of the way through part 14 and I have all of the rest of it in my head, so hopefully, I can get it out before too long next week.

Please keep reading and any of you who haven't commented please do if you feel like it. I want to know what you think. Thanks again.

A special thanks to Lelea for bumping.

Sylvia

posted on 10-Apr-2002 8:22:15 PM by sylvia37
Hey everyone. Just another quick note to say thanks for the bumps and I'm about 3/4 of the way through the next part. I got back Sunday night and have been working, but I haven't had as much time as I'd like.

You guys are great and I'll try to have Part 14 up by the end of the week. Thanks again.

Sylvia
posted on 11-Apr-2002 7:41:04 PM by sylvia37
Hey guess what. I got the new part done early so here it is. It's actually kind of long, almost to my 10 page limit. It's Karaoke night at the Crash Down, finally. Now I really need to hear from you guys because this part was kind of unusual for me and I want to know what you think. I'm gonna beg shamelessly because I'm dying to hear your opinions on this one, so please take the time to talk to me. I love you guys. I can't wait to hear from you. Thanks.


Everything to You Part 14



“Michael, are you almost ready to go?”

Max called to him as he shoved his wallet in his pocket and picked up his keys. They were headed for the Crash Down for Karaoke night. The thought of sitting in a mass of people making complete fools of themselves did not really appeal to him, but Liz wanted him to come so he was going. He was going to try and put his own troubles on the back burner for while and relax. Anything to put that smile back on her face. He’d done so little to make her smile lately, this was nothing.

“Michael?”

“I’m coming,” came a surly voice from the bedroom before Michael appeared a moment later. He moved past Max toward the door.

Max just stared after him for a second before sighing. OK this had to stop. Michael had barely spoken a civil word to him since he they realized that the FBI might have found the pod chamber. He’d tried to give him time to cool down, but it had been several days, and he didn’t show any signs of getting over it. Not that Max expected him to be happy, but they lived together in the same house and the tension was starting to grate on his nerves. He had enough to worry about right now, he didn’t need the added stress.

“Do you want me to move out?”

Michael turned and stared at Max as if he’d grown another head. “What?” he said belligerently.

Max stared back at him for a moment, then decided to bully the answer out of him. “Are you pissed at me, Michael?” he asked in his own belligerent tone. When Michael remained stubbornly mute, just glaring at him, Max tried again.

“I said, are you pissed at me? Cause if you are, why don’t you just fucking say so?” Max resisted the urge to smile at the look on Michael’s face. That got his attention.

“You don’t want to go there, Max,” Michael warned him, letting the front door close. Apparently they weren’t leaving yet.

“Why not? You’re obviously mad at me, so why don’t you just say so? Or kick me out? This passive aggressive shit isn’t your style.”

Michael’s cheeks grew red with anger, and he stepped closer. “You want me to tell you I’m pissed? Fine. Hell yes, I’m pissed. It wasn’t bad enough that we had peeling, psycho aliens after our asses, and that you almost got yourself killed by the twins from hell, or that some blue shit from our space ship tried to destroy the human race. You had to go have unprotected sex with the killer alien queen and bring the FBI down on us too. I think I’m entitled to be a little pissed.” Michael was breathing hard when this tirade ended, and he looked slightly abashed at his own outburst. Looking into Max’s face, he suddenly realized that that’s exactly what Max had been going for.

“You’re right,” Max said calmly. He wasn’t angry. And he wasn’t going to make excuses, although some came to mind. Everything Michael said was true. And it was completely his fault. “This situation is my fault, and I don’t blame you for being mad. I fucked up.”

Max looked at his friend, who had calmed down considerably, and said resignedly, “All I can say is that I’m sorry and I didn’t want any of this to happen. I would never intentionally do anything to put any of you in danger, and I’ll do everything I can to protect us. If you want me to go, I understand.”

Max’s calm acceptance of his anger, took all the wind out of Michael’s sails. Although Max seemed accepting on the outside, Michael could see the underlying vulnerability he was trying to hide, and it wiped out the rest of his anger as he ran a rough hand through his unruly hair. Max waited patiently as Michael stood there as though debating with himself.

“You can stay, OK?” he said finally before gesturing towards Max. “As many times as I’ve screwed up, you and Isabel could have kicked my ass to the curb a long time ago.”

Michael’s mouth quirked at the corner. “Let me just say this, though. When you fuck up, you do it big time.”

Max’s own lip curled ruefully in acknowledgement. He breathed a silent sigh of relief at his friend’s acceptance. He needed Michael’s friendship and support, such as it was, and he didn’t really want to move out. He headed toward the door. “We’d better get going.”

“Yeah, I’m going to get my ass chewed by Maria for being late as it is. Now that, I may not forgive you for.”

Max smiled in genuine amusement this time as they left.


***********

The two aliens arrived at the Crash Down just as it was starting to fill up. They’d managed to find a parking space around the corner and as they came through the glass doors, both were surprised at the transformation that had taken place. The temporary stage was set up to the left, and all of the tables were pushed back toward the right. People were going to be right on top of each other, but it wasn’t going to bother anyone. All of the waitresses were scheduled to work, and Michael had just lucked out that they didn’t need as many cooks. Not all of them could fit in the kitchen at once.

Max and Michael planted themselves at the counter, rather than taking up a table and looked for the girls. Maria finally came barreling through the kitchen door, already in a tizzy. She spotted Michael right away. “It’s about damn time you showed up,” she threw over her shoulder as she went by with a tray of food.

“What’d I tell ya,” Michael said as he glanced at his friend’s smirking face. The waitress came up to take their order and they sat there taking in the chaos as people kept piling into the restaurant. Max looked up a few minutes later when the kitchen door opened again. His lip curled into a smile as Liz came through, stopping short when she saw him. She moved forward with a smile of her own.

“Hey guys. I’m glad you decided to come.” She addressed both of them, but her eyes were on Max. Her heart did a little flip at the slight smile on his face. God, she missed that look. The dimples that peeped out at the corners of his mouth were enough to drive her crazy. They made her want to kiss him breathless and now was no exception. Liz looked down to hide her embarrassment over the direction her thoughts had taken.

“Hey,” Max said. He looked around at the crowd that was already assembling. “Looks like the place is jumping already.” Liz nodded and they both turned toward the door as Kyle and a group of his buddies walked in and were immediately greeted by more of their friends at a booth. Chairs were dragged around to accommodate the newcomers and Liz shook her head at the chaos. Oh well. It’s what she ‘d expected.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a busy night. I’d better go. Did you guys order?” Liz asked.

“Yeah, don’t worry about us.” Liz nodded and headed off to see about her tables.

As Max and Michael ate, the watched the KJ checking his equipment. He was the son of an old friend of Liz’s dad that lived in Albuquerque, and according to Liz, they were getting good deal because he owed Jeff a favor and this guy had quite an extensive library of all kinds of music. The sign up sheet was beyond full and it looked like it was almost time to start.

Maria finally took a breather, leaning against Michael as she downed a soda. “Whew, the freaks are out tonight, I tell ya. I knew this would get the place rolling, but damn.” She kissed Michael on the cheek before taking off, “I gotta go. I’m first on the list.” She smiled as she walked off, Michael staring after her.

“Of course you are.” He shook his head.

A few minutes later, the door opened again to admit a somewhat harried looking former Sheriff Valenti. He stopped at his son’s table for a moment then headed toward the counter where Max and Michael were sitting.

“Hi boys.” He removed his hat, then leaned forward over the counter to ask the waitress for a cup of coffee to go. Valenti looked at Max. “I don’t have anything to report right now, Max. My friend hasn’t gotten back with me yet.”

Max nodded. His heart had leapt in his chest when he’d seen Kyle’s dad come in, but he knew from the look on his face that he didn’t have any news for him. His formerly relaxed mood took a slight downturn at this reminder of his problems, but he took a deep breath and shoved it to the back of his mind. He was here for Liz and he wasn’t going to let it ruin his night. Tonight, he was just going to try and be Max Evans, normal teenager out for some fun with his friends.

Valenti’s coffee showed up just as the KJ started his spiel. He was good, and everyone was laughing and clapping as he introduced the first singer.

Maria made her way to the makeshift stage under the clapping and catcalls of the audience. She’d removed her antenna and she looked relaxed and confident as she grasped the microphone. When the first notes of “Possession” came over the speakers, the noise level dropped and as her husky voice brought the song to life, the place actually got quiet.

Max looked at Michael as Maria held the audience captivated, and he had to smile as his friend tried to look nonchalant, but Michael couldn’t quite hide the love and pride he was feeling. Valenti also listened with interest and as the last strains of the song came over the speakers and the audience whistled and clapped, he joined in, waiting as Maria took a final bow and ran over to where they were all sitting. Liz had joined them about half way through the song and she hugged her friend, smiling.

“That was so great, Maria.”

“Ms. DeLuca,” Valenti said capturing Maria’s attention. “You know the Kit Shickers play at Cow Patty’s on Saturday nights, and if you’re interested, maybe you could join us for a song or two.”

Maria stared at him in surprise before looking at Liz in excitement. “Really? You want me to sing with you at a real club? Oh My God. Yes! The answer is yes!” she bounced over to him and flung her arms around his neck. Valiant hugged her back good- naturedly and smiled when she released him. “We’ll talk about practice another time. I have to go. You all have a good night.” With that, he tipped his hat and headed toward the door.

Maria jumped up and down, grabbing Liz’s hands making her jump too. “Did you hear that? He wants me to sing with his group!”

“I know, I know.” Liz laughed.

Maria turned to face her boyfriend who had a look of long suffering tolerance on his face, but she knew deep down that he was happy for her, so she flung her arms around his neck as well and laid an excited, passionate kiss on his full lips. Michael returned it whole-heartedly

Max and Liz exchanged amused smiles and Liz once again felt the fluttering in her stomach at the look on his face. Maybe it was because it had been so long since she’d seen him truly enjoy himself. Whatever it was, she didn’t want it to end.

Liz and Maria got back to work and the show continued. Max and Michael watched as their classmates got up on stage. Some were actually pretty decent, but most were just plain bad. Maria and Liz came by to rest occasionally and share comments and laughter.

“Do you think Pam Troy actually thinks she’s Shania Twain? I think I’m going to be hearing impaired after that,” Maria said and Liz giggled even as they cringed over Pam’s performance.

A little while later, Max came back from the men’s room to see Liz struggling with a rack of clean glasses she’d brought from the dish area. Max pulled off his leather jacket and went behind the counter to help her.

Taking the rack from her, he asked, “Where do you want these?” Liz looked at him gratefully, and pointed to the spot.

“Thanks. Sometimes I think I’m going to pull something when I lift those things.”

“No problem.” Max looked down at her slightly disheveled appearance and offered, “Can I do something else?”

Liz started to say no, but Tracy, the counter waitress for the evening heard his offer and jumped on it.

“I could use some help. I need to make shakes for those guys over there and I still haven’t made that Blood of Alien Smoothie you ordered, Liz.. Can he stay and help me for now?”

Liz looked at Max helplessly. “Do you mind? I didn’t ask you to come so you could work, but….”

“I don’t mind. That’s why I offered.” Max looked a little rueful. “But I have no idea how to make a Blood of Alien smoothie.”

Liz smiled. “That’s OK. Michael will show you.” She turned to the other alien sitting at the counter, studiously ignoring them. “Won’t you Michael?”

Michael turned toward them. “Am I getting paid?” he said crossing his arms over his chest.

Maria had walked up during this exchange and she sighed in exasperation as she smacked him in the arm.

“Get up there and help you lazy bum. Why should you just sit here while the rest of us slave?”

“Because I’m a customer?” Michael said sarcastically.

“Oh yeah? Did you pay for that burger?” Maria asked equally sarcastically. At his silence, she said, “I didn’t think so. Get your lazy ass off that stool and get to work!”

Michael scowled at her, but he got up and went behind the counter. Liz grinned at Max and left them to go back in the kitchen.

Michael showed Max how to make the smoothie, and when he was finished he started to go back to his seat, but Tracy came by and gave them a list of new drinks and desserts to make. Michael sighed and rolled up his sleeves, realizing that he’d just given up his spectator status for the evening.

As he and Max worked, they actually started to enjoy themselves, gaining a rhythm as they went. At one point, Max called to Michael to pass him a bottle of spray whipped topping, and as Michael threw it, Max caught it without barely looking, flipping it behind his back before finishing off the sundae he’d made. Michael actually grinned at him and did the same with his bottle, and before they knew it, both of them were in a competition to see who could be the most flamboyant. As they tossed and flipped and exchanged bottles and glasses in the air, they didn’t realize that they’d gained an audience of girls watching as the two good looking guys played “Cocktail” behind the counter.

Maria grabbed Liz as she flew by at one point, indicating the two aliens as they entertained their captive audience. “They think their Tom Cruise,” Maria whispered, and Liz laughed. She loved seeing Max having a good time, and she hadn’t realized how dexterous he was although she supposed she should have remembered. That somersault he did at the party they’d crashed to get the diamond for his ship was her first clue.

Michael was no slouch either. But watching Max work, the muscles in his arms, chest and shoulders flexing , her mouth actually watered, and she realized with a slight twinge of jealousy that she wasn’t the only one, if the group of giggling girls lined up at the counter was any indication. She shook her head and went back to work.

A few minutes later she came back to the counter to wait on yet another dessert, when Maria came up next to her. They watched as the girl on stage gyrated to a Britney Spears tune.

“Oh my God, tell me that I did not just see Valerie Trentholm flash her panties at this group of pervs,” Maria said in disgust. She shook her head and looked over at Michael who appeared to be busy looking at something under the counter. Feeling her stare, he looked up and said “What?”

“Nothing,” Maria answered satisfied that he wasn’t paying attention, and turned back to continue watching. Michael walked over to where Max was working and whispered, “I might pay actual money to see that again.” Max smirked at him and turned in time to see Maria grab Liz by the arm.

“No, Maria. Absolutely not. You did not put me on that list. I told you I wasn’t doing it.”

“Oh, come on. Please? It’ll be fun. It’ll be just like when we used to do it in my Mom’s living room..”

“Maria! We didn’t have a thousand people watching us in your Mom’s living room,” Liz said in exasperation as she tried to remove her arm from Maria’s death grip.

“There aren’t a thousand people here. More like a hundred. Please Lizzie? For me? Please, please, please please….”

“Ok, Ok. I give. I’ll do it.” Liz closed her eyes in resignation, before opening them and pinning her best friend with a death glare. “But you are so going to owe me. You are going to owe me big time.”

“I know, I know. I promise…anything. Come on.” Maria dragged Liz towards the stage. Liz glanced back to see Max staring after her trying not to laugh, and she glared at him as she was hauled forward. Maria pulled the antenna from her head and yanked the band out of her hair causing Liz to wince.

Liz ran her hands through her hair and forced herself to breath calmly. She could do this. It was only everyone she had to look at every day at school, right? Her Dad still had that boarding school application. Maybe she could move. She’d start packing as soon as this was over. Oh God, she was going to be sick.

Max and Michael stopped to watch as the girls each took a microphone and faced away from the audience.
They looked at each other as they heard the song starting and Max grinned as he imagined Liz’s embarrassment.

Their hips started moving in sync with the music as the opening strains of “Like a Virgin” came through the speakers. Maria faced around first, then Liz. They strutted and gyrated, swinging their hips and running their hands suggestively down their trim bodies, eliciting whistles and comments from the guys in the audience. Max was surprised at how good they actually were considering they came up with this routine years ago, and when they ended up on the floor, writhing around like Madonna at the MTV awards, he looked at Michael who was staring at his girlfriend in disbelief. When the song ended, Maria smiled and bowed as the audience clapped and yelled, but Liz just ran off stage, her red face looking at the ground.

She got to the counter, and as she pulled her hair back into it’s pony tail then jammed her antenna on her head, she muttered to herself.

“There is something seriously wrong with me.”

Max smiled when he heard this but struggled to contain it when she lifted her gaze. Liz looked at his barely contained expression and finally smiled at her own embarrassment.

Max couldn’t help the grin that finally curved his lips.
“Well, I gotta say. You certainly delivered on that promise.”

Liz acknowledged his teasing good-naturedly. “Yeah, well it’s a good thing there’s no Maruichi music on that list or we might have to physically restrain you.” She smiled sweetly at his suddenly red face and walked off to deliver the dessert that was finally ready just as the KJ announced an intermission.

Max stared after her, smiling stupidly before turning around to help another waitress with her order. He loved it when she teased him. He and Michael had slowed down on their antics somewhat, but were still having fun with their work. In fact, Max couldn't remember the last time he had this much fun. Sometime before Tess showed up to ruin their lives, he guessed. How sad was that. He let the thought go before it could depress him further.

A few minutes later he heard distinct laughter coming from a nearby table and turned to see Liz as she talked and laughed with a group of her science club friends. One in particular grabbed his attention. Max knew his name was Mark and he was extremely smart, his name always popping up in the year book and school paper as the winner of different awards. He wasn’t a geek, though. In fact, he was pretty popular, not to mention incredibly good looking. Blond, green eyed, outgoing….the polar opposite of Max Evans. Even Max could tell the guy had it going on, in his own guy judging another guy opinion. And right now, he was talking to Liz with a smile, his eyes never leaving her laughing face.

Max felt an uncomfortable tightening in his groin as he took in the scene. Mark was obviously flirting with her, but knowing Liz, she probably wasn’t even aware of her effect on this guy. They weren’t that far away from him and he could actually hear a little of the conversation above the din.

“So Liz, are you going on the ski trip to Angel Fire?” Please say yes, Mark thought.

“Oh, um…I don’t know yet,” Liz answered. She glanced toward Max who appeared to be absorbed in wiping down the counter.

“Come on. You know you want to. Don’t you go every year?” Mark asked. He really wanted her there this year. With her and Evans broken up, this was his chance and he’d have her all to himself.

“Uh, I didn’t last year actually.”

“All the more reason to go. You know, skiing during the day, sitting by a warm fire at night.” Mark smiled at her, and Liz realized rather belatedly that he was flirting with her.

Liz looked down at her order pad as she smiled somewhat shyly. She was flattered. It was nice to be considered attractive by a smart, good-looking guy. She’d have to be stupid not to be flattered by that. But she also realized with a jolt, that she wasn’t the least bit interested. He was really nice, but he wasn’t…..Max. Oh God. Maria’s words came back to her from long ago. Were they ruined for anyone else? Was it true? Once Czechoslovakian, never back?

Liz pushed the thought away. She just wasn’t interested right now because it was too soon. It had only been a few weeks since she and Max broke up and she wasn’t looking for a new relationship. The thought actually made her a little sick. Besides, she actually had been considering going on the ski trip this year. Part of her campaign to live a normal life.

“I’ve been thinking about it, but I haven’t decided. It isn’t for a while yet anyway.”

“You don’t want to wait too long to decide,” Mark said, relieved. “There might not be room. Do you want me to put your name on the list?”

Liz resisted the urge to look behind her at the counter and said, “Yeah. Put me on the list. Thanks.” Telling Mark she had to get to her other tables, she missed the look of anticipation he flashed her.

But Max didn’t. He felt slightly sick as he turned toward the pickup window and handed Tracy her order. Of course she’d have guys hitting on her. Why wouldn’t she? She was smart and beautiful, and she didn’t have a boyfriend, he thought painfully. She’d dumped her boyfriend because he was a loser who didn’t treat her right and now she was free to do what she wanted. If she wanted to date some blond asshole who was also smart and good looking...and normal ….then she could. Oh God.

“Max?”

He stared blindly down at the counter. He needed to get out of here. His fun evening had definitely taken a nose-dive. Where was his jacket?

“Max?”

Startled, Max looked up into the beautiful brown eyes of the girl he’d lost and swallowed compulsively as he tried to control his expression.

“Uh …sorry. Did you need something?”

Liz looked at him in concern. “Are you OK?”

Max looked away from her penetrating stare and nodded. “Um, yeah. I was just uh….thinking about leaving. I’m ….kinda tired.”

“I’m sorry we put you to work. You should have said something earlier.” Liz gazed at his closed expression, worried about him. His whole demeanor had changed since a little while ago.

“You don’t have to be sorry. I volunteered. I just…” Max stopped when he realized that he really didn’t have a good excuse. He couldn’t tell her that he heard her conversation and just wanted to go hide in his misery. And honestly, he really was starting to feel sick. What was wrong with him?

“Well, you can’t leave yet, ok?” Liz smiled at him and leaned forward. “You’ve got to stay and see Kyle. Maria and I put him on the list and we’re about to go tell him. Will you stay at least until after?”

Max looked at her and couldn’t say no. “OK.” He made an effort to smile and although it was forced, Liz seemed relieved that he looked better. She went off to find Maria, and Max sighed resignedly. He would stay until Kyle was done and then go. He’d had a good time tonight, but he wasn’t feeling well now, and the conversation he’d overheard just about shot his evening to hell. He was pathetic.

A few minutes later, a genuine smile passed Max’s lips as he saw Maria and Liz pulling Kyle to the stage. He looked pissed.

“No!” Kyle pulled away from the two clinging girls and turned back toward his table.

“Come on, Kyle. Please?” Maria pleaded as she grabbed him again. “You’ve done it before and it’s so funny. “

Kyle glared at her but she wouldn’t let go. Maria leaned forward and whispered., “Besides. Look at Jenna Nolan over there.” Kyle glanced up to see the cute redhead talking to her friends, as she looked over at him and smiled. He smiled back and looked down at Maria.

“Yeah. So?”

Maria looked at him in mock disbelief, glancing at Liz for support. “Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed how she’s been staring at you all night? Right Liz?”

“Oh, yeah. All night,” Liz agreed, trying to keep a straight face.

“And you wouldn’t want to disappoint her, would you?” Maria finessed.

Kyle looked back and forth between the two girls. “All night? Really? You two wouldn’t be pulling my leg? “ He stared at their eager faces. The two girls shook their heads in unison.

“OK,” Kyle said finally, allowing them to pull him toward the stage. “But if I find out you two were lying to me, I’m gonna ask Buddha to turn you into cockroaches in your next lives.”

Kyle hopped on stage to the yells and taunts of his friends, and grabbed the microphone.

“Remind me to talk to Jenna after this,” Maria whispered out of the corner of her mouth as she and Liz backed away from the stage a little. They stayed up front to watch though, because they loved it when Kyle did this tune. The girls clapped and yelled when he asked one of his friends to hand him a hat and adjusted it on his head.

“That guy is whipped,” Michael said to Max as they watched. Max turned to look at Michael, his eyebrow raised in disbelief.

“What?” Michael said before looking away. Max’s lip curled slightly as he turned back to the stage.

“Friends in Low Places” rang out over the speakers, and Kyle was actually doing a fair imitation of Garth Brooks. His football buddies were heckling and throwing things and Liz and Maria were screaming and clapping like a couple of groupies The whole restaurant sang when the chorus started. The place was rocking.

Nodding at Michael as he yelled over the din that he was going to the bathroom, Max leaned over to put grab come clean forks from the holder under the counter when he was again assaulted by a wave of nausea and a sudden pounding in his head. This time he knew what the problem was.

Oh God. Not here. Not now. He grabbed his stomach and closed his eyes leaning over, breathing deeply, fighting for control. Opening his eyes and looking wildly around, he spotted his jacket and stumbled over to it, pulling the sleeves on slowly as he tried to control his body. He had to get out of here before the vision took hold.

Slowly making his way around the end of the counter, he pushed through the crowd toward the door. Everyone was still swaying and singing and nobody was paying attention to his stiff figure as he almost fell on someone. Mumbling, “Sorry” to the girl he’d almost crushed he finally made it to the glass doors and pushed them open, breathing deeply of the cold air as he hurriedly stumbled toward his car.

Liz was having a ball. She and Maria were jumping and screaming as Kyle sang and they both sang at the top of their lungs during the chorus along with everyone else. Liz glanced toward the counter, but didn’t see Max.

Looking around, she spotted him just as he pushed through the glass doors, holding his stomach as though in pain. Without a thought, she quickly tried to make her way through the crowd, stumbling her way to the doors. As she came outside, she looked both ways but didn’t see him.

The vision blinded him just as Max was fumbling to put his key in the lock. Blackness assaulted him and he grabbed his head as he slid to the ground leaning against the car door. The feelings of fear and helplessness were agonizing and he tried to compose himself enough to project some calmness as he labored for breath.

Liz came around the corner and gasped at the sight that she found. Max’s shaking body was huddled on the ground next to his car, his head cradled in his hands as he rocked back and forth as though in agony. She could hear his harsh breathing from where she stood and she ran to his side crouching next to the car. Debating with herself about what to do, Liz finally laid a tentative hand on his arm and tried to gently get his attention.

Max was finally able to get a slight grip on himself as he concentrated on the consciousness that was beckoning him, and he’d just started to feel the connection with his son calming down when he felt a hand on his arm. He gasped as the swirling blackness focused and lightened and then,

Max stiffened in shock as a small surprised voice sounded clearly in his head.

“Daddy?”


TBC.....

OK you guys know we couldn't let our boy have a night off from the angst.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Apr-2002 1:06:07 AM ]
posted on 18-Apr-2002 7:29:01 PM by sylvia37
Hey everyone. Thanks for the awesome feedback. Your comments always make my day. Some of you feel sorry for Max and others don't. I love that you all have different opinions. Please just keep reading and giving me your comments.

Jade,

I just meant by my comment from last time that I don't usually try to write them having fun. It's harder than angst. Thanks. I love hearing from you.


Ellegon,

I'm so excited that someone actually recommended my fic to you. Thanks for checking it out. I hope you stick with me.


Mareli,

I'm sorry you're so sad about Max. I won't torture him forever. I promise. Thanks for reading and writing.

Now on to part 15. As usual, feedback is greatly appreciated and encouraged. thanks.


Everything to You Part 15

The moment Liz laid her hand on his arm, she felt the stiffening of Max’s body and a quick flash in her head of something she couldn’t make out. She jerked her hand away. Had she hurt him?

A cry was wrenched from Max’s throat and he fell forward as if in pain. “No!” he cried out as the connection he’d momentarily had so clearly was severed abruptly. Reaching out desperately with his mind, he tried to reestablish it, but it was gone. A small broken sob escaped his lips as he hung his head trying to catch his breath. So close.

“Max,” a tentative voice sounded next to him, and he opened his eyes to find Liz gazing anxiously at him.

“Liz, what….” Max looked around as reality came flooding in. He was on the ground next to his car. He’s stumbled out here when the vision hit and was trying to ride it out when he’d felt a hand on his arm and the connection with his son had deepened to a point where he actually heard him in his head. Max looked at Liz in confusion. Obviously, she’d been the one who’d touched him.

What the hell had happened? Max tried to rise, but sat back off of his knees, groaning softly as his body protested.

“Max, are you OK ? Was it a vision?” Liz asked anxiously as she looked at his pale, sweat-dampened face.

“Yeah,” Max said faintly, closing his eyes as he leaned his head against the car, his body trembling in reaction. God, he felt like shit. His head was pounding and he still wasn’t sure he wasn’t going to lose whatever he’d just eaten at the Crash Down tonight. Swallowing to try and control the nausea, he opened his eyes and looked at her.

“How did you….”

“I saw you leave and you didn’t look so good. I was worried…so I followed you.” Liz hesitated a moment before saying, “Um…Max. When I touched you….I um…..felt something.”

Max pushed himself up further against the car, still not sure his legs would hold him. “What?” he said anxiously. Had she heard it too?

“Well, it was just a..a flash really. A quick one. I didn’t really see anything but….”

“Did you hear anything?”

Liz’s brow wrinkled. “No.” Max’s face fell and he wiped his trembling hands over it.

Max took a deep breath and started to push himself up from the ground. Liz got up quickly and reached out to help him. He gratefully accepted her help, one hand braced against the car, the other in Liz’s firm grip.

“I’m glad you’re ok now. I was afraid that I….when I touched you, you seemed like you were in pain or something, and I ….was afraid that I hurt you.”

“No.” Max said. “I uh, ….felt you touch me and…,” he hesitated a moment as he rubbed a finger over his eyebrow where the pain was.

“You didn’t hurt me.” Max said finally, avoiding her eyes, which were staring at him in deep concern.

Part of him wanted to tell her what had happened, but the other part kicked into protective mode and didn’t want her to know how much what happened tonight involved her until he could figure it out. He needed to get out of here.

Finally standing up straight, he tentatively stood up away from the car, glad to see that he was no longer feeling quite so shaky. Looking down at Liz, he saw that she had her arms wrapped around herself, and he abruptly realized that she was standing outside in the cold with only her waitress uniform on. Before he could say anything, she was taking his arm.

“Come on. Let’s go inside so you can sit down…”

“No!” Max immediately regretted his outburst when he saw her face. “I mean… I….thank you for being concerned…about me, but I um.,… I’m just going to go back to Michael’s now. I need to get cleaned up and…I’m just really tired.” That was definitely not a lie. He felt like he’d been run over by a truck. He didn’t want to go back to the noise and party atmosphere of the Crash Down, and although normally he’d take Liz’s company any way he could get it, he just really wanted to be alone to process what had happened.

“Max, I don’t think you should drive right now. Just come in for a minute so you can…”

Max pulled his arm away from her grip. “I’m really OK now Liz. I appreciate…you know…you following me and everything but….I just really want to go home.” He gestured towards her arms that she was unconsciously massaging to keep warm. “You need to get back inside. It’s cold out here.”

Fishing in his pocket for the keys to his car, he didn’t find them so he looked down searching the ground. Max saw them peeking out from beneath the car where they’d fallen from his hand, and bent over to retrieve them. Immediately, his head began to swim, his stomach heaving slightly, and he put out a hand against the car to steady himself, swallowing convulsively to maintain control before he had to show his face to Liz. Controlling his expression, he stood up and breathed deeply as his vision adjusted. Liz was staring at him in concern and he managed a small smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

“Max…”

“Liz. I’m OK. I can’t go back in there with all the noise and…sometimes the visions make me a little…sick that’s all,” he said truthfully. “You’re Dad’s going to come looking for you in minute, and I know you’re freezing. Please, just go back inside.” He moved back to open the car door.

Liz stood looking at him in worried exasperation. “At least let me get Michael to drive you.”

Max shook his head but was immediately sorry, when it caused the pounding to increase. “No. There’s no reason for anyone else’s night to be ruined, OK? Michael should stay.”

Starting the car, he looked up at her concerned expression. “ Liz please? Don’t let this ruin your night. I’m fine now. Go back, OK? I’ll wait for you to get back inside.” Please, he thought. Please just go. He needed her to go before he ended up begging her to stay.

Liz hesitated against leaving him. True, he looked a little better than when she’d found him, but he was still pale and she could see slight tremors in his hands every few minutes. Whatever happened during the vision had shook him up, and he obviously didn’t want her to know about it. But he was right about one thing. She couldn’t stay out here any longer. Her Dad was going to be looking for her and she couldn’t just leave in the middle of this busy night anyway.

Just as she was about to say so, Michael came around the corner. When Max saw him, he put the car in gear, backing out quickly. Giving Liz a quick apologetic look, he drove off.

“What the hell’s going on? Where is he going?”

“Come on. I’ll tell you inside.” Liz turned around and hurried towards the front of the Crash Down, the chill weather finally catching up with her. She and Michael entered and pushed their way a quickly as possible to the counter. Maria spotted them and made her way over as well.

“What happened? Where’s Max?”

“Let’s go to the back for a minute.” They entered the locker area through the door and Liz turned to her two friends as soon as they were away from the noise for a moment. “Max had another vision, you guys.”

Liz quickly explained what happened. “He looked really bad. I didn’t want to let him go, but he insisted.”

“Did he say what he saw or…you know….what he felt?” Maria asked.

‘No, but I could tell it shook him up.” Liz turned to Michael. “I was trying to convince him to let you drive him home when he left.”

Michael took the hint, after a pointed look from his girlfriend. “I know. I’m going.” He went to her locker to get the keys to the Jetta. As they went through the doors to the front, Maria said, “I’ll call you for a ride home when we’re done.”

As she and Liz headed out to their tables, Maria looked at her friend’s preoccupied expression. “You Ok Petunia?” she said, knowing that she really wasn’t, but not knowing what to say to make her feel better.

Liz smiled faintly at the endearment and said, “Yeah. We’d better get back to work.”

Liz quickly started making the rounds of her tables, knowing she’d neglected them, but most of them hardly seemed to notice. Mark tried to get her to stay at their table and talk, but she told him she had too much to do.

The party atmosphere was still going strong but Liz felt strangely removed from it now that reality had intruded. She wasn’t angry at Max, but she was disappointed and frustrated, besides being worried. They could never seem to catch a break. Why couldn’t they just have one night free from alien angst? Were their lives forever destined to be one crisis after another?

Putting the dirty dishes she was carrying in a bus tub, she stopped to grab a soda. Ok, maybe that wasn’t fair, she thought. Technically, it wasn’t her life that was being effected, it was Max’s and he was doing everything he could to keep her out of it. She was the one who kept jumping in every time a new problem came up. And if she was really honest with herself, as much as she wished for a reprieve sometimes, the thought of just letting go completely, of trying to live her life without being involved at all, was unacceptable. How could anyone know with complete certainty that there were extra-terrestrials on earth, realize that the government knew about it, and live a normal life? It just wasn’t going to happen.

Liz sighed as she watched one of her classmates trying to imitate Christina Aguilera. Liz didn’t have any illusions, however. As worried as she was for Max, she also knew that the situation he found himself in at the moment was completely of his own making. She herself had made some mistakes in their relationship, but their motivations were completely different. Liz might have gotten the ball rolling by making Max believe she slept with Kyle, but his downhill slide into Tess’s trap was completely his own choice.

Yes, he’d explained more or less about how the awakening of his alien side was affecting his decision making, and she understood that, but Liz would never understand one thing. How the Max she knew… the Max she’d fallen so deeply in love with…. her responsible to the point of irritation Max, could sleep with Tess… much less without protection. Protection that she knew he had. It didn’t make sense.

OK, Liz, let’s not do this, she thought. She’d had this conversation with herself a million times and it never lead anywhere. Her hurt and disappointment over Max’s behavior still ran deep, but she didn’t feel any satisfaction from his present situation. He was paying for his mistakes in spades and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. As painful as the last year was for them, she wouldn’t have wished this on him, and she hoped with all of her heart that he would be able to find his son so he could have a chance to get his life under control. For both their sakes.

Liz put her dirty glass in the tub and headed out to the floor. The evening was winding down, but there was a whole lot of clean up left for them after the restaurant closed. She still had a long night ahead.


**********************


Hot water cascaded over his lean body as Max stood in the shower at Michael’s. He’d driven home as fast as possible within the speed limit, and by the time he’d arrived, his sweat-dampened cloths were clinging and chilly against his skin. Shivering, he’d discarded them and stepped into the shower, letting the hot water warm and sooth him.

Unfortunately, the warmth did nothing to stop the whirling thoughts running through his head. That appendage had finally stopped it’s relentless pounding when he’d gotten his act together enough to put his own glowing hand to his head and heal himself, but it didn’t ease his anxiety. Tonight’s vision had stolen whatever ease he might have achieved during his time at the Crash Down. So much for a night of relaxing fun with his friends. Apparently it just wasn’t meant to be. No rest for the wicked.

Max finally turned the shower off and stepped out to dry himself. As he dressed in clean clothes, his mind kept going back to that little voice. His son. Max sat on the couch, leaning forward to cradle his head in his hands, finally allowing himself to dwell on it. He’d heard his son’s voice. Even if he never found him, the sound of that fearful little voice calling him Daddy would live with Max forever. How was that possible? The child was only a few months old, right?

Max tried to think logically. If the gestational period for an alien pregnancy was only a month, maybe their enhanced growth didn’t stop once the child was outside the womb. While in human terms, he was only a few months old, in alien terms, he had the mentality and maybe the size of a 3 year old. That was just a guess on Max’s part. He obviously couldn’t tell how old the child was by this one encounter. It made sense that his growth was accelerated, however, given the fact that Max had been having these visions almost immediately since Tess left. Scratch that, Tess hadn’t left. She was still here somewhere along with his child, maybe being held by the government. God, this waiting and wondering was going to kill him.

The next question was how he’d managed to hear his son in the first place. The answer, of course, was Liz. Somehow, when she’d touched him during the vision, it had made the connection stronger. But how? And why Liz?

Max wiped his fingers wearily over his eyes and sat back against the couch. His thoughts drifted back to the time in New York when she’d saved his life from Lonnie and Rath. Ava said she was changed when he healed her, and obviously that was the case. She’d been able to project her thoughts across the country with Isabel’s help to save him and now, she’d touched him and it boosted his powers.

His feelings were completely conflicted about that. Part of him immediately felt guilty for having inflicted his alienness on her, giving her no choice in the matter. Rationally, Max realized that if he hadn’t done it, Liz would be dead right now so the point was really moot, but it didn’t make him feel any better.

Another small part of him…the caveman part…was feeling strangely proud. As if in changing her, he’d marked her as his. Made for him. Together they would be awesome. Also a moot point. They weren’t together and Liz deserved better than to be saddled with a part- time teenage alien king, slash unwed father, slash loser.

She deserved to be with someone who appreciated her and didn’t come with all of this baggage. The vision of a blond, good looking science guy standing next to his Liz accompanied by the prerequisite children, dog and white picket fence almost had him running for the bathroom. OK, that thought hurt.

Max got up from the couch and started to pace. So now what? His first instinct was to run to Liz and beg her to help him try and contact his son again. Max knew that she’d do it. Liz had shown no compunction about helping him so far in his insane quest.

Max admitted that he wanted to. In fact, he was barely restraining himself from rushing back to the Crash Down and throwing himself on her mercy.

But that was the old Max. Or was that the new Max. Whatever. The point was that as much as he needed to resolve this situation, he couldn’t do that to Liz. He clearly remembered Isabel telling him Liz’s reaction to finding out that he’d changed her when he healed her. His normally brave Liz had been completely freaked out, and the only reason she’d allowed herself to be convinced to use her ability was because of her love for him. Afterward, they hadn’t even barely discussed it except for in joking terms in her bedroom the day he’d returned from New York. She obviously didn’t want to pursue the fact that she might be developing alien powers, and he’d respected that decision.

Then there was Max’s decision not to involve her in anymore of his problems. Of course, so far, he hadn’t done a really good job of that seeing as how she’d gone to the pod chamber for him, and broken into his Dad’s office for information, and shared a vision of their almost wedding with him. But this would really be crossing the line. Deliberately asking her to help him would be a complete violation of the promise he’d made to himself to let her live her own life. And he just couldn’t do it. At least not until he’d exhausted all other avenues.

As he stood there, Max realized he’d come a long way in a short time. Just a few weeks ago, he wouldn’t have hesitated to ask Liz to help him, using all of his powers of persuasion to convince her, no matter how she felt about it. Taking stock for the first time in a while, he realized that he’d slowly been coming back to himself.

The Max he’d been before the whole Tess fiasco was re-immerging. Whatever influence Tess exercised over him was diminishing, giving credence to the fact that she’d most likely been mind-warping him. The affects of the alien device in Brody’s possession may have jogged his memory a little, but Tess apparently had used it to her advantage, enhancing it’s powers to the point that she’d been able to influence his behavior. Turning him into someone he wasn’t. Turning him into someone he despised. As the memory of his own hands gripping Michael’s throat flashed through his mind, he also realized he still had a long way to go.

Liz said that she’d seen glimpses of “her Max” during their brief time together after Tess left, and that’s why she’d been willing to put up with him for so long. Max wondered now why it had taken Liz leaving him for the change to really start taking place. Maybe he just needed a good slap in the face to make his brain kick into gear. Whatever it was, he was grateful to Liz for getting him on the right path.

That still didn’t absolve him of his responsibility however. Tess may have been playing mind games with him, but he’d allowed her to. He’d lost his faith in Liz and let that bitch ruin his life. Bottom line. And he’d tried to bring Liz down with him. Max wasn’t sure he would ever forgive himself for what he’d put her through. No, he definitely was not going to tell her what had taken place tonight. Not until he absolutely had too.

So where did that leave him?

Michael chose that moment to make his entrance. Max looked up as he entered. “They sent you to check on me, didn’t they?” Max crossed his arms over his chest as he waited for the answer.

“No,” Michael said dismissively. “I left because Kyle started to do another song, and I didn’t think it’d be polite to hurl all over the counter. Besides, Maria would make me clean it up.”

Michael crossed to the couch and picking up the remote, started flipping channels. Glancing at his friend before turning his eyes back to the TV, Michael said, “Looks like those visions are really kicking your ass.”

Max sat down next to him. “Yeah,” he said wearily.

“Well, you know…I’m here…if you need to….talk or whatever,” Michael didn’t take his eyes off the TV.

Max was tempted to tell him what happened, but he decided not to. It wouldn’t be fair to Michael to tell him something he’d have to keep from Maria so Liz wouldn’t know. “Yeah, thanks.”

“Hey, it got me out of clean up duty, so I’m happy.”

Max’s lip curled slightly at his friend’s words. Leave it to Michael to put everything into perspective. As they sat together in silence, Max’s thoughts went back to his problems. What was he going to do?

First thing tomorrow, he would go to Isabel. Since Liz was able to boost the connection, maybe Isabel could too. Max didn’t know why he hadn’t thought of it before. He’d tried many times to start the connection from his end without success, but maybe with Isabel’s help, he could do it. If that didn’t work, he’d have to consider his next move. Hopefully Valenti would have something for him soon.

Closing his eyes, he leaned his head against the back of the couch in exhaustion. Michael was right. These damn visions really kicked his ass, but they were his only link right now, so he didn’t want them to stop. A few minutes later, his head lolled to the side, and Max never felt Michael stretch him out flat, or put the blanket over him, or leave to pick up Maria.

posted on 26-Apr-2002 7:21:54 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. I wanted to post this note to say thanks for all the kind comments and the bumps. I'm sorry I don't quite have the next part finished yet. Real life has intruded quite a bit this week, so I didn't manage to get it done. I'm about 3/4 of the way through so hopefully it will be soon.

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me.

Sylvia
posted on 30-Apr-2002 6:21:47 PM by sylvia37
OK finally. Here it is. Part 16. I'm sorry this took so long to get out. It wasn't just time constraints but just that it's a long chapter and I struggled with it.

You guys are so wonderful for bumping me and letting me know that you're waiting. I love that you're looking for my story. Once again, please let me know what you think because I love hearing from you. Thanks again for the great feedback and I look forward to your comments.


Everything to You Part 16

Max pulled up outside his parent’s house and turned off the Chevelle’s engine. As he sat there contemplating his former home, he wondered what kind of reception he was going to get.

The day after hearing his son’s voice, Max had gone over to Isabel’s house, and asked her to help him try and initiate contact. He didn’t tell her about Liz, just that it occurred to him that she might be able to help. Isabel had willingly gone along, and the two of them had sat facing each other holding hands. Max reached deep inside himself for that spark that he always had an awareness of, and tried to create a link.

Unfortunately, though they concentrated for quite a while, it didn’t work. Max could feel the connection intensify just a little, but he couldn’t make it deep enough for any type of communication, feelings or otherwise. His disappointment was palpable, and Isabel, seeing the sad resignation in his eyes, felt compelled to apologize. Her heart ached for him, but Max dismissed it assuring her that he was OK, and that it had been worth the try.

Inside, Max just added this latest attempt to his list of failures concerning his son and his life in general. Maybe this was his punishment for being arrogant and selfish. To be able to feel his son’s pain, but to forever have him just out of reach. Pulling himself together, he'd listened as Isabel told him that his mother had invited her and Jesse over for Christmas dinner, and Diane had hinted that she really wanted Max to be there as well.

“You should see her, Max. She gets this really sad expression on her face and she’s constantly asking me if you need anything, and if you’re OK. You didn’t come to Thanksgiving and it really broke her heart. It’s really been hard on her to have both of us move out at practically the same time. You need to come.”

“Look Is, I know Mom's having a hard time, but Dad….”

“It’s been hard on him too, Max. He just shows it differently. You have to come, if only for a little while. Besides, what were you going to do? Sit around by yourself and mope? I know Michael’s going to Maria’s.”

At his continued silence, Isabel said, “You were, weren’t you? You were just going to sit at Michael’s by yourself on Christmas day like some stupid martyr.” She looked at him determinedly. “ That’s it. You’re coming if I have to drag you kicking and screaming all the way.”


Needless to say, Max agreed to come. He’d already planned to drop the presents by when his Dad was at work, but he hadn’t been planning on spending any time with his family. He knew it was hurting his Mom, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to face his Dad’s suspicious face. The feeling of exposure and vulnerability warred with his hurt and anger, even though he understood his Dad's position.

Phillip Evans was his father in every important sense of the word. Someone he’d looked up to, and after years of experiencing only love and support from this man, it was hurtful to hear the anger and disappointment in his voice. Causing heartache for parents made Max feel ashamed and unworthy of the love and trust they’d given him all of those years growing up.

But he just couldn’t see any help for it. Exposing them to the truth would put them in danger, and Max wasn’t willing to do that to anyone else he loved. And, if he was honest with himself, there was still a part of him that was afraid of their reaction. The thought that they might react with disgust at what he and Isabel were, made his inner child cringe. Max just didn’t think he had the strength right now to face that no matter how hard it was to continue the lie. At least right now, he knew his parents still loved him, no matter how upset they were at his behavior.

Max sighed as he prepared himself for the coming ordeal and exited the car. Reaching into the trunk he hoisted presents into his arms and walked to the front door. He smiled slightly in remembrance as "Jingle Bells" played when he rang the bell.

The door opened and Diane Evans looked out. "Max! Honey, I'm so glad you decided to come.” She moved aside to let him in, and watched him set the gifts down. Immediately pulling him into her arms, Diane hugged his tall frame close, tears gathering in her eyes as he hugged her back.

"Hi Mom." Max was feeling a little misty himself. He'd almost forgotten what it felt like to be held in his mother's loving embrace. They'd always been an affectionate family, and he hadn't realized how much he missed just being with them.

Diane pulled back and looked at him, noting the slightly darkened circles under his eyes and the lines that no eighteen-year-old should have. He wasn’t taking care of himself.

Isabel entered the foyer, and smiled as she hugged him as well. "Thanks for coming, Max. You've made her day," she whispered as she pulled back. Jesse greeted him with a handshake and they all headed into the kitchen.

As his mom handed him a glass of eggnog, Max looked around noting the familiar decorations. "Where's Dad?" he said somewhat apprehensively.

"Right here, Max."

Max turned around and saw his dad standing by the laundry room door. The two Evans men stared at each other for a long moment before Max set his glass down and held out his hand as he walked forward. "Merry Christmas, Dad."

Phillip Evans stepped forward meeting his son half way and clasped his hand. "You too, " he said evenly. They looked at each other for another moment before Phillip let go and stepped over to the stove. "So, when's this magnificent feast you're preparing going to be ready?" he said as he leaned over to give his wife a loving kiss on the cheek


"In about 20 or 30 minutes. Why don't you guys go watch the football game while Isabel and I finish up here? Max, honey? Can you help me set the table? Your Dad and I pulled the Christmas dishes down already, but I need help with those glasses.”

“Sure, Mom.” Max knew Diane didn’t really need his help, but he was more than willing to stay and talk with her. Not just because he missed her, but because it gave him an excuse to stay away from his Dad. The look they’d shared spoke volumes. He knew he wasn’t getting out of here today without some sort of confrontation, and he wasn’t looking forward to it. Phillip Evans came across to most people as mild mannered and cheerful, but there was a band of steel underneath that mild façade that usually came into play when he was protecting someone. It’s what made him such a good lawyer.

Max got the Christmas glasses down, and dried them while his mother washed. She asked about school and work, safe subjects, and he answered her willingly.

“Are you still seeing Liz Parker?”

Max’s hand stopped drying the glass he was holding at his mother’s question, and he could feel Diane’s eyes on him as he looked at it. Glancing over to where Isabel was standing arranging a relish tray, he saw her sympathetic look before he turned to his mother.

“Uh, no not..not really.” He put the glass with the others, and picked up another one. “Mr. Parker was kind of upset about the whole Utah incident, so… but we still see each other at school and stuff.”

To his relief, Diane only nodded and together, they gathered the glasses and went to set the dining room table. His Mom had gone all out with the Christmas theme, right down to the little Santa Clause napkin holders. They teased Isabel about her anal retentive tendencies, but his Mom ran a close second.

“Why don’t you go inside and watch the game with your Dad and Jesse, honey. Isabel and I can finish up in the kitchen.”

“Are you sure, Mom, cause I can….”

“No, honey. I’m sure. You go spend some time with your Dad. He misses you too.” Giving him a pat on the cheek, she walked back into the kitchen.

Max headed slowly towards the living room. Jesse and his Dad were sitting on the couch, discussing the merits of the teams that were playing and Max sat in the lounger.

“Your Mom and Isabel finally drove you out, huh?” Jesse said smiling. “I tried to help earlier, but apparently my holiday preparation skills don’t quite measure up to Evan’s women standards.”

Max grinned and looked up to find his Dad smiling as well. “You’ll learn eventually. It’s better just to stay out of their way unless asked to do a specific task. Then they’ll give you directions.” All three of them laughed.

The three men watched the game in silence for a while, but Max started to feel tense and uneasy. He could feel his father looking at him once in a while and the air was thick with unspoken questions. Jesse seemed oblivious, but as they sat there, Max felt like he was going to explode with it. Finally unable to take it anymore, he started to get up and brave the holiday kitchen, when his Dad spoke.

“Max, can I see you in my study for a minute? I want to show you something.”

Max felt a heavy weight settle on his chest as he nodded reluctantly and followed his Dad into the study. Phillip closed the door behind them and went to stand behind his desk.

“Uh, what did you want to show me, Dad?” Max finally asked apprehensively.

“Nothing actually. I just felt like we needed to talk. You seemed a little tense out there.”

“I uh….”

“Do you have something you want to tell me, son?”

Max studied his father’s face for a moment before deciding to take the plunge. Maybe it would be better to just get this out in the open.

“I know that you’ve been investigating me,” Max finally said quietly. “It’s not right to spy on your own son.”

“I’m not spying. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. Is my concern a threat to you?”

Max didn’t answer, just stood with his hands in his pockets.

“You know Max, you frighten me. I don’t think I know you anymore. I’m beginning to think I’ve never known you.”

“I’m your son.”

“With secrets. And my biggest fear is that they’re terrible secrets, that you’re in trouble and I can’t help.”

Max sighed and closed his eyes. “Dad, I’m not…”

Phillip cut him off. “Don’t tell me that you’re not in trouble, Max. If it weren’t for me, you’d be rotting in jail right now.”

Max look down guiltily. God, this was hard. Lying to his parents had come relatively easily over the years, but being faced with this direct challenge from a man he respected so much, made it so much more difficult. How had he ever thought he could just fool his father?

“I know that, Dad. And I’m grateful for what you did. For me and for Liz. I’m sorry I disappointed you and Mom. I…I…what happened in Utah was a one time thing. I’m not becoming a career criminal or anything. I just….it’s over now. You don’t have to worry about me.” Max looked at his father as sincerely as he could manage, but he could see that Phillip wasn’t convinced.

“The things that I’ve uncovered, and what happened in Utah tell me otherwise, Max. And you should know me well enough by now to know that I’m not going to give up. I love you, son, but I can’t help you unless you let me. And I won’t be lied to in my own house, as I told you before. So unless you have something else you want to tell me, this conversation is over.”

Max stood there in indecision. His father’s tenacity was wearing him down and even though Phillip spoke sternly, the underlying concern and love was evident.

He wanted to confide in his father. Over the years as he’d been growing up, his father had always been a source of strength, even though Max had rarely gone to him with problems. He’d always just known that he was there, and that he would help if Max needed him too. It was on the tip of his tongue to confess everything. To finally unburden himself and end the lies.

Max actually opened his mouth to speak, when a picture of Alex’s dead body suddenly flashed through his mind. He remembered being in that ambulance looking down at him, seeing the mangled flesh that had once been a vital, funny, valuable friend. Someone who’d saved his own life. He remembered touching that cold skin and shuddered as his mind conjured up all of the corresponding feelings associated with his memory.

Oh, God. What was he thinking? He couldn’t tell his father anything. He’d die if something happened to his parents because of what he was. The thought of them ending up like Alex stopped him dead in his tracks.

Phillip gazed at his son’s face, seeing the various emotions flitting across it. He thought he might have gotten through this time, but as Max’s expression settled back into it’s protective mask, he sighed inwardly. Apparently whatever it was he was hiding, was more powerful than his need to confess. Phillip was disappointed but still determined. Nothing had changed.

“We’d better get back to the others.”

Max avoided his father’s stoic gaze. “I can leave if you want.”

“You can stay. We wouldn’t want to disappoint your Mother. She’s been looking forward to this.”

Phillip walked passed his son and opened the study door. Max passed through in front of him and headed toward the kitchen. His Mom and Isabel were starting to put the food out.

“Oh Phillip. I wondered where you’d got too. You need to carve the turkey.”

Everyone helped set up the table to eat and after they’d all sat down, Max’s father gave the blessing, and they dug in. Max was not feeling particularly hungry after the conversation he’d just had, but he tried to appear as if he was enjoying his meal, something he’d perfected over years of trying out his mother’s new recipes. The food tasted like sawdust in his mouth, and all he wanted was to go and hide by himself. He didn’t deserve to be here. He was a liar and a danger, and he didn’t deserve his parent’s love. Conversation flowed around him, but he didn’t contribute much and only spoke when questioned.

Diane noticed her son’s lack of appetite despite Max’s efforts. Unbeknownst to her children, she knew when they were trying to spare her feelings. She looked at Phillip, but he just shook his head, indicating in that silent language that all long-time couples have, that they would discuss it later.

After they’d eaten, the meal was cleaned up and everyone retired to the living room to open presents. Isabel sat under the tree and passed out one to each of them at a time, so they could all open them together. Jesse thought this was extremely funny, but Max and his parents were used to it, so they just dutifully did as they were told.

Everyone exclaimed over each one as hugs and kisses were exchanged by the happy couples. Max was starting to feel like a 5th wheel as they gave each other romantic as well as practical gifts and his determination to leave as soon as possible grew. His mother had gone crazy shopping for him, and he wondered where he was going to store all of these new clothes.

Finally the gift exchange was done. Max rose from his place on the floor, and reached for his jacket.

"Uh, Mom…I have to go now. Everything was really good, and I appreciate all the gifts, but…."

Diane watched her son struggle into his jacket and stood up from the couch as he gathered his gifts. She glanced sadly at her husband, but Phillip's stoic expression made her want to sigh in frustration. They were both so stubborn. For two people who weren't actually related, they were certainly alike. She watched as Isabel hugged him, whispering something that made Max shake his head before he turned to tell Jesse goodbye. Max turned to his father and they eyed each other before he turned and exited the living room.

Max walked to the front door followed by his mother, and he turned to her when she opened it for him. "Thanks Mom. I'm sorry I …."

"It's OK, Max. I understand." She stared at her son's handsome face knowing the reason for his hasty exit. "I appreciate that you stayed as long as you did. I know you were uncomfortable, but I want you to know that you can always come to me, Max. With anything. Me and your Father. I know he seems harsh right now, but he loves you and we only want what's best for you."

"I know that, Mom. But I told Dad that you didn't have to worry about me. I'm fine."

"I'm your Mother. I'm always going to worry." She leaned up and kissed his cheek. "Goodbye Honey. I love you."

"Me too. Bye Mom." Max walked out to the car and deposited the gifts in the back seat. As he started the Chevelle's engine he sat for a moment, rubbing his hands over his face. That was just about as unpleasant as he’d expected it to be, but at least he’d made his mother happy. Max felt wrung out from all the tension, but he didn't feel like going back to Michael's to sit alone in a dingy apartment.

Driving aimlessly, he finally ended up at the park. Max parked the car and walked, shoving his hands into his pockets as he wandered toward the ice rink. The Christmas music grew louder as he approached, and he could see several people skating. As he started to lower his frame onto a bench, he heard familiar laughter, and looked up to see Liz, Maria, Michael and Kyle skating together on the other side of the rink.

Liz was laughing at something Kyle apparently said and as he continued to watch, Liz pointed towards someone, and Max followed the direction of her finger to see Jenna Nolan standing with a group of her friends. He looked back towards Liz and saw Kyle shake his head before Liz and Maria grabbed his arm and shoved him towards Jenna’s group. Max’s lip curled as Kyle almost lost his balance, then turned to glare at Liz and Maria’s smiling faces.

Max continued to sit and watch Liz as she skated. She’d apparently had some practice because she was graceful and sure-footed and she even twirled in a slow circle occasionally. Michael and Maria weren’t bad either. He remembered that Michael had actually played hockey for a while before deciding that getting along with others on a team wasn’t his thing. At least back then.

Max saw Liz and Maria huddle together watching Kyle as he approached Jenna, and a few minutes later, they whispered to each other as Kyle and Jenna began to skate together. Liz laughed at something Maria said and then took off to skate on her own again. She slowly circled the rink, seemingly content to be by herself. Max was happy just to sit and watch her be happy. It felt familiar to be sitting in the shadows watching Liz, and as much as he longed to speak to her, he decided not to. He didn’t want to put a damper on her mood, by burdening her with his presence. His own rather somber mood did not fit the quaint picture of Christmas cheer surrounding the place.

For her part, Liz actually was quite content being on her own. Skating was relaxing in it’s own way. Gliding smoothly across the ice, feeling the breeze lift her hair, the chill in the air nip at her cheeks. She grinned to herself as she watched Kyle skating awkwardly next to Jenna. They made a cute couple. She wanted some happiness for Kyle. He deserved it after everything he’d been through.

As she skated, Liz felt that prickling on the back of her neck again. She’d felt it earlier while talking to Maria, but ignored it. Surreptitiously glancing around, she tried to see if anything struck her as out of the ordinary. Slowly skating in a circle, she scanned the outside of the rink. People were sitting on benches, removing or putting on skates, while others were buying concessions and waiting in line to pay. As her eyes skimmed over the people, she didn’t see anything at first, but her brain caught up with her eyes and she backed up. Trying not to be obvious she skated a little closer to the middle and looked at the bench partially blocked by a huge candy cane. Her heart skipped a beat as she realized that she recognized the legs attached to the body she couldn’t see. Why was Max sitting all alone watching her skate?

Shit. Max should have realized she’d know she was being watched eventually. He should have left a while ago, but he couldn’t tear himself away from the perfect picture she made, skating and twirling, her long hair pulled back from her face, her petite body framed by the Christmas decorations. As she skated towards him, he sighed and waited for her to come.

“Max. Hi. Why are you sitting over here by yourself? Why didn’t you come out and skate with us?” Liz smiled at him as he came forward towards the rink.

“I..uh….I just got here a few minutes ago, and I really don’t skate very well.” Max stared back at her upturned face, his heart aching familiarly in his chest at the sight of her rosy cheeks and sparkling dark eyes. God, she was beautiful. “I really didn’t come here to skate. I was just….I just got done at my parent’s and …..I didn’t know you guys were going to be here.”

“We didn’t either, actually. Maria called me at home and said she, Michael and Kyle were coming. Well, I think she actually dragged Michael and Kyle by their…um…..hair judging by the looks on their faces when they got here. But it’s fun.” She looked at him appealingly. “Come on. You should skate. How are you going to get any better if you don’t practice?”

“Um….I don’t think so. I was just getting ready to go back to Michael’s….”

“Oh, come on. Don’t tell me you’d rather go sit at Michael’s by yourself than come out here and skate? You aren't that bad. Are you?” She grinned at him in challenge and Max’s own lips curled in response. Her mood was contagious.

“Are you sure you want me out there cramping your style? I mean, you’re pretty good.” You’re beautiful, he thought.

Liz smiled. “Thank you. And yes, I’m sure I want you out there. I’ll wait while you get skates.”

Liz watched as Max went to pay for skates then turned when Michael and Maria appeared at her side.

“Hey, what’s going on? One minute you’re out there showing off, the next minute you’re standing over here staring.”

Liz stuck her tongue out at Maria. “ I was not showing off.” She gestured towards where Max was getting his skates. “Max is here. He was sitting on a bench watching us and I convinced him to skate.”

Max approached and saw his friends waiting for him. “Hey.”

“Maxwell.” Michael said in greeting before pulling Maria’s arm through his. “As I recall, you aren’t too good on those things. Try not to fall on your ass. You’ll make us all look bad.” Michael smirked as Max flipped him off and he and Maria skated away.

Max gave Liz an “I told you so” look and sat to remove his shoes. When he was finally ready, he walked slowly to the edge of the rink and gratefully held onto Liz’s arm as he stepped down. Moving slowly forward, he felt big and clumsy next to her small, graceful figure, but she held his arm tightly and seemed fine with his efforts.

“You’re a big liar, Max. You aren’t that bad.” She smiled at him as they slowly circled the rink.

“You say that now. Just be sure and let go of my arm if you feel me going down. I promise I won’t feel bad if you pretend you don’t know me.” He grinned when she smacked him. They skated in contented silence for a few minutes. Max was actually beginning to enjoy himself. He didn’t know whether it was the atmosphere or the company or both, but whatever it was, he was grateful.

“So, Max. How was being at your parents for Christmas?”

So much for a good mood. “Um… it was OK, I guess.” Max didn’t elaborate.

“How was your Dad? I mean, did he act suspicious or anything?”

Max sighed. “We talked for a few minutes, but it didn’t get us anywhere. He knows I’m hiding something, and he isn’t going to stop looking. He basically told me that I either tell him, or he doesn’t want to talk to me. He only let me stay because of Mom.”

“You can’t really blame him, Max. After what he saw in Utah, he can’t help but know we’ve been lying to them. You should be grateful that they love you enough to be concerned.” Liz looked at him in sympathy, seeing the indecision on his face.

“I am grateful, I just wish….” Max stopped. He wished for so many things that he couldn’t name them all. He wished he could go back and change what had happened in Utah so Liz and his parents weren’t involved. Of course, all that happened before his brain finally started working correctly again, but it was too late now for "what ifs" and "might have beens".

“Let’s not talk about this anymore, OK?” Max said finally. “Aside from my Dad, dinner was fine and my Mom has taken it upon herself to single handedly replenish my entire wardrobe. I guess she doesn’t like t-shirts and jeans.” He looked down at Liz’s smiling face. “How about you? How was your Christmas?”

“Good. Really good. We didn’t do anything special, just open presents and relax. This is one of the few days of the year my Dad doesn’t open the restaurant so he just likes to sit around and be waited on. Maria called this afternoon and we exchanged gifts and came here.”

“Oh, that reminds me. I have something for you.” Liz skated them towards the edge of the rink. When they reached it, she turned to him. “Wait here.”

Liz put her blade covers on, and hurried to the Jetta. When she came back, she had a brightly wrapped package in her hand. She and Max sat on a bench.

“I know we aren’t…together..or anything anymore, but….I already had this before you came back from LA, and…I still want you to have it. I was going to leave it at Michael’s but since you’re here…”

Max gazed at the gift in his hand before looking up at her. “Liz…” He didn’t know what to say.

“Just open it.”

Max tore open the paper and turned the book over. His eyes widened. It was a copy of “Of Mice and Men” signed by John Steinbeck. “Wow, Liz. This is unbelievable. Where did you find this?”

Liz was smiling at his reaction. “On Ebay. Can you believe it? You can find anything on there.”

“Liz, this is so….thank you.” Max was totally at a loss. It was so thoughtful and generous, so Liz. He looked down at the book in indecision. He actually had a gift for her too, but it wasn’t something he could give to her now. It was something he’d had made for them before their break up, and it was at Michael’s still in the box. He didn’t know if he should tell her or not, knowing that she probably wasn’t expecting anything in return.

“Max, what is it?” Liz saw the expression on his face, and for a moment she wondered if he was unhappy with her gift.

“I…uh actually had something for you too, but….I had it made before I left for LA so….” Max swallowed uncomfortably. Liz’s face had grown solemn as well.

“What was it?”

Max looked down at the book in his hand. “It was a charm. Well, two charms actually. It was two pieces of one heart. One said “Max” and one said “Liz”. Yours was the one with “Max” on it. I thought you could wear it on a bracelet or a necklace or something. I…was going to wear mine on a chain.”

Max glanced up and wished he hadn’t. The look on her face broke his heart and he silently cursed himself for telling her. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have told you.”

Liz swallowed her tears and answered. “No, I….it sounds beautiful.”

They sat there silently for a few moments, both contemplating their loss. Max was sorry he’d ruined the mood especially after she’d gone to so much trouble to give him such a special gift. “Look, Liz…”

“Don’t say anything, OK Max? It’s Christmas and we’re here, we’re friends and that’s what matters right now. That’s better than it could have turned out, you know.” Liz looked at him, hoping that he would let himself be lifted out of his sad mood. Liz didn’t want to be sad on Christmas.

“So I’m glad you like your gift.” She stood up and held her hand out to him. “Let’s skate some more, and I’ll let you buy me some hot chocolate afterwards.” Liz smiled at him.

Max contemplated the small, glove-covered hand being held out to him, and he finally nodded. Tucking the book in the pocket of his coat, he zipped it carefully so it would be protected. Taking the proffered hand, Max stood up.

As they got ready to enter the ice once again, Liz felt something cold and wet fall softly on her nose. She smiled in delight as thick snowflakes started drifting down, and turning to Max, she saw him staring up at the sky, his own lips curling as a snowflake landed on his cheek. They both looked up in unison as Maria yelled excitedly for them to come play, and as they stepped out onto the ice, Max turned his gaze to the angel holding his hand.

"Merry Christmas, Liz."

"Merry Christmas, Max."

TBC...

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-May-2002 12:31:49 AM ]
posted on 8-May-2002 6:46:09 PM by sylvia37
Hey everyone. I'm sorry this took so long. I was having trouble with my computer. Thanks so much for all the feedback and the bumps. You don't know how great that makes me feel.

Here's part 17. As usual, I can't wait to hear from you so please let me know what you think. You guys are great.


Everything to You Part 17

“So you’re saying that the only thing he could come up with is that the boot was standard issue military and the syringe cap was a typical one found at any medical supply company.” Max’s stomach knotted painfully.

“That’s about the size of it. There were no fingerprints on the cap, either. I’m sorry, son. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear,” Valenti said regretfully.

Max was glad he wasn’t actually facing Jim Valenti at the moment, so he wouldn’t have to hide his disappointment. He switched the phone to the other ear. “ No, but thanks for your help anyway.”

“Anything I can do. Oh, are you coming to the show with Michael tonight?”

“Yes.” Liz had made sure all of them were going to be there. Maria had been practicing for over a week.

“I’ll see you there, then.”

“OK.”

Max pressed the button on the phone and threw it down next to him on the couch as he laid his head back and covered his eyes with the heels of his hands.

Shit. What had he really expected? Of course, whoever used the syringe was wearing gloves. It was a long shot at best.

Max sighed. Another dead end. That’s all he’d run into lately. After he and Isabel failed to make contact, he’d racked his brain trying to come up with something else. It finally occurred to him one night that he had the means to look for information right under his nose.

Brody’s secret office. Although Max had never been allowed in there, he knew his boss had all kinds of detection equipment set up. Brody had spoken to him numerous times about his friends at MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network, and he’d confessed that he kept constant vigil for signs of alien activity. Being abducted made him very paranoid, with good reason.

For someone so paranoid, Brody’s computer password was unbelievably easy to figure out, however. It was Sydney. So Max spent several late nights, searching records, painstakingly going through everything he could find. He’d been excited when he found out that the morning the Granolith launched had been detected by several different people in the network, but try as he might, Max couldn’t find anything that told him who might have actually found the sight. Apparently none of the people Brody knew had been able to find the exact location of the disturbance, as they called it. And no one had a record of any government agency activity in the vicinity that night. How frustrating it was to actually have access to this information, and find nothing.

Max removed his hands from his eyes, and rubbed a rough hand over his chin. As much as he hated to admit it, it was looking more and more like he was going to have to give in and ask Liz for help. He didn’t want to, but now that Valenti called with his bad news, Max knew he’d hit a brick wall.

How was she going to react?

Since Christmas, things between them had been good. They were friends. They didn’t necessarily seek each other out, but Max had stopped deliberately avoiding her, so they saw each other regularly. It was hard not too when her best friend was seeing his roommate.

And for the first time in a long time, their time together was easy. No crisis, no pressure, no worrying about hurting each other… just friendship. It felt great. Max still loved her as much if not more than ever, and sometimes he found himself wanting to kiss her or just hold her sweet body against his, but he quickly pushed those feelings aside. Just being able to be around her was enough for right now, and he was grateful for the fact that he hadn’t totally managed to ruin their whole relationship, although he’d given it his best effort. Max had no illusions about the fact that their present friendship was all due to Liz’s forgiving nature. The only dark spot was the ski trip coming up. The thought of her going away for a weekend with Science Boy made him want to hit something, so he tried not to think about it.

Max hadn’t told her about his late night excursions through Brody’s office, not wanting to upset the precious balance they’d achieved. When she asked him about his progress, he answered her questions without lying, but also without details. Liz seemed to understand his reticence because she didn’t push.

And now he was going to ruin it.

Max looked at the clock. He only had an hour or so before he had to be at Cow Patty’s and he needed to decide if he was going to do this. On the one hand, his desperation to make progress on his search ate at him, telling him that he should at least tell her about the Karaoke night incident and see what her reaction was. Max stopped short on that thought. That was a cop out. He knew what her reaction was going to be, and deluding himself into thinking he was giving her a choice was both self centered and self serving.

No matter how frightened Liz was about the possibility of developing alien powers, knowing that she had helped him, however unintentionally, to contact his son, would make the decision for her. Liz would not deliberately keep something so important from happening, even to save herself from her own fears. He might be wrong about that, but Max didn’t think so. She’d proven over and over that she was willing to sacrifice her own happiness to help him.

So there was no other hand. He could either ask her for help, or not. Max felt guilt warring with need, gnawing a hole in the pit of his stomach. He didn’t want things to go back to the way they were. The thought that his request might bring that “look” back to her beautiful dark eyes, made him sick. It was that wounded look that he’d inflicted so many times before their breakup, every time he mentioned his son or asked for her help in finding him. The one he’d ignored in his driving quest to fix his mistake. Max would rather die than see that look again.

Getting up from the couch, he headed towards the shower, still not knowing what he was going to do. Maybe he wouldn’t decide tonight.

“Fucking coward,” he muttered to himself as he shed his clothes and turned on the spray. Sighing, he stepped inside and began to wash.



********************
“Am I only one who see’s the creepiness in this?” Kyle asked as he watched his father circled Maria on stage. They’d been at Cow Patty’s for about 30 minutes and the enthusiastic crowd was making it hard to be heard above the din.

“Get a grip. They sound amazing,” Liz answered as she looked back towards the entrance. “Where is everyone else?”

“There are so many other duets out there. Clean duets.” Kyle looked at Liz as she smiled in amusement. “Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt can keep their hands off each other.”

“Elton John and KiKi Dee.”

Liz choked on her drink and glanced at Kyle in disbelief. “Elton John likes boys.”

“Yeah well, did the Captain ever grind on Tenille?”

“What…who?” Liz said her brow wrinkling.

Up on stage, Kyle’s father continued to sing as he laid his head on Maria’s shoulder.

“Oh in the name of all that’s holy!” Kyle covered his eyes with the heels of his hands as Liz laughed at him.

“I gotta go wash my eyes.”

As Kyle left to go to the bathroom, Max walked up behind Liz and touched her arm lightly as he took a seat.

“Hey.”

“Hey. Where’ve you been?”

“Sorry. I was just running a little late.” Max looked up at Maria. “How’s she doing?”

“Great. She and Jim are really something together.” Liz grinned sweeping her hand towards the restrooms. “Kyle’s the one having the problem. I think it’s the whole, teenage girl rubbing up against his Dad, thing.”

Max grinned back. “He has a problem with that, huh? I think I can see why. How’s Michael handling it?” He gestured to the waitress who passed by and ordered a coke.

“Honestly, I don’t know. I saw him earlier, but now I can’t seem to find him,” she said looking around.

********************

“9 ball in the corner.” Michael leaned over the table to make his shot.

Kyle came through the pool room door and watched as Michael sank his ball.

“Hey man. Nice. Was it for real or did you do the old alien hocus pocus on it?”

“I don’t need powers to play pool.” Michael glanced around at the other players. “And will you shut the fuck up? Don’t you think we have enough trouble right now?”

“Sorry.” Kyle through up his hands in mock surrender. “So what are you doing back here. Oh wait. Let me guess. You got tired of watching an old man paw your girlfriend in front of a bunch of tobacco chewing cowboys.”

Michael glanced at him out of the corner of his eye as he leaned over for his next shot. When he didn’t say anything, Kyle nodded. “Yeah me too. It’s like since my Dad lost his job, he’s digressed about 35 years. Next thing I know, he’ll be hanging out with me and Paulie trolling for chicks.”

“Thanks for the mental image. Are you done, cause I’d like to finish this game in peace.”

“Ok well I’m just going to go back for some more torture. See ya.” Kyle shook his head as he left. He pushed his way through the crowd and saw Max sitting next to Liz at their table.

Liz looked up as he approached. “Kyle. Did you see Michael back there? I haven’t seen him in a while, and Maria’s going to be done with this set soon. I don’t want her to come down here and realize that he hasn’t been watching.”

“He’s back in the pool room drowning his sorrows. Or should I say sinking them.”

Max stood up. “I’ll go talk to him.”

“Hey, good luck man. Wear a helmet cause it’s pretty nasty back there.” Kyle sat down and picked up his drink. Glancing up at the stage he cringed as his Dad circled Maria’s gyrating figure. “You think they’d add some whiskey to this if I got Max to change my driver’s license?” He asked Liz who just shook her head and smiled sympathetically.

********************

Max approached the pool room in time to see Michael high five a couple of guys. “Set them up again.” He turned to Max. “Hey Maxwell. Want to help me beat these suckers? I’m on a streak.”

“No. You know Maria’s almost done. You might want to come back out there before she’s finished.” Shoving his hands in his pockets he watched as Michael rubbed chalk on his cue.

“Just tell her where to find me, would ya? I’m making money here.” Michael avoided Max’s gaze as he picked up his drink.

“Michael.”

Michael finally looked at him. “What? She doesn’t need me out there, Maxwell.” He gestured towards the stage. “She’s got all those other guys to make her feel good, and Valenti’s practically drooling on her, so…”

“Michael, you know that’s all an act. She’s playing to the crowd.” Max looked at his friend’s passive face, sighing at the vulnerability he was trying to hide.

“You know how important this was to her, Michael. If she thinks that you don’t care, she’d going to be hurt and upset. Is that how you want this evening to end for her?”

Michael stared at him for a moment before, turning to put his stick back on the wall. “Sorry guys, I gotta go.”

The two guys waved him off and he turned to follow Max back to their table. As they walked, Max told him about Valenti’s phone call.

“That’s great,” Michael said. “We’re back to square one. Shit.”

“Let’s talk about this later.” Max said as they approached their table, and Michael nodded.

As the two aliens sat down, Liz looked at Max who reached for his drink. “Hey. How’d you get him to come back?” she asked as she watched him get comfortable, removing his jacket.

Max glanced at her. “I just pointed out how upset Maria was going to be if she thought he didn’t care about how important this is to her.”

Liz smiled and leaned over to bump him with her elbow. “That’s so sweet.”

Max looked down at his drink, his cheeks darkening slightly and Liz smiled again at his “Max” look. God she’d missed that look. Making a decision, she stood up and held out her hand.

“Dance with me.”

Max looked up at her in surprise. “Uh…I don’t know how to dance to this.”

“Come on. It’s just the two-step. I’ll show you.” Liz grabbed his hand and pulled from his chair.

They entered the dance floor and Liz took his left hand, putting it around her waist. Taking his right hand in her own, she showed Max the simple rhythm and they both watched their feet for a few minutes before finally relaxing into it.

Liz looked up at him. “You’re good at this.”

“Yeah, well as long as it doesn’t involve blades and ice, I can hold my own.”

They danced in silence for a few minutes and Liz noticed that Max seemed to be preoccupied. He wasn’t ignoring her exactly, just seemed lost in his thoughts a little.

“Hey, are you ok? You seem distracted.”

Max’s eyes widened before he looked down at her apologetically. “Sorry. I’m just…I have something on my mind.” He swallowed uncomfortably.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Max shook his head slightly. “Valenti called earlier about the evidence you found at the cave. He said the boot print showed it was standard military issue and there were no fingerprints on the syringe cap. Nothing that helped.”

Liz stopped dancing and looked up at him. “Max. Why didn’t you say anything?” Another couple bumped into them, and they headed back to their table in mutual decision.

As they sat, Liz leaned over close so they could talk more quietly and still be heard above the noise. “Why didn’t you say anything?” she asked again.

Max avoided the concerned eyes staring back at him. The caring expression in them made him want to confess everything, but he wasn’t quite ready.

“I just found out about it a little while before we were supposed to be here.”

“Did you tell Michael?”

“Yeah, just now on our way over here. He’s not too happy.” Max glanced at his friend, who was busy brooding as he stared at his girlfriend.

Liz frowned as she thought for a moment. “You know Max. I was thinking about this before. Have you thought about trying to use Brody’s equipment? I mean, he might have….” She stopped as he shook his head.

“Been there. Done that.” Max told her all of the things he’d found over the last few weeks.

When he was finished, Liz looked at him in surprise. Here she was thinking that things had been quiet and normal for a while, but in reality, Max had continued his search on his own, all the while keeping up with school and work, dealing with his struggle completely by himself. She’d suspected that there was more going on than she knew because of the way Max had answered her whenever she’d questioned him about things, but Liz had respected his right not to tell her. Now she realized Max wasn’t asking anyone for help, not just her.

“Max, why didn’t you ask us for help? Maybe one of us might have… you know, found something you missed.”

Max avoided her piercing gaze. “This is my mess, Liz and I should be the one to clean it up. You’ve already done more than your share. More than I had any right to expect.” This was the heart of his argument with himself.

Liz frowned at his comment. It was true that she had felt that way once upon a time before their break up, but they’d both changed since then, and she didn’t want him to feel like he couldn’t ask for help. She was about to say as much when Maria came bounding off the stage towards them.

“Was that a blast or what? We were great. Weren’t we great?”

Liz immediately got up to hug her friend. “You were great.” Liz turned to the guys and looked at them sternly. “She was great, wasn’t she guys?”

Kyle spoke up reluctantly. “Oh yeah. Great. Really.” Under his breath he mumbled, “If I like seeing my Dad fondling girls younger than me in public.”

Liz frowned at him as Max quickly interjected his own positive opinion, then glanced at Michael pointedly. Michael, who’d been sitting in his chair with his arms crossed, frowning, sighed and got up. Walking up to his girlfriend, he leaned down and gave her a small kiss. “It was good.”

“Good! All you can say is good? I should know better than to ask your opinion.” She grabbed Liz and they sat together at the table as Maria continued to enthuse. Michael stared after her for a moment before turning to Max and steering him away to a quieter spot.

“Thanks for the advice Maxwell. I should have kept playing pool.” Michael crossed his arms over his chest.

“Now what are we going to do about this Tess situation. The pod chamber was a bust, so what next. Do you have any other ideas?”

Max’ brow wrinkled in indecision before he finally sighed. “There’s something I haven’t told you because it involves Liz and I was trying to keep her out of this as much as possible, but now….”

“What is it?”

Max proceeded to tell him about the vision and subsequent contact with his son.

“So you mean to tell me that you’ve been sitting on this for weeks and haven’t done anything about it? What the hell is wrong with you? I thought you wanted to find your son. Isn’t that all I’ve heard for the last fucking year?”

“Keep your voice down, Michael.” Max glared at him as he looked around at the people milling about. “Yes I want to find him, and I haven’t just been sitting on my hands. But you know what happened between us and I was just trying to exhaust all the options before going to her. Besides, it’s my problem…”

“It is not just your problem, Maxwell,” Michael said leaning forward to emphasize his words. “The minute we figured out that Tess could have been caught, it became everyone’s problem. This isn’t just about you and your stupid lack of discretion anymore. It’s about all of us, and you need to stop dicking around and get Liz to help you.”

Max stared at his second in command’s angry face, before looking down. Michael was right. This wasn’t just about him, and he needed to quit being indecisive. It was time to step up to the plate and take control of this situation.

“You’re right. I’ll ask her tonight.”

Michael tried to hide his surprise at Max’s admission, but he couldn’t quite keep his expression from showing it. “I think people in hell might need a coat tonight.”

Max’s lip curled in acknowledgement of his statement and as they turned and started back towards their table.

“Do you want us all to be there?” Michael asked.

“No, I’ll do it myself. She might feel like we’re ganging up on her if we all show up together.”

“Besides,” Max continued, smirking. “You’re going to be too busy kissing up to Maria or the people in hell aren’t the only one’s who’ll need a coat tonight.” He ducked out of the way as Michael took a swipe at him as they reached the table.

“And he says that I can sing with them anytime I want. Isn’t that fantastic?” Maria was still talking as Michael and Max sat down.

“Oh great,” Kyle said in disgusted disbelief. “Are you telling me this is going to be a weekly occurrence? I see years of therapy in my future.”

Maria slapped him on the arm. “Get over it, Kyle. You’re Dad and I have chemistry and you’re just going to have to get used to it.”

Maria missed the look on Michael’s face as she said this but Max didn’t and he lifted his glass to hide his smile. Liz was smiling as well and they shared an amused glance. Max took a deep breath and leaned over.

“Liz. Can I come over to your house later. There’s something I need to ask you, but I don’t want to do it here.”

Liz looked at him in mild surprise. “Sure, Max. Um, my parents are home, but you can come up, you know…the other way.”

“OK.” He leaned back in his chair and took another drink, avoiding her inquiring gaze.

A nervous flutter, half anticipation, half dread, was started making Max’s stomach churn, and he just hoped that his decision to do this didn’t backfire on him. The thought that she might be so afraid of her new abilities, that she might not want to do it, was bad enough. But his main concern was the thought of losing their new found friendship. And of course, the fact that it might not work. All of these worries raced around in his brain as Max sat back and practiced patience. It was going to be a long night.


TBC....
posted on 16-May-2002 12:13:16 AM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Sorry this took so long. Thanks to everyone who left feedback and a special thanks to Mareli for bumping.
This part is a little short, but I wanted to get it out. Please let me know what you think. I want to hear from you. Thanks again.

Everything to You Part 18

Max pulled up at Michael’s apartment and turned off the engine. He and Liz got out of the car and Max opened the door to the house, stepping aside to let her precede him. After Max had asked her if he could come over to her house, he’d thought the better of it. They needed someplace more private than her bedroom where her parents could interrupt any minute, and the balcony was out because it was too cold outside to be holding a conversation. After the OK from Michael, he’d asked Liz if she could call her parents and tell them she was going to spend the night with Maria so they could have some privacy.

“Why do we need privacy? What is this about, Max?

“I’ll explain when we get there. Please….”

In the end, she’d said yes, and now the moment of truth was almost upon them. Max took off his jacket and turned to find her perched on the couch looking at him expectantly. Max gestured nervously towards the refrigerator. “Uh, do you want a drink? We’ve got Snapple and…….Snapple.”

Liz grinned at him and shook her head. “What is it you wanted to ask me, Max?”

Max rubbed his hands together and wiped them against his pants before sitting on the coffee table in front of her. He was practically trembling with nervous anticipation, but he had to do this.

“The reason I asked you here is because I need to tell you about something that happened, and to ask for your help.” Max looked into her curious gaze for a moment before continuing. “Before I do that though, I want to tell you that I totally understand if you don’t want to do it, and since I really don’t have a right to ask you to anything in the first place, if you decide not to, I wont blame you.”

Liz nodded her head carefully. “OK. Go ahead. Ask me.” Her stomach was starting to flutter nervously. What was this about, and why was he so serious?

“OK.” Max took a deep breath and steeled himself to start. “You remember the night I had the vision at the Crash Down? Karaoke night?” At Liz’s nod, he continued. “Do you also remember that you told me you thought something weird happened when you touched me? That you had a flash?”

Liz nodded again hesitantly.

Max continued. “I told you before that normally when I get the visions that it’s just feelings and impressions, no actual contact or anything like that. Well, that night…when you touched me…..I….heard my son’s voice.”

Liz’s eyes widened, and her heart started to pound a little faster. Max got up from the coffee table and rounded the end, turning to look into her surprised gaze.

“His…his voice? You mean because I….”

“Yes. Because you touched me during the vision, I was able to actually contact him for a moment.” Max looked down. “When you took your hand away, he was gone.”

Liz swallowed, her eyes still looking like she’d seen a ghost. “So you think that I helped you….but how?” she asked, pretty sure of the answer, but not wanting to believe it.

Max sat down again, looking at her gently. “I think you know how.”

Liz finally broke his gaze. “Because….because you changed me. Just like I was able to contact you in New York.”

“Yes.”

Liz got up from the couch moving away from him. Max watched her, trying to be as patient and calm as possible, but inside he was ready to explode from tension.

“Why did you wait so long to tell me?”

“Because I know that the thought of having powers frightens you. Because I was trying to exhaust all my other options before I came to you.” Max stared down at his hands. “ And because I have no right to ask or expect you to help me after everything I’ve put you through.”

The silence after his statement stretched out until Liz finally lifted her gaze to his. Her dark eyes held a sheen of tears and her voice tremble vulnerably. “What do you want me to do?”

Max rose from his seat, his heart breaking at the sight of her fear. He didn’t blame her for that. After watching the chaos and danger of his and his sibling’s lives over the last three years, why would she want to be one of them? “Nothing that you don’t want too.”

“You said I helped you. How…”

“I don’t know exactly. I just know that the second you touched me, everything became more…clear and I heard his voice.” Liz caught the softening of his features.

“What did he say?”

Max swallowed, looking down for a moment before raising his eyes to her. His voice was soft as he answered her. “He said Daddy.”

The tears escaped to run down her cheeks as Liz closed her eyes.

“What do we have to do?”

******************


“Are you ever going to speak to me again?” Michael looked at his girlfriend as they sat on her Mother’s couch. They’d gone to Maria’s house to give Max and Liz some privacy for their discussion, and the atmosphere had been distinctly chilly on the car ride home.

“Yes,” Maria said as she flipped through a magazine, not looking at him. “I’m speaking to you right now, aren’t I?”

“What the hell do you want me to say?”

Maria dropped the magazine and faced him. “Nothing, Michael. I don’t want you to say anything.”

He looked at her in exasperation. “I told you it was good.”

Maria jumped up from the couch and turned to face him. “The words came out of your mouth, Michael, but the eyes told a different story.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Michael rose from his seat.

“You know what? Fine. If you don’t want to admit that you’re jealous…” Maria turned away in a dismissive gesture.

“Jealous? What do I have to be jealous of? Just because you let Valenti practically grope you in front of….”
“Grope me?” Maria cut him off in outrage. “He was acting, Michael. WE were acting. You know? As in part of a show,” she said with exaggerated emphasis as though speaking to a child. “And he didn’t grope me. He just rubbed up against me a little, and it wasn’t the least bit creepy. You and Kyle are insane. Kyle, I can sort of understand because he’s having to adjust to his Dad’s new career, but you? You’re just being insulting.”

“Well excuse me if I don’t enjoy seeing my girlfriend being pawed in public when I’m not doing the pawing.”

“You know, Michael. You are this close to a severe head injury.” Maria held out her hand, her thumb and forefinger almost touching.

“Yeah, well maybe it would get this picture out of my head.”

“So you admit it?”

“Admit what?”

Maria rolled her eyes. “That you’re jealous.”

“I’m not jealous,” Michael yelled slamming into the bedroom. The room reverberated with the sound.

Maria sighed and sat down on the couch, picking up the discarded magazine. Two minutes later, the door to the bedroom slammed back open.

“Ok, so I’m jealous.”

Maria rose from the couch and came to stand in front of him. “That’s all you had to say.”

She leaned up and kissed him, taking her time to do it thoroughly, as Michael stood there in shock. Maria pulled away to run her lips over his jaw and over to his ear. Meanwhile her hands were unbuttoning his shirt, caressing his chest. Michael began to pant, his eyes closed as her lips did wicked things to his ear.

“You know you have nothing to be jealous of,” Maria whispered as her hands ran over him under the now open shirt.

“So...” he croaked. Michael cleared his throat and tried again. “So…you’re going to stop letting Valenti touch you?” His own hands were moving restlessly against her back, the feel of her skin almost as arousing as what her lips were doing.

“No,” Maria said as her lips descended. Her hands reached for his belt.

“OK.” Michael groaned out as he picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.


********************

Max took Liz gently by the shoulders, his expression telling her that he knew what this was costing her.

“Are you sure?”

Liz wiped at the tears on her cheeks and nodded. “Do we need to be touching or something?”

Max looked at her in surprise. “You want to do it right now?”

“Don’t you?”
Max smiled a little. “Well…yes. But I was actually going to give you some time to get used to the idea first.”

“I…we don’t have to wait, Max.” Liz swallowed and sat down on the couch. “I don’t think waiting is going to make me less nervous, you know? Let’s just do it now.”

Max sat down next to her on the couch, his heart increasing with his own nervousness. “OK.” Turning to face her, he took her cold hands in his, unconsciously massaging to warm them up.

“Just get comfortable, and when you’re ready, we’ll start.”

Liz took her shoes off and turned to him on the couch, pulling her legs up to cross them in front of her. Max did the same, resting his forearms on his thighs as he looked into her apprehensive eyes. Max reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear, and Liz dropped her gaze for a moment as the familiar gesture brought tears to her eyes. She swallowed them back and tried to compose herself before finally raising her eyes to find him watching her with patient understanding.

Liz took a deep breath. “Ok, I’m ready. What do I need to do?”

“Just look into my eyes and concentrate, I’ll do the rest.”

Liz nodded and stared into his eyes, concentrating on him. Max stared back and a few moments later, Liz felt the room fade away as she was pulled into Max’s mind.


TBC...

posted on 22-May-2002 7:42:24 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. I'm sorry to say that I haven't got the next part ready. My husband has finally come home for good from Saudi Arabia and I have not been spending much time on the computer. I hope I can get the part finished soon, but I don't know how long it will be.

I hope you'll stick with me and not forget about this story because I love writing it and hearing from all of you. Thanks for reading.

Sylvia
posted on 25-May-2002 11:01:19 PM by sylvia37
Well, it's a little short but I wanted to post this part since I finished some of it. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you like it. Please, please let me know what you think, I love your opinions. It's why I keep going so please talk to me.

Welcome to my new fans ItalianGirl966, and 2crzyforRoswell. Thanks for reading. I'm glad you decided to tell me what you think. I love hearing from all of you.


Everything to You Part 19


This was weird. Liz was completely surrounded by Max. His thoughts, his feelings, his very essence. It was familiar, and yet new at the same time. The flashes she was getting were vague and disjointed and she realized that the reason for that was that he wasn’t concentrating on her. He was reaching inside himself for the connection to his son. Liz could feel that too. She could feel everything.

Max was surrounded by Liz as well. He could feel how afraid she was, but also her determination to help him. He could also feel her love for him. He wanted to concentrate on that for a moment, but he didn’t because he didn’t know how long this would last and he didn’t want Liz to tire out.

Reaching out with his mind, Max felt the difference in his powers immediately. The connection was so much stronger with Liz than with Isabel. He didn’t have time to dwell on this as he felt his consciousness being tugged forward. It was different than when his son contacted him in that he felt in control of it.
Max forged ahead reaching towards that link, straining. Suddenly, he felt a push that he immediately realized came from Liz and he sent her a wave of gratitude that he hoped she could feel. To his surprise, he heard her faint “Your welcome” in his head.

With the push from Liz, Max was able to find what he was looking for. Never having done this before, he didn’t quite know how to proceed, but he went on instinct, mentally knocking on the door to his son’s consciousness. As awareness slowly began to fade in, he realized that the child must be asleep. He tentatively tried to make contact.

“Son?”

Max felt a ripple of excitement from Liz and mentally smiled at her encouragement. He pushed a little harder, not wishing to frighten the child. Max knew first hand what it was like to be sucked into this void unawares and he hoped that that wasn’t what his son was experiencing.

“Son, it’s Daddy.” How strange that sounded to his ears.

Suddenly they both felt it. A third person had joined their mental link and feelings of surprise and fear were suddenly very strong. Max immediately sent out soothing vibes and tried to let his familiar presence be known. The fear lessened, but the surprise didn’t.

“Daddy?”

Max wanted to cry with relief. He’d found him. He could feel Liz’s excitement and curiosity as well as her apprehension.

“Yes, it’s me.”

"You found me. I've been trying to reach you for a really long time."

"I know." Max said somewhat guiltily. He stopped for a moment to examine the emotions surrounding him from his son.

Compared to Liz’s complicated mentality, his son’s was fairly simple. He was afraid, he was curious, he was relieved….and he was thinking about his mother. Curiously, they weren’t receiving any flashes from him, but Max didn’t take the time to dwell on it.

“You don’t have to be afraid. I’ve just been trying to contact you since you contacted me. Were you doing that by yourself?”

“No. Mommy was helping me.” Max felt a little lessening of the fear, but the curiosity increase. “Who’s that?” the little voice continued.

Max felt Liz’s surprise and apprehension increase. He tried to be calm as he answered.

“That’s my friend Liz. She’s the one who helped me find you.”

“Liz?” The fear spiked. “Mommy doesn’t like Liz.”

The swirl of emotion that accompanied that statement from all three of them, caused the link to become hazy for a moment, and Max fought to keep it as he tamped down on his own anger and his feelings of hatred for Tess. Of course his son would know about Liz from Tess. If he was linked to his mother, he would know all of her feelings.

Liz’s was struggling. Confirmation that Tess was alive and the emotions caused by the child’s statement almost made her pull back from the link, but she hung on, trying not to let her feelings about Tess take over. She could feel Max doing the same thing and it helped her remain calm. There would be time later to examine all of the things she was learning from being linked to Max and the emotions it was causing, but now was not the time. She definitely had some things to discuss with him, but right now, she needed to concentrate on helping Max stay connected to his son.

"Liz is my friend," Max said again. "And I promise she won't hurt you. She just wants to help us be together." Max didn't know if he was saying the right things, since he didn't have any experience in dealing with small children. All he could do was respond to the emotions he was getting from his son and hope for the best.

Max felt the fear lessen again. "OK."

"OK." Max hesitated for a moment trying to get his thoughts together. He realized that he didn't even know his son's name.

"It's Zan," the childish voice said solemnly.

Max was startled for a moment until he felt Liz's amusement and realized that they could both hear everything his was thinking.

"Your Mommy named you Zan?" Max asked.

"She said it was your name at the other place. The other place you used to live with her before you died," he clarified, and Max was amazed at how smart and articulate Zan was. He could feel Liz's own curiosity about it and her thoughts as she wondered if it had to do with his being an alien or if it was just a naturally occuring trait.

"Do you know where you are, Zan?" Max asked, finally getting down to the business of getting information. He didn't know how long this was going to last and he suddenly felt like he'd wasted precious time with inconsequential details.

"In a big room with a bed." Max mentally smiled at the childish logic.

"No. I mean, where is the room? Do you know what state you're in? Or what city? Did Mommy tell you?"

“I don’t think she knows where we are. She was hurt pretty bad when they brought her here. I was still in her tummy,” Zan explained.

Apprehension and disappointment swirled through the link from Max. “She was hurt? Were you OK?” he asked hesitantly. He could feel Liz’s concern as well.

“I’m OK most of the time. Sometimes….sometimes I get real tired and I have trouble brea…breaving, but…but then the bad men put this thing over my face. It helps.”

Max’s apprehension increased. Bad men? And he had trouble breathing? Max hadn’t asked Zan about all the times he’d felt his pain, but now he wondered if it was Tess’s or Zan’s he’d been feeling. He was afraid to ask.

“It’s OK, Daddy. You don’t have to be afraid,” the small voice said, hearing his father’s thoughts. “Sometimes….sometimes the bad men do things to me and Mommy, but mostly to Mommy. That’s when I get real afraid because…because I’m not sure she’s coming back.” Tears could be heard in Zan’s voice now, and Max stomach twisted at the words, his own experiences with “bad men”, having scarred him for life. Liz’s sympathy and concern were palpable and Max took comfort from it gratefully.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been there to help, but now that I can contact you, we are going to try and find a way to get you out of there,” Max said firmly.

“Me and Mommy?” Zan asked fearfully, his thoughts coming across clearly, directed mostly at Liz.

Max didn’t hesitate, even though he could care less whether Tess made it out alive from that place. “Yes, you and Mommy.” Liz’s thoughts were carefully neutral and he sent another wave of gratitude in her direction.

“I’m getting really sleepy, Daddy. I’m sorry,” Zan said tearfully, upset that he wasn’t going to be able to hold on to the link much longer.

Max panicked for a moment, not wanting the contact to his son to end when he hadn’t really been able to glean anything useful to help them find him, but he could feel Zan’s fatigue and he knew he couldn’t make him stay.

“It’s OK. We’ll talk again. Don’t tell anyone but Mommy that we talked.” Max thought a minute. “Try to find out from Mommy, whatever she thinks can help us find you, OK? Tell her that we’ll try to contact you again, this time in five days.” Max mentally asked Liz if that was OK with her, and received affirmation. Her thoughts clearly stated that she was excited and happy for him, and she was more than willing to do this again. He couldn’t help the swelling of love for her that momentarily came across the link and he felt her mixed emotions over it. Surprise, joy, fear, …and sadness.

“OK, Daddy,” the voice said sleepily. “I’m glad you found us. I don’t like this place. I really want to come home.”

The sleepy words stabbed Max in the heart, and for a moment, the swell of emotion stopped him from responding. He felt Liz’s sadness for him and for Zan as well.

“I’ll bring you home, Zan. I promise,” he said with as much conviction as he could.

“OK. Bye Daddy.” The voice hesitated. “Bye Liz.”

Max felt Liz’s surprise at the words, but she recovered quickly. “Bye Zan. We’ll talk to you again soon,” her soft voice permeated the connection for the first time, and she felt Zan’s faint acknowledgement of her words right before the link with him was severed.

Max reluctantly let go of the link with Zan and then slowly released the link to Liz. He opened his eyes and found that he was leaning all the way forward with his forehead against hers. Liz’s eyes fluttered open a moment later and she seemed disoriented for a moment, then startled to find herself gripping Max’s hands tightly in her lap, forehead resting against his.

Max pulled away and brought his hands up to her face, smoothing her hair away from her cheeks. "Are you OK?"

Liz nodded and searched the amber eyes for a moment.

"Max, Why didn't you tell me?"




posted on 31-May-2002 8:34:35 PM by sylvia37
Well you guys, I didn't make it. I was trying really hard to get the next part out today because my husband and I are taking our son to Disney and we'll be gone for several days, but I just didn't have time to do it justice. I'm sorry. The other bad news is that because I didn't get it done, it will probably be at least after the end of next week before I get it out. I hope not, but I can't be sure.

Please don't forget about me. I promise I'll be back.
In the mean time, thanks again for all the comments. I love that you're interested in what happens next and I appreciate all of you.

A note to Nickygirl13:

This is primarily a Max and Liz fic so there isn't much M and M and practically no I and J. Sorry. Hope that's not too disappointing.

See you guys soon. Thanks.
posted on 9-Jun-2002 7:40:23 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Just wanted to say that I'm back from my trip and we had a great time, but boy did we spend a lot of money. Disney is not a cheap place to eat.
Anyway, thanks for all the bumps. You guys are great. I'm going to try to get this last part done before the end of the week. I know that isn't very encouraging, but I don't have as much time to write as I used to.
Don't forget about me and I'll be back with the next part as soon as I can. Thanks.

Sylvia
posted on 13-Jun-2002 10:12:40 PM by sylvia37
Well finally, I'm back. Sorry it took me so long to finish this part, but it was really hard. I'm not sure why I had such a hard time with it, but I finally managed to finish.

Please let me know what you think because I really need to know. Have I told you that I live for your comments? I know I told you that. Anyway, thanks to all who bumped me and I'm waiting to hear from you.


Everything to You Part 20

Max dropped his hands away from Liz’s face and stood up, stretching his cramped shoulders as he walked away from her. He was overwhelmed with so many emotions, he didn’t know where to begin. He’d found his son. Actually had contact with him. After so many months of uncertainty and fear, he’d finally made some progress. Tears came to his eyes as the reality of what they’d just done hit him.

Liz stretched her own tight muscles than looked over at Max to repeat her question, but she stopped when she saw him standing with his hands over his face. As she got up to approach him, Liz hesitated before finally reaching out to touch him.

“Max?”

He lifted his face to hers, and Liz immediately pulled him into her arms. A small sob escaped his throat and Max clutched her tightly, his tears of relief wetting her shoulder.

Liz felt her own tears gathering as she held him close. Through the connection, she’d seen the layers of guilt and responsibility he’d been living with that would have been overwhelming for any normal person. Liz had had no idea the amount of baggage he’d been carrying around.

The unbelievable amount of guilt over his actions to her, with Tess, and about his son, would have broken a lesser person. But top that with the fear that he wouldn’t be able to save little Zan, the fear of the newly awakened alien inside him, the fear that his parents were going to find out his secret…and the devastation of losing her…. Liz was surprised he was able to function.

How had he managed to go on like this?

His psyche was a simmering cesspool of repressed emotions, and she couldn’t believe that he’d been dealing with all of this on his own. The worst was the shame he felt over his actions, both about Tess and to her. She actually felt his reaction to the love she couldn’t hide from him during their connection, and it broke her heart.

Max wanted that love so desperately, but he felt completely unworthy of it. He was convinced that he would never deserve to be loved again, by her or any of them for that matter. His parents and sibling’s feelings for him were mixed in with the confusing mass of emotions seething though him, and Liz wanted desperately to tell Max how wrong he was about it all. How his parents and Isabel and Michael would never stop loving him just because he’d made the wrong choices, no matter how devastating the consequences were.

But the main thing Liz wanted to talk with him about was this secret he’d been harboring. The guilt and shame were for something that wasn’t his fault, and he’d allowed it to fester into this huge weight that was crushing the life out of him, and this vital piece of information that he hadn’t told anyone, especially her…. could have changed everything. Liz was determined to know why.

Max pulled away after a few moments, embarrassed that he’d lost control of emotions. “I’m sorry. I ….it was just….”

Liz shook her head as she watched him try and regain his composure. “It’s ok. I’m just glad, you know…that I was able to help. He was amazing, Max.”

Max looked at her and a small smile lit up his face for just a moment. “He was, wasn’t he?”

Liz nodded her, expression serious as she gazed at him. “Why didn’t you tell me about Tess, Max?” she asked.

Max looked at her before turning away with a sigh. He’d known this was coming. Although it didn’t occur to him before they’d connected that Liz would be able to see what he’d kept from her, he realized it almost immediately once she was inside his head. Reaching his son was more important than hiding his state of mind, however, so Max had resigned himself to the inquisition he knew was coming. Still, he hesitated in answering as he absently reached out a finger to trace the cracked linoleum of the counter.

“Because I know how much talking about her hurts you,” he finally said without looking at her. “And it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s done and I have to deal with it.”

Liz stepped closer, shaking her head in disbelief. “What do you mean it doesn’t matter? You don’t think it matters that she mind-warped you into sleeping with her? That she forced you to create a child with her? You don’t think that might be something that the rest of us should know?” she said, her voice rising with her anger.

Max turned back to face her. “Liz…”

“No, Max,” she said stepping forward again. “I want to know why you didn’t tell me that she was mind warping you? Why did you give me that bullshit story about how she was like you and you had to see what it was like? You don’t think that hurt me?”

Max looked away guiltily. “I hadn’t realized what she’d done when I told you that. I didn’t realize it until after we broke up. I suspected it but….It’s like I woke up or something when you left me.”

Liz stared at him with angry tears shimmering in her eyes. “But why would you say something like that to me if it wasn’t true?” she asked in a hoarse voice.

“I don’t know.” Max said, looking at her helplessly. “I think I was still under the influence of her mind warp. There were…are…some gaps…in my memory.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that there are some things I can’t remember from the time before and..and right after Tess left. And some things that I…didn’t remember until later.”

“What things?” Liz had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. This was worse than she’d originally thought.

Max sat on the couch and stared at his clasped hands. “Things like…like…” He stopped as he glanced at her reluctantly.

“We argued, right? About Alex? I keep seeing us…in my head….and Tess is there. You have this really hurt expression on your face, and …and…I’m …angry at you. Did that actually happen?”

Liz nodded, unable to speak around the lump in her throat.

Max closed his eyes, only opening them as he faced the floor again. “There are other things.”

“Oth…” Liz cleared her throat as her voice came out as a croak. “Other things?”

Max nodded as he continued to stare at the floor. “I can’t….I can’t remember….being with Tess.”

Liz gazed at him in astonishment. “You mean you don’t remember sleeping with her?”

Max shook his head. “I remember us arguing about Sweden, and I remember going to the observatory, and feeling really angry….and…and lost….” He swallowed painfully as his brow creased with concentration. “Tess showed up…and….” Max closed his eyes in resignation as the memory he’d tried to bring back so many times just wouldn’t come. “The next thing I remember is waking up on the floor with her.”

“If..if you don’t remember, than how do you know….” Liz asked in a painful whisper, her mind reeling from this revelation.

Max glanced at her again before resuming his contemplation of the floor. “I just know.” He didn’t elaborate, but Liz quickly caught on to the fact that there must have been signs of their coupling that he didn’t want to share with her.

“Oh my God….Max….” Liz stepped toward him on the couch, but he got up and moved away from her.

“I…I…Let’s not talk about this anymore, OK? It doesn’t matter how it happened. All that matters is getting my son out of where ever he is as soon as possible.”

Liz gazed at him as he crossed the room away from her, and she could tell from his defensive posture that he was closing off to her, but she couldn’t let it go. This burden he’d been carrying around was too much for one person to bear. He needed to know that he didn’t have to do it by himself any longer, that his friends and his family would help him shoulder it if he would just let them in.

“Max, I agree that Zan is the first priority, and I’ll do everything I can to help you find him, but…it does matter what happened to you. She used you, Max. She…she r….”

“No!” Max shook his head as he cut off her painful sentence, his body trembling. God, why was she doing this to him? He’d managed for quite a while to suppress the things she was forcing him to acknowledge. Maybe she’d finally decided to give him the punishment he deserved for hurting her. “No, that’s…that’s not how it happened. I …I let her…”

“You let her what?”

“I should have been stronger. I should have realized what she was doing.”

“How, Max? How could you realize? We all know how strong she was. You already knew that she could make you see things that weren’t really happening. And now we know that she was mind- warping Alex for months. How were you supposed to fight her when you didn’t even know she what she was capable of?”

“I don’t know, OK? I just should have known. I’m the king,” he spat out bitterly. “I’m the one who’s supposed to be the strong one. I’m the one everyone turns to for answers and decisions.”

And that was really the crux of the problem. Not just what had happened, but that he hadn’t been able to control it. Liz watched as he wrapped his arms protectively around himself, as though warding off the pain she was forcing him to face. Oh God, she hated this. Liz hated hurting him this way, but she had to make him see that it wasn’t his fault. That Tess had manipulated him.

Liz knew how important being in control was to him. She’d learned that a long time ago when he broke off their budding relationship after Michael got sick. She still remembered him coming to her later after arguing with Isabel about telling his mother the truth, and how mad he’d been when she pointed out how controlling he was. Liz had tried to make him see then that he needed to allow the people around him to help shoulder his responsibilities, but obviously that hadn’t happened. And Michael and Isabel were so used to his ways that even though they argued almost every decision he made, they still allowed him to take the responsibility for making them. Now, in his mind, he’d failed in that control, therefore he was to blame.

Liz approached him slowly, not wanting to upset him further, but still determined to make him see the truth.

“Max, it wasn’t your fault. You have to stop blaming yourself for everything that happened.”

Max turned to face her, an agonized expression on his face. “How can you say that? I let her come into our lives. I allowed her to stay even after we knew she was lying to us. I asked the Valenti’s to take her in. And look what happened? She killed Alex…she used Kyle….”

“And she made you do things you would never do, Max. Not if you were yourself,” Liz said quietly, but Max shook his head and turned away from her.

Liz’s lost her patience at his refusal to see reason. “Damn it, Max! Why can’t you accept that? Why are you taking all of the blame for this? Why aren’t you mad at Tess? Don’t you realize what she did? She violated you!”

“I know that, OK?” Max cried out, turning back to face her, his expression tormented. “I know what she did! She took something that I’ll never get back and she used me to hurt you and everyone I love. I wanted to kill her but I didn’t because of Zan. I let her go because of him and now he’s being hurt because of my decision. It’s my fault!”

Tears slid down her cheeks as Liz answered him. “You didn’t know what would happen, Max. You had to make a split second decision and it was the wrong one, but you had no way of knowing that.”

Liz watched as Max sat down on the couch, resting his elbows on his knees as he covered his eyes with his hands. She sat down beside him and spoke tentatively.

“Look Max, I know you feel responsible for all the bad things that happened last year, and I’m not saying you’re completely blameless. But what she did to you is beyond…..she’s evil, Max. And you need to realize that you don’t have to take all the blame on yourself.”

“Michael and Isabel and I are guilty too, Max. I mean, we should have realized that you weren’t acting like yourself, but we were so wrapped up in our own problems, we just ignored it. I knew something was wrong that day we argued at Kyle’s house, but by then, it was too late…and I was too hurt to do anything about it. I know you wouldn’t have said those things you said if you were yourself.”

Liz could see that he was absorbing her words even though he still wouldn’t look at her, and she hoped that they had gotten through to him. She wasn’t fooling herself that he would instantly get better just because she told him it wasn’t his fault, but Liz hoped that this was the first step towards healing the wounds Tess had inflicted on him.

In spite of poor little Zan, Liz hoped that bitch would burn in hell for the pain she’d put them all through. The thought that they might actually have to risk their lives to save her made Liz want to gag. But they couldn’t do that to Zan. He obviously loved his mother, and they couldn’t just let her rot in whatever place they were, even though she deserved that and more. She’d scarred them all, but the thought of what she’d done to Max….Liz knew she was going to have a hard time hiding her feelings the next time they connected with Zan.

Max finally removed his hands from his eyes and clasped them between his legs. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I said those things. I’ve done so many things to hurt you over the last few months and you’re still here. I don’t deserve….”

Liz lifted his down-turned face to hers. “Stop it, OK. I’m here because it’s where I choose to be. And I forgive you.” She looked seriously into the shadowed, amber eyes that gazed at her with so much emotion, and said, “ Now you have to forgive yourself.”

“Thank you,” Max said softly, continuing to gaze at her beautiful face. She was so pure, so loyal, and he didn’t deserve to have her looking at him with so much trust and faith. He hadn’t done anything to earn it, and he was humbled beyond belief that she still thought he was worth the trouble to save. He needed her so much. And he wanted her with an intensity that overwhelmed him.

They stared at each other, suddenly feeling the tension in the air as the warmth of each other’s breath caressed their lips. Liz unconsciously bit her lower one as his eyes drifted down to gaze at them. Their faces moved closer, Max’s hand coming up to smooth her hair from her cheek and Liz lowered her lashes as his lips came nearer, her own mouth opening slightly to receive his kiss…..

“Damn it Michael, would you stop bitching already?”

Maria’s voice startled them out of the passionate haze that had suddenly filled the room and they broke apart, both of them jumping up from the couch as the front door knob rattled.

God, what was he thinking? Max thought as he avoided Liz’s eyes, shoving his hands in his pockets. He couldn’t kiss her. He didn’t deserve that gift after everything that had happened. Max stood there in humiliated silence completely forgetting that Liz hadn’t exactly been pushing him away a few moments ago, as Maria and Michael entered the room.

Liz stood nervously as well, unconsciously mimicking his stance, her hands in her back pockets. Part of her had wanted Max to kiss her more than she wanted her next breath, but the other part was glad for once that Maria had such bad timing. She and Max had a long way to go before they were back to that kind of relationship, if they ever managed it at all. Her love for him was as strong as ever, but there were too many issues to be resolved before they could even think about being together as a couple. Liz glanced at him, seeing the closed expression on his face. Only the slight flush to his cheeks gave away his feelings, and she wondered what was going through his head. After their earlier discussion, she hoped he wasn’t berating himself.

“The only one bitching right now is you,” Michael said throwing himself down on the couch, oblivious to the tension in the room he’d just entered.

Maria, however, could see that they’d come in at an awkward moment and looked at Liz apologetically, but her friend just gave a slight shake to her head indicating that it was OK. They communicated in the silent language of long time friends that they’d talk later about what she’d interrupted.

“Ok Maxwell, so what happened? Did you connect with the kid, or what?”

Max glanced at Liz before answering. “Yeah. We connected with him. His name is Zan.”

“She named him Zan? Does that mean the she-devil is still with us?” Maria asked as she sat down next to Michael.

“Yeah Maria. Tess is still alive,” Liz said moving to lean against the counter.

“So how did you find this out? Did you talk to her or…” Michael sat forward as he addressed Max.

“No, we, um..connected with Zan while he was sleeping.” Max went on to describe the conversation with Zan leaving out the rest of his and Liz’s discussion.

“Wow, so he actually talked to you,” Maria exclaimed when he finished. “How is that possible? I mean he’s only a few months old, right?”

“I think it obviously has something to do with the alien physiology. If the gestation period was only a month, the growth outside the womb must be accelerated too,” Liz answered looking at Max for confirmation of her thoughts and he nodded.

“That was my thought,” Max said. “He sounded like he was at least a toddler, although his words and how he spoke seemed older. I don’t know if that has anything to do with his being an alien or not.”

“You didn’t really learn anything except that Tess is still alive and they are being held by some bad men. Not much to go on,” Michael stated.

“No, but I hope that when we contact him next time, Tess will have been able to tell him something useful.”

“Well I for one, wish the little slut was dead already,” Maria said vehemently.

“Maria…” Liz glanced at Max’s stoic expression.

“What? I know that Zan probably loves her, but she deserves what’s coming to her after what she did to Alex and Kyle.”

Liz watched Max pale at Maria’s words, but he took a deep breath and spoke.

“I had to promise Zan that she was coming with us, Maria. I don’t expect anyone to risk their lives to save her, but I made him a promise and I have to keep it. In spite of how we feel about her, Tess is his mother and he is obviously very attached to her. I can’t just let her die because….of what she’s done to us,” Max finished quietly.

“We understand that, Max, “ Liz said shaking her head at Maria who looked about to protest. “Um…I’m really wiped out. Let’s go OK, Maria?”

Maria stared at her for a minute, then nodded. Leaning over, she kissed Michael’s cheek. “Bye, Spaceboy.”

Liz grabbed her purse and walked toward the door, but stopped when she felt a hand on her arm. She turned to find Max looking down at her. He let go and slid his hands in his pockets. “Thanks Liz. For helping me and everything. I couldn’t have done it without you. And….I’m sorry for…um….” He gestured towards the couch.

“No, it’s OK….we just….a lot has happened and….I mean…” Liz stopped and closed her eyes, trying to get a hold of herself. “I wanted it too, Max. But…..”

“I know,” he interrupted, not meeting her eyes, his own discomfort obvious. “You don’t have to explain.”

“Ok, well….I’m just gonna go now…..” Liz turned away still feeling flustered but she turned back abruptly, her long hair swinging with the motion, as she remembered something. “We can figure out about next week…you know….when I see you at school.”

Max nodded quickly, still avoiding her gaze. Maria finished saying goodbye to Michael and the two girls headed to the Jetta.

When they got in the car, Liz studiously avoided Maria’s piercing gaze as she put on her seatbelt, but she knew what was coming.

“OK, girlfriend. Spill. What’s up with you and the Alien king?”


TBC...
posted on 22-Jun-2002 10:42:09 PM by sylvia37
Hey everyone. Sorry this took so long. Thanks so much for the bumps. I loved hearing all of your opinions. It's what keeps me going so please don't stop. I love it when you talk to me.

Thanks.


Everything to You Part 21

“So he doesn’t remember anything about having sex with Tess at all?” Maria’s voice was incredulous.

“He said he remembers her showing up at the observatory, but after that it’s blank until the next morning when they woke up.”

“Then how does he know it even happened? I mean, for all they know, he could have passed out or…”

“I asked the same question, but he said he just knows. There must have been some evidence….” Liz didn’t continue that thought, preferring not to dwell too long on what it might have been.

She and Maria were sitting at the counter in the Crash Down eating ice cream out of the tub. It was definitely an ice cream night.

“Say no more. I get it. And let me just say for the record….ew!” Maria shuddered as she spooned more of the desert from the tub.

“Yeah,” Liz said in agreement as she licked ice cream off her own spoon. It was marginally less painful to think about what happened between Max and Tess now that she knew he’d been coerced, but she wasn’t sure which was worse. Thinking he’d slept with her on purpose, or knowing Tess did something to him without his consent or knowledge.

“You know? I always wondered why he didn’t use protection,” Maria waved her spoon in the air. “I mean, it was bad enough to think that he slept with that skank, but it is so not Max to do it without thinking of the consequences.”

Liz nodded her agreement. “I know. I wondered about that too, but every time I thought about it, it just hurt too much, you know? The thought of them together…..” Liz contemplated her spoonful of ice cream, then put it down on the counter, suddenly sick at the thought of more. Or maybe it was this conversation.

“We should have known, Maria. We should have seen what was happening to him. I should have….”

“Now hold on there a minute, Missy.” Maria cut her off. “Don’t you start with the guilt too, OK? Max is bad enough. Yes, we should have all realized that he wasn’t acting like himself, but Alex had just died, remember? We had a few issues too.”

“I know, I know. It’s just that when I look back now, I can see it so clearly. His reactions, his words…..he wasn’t Max, and none of us saw it. You know, she said she didn’t mean to kill Alex, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for her plan.” Liz looked at Maria’s sympathetic face with tears in her eyes. “And I played right into her hands…accusing them…practically telling Max it was their fault….”

“You were upset. We all were.” Maria set her own spoon down, pulled a napkin out of the holder on the counter and reached out to wipe her friend’s tearstained cheeks.

“Look Liz, you’ve got to lay the blame where it belongs, OK? Tess killed Alex, and she mind-warped Max. The fact that we didn’t realize those things were happening doesn’t make it any less her fault. Feeling guilty about it isn’t going to help Max either. Now that we know what happened, we can work on getting him to realize it too.”

Liz nodded reluctantly before putting the lid back on the ice cream and gathering up their spoons. As she walked back to the kitchen, Maria followed her. “I think it’s going to take more than us telling him, Maria. You didn’t see what I saw. He’s so screwed up inside. If he were a normal human being, I’d say he needs major therapy, but it’s not like he can go and tell a doctor that some psycho alien mind-warped him into having sex against his will.”

“I know. If we had an alien therapist in Roswell, I’d have sent Michael a long time ago.” Maria paused as they cleaned up after their impromptu binge.

“So….you never did tell me what Michael and I walked in on back there. The two of you were so red, I thought you both had been out tanning while we were gone.” Maria watched as her friend flushed again.

“Yeah, well…we actually um….we almost kissed.” Liz finally stammered out.

“You’re kidding! How did that happen?”

“We were just sitting on the couch and I was trying to make him feel better…and he looked at me…and….”

“And you just melted right into a puddle. I get it. Listen girlfriend. I know Romeo’s kisses are the shit, or so you’ve told me, but you can’t let feeling sorry for him cloud your judgement here. He’s got major issues…”

“I know that Maria. I just….it was a mistake. And from what I could tell by his reaction after you guys came in, Max knew it too. I won’t let it happen again.”

The girls re-entered the restaurant through the swinging door. “So what’s next on the agenda?” Maria asked as they finished wiping down the counter.

“We’re supposed to try and contact Zan on Thursday, and hopefully he’ll have something that will help us figure out who has them or at least where they are. Then I leave for the ski trip after school on Friday. I’ll be back late Sunday.” Liz looked at her friend worriedly. “Maybe I should cancel the ski trip. I mean with everything that’s going on….”

“No way! Max won’t want you to cancel because of him and you need to go and have fun. A couple of days away won’t make any difference. Michael and I will make sure that the man doesn’t get into any trouble.”

“I was really looking forward to it….”

“Then go. Have a good time. Alien Crisis Central will still be open for business when you get back. You won’t miss anything.”

“I guess you’re right, but if we get something concrete on Thursday, I’m staying.”

Liz hugged her friend at the front doors. “Thanks Maria. Oh, and thanks for keeping Michael occupied while Max and I…” Liz stopped, looking at her inquiringly. “Hey I forgot. Did Michael get over his jealousy?”

“Let’s just say that I managed to distract him.” Liz laughed as Maria smiled at her saucily, then waved good bye as she made her way to the Jetta parked out front.

Liz waited until she pulled away before locking the door and turning out the lights. She dragged her tired body upstairs, being careful to be quiet because it was so late, then entered her own room and started to undress. As she pulled on pajamas and went to wash her face, Liz thought about the evening behind her. Lord, had it really started as just a fun night out to watch Maria sing? That seemed like years ago.

Thinking about little Zan as she got into bed, Liz realized that whatever resentment she may have had towards Max’s son vanished with tonight’s revelations. After having spoken with him, and finding out about Tess’s treachery, there was no way she could feel anything but pity for that poor little boy. He was just as much a victim as the rest of them were and Liz was just as determined as Max to save him. They would deal with the Tess situation when they crossed that bridge, but rescuing Zan was the most important thing.

In spite of her exhaustion, Liz turned restlessly onto her side.

Max.

Despite Maria’s words to the contrary, Liz couldn’t help but feel like they’d all failed him somehow. And there were still so many questions as to how and what actually happened. How had Tess practically changed his personality, and how had she managed to get him to have sex with her? What was actually true about what he did remember, and what wasn’t?

Liz didn’t know if they would ever have the answers to those questions. But she did know one thing. In spite of the layers of guilt and self-hatred he was carrying around, Max’s soul was still in tact. She’d seen it, and it was still as beautiful as she remembered from their first connection. Now she and the others had to get Max to see it too. Liz sighed and closed her eyes, hoping her brain would slow down enough to let her sleep.


********************



Max and Michael sat on the dock overlooking the quiet, dark water. It was really late, but Michael had insisted on coming with Max when he said he wanted to clear his head. He promised he wouldn’t talk, just said he wouldn’t be able to sleep for a while either, but Max knew the real reason Michael wanted to come with him. Guilt.

After the girls left the apartment, Max had thought about not telling Michael what else had transpired between he and Liz, but Michael surprised him by asking what was up between the two of them. Apparently he wasn’t quite as oblivious to the tension in the room as they’d thought. Max decided that he might as well tell him an abbreviated version, since Maria would probably give him the whole scoop tomorrow anyway. Michael was shocked to say the least.


“But I don’t get it. How the hell could she have been mind-warping you that whole time and you didn’t realize it until now?”

“I think I was still under the effect after Tess left, but it was gradually wearing off. It wasn’t until Liz broke up with me that I really saw what was happening. I started realizing that the things I’d been saying and doing weren’t right, and…and that I had memory gaps.”

“So you’re saying that Tess was screwing with your mind like she did Alex, and none of us knew it?” Michael got up from the couch and paced for a minute.

“Shit, Max,” he finally said turning to look at his friend, his face a mixture of anger and remorse.

“Stop Michael. This is exactly why I didn’t tell anyone. None of you is to blame. I was the one who let it happen.”

Max ended the discussion there, and a little while later told Michael he was going out. So now, here they were, both in contemplative silence. Max was actually exhausted, but he’d gotten used to functioning on very little sleep and he knew that tonight was going to be one of those sleepless nights. Too much happened to allow him to rest.

But despite his tiredness and his anxiety about what next week’s contact with Zan would bring, Max was actually feeling a little better. He’d finally been able to reach his son, confirm that he was OK, at least for now, and he had the means to do it again. Max could actually see a light at the end of the tunnel. The light was just a pinprick, but at least it was there. And it was all due one thing. One person actually.

Liz was never far from his thoughts, but tonight, her sweet face dominated them. She’d seen into his soul. She’d seen how ugly and tainted it was….and she was still here, still helping him, still being his friend…his salvation.

Thinking of the ski trip coming up, he wondered rather bitterly whether a certain blond haired science whiz would be occupying her time. Max shook his head. He couldn’t focus on that right now. He’d go crazy if he thought about her being with someone else. He had too much on his plate as it was.

Max didn’t know what had come over him to think he could kiss her. Liz wasn’t his to kiss anymore, despite the love he’d felt coming from her during their connection earlier. She was purity and light, and he was….damaged. And in spite of what Liz thought, he did blame Tess. He blamed her for using him for her own gain and for lying to them, and of course, for Alex.

But Max wasn’t Alex. He wasn’t human. Alex had no way of fighting Tess’s mind games, but Max should have. He was an alien and supposedly a king. He should have realized what was happening and been able to stop it. Better yet, he should have never trusted her after she’d mind-warped him the first time. He still remembered how he felt drawn to her against his will, how he’d kissed her that rainy night, in spite of everything inside him screaming for him to stop. How stupid was he to think that she could be trusted after that? But no, he’d allowed her stay. He’d fallen for her “poor me” act, and they’d all ended up paying the price.

Max sighed and shifted as he continued to stare out at the serenity of the water. His thoughts took a downward turn as he allowed himself to dwell on the barely scabbed over wounds Liz had uncovered. When he’d finally realized that Tess had been mind-warping him, Max deliberately refrained from too much introspection as far as what transpired the night Zan was conceived. Although he’d tried numerous times to retrieve the events that had faded from his memory, he hadn’t allowed himself to dwell on the painful things Liz forced him to acknowledge tonight.

Tess had somehow convinced him to have sex with her. His mind shied away from the word “forced”. He didn’t know what she’d made him think or believe was actually happening, but he knew they’d had intercourse. Tess made sure of that when they woke up that morning, and the physical evidence was there to prove it. That much he remembered. Max also remembered feeling horrified by it, but his actions after that were a blur. Bits and pieces of memories. He might have tried talking to Isabel about it, but she seemed to be angry at him. He vaguely recalled a conversation with Michael, but it was hazy as well.

Max’s last really clear memory was before the whole mess started. It was during their trip to Las Vegas and he’d finally decided that he’d had enough of just being friends with Liz. He wanted to start over. Although still hurt by what he thought happened between her and Kyle, after seeing the vision of their wedding, Max decided that it didn’t matter. He just wanted to be with her. To make a life with her.

Tess stole that from him. Not only his virginity, but the life he dreamed of with the girl he loved, the only girl he’d ever wanted that kind of intimacy with. The thought that he’d shared his body with someone like Tess….maybe it was better that he didn’t remember it, he thought suddenly feeling like he needed a shower. A long, hot one.

Max glanced over to where Michael was walking and sighed. He knew he how his friend was feeling right now, but he hadn’t felt up to a discussion about feelings with Michael after the night he’d had. It was always an excruciating experience for both of them. Max got up from the dock.

“You ready to go?” Max asked as he approached.

Michael looked at him, bitter sadness flashing in his brown eyes before his expression became neutral again.

“Yeah.”

“Look Michael….”

“Don’t, OK Max?” Michael took a deep breath and looked down. “I should have been there for you and I wasn’t. Maybe if I’d….reacted better the first time she did it to you, you might have….” He stopped for a moment, then forced himself to look his friend in the eye. “I’ll be here for you now. It’s a little late but….”

Max shook his head, a little shaken by Michael’s unusual confession. “ I didn’t want this,” he said hoarsely. “I didn’t…I didn’t want any of you to feel bad. I didn’t even know what was happening myself. It’s not… it’s not anyone else’s fault.”

“It’s not yours either, Max,” Michael said, aware of the implication of that last statement.

Max nodded and looked away, but not before Michael saw the bitter anguish and self-contempt that clouded his friend’s dark eyes. In tandem, the two aliens turned toward the car and started walking.

Michael wanted to say something, anything to make Max feel better, but he couldn’t. He knew under the circumstances, he would feel the same. Angry at himself, and blaming himself for his lack of control. And it was worse for Max because control was all-important to him.

As they drove to the apartment, Michael made a silent vow. They might have to include Tess in their rescue attempt, but he would make sure of one thing. That little bitch was never going to hurt his family again. Michael looked grimly out the window of the Chevelle. He would do whatever it took to insure they were safe, and Max and little Zan would just have to deal…even if it meant her death.

TBC....
posted on 2-Jul-2002 10:17:53 PM by sylvia37
Well today is my birthday and I was really trying to get this out before today, but it didn't work out. I really haven't had much time to write you guys. Please don't give up on me, and thanks so much for all the bumps. You guys are the best. Welcome to my new reader/commentator mlps muse. I'm so glad you found me.

I swear I will try to have the new part up by the end of the week. Thanks again.

Sylvia
posted on 4-Jul-2002 11:24:50 PM by sylvia37
Wow. Thanks so much for the awesome feedback. You guys are so great. Sorry once again that this took so long, but I hope you like it. Let me know. I look so forward to hearing from you. And thanks for all the birthday wishes. I love you guys.


Everything to You Part 22

Max stood at his locker, exchanging his books from the night before for the ones he needed this morning. It was Thursday, the day he and Liz were supposed to try and contact Zan again. He was anxious and nervous about what the night would bring, but he was trying not to dwell on it too much.

The last few days had seemed endless, the waiting compounded by the fact that his well-meaning friends were driving him crazy with their campaign to keep his spirits up. He knew that sounded ungrateful, but
as much as he appreciated their efforts, Max wished everyone would back off just a little. He’d never liked being the center of attention anyway, and the reason behind it now was just embarrassing. They’d even enlisted Isabel.

The day after he and Liz contacted Zan, Isabel called the to find out what had happened. Michael told her the whole story and she’d rushed over to talk with him. They spent a while going over things that happened last year, some of which Max remembered and some he didn’t. Hugging him tearfully, Isabel told him how sorry she was that they hadn’t paid attention to what was happening to him, and that she couldn’t believe that they’d all been too wrapped up in their own lives to realize he wasn’t acting normal.


“How did we let this happen, Max? How did things get so out of control? My God, if one of our own could do this too us, how will we know when it’s one of our enemies?

“She wasn’t one of us, Isabel. Tess was raised by a ruthless alien, who cared nothing about humans or anyone else. He was supposed to be our protector, but he was ready to turn us over to Khivar. Nothing in our lives on earth prepared us to deal with their kind, and I guess that’s what they were counting on.”

“But Tess was your wife in our other life.” Isabel looked at him in sympathy as Max flinched. “I know, I know. I’m just saying that I thought that she was really becoming part of the group and yet she was betraying us behind our backs. You and Alex…..I just can’t believe we were so gullible.”

“I think the problem was, once she saw that I was never going to love her…that I loved Liz, even after the stuff with Kyle, she just gave into Nacedo’s plan. She basically told me that in the pod chamber the day I let her go. She thought that loving Liz ruined me.” Max looked down at his hands. “But she got it backwards. Loving Liz saved me.”


After that conversation, Isabel called him everyday to see how he was feeling or give him pep talks about Zan or whatever else struck her fancy. She’d even baked him a cake.

Max sighed. He loved his friends, but sometimes he wondered why he’d ever wished to come out from behind that damn tree.

Feeling a prickling sensation run down his spine, Max looked up to find Liz walking up to her locker. OK, so maybe he didn’t really wonder so much about the tree thing. The reason was standing several feet away from him, pulling out the books she needed for her morning classes. Max stayed where he was watching her surreptitiously, feeling the familiar longing tighten his chest. How often over the years had he done this? Stood on the sidelines, watching….wishing she was his to hold, to kiss…to love. Max almost couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t, except for those few precious months when she was actually his. Before he’d blown it.

A familiar ache filled his stomach as the pain of his loss took it’s usual place in his heart, intensifying as a tall, blond boy walked up beside Liz and started talking. Max gritted his teeth against the ache, tamping down on the jealousy that caused the alien energy within him to coil in readiness. He didn’t have a right to be jealous. She could talk to anybody she wanted to. He clenched his fist against the pain of the knife blade twisting in his heart as Mark leaned against the locker beside Liz and bent his head intimately close to her dark one. Max turned to stare blindly at the inside of his locker, wishing the ground would just open up and swallow him.

Liz was having a hard time concentrating on what Mark was saying. She’d been preoccupied when she got to her locker this morning, thinking she’d forgotten to bring her Lit book with her, so it wasn’t until a few minutes later that she realized that Max was already at his locker. She didn’t need to see him in order to know he was there, as the usual connection between them flared. She was just about to turn and acknowledge his presence, when Mark walked up and started talking about the ski trip. The energy she’d felt a moment ago, shifted in tone, and trying to identify the shift was distracting her. Suddenly, she realized that Mark had asked her a question.

“What? I mean….I’m sorry…what did you say?” Liz glanced over to where Max seemed to be concentrating really hard on the contents of his locker, wondering why he hadn’t said anything to her yet.

“I said, I can give you a ride on Friday. I’m already picking up Jan and Sherrie, but there’s plenty of room.” Liz looked up at him. He really was good looking, in an all-American, blond haired sort of way. Still feeling the volatile energy coming from Max, she glanced his way before answering without thinking. “Uh..sure. That’d be great.”

“Great. I’ll pick you up at the Crash Down at 4:00.” Mark smiled at her, before straightening up and acknowledging a wave from one of his friends. “I have to go. I’ll see you later.”

Mark walked off and Liz stared into the space he’d been standing playing back the last few minutes of conversation. She’d just agreed to ride with Mark and two of the stupidest girls on the planet for several hours in a closed vehicle. Shit.

Just as she was about to turn once more towards the source of her distraction, Maria came rushing up.

“You’ll never guess what happened!”

Liz looked over to where Max was closing his locker and watched as he swung his backpack over his shoulder. Heat blossomed in her stomach as the muscles in his arms and back flexed with his movements and Liz found herself staring straight into his eyes as he finally looked in her direction. Blushing, she smiled and waved him over.

“Liz, are you listening to me?”

“Sorry, Maria. What won’t I believe?” Liz said as Max approached. He pushed his hands in his pockets as he stopped, acknowledging her with a slight smile that didn’t reach his eyes.

“Kyle’s going to ask Jenna to Prom.”

Liz finally looked at her friend, wrinkling her nose. “I thought we weren’t mentioning the “P” word this year. And didn’t he swear off P…uh you know…like the rest of us did after last year’s fiasco?” She looked at Max, suddenly realizing that he might be offended by her comments, but the puzzled look on his face caught her attention.

Max’s brow wrinkled as he tried to recall if he knew anything about Prom last year, but he came up blank. Seeing Liz watching him, he looked at her uncomfortably. “What… happened at Prom last year?”

Liz’s eyes widened. Glancing at Maria, her friend looked back in sudden apprehension as both of them realized at the same time that Max had obviously forgotten the whole painful episode. Maria hurried to cover.

“Oh, you know…it was really boring and….that guy….um ….you remember that guy, Liz . That guy that Lisa Rhodes brought from Taos. He’d been drinking and he ended up throwing up all over Lisa and….”

“Yeah….” Liz nodded quickly. “Yeah…it was really gross, and….we just decided it wasn’t worth it this year. We’re doing a girl’s night instead.” She and Maria exchanged “We’ll discuss this later” glances and Maria waved as she headed off to class.

Max waited for Liz to finish getting her books, not convinced that they’d told him the whole story. Liz was a terrible liar, and he wondered to himself why she didn’t want to tell him the truth. A sudden thought struck him as he walked beside her towards his first class. Who had she gone to Prom with? Was it that Sean guy, Maria’s cousin that she’d been seeing? His memory was so vague right now, he wouldn’t know if there had been anyone else. The thought was depressing.

Please don’t ask me who I went with…please don’t ask me who I went with, Liz repeated to herself as they walked down the hall. She really didn’t want to explain what happened to him. As bad as he was feeling about everything, she knew if she told him that they’d gone to Prom together, but he’d ended up kissing Tess, it would just add fuel to an already out of control fire. Max didn’t need another reason to beat himself up, and besides, the whole night had been a mistake on both their parts; hers for bringing up her dissatisfaction with their relationship right in the middle of their date, and of course his for kissing Tess. Now that she knew Tess had been mind-warping him, the pain was a distant memory. There was no point in his knowing.

“So, um….are you nervous about tonight?” Liz sought to distract him.

“Yeah. I’m trying not to think about it too much.” Max looked at her in concern. They hadn’t really talked much about her feelings about this new ability of hers. He realized with remorse that most of the attention had been on him and his problems since the night they’d contacted Zan.

“Are you OK? I mean….about tonight? Everybody’s been so caught up in my problems. Does it still bother you that you were able to…help me?” They stopped outside her first class, and Max looked down at her.

Liz shook her head. “I’m a little nervous, but mostly about what we’re going to hear. I have to admit that it freaked me out to know that I could….contact you when you were so far away in New York that time, but….now that we’ve done it together, I’m OK with it. I just…wouldn’t want to connect with anyone but you.” Liz realized how that sounded and she looked down to hide her expression. “ You know…because we…because I know you…I mean….because….” She stopped before she could make a further fool of herself and finally peeked up at him from behind her hair. The small smile on his lips caused her heart to do a somersault.

“I understand,” Max said, feeling a place in his heart warm just a little at her words. At least this part of her would always be his, no matter how the rest of it turned out, and although he was sorry that the change had caused her more worry, one thing Max would never be sorry for was saving her life. Nothing that had happened to him since then, or might happen to him in the future, could make him wish that he hadn’t healed her that day at the Crash Down.

“I’ll see you at lunch.” The smile he gave her actually reached his eyes this time, and Liz stood in the doorway as he walked away, watching until she couldn’t see him anymore. Entering her own classroom, Liz sighed as she tried to gear herself up for the endless hours until lunch.


**********************

Max spotted Michael and Kyle sitting at their usual lunch table, but it looked like the girls hadn’t made it yet. Sardonic amusement curved his lip as he took in the fact that the two guys were sitting as far away from each other as possible, and no conversation could be heard. It didn’t matter how much Kyle had proved himself over the last few years, he and Michael were never going to be friends. For that matter, Max and Kyle were not what you could really call close either. Despite the fact that Max had saved Kyle’s life, and Kyle had helped the aliens out on more than one occasion, too much animosity had passed between them for them to ever be friends like he and Michael were. And although he knew that Kyle probably didn’t care one way or the other what happened to him or Michael, they were all united in at least one common goal: protecting Liz, Maria and Isabel from harm. Max knew he could rely on Kyle to do everything he could to keep the girls safe, and that was all that mattered.

“Hey,” Max said to them as he sat next to Michael on the bench.

Michael was reading a motorcycle magazine, so he barely inclined his head in acknowledgement. Max glanced at the page Michael was looking at, then did a double take as he realized that the bike on the page was not what had captured his friend’s attention. He looked up at Kyle who grinned at him in acknowledgement of the obvious assets of the biker chick straddling the bike on the page. Those couldn’t be real, could they? Max’s lips twitched.

“You might want to hide that before Maria gets here.”

Michael looked up at him before shaking his head in affirmation and started to roll it up to stuff in his pocket, when Kyle stopped him.

“Hey, can I borrow that?”

Michael stared at him hard before reluctantly handing the magazine over. “It better still be clean when I get it back.”

Kyle’s eyes widened in mock indignation. “I resent that implication. I’ll have you know that I’m purely interested in the mechanics of motorcycle maintenance. Besides,” Kyle smirked as he stuffed the magazine in his backpack, “ I have my own stash. I don’t need to borrow yours.”

Max hid his smile behind the can of soda as he lifted it to take a drink. He took a swallow than decided to bring up something that had been bugging him since his conversation with Liz that morning.

“Did you guys go to Prom last year?”

The silence was deafening as both Kyle and Michael looked at him in surprise.

“You’re kidding right?” Kyle asked incredulously. As Max shook his head uncomfortably, Kyle shook his head.

“You mean you don’t remember taking Liz to Prom and then sucking face with Tess?”

“Shut up,” Michael said harshly as he watched the blood drain from Max’s face.

“What?” Kyle looked at Michael, then noted the look on Max’s face. OK, maybe he could have phrased that with a little more tact, he thought as Kyle realized that Max had no idea that he’d been to Prom last year. He knew that Max had been mind-warped by Tess, but he hadn’t known how much of his memory was gone.

“I took Liz to Prom and…and ended up with Tess? How….” Max swallowed the lump in his throat. “Why would I…” Max stopped. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He’d actually gotten to go with Liz to Prom even though they weren’t together, and he’d somehow ended up kissing Tess? And Liz knew about this? Oh shit. Max felt his head swim a little as a thought occurred to him. What if she’d actually seen them? Looking down at his half uneaten sandwich, he suddenly felt sick to his stomach, and quickly wrapped it up and put it back in the bag. No wonder she didn’t want to talk about it.

“Look, Max. It doesn’t matter what happened, OK? Liz knows now that Tess was working her mind shit on you and she’s completely over it.” Michael tried to comfort his friend in his own inept way, but Max didn’t seem to be hearing him. The vulnerability in Max’s face touched something in Michael that he didn’t like to acknowledge, and he cursed to himself as he tried to think of something to make Max see reason.

Kyle was in the same boat. He actually felt bad that he’d blurted out what happened now that he could see Max’s reaction, and he felt a sort of kinship with the alien for the first time. If anyone knew how he felt, Kyle did.

“Hey Max,” Kyle began somewhat uncomfortably. “Don’t do this to yourself, man. Take it from me, it doesn’t do any good to try and make sense out of what Tess did to you. I drove myself crazy with it until I just had to let it go. I mean, I carried Alex’s dead body for her.” He shuddered at the memory before continuing. “She’s evil man, and you’ve just got to realize that sometimes evil is stronger than good.”

Max looked at him, suddenly wondering when Kyle went from being an asshole to Mr. Profound. Kyle was right, though. Max wasn’t the only one affected by Tess’s manipulations, and if anything, Kyle had more reason than he did to be bitter. Max didn’t have a choice about his alien heritage, but Kyle’s choice had been stolen from him the minute he’d come in contact with them.

But realizing that this incident was just another in the list to add to Tess’s transgressions, didn’t relieve Max of his responsibility. He still needed to apologize to Liz now that he knew that he’d been the cause of her bad memories of Prom. He knew from listening to Isabel, that Prom was supposed to be one of those memories in a girl’s life that she would look back on as special, but because of him, Liz only had bitter memories of it.

An uncomfortable silence had fallen over the table. Usually this touchy feelly crap was left up to the girls, and none of them were used to having to express their feelings to one another.

“Do you think that chick in the magazine’s tits were real?”

Michael’s head jerked up from where he’d been staring at the table and Max couldn’t help the smile that curled his lip as Kyle’s out of the blue comment broke the tension.

Liz and Maria chose that moment to make their appearance, their laughter preceding them to the table. Michael looked at his girlfriend in exasperation, wishing that she’d shown up sooner and saved them all from the tense conversation they’d just had to endure.

“Where’ve you been?”

“Oh, well Miss Suck Up here had to stop and ask Mr. Seligman a question about Quasars after class, and he wouldn’t shut up.” Maria wrinkled her nose at Liz, who looked at her in mock disbelief.

“I’m a suck up? Who was it who told him what a nice tie he had on?”

“Hey, I have to do something to get a decent grade in that class. You already have an “A”.

The conversation turned to grades and classes, but Liz noticed that Max wasn’t participating. She chalked it up to preoccupation with tonight’s activities, but she kept an eye on him throughout the rest of lunch. When there was about 5 minutes left, they all got up to go, but Max put a hand on Liz’s arm.

“Can I talk to you a minute?”

“Of course,” she answered sitting back down on the edge of the table.

“I…um…wanted to apologize to you. I know what really happened at Prom last year.”

Liz’s eyes widened. “How did you find out?”

“I asked Michael and Kyle if they’d gone and Kyle didn’t realized that I didn’t remember.”

“Oh,” Liz said. “Look Max….”

“No, don’t say anything. I know that you’re going to tell me that it wasn’t my fault and that Tess was mind-warping me, but I still need you to know that I would never have done something like that if I’d been in control of my actions.” Max cringed inwardly at those words. Control. Right. “And I….I’m sorry that Tess and I ruined it for you.”

“Listen to me Max,” Liz said, pulling him down next to her on the table. They were going to be late to class, but she didn’t care. “What happened that night was as much my fault as it was yours. You don’t remember it, but the only reason you even talked to Tess that night was because I pushed you away.”

Max wasn’t looking at her, but she could see that he didn’t believe her.

“It’s true, OK. I brought Prom up to you, and told you that I’d been planning my Prom night for a really long time, and we decided to go as friends. But when we got there, I let all of this stuff that I’d been feeling about our relationship just build up for so long, and I…..I just let it out right there on the dance floor. We were more than friends, but we weren’t…together either, and I was so miserable about the whole Future Max thing and you were spending more time with Tess….” Liz saw him flinch as she paused, but she didn’t give him a chance to say the “I’m sorry,” she knew was coming.

“It was my fault, Max. I told you that we should let go, and then I didn’t even give you a chance to say anything. Maria was miserable because Michael hadn’t shown up yet, and I just left you there by yourself on the dance floor to go be with her after hitting you over the head with all of that stuff.” Liz looked down at her own hands.

“I shouldn’t have said those things to you…. at least not on our date. I should have waited for another time to tell you. As for what happened with Tess, .” Liz stopped and swallowed as the pain that always accompanied that memory sliced through her.

“Please don’t tell me you’re trying to take the blame for me kissing Tess,” Max said doubtfully.

“That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying that you weren’t the only one who ruined Prom night for us, Max. And I owe you an apology, too. If I hadn’t been so wrapped up in my own misery, I would have realized right then that you were being mind-warped. You said that if you’d been in control, you wouldn’t have done it, and I knew that. I knew you…. I knew what kind of person you were…are…..and I should have realized that no matter how upset you were, you wouldn’t have ditched me to be with Tess.”

Max stared at his hands as he contemplated her words. Finally looking over at her anxious face, his lip curved in a small half smile. “I guess we’ve both got some things we’re sorry for.”

Liz smiled in relief, happy that he wasn’t letting this get to him. “Yeah.” Grabbing her books from the table, she stood up. “We better go.”

Max stood up as well and nodded quickly.

They started walking to class, but Liz paused before they reached the building. “I’ll see you after my shift tonight at Michael’s, OK? And Max,” He stopped to look at her inquiringly.

“No more apologies. From either of us. It’s in the past. OK?”

Max looked down into her dark eyes, knowing in his heart that he would live with his regret for the rest of his life, but he would do or say anything she wanted as long as she continued to look at him the way she was looking at him right now. So he only nodded silently and fell into step with her as they headed into the school building, sighing as he hoped the next few hours would go by quickly.




posted on 14-Jul-2002 10:42:10 PM by sylvia37
OK well, it's the 14 and I still didn't manage to get this next part finished. I really was trying for at least once a week, but real life has somehow interfered more often then I'd like. I'm going to try and have it done in a few days.

Thanks sooooo much for the bumps you guys. I'm so happy that you look for my story.

Oh, and I wanted to throw this in. I was in Victoria's Secret yesterday, and they had a robe that had "Dreamer" written across the back. I just thought that was kind of cool. Once again, thanks and I'll be looking forward to hearing from you next week.

Sylvia
posted on 17-Jul-2002 10:36:05 PM by sylvia37
Well finally, huh? It's about time. Seriously, I'm sorry it's taken so long to get this out. You guys are great for sticking with me and I hope it was worth the wait.

Thanks for all the bumps, Mandy, Muse, Clueless, and all of you, welcome to AggieChick my new reader. Thanks for trying it out. I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you. Thanks for reading.


Everything to You Part 23


Max was pacing. He knew it wasn’t time yet for Liz to be here, but he couldn’t help but be anxious. He’d somehow managed to make it through school today with a modicum of calm, but as soon as he’d finished at the UFO Center, the anticipation got the better of him.

He jumped as the front door opened to reveal Maria.

“Sorry Sweetie. It’s only the best friend. Michael and Liz will be along as soon as their shift is over.” Maria smiled sympathetically when she saw Max’s face fall at her entrance.

“I know. I’m sorry. It’s just….”

“I know. You’re….let me guess. Anxious? Nervous? Nauseous?

“All of the above.” Max said sitting heavily down on the couch.

“Well, Aunt Maria knows just the thing to make it all better.”

“Aunt Maria?” A small smile curved his lips as he glanced sideways at her.

“Whatever. I have the cure for what ails you. Now sit forward.”

Max looked at her skeptically for a moment before obediently sliding forward on the couch. Maria knelt next to him and started massaging his taut shoulders. Max closed his eyes as her fingers dug deeply into his muscles.

“How’s that?” Maria asked a little breathlessly as she used all her strength to work out the kinks. His neck was so tight she was surprised it didn’t snap when she touched it.

“Good…really good,” Max answered still keeping his eyes closed. His head fell forward as she worked on his neck and a few minutes later, she smacked her hands lightly on his shoulders.

“All done. Better?”

“Yeah. Thanks Maria.”

“No problem. I do it for Michael all the time.

“Lucky guy.”

“Don’t you know it.” Maria sat next to him on the couch. “So….Liz told me that Kyle let spill about last year’s Prom.”

“It wasn’t really his fault. I caught him and Michael off guard when I asked because I guess they assumed that I remembered. The truth is, most of my life after we got taken hostage by Brody, is kind of a blur. I remember bits and pieces, and sometimes something will come back to me….but it’s like it wasn’t really me…or my life.”

“Well, trust me. You don’t really want to remember Prom night. If I’d been the one swapping spit with that slut, I’d want to forget too.” Maria paused. “She also told me you basically reacted just about how she thought you would.”

Max glanced at her, before looking away.

Maria sighed. “You see? You feel bad now because I told you that Liz knew you would feel guilty. You know, not everything that goes wrong in Roswell is your fault, Max.”
“I know that.”

“Do you? Because you’ve become really predictable lately.”

Max looked at her, his eyebrow raised in surprise.

Maria just looked back at him, pointedly. “It’s true. No one can say a word about anything that’s happened in the last year without you taking the blame for it. I hate to break it to you, but the whole world does not revolve around you. I mean, I realize that a lot of stuff does because…well it just does but…other people make mistakes too. Take Michael for instance. Have you ever known him not to manage to screw up at least once a week? He’s like a bull in a china shop. But I still love him.”

“And despite what you think, Liz isn’t perfect either. I mean, she’s bossy, and anal about schoolwork and don’t even get me started on the schedule at the Crash Down. Did you ever see that chart she drew up? Oh my God!” Maria could now see the genuine smile playing about his lips, even though he’d looked down at his hands and she smiled herself.

“What about you?” Max asked, amused despite himself.

“Me? Hey, I’m as close to perfect as you’re going to get buddy. At least here on earth. Just ask Michael.”

Max finally turned to gaze at her, letting his smile actually show. “You think I’m predictable?”

“As the sun coming up in the morning.” Maria put her hand on his arm.

“I know some really bad things happened Max, and you feel responsible because those things hurt Liz. And I know how much you still love her.”

Max dropped his gaze away from her penetrating stare.

“But she’s strong, and she’s getting over it. And you’re strong too. You’re just having a harder time letting it go because you’ve always been the responsible one. Some left over crap from being king of a whole planet I guess, but on this planet, you’re just an eighteen-year-old guy who got really screwed over by a very cunning person with a….a….Fatal Attraction complex.”

Max glanced up at her and Maria’s heart twisted at the pain that flashed through his eyes before he could hide it.

“I’m not downplaying it, Max because God knows there aren’t enough bad things in the English language I can come up with to say about her or what she did to you and Kyle and Alex. But it’s OK to feel betrayed and angry and everything else that you want to feel. The people who care about you won’t stop just because you let yourself be human. You made some bad mistakes, and you have some things to make up for, but the only person still blaming you…is you.”

Maria got up from the couch, leaving him to think about what she’d said and went into the kitchen to get a Snapple out of the refrigerator. She got one for Max too and went back into the living room, putting it down on the coffee table. His face didn’t give anything away, but Maria could see that he was absorbing her words and she hoped that he would take them to heart. Liz felt the same way she did about the situation, but she was too close to it and loved him too much to say things that would cause him more pain.

As though reading her mind, Max finally looked up at her. “Did Liz send you over here to talk to me?”

Maria shook her head and smiled. “Liz feels the same way, but she’s too worried about hurting you to say what you really need to hear.”

“She’s helped me so much, Maria. I don’t know what I’d do without her.” Max stared down at his hands clasped between his legs.

“She loves you, Max.”

“She deserves better.”

Maria looked at him in exasperation. “Have you been listening to me?”

Max got up from the couch and looked down at her in frustrated misery. “Are saying you think we should get back together?”

Maria sighed. “I think there are a lot of issues you have to work through before that happens, Max. You have a lot to resolve in your life, not just about your son, but about all of the things that have happened to you. Tess may be to blame for some of the misery in your lives last year, but as much as I hate to say it, she didn’t cause all of it.”

Max nodded, well aware of the other factors that had caused their problems starting the minute he’d let her walk away from him at the Pod Chamber the day they’d gotten the message from the orbs.

“Liz is afraid of getting hurt again,” Maria continued. “And with good reason. You aren’t an easy person to love, Max. You have lots of baggage that comes along with loving you. All three of you do. I mean, love is hard enough without adding evil aliens and psychotic, alien ex-wives to the mix. But do I think there’s someone better for her? No. Easier maybe… but definitely not better.”

Max stood silently contemplating her words, wanting to believe them with every fiber of his being. When Liz first told him that she wanted to break up, he’d thought there might still be a chance for them, but as time went on, he’d given up on the idea, believing that all of the things that had come to light made him unworthy of her love. He still believed that. As much as he wanted to let go of the self-recriminations and the weight of his guilt, he couldn’t quite make himself do it just yet. Listening to Maria and Liz tell him he was worthy and actually believing it were two different things.

But Maria was right about one thing. His friends shouldn’t have to tip toe around him just because they were afraid of his reaction. Looking at Maria, he silently took back his thoughts from earlier that day. It really wasn’t so bad having friends in your corner.

“So you’re basically telling me to get over myself.” Max smiled at her to let her know he was teasing.

“In a nutshell,” Maria teased back, glad to see that he still had some semblance of a sense of humor.

Max picked up his bottle of Snapple and unscrewed the lid, taking a long drink before turning to look at her. “Now I know what Liz meant when she said it helped her to talk to you.”

Maria reached out and punched him lightly in the arm. “Any time, girlfriend.” Max shook his head and smiled, taking another drink.

The sound of voices had them both looking towards the door, and a moment later it opened to reveal Liz, Michael, Kyle and Isabel. Michael and Liz were carrying bags of food, and Max quickly got up from the couch to relieve her of them.

“Thanks,” Liz said. Letting him take them and set them on the counter.

“Looks like you guys brought enough for an army,” Max said turning to look at her after setting the bags down. She’d changed into a comfortable pair of jeans and a sweater for their session tonight and her hair was back in a loose braid. Some wisps of hair were floating around her face where they’d come undone during her shift, and Max had to shove his hands in his pockets to keep from moving them back for her. She looked beautiful.

“Well, we do have the whole crew here.” Liz smiled back at him. “And besides, I’m hungry. It’s been a busy night. Can we eat before we get started?”

“Yeah…of course. I didn’t expect you to just come over here and jump right in.,” Max said. Liz nodded and turned to help set up plates for everyone.

Isabel approached her brother and Max turned to her when she touched his arm.

“You doing alright?” She asked.

“Yeah. Where’s Jesse tonight?”

“Poker night with his buddies,” Isabel wrinkled her nose in distaste and Max hid his smile at her reaction, and instead, nodded in understanding.

They both turned to the counter to get a plate as Maria and Liz fixed them. As they all sat around eating, Liz noticed that Max didn’t really touch much of the food on his plate, but she cut him some slack. Now that the hour was at hand, the appetite she’d boasted of seemed to have disappeared as well.

As Michael and Kyle argued over who got the last of the Saturn Rings, Liz got up and emptied her plate. Max followed her to do the same.

“We’re going to go back in the bedroom, right?” Liz asked turning to look at him as she put her hands in her back pockets.

“Yeah. More privacy. I didn’t think you’d want to try and do this with the whole group watching.” Max gazed down at her as he answered.

Liz shook her head. “No, but I’m glad they’re here. Are you ready?”

Max nodded quickly. “Uh, guys?” He said to get the room’s attention. “We’re going to go ahead and get started.”

“Good Luck,” Maria said.

“Yeah, break a leg,” Kyle said only to be looked in exasperation by Maria and Isabel.

“They’re not going up on stage to perform a play, Kyle.”

“So what? I was trying to be encouraging.”

Max and Liz slipped out of the room as the three of them continued to argue over Kyle’s statement, and they settled on the bed together, facing each other, holding hands like before.

Max took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves, and Liz unconsciously rubbed her thumbs over his hands as she felt them trembling in her own, trying to control her own anxiousness.

“Ready?” Max asked one more time, and Liz nodded, staring into his eyes as she concentrated on him.

Max stared back, reaching inside himself for the link, concentrating all of his energy, and the energy he felt from Liz, on his son. Feeling the tug forward of his consciousness, he took control. A moment later, they were linked, but once again, Zan was asleep. Max gently nudged him, trying to get his attention without startling him. Max nudged harder when he didn’t respond, and began to worry a little when Zan still didn’t wake up. He felt Liz’s concern as well, and together they pushed a little harder.

“Zan?”

To their relief, they felt him slowly join their connection.

“Daddy?”

“Yeah, son. It’s me and Liz, just like we promised.”

“I’m sorry. I got so tired waiting for you.”

“It’s OK. Have you been feeling well since the last time we talked?” Max asked, trying to mask his concern at his son’s weak voice. Maybe it was just because he’d been sleeping.

“I….I had some trouble today….I had to have the mask thing again and the doctor put the cold metal necklace on to listen inside my chest. Mommy said he was listening to my heart beep. Sometimes it beeps real fast and it scares me.”

“Did he say you were OK?”

Sadness and fear permeated the connection for a moment. “He doesn’t talk to me. He just does stuff to me then, talks to the other bad men about me. I can’t understand what they’re saying most of the time.”

Max tried to control his anger over his son’s treatment by the people who had him and got down to business. “What did your Mommy want you to tell us?”

“She said to tell you that she doesn’t know where we are because she was un…un…asleep when she came here. She thinks it’s a farm or a…a ranch. She doesn’t think the bad men are from the FB……FB

“The FBI?”

“That’s it or…or the gov…govmet.

Max couldn’t hide his surprise and he felt Liz’s as well.

“Zan, did Mommy say who she thought it was that took her?”

“Mommy wanted me to be sure and tell you, the doctor’s name is Hardwell. She said that two of the people were talking and she thinks that this place is his.

Max’s heartbeat accelerated.

“You’re sure about the name?”

“Mommy made me member it real good cause she said it was important. She even made me member how to spell it for you. H…A...R...D...W…E…L…L.”

Max felt Liz’s excitement over this information, and he sent her silent agreement. “That was really good, Zan.

“She said she isn’t sure, but…but the bad men aren’t the same as like when they had you before.”

A shiver of remembered revulsion cut through Max and both of the other people in the connection reacted, Liz with sympathetic vibes and Zan with curiosity.

“Mommy said that bad men had you once too, Daddy, and that she saved you and that’s how she knows you’re going to save us.

Liz quickly clamped down on the anger that statement provoked, and she could feel Max struggling with it too. Tess was obviously not above using Zan to get what she wanted. No surprise there. Liz tried to concentrate on something else. She wondered how Zan knew so much and could speak so clearly.

“Mommy…um…did help Uncle Michael and Aunt Isabel save me from the bad men.” Max acknowledged, trying to be as neutral as possible. “Liz and my other friends did too. And they are helping me find you now.” Aware of the questions going through Liz’s mind, Max gave in to a little curiosity.

“Zan, how did you learn to speak so well, I mean in such a short time?”

“I don’t know. When the doctor let’s Mommy and me be together, she reads me books and she’s been teaching me to read some too. I can say the whole alph…alphbet.” The slight pride in his voice caused Liz’s heart to constrict. Poor Zan had so little to be happy about. They had to find him soon. He didn’t sound well, and she could feel Max’s worry over it through the connection.

Everything got quiet and Max panicked for a second.

“Zan?”

“Sorry, Daddy, I was yawnin’. Oh yeah. Mommy said to tell you that she counted five different people since we came, but she isn’t sure if there’s more outside cause we don’t get to go outside.” Sadness once again, and then what seemed like another yawn. “I yawned again,” Zan confirmed just in case they didn’t know.

“I know you’re tired, so we’ll go OK? We’ll come back in another 5 days and let you know what we found out so you can tell Mommy.”

“Did I do good, Daddy?”

Max felt his heart break a little at the uncertainty in the small voice, and Liz’s feelings were readily apparent as well. “You did real good. I’m sure with the stuff Mommy told you, we’ll be able to figure out where you are really soon. Just hang on, OK?”

“OK. Bye Daddy. Bye Liz,” the little voice said hesitantly, acknowledging her for the first time. She hadn’t felt the fear from him this time either, which was good. Liz had wondered what Tess’s reaction was going to be when she found out that she was the one helping Max communicate with Zan, but apparently Tess hadn’t said or thought anything else negative about her.

“Bye Zan. We’ll be back soon.”

“OK,” he sighed just before the connection melted away.

Max pulled back from the link and a few seconds later opened his eyes to find he and Liz in the same position as last time, foreheads together, hands clasped tightly. He leaned back and brought his hand up to push a stray hair back from her cheek, smiling slightly as her eyes fluttered open and she stared at him, trying to get her bearings for a moment. When she finally did, her eyes lit up with excitement.

“Oh my God, Max. We have a name!” She leaned forward and hugged him hard around the neck.

Max hugged her back, his own excitement and relief almost unbearable. He pulled back and brought his hands up to cup her face. “Thank you, “ he said shaking his head. “Thank you so much for doing this. I would never have been able to get this far on my own.” Max’s hands unconsciously stroked her hair back in a familiar gesture, and Liz allowed herself to enjoy it for a moment before pulling away gently. She hopped off the bed, barely feeling the ache in her back from the position they’d been in.

“Let’s go tell the others. We can start looking this weekend.”

Max got up from the bed too, and laid a hand on her arm as she went to open the door.

“Liz. You’re going to be on the ski trip this weekend.”

Liz looked back at him, some of her excitement diminishing. Gazing up at his masked expression, she said decisively, “I won’t go, Max. This is too important.”

But Max was already shaking his head. “No, Liz. There’s no reason for you to stay here.” It was killing him to say it, but he had too. “All we’re going to be doing is looking up people by the name of Hardwell who own ranches or farms. All of us don’t have to do that, so there’s no reason for you to skip the ski trip. You’ve done more than your fair share already. I promise if we come up with something, we’ll call you, but more than likely, we’re going to have a lot of ground to cover and it’s going to take a while to narrow it down. That won’t happen before the weekend is up.”

“But the more people looking…..”

“….isn’t going to make a difference in the next couple of days.” Max finished for her. “Go Liz. You deserve to have fun.” He shoved his hands in his pockets to keep from touching her. His emotions were running high, and it was taking all the restraint he possessed not to grab her and kiss her and beg her not to go. But, of course, he couldn’t do that so he forced himself to do the opposite.

Liz was reluctant. Suddenly the ski trip didn’t sound so appealing, but her Dad had paid for her to go already, and Max was right. What could possibly happen in the next couple of days?

“OK, but you have to promise that you’ll let me know if you find something.” Liz gazed up into his eyes. “And promise me that you won’t do anything by yourself, if you find something. Promise me, Max.” Her eyes were pleading and determined at the same time, and Max knew he didn’t have a choice.

“I promise.”

“OK.” Liz continued to stare at him as she stepped back, then forced herself to look away and turn to the door.

Max took a deep breath as he followed her.


**************************

Tony sighed. Watching this kid was so fucking boring. He went to school, he went to work, occasionally the library, and he spent a lot of time at that stupid alien restaurant, but that was it. Why this guy wanted him watched, Tony had no idea. He stared at the front of the dingy apartment building where the kid and his long-haired friend lived.

Oh well, at least he was getting paid. It was a 24hour watch so Sammy needed someone to take over when he couldn’t be there. And actually, it could be worse. The sister was hot, although she wasn’t around much, but those other two little ones were cute too. He’d seen the blond with her boyfriend enough times to know that she was a fiesty one. The little brunette was a little too sweet for his taste, but she was still a looker so he could see why the kid was smitten, although according to Sammy, they weren’t really together. Tony smirked. The kid was a loser all the way around. No life and no girl. Pathetic.

He sighed as he unwrapped his sandwich, and took a swig of his drink, frowning as he wished it were a beer. It was going to be another long night.



posted on 31-Jul-2002 10:52:11 PM by sylvia37
Hey everyone. Once again, I'm sorry this took so long. I don't have as much time to write as I used too, plus of course, I get distracted reading all the other great stories on the board. It's hard to pull myself away sometimes.

Thanks so much for the great comments and the bumps. I love hearing from all of you. I look forward to it so much.

Welcome to Frances, my newest poster. As well as all of you who take the time to leave me comments. Thanks again.

Everything to You Part 24
“Liz, Mark and those two airheads are downstairs waiting for you,” Maria said as she entered her friend’s room. “Why are they in the science club exactly? I think a few of my brain cells die whenever I get within breathing distance of them.”

Liz laughed. “I think they have a thing for Mark so they joined,” Liz said as she packed her toiletry bag in her suitcase.

“Yeah, well he is certainly eating up the attention. Speaking of which, why are you riding with him anyway?”

Liz grimaced in self-disgust. “I got distracted when he was asking me and I said yes before I realized it.”

“Distracted by what? Or should I say who?”

“Whom,” Liz corrected her absently. “Max was standing at his locker, and I was getting some strange feelings from him. I couldn’t figure it out, and that’s when I told Mark I’d ride with him.”

Maria hid her smirk as she watched as her friend finished packing. She could just bet what those feelings that Max was projecting were if he’d seen her talking to Mark.

Liz took a few minutes to say goodbye to her parents and listen to the lecture about being careful, and safe and not partying too much, then the two girls made their way downstairs and pushed through the kitchen doors to find the restaurant mostly empty except for their friends. Max and Michael occupied their usual booth and Mark was standing with Jan and Sherrie talking to Kyle. He looked up when Liz came through the door and smiled as he came forward.

“Hey. We were beginning to think you weren’t coming.”

“Sorry. Things have been a little crazy the last couple of days. I didn’t mean to make you wait.”

“No problem. It was worth it,” Mark said smiling down at her. Liz rolled her eyes at his flattery and smiled skeptically.

Max listened to this exchange with a sinking heart, wishing now that he’d resisted the urge to come here and say goodbye to Liz. He'd done a good job of hiding his feelings about her leaving, encouraging her to go because she’d more than earned a chance to get away for some fun, but it was really the last thing he wanted her to do. The sound of her laughter automatically brought his head up, and he forced himself to look away a moment later as the sight of her smiling at the other man stabbed him in the gut with jealousy. When had he turned into such a fucking masochist?

Liz glanced over to where Max and Michael were sitting, wondering for the thousandth time that day if she should go. When she and Max told the group about their conversation with Zan, everyone had come up with suggestions for how to begin their search. Isabel had a friend at school who was a whiz with computers and she was sure she could get him to start searching on the Internet for them. Kyle was going to see what his Dad could come up with, since he knew the most about searching for missing persons. The feeling in the air was actually hopeful for a change, and Liz wasn’t sure she wanted to leave just when things were starting to look up, but both Maria and Max convinced her that it was a good idea so here she was.

As she watched Maria sit down next to Michael, she turned back to Mark. “I’ll be right back. I have to tell Maria something.”

Liz walked over to their table. “I’m…uh…getting ready to go.” She gestured towards the waiting group.

Maria got up and hugged her. “Have a good time, babe, and don’t think about us poor slobs here slaving while you’re off being a snow bunny.”

Liz pulled back and looked at her. “You know how to get in touch with me if something happens, right?”

Maria pushed her in the direction of her waiting group as she looked at her in exasperation. “Liz, go. Have fun and stop worrying about us. We promise not to start the fun without you, right guys?” Maria looked down at the two aliens sitting at the table. Max nodded quickly and stood up and pushing his hands into his pockets.

“Have a good time,” Max nearly choked on the words, but he forced himself to look at her as he said it so she wouldn’t suspect how he really felt.

Liz stared up at him for a moment, wishing she could read what he was really feeling, but he was closed off to her at the moment. She sensed some turmoil beneath the surface, but Max wasn’t giving anything away with his expression so she couldn’t tell if it was just the normal worry or something else. A part of her wished he would ask her to stay, but she knew he wouldn’t do that.

“OK, well….bye.” Liz turned somewhat reluctantly and walked to the waiting group. As she picked up her suitcase, and headed out the door with them, she turned back to give them one last wave, her eyes automatically finding Max’s for a moment before going outside.

Her friends watched as she put her suitcase in the car and got in the front seat after some apparent discussion from the other two girls. Kyle walked over to join the group watching.

“Those two girls are the definition of bimbo.”

“I didn’t notice you fighting off their attention when they came in,” Maria needled him.

“Did you see their…?" Kyle made a graphic cupping gesture with his hands in front of his chest. "Who cares what’s coming out of their mouth.”

“You’re a pig, Kyle.”

“And your point would be…….?”

“Didn’t you ask Jenna to Prom today?” Maria reminded him as they all settled back into the booth.

“So? There’s nothing wrong with looking. Back me up here, guys.” Kyle looked at the other two in the group who were suspiciously quiet.

“I have to live with her,” Michael said matter of factly, inclining his head toward Maria without bothering to look up from his plate.

“And I have to live with him, living with her,” Max said in the same tone of voice.

Kyle shook his head and lifted his hand, simulating a whip being cracked along with the appropriate sound. Michael looked at him from underneath his brows. “Which one of us is sleeping alone tonight?”

“Touché,” Kyle answered with a sigh.

Max’s curved in a half smile as he rose from the booth. “I’m going.”

Maria looked up at him. “You’re coming with us to the movie later, right?”

Max shook his head. “No. I think I’m going to go to the library. You know….get started on some research.”

Maria started to protest but changed her mind when she realized how important this was to him.

“Do you want us to come and help?”

“No, there’s no point in all of us going tonight. I’m not going to be that long anyway because I think they close early Friday. I just can’t sit around and do nothing, you know?”

Maria nodded sympathetically. “OK, but if you change your mind let us know.”

“I will. And don’t let Michael talk you out of a chick flick. It’s your turn to pick, remember?” Max couldn’t control his smirk as Michael looked up at him with a frown.

“You’re a prick, Maxwell.”

Max just smiled wider and waved as he turned and exited the Crash Down, but the it faded as he got in the Chevelle and headed toward the library. Although Isabel’s friend was going to help them with their search, he was going to get out on the Internet tonight and see what he could come up with. He was also going to talk to Valenti about how to research ownership of rural properties in New Mexico and other states.

Max knew he would probably come up empty tonight, but he was too anxious to sit still for a movie. He needed to be doing something productive. Every minute that he wasted, meant another minute his son had to endure more tests and fear and….Max took a deep breath. Let’s not go there right now. It wouldn’t help.

Max ran a hand over his chin as he waited at a red light, thinking about the look on Liz’s face as she’d left the Crash Down. As much as he wished she were here with him, he really hadn’t wanted her to miss out on the ski trip, even if science boy was keeping her company. He could endure the loneliness and jealousy for a weekend if it meant that Liz had some fun and got a break from his chaotic life. He just hoped that’s all it was. A weekend. If she came back from her trip with Mark as her new boyfriend…..Max swallowed convulsively. Ok…something else to avoid thinking about right now.

As the library came into view, Max tried to pull himself away from his negative thoughts. He needed to focus. They actually had a break and he needed to concentrate on that. Finding his son and putting an end to his suffering was what was important, and the really incredible thing was that Liz felt that way too, and didn’t blame him for it. Her words to him the day they broke up came back to him.


"You need to concentrate all of your efforts in that direction… without having to worry about my feelings or anyone else’s. "

As much as it had hurt at the time, Max realized now that she'd been right. If she'd forgiven him for his stupidity in LA and taken him back that day, he would have eventually done something that might have irreparably damaged their relationship. He almost had, but she broke it off in time, as much for her own sake as his. As it was now, at least they were friends and she still wanted him in her life.

If for some reason she decided to give him another chance when this was all over, then he would be the luckiest half-human on the face of the earth, but Max didn’t hold out much hope. She deserved so much more than he could offer her. In spite of what Maria told him, Liz really could do a whole lot better than him.

Max shook his head. So much for avoiding negative thoughts. Seating himself at a terminal, he pulled off his jacket and settled in for night in front of the computer.


******************

Stepping out onto the balcony of the common room at the hotel, Liz wrapped her arms around her hot chocolate cup and gazed out into the clear night. There were a million stars out. As she stared up into the night sky, she wondered what was happening in Roswell.

The car ride to Angel Fire was uneventful but not boring. Mark was an entertaining companion, and they had enough in common to keep the conversation flowing without too many pauses. Even the two air bubbles in the back hadn’t been too annoying. They were actually very sweet girls. Just not too much upstairs. Of course, looking like they did, it didn’t seem to make much difference to many of the guys in the group.

They’d arrived and had a short meeting with the whole group, then checked into their rooms before meeting for dinner. Liz was sharing with one other girl and they’d made their way downstairs after settling in to find almost everyone milling around waiting. The atmosphere was rowdy and excited, and after dinner, they’d all gathered in the common area to talk about the next day’s plans and have hot chocolate and basically loiter until bedtime. They were getting an early start in the morning, so Liz wasn’t planning on staying up too late.

She was having a good time, Liz acknowledged to herself. It was fun just to be normal for a while. But even as she’d joined in on the inane conversation and laughter, Liz realized that she felt isolated from these people, some of whom she’d known since kindergarten. As she’d looked around her, she saw how crazy the life she’d been living really was. While her classmates had been worrying about what grade they were going to get on their midterms, and if the boy they liked was going to call, she’d been running from evil aliens and saving her boyfriend from being tortured by the FBI. And none of them had the faintest clue.

It wasn’t as if she hadn’t known her life was insane, it just didn’t seem as nuts when she was surrounded by people who were living it with her. Here in this place, with these people, it came home to her. Liz Parker, smallest of small town girls, was living a double life. On the outside she was still a normal teenager: smart, pretty, waitress at the local diner owned by her family. On the inside, her former boyfriend was king of an alien planet, had healed her of a fatal gunshot wound, and she was one step ahead of a government conspiracy to keep the public from knowing that aliens really had crashed on earth in 1947.

Liz shook her head and returned her gaze to the sky. She wondered to herself if she really ever could go back to being normal. Did she really want to? Would she trade her life now, for the life she’d been living before? A life without Max? A life without secrets and lies…. without always looking over her shoulder for the next crisis….without former alien queens waiting to ruin her love life?

Liz closed her eyes. A life without bone melting kisses….without translucent hazel eyes that saw into your soul…..

Liz jumped as a hand was laid on her shoulder.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” Mark smiled down at her.

“It’s OK. I was just…..looking at the view,” she answered, a little flustered from having been startled out of her thoughts.

“Yeah, it’s pretty nice,” Mark said, glancing out at the view, not really interested in the beauty of the night sky at the moment. “Are you looking forward to skiing tomorrow?”

“Yeah, although it’s been a while. I think I’m going to have to stick with the easy stuff, at least at first.”

“You’ll be able to get the hang of it again. I can help….if you want.”

“OK,” Liz answered turning to look up at him. She found him staring at her in what seemed like indecision.

“Liz, I…..” He stopped in mid sentence, then suddenly leaned forward, pressing his lips to hers.


Before she had time to react, it was over, but the feel of his lips lingered as he lifted his head and smiled down at her.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for a really long time.”

Liz pulled back from him, her feelings in turmoil. “Mark, I….”

“That’s OK, Liz,” Mark interrupted her as he saw how flustered she was. “I just wanted you to know how I felt. You don’t have to do anything. We can just hang out together this weekend and see if maybe when we get back…you know…you might want to go out…or something.”

Liz shook her head. “I’m not sure I’m ready to…..it hasn’t been that long since Max and I broke up and I’m just …..”

“Maybe you just need someone to help you…you know…get over him.” Mark stepped back to give her space, looking down as he said, “I like you, Liz. I have for a while. I’m not trying to push you or anything so if you just want to go out as friends, that’s OK with me.”

Looking up from his contemplation of the floor, he saw the unsettled expression on her face.

“Look, you don’t have to decide tonight. We can take it slow, and see what happens, OK? ” He glanced inside at the others milling about. “I think everyone’s getting ready to turn in. Are you coming?”

“I’ll be there in a minute.”

“OK.”

Liz watched him go inside then turned back to the view. Oh God. Now what? Her feelings were more confused than ever. She hadn’t expected this. Looking back, Liz supposed she should have seen it coming, but she’d attributed his attention to harmless flirting.

Liz had to admit it to herself. She really did like him. Smart, good-looking, funny, popular, he had everything going for him. He even tutored younger kids in math after school for God’s sake. And the kiss had been….nice. Not mind blowingly passionate like Max’s….but nice.

So what should she do? Liz had told him the truth when she’d said she wasn’t ready. The thought of being with someone other than Max caused a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. But should she just put her life on hold for something that might never be? And what about her double life as accomplice to the secret alien club? Could she really get involved with someone else knowing that she would have to lie and keep secrets from him?

Liz sighed heavily. This was all so fucking complicated, and she was too tired to deal with it right now. Mark was right about one thing. She didn’t have to decide tonight. She would just concentrate on having fun this weekend and deal with his attention when she got back to Roswell. Maybe it would be OK to just go out with him as a friend. One uncomplicated, normal relationship in her life might actually be pretty nice. Liz glanced back up at the stars before running her hands through her hair tiredly and turning to enter the hotel.


**************************


Max jerked awake, heart racing as his head screamed with pain. Grabbing it, he sat up quickly on the couch, leaning over, rocking back and forth. He tried to figure out what was happening, but the nausea and pounding in his skull threatened to make him pass out. Clutching his head, just trying to ride it out, Max gasped a few moments later as it stopped just as suddenly as it started, the pain vanishing as though cut off. Trying to control his breathing, he sat up carefully, feeling shaky and disoriented….. and knowing something was very, very wrong.

Getting up slowly from the couch, he looked around in confusion, trying to identify the reason for what just happened. Then he realized it.

Max barely made it to the bathroom in time as he vomited up everything in his stomach, heaving as panic and nausea threatened to crush him. He was wrong. He had to be wrong. Max sat back shakily wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, his mind a mass of chaotic denial as it shied away from everything his gut was telling him.

The connection with his son that was always there, always a faint glimmer in his consciousness…was gone. Vanished as though it had never been.




posted on 6-Aug-2002 10:38:41 PM by sylvia37
Wow, I don't know what to say. You guys are so great.

Poor nickygurl. I'd like to tell you that things were going to get better soon, but it's going to get a little bumpy from here. Please you guys, stick with me. I love telling this story, but I'm paranoid about it. This is only the second story I've written, and it's nothing like the first.

I hope you'll continue to let me know what you think, but be gentle because my feelings are delicate. Seriously, I do love hearing from you, no matter what, (OK that's asking for it, isn't it?).

I love you guys.


Everything to You Part 25


Max dragged himself off the floor and turned the water in the sink on full blast. Rinsing his mouth and splashing water on his face, he dried it and walked unsteadily into the living room, panic still causing his stomach and his mind to churn in denial.

This is not happening…..we’re going to find you… we’re going to find you….. I promised…..

Concentrating with all of his strength, Max reached out with his mind, but there was nothing and gasping for breath, he finally had to stop.

Why can’t I feel you……so empty…… Max paced in fear, running his hands roughly through his hair.

You’re dead…..

He grabbed the sides of his head in a useless attempt to stop the thought from forning, but it was pointless. Taking sobbing breaths, he continued to pace frantically.

NO! I’ll find you…I promised….You’re OK…I’ll find you…..need to find you……I promised……

Max stopped pacing. Liz! He could go to Liz! She would help him contact Zan again and prove that he was OK. Of course. Liz would help him. She always helped. Have to go to Liz.

Searching frantically for his shoes, Max found them under the couch, and without further thought, ran out the door.


****************************


“How I let you guys talk me into seeing that movie, I will never know,” Maria said as she, Michael and Kyle exited the theatre and walked toward the Jetta.

“We went to see your girly movie first. Besides, it wasn’t so bad. I mean, aside from the total lack of dialogue, complete lack of plot and no characterization, it was pretty good.”

“Since when have you been interested in characterization in a movie, Kyle?”

Kyle looked at her indignantly. “Hey, I’ll have you know, I’m not as shallow as you think I am.”

Michael made a sound suspiciously like a snort, as Maria stared at Kyle incredulously.

“Do the words, ‘who cares what comes out of their mouths’ ring a bell?”

“Well, yeah but….”

“But what?” Maria stopped, crossing her arms in front of her as she faced him. “Did I or did I not hear you basically say that as long as a girl has a big chest, you don’t care if her IQ is smaller than her bra size?”

“Uh…..”

“Very profound. I’m surprised the girls aren’t beating down your door with a sledgehammer. Just a word of advice, Kyle. Try thinking with the head on your shoulders once in a while.”

Maria stalked off toward the car leaving a somewhat dazed Kyle and an irritated Michael behind.

“Way to go pissing her off, asshole.” Michael punched him in the arm and stalked after his irritated girlfriend.

“OW! Hey…that hurt…” Kyle’s voice trailed off as he found himself talking to empty air. Mumbling under his breath, he got in his own car and headed home.

In the Jetta, the silence reigned for a few moments as Michael and Maria rode toward her house. Finally, Michael glanced over at his girlfriend’s passive face.

“You weren’t really mad at him, were you,” It was a statement, not a question.

“No. I was just pulling his chain. But he needs someone to call him on that shit because Jenna’s not a girl who’s going to put up with it. He really does need to start thinking before he says those things.”

“It’s a good thing you don’t have to worry about that, huh?” Michael turned back to the road ignoring her as she turned toward him.

“Yeah, I know you aren’t only interested in my body.” Maria smiled at his profile reaching over to run a hand over his leg.

“So. Are you staying over?”

Michael glanced at her again, then down at the hand high up on his thigh. “It looks that way.”

“Are you sure you don’t need to go home? I mean, is Max expecting you?”

“We don’t exactly keep tabs on each other. Besides, it’s really late. He’s probably figured it out by now.”

“Good. I was planning on helping him with his search tomorrow, but for tonight, you’re mine buddy.”

“Just for tonight?”

“I’ll get back to you tomorrow.” Maria kissed his cheek sweetly before settling back on her side of the car.

Michael pressed his foot closer to the floor board.

**************************************

Max ran into the alley behind the Crashdown, almost skidding as he stopped below Liz’s balcony, the litany in his head having driven him relentlessly on his race across town.

Liz. He had to find Liz.

Bending over at the waist, he panted for a few moments trying to catch his breath before reaching up to grasp the ladder. His leg muscles screamed in protest as he hauled himself up, but he didn’t stop until he’d reached the balcony, and jumped over the ledge.

Rushing to the window, Max fell to his knees, breath heaving as he looked inside. Oh God, it was dark. Where was she? She should be here. It was late…..Where……

Max fell sideways against the wall as reality finally broke through the panic. The ski trip. She wasn’t here. She was gone.

Despair gripped him in a vise as he brought his knees up to his chest. Oh God, what was he going to do? He needed Liz. Laying his head back, Max closed his eyes, unaware of the tears streaming down his cheeks. Desperately, he once again concentrated with all of his energy, reaching out with his mind, trying to grasp some spark of energy from his son, but there was nothing, just an empty void that mocked him with it’s silence.

Shaking his head in denial, Max got up from the cold concrete, shivering in reaction and cold to pace. He would wait. Liz was coming back. He would wait here until she came. Then she would help. She had to. She had to help him because he’d promised. He’d promised his son he would save him…..

Max sank down on Liz’s favorite lawn chair, grasping the sweater he found there to his chest as he curled around it. It smelled like Liz. He breathed in deeply, the scent calming him a little. Desolation clawed at him, but he clutched the sweater and forced himself to lie still, waiting for his salvation to come home.

******************************

Michael stumbled into the apartment, bleary-eyed from too little sleep and automatically glanced at the couch. Pausing when he saw the blanket and sheet strewn across the floor, he nevertheless kept heading for the bathroom. Max said he was going to get an early start on his research, so he must have left already. Damn that boy was anxious. Michael felt a twinge of guilt that he quickly squashed. He’d track him down once he’d had a few hours of sleep. He wouldn’t be any good until then anyway.

Michael relieved himself and went into the bedroom where he threw off his clothes for the second time in the space of a few hours and laid down on the bed. Sleep soon claimed him.

******************************

Liz shivered as the cold hit her. They’d just finished breakfast and were heading out the door towards the ski lift. Reaching up, she ran a finger over her temple massaging the ache that still lingered there.

She’d woken up this morning with a headache, which wasn’t normal for her and her roommate suggested it might be the altitude. Whatever it was, she’d been afraid it might incapacitate for the rest of the day, but pills helped and the pounding had eventually dulled to a small ache.

As they approached the ski lift, Liz felt a hand touch her arm and turned to find Mark walking up beside her.

“Hey, you ready for this?” He asked, giving her a smile. He didn’t seem the least bit tense or put off by their encounter last night, and Liz relaxed at his friendly tone. She’d been a little apprehensive about seeing him this morning, not knowing how he was going to react to her lack of response to his overtures, but he’d been acting completely normal since she’d seen him at breakfast.

“Yeah. I’m a little nervous since it’s been so long, but I’m looking forward to it.”

“Me too. Will you meet me for lunch? I mean, a group of us are having lunch together so it wouldn’t be just you and me…” Mark stopped when Liz’s lips began to curve in amusement and he smiled ruefully back at her.

“Is that a yes?” He asked looking down into the thickly lashed dark eyes, framed by the knit cap she wore.

“That’s a yes. And don’t hang out on the bunny slope on my account. I’ll try to hit the harder hills after lunch.”

“OK. See ya at lunch then. ” Mark waved to one of the other guys and slogged off to catch up. Liz watched him leave before getting in line for the lift. Looking at her watch, she wondered if anyone was up in Roswell yet. Maybe she’d call Maria after lunch.




*******************************

Max’s body trembled in the cool morning air where he huddled on the lawn chair, and a frown marred his handsome face as his closed eyelids fluttered with his dreams…..

Staring up at the stars, feeling confused and desperate. Why was he fighting with Liz? Max ran a finger over his forehead. That’s right. She was going to Sweden to expose them. No. She was going to find out about Alex. But wouldn’t that expose them?

Suddenly Tess was there. Why was she here? She’s always here. Why can’t I remember why?

“She doesn’t want you, Max. Liz doesn’t trust you. She thinks you’re to blame for killing Alex.”

“No. She’s upset. Her friend is dead. You’re wrong.”

“No, I’m right.. I’m the one you can trust. I love you. I'll always be here for you.”

“Why are we inside? What are you doing? “

“You want me, Max. We were married. I’m your wife.”

My wife. From before. Shaking his head, trying to clear it. No.

“ I don’t want you. I never wanted you. Only Liz.”

“Liz doesn’t love you anymore. I love you.”

“Liz doesn’t love me.”

“That’s right. I’m the one you want. I’ll always be here. Take your shirt off.”

Why can’t I fight this? Her lips are cold. No! Oh God! Please. Don’t touch me…


Max jerked awake, a cry wrenched from his lips. Disoriented, he looked around. Liz’s balcony. Why…..

A noise from inside alerted him, and instinctively, he scrambled to the corner away from the view of the window as it lifted and Nancy Parker’s head poked out. She looked around, then called back,

“I think it must have been a bird. I don’t see anything.”

Her head disappeared, and Max sat in the corner, panting for several minutes, trying to figure out what woke him. Tess had been touching him. In his dream. He’d wanted her to stop but his body wouldn’t obey him. Just like the night he’d kissed her in the rain.

Wait. His dream…. The night he had sex with her, they were at the observatory and they were there again in his dream.

“I’m ready to wake up now.”

No that wasn’t right. He’d never said that to her. Max shook his head trying to untangle the mass of memories that assaulted him. It wasn’t a dream. It was what really happened. Bile rose in his throat as he felt her lips on his flesh again. No….

Max’s breath sobbed in his chest as he crawled toward the ledge, not wanting Liz’s mother to see him, but desperately wanting to outrun the memories that were suddenly coming at him. Tess pulling his shirt off….him helping with hers….

Max shook his head. He had to get out of here. Make it stop…make it stop…..

********************

Tony sat up straight and rubbed his eyes to clear the cobwebs in his brain as the kid finally decided to descend the ladder. It was about damn time.

He watched Max fall against the wall, wrapping his arms around himself as he slid to the ground.

Shit, this kid’s a fucking basket case. Debating whether he should do something, Tony decided to watch and see what happened. After all, Sammy wasn’t paying him to do anything besides watch the kid. Maybe it was going to finally get interesting. He’d thought so last night when Max had torn out of the apartment, and ran to the little waitress's house. But then, nothing happened. Tony’d almost been asleep when the kid finally reappeared a minute ago.

Oh shit here he goes again. Damn, this kid was fast. He ran like demons were out to get him. Tony followed slowly at a distance as the kid headed back towards the apartment, then cringed as he ran across a street, barely missing being creamed by a car. Did the kid have a death wish? Max tripped up the sidewalk falling, then dragged himself up and kept running.

As they finally neared the apartment, Tony slowed to a crawl. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot of traffic at this time on a Saturday. Max seemed to be running out of steam as his pace slowed. Only a few yards left.

Tony saw the van a split second before the door was flung open, and a large bald man dressed completely in black, wearing sunglasses, stepped out. Before either he or Max could react, the man shoved Max to the ground, pinning his arms behind him. The kid was putting up a struggle, but another man got out of the van and shoved needle in his arm. A minute later the struggles stopped and they dragged his limp body into the open door. Debating for a second on whether or not to call Sammy, Tony decided against it. He'd follow the van and find out where they were taking him first. Then he'd call.

Following a safe distance behind the van, Tony smiled grimly. No wonder the guy wanted a tale on the kid. This shit was finally getting good.



[ edited 2 time(s), last at 13-Aug-2002 10:32:26 PM ]
posted on 13-Aug-2002 10:29:57 PM by sylvia37
Hey guys. Thanks for all the bumps and feedback. I love hearing from you. I wish I could tell you things are going to get better, but it's still going to be rough for now. Please don't let that stop you from reading or writing to me.


Everything to You Part 26

“I haven’t seen him, Michael,” Isabel’s voice came over the line. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing yet. I just can’t find him. The car’s still parked outside, but I’ve been to the library, the Crash Down. I even called the Valenti’s but they haven’t seen him since last night.”

“You said the car’s still there?”

“Yeah. I saw that he was gone when I got in this morning, but I didn’t notice the car till later. I guess I was too out of it when I got home. Wait a minute.”

Michael had leaned over to move the sheet from where it was hanging off the coffee table. A sickening feeling formed in the pit of his stomach as he stared at his find.

“Max’s wallet is still here.”

“What?” Isabel fairly yelled in his ear.

“His wallet. It’s here on the coffee table.”

“I’m coming over. This is bad, Michael. Do you think he found something and took off on his own?”

“How the hell should I know? He’s so messed up these days, who knows what he’d do.”

“I’ll be there in a minute. Wait for me.”

“Yeah.” Michael turned off the phone and threw it on the couch as he stared at the wallet in his hand.

“Dammit, Maxwell. What the hell is going on?”


*************************************


Liz wiped tears from her eyes as she tried not to snort with laughter.

“When we finally managed to get out of there, the girl was sure we were gay, and I couldn’t get Hula boy here to leave the house for a week.”

The whole table cracked up, and Mark’s cheeks reddened as he shot a death glare at Tim, who was telling the story, but Liz could see the smile playing about his lips. He caught her grinning at him, and the smile broke through as he shrugged good-naturedly.

Lunch was over, and they were just getting ready to go back out on the slopes. She’d managed to hold her own on the easy stuff this morning, so she was ready to conquer the next step up now. She was having a great time and the problems in Roswell seemed very far away at the moment. She had tried to get Maria on the phone earlier, but she wasn’t answering, and the only real shadow on the day was the faint headache she’d been experiencing since this morning.

Mark picked up her skis for her as they headed out the door.

“So. Are you ready for the harder hills now?”

“Yeah, I’m ready. Just promise me you won’t laugh when I spend most of the time picking myself up off the ground.”

“Hey, after the story Tim just told, I wouldn’t dare laugh. Nothing could be more embarrassing than that.”

Liz grinned at him “That was pretty bad.”

“Well, now you know all my secrets. It’s my turn to hear yours.”

Liz’s smile dimmed somewhat as the reality of her life intruded a little. Her secrets. Right.

“Sorry, there’s nothing to tell.” It wasn’t exactly a lie.

“Oh, trying to be mysterious are we? Mark leaned down to whisper in her ear, “I love a good mystery.”

Liz ducked her head so he couldn’t see her expression. Luckily, Mark was distracted by one of his friends asking him a question so she got out of having to answer him.

She sighed a little in relief. Last night, despite being very tired, she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about the secrets in her life and after some soul searching, Liz had finally come to terms with it.

Yes, it was a dilemma as far as having to decide whether or not to allow someone else into her life, especially someone who wanted to date her, but she did not regret knowing about Max, Michael and Isabel.

Max had saved her life. She’d saved his. They were connected in a way that transcended normal human relationships and she would not wish to give that up, even if it meant that she wouldn’t have had to endure the pain of the last year. Knowing Max and loving him had been worth it, and even if they were never able to regain what they’d lost, she didn’t regret it.

But that didn’t mean that she liked having to keep part of her life a secret from her friends. It was hard to lie, but Max had trusted her with his life all those years ago and she would never betray that or wish that it hadn’t happened.

They approached the line for the lift, and Liz wondered again what was happening in Roswell. Had Max found out anything about Zan’s whereabouts? She hoped so. It would be nice to be able to tell Zan the next time they connected with him that they were coming to get him. Then maybe Max could stop blaming himself for what happened and start trying to take control of his life. She wanted that for him desperately. Please let there be good news when I get back, she thought to herself as the line moved forward.


*********************************

His body ached. All over. And why was that light so bright? It burned even behind his closed eyelids. He tried to open them, but they only fluttered against his cheeks.

“He’s awake.”

“Shoot him up again. The doctor doesn’t want him awake until after he’s finished the initial tests.”


A moment later, Max felt the prick of the needle in his arm. He moaned and tried to move, but something seemed to be holding his arms down. Where was he? As the voices faded, he tried to recall what happened but his brain was getting fuzzy again. A man had grabbed him. He tried to fight, but then everything had gone black.

Struggling, Max finally managed to open his eyes a slit. The room was a blur and he blinked rapidly, bringing it into focus. White ceiling…..white walls….

Terror stabbed through him so acutely that he couldn’t breath for a moment. Vaguely hearing the heart monitor going crazy and the sound of rapidly approaching feet, Max closed his eyes and welcomed the black void that claimed him, keeping him from facing the truth.

**********************************

Isabel opened her eyes and looked up at Michael, frustrated tears gathering in her eyes.

“I lost him. It felt like I had him for a second, but it was blurry and I couldn’t really see anything, then he was gone. I think he’s drugged again. It was kind of like last time when he was taken. Everything was so disoriented and it took me a while to reach him.”

“Drugged? That means they have him right?” Kyle voiced the question that was on all of their minds.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions, son. He’s only technically been missing a few hours, and we can’t assume that anyone has him just because Isabel can’t reach him.” Jim Valenti tried to be the voice of reason, but even he knew they were grasping at straws.

“A few hours? He’s been gone since early this morning, and it’s…” Michael looked at the clock on the wall. “5:00 in the afternoon. That’s more than a few fucking hours!”

Maria reached out to touch his arm, and he looked back at her before turning back to the former sheriff with a somewhat calmer expression. It was really all she could do right now. Be there for him and try to hold it together. Maria wasn’t deluding herself. They all knew the score. Max was gone without a word to anyone, his car was still out front, and he’d left his wallet. The evidence was damning.

“I don’t know, Dad. I gotta go with Michael on this one. I mean, we’ve been all over town looking for him. And even if he was stupid enough to take off on his own if he found out something about the kid, he wouldn’t leave without the car. I think it’s pretty obvious that somebody grabbed him.”

“Did they just come in the house and snatch him? It doesn’t make any sense.” Isabel got up from the couch where she’d been trying to reach Max for the last half-hour. She couldn’t sit still any longer.

“It doesn’t seem likely that they came in the house,” Valenti stated, finally relenting. “There wasn’t any sign of a struggle, although the bed was pretty messed up. It looks like Max was already out of the house when it happened.”

“But why would he leave without his car or his wallet? Unless he just stepped outside and they got him.” Michael speculated. Had there been a strange car outside when he got home? Damn, he couldn’t remember.

“Maybe Jim’s right, Michael. You know, maybe we’re jumping to conclusions.” Isabel spoke anxiously, trying to convince herself as well as the others. “We all know how Max has been these last few months. Maybe he got another vision, and he got disoriented or….or he hurt himself and can’t contact us.”

“Isabel…..”

Michael crossed the room and took the sobbing girl in his arms. Isabel clung to him as her fear for her brother got the better of her. The others looked on in sympathy for a moment, then Maria turned to Valenti, giving Isabel time to pull herself together.

“ I know we’re only speculating,” she said quietly, “ but let’s say they do have him. We’re talking about the “they” who have Tess and Zan right? Why would they take him now? Why not months ago? You haven’t been able to find anything about this Hardwell guy?”

“I spent the morning on the phone with some people, and I’m waiting for calls back.”

The look on Michael’s face spoke volumes about what he thought of that statement. Michael Guerin did not play the waiting game very well.

“I’m not going to sit around here waiting. I’m going out to look for him some more.”

“I’m coming too.” Maria picked up her purse as she headed towards the door. Michael looked down at Isabel, who’s worried expression mirrored what was in his own heart.

“We’ll find him,” he said, trying to sound reassuring.

“I’m just so scared, Michael. He’s been so strung out about Zan and this thing with Tess. If they have him again, he may not be able to handle it this time.”

“I know, but he has Zan to think about, not just himself. He’ll hold it together for him.”

Isabel nodded reluctantly. “I’ll try again in a little bit and call you if I get anywhere.”

“OK.”

Michael and Maria got in the Jetta and headed toward downtown. Maria pulled out her phone and stared at it for a moment.

“I don’t want to, but I think I should call Liz. I mean, she was able to get through to him last time when Isabel couldn’t at the summit in New York. Maybe she could do it again, and I know she’ll be pissed if we don’t tell her something’s wrong.”

“I wouldn’t call her yet,” Michael said glancing sideways at her as he drove. “We might be worrying her for nothing if we find him and she can’t exactly do anything from where she is. If it turns out that Isabel can’t reach him, we’ll still have to wait until she gets home. Besides, she wasn’t able to talk to him in New York and I don’t think hand signals are going to cut it this time.”

“I guess.” Maria said, not convinced. Somehow in her heart she knew that Liz could help. But Michael was right about one thing. She wouldn’t be home until tomorrow so what good would it do to tell her now. Maria put the phone down and stared in concentration out the window. Please let us find him.

An hour and a half later, she was once again beginning to lose hope, as her cell phone rang and she reached into her purse to answer it.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Maria. I tried to get you at lunch, but you didn’t answer.”

“Liz. Hi.” Maria said looking at Michael. They were just coming out of the UFO Center where they had once again come up empty.

“Sorry the phone was off by accident.”

“So how’s it going? We’re having a great time.”

“Oh, it’s going.” Michael made a face at her and she shrugged.

“What’s wrong? You sound funny.”

“Wrong? Um….”

"Maria, what's wrong? Did something happen?"

Maria sighed. She wasn’t going to lie to her best friend. “OK, Liz. I don’t want you to get upset. It’s just that ……we can’t find Max.”


"What?"

“Yeah, um…we’ve haven’t seen him since last night, and well…..the car is still parked outside the apartment….and wallet and keys are there too.” Maria cringed as she said this knowing how much it was going to upset her because the implications were obvious. She waited but no sound came across the wires.

“Liz? Liz are you there?”

"Oh my God," Liz finally said in a strangled voice. “What….what are you guys doing about it? Has …has Isabel been able to…."

“She tried but she hasn’t been able to reach him. She’s not sure why except that she thinks he might be drugged.”

"Drugged?"

“She said it was kind of like the last time and….”

“Listen Maria, I’m coming home. One of the girls told me earlier that she’s leaving tonight and I’m going to try and catch a ride. I’ll call you back when I’m on the road.”

"Ok sweetie. Be careful. And Liz?"

"Yeah?"

“Don’t worry, OK? We’ll find him before something happens.”

Another few moments of silence.


"What if we don't Maria?" Liz’s husky voice finally said, thick with tears.

“ Have faith, OK. I love you.”

“Me too. I’ll call back in a few.”

“Bye.”

Maria clicked off and wiped the tears from her eyes with a tissue. “She’s coming home tonight. One of the other girls is leaving and she’s catching a ride.”

“How was she?”

“About how you’d expect.”

Michael sighed in frustration. “I’m going to head back.”

Maria nodded and sighed inwardly as well. Isabel hadn’t called so they must not have been able to reach him and Max was nowhere to be found in Roswell as far as they could tell. Kyle had driven out to the pod chamber and called to say he wasn’t there either. It was looking more and more like Max had been taken. Hopefully, Liz would be able to help reach him. They were running out of options.




*****************************

Liz was throwing the last of her stuff into her suitcase when there was a knock on the door. Going to get it, she was surprised to find Mark there. She’d forgotten about him in her haste to go.

“Liz, um..hi. I heard you were leaving. Is everything OK?”

“Yeah,” she answered gesturing him in then going back to her suitcase. “There was a family emergency and I need to go back.”

“I’m sorry. I hope everybody’s alright.”

“Me too,” she said honestly. Liz was trying really hard to hold it together long enough to get on the road. She hadn’t allowed herself to think beyond that because she knew on the drive back to Roswell, that’s all she would be able to do. Think. Think about Max…...

“I have to go.” she told him distractedly. Picking up her suitcase, she headed to the door, and Mark followed.

When they got down stairs, Donna and her mother were waiting, and she put her suitcase in the trunk. She saw that Mark was still standing there as she got in the car so she said, “Thanks for …you know…everything. I’ll see you at school.”

“OK. Be careful.”

“Bye.” Liz got in the back seat and put her seatbelt on. As Donna’s mother stared the car, she leaned forward. “Thanks again for the ride, Mrs. Reese.”

“Oh honey, that’s OK. I’m just glad we were still here when you got the call.”

“Me too.” Liz sat back and pulled out her phone. She waited impatiently for Maria to pick up.


Hello?"

"It's me. We're on the road. Any news?

“No. We just got back to the apartment a little while ago. Isabel hasn’t been able to reach him and we didn’t find any trace of him when we were looking.”

“Did you try the pod chamber?” Liz was whispering just in case Donna and her mother could hear her, but they were chatting and the radio was on so she didn’t think they could.

"Yeah. Kyle rode out there. No sign."

“God, Maria. What could have happened? You don’t have any indication at all why he would have left without his stuff?"

“None, pumpkin. It just looks like he got up really fast and left. The sheets and blanket on the couch were all over the place, so it looks like whatever happened, it shook him up.”

“OK, well I’ll be there in a few hours. Call me back if you find out anything and please don’t leave without me unless you have too.”

"We won't."

Liz clicked off the phone, and finally giving in to her fear, she sat with her eyes closed, fighting the urge to cry. Please don’t let them have him, please don’t let them have him, her brain chanted over and over, but she knew in her heart it was futile. As she tried to calm her nervous breathing, she knew what she had to do, but she didn’t know how to go about it. Before she’d always had Max to lead the way, and she’d just been there to help. Now she was going to have to try it on her own.

Concentrating as hard as she could, Liz tried to open a connection. She thought about Max. The last time she saw him, their time together at the Crash Down, anything and everything. She tried to do it as she’d done with Isabel before, and for a second, she thought she had an inkling of him, but it was gone almost right away. Letting go of the breath she’d been holding unconsciously, she felt frustration bring more tears to her eyes.

I can’t do it by myself. I need Isabel. Please hurry, she thought, rubbing her temple where the ached had intensified again. Oh God. Please let him be OK. Why did this have to happen? Please let him be OK. Liz fought her panic as the minutes crawled slowly by.

TBC.....

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Aug-2002 11:21:48 PM ]
posted on 21-Aug-2002 10:54:50 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. You guys are so great for bumping me. It's so sweet. I hope to have the new part done in the next couple of days. I just wanted you to know since you've been waiting for me. Thanks so much.

Sylvia
posted on 23-Aug-2002 10:44:58 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Well' I told you it would be a couple of days and here I am. I hope you like the new part. I really want to here from you because this is hard to write sometimes and the only thing that let's me know if it's worth it is to here from you.

Clueless, 2Crzy4roswell, Mandy, Roswelllady, Mareli
The bumps make my day. Thanks so much.


Everything to you Part 27


“I won’t leave, Max. I love you. I’ve always loved you.”

Max’s eyes flew open, the sound of Liz’s voice in his head fading as the dream started to fade. He was dreaming about making love to Liz. Not an unusual occurrence, but why was he in the observatory where he and Tess……

Awareness of his environment slowly seeped into his fogged brain and he felt his gut clench in fear as the reality of his situation intruded on his thoughts. He was in a white room. Max automatically tried to lift his arms, but found them held to the side of the table he was on by metal cuffs. His breathing accelerated as he forced himself to look around. It wasn’t exactly like the room he’d been imprisoned in before. It was less sterile looking, more like a regular hospital room, but larger. He saw that he was hooked up to a monitor of some sort, small wires running from his bare chest and temples. His lower half was covered in blue surgical scrubs.

Experimentally, he tried using his powers on the metal cuffs, but just as he suspected, they didn’t work. He forced himself to control his breathing, trying to control his panic. He’d been running back to Michael’s when someone had grabbed him from behind. Why had he been out that early? Agony shot through him again as his memory of the night before started coming back to him. Waking up and finding his connection to Zan gone…..running to Liz’s house only to remember she was skiing…..dreaming about Tess…..

A sound from outside the door distracted him from his thoughts and it opened to reveal a man in hospital scrubs and cap pushing a gurney. He glanced at Max, his expression impassive before pushing the gurney into the room. The top part was elevated so Max couldn’t see if there was an occupant.

As the man moved to the side of the gurney still obscuring his view, Max’s gaze was drawn outside the door trying to see if there was anything that would help him. The hallway was ordinary, revealing nothing of his prison to help identify where he might be. Max let his head fall back as craning his neck made him aware of the aches and pains still present in his body from where his arms had been brutally pinned behind him and he’d been thrown roughly to the sidewalk. Turning toward the gurney, he still found his view blocked as the man in scrubs walked over to him and removed the wires. He pushed the monitor to the door and exited quietly, closing the door behind him.

The person’s head was turned away, but he saw the tangled blond hair spread against the pillow before the gurney’s occupant finally turned toward him. Dull blue eyes stared into his as Max’s whole body stiffened, his arms tightening against the cuffs causing pain to shoot into his biceps.

Tess’s mouth quirked as she saw the shock register in the hazel eyes.

“Hello, Max.”


*************************

“OK, babe. Bye.” Maria clicked hit the “off” button on the phone, and looked at the anxious faces of the people sitting with her in Michael’s apartment. “She’ll be here in about an hour.”

“Did she try to contact him, Maria?” Isabel asked anxiously.

“Liz said she tried a couple of times, but she couldn’t do it. She felt him a little, but she couldn’t make it go any deeper.”

Isabel nodded tensely, and turned back to pace, chewing nervously on a fingernail. They’d been sitting here, unable to do anything but wait. Isabel had tried to contact Max herself for quite a while, but something was blocking her. There was no telling what kind of drugs they might be using on him, or what effect they could be having. Drugs to put him to sleep, drugs to block his powers….it could be anything keeping her out, and if he wasn’t asleep anymore, it would be that much more difficult for her. Hopefully she and Liz together, could at least get Liz in. Right now, she’d settle for anything. Glancing at Michael, she knew she wasn’t the only one ready to explode.

They all turned as the door opened and Jim Valenti and Kyle walked in.

“Well?” Michael said impatiently as Jim removed his hat.

“The librarian said he left when the library closed at 10:00 last night. Your neighbor said she heard Max come home a little later, and what sounded like a slamming door at about 2:00 AM this morning, and saw someone that may have been him running up the block. She didn’t see or hear anything after that. No one else has seen him.”

“2:00 AM? What the hell would he be doing running at 2:00 AM?” Michael ran an agitated hand though his already unruly hair.

“Maybe he couldn’t sleep or he had a bad dream and needed to clear his head. That would explain why he didn’t take the car.” Maria said trying to be logical.

“That’s true, Michael. You know he runs sometimes when he’s upset.” Isabel agreed with Maria, trying to make some sense of the situation as well.

“OK, but that still doesn’t explain what happened. If he left here at 2:00 this morning, then where is he?”

“I think I can answer that question.”

All heads turned toward the voice that came through the open door where only the screen had been shut.

“But first, I want an explanation.”


*************************

Max stared at the girl on the gurney, his gut twisting in shock…fear….anger…too many things to describe. Lying across from him was the main cause of all of the pain and anguish in his life over the last year.

Tess looked like hell, her blond hair matted and tangled, her skin pale and drawn, her small body was covered in a sheet and blanket. After having been here for months she had a right to look like that, but Max couldn’t find it in himself to feel sorry for her.

“Are you just going to keep staring at me? Don’t you have anything to say to the mother of your child?”

Max felt bile rise in his throat, and closing his eyes, he tipped his head back against the table he was laying on and waited for the feeling to pass. When he was once again in control, he looked over at her, forcing himself to ask the question he was so afraid to find out the answer too.

“Where is Zan, Tess? I….” he swallowed as dread choked him. “I lost the connection last night….”

Max stopped as he suddenly realized that that wasn’t true. He could feel the link, faint, a mere whisper, but it was there and relief flooded his soul. He’d been too preoccupied with his fear and shock to notice it before. Zan was alive. But just barely. Trying to deepen the link, he concentrated for a moment, but the connection remained faint. He looked over at Tess who stared at him, her mouth twisted in contempt, even as hope brightened her eyes a little.

“What happened to him? I lost the connection last night, but now I can feel it again. It should be stronger now that I’m close, not weaker than before.”

“He went to cardiac arrest last night.”

Max felt like someone had punched him in the stomach. “Why….how….” he couldn’t even get a coherent sentence to come out of his closed throat.

“It’s because the Granolith crashed,” she answered bitterly. “I was unconscious when they found me. My left leg was damaged, and I had…. assorted other problems. I almost lost Zan but….somehow I managed to carry him for another couple of weeks. He was early by about a week and….” Tess stopped to swallow, tears pooling in her eyes.

“His heart and lungs didn’t develop properly. He has trouble breathing sometimes and his heart was already so weak…. The doctor….” Tess’s eyes burned with hatred for a moment. “They look at him like a lab rat, but they did try to save him. They just…. couldn’t do anything for him.”

Max turned away from her, tears burning the back of his throat as his heart twisted. His son was dying.
Suddenly, it clicked.

“That’s why you suddenly told them where to find me, isn’t it? Because you want me to heal him?”

Tess’s eyes looked back at him in accusation. “I tried to wait for you to find us, but you took too long. I couldn't wait any longer. Zan couldn't wait any longer."

Anger and guilt burned a hole in the pit of his stomach and Max could barely choke the words out.

“What do you think I’ve been doing for the last few months? I’ve spent practically every waking moment trying to find him. Ever since he first contacted me. I sacrificed school…my job… my family….Liz….”

Max stopped as hatred and scorn turned Tess’s face a mottled red. “Of course you wouldn’t want to give up your precious Liz. Not even for your own son.”

“Shut up!” Max shouted at her, not caring who was listening as his pent up rage and pain came to surface. “Just keep your fucking mouth shut. Don’t ever say her name again. You have no idea what’s been going on because of you and your…."

“Excuse me if I don’t really give a damn what you’ve been through because of me,” she interrupted him as her eyes burned blue venom at him and her mouth curled in contempt.

“Maybe you haven’t noticed that I’ve been being held practically in prison with your son, being tortured and probed and….” Tess stopped as her breath came out in gasps, her rage practically causing her to hyperventilate. “All because that bitch had you wrapped around her little finger.”

Max looked back at her incredulously. “You’re blaming this situation on Liz? Liz was the one who helped me contact Zan. You should be grateful, but of course you’re not.” Max looked up at the ceiling in helpless anger, his impotent hands clenching into fists, before turning his bitter gaze on her.

“The only people at fault here are you and me, Tess. I was stupid enough to believe that having me and Michael and Isabel as a family would be enough for you. Instead, you manipulated us and you used me….Max stopped, swallowing the against the bitterness that threatened to choke him. He looked at the girl lying silently on the other side of the room, humiliated tears causing his eyes to shimmer. “None of this matters now. The only thing that matters is Zan. Where is he?” Max was angry at himself for allowing Tess to side track him into shouting match with her when Zan needed him.

“He’s in another room being monitored. The doctor will probably be here in a minute. No doubt he’s been listening to us argue, enjoying every moment. He told me Zan was holding on earlier today, but he didn’t think he had much time left. I told them you could heal him. You have to, Max. You have to save our son.”

Max felt her words like a knife through his heart. Oh God, what if he couldn’t do it? He lay there silently, breathing heavily, his feelings threatening to tear him apart. He wanted to scream and cry and smash things. Hatred for the people holding he and his son hostage, for the girl who had caused all of this but who still refused to accept responsibility…. for himself …..he felt insane with his inability to express it. It was choking him….smothering him….

Suddenly, Max felt a whisper soft brush against his mind. A fleeting feeling that pushed through the rage and helplessness. It only lasted a moment, but he knew what it was or rather who it was.

Liz was trying to contact him. Max closed his eyes to recapture the feeling, but it was gone. He took a deep breath. It helped to calm his raging emotions somewhat, just knowing that she was trying to find him…find them. He didn’t know what time it was or how long he’d been here but his friends must have figured out by now that he was missing.

Of course the problem was that he still had no idea where he was. And honestly right now he didn’t care. He just wanted to see his son. After all these months of looking and worrying, he was within a few feet and he still hadn’t seen him. Where was that fucking doctor?

A few moments later, the door opened and a small man entered. He was dressed in a lab coat and carried a chart and as he walked toward him, Max could see that his eyes were curiously devoid of warmth, like two black marbles, bottomless and cold, belying the benevolent expression on his face. . He watched the man approach apprehensively, unable to still the pounding of his heart.


“Hello Max. I am Doctor Hardwell. I’m sorry it took so long for me to greet you since you awakened, but I was fascinated by your interaction with Tess and I wanted to observe the two of you together before I interrupted. I must say that I was not disappointed.” A small smile appeared on his thin lips and Max shuddered at the coldness of it. “Were I not completely aware that the two of you were not human, I would never have guessed it. It is really no wonder you’ve managed to remain undetected for so long. Until now, that is.”

Max stared at the doctor, dread tying his stomach in knots. He could already see that this man had no compassion. Pierce at least had shown some emotion, even if it was just contempt and anger. This man showed nothing. And his words confirmed that he and Tess were being watched and listened to from somewhere outside the room.

“I imagine you have a lot of questions so feel free to ask me anything. You’re going to be here for a very long time so there is no reason for me to lie to you.”

Max glanced over at Tess. Although she lay impassively on her bed, her eyes showed her hatred of the man. Turning back he found the doctor staring at them with great interest as though expecting them to break out of their human shells and turn into slimy green monsters, and Max suppressed another shudder. He swallowed thickly and tried not to show his fear but his voice was hoarse with it when he spoke.

“I only want to know where my son is. Tess said he’s being monitored. I’d like to see him.”

“Ah yes, the boy. We are monitoring him quite closely and I really am disappointed that he is doing so poorly. We did try and repair the damage to his heart and lungs, but it was too severe. I am anxious to see you perform your healing process on him. Tess tells us that it is quite remarkable. There will be a few rules, however.”

Max nodded hesitantly and the doctor continued. “As you probably know, we have injected you with a compound that represses the neural transmitters in your cerebral cortex that control your powers. I have a counter agent to this compound and I will allow you to see your son and attempt to heal him if you agree to only use your powers for this process. There will be armed men in the room and I warn you that if you try to use them to escape or hurt others, we will be forced to hurt either one or both of you. I do not enjoy violence however it has it’s merits in a case such as this. Do you agree?”

Max nodded again, quickly. He didn’t care. He would agree to anything if it meant he could help Zan.

“Very well, then. I will administer the compound, and we will be going to see your son in a little while.” The doctor’s eyed him keenly for a moment. “I must say that I find it fascinating that you knew of him even though you’ve never met. You have a mental link no doubt?” He made this last statement a question, but Max didn’t answer, just lay still while the nurse who’d accompanied the doctor swabbed his upper arm with a cotton ball then stuck him with the needle.

“You’re resistance to my questions is understandable given your previous capture by Agent Pierce. You will find, however, that I am not interested as Agent Pierce was, in eliminating your species from our planet. I am more interested in finding out how you differ from humans and how we might use that difference. The knowledge I obtain may open a whole new world to us.” Another small smile lifted his lips before he turned toward the door. “I will be back in a few moments to accompany you to the child’s room.”

Max watched as he left, then took a deep breath, letting his head rest back against the cold table.

“Cold, unfeeling bastard.” Tess said vehemently as the door closed behind the nurse. “That fucking prick sounds like some kind of robot and he calls us not human.”

“Who is he and how does he know about Pierce?” Max asked realizing that he’d been so preoccupied with worrying about Zan, he hadn’t asked any questions about their situation.

“He’s a scientist just like your little Liz,” she said nastily, but Max only glared at her, refusing to take the bait.

“He got a job with the government, not too long after we crashed here in 1947. He worked in the lab, helping and eventually doing a lot of the research of our equipment and the other crash victim they captured. All that stuff Pierce used on you the last time, he helped develop. But Pierce thought he was too interested in studying us and not interested enough in destroying. They got rid of him, and Hardwell’s been in hiding ever since. When his equipment detected the crashing of the Granolith and he found me and our pods, he thought he’d won the lottery.”

“How did you find out all of that?

“From asking him and listening to the other’s talk.” Tess sighed and closed her eyes, tiredness etching lines in her pale skin. It was obvious that the crash and being held prisoner had taken a major toll on her health. She’d said her leg was damaged along with other things. Max wondered if she could even walk, but he didn’t ask. He wasn’t particularly interested in her condition at the moment.

Max lay back and closed his eyes, feeling tired and afraid. His body ached from head to toe, and he hoped that he had enough energy in him to heal Zan. He knew he’d be completely drained afterward, but it didn’t matter as long as it worked. Please let it work.

Max turned his head toward Tess. She was still lying with her eyes closed looking almost asleep.

“Have you been able to contact Zan since last night?” Max asked.

“No. He’s heavily sedated and I could feel him, but he’s just too deep to answer. He doesn’t have any energy to spare.” Tess opened her eyes and looked over at him and for the first time, he didn’t see any resentment or hatred in her gaze.

“Please, Max. I know you hate me but please don’t let him die. He’s all I have.”

Max stared into the pleading blue eyes for a moment before looking away. “You don’t have to ask me. He’s my son and I want him to live as much as you do.”

“Thank you.”

Max didn’t acknowledge her thanks. He didn’t want it. He wasn’t doing it for her. He was doing it for Zan and for himself. Tess and her manipulations and even getting out of this hell hole were not as important as his son was at the moment. Everything else would have to wait. Besides, he knew Liz and the others were out there working on a plan. He had to leave it in their hands.


*************************

Shocked silence greeted Mr. Evan’s statement as the occupants of Michael’s apartment gaped at him standing in the doorway. Jesse stepped up behind him and Isabel gasped and jumped up, running over to be enveloped in his arms.

“Jesse. Oh my God. They got Max,” she cried, not caring that her father was standing right there at the moment.

“I know, Isabel. That’s what we’re doing here. Your father knows where he is.”

“Dad?” Isabel turned her shocked gaze to her father. “How do you know where Max is?”

“I had a detective following him.” Her father answered, looking down at her without remorse for his actions. “One of his people saw Max taken away in a van this morning right outside the apartment so he followed them. He got back a little while ago. Jesse and I were working at the office when he got there, and he told us that they took him to a ranch about a hundred miles out of town. I was going to go to the police, but Jesse told me we needed to come over here instead. I did it against my better judgement but…..”

“Oh, thank God.” Isabel hugged her father in relief that they at least knew where Max was now.

“Will someone tell me what the hell’s going on?” Michael shouted, looking accusingly at Isabel. Her cheeks flushed, but she stared back at him defiantly.

“I told Jesse about us, Michael.”

“You did what?”

Isabel only glared back at the look on his face. “He’s my husband, Michael. You and Max just didn’t understand. I couldn’t keep lying about it. I told him months ago and he’s accepted it. So you can stop staring at me like that.”

Michael turned his most intimidating glare on Jesse, who just stared back calmly. He’d known Michael long enough to know that he had a volatile temper, but they were going to have to get along because Jesse was part of Isabel’s family now. He wasn’t going to allow Michael to make his wife feel bad for no longer lying to her husband. He and Max would just have to get over it and learn to trust him. To be honest, it had almost been a relief when she’d told him she was an alien. The strange incidents and their hallucinogenic sex life had made him think he was crazy.

Mr. Evans turned his gaze to Jim Valenti. “You’re in on this too, Jim? And Kyle?

“It’s a long story, Phillip.” The former sheriff said resignedly.

“Yeah, and you might want to have a few drinks before you hear it,” Kyle told him, looking at his father in question when he turned to him with a censuring look.

“I don’t want a few drinks, I want a few answers,” Mr. Evans said severely. “And I don’t want anymore lies. Max is obviously involved in something very bad and you all know what it is.”

Isabel looked hesitantly at Jesse, before saying, “I’ll tell you what’s going on Dad, but you need to sit down, OK?”

“Isabel we can’t do this right now. We have to get to Max…..” Michael said then looked down at Maria who’d stood up and touched his arm.

“She’s got to do it, Michael. He can help, and we need all the help we can get right now.”

Phillip Evans pulled out a chair and sat, waiting expectantly for his daughter to settle in one across from him. Isabel took a deep breath and glanced hesitantly at Michael who stood broodingly off to the side, before looking back at her father. Jesse stood behind her, his hands on her shoulders, and she took comfort from his solid presence.

“Dad,” she started hesitantly. “Max, Michael and I….are aliens.”


TBC....







[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Aug-2002 11:23:15 PM ]
posted on 3-Sep-2002 10:19:52 PM by sylvia37
Well, here it is. I'm really sorry it took so long, but I've been very busy the last couple of weeks. I appreciate all of your comments as usual, and the bumps. Clueless, my love, I can always count on you.

I'm anxious to hear your comments although I guess I'd better give an angst warning. This is not a happy chapter. I love hearing from all of you and hope that you'll let me know what you think. Thanks for reading.


Everything to You Part 28

Liz stepped out of the car as it pulled up to Michael’s apartment. Mrs. Reese popped the trunk and she removed her suitcase, then she leaned over to look into the open car window.

“Thanks again for the ride.”

“You’re welcome. Are you sure this is where you want me to leave you? I can take you back to the Crash Down.” Mrs. Reese looked unsure as she surveyed the rather run down appearance of Michael’s apartment building.

“No. Really. This is great. Maria is here, and I need to talk to her so she’ll give me a ride home.”

“OK. Give your parents my best.”

“I will. Bye.” Liz waved as they pulled away, then she hurried up to the door of the apartment. Just as she was about to knock, Maria opened the door and stepped outside.

“Liz, thank God.” Maria hugged her.

“Maria. What’s going on? Is that the Evan’s car?”

“You aren’t going to believe what’s happened.” Maria paused. “Are you ready for this? Mr. Evans was having Max followed, and his private detective saw Max kidnapped this morning and taken to a ranch about 100 miles outside of town.”

Relief flooded Liz’s soul and her knees felt weak from it. “Oh my God, that’s great. I mean, it’s not great…but it’s great that we know where he is.” Wait a minute… her eyes widened as the implications hit her.

Maria nodded as she saw the light bulb go off. “That’s right. Isabel is in there now giving him a lesson in Alien Conspiracy Theory 101.”

“How’s he taking it?” Liz said hesitantly.

“Surprisingly well, considering. Let’s go back in. I just wanted you to give you a heads up before you entered the lion’s den.”

Liz took a deep breath and the two girls entered the apartment. Kyle smiled somewhat sardonically at them as they went to stand next to him.

“It’s just too much to believe, Isabel,” Mr. Evans was saying. “You tell me that you, your brother, Michael and Tess are really aliens that crashed here in 1947, and you’ve managed to hide it all these years until Max healed Liz. And now Tess, who was his wife on this other planet, has his child and is being held by someone and now they have Max too? It’s just too fantastic.”

“I know Dad, but I swear it’s true.”

“Isabel, show him what you showed me,” Jesse encouraged her, knowing that he hadn’t really believed it until he saw it with his own eyes. In fact, she’d had to show him several times.

Isabel looked hesitantly at her father, then waved her hand over her sweater, changing the color from black to red. As Mr. Evans stared, she waved her hand again and it changed to blue then again back to black.

Mr. Evan lifted his widened gaze to his daughter’s face before glancing at Michael. “Can all of you do that?”

Isabel nodded and looked over at Michael who sighed and waved his hand over his own shirt changing it from brown to green then back again.

“Unbelievable,” Mr. Evans said shaking his head. “And you say that Max can heal. You know, your mother tried to tell me, but I guess I just thought she was putting too much into it. I mean, when your brother healed that bird, and then the fire at the house when he put out the flames. I just thought she was distraught. I can’t believe you’ve been able to keep it a secret from us this whole time.”

“I’m sorry, Daddy. It’s just that…..we didn’t want you and Mom to be in danger, and Max….he was afraid that you wouldn’t be able to accept it….and….” Isabel couldn’t hold the tears back. “He was afraid that you wouldn’t love us anymore.”

“I can understand, I guess,” Mr. Evans said thoughtfully. “But your mother and I loved you kids the minute we laid eyes on you. Nothing could change that.”

Isabel rose and threw herself into her father’s arms. “We love you too. I knew you would feel that way, but I couldn’t get Max to believe me. He was just so afraid.”

The others in the room watched father and daughter hug, relieved that Mr. Evans was taking the news so well. Maria looked at Michael, his expression somewhere between relieved and impatient. She knew he was anxious to get the show on the road.

“I just wish we’d known so we could have been here for you all these years. I can’t believe what you’ve been through. And now this.” Phillip let go of his daughter and turned to face the former sheriff. “What do think, Jim? We know where Max is, but I don’t think we should just go out there on our own. The detective said that they only saw two guards wandering around at any given time, but they all had weapons.” He naturally turned to the other adult in the room, assuming that he and another authority figure would be the ones to take care of the problem.

Isabel glanced at Michael again who’d stepped forward to protest. She shook her head at him, silently telling him to let her deal with her father.

“First we need to get some information from Max, Phillip, about what’s going on inside the place. Isabel’s been trying, but she couldn’t reach him.”

“What do you mean? Can all of you communicate telepathically?” Mr. Evans turned his inquiring gaze to his daughter.

“Not exactly. Um….one of my abilities is that I can go into people’s dreams and see what they’re thinking. I can also do it to a limited extent when they’re awake, but I haven’t been able to reach Max. I don’t know why exactly, because it worked the last time he was taken.”

“The last time? You mean this has happened before?”

Isabel looked hesitantly at Michael, then nodded. “Max was….taken by the FBI and…..they hurt him, but we were able to get him out.”

Mr. Evans looked at his daughter in disbelief. “What else haven’t you told me?”

“There’s a lot, Phillip,” Jim Valenti intervened. “But we really need to focus right now. You can ask any questions later after we have Max back.”

Mr. Evans looked about to protest, but then he nodded reluctantly. “So if you can’t contact him, how are we supposed to reach him?”

Isabel looked over at Liz who had stayed pretty much in the background, not wanting to intrude on an already complicated situation. Now she came forward hesitantly and Mr. Evans turned his inquiring gaze on her, but Isabel answered him.

“Dad, we found out that when Max healed Liz, he made a connection with her somehow. Liz can…. communicate with him if she tries to reach him using my powers. We tried it before and it worked, at least she was able to see him and he could see her. She wasn’t able to talk to him, but maybe this time….”

Phillip Evans shook his head again. “This is too much to take in one sitting.” He walked over to the couch and sat down heavily.

“I know it’s overwhelming Dad, but I promise we’ll sit down and talk about everything when we have Max back, OK?” Her father nodded, and Isabel turned to Liz.

“Are you ready to try?”

Liz nodded stepping forward awkwardly, feeling all eyes in the room on her, knowing that they were all counting on her. Jesse pulled his wife into a comforting embrace for just a moment, and Isabel clung to him, thankful he was there. Maria reached over and hugged Liz.

“Good luck, Petunia.”

“Thanks Maria,” Liz said, then she and Isabel went into Michael’s bedroom and shut the door.

The two girls settled on the bed, facing each other their hands clasped between them. “The last time we did this,” Isabel said as the settled into position, “I could feel you but I couldn’t see what you saw or hear anything. I just wanted you to know that. You’re basically using my power to connect with him yourself. If I can, I’ll connect too, but I might not be able too.” Isabel shifted getting more comfortable. “When I dreamed walked him the last time he was taken, Max was drugged and I was very dizzy and disoriented being connected to him so just be prepared. I know you can do this Liz.”

Liz nodded. “OK, I’m ready.” They both took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then Isabel fixed her gaze on Liz, who stared back at her, reaching out with her mind for Max. Her eyes drifted closed as she felt Isabel’s power projecting into her and she frowned in concentration. Feeling the pull, Liz actively moved toward it, the familiar feel of Max’s consciousness giving her confidence. This way of connecting was completely different from the way she and Max connected to Zan, and she could only assume that it was because of the difference in Isabel’s gifts. It was easier than last time when she contacted him in New York and she hoped that meant she’d be able to speak to him this time.

A few minutes later, the swirling darkness started to give way to light. Liz remembered the disorientation from last time, and she took steadying breaths trying to stay focused. Slowly, things began to clear until she realized that she was in a room. She swayed feeling dizzy, and putting her hands to her head, Liz looked around, trying to find Max. The room was stark white with no embellishment and as she turned slowly, she finally saw a hospital bed against the far wall, a prone figure lying still and silent.

Moving towards it, she gasped when she saw that it was Max. His chest was bare except for what looked like a large bandage taped to it, covering his heart from his collarbone to his ribs, arms encased in metal cuffs to the bed. His breathing was shallow and Liz saw that his skin was exceptionally pale. There were shadows under his eyes and lines of pain around his mouth, and her heart twisted. She felt sick and angry that he’d had to endure this again. He seemed to be awake, but she wasn’t sure.

“Max?” Liz tried her voice, and was surprised to hear it echoing through the connection. Thank God, she could actually speak this time, she just wished she could see more clearly, but the room remained hazy. Max moved his head, but didn’t seem to realize who she was.

“Max. It’s Liz. Can you hear me?” She leaned over him on the bed.

Cloudy hazel eyes focused on her face. “Liz?

“It’s me, Max. Isabel’s helping me connect to you,” she said reaching out to touch his face, relieved that she could feel the slight physical sensation of his skin through the connection too, but he was shaking his head.

“You shouldn’t have come.” He said, his voice a hoarse whisper.

Liz looked at him in shock. “Max. I’m here to help you. We’re trying to get to you and Zan….”

“Zan….” Max’s voice was a whisper of agony and fear gripped Liz’s heart threatening to choke her.

“Did something happen to Zan?” she whispered.

“I couldn’t help him.” His voice was stark, full of pain and Liz wanted to weep at the sound.

“What do you mean? What happened to him?”

“I couldn’t help….I couldn’t help him….” Max repeated, his head going back and forth against the bed.

“Max….tell me what hap…” Liz’s breath caught in her throat as images began to play out across the wall in the room like a movie and although there was no sound, the words being spoken came to her, and she realized that Max was projecting the events through their connection. She saw him waking up at Michael’s then his mad dash to her house. She saw him waking up on her roof, his decent into the alley and his capture by the men in the van.


“He went in to cardiac arrest last night.”

“His heart and lungs didn’t develop properly.”

“That’s why you suddenly told them where to find me.”

“I will allow you to see your son and attempt to heal him if you agree to only use your powers for this process.”

Liz saw them take Max into a room where a dark haired little boy lay on a bed, tubes and wires sticking out all around. She saw Max leaning over his son, concentration etched on his face as he tried to heal him, then she saw him falling to the ground as he passed out, his energy finally running out. The images faded and she looked down at the man on the bed, his grief a tangible force in their connection.

“Oh God. I’m so sorry, Max. I’m so sorry.”

“You have to go.” Max’s whisper cut into her heart.

“No, Max. You have to help us. We know where you are, we just need some information so we can come get you.” Liz was running her hands over his face as she spoke and her eyes drifted to the bandage on his chest, blood visible through the material. She looked back at his face as her hand moved to touch it.

“What did they do to you?” she asked, dreading the answer.

Max stared at her in despair then closed his eyes. More images appeared on the wall and Liz turned away to watch them.

She saw Max being wheeled into a room and her breath caught as she saw Tess. The blond girl was screaming and crying and the people in the room finally had to hold her down while one of the nurses shoved a needle into her arm. Max was lying on a bed with his eyes closed, tears running down his cheeks.

“It is unfortunate that you were unable to heal the boy. My understanding is that you can change molecular structure, but apparently you cannot just correct underdeveloped tissue. That is too bad. But fortunately it will not inhibit our experiment. Since you were able to conceive a child before, you can simply create another. I understand from watching you interact that performing intercourse together might be distasteful, therefore if you’d rather, we can take the necessary ova and sperm and do it ourselves. It would be much more interesting to monitor another pregnancy, however I’m not sure that Tess is strong enough to carry it through to fruition.”

Liz saw the horror on Max’s face as he listened to the doctor. She gasped as she watched him spring from the bed and grab him. The others pulled him away and she could hear him screaming that the doctor would never have another one of his children to torture. Liz watched, horrified, as Max yanked himself away from those holding him and grabbed what may have been a scalpel from a tray. His arm swung in an arc towards his own heart, but at the last minute, one of the men in scrubs managed to deflect it so it missed and went into his chest above it. They dragged him, bleeding and crying to the bed, while a nurse prepared another syringe. They held him down as she stabbed him with it and the images faded from the wall.

“Max….” Liz’s voice was a hoarse whisper. She stood there, chest so tight she felt unable to breath, unable to express her feelings about what he’d endured.

She turned back to find him staring lifelessly at the ceiling, his anguish permeating the connection. Liz cupped his face in her palms.

“Promise me,” she said desperately. “Promise me you won’t try to hurt yourself again.”

“He took a sample. He’s going to use it to experiment. ” Max’s head moved back and forth in denial. “I can’t let him do it….I can’t let him…..”

“We won’t, Max. We won’t let him. Just hang on and we’ll find a way to get you out. We’ll destroy everything.” Liz promised him, and she vowed in her heart to make it happen.

“No… I don’t want you to come.”

“Why, Max. Why don’t you want us to come?”

“Because I’m not worth putting yourselves in danger,” he said faintly.

Liz gasped. “NO! No Max that’s not true,” she said but he wasn’t listening to her.

“It’s my fault. I couldn’t save Zan and I couldn’t protect all of you from our enemies…Alex…” He closed his eyes. “Tell Michael and Isabel I love them.”

“Stop…stop doing this…please….” Liz begged him, horrified by the feelings coming through their connection. Hopelessness…. resignation. He was resigned to die in this place….and determined to take the doctor and as many of the others with him as he could.

“I can’t.” Max finally looked at her, his eyes pleading with her as the room began to shimmer and lose focus.

“I love you,” he said, his voice was desperate with the need to tell her what was in his heart. “I never stopped. You were the only thing in my whole life that was good and pure. Thank you for loving me and letting me pretend to be…human,” he whispered.

Liz tried to grasp him by the arms, but the connection was fading and her hands went through him. She shook her head in denial, tears raining down her cheeks. “No, Max, no,” she cried, unable to believe that he thought he would never see her again. “You have to fight. You have to. Zan isn’t dead. We can still take him away from here and…” Liz stopped as he shook his head.

“He’s barely hanging on. I can barely feel him anymore,” he said hopelessly. Max turned his head, looking beyond her.

“You have to go. They’re coming.”

Liz could feel him pushing her away, and she desperately clung to the connection. “No Max. I won’t leave you here to die. Do you hear me? Don’t …..”

The room was fading and Liz struggled against the pull, but it was too late.

Liz opened her eyes with a gasp. Isabel was gripping her hands painfully and she pulled them away to cover her face, her breath coming in sobbing gasps.

“What Liz? Tell me what happened!” Isabel cried staring desperately at the distraught girl. She’d felt the terrible emotions coming from her brother and Liz through the connection and she was afraid of the answer, but she needed to know.

Desperate eyes lifted to stare into Isabel’s fearful ones. “Oh God, Isabel. We have to hurry. We have to go to him now or it’s going to be too late.”


TBC.....

Don't flame me. I promise eventually it will get better.
posted on 10-Sep-2002 10:45:03 PM by sylvia37
Hey, look at me. I made it back almost within a week. Well not quite, but better than usual. Thanks once again for all the comments and bumps (Clueless*angel*)

Welcome to my new readers, Angel Eyes and Mezz, and of course thanks to all my faithful commentors. Is that a word? Anyway, you know who you are and I love you and appreciate you letting me know how you feel about my endeavors.


Everything to You Part 29

Desperate eyes lifted to stare into Isabel’s fearful ones. “Oh God, Isabel. We have to hurry. We have to go to him now or it’s going to be too late.”


“Liz!” Isabel cried. “What do mean? What’s going to be too late?”

Liz launched herself from the bed and yanked open the bedroom door.

“We have to go now,” she said in a determined voice, heading straight for the door.

Isabel ran out after her and the others in the room looked at her in shock.

“Liz, wait. What happened? What did he say?” Michael demanded.

Liz turned back to them, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “We don’t have any time to lose. He’s going to do something drastic if he gets a chance. We have to go.”

Isabel gasped. Michael stepped forward and grabbed her arms.

“Liz. You gotta calm down and tell us what happened. What did Max say?”

Liz pulled away. “There’s no time, Michael. Zan went into cardiac arrest last night. Tess told the people where to find Max so he could try and heal him but it didn’t work. Zan was premature and his lungs and heart weren’t developed properly.” Liz swallowed as more tears threatened, but she shoved them back ruthlessly.

“When Max couldn’t heal him, the doctor told him that they were going to create another child using samples from him and Tess and Max…..” Liz stopped, as if saying the words out loud would make it more real.

“Max what? He what?” Isabel cried, tears streaming.

”Max tried to kill himself,” she said finally, her normally husky voice made more so by the unrelenting tears that threatened. “He told the doctor that he wouldn’t let them have anymore of his children to torture and he tried to stab himself in the heart, but he missed because they grabbed him.”

Except for the sound of Isabel’s crying, horrified silence reigned for a moment as everyone absorbed what Liz had said.

“You’re right. We have to go now.” Michael said finally, heading towards the door.

“Wait, Michael,” Jim Valenti said blocking his exit. “We can’t just run off half cocked. I know that you’re worried about Max, we all are. But these people are dangerous and it won’t do him any good if we get ourselves killed.” He turned to Liz.

“Liz, when you were with him, was he restrained or drugged?”

“Both, I think. His arms were in restraints on the bed and he was really incoherent part of the time.”

“So if he’s restrained, he shouldn’t be able to hurt anyone. And they’ve probably used that drug to stop his powers again, so he should be OK for now.”

“OK? What do you mean OK? He’s being held prisoner by a crazy doctor and he’s on the verge of suicide. How is that OK?” Michael glared at him.

“What I mean is that they are going to be making sure that he can’t hurt himself again now that they know he’ll try. Be logical for a minute. It’s almost 1:00 A.M. We’re all exhausted. And we have very little idea what we’re up against. All we know for sure is that there are armed guards out front. We don’t know how many people are inside. Liz, did Max manage to tell you anything that could help us?”

“No. He was so upset about Zan and …..” Liz stopped to take a breath, closing her eyes as the picture of Max’s tortured face as he told her he loved her flashed into her head. It would be imprinted there forever. “He said he doesn’t want us to come.”

“What!” Michael shouted, shaking off Maria’s restraining arm. “What the hell does that mean? He wants us to leave him there?”

“Wait a minute, Michael. Liz, tell us the whole story from the beginning,” Mr. Evans said trying to remain calm. He’d been thrown into a chaotic situation, but his way of dealing with anything was to look at all the facts. His lawyer’s brain wouldn’t allow him to do it any other way.

Liz nodded and wiped her eyes. She told them about Max showing her through their connection how he’d come to be at her house and then outside when the doctor’s men got him. She skimmed over the parts she’d already told them, and when she came to the part where he told her to tell Michael and Isabel that he loved them, she closed her eyes to suppress the emotions the were burning her throat.

“He’s given up you guys. With all the things that have happened to him and then he couldn’t heal Zan….he’s just given up. He would rather die than have any of us get hurt trying to save him. He doesn’t think he’s worth it. As soon as there’s an opportunity, he’s going to try and kill the doctor and anyone else who tries to stop him. ”

“It doesn’t matter what he thinks. We’re not leaving him there.” Isabel said forcefully.

“Of course we’re not,” Valenti agreed. “He’s obviously not thinking clearly. We are going to get him out. We just have to come up with plan, and none of us is capable of doing that right now. I suggest we all try to get a few hours of sleep and meet back here in the morning. Say at 7:00 AM. We’ll figure out what we’re going to do then after everybody’s had a chance to rest.” Jim looked at the exhausted, worried teenagers and hoped they’d follow his advice. He knew from experience that going into a dangerous situation without proper planning and lack of energy was asking for trouble.

“He’s right, kids. I don’t want Max to stay in that place a minute longer than he has too either, but we won’t do him any good like this.” Mr. Evans turned to his daughter.

“I’m going to tell your mother what’s going on, Isabel. I can’t lie to her about this.

“I know, Dad. I don’t expect you to lie. Just please tell her how much Max and I love her…..both of you. He’s going to need you guys when he gets back.”

“Don’t worry honey. Your mother will be shocked, but it won’t change how she feels about the two of you. And you know we’ll be here for Max. He’s our son.” Mr. Evans hugged his daughter and shook Jesse’s hand before saying goodnight to the others.

“I think we should get going too, Isabel.” Jesse said, touching his wife’s arm. She nodded at him and went over to Michael.

“Oh God, Michael. We can’t lose him. We can’t,” Isabel said, her fears getting the better of her as she hugged her brother.

“I know, I know,” Michael answered, unable to come up with any words of comfort. They were both shell shocked by Max’s breakdown. They were used to him being the strong one, and even with his erratic behavior over the last few months, it hadn’t occurred to them that he would do something like this.

Isabel let him go and smiled wearily at Liz, Maria and Kyle before allowing Jesse to lead her out. Jim and Kyle Valenti were next and they assured them that they’d be back first thing.
As the door closed, Michael, Maria and Liz all sat down tiredly.

“So, Babe. Are you going home or……”

“I’d like to stay here if that’s OK. My parents don’t know I’m back in town and it would just be easier, you know, if I was already here in the morning.”

“It’s fine. You can have the couch.” Michael said. He got up and went into the bedroom, shutting the door. Maria and Liz looked at each other in commiseration for a moment before Maria got up to hug her friend.

“Are you going to be OK out here by yourself? I could stay…..”

“No, Maria. Michael needs you. I’ll be fine.”

“OK. Try to sleep, Pumpkin. Tomorrow’s going to be a rough day.”

“I know.” Liz hugged her back and watched as Maria disappeared into the bedroom. Grabbing pajamas and her toothbrush and cleanser out of her suitcase, Liz went into the bathroom and performed her nightly ritual by rote, taking off her make up and brushing her teeth.

When she came back into the living room, she straightened the sheets and blanket and turned out the light before settling under the covers. As she turned on her side, Liz inhaled.

Max’s scent. It surrounded her. Liz closed her eyes, unable to stop the torrent as the familiar scent finally broke through her reserve.

Tears of fear and grief slid down her cheeks as Liz covered her mouth to muffle her sobs. The depth of Max’s despair was tearing a hole in her heart.

Poor little Zan. He never had a chance to live an even remotely normal life, and now he was dying…might already be dead. She felt as though she was losing something precious and he wasn’t even hers.

Liz’s felt her heart twist even more. Even if they managed to get Max out, he might never recover from this ordeal.

She had to find a way to help him. Even after everything, he was still the love of her life, and Liz couldn’t let him go without a fight. His strength had been depleted, and his self- esteem had taken a beating, but she knew deep down that he could make it back. There must be a way to help him see that he wasn’t responsible for all of the wrongs that had happened, and that he did have something to live for, that there were people who loved and needed him and that he was worthy of that love. Liz turned over onto her back, closing her eyes as she pushed her damp hair back, her thoughts too chaotic for sleep.



******************

When Maria entered the bedroom, she found Michael sitting on the edge of the bed staring at the floor. Sighing, she climbed up behind him and started kneading his shoulders, feeling them trembling.

She leaned over and kissed his neck, then kissed his cheek. “It’s OK to be afraid ” she softly. “He’s your brother.”

The silence went unbroken for a few moments as Maria waited patiently. Finally, she heard him sigh.

“What if we can’t help him? I mean, even if we get him out, what if we can’t fix him?” Michael’s normally forceful tones were gone, replaced by a lost sound that tore at Maria’s heart.

“Well, we might have to face that, Michael. Sometimes, people have to fix themselves. We can show him that we love him and support him but the rest is up to him. But I will tell you that I think Max is strong enough to get through this. I know he is.” Maria crawled to sit beside him, taking his large hand in her smaller one.

“I love you, Maria.”

“I know you do, Spaceboy. I’m kinda fond of you too.” She lifted the hand she was holding to her lips for a small kiss. “Let’s get ready for bed.”

They took turns in the bathroom and Maria put on one of Michael’s tee shirts, before they climbed into bed. Michael set the alarm, even though he didn’t think he was going to need it. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to sleep at all. Pulling Maria’s petite body into his arms, he kissed the top of her head and settled back to try and rest, praying to whoever was up there for help tomorrow. Maria snuggled close, offering her own silent comfort as they waited for morning to come.


**********************


His eyes moved rapidly behind his closed eyelids as he dreamed.

The moon overhead shown down through the large window in the ceiling of the observatory, illuminating everything inside.


Please. Don’t touch me…..

“Why don’t you want me, Max? I’m your wife.” Her lips moved against his neck and he shuddered.

“You’re not Liz.

Tess stopped and looked at him, loathing and contempt glittering in her cold blue eyes before she closed them in concentration.

Suddenly, Liz was standing in front of him.

“I love you, Max. I’ve always loved you. Make love to me.”

“Liz. What are you doing here? Where’s……”

“I came back to you, Max. I need you. Touch me…”

“What about Sweden? Alex… I don’t understand…...”

“Alex is dead. He killed himself…..”

Something’s not right…..can’t think……lips running over his chest….

His shirt coming off……then hers….

Kissing…..hands running over soft flesh….

“I need you, Liz. Please don’t leave me…”

“I won’t leave, Max. I love you. I’ve always loved you.”


Max’s eyes opened as the sound of the door pulled him from sleep. He felt groggy and disoriented, probably from the amount of drugs in his system. A man dressed in scrubs brought Tess in on a gurney, and Max absently noted that he was same one as before. There really didn’t seem to be that many people working for this doctor. Aside from the one nurse, he’d only observed three different people coming in and out of the room. Glancing at Tess he saw that she looked even worse than before, if that was possible, her eyes puffy and red, her cheeks pale and tear stained.

The man looked at the untouched tray of food by Max’s bed. The nurse had come in earlier with it, unfastening one of his wrists so he could eat. No utensils were brought with the tray, and Max had actually felt his mouth curve sardonically at their caution.

The man fastened Max’s wrist back in the holder, then picked up the tray without comment or expression. Max watched him leave before laying back to close his eyes. He’d been dreaming about making love to Liz again, but as before, the setting was wrong. Why was he at the observatory?

“You let our son die.”

Max stiffened at the hateful words, the piercing pain in his heart making his breath catch.

“You saw me try to heal him, Tess. How can you say that?” He finally replied hoarsely. “Besides, he isn’t dead yet.”

“He might as well be. I can hardly feel him anymore. He’s going to die in this horrible place and you could have stopped it.” Tess’s voice rose as her face twisted in anger.

“How? How could I have stopped it? Don’t you think I’d have saved him if I could? I would give my life for him. He was just too underdeveloped. I couldn’t change that. ” Max said tiredly, wondering why he was even bothering to answer her, to defend himself. In his heart, he felt the same way.

“If you’d just come with me that night, none of this would have happened. The Granolith only crashed because you weren’t there. It needed something from the royal seal only you could provide to work correctly. That’s why it crashed. We could have gone to Antar and been a family.”

Max digested this bit of information about the Granolith, before looking at her incredulously. “A family? I had a family. You had a family. You just didn’t want it. Instead, you decided to betray us to our enemies and trick me into sleeping with you.”

“Are you talking about the night you made love to me?” Tess taunted. “The night we made our son?”

“I know you mind warped me, Tess. You forced me to have sex with you, when you knew I didn’t want to. You….you….”

He stopped when the words for her vile actions got caught in his throat. The memories that had come back to him on Liz’s balcony flashed vividly in his mind and Max closed his eyes against the feelings they provoked. Tess touching him, kissing him….

“I didn’t force you, Max. You wanted me. You touched me and kissed me and told me you loved me.” Her hateful voice was filled with provocation.

“No…I never wanted you. Only Liz…..” Max’s voice trailed off, as the dream he’d been having when he woke up earlier came back to him.


The observatory…….Tess standing there looking at him with contempt…..Liz kissing his chest….


“Why don’t you want me, Max? I’m your wife.”

“You’re not Liz.”


Max’s eyes flew open, and he lay panting for a moment in disbelief before turning accusing eyes on his enemy. Tess’s expression was unrepentant as she watched him suffer.

“You made me think you were Liz,” he choked out, barely able to believe she was capable of such a thing. She’d used his own mind and feelings against him and made him think he was making love to the woman he loved. The lengths she had gone too, to get what she’d wanted from him made him sick. Could he have really loved her in their other life? Had she been this vile person then, or had her upbringing with Nacedo ruined her?

Tess’s eyes were narrowed with hatred and humiliation. “You were so pathetic, standing there whining about your precious Liz. I was the queen of an entire planet and all you could do was go on about that stupid human. ” She shrugged her shoulders dismissively. “You weren’t responding even with the mind warp, so I had to do something drastic.”

Max looked away, unable to bear the sight of her. She had no remorse, no guilt for the horrible things she’d done, and he could barely believe that he’d ever thought she could be a part of their family. The thought of his son growing up with her as his mother almost made him grateful that Zan wouldn’t have to endure it. The thought caused his heart to twist painfully with guilt.

Max turned his head and looked at the bane of his existence. “It worked, Tess. You got what you wanted from me. And now look at us. Not only did you destroy my life, but you destroyed your own son’s. You and I may deserve for it to end this way, but he doesn’t. His only crime was having us as parents.”

Thankfully, Tess remained silent after his comment and Max turned away from her baleful gaze and closed his eyes, praying for oblivion. He was so tired. He thought about his encounter with Liz earlier. Max meant what he said. Neither he nor Tess was worth risking their lives for, and with Zan barely hanging on….Max took a shuddering breath against the pain. He just wanted the pain to end. For Zan…for himself…for everyone.

******************


“OK, I’m coming.”

Isabel opened the front door tiredly to find an impatient Liz standing there.

“Liz, what are you…..”

“Isabel, I need you to help me connect with Max again,” Liz said as she stepped inside the apartment.

“Liz, it’s 3:00. Why do want to do this now?”

“I thought of something that might help him feel better, but I need your help to reach him. Please Isabel. I know you’re tired, but this is important.”

“You know I’ll do anything to help my brother, Liz. What are you going to do?”

Liz explained her plan. "I don’t know if it will work but I have to try.”

Isabel looked at her for a moment, then nodded decisively. “Let’s do it.”


TBC.....

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Sep-2002 12:03:41 AM ]
posted on 19-Sep-2002 10:14:55 PM by sylvia37
Hey guys. Thanks once again for all the FB and bumps. I love hearing from all of you so much. This part was very hard to write which is why it took me so long. I really want to hear from you. I guess I better add another angst warning too. Oh man, that sounds bad, doesn't it? I think I'll stop there.
Welcome to our new poster, Norma Bates. Thanks for reading and writing.


Everything to You Part 30

Liz and Isabel settled on the couch facing each other, hands clasped. There was no hesitation as Isabel’s power connected to her, and Liz concentrated, hoping that Max wasn’t trying to block her. She reached eagerly for his consciousness, breathing a sigh of relief when she felt it. Allowing it to pull her toward him, Liz braced for the disorientation she knew would occur when she opened her eyes, and waited for her vision to adjust, then carefully looked around.

He was in the same position as last time, lying on a bed, but this time, there was also another presence in the room. The surge of anger Liz felt when she realized it was Tess caused the connection to fluctuate, and she forced herself to re-focus on Max. He was looking around, having felt the surge of her anger so she quickly made her way to him.

“Max?” She said softly. Thank God, he was still safe. He looked even worse though, dark shadows under his eyes and lines of suffering etched into his brow. They needed to get him out of here soon.

“Liz?” Max looked at her hazily, longingly, as though he didn’t believe she was really there. “What are you doing here?”

“I had to come back, Max. I couldn’t leave you like that.”

“I want you to,” he answered tiredly.

“You can’t ask me to do that, Max.” Liz took a deep breath. “I want you to do something for me. I want you to try and connect with Zan.”

Max closed his eyes dejectedly. “I can’t. I’ve tried but….I’m not strong enough to find him now. He’s too deep.”

“That’s why I’m here. We can do it together like we did before. Let me help you.”

Max opened his eyes and looked at her for a moment in indecision, afraid the disappointment if it didn’t work might be too much for both of them. But as he looked into her anxious, sincere face, he knew he had to try. “Take my hand.”

Liz reached down and clasped the hand closest to her, still held by the metal cuffs. Max stared into her eyes and reached inside for that little spark. Concentrating as best he could, he felt the connection and pushed towards it. The room became hazy.

A few moments later when their vision started to clear a little, they had to shield their eyes as everything began to brighten. Realizing that he could actually lift his arm, Max looked down and found himself standing, still dressed in his scrubs. A hand touched his and he turned to find Liz standing next to him reaching for his hand as she looked around.

“Are you OK?” Max asked.

“Yeah. Where are we?”

“I don’t know.” Max continued to concentrate, feeling the connection become stronger.

Bright colors were becoming more apparent and as the vision focused a little more, the two realized they were standing outdoors, vivid green grass under their feet, bright blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds overhead.

“How are we doing this?” Max asked. The colors were so vibrant, they burned their eyes.

“I think it’s a combination of you and Isabel. When you and I connected with Zan before, we could only hear him, but Isabel’s powers allow us to see and touch.” It was interesting to Liz that in Max’s mind, he was shackled to the bed as he was in reality. Zan’s vision of himself was apparently very different from his father’s.

“But where are we?” Max looked at Liz. Even though it was still hazy, it appeared to be a meadow. Flowers in extremely bright colors were now visible among the grass. The whole picture had a surreal quality. They lowered their arms as their eyes adjusted.

Suddenly, a noise intruded, and they turned simultaneously towards it. Max’s hand tightened around Liz’s.

There on a slight rise, was a small boy sitting in the grass. He was playing with a puppy, talking to it as it tried to lick his hand. Max stepped forward, but stopped when he felt Liz pull her hand away. He looked back uncertainly, and Liz just smiled at him in encouragement, electing to stay behind and give father and son time alone. Max turned back and gazed at his son for another moment before taking a deep breath and stepping forward.

Zan looked up as Max approached, and Liz’s breath caught at the large hazel eyes staring back at him. His hair was a lighter brown shade than Max’s but the features were unmistakable. Liz felt a lump form in her throat, and she looked at Max who was gazing down at his son in bittersweet reverence.


“Daddy?” The small voice said hesitantly as he stood up. He was dressed in pajamas that had little trains in blue and red with puffs of silver smoke coming from the stack. The puppy had disappeared as if by magic.

Max moved forward crouching in front of the child. “It’s me, Zan.”

“I knew you’d come. I waited for you.” Zan wrapped his little arms around Max’s neck hugging him close.

Max felt tears gathering in his eyes, and his mouth tightened visibly as he held them in. He buried his face in the child’s neck for a moment. He couldn’t believe after all this time, that he was finally holding his son in his arms. At least, the essence of his son. This was obviously Zan’s imagination. A place to keep safe, while his body faded away.

Liz felt Max’s pain through the connection as that thought passed through his head, and she tried to send as much love and acceptance as she could, even though a knot had formed in the pit of her stomach. She knew now, as Max must, that Zan didn’t have much time left.

Zan looked up. “Is that Liz?”

Max let go and turned back. “Yes. This is Liz.” Liz smiled at Zan, suppressing the tears that were in her heart.

Zan looked back at Max, his large eyes taking in his father’s expression. “I know why you’re here.”

Max glanced at Liz hesitantly, then faced his son’s knowing gaze. “Zan….”

“I know you tried to make me better. I could feel it.”

“I tried, Zan. I’m sorry. I know I promised….”

“It’s OK. This place is much better than there. I membered it from one of the books Mommy read me.”

Max swallowed the tears burning his throat. “It’s really nice.”

“I’m glad you came. I was getting really tired. I wasn’t sure I could wait any more.”

The weight of Max’s guilt shimmered through the connection for a moment. “I’m sorry you had to wait here alone for so long…..”

“I wasn’t alone.” Zan reached down to pull a bright blade of grass, and he missed the shocked exchange of expressions passed between the two teenagers.

“What do you mean?” Max asked apprehensively.

“A man comes to visit me.” Zan answered simply.

“A man?” Max said uncomprehendingly. Who could possibly have been here in Zan’s mind with him?

“A really nice man. He told me that when I was ready, he would take me someplace that looked like this all the time, and…and …..I wouldn’t be tired anymore or….have trouble breaving… or….”

Max looked back at Liz in shock. “What did the man look like?”

“I don’t know….like a man, but pretty….like Mommy and…” Zan looked at Liz and smiled shyly, “…like Liz.”

Max was completely confused now.

“I feel somebody else. Is there somebody else here?” Zan asked suddenly as he looked around.

Max shook his head. “No….”

“It’s your Aunt Isabel, Zan. She’s helping me connect with Daddy. You just can’t see her,” Liz explained, instantly realizing who he meant.

“Oh,” Zan said in disappointment. “I was hoping Mommy would come too.”

Max’s heart twisted at the sound of his son’s small unhappy voice. He might hate Tess for what she did, but Zan obviously loved her. “I’m sorry….”

“Max?” Max looked up at Liz’s inquiry. He stood up and stepped over to her.

“I don’t know if it’s possible, but maybe we could get Tess…you know….to come here too.”

“How? Neither one of us is connected to her….”

“Zan is,” Liz said inclining her head towards the little boy.

Max looked at her in indecision for a moment. He really didn’t know what would happen if they brought Tess in on their connection, knowing her feelings for the two of them, but his son’s feelings were more important than his own.

Turning back to Zan, Max hunkered down in front of his son again. “Would you like to try and see if we can connect with Mommy?”

Zan’s face lit up for a moment. “Could we?”

“We can try, but you’ll have to help us, OK?”

“OK.”

Liz stepped forward as Max stood up and took his hand. They both joined hands with Zan.

“Just concentrate on Mommy, OK Zan? Liz and I will help.”

Zan closed his eyes, his little nose scrunched in concentration as he tried to connect with Tess. Max felt Liz’s push as he lent his energy to his son. The three stood for several moments as the haziness of their connection increased, then a few moments later, it focused again with an added person in their midst. Tess stood a little way away, dressed in scrubs as Max was. Zan let go of their hands and ran to his mother, wrapping his arms around her waist.

“Mommy!”

“Zan?” Tess looked confused as she automatically hugged her son, then she looked over at the two people standing by watching. Her feelings of anger and hatred made the connection waver alarmingly for a second, but she controlled it almost immediately realizing what was happening. Zan was looking up at her uncertainly and she quickly smiled at him reassuringly.

“Mommy?” He said glancing over at Liz and Max who had moved farther away to give them time.

“Oh, baby. I’m so happy to see you. I’ve missed you so much.” Tess drew his attention back to her, getting down on his level to hug him.

“Me too, Mommy.” Zan said, letting her hug him before pulling away to look at her.

“Daddy and Liz helped me find you, cause I couldn’t do it by myself.”

Tess’s smile became brittle, but she held it. “I know, sweetie. I’ve been trying to reach you too.”

“Wow, Mommy. You have legs. You can stand up.” Zan was looking down at her legs, and Tess glanced back at Liz and Max self-consciously

The two exchanged glances at his words, wondering just how damaged Tess really was.

“Well, this isn’t really my body, so….it’s different.” Tess said, her resentment towards Liz’s beauty shimmering through the connection for all to feel. . She knew she looked bad after months of torture and imprisonment.

“Oh.” Zan answered, not really certain what she meant, but his eyes widened as Tess’s body faded out for a second before coming back. Max and Liz struggled a moment to maintain the connection.

“Mommy?”

Tess’s expression was strained. “It’s OK, sweetie. I’m just not very strong right now. You know that.”

“I know,” Zan clung to her fearfully. “I’m tired too. I’m glad you came. I couldn’t wait much longer.”

Tess looked confused. “Wait for what?’

“I have to go soon. Daddy tried to make me better but it didn’t work.” Zan’s voice was sad but resigned.

Tears formed in Tess’s eyes as she looked over at Max in panic. Though filled with pain, his expression spoke of his acceptance of his son’s condition.

“No Zan. You can’t go. We’ll find a way to help you,” Tess cried, hugging his little body tightly. The connection shimmered and faded in and out with the force of her emotions, and her own body began to fade.

“Don’t get upset, Mommy. I’m going someplace better. Please don’t go yet,” Zan started to cry as his mother’s image faded in and out.

Liz and Max could feel Tess struggling to maintain the connection even as they grabbed Zan’s hands to help. Zan’s little face was etched in concentration as well, but she was disappearing.

“Zan,” her voice was a whisper of sound as Tess’s image disappeared completely.

Max got down on one knee as Zan began to cry in earnest, hugging his son in comfort. He looked up at Liz helplessly, not really knowing how to make Zan feel better. They were both feeling the fatigue of maintaining the connection as well, and even though it had only been about 20 minutes since she’d first connected with Max, Liz knew that she and Isabel weren’t going to last much longer. Max read her thoughts, and his stomach twisted knowing he only had a few more precious minutes with his son.

“I’m sorry Zan. Your Mommy loves you. She just wasn’t strong enough to stay.”

“I know,” he sniffled. “You’re going soon too.” Zan had apparently caught their errant thoughts as well.

“I wish we didn’t have to. I wish I could stay here with you,” Max told him, meaning it. He didn’t want to go back to the reality of his situation and leave his son here to die by himself, alone and afraid.

“I’m not by myself and I’m not afraid,” Zan said, reading his thoughts. “ The man is coming back to take me to heaven. He said so, and he doesn’t lie. He told me you were coming and you did.” Zan had calmed down considerably now. He seemed tired and a little more remote, as though his energy was seeping away and he didn’t have enough to be upset anymore.

Max was still perplexed by this man Zan kept mentioning, but he must be someone Zan made up to keep him company while he waited. He could feel Liz’s speculation on the subject, but he focused on his son, knowing they only had a few more minutes. Everyone’s energy was waning, his own included. He hadn’t eaten or slept a normal non-drugged sleep since he’d been there, and he could feel the effects weighing him down. He was trying to keep his sadness at bay, knowing Zan would be able to feel it, but he just couldn’t do it. Knowing he would never see or feel him again was tearing Max’s heart out.

“I know you have to go now,” Zan said sadly, his enormous eyes solemn in his little face, and he looked so much like Max at that moment, that Liz felt her heart breaking for the two of them.

“I don’t want to,” Max said again, hugging him.

“I know.” Zan said into his shoulder. “Bye Daddy.”

“I love you.” Max whispered it through the tears clogging his throat, and he felt Liz’s empathy coursing through their connection as he pressed a kiss on his son’s forehead.

“Me too.” Zan looked up at Liz. “Bye Liz.”

Liz smiled through her tears. “Bye Zan.”

Max reluctantly let go of his son, stepping back to wipe his eyes. The connection was fading in and out as he felt Liz’s hand in his. When he looked back at Zan, he was standing there holding the puppy, waving at them with one hand as the vision faded away. A moment later, they were back in the other room.

Max lay on the bed, still cuffed, their connection reverberating with the force of his grief. Liz leaned over and held him as best she could in their positions and whispered soothingly to him. He felt Liz’s tears mingling with his as they ran down his neck.

Finally after a few moments, and Liz lifted her head to look into his face.

“I’m sorry, Max.”

Max closed his eyes, his breath still hitching as he strove for control. “Thank….thank you….for doing that. For …helping me….say goodbye.”

“You’re welcome,” Liz answered. She stroked his face gently for a moment before continuing hesitantly. “You know…um…I was thinking about what Zan said. About the man who was with him.”

“I know, me too. I guess he came up with an imaginary friend so he wouldn’t be lonely.” Max swallowed painfully.

“Maybe….but I think….” Liz hesitated, knowing Max didn’t believe in what she was about to say. “Maybe it was….an angel.”

“Liz…” Max shook his head, tiredly.

“No listen to me, Max. I know you don’t believe in God, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t real. I believe in Him, and I also believe that Zan really hasn’t been alone. So at least take a little comfort from the fact that Zan had someone, that he’s not afraid, and that he was waiting for you and Tess to say goodbye.” Liz wiped a tear that trailed down his cheek. “He’s OK, Max.”

“Thank you,” he said again. God, she was so wonderful, he thought tiredly, fatigue and sadness weighing him down. He knew Liz had to go, but he didn’t want her too. He wanted her to stay and not leave him alone while he waited for the inevitable.

“I love you, Liz.” The words came out of nowhere, his mind too sluggish to sensor his feelings.

“I love you too, Max.” Liz said it softly, feeling the weight of his grief lessen slightly with the words. She knew he could feel her love through their connection, but she hadn’t said it to him in so long, she just needed him to hear it out loud. He was in need, and she couldn’t deny him.

“We aren’t leaving you here, Max.”

Max had his eyes closed, but he opened them now to look at her, despair darkening them to muddy brown.

“Liz….”

“Listen to me, Max. We are not leaving you here. If Michael or Isabel were in here instead of you, would you leave them here to die?” Max tried to turn his head away, but she wouldn’t let him.

“You may have given up, but your family hasn’t. They still love and need you.” Liz said forcefully, trying to get through to him. She could feel Isabel’s fatigue as well as her own beating down on her. She had to hurry.

“Tell me how many people we’re up against, Max.”

“I’m not sure,” Max said shaking his head. “I’ve only seen about four different people since I’ve been here, but….that doesn’t mean there’s not more. I’ve only been here….” He tried to count but it seemed like a lifetime.

“Two days,” Liz supplied for him. “So you’ve only seen a few people and Tess said she’d only seen a few, so hopefully that means there really are only a small number we have to worry about.” The connection was weakening, the room shimmering, becoming indistinct.

“Liz…..please…..” Max whispered desperately, not sure what he meant to say, only knowing he needed her, and he needed all of them to stay safe.

Liz felt his feelings and she reached through the haze to try and touch him one last time. “I’m sorry, Max. I have to go. Please don’t give up. I’ll try to contact you again before we come. Please don’t do anything to hurt yourself. We need you…..We love….” Her voice trailed off as she disappeared from his sight.

A moment later, Max opened his eyes reluctantly, the lack of Liz’s presence making the reality of his situation even more painful. He couldn’t wipe at the tears on his face, and they continued to run uncomfortably down his temples and into his hair. He still felt the small spark of Zan’s presence, but he knew that it was only a matter of time before it was gone, and the dreadful anticipation was like a lead weight in his gut. Max felt a small measure of peace that he’d gotten to say goodbye.

He turned his head and saw Tess lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling blankly. If they had been true lovers or even friends, they might have shared their grief for their son, but as it was, Max had little desire to speak to her. He knew she loved Zan, probably the only genuine emotion she’d ever felt, and he was at least grateful for his sake that Tess had been able to join their connection long enough for Zan to see her one last time. But that was the extent of it.

Tess turned to look at him sensing his stare. “He’s really not going to make it is he?”

“No.” Max didn’t have the energy or inclination to sugar coat it. He felt numb.

Tess looked back up at the ceiling. “I hate you for not being able to save him.”

She said it without inflection. A few hours ago, those words would have pierced him like a sword, but now they didn’t even register. He was too tired and too numb to care what she thought. “That makes two of us.”

“Was he very upset that I couldn’t stay?” Her voice was hoarse with tears.

“He was for a minute, but he understood.”

Max looked at her body under the blanket and remembered Zan’s surprise at her being able to stand, and couldn’t prevent himself from asking.

“Are you paralyzed?”

Tess turned her head to look at him. “Why? Are you hoping that I got my just reward for all the monstrous things I’ve done?” She said it with sarcasm, but grief seemed to have sapped even the energy for malice out of her.

“No. I was just wondering because Zan seemed so surprised that you could stand.”

She turned her head and took a breath as though debating, then sitting up slightly, she leaned over and flipped the edge of the blanket back to reveal her legs. Actually, her right leg. The left one had been amputated at the hip. Max stared, the horrible sight penetrating the terrible void in his heart for a moment.

“Yeah. It was apparently beyond repair. They took it off before I even woke up.” Her voice was bitter with resentment.

Max didn’t say anything. What could he say? Something in him felt sorry for her, but it was mostly sorrow at what she was, not what happened to her. He’d seen her with Zan. He obviously brought out the best in her. How could she be this hateful, viscous person and still be the mother Zan loved so much?

Max shook his head, closing his eyes, blocking out the sight of her. He lay there tensely, listening to the sound of his own heartbeat, unconsciously anticipating it like the drip of water from a leaky faucet, realizing that he clung to the tiny spark inside himself where his son resided. Each second that passed sharpened the anticipation of it’s loss.

Then he felt it. A low moan came from across the room but Max ignored it, tears burning a hole in his throat, in his heart.

The complete loss of the connection with Zan. He’d felt it once before, that night when he’d woken up and run to Liz’s. This time, it was worse. This time he knew it was permanent. His son was dead.

Tess wailed her grief to the heavens, but Max just lay there, too paralyzed by the sudden emptiness to do anything but tremble while his soul rocked and mourned.

A little while later, Dr. Hardwell entered the room with his usual contingent. Tess’s screams had dwindled into quiet sobbing.

“I’ve come to inform you that your son has died, but I can see that you already know.” His expression was completely blank, his voice business like. Looking over at Max, he signaled to one of the men with him, who approached cautiously and unlocked one of the metal cuffs holding Max’s wrists. He placed a bedpan beside the bed on the table and a tray with water and a glass.

“I do not wish to keep you permanently shackled, Mr. Evans, however, after your behavior earlier, caution will be taken until you can show that you’ve accepted your status here.”

Tess sat up on the bed. “You bastard! My son is dead and you stand there like a fucking robot. You wanted him dead! You wanted him to die so you could study his corpse for your stupid experiment! I hate you! I’ll kill you!”

Tess tried to leap from the bed, but she fell in a heap on the floor, her one leg bent under her. The orderlies ran to her, quickly subduing her flailing arms, and put her back on the bed as the nurse prepared a syringe. They held her down while the nurse administered it and gradually let her go as it took affect. As a precaution, they also injected Max.

Max lay on his bed, eyes closed as the nurse finished with him. Tess words to the doctor had been like a knife in his heart, and he wished he could die so he didn’t have to think about them cutting into his son’s small body. With one of his arms free, he was able to curl on his side, and he did so, holding himself tightly around the middle. He barely heard the doctor tell him that he would see him tomorrow. They wheeled Tess out of the room, and a small part of him wondered where they were taking her, but his curiosity was quickly gone, swamped by the other emotions tearing him apart.

Why did his son have to die? Max would have gladly traded places if it meant he would live. Zan had lived Max’s nightmare, spending his whole short life in prison with people who only wanted to study and treat him like a lab rat. Why was he being given a second chance, when his son had had no chance at all?

The question tugged at his mind as the sedative began to work, and Max embraced the dulling of his senses, gladly giving in to the effects. He slipped into drug induced sleep with the memory of his son’s sweet, brave little face imprinted in his mind and heart.

TBC.........







[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Sep-2002 12:33:34 PM ]
posted on 28-Sep-2002 11:17:33 PM by sylvia37
Just wanted to post a quick note to say that I appreciate everyone's comments and the bumps. And to say I'm sorry it's taking me so long, but I am working on the next part and I hope to have it out by early next week. It's very hard to find time to write and to get it just how I want it.

Don't be mad at me Mareli, I swear I'm working on it.*wink*

Sylvia
posted on 1-Oct-2002 10:38:14 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Just a quick note to say thanks for all the bumps and comments. I know you're all sad for Zan, I am too. Hope you like the new part. Please let me know. Thanks for reading.

Everything to You Part 31

“I just wish you’d told me sooner, honey. There was no need for you and Max to go through all of this alone.” Diane Evans told her tearful daughter as they sat together in Michael’s bedroom.

Mr. Evans had gone home and explained the whole unbelievable story to her last night, and Diane had insisted upon coming with him to Michael’s this morning. Isabel had taken one look at her mother’s compassionate face when she entered the apartment, and burst into tears, throwing herself into Diane’s comforting arms. They cried together over the years they’d lost, over Max’s predicament, and over the loss of little Zan.

“I know, Mom. We just…..it was so dangerous. You guys have been so good to us, and we just didn’t want you to get hurt. It seems like every time someone finds out the truth, they end up right in the middle of our mess. And now, the same thing’s happening with you and Dad. We could never forgive ourselves if something happened to you. And Max….” Isabel shook her head as she thought about what her brother had been through.

“You think he’s going to be upset that we know.” Diane looked knowingly at her daughter’s beautiful face. She remembered only too well how distraught Max had been when she’d questioned him about the bird incident. His distress was the only thing that had kept her from pursuing her questioning and perhaps driving him away.

“I think that once he sees how well you’re taking it, he’ll be relieved,” Isabel said, fervently hoping that they would be able to rescue him without anyone getting hurt.

They both looked up as there was a knock on the door, and Maria’s head poked through as she opened it. “Hey. Sorry to interrupt Ladies, but I think you might want to come out here. The troops are about ready to head out.”

Isabel and Diane quickly followed Maria out the door as Jim Valenti was addressing the group.

“So we agree that we’ll all drive down there, but only Michael, Isabel and I are going in. Kyle, you and Jesse will watch the outside once we’ve taken out the guards. Liz and Maria, you’re going to stay in the car until we bring Max out. He’ll need you then.” He looked at Diane and Phillip. “I don’t think it’s necessary for you two to come. We need someone to stay here in case there’s any questions about where we are and we don’t need any more people in the line of fire than necessary.”

Jim said this for Diane’s sake. He and Phillip had already decided that the less he and Diane knew about what they had to do to rescue Max, the better. Phillip didn’t have any illusions, but for his children’s sake, he didn’t want to be directly involved in anything illegal, just in case anyone ever found out about them. Max and Isabel had enough to worry about without having their parent’s safety to think about.

Diane wanted to protest, but she looked at husband and her daughter’s pleading face and nodded reluctantly. She would be on pins and needles until they got back, but she could at least get her son’s room ready for him. There was no way Max was not coming home with them after his ordeal. He was going to need his mothers loving care and she was going to make sure he got it. They had years to make up for. She also knew they were trying to protect her from the reality of the situation, so she accepted their decision gracefully. She and Phillip would discuss it when they were alone.

“Call us the minute you have him. We’ll be waiting.” Phillip shook hands with Jim and Jesse, then turned to face the teenagers waiting. “Be careful kids.” He shook his head as he took in their young but determined faces. This whole situation was still so surreal.

“Please be careful, honey.” Diane hugged her daughter, then Jesse. “All of you come back safely.” She looked at Liz and Maria standing with Kyle and Michael and her thoughts were similar to Phillip’s. How had these young people ended up with such a huge responsibility? Diane preceded her husband out the front door.

Maria shook her head. “You are so lucky to have them Isabel.”

“Yeah, they took it really well.” Liz agreed with Maria, so grateful for Max’s sake. He would be concerned for their safety, but in the long run, Liz believed that not having the burden of keeping his secret from them would outweigh his concern.

“I know. Max and I were the lucky ones.” Isabel stepped over and linked arms with Michael, silently telling him how much she’d wished he had been part of their happy family. He only acknowledged her with a small quirk of his lip, but she knew he was thankful. Isabel let go after a moment and faced her husband hesitantly.

“Maybe you should…..”

“Don’t even say it, Isabel. You may have special powers, but I’m not about to allow my wife to go into a situation like this without me. I’ll stay outside, but I’m coming.” Isabel smiled, relieved that he wanted to come, but apprehensive for his safety. She leaned into his taller frame as he put his arm around her.

“Is everybody ready?” Valenti asked as he stood up ready to leave.

“What about Tess?” Kyle asked the question that had gone unanswered since Liz had told them what had transpired the night before. Now that they probably weren’t going to be rescuing Zan, where did that leave Tess?

“ I say we let her ass fry with the rest of them.” Michael’s answer was swift and to the point.

“I’m with Michael.” Maria agreed. If she hadn’t already felt justified for what happened to Alex, Tess’s other crimes towards Max and the Valenti’s were more than enough in her eyes to let the girl have what she deserved.

“Hold on a minute now. Let’s make that decision when we come to it. I don’t agree with what she’s done, but I can’t see leaving her there to die either. Michael, Isabel…. I understand if you don’t want to help her, just don’t do anything deliberate to hurt her either. Agreed?” Jim looked at the two aliens, relieved when they both nodded reluctantly. “If everyone’s ready, then let’s head out.”

As they were walking out the door, Michael grabbed Jim and Isabel and held them back while the others exited.

Michael looked at the former sheriff and Isabel with determination. “I’m just going to say this. That promise becomes null and void if Tess tries to hurt one of us. I don’t think she deserves to live, but we can all decide what to do when we have Max back.”

Jim looked at Michael’s stubborn expression for a moment. “I’m not arguing with you, son. I just don’t want you to do something you’ll regret. But I understand what you’re saying and I respect that you want to protect your family.”

Isabel smiled at Michael’s uncomfortable expression before taking his arm and walking out with the two men.

Michael, Maria, Kyle and Liz were riding in the Jetta,. They were going to follow Jim’s car and Isabel and Jesse were riding with him. Liz got in the back seat with Maria, while Michael drove. She put the clothes she’d grabbed for Max on the seat with her as she settled in for the ride. As the got on the road, Liz closed her eyes and leaned against the back seat.

She was exhausted. After coming out of the connection last night, she and Isabel had talked and cried together over little Zan. They were both equally concerned about Max’s state of mind as well, for once, finding common ground through their love of him. Liz had ended up sleeping a few hours on the couch in their apartment, but they’d all been up early, anxious to get started. They’d eaten breakfast at Michael’s as they debated how to go about their mission and now the time was at hand.

“Liz?”

Liz opened her eyes to see Kyle turned back towards her from the front seat. She looked at him in inquiry.

“You said that you were connected to Tess when Zan connected to her right?” Liz nodded warily, wondering where this line of questioning was going.

“Were you able to read her thoughts like you could Max and Zan’s?”

Liz looked down for a minute. “Sort of. I could read Max’s really easily, and Zan’s through his pretty well. Her’s were less clear because Zan was really the one connected to her. I was just helping.” Liz paused, then sighed.

“She really hates us, you guys. I mean, really hates us. Especially Max and me. She blames us for everything that’s happened to her and she blames Max for not being able to heal Zan. Kyle, I know what your Dad was saying and I agree, but…..I don’t know what’s going to happen if we bring her with us. I wouldn’t put it past her to try and destroy all of us once she’s strong enough. Right now, they’ve drugged her so she can’t use her powers, but what happens when she’s had time to recover?”

“You said she was hurt when the Granolith crashed. Do you know how?” Maria asked.

“It’s something to do with her legs. Zan made a comment about her being able to stand and we got the impression that he’d never seen her doing that before. She might be paralyzed. I don’t know.”

“I know I promised I wouldn’t deliberately do anything to her, but I can tell you right now that I’m not wasting a split second of my time on rescuing her. There’s going to be too much other shit going on to worry about her lying, murdering ass.” This came from Michael.

“Why did you want to know, Kyle?” Liz asked

“I’m not sure.” Kyle said. “I just…..Dad wouldn’t even consider leaving her there no matter what she’s done, and I feel kind of guilty because….part of me disagrees. I guess I just wanted to see if you saw any….redeeming qualities at all while you were inside her head.”

“I’m not sure I would call it a redeeming quality exactly, but you guys should have seen her with Zan. You wouldn’t believe it. She really loved him. I can’t believe it was the same person, but I guess I should. She’s really good at hiding her true self when she tries. She fooled us all for months.”

They were all silent after that, each caught up with their own thoughts on the matter. Liz leaned back and closed her eyes again, but opened them when she felt Maria pulling her arm. She smiled as her friend gestured for her to lay down and she did, sighing as she felt Maria soothingly stroking her hair. Her stomach was tied in knots as she wondered how Max was doing. Liz tried not to think about little Zan because she’d cried enough tears in the last few days to last a lifetime and she couldn’t think about him without sadness overwhelming her.

“What’s wrong, Petunia?” Maria asked, hearing Liz’s sigh.

“I’m worried, Maria. I thought that helping Max connect to Zan last night would help, you know…give him hope so he’d hang on but….now that we know Zan….I just hope I didn’t make it worse.”

“I don’t see how you could have made it any worse than it already was, Sweetie. Just think of how he would have felt if Zan had died without him being able to say goodbye. You did the right thing.”

“Thanks Maria.”

“Try to sleep. You’ve got time.”

Liz closed her eyes and tried to relax. They had a couple of hours before they were going to stop and she’d need all her strength for later.


*******************

Max stared down at the unappetizing meal on the tray in front of him. He wasn’t hungry, although he should have been considering that he hadn’t eaten in….too long to remember. The only reason he was considering it now was because he knew that Liz and the others were coming to attempt a rescue and he didn’t want to make himself more of a burden then he already was in his weakened state. There was also the fact that the doctor had threatened to put him on an IV if he didn’t eat.

There were no utensils on the tray again. Even the plates were plastic. Max couldn’t help but be disappointed even as he acknowledged the right to their caution. He definitely would have used whatever means at his disposal to destroy the people involved in he and his son’s imprisonment. Waking up this morning to face his son’s death had been one of the most painful experiences of his life. Logically he knew that the people here didn’t have anything to do with Zan’s condition, but the fact that the little boy had to spend his whole short life being experimented on and treated as less than human made Max want to make every one of them suffer. Even being tortured by Pierce had not inspired the depth of hatred he felt for his present captors.

The only thing keeping him together right now was knowing that his friends were coming. As much as he didn’t want them to, he knew in his heart that it was ridiculous for him to think that they would leave him here. Somewhere deep down, Max was grateful that he had such a loyal and courageous group of friends, but right now, all he could feel was the unending void where the connection to his son had been, and his need for retribution for those who’d made him suffer.

In the end, Max managed to choke down about half of the food on his plate before pushing it away and lying back on the bed. He felt a little better with something in his stomach, but all the drugs, lack of nourishment and exercise made him feel shaky and weak. Maybe he would ask if they would let him out of the restraints long enough to walk around the room for a little while, just for some exercise. He wasn’t used to so much inactivity.

A little while later, Dr. Hardwell entered followed by an orderly wheeling a gurney. Tess lay on it, cuffed this time. Her hair was wet as though she just had a shower. When she opened her eyes to look at Max, he could see that she was still drugged by the glassy look in her eyes, but it didn’t stop her from glaring at him derisively.

“Good Morning, Mr. Evans,” the doctor said pleasantly. “I see you finally ate something. I hope that means that you’ve decided to cooperate. You will see in time that what I am doing is for the good of mankind.”

“Good?” Max couldn’t prevent himself from asking.

“Yes. We know that you are hybrids, part human and part alien. By studying your species, we might finally be able to see what the human mind can accomplish. We know that your powers come from a portion of your brain that humans have not been able to access. Hopefully, my studies will enable us to accomplish this feat.”

Max forced his face to remain blank even as he quaked on the inside. The man sounded so reasonable, so confident. Max could see him convincing the world that he really was just a humanitarian out to help the human race. No wonder the people around him didn’t seem to have a problem with any of this. Max shuddered inwardly.

“I would like to be able to walk around my room…for exercise.” Max made the request reluctantly, preferring to talk as little as possible.

The doctor smiled, but it didn’t reach his cold, black eyes. “We seem to be of the same mind, Mr. Evans. I was coming to inform you that we would be performing endurance tests today. Since Tess is unable to perform such tests because of her condition, we are anxious to collect data from you. Please change into the cloths provided, and we will begin in a few minutes.” The doctor gestured for the orderly to unlock the metal cuff holding Max to the bed. The man handed him a pair of sweats and a tee shirt along with socks and tennis shoes.

Max rose gingerly from the bed and walked towards the door leading to the bathroom. He felt shaky from not having been on his feet for a while, but brushing his teeth and washing his face helped. He changed into the cloths and returned to the other room. As soon as the orderly noted that he’d followed directions, he told Max he would come back for him in a few minutes and left. Max walked around, trying to loosen his tight muscles.

“Max.”

Max turned his head and looked at Tess, who was sitting up in the bed now. She gestured for him to come closer to her, but he just stood where he was, looking at her warily.

Tess sighed in exasperation, and inclined her head towards the ceiling, indicating that they were being listened to. Max moved closer to her reluctantly, stopping at the foot of her bed. She gestured again, and he finally came close enough for him to hear her as she whispered.

Tess looked at him speculatively for a moment. “I know they’re coming for you,” she whispered finally.

Max’s eyes widened slightly before he controlled his expression. “What are you talking about?”

Tess’s lip curled into a sneer. “Don’t play dumb with me, Max. You don’t think I know that Michael and the others are coming to rescue you? I was inside yours and Liz’s head, remember? Besides, why else would you be willing to eat all of the sudden and want to exercise?”

“What’s your point, Tess?” Max said somewhat apprehensively. He didn’t like the look in her eyes. He’d been on the receiving end of her contempt and hatred these last couple of days, but this was different. She looked reckless.

“No point,” Tess said dismissively, absently pulling at a thread on the sheet covering her. Then she looked up at him with a derisive smile. “Unless you think the fact that I could ruin all your plans is important.”

Max just stared at her, trying hard not to let his expression give away his sudden trepidation. Tess’s smile grew uglier as though she could see right through to his soul. “All I have to do is tell them that your little Liz and that idiot Michael are coming, and they’ll be waiting for them.”

“What do you want, Tess?” Max trembled with anger and fear. He had no doubt she’d do what she said.

“I don’t want anything from you, Max. It’s enough just to know that I have the choice. If I decide to tell Dr. Hardwell that they’re on their way, he’ll get rid of them and we’ll both be stuck here as his personal playthings. At least until he decides to put us on display for the world. If I decide not to tell, then Michael and his little band of misfits will make their poor attempt at a rescue and probably end up dead anyway.” She leaned back, looking at him with a faintly triumphant expression.

Max looked down, trying to control the urge to wrap his fingers around her throat and strangle her. It would be so easy. And this time, he didn’t have to worry about his child being inside her. He could just end her miserable life and they would all be better off.

Max raised his eyes to her, and Tess recoiled slightly at the look of pure venom coming from his dark eyes. Her triumphant expression wavered somewhat, but she managed not to look cowed. “Do it, Max. I know you want to. Go ahead and kill me. I don’t have anything left to live for but revenge, and this would be perfect. You would have to live the rest of your life knowing that you not only allowed your own son to die, but you killed his mother too.”

Max gritted his teeth as his hands balled into fists. Forcing himself to take a deep breath, he slowly let it out, feeling the urge to kill dissipate somewhat. He knew that if it weren’t for the drugs keeping his powers at bay, his alien energy would be sending his system into overload. “You’re saying all this just to taunt me, Tess. I know you’re not going to tell him.”

“Why wouldn’t I? Even if by some miracle Michael manages to get in here and rescue you, I know you won’t be taking me with you now that Zan is gone. What do I have to lose?”

“You’d miss out on the opportunity of seeing these people pay for what they did to you and Zan. You just told me you’re only living for revenge. This is your chance.”

Tess stared at him for a moment before dropping her eyes in acknowledgment of his statement.

“You’re right. I do want them to suffer for what they’ve done.” Tess lifted her eyes to look malevolently at Max. “But it would almost be worth it if it meant I would get to watch you suffer for the rest of your life.”

Max ignored her hateful statement and leaned forward to look her directly in the eye, his face a mask of pure menace. “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in the next few hours, Tess but I do know this. Neither Michael nor I will ever allow you to threaten our family again. So you’d better pray for mercy because I might be able to resist the urge to kill you this time for Zan’s sake, but my patience will only stretch so far. And you can bet that if I don’t end up doing it, then Michael sure as hell will.”

Max backed off just as the door opened and he turned to follow the orderly, but not before he saw the beginnings of apprehension in Tess’s eyes. Max took marginal satisfaction from having shaken her out of her complacency, but as he walked down a hallway, he began to feel nervous. Endurance Tests. What did that mean?



********************


Liz and Maria along with Jesse, Kyle and his father were sitting in a drive-in restaurant talking and eating. They’d stopped in Alamogordo across from a car rental place where Michael and Isabel were renting two vehicles. The group had agreed that they couldn’t take their own cars directly to their destination in case there were any questions later on, so Michael and Isabel were going to disguise their appearance and rent two vehicles under false names.

“I don’t know, Dad. I just think we should weigh our options, that’s all.” Kyle was saying as he gestured with a French fry. “What the hell are we going to do with her if we do decide to bring her with us? I mean, she killed Alex. She’s capable of turning us all into her evil minions if what she did to Max is anything to go by. It’s not like we can turn her over to the police.”

“I know son, but I don’t think you realize what you’re saying. I know you had to defend yourself against the Skins, but you don’t know what it’s like to kill in cold blood. I don’t want any of you to have to experience that. Michael and Isabel have killed in self-defense too, but it’s not the same thing.”

“You’re right.” Liz said.

Maria shook her head at her best friend. Liz saw her and looked up.

“What?”

“You. I can’t believe you think we should rescue her. I mean, you of all people have more reason than any of us sitting here to want her dead.”

“I know, Maria, but Mr. Valenti’s right. You remember how Michael felt after he killed Pierce, and he was protecting us. They aren’t killers, Maria. If they were, then they’d be confirming everything people like Pierce believe about aliens.”

“I know, but that isn’t really the point,” Maria answered. “We may not want to face it, but the fact remains that Michael and Isabel are going into this with the intention of destroying the place, and I don’t think they’re going to let anyone get in they’re way. They can’t afford to. That’s the ugly truth. And if that means Tess too, well….I don’t think they’re going to lose much sleep over it.”


“Isabel and I talked about this,” Jesse interjected. “She asked me if I had a problem with what she and Michael were going to have to do and I told her no. I don’t know Tess, but I do know that the thought of someone kidnapping and torturing Isabel is not acceptable, so if she has to kill to protect herself, then I accept that. As for Tess, Michael and Isabel promised not to hurt her deliberately, so I think that’s the best we can hope for.”

Reluctant nods followed Jesse’s statement and everyone grew quiet, lost in their own thoughts. Liz wrapped up her barely touched food and got up to throw it away, wishing desperately that she could contact Max by herself. She just wanted to know if he was still all right, and she wanted this day to be over with. Patience was never her strong suit and today was definitely going to be a test of it. But hopefully, by the end of the day, they would have Max back, if not exactly healthy and happy, then at least alive. They would have to deal with the rest later.



posted on 14-Oct-2002 11:00:01 PM by sylvia37
*sad*I know it's been a while guys. I'm really sorry. After I posted the last part, we went out of town, and then I came back to a mountain of work, and then I had relatives come in for a visit so there's been very little time to write. I've started, but I'm not sure when it's going to be finished.

Thanks for all the bumps and comments. I'm so glad you liked the part and I really will try to have it out this week some time. Thanks again.

Sylvia
posted on 18-Oct-2002 11:24:16 PM by sylvia37
Well, I actually made it before the end of the week. Thanks for all the bumps and comments. Let me know what you think.

Welcome to my new reader Nicrae. Thanks for your kind comments.


Everything to You Part 32


Michael and Jim Valenti were lying on their stomachs in some tall, dry grass, staring through binoculars at the front of the Hardwell Ranch. After Michael and Isabel had returned from renting the two vehicles, it was agreed that the guys would drive to the ranch and do some surveillance of the compound before they all just rushed into rescue Max.

The ranch was off the main highway, a mile or so down a dusty side road. They hadn’t encountered any traffic at all, which was good since they hoped no one from the road or nearby farms would realize that something was happening until it was too late.

They were watching from about 300 yards away. The ranch house looked like a typical one story sprawling house. There wasn’t a barn, but there was a huge outbuilding that almost looked like a warehouse. They assumed that that building was where Max and Tess were being held since that is where the guards were. There were fences that appeared to be for livestock behind the house, but there wasn’t any livestock to be seen. They’d been watching the pattern of the guards for quite a while now.

“That detective Phillip hired was right. It doesn’t look like there’s more than two guards at a time. Since we can’t tell when they change shifts, we’re just going to have to make sure and wait if we see more of them when the time comes. If we wait until the sun goes down a little bit, we’ll have the advantage of darkness. I think we can make it pretty close without being seen if we stay low in this tall grass and launch from behind that rock setup he’s got in the yard.” Jim wiped his brow with the back of his hand.

Michael nodded his agreement as he continued to watch the guards. He frowned as he pulled the binoculars away from his face. “We’re going to have to split up to check out the house and that building. I say we send Isabel into the house and we take the building.”

“That sounds good to me. She can take Jesse with her into the house.”

The two slithered back on their stomachs from their positions until they felt they could safely reach the car without being seen. Dusting off, they got into the car and drove back to Alamogordo where the rest of the group was waiting.

“OK,” Jim said when they’d all settled down for one last time to go over the plan. “Michael, Kyle Jesse, Isabel and I will drive to within a half mile of the place and go the rest of the way on foot. Liz, you and Maria will wait here for an hour, then follow, but you’re going to come right in the front like we talked about. Kyle can call you on the cell phone if you need to leave sooner than that. Michael will take out the guards in the front, then he and I will enter the warehouse. Isabel, you and Jesse will enter the house and check to be sure no one is there. Do you feel comfortable going in with Isabel, Jesse?”

Jesse nodded and took Isabel’s hand reassuringly when she looked at him worriedly.

“Kyle, you’ll stay outside and watch until Jesse and Isabel come out, then Isabel can join me and Michael while both of you stay outside. We’ll have the radios to communicate so we know when Isabel is coming in. By that time hopefully we’ll have some idea of how the place is set up and we can give that information to Isabel so she can go where she’s needed.”

“Yeah, and we’re going to destroy everything. We don’t want any evidence left when we leave.” Michael said. He looked over at Liz who nodded in silent communication. Both he and Isabel knew how important it was to Max that the samples that the doctor had taken from him be destroyed. They would make sure that the laboratory that was most likely set up in the building was obliterated.

“Michael will set the fires in the main building, then when we have Max, he and Isabel can torch the house. Since we’re off the main road quite a ways and it’s a Sunday night, I don’t think we should see any cars,” Jim finished.

“Have you and Liz tried to get Max yet?” Michael asked Isabel.

“Not yet. We wanted to wait until we had something concrete to tell him, like an approximate time to be waiting for us. We decided that Liz should see if he can tell us a little bit about the way the place is set up too.”

“That’s a good idea, but we can’t count on that. We don’t know anything about the way they’ve moved him around. We’re basically flying blind here folks. It’s not going to be easy.”

Everyone nodded grimly. They all knew the score. As the others waited, Isabel and Liz got into the back seat of the Jetta and settled down to try and contact Max.



********************


Max’s head broke the water as he gasped for breath. He heaved, gulping in lungfulls of air as the doctor observed and wrote notes. He signaled to two orderlies who reached down to help Max out of the pool. They gave him a towel and Max wiped his face as he continued to pant, feeling like he might collapse any moment.

Endurance tests. More like torture tests. Even during his most intense workouts, Max had never felt this kind of pain. Every muscle in his body ached and burned. Max wasn’t sure exactly what the doctor thought he was accomplishing by having him run into the ground like this, but apparently he was getting something out of it. Max was helped to a chair and he leaned over resting his arms on his thighs, as he continued to try and catch his breath. The doctor finished writing his notes, then looked at Max.

“We’re almost done, Mr. Evans. Just a few more minutes and you may rest.”

Max didn’t answer, just sat while the nurse took his pulse, then measured his blood pressure for what seemed like the hundredth time. When she was finished, Max noticed for the first time that she had an expression of sympathy on her face. Her eyes flashed to his briefly before she stood up and walked away.

Before he could dwell on it, a wave of dizziness assailed him and there was a sort of buzzing in his head. Closing his eyes Max tried to combat the feeling then he realized what it was. Liz was trying to contact him. He focused what little energy he could muster and she hazily appeared in front of him. It was strange to see her, knowing she was inside his head, not really in the room. It was as though his brain was divided in half.

The image was fading in and out. “Max, what’s happening? I can barely feel you.” Liz looked at him anxiously.

Max concentrated on answering her in his head, but it was hard when he could barely keep himself upright. “I can’t…..they did tests.” He gave up on speech and just showed her in his mind.

Liz gasped at the images. Max running on a treadmill…doing pull ups on a bar…lifting weights…swimming. “Oh God Max.” Liz swallowed back her anger and fear. “Listen to me. We’re coming. Michael, Isabel and Jim Valenti are going to be the ones coming in. Your being held inside a building that looks like a warehouse on the outside. Can you give me images of what you’ve seen on the inside?”

Max concentrated on remembering as many details of what he’d seen since he’d been here and projected them to her. Liz’s image continued to waver in and out as his energy weakened. He wanted to tell her to be careful and to let the others know too, but he was almost spent.

“Liz….”

“It’s okay Max. Don’t waste energy. I can feel what you’re feeling. We’ll be careful. Just try to be ready. It will be within the next three hours. I’ll be waiting outside for you.” Liz tried to convey as much encouragement and love as she could through the connection, but it was fading rapidly.

Max managed to nod, and he stared at her fading image, his thoughts conveying his anxiety, his hope, and his love for her. Liz’s image finally disappeared and Max realized that he hadn’t been paying any attention to what was going on in his physical environment. The doctor was trying to get his attention.

“Mr. Evans, can you hear me?”

Max looked up to find the doctor standing right in front of him while he was still seated. “Yes,” he answered, feeling an almost drug like exhaustion stealing over his body.

“You seemed unaware for a moment. Were you doing some sort of meditation or internal analysis?” The doctor’s normally blank eyes brightened with interest.

Max’s heart started beating faster. He didn’t want the doctor to realize that he’d been communicating with someone from the outside. “No, I just…..I’m very tired,” he finally admitted truthfully.

The doctor stared at him speculatively. “That is to be expected. I realize that you are not at peak physical condition at the moment, considering the lack of nourishment and rest you have sustained over the last few days, however, I am pleased with the results of today’s tests. These are only the beginning. Tomorrow we will allow you a break from physical tests while we work on your mental capacity. Now, you will be escorted back to your room, where you may shower and food will be brought to you shortly.”

Max was helped to his feet and he was glad as his legs felt like lead and he wasn’t sure he would make it back to his room under his own steam. He suppressed a groan at the pain of having his sore arms held. When they reached his room, Max looked longingly at the bathroom, wanting a shower desperately, but unsure if he’d be able to stand on his own to take it. He undressed slowly sitting on the toilet, then started the shower. His legs ached, but he managed to stay on his feet while he washed his hair and body, then got dressed. He sat down gratefully on the bed, and waited until the orderly finished cuffing his wrist before he lay back in exhaustion, his body trembling with fatigue. He wondered briefly where Tess was, but then decided that it really didn’t matter. If he never saw her again it would be too soon as far as he was concerned.

Knowing that his friends were coming for him and not knowing what kind of danger they would be facing was tying his stomach in knots. When his dinner arrived, he was determined to make an effort to eat, but Max could barely tolerate the thought of food on his nervous stomach. He picked up the sandwich in front of him. It was tasteless, but he forced himself to chew. As he reached for the cup of juice to wash it down, Max noticed something sticking out from beneath the plate. Moving the plate aside, he saw a blank square and immediately realized it was the back of a photograph. Max turned it over and his breath caught in his throat.

Solemn hazel eyes stared at him from the picture. Light brown hair fell across Zan’s forehead much like his father’s had when he was younger, and the expression on his face was one of resigned dignity. His food forgotten, Max continued to stare at the picture, pain and sorrow burning a hole in the back of his throat as tears gathered. He pushed the tray aside and lay back on his bed, gazing at his son’s beloved face.

Max didn’t know how long he lay there before the sound of the door opening brought his head up. The nurse who’d brought his food entered the room and came forward, avoiding his eyes as she looked at the uneaten meal on the tray. It was the same woman who’d been assisting the doctor during his tests today.

Reaching to remove the tray, the woman gasped as strong fingers closed around her wrist, and she lifted her eyes to look at the alien staring at her warily.

“Why did you give me this?” Max asked in a hard voice, indicating the picture. He noted the woman’s scared expression, but didn’t bother to loosen his grip, ignoring the pain it caused his sore arm.

“I…….” The woman suddenly looked around circumspectly, then turned back to Max. “I just thought you might like to have it.” She whispered as she looked at Max, her expression easing as he let go of her wrist.

Max stared at her for a moment longer, then looked down at the picture, his brow creasing with pain.

The nurse’s gaze softened with compassion as she took in the young man’s distress. He was nothing like Tess. Watching him try to heal his son had been the most unbelievable experience of her life and if she hadn’t already realized from caring for Zan that the doctor was wrong to experiment on them, watching this boy’s reaction to his son’s death……

“He was so sweet,” she said suddenly, looking down at Zan’s face. “No matter what was done to him or how he was treated, he never got angry or upset unless his mother was gone too long.” The woman looked at Max.

“I want you to know that I tried to make him as comfortable as possible, and if there had been a way, I would have taken him away from here. I don’t think what the doctor is doing is right, but…..” The nurse stopped speaking suddenly as though realizing that she’d said too much.

“Why? Why are you letting him do this if you don’t agree with it?” Max asked.

The nurse looked away from his penetrating gaze. “I believed in what he was doing when I first came to work for him.” Her expression was guilty as she looked down at the picture in Max’s hand. “I didn’t know that the aliens he spoke of would be so….human. At first when we captured Tess….” She looked up at Max with a frown. “She doesn’t exactly inspire compassion.”

Max’s expression acknowledged the truth of her words. “But after Zan was born, everything changed,” the nurse continued. “He was so sweet and so helpless…..I couldn’t leave after that. I couldn’t leave him here with only the doctor and his mother. Who knows how long Tess was going to last in her condition. And Dr. Hardwell……”

Max stared at the woman’s sincere face. He didn’t want to believe her. He didn’t want to feel sorry for his captors. He wanted to hang on to his anger, his hatred so that when the time came, he could destroy without guilt, without remorse. Now, this woman’s compassion had penetrated the insulation of his anger. The thought that Zan had at least one person besides Tess who cared about him made his heart ache just a little less, but it didn’t mean that he could trust her. She might be lying to get him to let down his guard with her.

“Listen,” she whispered as she leaned over as though checking his pulse, mindful of the hidden cameras and listening equipment. “The tests the doctor performed today were to test your endurance while on the suppression drugs. He’s going to do mental capacity tests tomorrow, then slowly wean you off the drugs, supposedly without your knowledge, and test you again to see the difference. It would be useless for him to continue testing without your being able to use your abilities. You might have a chance once the drugs wear off.” The nurse stood up.

“I have to go.” She quickly picked up the tray and started to walk out of the room., but Max stopped her and she looked down at him in nervous inquiry.

Max didn’t know what to say. He wanted to tell her that his friends were coming for him and to get out quickly, but he didn’t trust her enough to blurt out their plan.

“Thank you,” he said finally, “for caring for Zan and for telling me about the doctor’s plan.” She nodded and left.

Max watched her go, then looked back down at the picture. He lay back, still staring at his son’s expression, the nurse’s words running through his mind.

Max didn’t know what was going to happen when Michael and the others got here, but he did know that Michael would have no compunction about killing any of these people. When it came to protecting his family, it was apparent that Michael’s previous life on Antar as Max’s second in command overrode any compassion he might feel in his human half and the part of Max that wanted revenge for he and his son’s treatment felt the same way. He had learned the hard way from his experience with captivity that fear and hatred grew hand in hand.

But a part of him, the part that had been raised by his human parents felt guilty about what was about to take place. Killing was wrong but protecting oneself was a natural instinct. So did protecting themselves really make it okay to destroy others? What if this woman got in the way and one of them inadvertently killed her?

Max lifted his aching arm to wipe a tired hand over his face. He didn’t know the answers to these complicated questions, and right now, he was too tired to figure it out. He only hoped that when it was over, they could all live with themselves.

********************


Liz was staring off into space when Maria came up behind her.

“It seems to me that we’ve been here before,” Maria said sitting next to her friend.

Liz glanced at her with a small sad smile. “Yeah, except last time Alex was waiting with us. It doesn’t get any easier the second time around, does it?”

“No.” Maria agreed.

“You know, when I was at the ski resort, it hit me all of the sudden. We live this double life. We have these secrets and we seem to be in constant danger….its crazy. How did we get here?”

“As I recall, it was because a certain alien king couldn’t let a certain waitress he was secretly in love with die of a gunshot wound.”

“Yeah, I know but….. do you ever….you know….regret that you became involved?”

“Every time I open Michael’s refrigerator and see the mold forming it’s own city.”

That actually got a smile. “No seriously,” Maria continued. “I don’t regret it. I get angry and I get afraid….but then I see Michael doing something no normal person would consider doing and realize how much he needs a keeper....” Maria smiled as Liz laughed, “or he does something really sweet…. and I know I made the right choice.” She looked at her best friend. “Do you regret loving Max?”

Liz sighed. “No. I don’t regret loving Max. I regret some of the things that have happened because of it….but I’ve never regretted my feelings. Even when I thought he’d actually slept with Tess of his own free will and made a baby with her, I still loved him.”

“So why are you questioning it now?”

Liz hesitated. “Mark kissed me.”

“What? And you’re just now telling me this when we have to be at the alien rescue rendezvous in less than forty five minutes?”

“Well we were a little distracted with Max’s kidnapping, Maria. I haven’t exactly had time for girl talk.”

“We don’t now either but that’s beside the point. Spill. When did this happen?”

“Friday night. We were just talking about skiing and stuff….and then he kissed me.”

“I knew he was a fast mover. Did you kiss him back?”

“Sort of. It was just a short kiss…I didn’t really have time to react one way or the other.”

“Did you like it?”

“I guess. It didn’t repulse me if that’s what you mean. It didn’t feel right though. Like I was betraying Max even though we aren’t together.”

“That’s understandable. I mean you still love him so….”

“Mark wants us to go out when we get back to school.”

“Oh. Do you want to go out with him?”

“I don’t know. I can’t think about that right now. I mean, look at us. We’re sitting here involved in a life and death situation. I have this whole secret life that I can’t tell anyone about. How can I get involved with anyone else when I have to lie to them?”

Maria looked at her shrewdly. “And there’s the fact that you’re still in love with Max. And we know he’s still in love with you.”

Liz glanced at her before looking down at her hands. “Yeah, there’s that too. I do love him Maria. I just don’t know where we go from here. That is if everything goes the way we want it to today,” she continued worriedly.


Maria put her arm around her forlorn friend’s shoulders. “I guess the only thing I can say is what I’ve said before. Just follow your heart. I don’t think it’s steered you wrong yet.” Maria looked at her watch. “It’s almost time to go. I don’t know about you, but I think I need to go to the bathroom before we join the fray.”

“Okay, go ahead. I don’t have to go.”

Maria walked into the restaurant while Liz looked down at her watch. Maria was right. It was almost time to go, and suddenly all of her other worries seemed insignificant beside her anxiety for Max and the others. It suddenly didn’t matter what happened afterward as long as everyone came back safe and alive. She would worry about her and Max’s relationship after she made sure he was back where he belonged, safe and in the care of his family and friends. Everything else could wait.


TBC...


posted on 30-Oct-2002 11:16:29 PM by sylvia37
OK, I'm finally back. I've been so busy! Thanks to all of you who read and commented and to anyone who read and didn't comment. I didn't realize that last chapter was going to spark such a discussion. I love that.

Realistic Dreamer,

I hope you'll keep reading despite your aversion to Liz's comments.

Let me know what you all think of this next part.


Everything to You Part 33


Isabel carefully unlocked the front door of the house with her powers and she and Jesse slipped silently inside. Michael had easily disposed of the guards in front, taking them both out with a single blast since they were standing together conferring over something. Together, she and Michael had disintegrated the bodies, then they’d separated to their appointed tasks. Isabel was working completely on automatic, not allowing herself to think about what they’d just had to do or about what Jesse was thinking. Later on, she would allow herself to feel, but right now, she couldn’t afford to.

They crept quietly through the ordinary living room, then Jesse motioned that he was going towards the kitchen while Isabel headed in the opposite direction. She nodded watching as he moved away, his weapon held firmly in front of him, then she turned to move down the hallway, her hand held defensively in front of her. They hadn’t heard any noise since they’d entered which led her to believe that no one was in the house, but she didn’t want to take any chances.

As Isabel continued to move down the hallway, she checked each bedroom and bathroom, relaxing slightly when she got to the last room. She peaked inside and saw that it appeared to be a study. Bookshelves and file cabinets lined the walls and a computer sat atop the desk.

A computer. Research. Isabel moved forward intending to melt the thing, when she stopped and reconsidered. They might actually be able to use the doctor’s files. Even if it didn’t contain any pertinent information about Max, it might have something on others who were doing the same type of thing as the doctor. Or, if it did have data about Max, they might be able to find out more about themselves from it. They needed the hard drive.

Isabel lifted the CPU off the floor where it sat under the desk and quickly turned it over. She was glad now that she’d watched Jesse do this to theirs at home. Using her powers, Isabel removed the screws and quickly pulled the hard drive from the shell, then returned it to its position on the floor. She didn’t want any evidence left that might lead to suspicion after the house was set afire. The intention was to make it look like the building next door caught fire, then a spark set the house ablaze.

“Isabel?” She turned to find Jesse standing in the doorway.

“I’m done. I was just getting the hard drive.” She moved away from the desk towards her husband. They were speaking in whispers even though there was no one to hear them.

Jesse grabbed Isabel’s arm and they headed towards the living room. Just as they made it down the hall intending to go out the front door, they heard the back door open and a man in a dark jacket suddenly walked in from the kitchen, holding a cell phone up in his hand, punching numbers with his thumb. He looked up at the two of them and quickly reached across into his pocket.

Everything seemed to happen in a split second. Isabel had been slightly behind Jesse as they entered the living room from the hallway, but the minute she realized it was a gun the man pulling from his pocket she reacted. Pushing Jesse out of the way, she lifted her hand and sent a blast at the man, knocking him off his feet. She and Jesse both stood there for a moment, the after shock of the situation paralyzing them for a moment.

“We have to go,” Jesse said hoarsely, grabbing her arm and pulling her towards the front door. They both couldn’t help but stare at the large black char mark on the man’s chest as they passed by him, a light wisp of smoke still coming from the wound. Opening the front door, Jesse looked around warily, then spotted Kyle signaling to him with a flashlight from his hiding place behind the huge rock design the doctor had set up on the lawn depicting the name of his ranch. Jesse followed Isabel out, and they both ran to where Kyle was waiting.

Jesse had his arm around Isabel as they knelt next to Kyle, and he could feel her trembling.

“What happened? Are you guys okay?” Kyle asked, noting that they both looked a little shell-shocked.

“Yeah, we’re okay,” Jesse answered him. “Somebody showed up as we were leaving and…..”

“I get it,” Kyle stopped him, noting Isabel’s pallor. “What’s that?” He asked looking down at her hand.

“The hard drive from the computer. I thought we might get some information.” Isabel answered trying to regain her composure. The sight of the hole in the man’s chest she just killed was going to live with her forever. “Do you have somewhere we can keep this for now?” she asked Kyle.

“Sure,” Kyle said taking it from her and sticking it in the backpack lying on the ground next to him.

Isabel picked up the radio and pressed the button. “Michael, are you there?”

Static sounded for a moment. “I’m here.” He was whispering so they could barely hear him.

“I’m ready to come in.”

More static. “Okay, just enter from the front and go down the hall to your left. We’re on the right. And be careful. We haven’t seen anyone yet, so I don’t know where they are.”

“Okay.” Isabel clipped the radio to her belt and looked at the two guys. “I’m going in.”

“Be careful. I love you.” Jesse returned Isabel’s fierce hug. She hugged Kyle too for good measure then staying as low to the ground as possible, sprinted towards the building.


************************


Michael and the former sheriff had split up. Jim was moving stealthily down the hallway, weapon drawn as he carefully checked each room he came to.

Never in a million years had he thought that he’d be where he was right now. Instead of sheriff, he was a part time singer for a Honky Tonk band and his closest friends were aliens. Talk about career moves. But even as he faced imminent danger for these kids, he knew it was the right thing to do. Max hadn’t had to save Kyle’s life that day when he was shot, and Jim hadn’t given Max any reason to trust him with their secret.

Even if he never did more with his life than this, Jim would count himself lucky to be one of the few people who’d ever had such an extraordinary experience. And now that Max and Isabel’s parents knew the truth, he wouldn’t be alone in his knowledge. He hadn’t even realized the burden he’d been carrying around until he felt the relief of knowing that he wasn’t the only adult that knew the secret.

The click of shoes coming down the hall alerted him to someone’s presence, and Jim quickly ducked into the next door he came to, stopping to listen as the clicking got louder. Holding his breath, he waited then let it out as the sound grew farther away.

Jim breathed a sigh of relief, and started to remove the radio from his belt intending to contact Michael when a voice brought his head around.

“Jim?”

**********************

Closing the door behind him, Michael moved quickly to the next one, checking each room as he went. He didn’t think anyone knew they were there yet, but that was going to change rapidly, so he was going as quickly as he could. He’d fried several computers so far, but hadn’t started any fires yet. Michael wanted to give them time to get out before they did that. If it meant he had to go back in after they had Max, then he would.

The next room he came to was locked and his hand glowed briefly before he opened the door and cautiously peeked inside. There was a strong chemical odor, and finding the light switch, Michael turned to study the room. A metal table and several suspended lights stood in the middle and the walls were lined with cabinets and what looked like medical equipment. There was another door on the opposite wall and he quickly crossed to it to look through the raised window, when he heard a key sound in the lock of the door he’d just come through.

Michael doused the light using his powers and slipped through the door, crouching as he saw the light come on. Rising quietly, he looked carefully out the window and saw a man in scrubs with a clipboard cross to a counter and open a drawer.

Michael shivered, suddenly realizing that this room was several degrees colder than the other, and he turned to survey his surroundings. A rolling table stood against the wall and Michael stiffened when he saw a sheet covering what was obviously a body. He stood staring for a moment before he took a deep breath and cautiously stepped forward, not wanting to look, but unable to stop himself. He already knew what he would find, but he had to be sure.

As he stared down at the face of Max’s son, Michael’s throat tightened, anger and sadness warring inside him as he noted how much Zan looked like his father. The anger won out as he realized the boy was being prepped for an autopsy, marks on his body denoting where they were going to cut. Michael swallowed thickly, thinking about how Max must have felt knowing they were going to cut open his son.

Hearing a noise, Michael hastily replaced the sheet and moved to the side of the window, turning his body slightly to look into the room. The man who’d entered was still looking through drawers for something. A few moments later, he finally shook his head and left.

Michael looked back at the table, not wanting to leave the body here, but not knowing what to do. Making a decision, he took a deep breath and opened the door, glancing around one last time as he moved towards the exit. The sight of the camera stopped him in his tracks.

Shit. Michael reached up and sent a small blast of energy through it, knowing it was futile, then he looked out the door and headed down the hall to keep checking rooms.

**************************


“I haven’t found anything yet,” Isabel whispered into the radio as she glanced furtively down the hall. She’d had to hide in an empty room a second ago when a nurse rushed by. “I have one more room to check, then I’ll come back your way.”

Michael acknowledged her and she clipped the radio back on her belt, then moved towards the last door. Unlocking it, she slipped inside and was immediately assaulted by a musty odor, somewhat like rotting vegetation. Clicking on her flashlight, she gasped at what met her eyes.

Their pods. Somehow the doctor had managed to transport their pods here for study. Recovering from her initial shock, Isabel noticed that they looked different. Apparently they’d been damaged when the Granolith crashed, and transporting them hadn’t helped either. They were decaying.

Isabel looked at them sadly. These were their wombs so to speak and it was a travesty that they should be in the hands of someone who only wanted to dissect them. As much as she hated it, they would have to be destroyed along with everything else when they set the place on fire.

Noticing the computer, Isabel quickly and efficiently removed the hard drive, then hastily took part of a tarp that was hanging off the edge of a pod and, using her powers, fashioned a bag with handles that she slung over her shoulder. Taking one last regretful look at the pods, she opened the door, looked quickly to be sure there wasn’t anyone watching, and headed back the way she came to catch up with Michael.


******************


“Tess.” Jim stared in shock at the small girl lying on the bed.

“I’m so glad to see you.” Tess looked at Jim, her blue eyes shining with wary hope, and in spite of himself, Jim felt sorry for her. She was a pale shadow of the girl who’d actually brought some happiness into his and Kyle’s household for a short time, even if she did betray them and kill Alex. Jim couldn’t help but see her as a misguided child rather than a cold-blooded killer, but he was no fool. He knew that she knew that he was probably the only one out of the bunch who might be willing to help her.

She glanced up apprehensively at the ceiling and Jim immediately realized that there were cameras watching them. Holstering his gun for the time being, he moved towards the bed.

“Can you walk?”

Tess’s eyes darkened bitterly for a moment.

“No.” She lifted the sheet and Jim bit back a gasp at the sight of her mutilation. His compassionate gaze lifted to hers, and Tess found herself tearing up. It had been so long since anyone besides Zan had looked at her with anything other than cold calculation or contempt.

Seeing the metal cuff attaching her wrist to the bed, Jim looked for a way to detach the bed rail. As he knelt next to it, the door suddenly crashed open and a man with a gun stepped into the room.

Years of police training caused Jim to react instinctively. He rolled away from the bed while reaching for his gun. As he came around and on to his feet, he fired. The man fell, blood seeping from a wound in his side and Jim waited a moment before cautiously going towards him. The man was unconscious. Not wasting any time, Jim found a key ring and rose. He turned back to the bed then stopped in shock.

Apparently the guy had gotten off a shot at the same time Jim had. Tess was bleeding from her shoulder, her already pale skin a sickly shade of gray now.

“Tess, can you hear me?”

Tess opened her eyes, pain and fright shining from their glazed depths.

“Don’t leave me here.” Her voice was a whisper.

“I’m not,” Jim answered, looking for a key that looked like it would fit in the lock of the wrist cuff. After several unsuccessful tries, he finally found the right one. Tearing a strip of sheet, he wrapped her shoulder as best he could, then wrapping Tess in the blanket from the bed, he hoisted her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and headed cautiously for the door. He had to get her out now and hope that Michael and Isabel could find Max. If they didn’t appear once he was safely outside, he’d go back in.


***************************

Max was startled from a fitful doze by an orderly coming through the door and hurrying towards his bed, a gun held awkwardly in his hand. The man undid his wrist, mumbling as he did it.

“I told him we needed more security, but no, he was just sure we were safe because no one knew we had him. Fucking ….” The man pointed the gun at Max shakily.

“Get up. We have to go. Now!” The man gestured with the gun, but Max resisted.

“Why? Where are you taking me?” he asked stalling for time. Michael and the others were obviously here.

“Shut up you Freak and come on. The doctor wants you in the lab.”

The orderly proceeded to drag him from the bed. Max’s aching body protested as he stumbled, his legs unable to hold him up. The orderly cursed and grabbed him under both arms, pulling him into a standing position, but Max continued to struggle. The gun fell, sliding away and Max dove for it. The orderly jumped on him, and they wrestled, but Max’s physical condition hindered him considerably and the orderly quickly subdued him, holding him down while he grabbed the gun. The man’s face twisted in hatred, and he used the gun for leverage against Max’s throat, cutting off his air. As Max pulled on his arm trying to break his hold, the man punched Max in the face.

“Get the hell off him. Now!”

Max and the orderly both turned towards the voice, and relief swept through Max as he saw Michael standing there, arm outstretched. The orderly pointed the gun unsteadily at Michael, but it suddenly flew out of his hand and clattered against the wall. The man gasped and Max, taking advantage of his distraction, give one last effort, lifting his legs, throwing the man off of him. The orderly sprawled across the floor, spotted the gun and reached for it. Michael blasted him just as his fingertips touched the barrel and he lay silent, a smoking hole now burned into his back.

“Just in time to save the day,” Max croaked as Michael rushed across the room to help him to his feet.

“Yeah, just remember this the next time you’re dragging my ass out of the fire, Maxwell,” Michael answered, secretly horrified by his friend’s appearance. His skin was ashen, with dark circles under his eyes and there was a cut on his cheekbone where the orderly had hit him. Michael wished he’d gotten there just a couple of minutes sooner.

“Lean on me,” Michael said wrapping Max’s arm around his shoulder, stepping towards the door.

“Wait! I need…..take me over to the bed.”

“We have to go! We’re going to have more company in a minute,” Michael said in exasperation as he still headed towards the exit.

“No ….I need to get something….” Max pulled Michael in the other direction.

Michael complied only to get Max moving faster. When the got to the bed, Max leaned over and pulled out what looked like a piece of paper from between the mattress and the metal part of the bed. Max curled his fist around it protectively. As the two started to turn back towards the door, a nurse suddenly appeared. Michael lifted his hand and she gasped.

“No!” Max yelled, grabbing Michael’s arm. It was the woman who’d given him Zan’s picture.
She stood just inside the room, her hand raised defensively to her chest.

“What the hell are you doing, Maxwell?” Michael hissed, his arm still raised against Max’s restraining hand.

“She helped me,” Max answered, then he looked at the nurse with as much authority as possible in his state. “You need to get out of here. The place is going up and you’re free to go. Leave here and forget you ever saw or heard of us.”

She hesitated. “Do you need me to help you……”

“No,” Max answered her. “Just get out of here and don’t look back.”

The woman nodded and fled.

“Are you sure that was a good idea?” Michael asked as they moved towards the door.

“No, but she tried to help Zan, and she was trying to help me. Besides, she wasn’t armed.”

Michael looked out the door, not seeing anyone. Moving as quickly as possible with Max leaning so heavily on him, they headed down the hallway in the direction that Michael had come. When the reached the end of it, Michael stopped, intending to look around the corner, but he glanced down at Max worriedly instead. Max’s breath was wheezing out of his chest just from their short trip down the hall. Michael hoisted him more firmly and started around the corner, almost running smack into Isabel.

“Max!” she gasped and Max, seeing her anxious expression, straightened with an effort, trying to look at little less like death warmed over.

Michael didn’t waste time with reunions. “Keep an eye out behind us. I don’t want to be surprised by any one.”

Isabel went to Max’s other side, sliding her arm around his waist and wrapping his arm round her shoulder. Max groaned as his sore arm protested.

“Max…..” Isabel started to drop his arm.

“Don’t. It’s okay. I’m just sore…”

The three aliens moved quickly down the hall, Isabel glancing behind them. As they neared the entrance where the first two hallways met, they stopped as footsteps were heard, and Michael let go of Max long enough to prepare himself to defend them, Isabel taking the brunt of Max’s weight.

Jim Valenti appeared from around the corner, a blanket wrapped bundle over one shoulder. Michael lowered his arm.

“What the hell….”

“It’s Tess,” Jim panted.

“Wait a fucking….”

“Michael,” Max interrupted. “Let’s not waste time. He already has her. Let’s just go.”

Michael reluctantly pulled Max’s arm back around his shoulder and they all headed towards freedom, Isabel keeping an eye out behind them as Jim took a position up front. They all heard the footsteps before they actually saw anyone, but before they could react, all hell broke loose.

The doctor and two men with guns came from an open doorway, and several shots rang out. Max immediately dragged Isabel to the ground attempting to shield her, but they both gasped as they saw Jim stagger, shots still sounding. Michael sent several blasts in a row towards the three men, one of whom was hit, his body flying backward before the other two ducked into another door.

“Oh God. Jim, are you hit? Jim…..” Isabel pulled herself from under Max and crawled towards Jim where he was sprawled on the ground, the blanketed Tess lying next to him.

“No….” Jim rolled to sit up, and quickly pulled the blanket away from Tess’s face. Her eyes were closed and he pulled the blanket back more trying to see if she was hurt.

“Tess…..” He saw the bullet hole in her shoulder but nothing else. Rolling her gently to her side to look, he glanced up resignedly into Isabel’s anxious face. “She was shot in the back.” Laying her down, he leaned over to listen for her heart before lifting the blanket back over her face.

Isabel crawled back to Max who was lying motionless on the floor.

“Max…..” She gasped at the blood seeping from his temple. “Michael, Max is hurt.”

Michael staggered over to them, holding his own arm from where a bullet had winged him. It stung like a son of a bitch. “How bad?”

“He was hit in the head. He’s still breathing.”

Jim Valenti had moved over to Max’s prone form as well. “It looks like it just nicked him. There’s a lot of blood, but I don’t think it’s too serious.”

Isabel ran a hand over the cut, sealing it as Jim pulled off his jacket and shirt, leaving him in just an undershirt. He used his shirt to wipe at the blood before tearing it into strips and wrapping one around Max’s head. Isabel sealed the two ends firmly in place. She glanced up at Michael and saw the blood on his shirt where his hand was holding his arm.

“Michael, your arm…..” Isabel jumped up to help him.

“It’s nothing. Just a scratch. We gotta go. I think I may have hit one of the other two but I’m not sure. We can’t stay here.” He stood impatiently while Valenti used a strip of his shirt to bind his arm.

Jim and Isabel managed between them to lift Max’s unconscious body from the floor, no one noticing the small picture lying on the floor, and they all moved cautiously towards the entrance they’d come in. Just as they reached it, Kyle appeared, gun ready.

“We heard shots,” Kyle said by way of explanation as he took in the battle torn group at the door.

“Valenti, take Max. Kyle, come with me. You too Isabel. We have to start the fires and I need Kyle for something.” Michael issued orders like a drill sergeant.

Isabel leaned Max against Jim who looked back at the group. “Michael, what do you need Kyle….”

“I’ll explain later. Just get Max out of here.”

Jim went reluctantly. “Be careful,” he warned his son, then he moved out into the night, partially dragging his burden.

“Michael, what do you need Kyle for?” Isabel asked glancing at nervous looking Kyle.

“Because I can’t carry Zan’s body and defend us at the same time.”

“Zan’s body?” Isabel asked as they ran down the hall.

“I found him when I was looking for Max.”

They reached the room where Zan was and Michael led them to the body. Isabel started to lift the sheet, but Michael stopped her.

“Don’t. It isn’t pretty.”

Isabel nodded, swallowing back tears at the sight of the little form under the sheet. Kyle reached down and lifted him, careful to keep the sheet wrapped around him as he cradled Zan’s small form to his chest. He tried not to think about the fact that he was holding a dead body, concentrating instead on the fact that it was a child and didn’t deserve to stay here and burn in a fire.

Michael sent a blast through the room after they exited and they moved rapidly down the hall, he and Isabel starting small fires as they went. They ran to the hallway where the pods were and Michael hesitated, looking over at Isabel’s sad expression before he tamped down his own remorse and did what he had to do. The two aliens watched regretfully for a moment as the pods burned before moving on.

“Did you see a lab when you were looking?” Michael asked as they hurried back towards the front.

“No, but there has to be one.” Smoke was now billowing down the hallway as they moved more cautiously, not able to see very well.

“Kyle, you and Isabel get out of here. I’ll check down that last hallway that Valenti came from. It must be over there.”

“No, Michael. I won’t leave you…..”

“Do it, Isabel. Max needs you and Jesse’s going to come barreling in here any minute if you don’t go. Besides, you need to set the house on fire.”

Isabel and Kyle complied reluctantly, running towards the exit. Michael ran down the other hall, flinging doors open as he checked for lab equipment. Halfway down the hall, he hit the jackpot.

Quickly entering the room, Michael went to glass cabinets and refrigerators destroying everything including the computers, then he leaned against the counter for a moment trying to catch his breath. His arm throbbed painfully, and he hadn’t wanted to mention to Isabel and Kyle just how low his energy was at this point. Taking a deep breath, Michael straightened up just as the door opened and a man in a lab coat came through pointing a gun rather shakily at his head. His agitated black eyes took in the destruction of his precious lab before he looked at Michael, madness and rage clearly etched on his face.

“You ruined everything.”



TBC.....

posted on 8-Nov-2002 10:51:47 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Thanks once again for all of your comments. Let me know what you think of this part.


Everything to You Part 34

Liz and Maria pulled up at the designated rendezvous area and jumped out of the car.

“Do you see anyone?” Maria whispered as she squinted towards the front of the house.

They huddled by the car for a moment looking for a familiar face. They’d wanted to call Kyle in the intervening hour, but his father had warned them not to in case he was in a situation where he was trying to hide and the phone could have given him away.

“No,” Liz whispered back, but she grabbed Maria’s arm as she finally did see a movement on the lawn in front of what looked like a large rock formation in the yard.

“Ow!” Maria exclaimed in a whisper as she looked down at her friend in surprise, but subsided when Liz pointed.

“I saw something.”

They both moved forward cautiously, hoping it was Jesse or Kyle and not a guard. They clung to each others hands as they strained to see in the dark, not wanting to turn on a flash light and give themselves away. Suddenly, a shadow loomed in front of them and Maria let out a small yelp before Liz clamped her hand over Maria’s mouth.

“You girls make enough noise to wake the dead,” Jesse said as he became visible and the two girls breathed sighs of relief. Jesse gestured them forward and they all crouched low as they moved towards the hiding place.

“Where is everyone? Are they okay?” Liz asked anxiously.

“We haven’t heard from them in a while, but they were okay last time I spoke to Isabel,” Jesse answered.
The small group reached the rock formation where Kyle waited watching. He acknowledged them with a nod as they approached.

“Did everything go okay?” Maria said as she shivered. The desert was cold at night.

“It did from our end. Isabel and I encountered one man in the house, but she….took care of him. Michael didn’t have any problem with the guards. Now, we’re just waiting for them.” Jesse glanced around continuously as they spoke keeping an eye out.

“I don’t suppose you brought coffee with you,” Kyle asked as he bounced, trying to keep warm.

Liz shook her head regretfully. The only thing they had with them were blankets and clothes in the car for Max. “Oh, Maria. We left the blanket in the car. I’d better go…..”

Shots suddenly sounded from the warehouse and they all jumped at the sound. Kyle took off without a word, and Jesse wanted to follow, but he didn’t think he should leave Liz and Maria alone without any defense so he stayed, staring worriedly in the direction of the shots.

They sat tensely, Liz and Maria holding each other for warmth as well as comfort. A few moments later, Jesse heard his name being called, and he cautiously looked around the rock to see a shadow moving towards them in the dark. They all heard his name again.

“That’s Mr. Valenti,” Maria said and they jumped up, but Jesse gestured the Maria and Liz back.

“Stay here.”

Jesse ran forward and the girls waited anxiously, watching as the shadow got nearer, then Liz let out a cry as she was finally able to see the two men carrying Max between them. He was unconscious and there was a strip of bloody cloth wrapped around his head.

“Max! Oh my God, what happened to him?” Liz ran forward, forcing herself to wait until they managed to get Max behind the rock and lay him on the ground. Liz dropped to her knees and looked down at his pale features. His skin was waxy and cold.

“He was winged by a bullet in the head,” Jim answered breathlessly, “but it was just a scratch, really. He’s okay,” he finished as the girls both gasped at his statement.

“Is Michael okay?” Maria asked, afraid of the answer.

“He’s fine. He took Kyle and Isabel with him to set the fires and to take care of some last minute business,” Jim answered as he glanced worriedly back at the building that was now beginning to glow with flames in several of the windows.

“We need the blanket, Maria. He’s freezing.” Liz said hoarsely as she pulled Max’s head into her lap, her hands running over his pale cheeks anxiously. God, he looked terrible. Worse than the last time this happened.

Maria came back in a few minutes with the blanket, and they carefully tucked it around Max’s prone form. Even in his unconscious state, he was shivering.

“Max. Max, can you hear me?” Liz said, as she caressed his beloved face, wishing she had something she could clean up the dried blood with. He didn’t stir and Liz’s stomach churned with worry, knowing they couldn’t take him to a doctor. What if it was more serious than they thought? Max was the only one with the power to heal serious wounds. Michael and Isabel could only do minor things.

“Isabel!” Jesse ran forward, catching his wife in his arms as she and Kyle approached out of the dark. Isabel hugged him back for all she was worth. “I’m okay, I’m okay,” she whispered against his throat.

“Dad, help me out, will ya?” Kyle asked his father as he moved past the reuniting couple with his burden. He didn’t want the girls to see what he was carrying.

“What’s going on, Kyle?” Jim followed his son as he headed towards the car.

“Just open the trunk. I really need to put this….him down.” Kyle swallowed as he waited for his father to retrieve the keys to the car from Maria then opened the trunk. Noting the size and shape of the blanketed form, Jim had already guessed what it was.

“I’m proud of you son,” Jim said putting his arm around Kyle’s shoulder as he leaned over at the waist, trying to keep himself from heaving up his dinner.

“Yeah, well don’t be too proud. It was Michael who ordered me to do it, and I nearly lost it a couple of times. I can definitely cross mortician off my list of possible careers now.”

“I don’t just mean about this. You ran up there when you heard the shots not knowing what you would be facing. Your brave man, son and a good friend to them.”

“Thanks,” Kyle said, faintly embarrassed by his father’s praise. “You know, my dad used to be in law enforcement so he taught me everything he knows.”

The two Valenti men smiled at each other for a moment. “So what are we going to do with him? I mean, I’m pretty sure Michael wasn’t thinking ahead on this.” Kyle closed the trunk.

“I’ll take care of it when we get back to Roswell. I still have connections.”

They walked back towards the group, hearing Maria’s raised voice as they approached.

“What do you mean he went back in there? He realizes that even aliens burn up in fire, right?” Maria had wrapped her arms around herself in agitation as she questioned Isabel, who was kneeling next to Liz as she hovered over Max.

“He’ll be okay, Maria. He just had to make sure that the lab was destroyed.” Isabel stared down at her brother anxiously as she answered Maria. She’s tried to scan him like he was able to do, but she couldn’t really detect anything. Getting up with a frustrated sigh, Isabel turned towards Jesse.

“I have to go set the fires in the house.”

“I’m coming with you,’ Jesse answered and she took his hand gratefully.

Maria stared at the burning warehouse, fear for Michael eating a hole in her stomach. “Please come back to me, Spaceboy.”



************************


Michael raised his hand to blast the doctor when he heard the door behind him open and he quickly swung around to find another man pointing a gun at his head. This man actually looked like he knew what to do with it, and the look on his face said that he was only holding back because of the doctor’s orders. Michael turned back to the man in the lab coat. Dr. Hardwell looked like a maniac. His hair was disheveled, and his agitated black eyes kept running over the equipment in the lab in rage and disbelief.

“Uh…sir. We need to get out of here.” This came from the man with the gun. They could all smell the smoke coming from the rest of the burning building.

“How did you find him?” The doctor finally asked Michael, the gun in his hand wavering dangerously. “Do you all share some mental telepathy that allowed you to track him?” Without waiting for an answer, the doctor continued.

“I wasn’t like Pierce, you know. I didn’t want to destroy you. I just wanted to study and learn. For….for the good of mankind. Yes….that’s all and now look at it. Look at what you’ve done.” He shook the gun at Michael who ducked warily. Out of the corner of his eye, he could saw the other man dodge as well. Smoke was beginning to make it’s way inside the room now and Michael’s eyes were burning.

“I totally believe you. Do you think we could continue this discussion outside?” Michael said taking a step towards the door. The doctor’s gun immediately came up, and Michael stopped his hands raised defensively. “Guess not.”

“Doctor, we really need to leave. The whole building is going up.” The other man’s worried voice came from behind him and Michael realized that he didn’t have much time left. He knew instinctively that the man behind him was about to take matters in to his own hands, just as he himself would do in the same situation. Michael had a choice to make. He couldn’t take out both of them.

“You are coming with us. I’ll start over…..yes….” the doctor gestured wildly with the gun. “I’ll find a new place to continue my research…..”

Michael made his decision and acted on it with a fleeting thought to Maria who no doubt would curse him for his stupidity in not coming out immediately. Before he could talk himself out of it, Michael whirled around and blasted the man behind him, putting a hole in his chest and sending him flying back against the wall, all the while expecting to feel the a bullet in his back. When he didn’t, Michael turned to find the doctor lying on the floor, a hole in his head, Jim Valenti standing in the doorway, his gun still smoking. He’d busted into the room and assessed the situation in a split second. The two men began to cough as smoke poured into the room.

“Come on, Michael. We have to get out of here.”

They ran down the hall, avoiding flames shooting out of doorways, trying to breath as shallowly as possible while running. They made it to the front hallway and Michael almost tripped over Tess’s body lying where they’d left it earlier, his arm up ineffectively trying to block the smoke from his eyes. He looked down at Tess’s still form.

“Was she dead when you checked her?”

Jim avoided his gaze as he squinted down at the body. “No,” he said finally glancing back up at Michael. “but she was close enough. I could barely hear her heart beating.” Jim felt guilty about it, but they’d had enough to contend with at the time and Tess was beyond help. They couldn’t take her to a doctor and Max was out of commission.

“Good enough,” Michael said without remorse. It would save him the trouble of having to kill her later. “Let’s go.”

They came around the corner, but stopped short both of them throwing up their arms to shield themselves. A wall of flames was licking along the wall blocking their exit.

“Shit!” Michael exclaimed as he felt his hair singe. He looked at the former sheriff uncertainly. Now what the hell were they going to do?


************************


“I knew he would do something stupid. He never thinks first. He just rushes right in without using that shaggy head on his shoulders…..” Maria had been going on for a while now, and Liz had finally had enough.

“Maria. Maria. Stop okay. He’ll be fine. He wasn’t being stupid, he was being brave. He saved Max… he got Zan’s body out….he went back in to make sure the lab was destroyed. He’s a hero. Mr. Valenti won’t let anything happen to him.”

Maria looked down at her friend “I know, I know, but I have to vent, you know? If I stand here quietly while I’m waiting, I’ll explode.” Maria squatted next to where Liz was still stroking Max’s face tenderly. “How’s he doing?”

“I don’t know,” Liz answered her worriedly. “He hasn’t woken up at all and he’s so cold. I think we should try to get him in the car, put his clothes on and turn the heater on.”

Just as she finished speaking, Max moaned and moved his head. His eyelids fluttered, then opened to reveal clouded eyes.

“Liz?” Max whispered, staring up at her anxious face. He tried to lift his head, but gasped as pain shot through from his temple all the way down into his neck.

“Don’t try to move, Max. You were shot. Mr.Valenti said it was only a scratch, but your were bleeding from your head.” Liz’s fingers feathered across his brow, smoothing his hair back.

“Michael…..Where’s Michael? And Isabel? Are they okay?” Max’s voice was hoarse as he swallowed trying to ease the soreness.

“Isabel is setting fire to the house, Jesse went with her. And Michael…..” Liz hesitated, and Max looked up at her uncertain expression.

“What? Where’s Michael?” Max tried to lift his head again, but groaned and fell back.

“Lie still Max. Michael’s all right. He just went back inside to make sure the lab was destroyed. Mr. Valenti went in to check on him and they haven’t come back yet. I’m sure he’s okay.” Liz glanced up at Maria.

“She’s right Max. I’m sure Michael’s fine.” Maria tried to be reassuring in the face of her own fear, but even Max could hear her voice trembling.

“You should be proud of him, Maria. He was really brave,” Max said, closing his eyes against the pain in his head. The feel of Liz’s fingers was soothing and he could feel her smoothing the crease between his brows as he tried to fight the pain. He hated that his sister and Michael were fighting his battles while he lay helpless. And Kyle and his Dad were risking their lives to save him as well. God, he was cold. Max tried to suppress the shivers running through his body.

Liz could feel his trembling and she wrapped her arms around him as she looked up at Maria. “Get Kyle and let’s try to get him in the car. He needs to get warm.”

Max felt Liz’s warm breath on his face and her arms through the blanket wrapped around him as she shared her body heat with him. He closed his eyes, a feeling of security seeping into him from her firm hold, and Max’s body responded to the comfort, his skin prickling as it tried to absorb every last ounce. He allowed himself to savor the feeling for just a moment, knowing that reality would soon intrude.

Footsteps sounded a few precious moments later and Max opened his eyes to see Isabel and Jesse running towards them. Isabel dropped to the ground next to him.

“Max, thank God you’re okay,” she leaned over to hug him and Max winced even as he hugged her back, his head pounding, the pain radiating down his neck into his upper back. Liz didn’t think he could get any paler, but as Isabel sat back, Liz saw him clench his jaw tight and despite the cold, a sheen of perspiration covered his face. Max took in her worried expression and he tried to smile reassuringly.

“Isabel, I asked Maria to get Kyle so we could get him into the car, but she didn’t come back.” Liz leaned over again to wrap her arms around his shivering form. Isabel nodded and jumped up to get Jesse who had joined Kyle and Maria over by the rock formation.

“Jesse, we need to get Max into the car….” Isabel stopped as she followed their horrified gazes towards the now solidly burning warehouse. “Oh my God, are Michael and Jim still in there?”

No one answered as they all strained to see anything that might indicate otherwise.

Liz felt Max stiffen as he heard Isabel’s cry. He closed his eyes and before Liz could stop him, Max was pushing himself into a sitting position, the blanket falling away from his lightly clad form. His stomach rolled and he clamped his jaw shut to keep from vomiting, sitting still to let the pounding in his head settle down to a dull thud.

“Help me up.”

Liz shook her head, but Max looked at her pleadingly.

“Please.”

Liz reluctantly complied, standing up, her own legs wobbly from having been in the same sitting position for so long. She leaned down and wrapped her arm around Max’s waist, helping him to stand as best she could considering the difference in their size, and dragged the blanket up around his shoulders. Max managed to make it to his feet where he swayed unsteadily in her arms, the combination of his head wound and already sore body making him feel like he might collapse any second. When he finally felt like he wouldn’t fall over, he nodded to Liz and they stepped together to the anxiously waiting group by the rock.

Isabel turned towards them as they approached, her concerned eyes taking in Max’s alarming appearance.

“Max, you shouldn’t be on your feet.”

Jesse noticed how much of Max’s weight Liz was struggling to maintain with her small frame and he moved to Max’s other side, taking most of it onto his larger one. Liz smiled at him gratefully.

“Have you seen Michael or Valenti yet?” Max asked, ignoring Isabel’s words.

“No,” Kyle answered tersely, ready to go in after them. He knew it was suicide, but he couldn’t bear the thought of his father being caught in that inferno. He glanced back at the group, daring any one of them to argue. “I’m going in.”

“Kyle, give it a few more minutes…..,” Max started to protest despite his own fear for Michael and Kyle’s father.

“Forget it Max. You aren’t my king and you definitely aren’t in any shape to stop me.”

Kyle started forward, then frowned as Maria grabbed his arm in a death grip.

“Wait!” she cried excitedly. “I see something.”

“Where’s your weapon?” Max asked Kyle, then he glanced over as Jesse’s gun appeared in his other hand.

Isabel assumed a defensive posture and they all waited breathlessly as two people came towards them from the smoke and mist. A moment later, Maria ran forward throwing herself at Michael as his features became visible, and Kyle shoved his weapon in his pants before going to meet his father.

Maria planted kisses all over Michael’s face despite the soot that smudged it, but stopped as she felt him wince. Pulling back to look at him more thoroughly, she saw that he had several burnt holes in his jacket, and his hair was singed. A bloody strip of cloth was wrapped around his arm right above her grip on him.

“You look like hell, Michael. Don’t ever do that to me again.” Maria said, wrapping her arms around him tightly. Michael returned the hug, trembling slightly in reaction to their close call.

“What happened Dad?” Kyle asked as his father sat down on the ground for a moment to rest, adrenaline still pumping madly through his body. He wiped at the smudges on his face with the back of his hand as he tried to get his breath back.

“I found Michael in the lab. The doctor was about to shoot him, so I shot him first.” Jim glanced up to find them all listening. “We headed out the front but it was blocked by fire, and Michael tried to make a hole long enough for us to get out, but I guess it was just too much because the fire kept coming. We ended up running through the building until we found a window we could crawl through.”

“What happened to Tess?” Maria asked Michael, gazing up at him. Michael looked at Jim for a moment before answering.

“She’s dead. She got caught in the cross fire and was shot.”

Max stared at Michael for a moment, knowing there was more to the story, but he couldn’t help the sense of relief he felt at Michael’s words. Tess was dead and she could never hurt them again. Liz was feeling the same thing. She couldn’t believe that after all this time, she no longer had to worry that Tess was going to come back like a disease and ruin her life.

At the news of Tess’s death, the last bit of energy seemed to drain right out of Max. He’d been on his feet by shear force of will, his head feeling like it was going to explode, but now that everyone was safe, his body simply gave into it’s demands. Dizziness and nausea swept though him in a tidal wave.

Liz, who was supporting Max while Jesse and Kyle were gathered their things, felt the trembling in his body increase right before he collapsed, dragging her to the ground with him.

“Max!” Liz pulled herself out from under him and leaned anxiously over his unconscious form.

“We need to get him warm and get some food and liquids into him.” Jim said, checking Max’s pulse. It was strong. “I think he’ll be okay. He just needs rest.” Jim looked at the fires now blazing out of control. “And we need to get out of here before someone else shows up. Kyle, you and Jesse make sure everything is cleaned up. We don’t want any evidence left that we were here.”

Together, he and Michael lifted Max, waiting for Liz to slide into the back seat of the car before laying him down, his head in her lap. Michael put the shirt and coat Liz had brought on to him right over his hospital shirt, then tucked the blanket around him.

“I’ll ride over with Liz and Maria to get the other car and come back for you guys,” Michael told the others, then he and Maria slid into the front seat.

“Wait, I’ll go with you. The girls shouldn’t ride back alone and that will give you guys more room,” Kyle told his Dad. He opened the back door and lifted Max’s feet so he could sit down, draping Max’s legs over his lap.

Michael started the car and pulled away.

“Liz?”

Liz looked down, startled by Max’s slurred voice calling her name.

“Max.”

“Where are we?”

“We’re in the car on the way back to Alamagordo to pick up our own cars.” Her hands were soothing across his forehead. “Don’t talk, okay? Just rest. Your body needs rest to heal.”

“Yeah, just shut up and sleep Maxwell. Everyone’s fine.” Michael said with his usual brand of sympathy as he pulled over next to the other rental car and waited for Kyle to get out.

Max's mouth turned up at the corner even as his eyes drifted shut, unable to fight the demands of his exhausted body, but they suddenly snapped open in realization.

“The picture. Where is it?”

Liz glanced up at Maria, her puzzled expression mirroring her own. “What picture Max?”

“I had a picture. The nurse gave me a…a picture of Zan. I had it in my hand when we were leaving.”

“Did you see it Michael?” Liz asked, her heart twisting at the look on Max’s face.

“No,” Michael answered regretfully. “There was so much going on, and if it was in the hallway, it was probably burnt up by the time we got back through there.” Maria patted the hand clutched in hers sympathetically, knowing that he felt bad even though he hadn’t known about it.

“It’s not your fault.” Max swallowed back tears, closing his eyes to mask his sorrow. He felt Liz caress his cheek, and he shook his head.

“It was just a picture.”

“I know, but it was important to you.” Liz wiped at her own tears.

“The only thing that really matters is that everyone is safe.” Max reached out from inside the blanket and took Liz’s hand.

Liz tightened her fingers over his in agreement. “Sleep now, okay? I’ll wake you when we get to Alamagordo.”

Max nodded and allowed himself to relax, knowing he was safe in her care.

TBC....
posted on 16-Nov-2002 10:37:54 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Want to say thanks for all the comments and bumps. You're all so kind and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think.

A special note to IAmALongTimeFan for your kind comments. I've never written anything like this so it's nice to hear that it was effective.

Here's the next part. Let me know what you think.


Everything to you Part 35

“Here, drink this.” Liz handed Max a steaming cup of coffee heavily laced with cream and sugar. They were sitting in the car outside the restaurant in Alamagordo they’d stopped at before. Michael and Isabel had returned the rental cars and now they were all huddled together as everyone had something warm to drink. Michael had a fresh bandage around his arm from Valenti’s first aid kit, and the dried blood had been cleaned from Max’s face.

“Thanks,” Max said wrapping his cold fingers around the warm cup. He was still shivering despite being wrapped in a blanket and dressed in a coat.

“I have soup too. You should try to eat,” Liz said as she watched him carefully take a sip of the hot liquid.

“Uh, Liz. You know it’s getting kind of late. You might want to call your parents and tell them you’re spending the night with me.” Maria reminded her friend of their plan. Liz had been so consumed with taking care of Max that she’d apparently forgotten.

“You’re right. Thanks Maria.” Liz pulled the phone out of her purse and climbed out of the car as she dialed.

“Isabel, did you call your parents?” Jim asked. They were in the other car, but the doors were open.

Max looked up at his comment. “Call our parents? Why?”

Isabel looked at Jesse somewhat apprehensively before climbing out of the Valenti’s vehicle and going to sit beside Max in the Jetta. Maria got out to give them some privacy, while Michael turned from the front seat to face them.

“A lot has happened in the last couple of days that you don’t know about,” Isabel started. “Even with the information Tess gave us, we hadn’t come up with where you were being held. We were all at Michael’s trying to decide what to do when Dad showed up.” Isabel glanced at Michael before continuing. “Dad was having you followed, Max. His detective saw you get abducted and followed you to the ranch, then came back and told Dad.”

Max stared at her. “What did you tell him?”

“Everything.”

“What? Isabel….”

“We had to, Max. He knew that you’d been kidnapped and he insisted on knowing what was happening. We didn’t have a choice. He knew where you were being held and we had to let him in on it or he wasn’t going to trust us. Jesse was the one who convinced him to come to us instead of going to the police.”

Max had questioned Liz earlier about Jesse when it had finally dawned on him that Jesse was there with them. He’d been too out of it at the ranch for it to sink in. “When did you tell Jesse?” he asked without accusation, but his tone clearly indicated that he wasn’t exactly happy.

“I told him months ago,” Isabel answered somewhat defensively.

Max rubbed his forehead, the pain in his head making it difficult to concentrate on this bit of information. “How did he take it?”

“Surprisingly well. I know you didn’t want me to Max, but I couldn’t keep lying to him, and if I hadn’t told him, Dad would have gone to the police and we’d be completely exposed.”

Max looked up at Michael who only quirked his lip in sardonic resignation.

“So how are Mom and Dad?”

“Shocked,” Isabel replied running a tired hand through her hair. “But mostly just concerned for us….for you especially. They were unhappy that we hadn’t told them from the beginning and especially upset that we’ve been in danger and they didn’t know. All of our fears were groundless Max. They still love us.”

Not all of our fears, Max thought, feeling the weight of responsibility grow heavier on his shoulders. The relief he felt of not having to lie to his parents anymore was tempered by the fact that he now had three more people to worry about. The fact that the Valenti’s and Jesse were all involved in today’s rescue was proof that no one who knew them was safe. He was beyond grateful for their help, but fearful that their knowledge would make them targets now. It was a no win situation.

“I’m warning you now, Mom is chomping at the bit to have you home where she can spoil you. You can’t disappoint her Max.” Isabel smiled at his pained expression. “Let’s call now. I know they’re dying to hear that you’re OK.”

Max nodded and closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the seat. He was almost finished with the coffee but hadn’t started on the soup. The thought of eating with his head pounding like a jackhammer held no appeal, but remembering the worried look on Liz’s face prompted him to at least make an effort. But not until after he talked to his parents.

“Yeah, he’s right here Mom. Only for a second, OK? He’s not feeling very well so….” Isabel refrained from mentioning that Max was shot in the head. She didn’t think that would sound too good over the phone.

“Mom? Yeah I’m fine. No….I know. I just didn’t want you and Dad to worry. I know you do. I’m sorry….. Don’t cry Mom. I love you too. OK, we’ll see you in a few hours. Bye.”

Max handed the phone back to Isabel, feeling worn out from just that one conversation. His mother had tearfully told him that she loved him no matter what or who he was, and his throat tightened at her easy acceptance. He looked over at his sister, knowing he owed her an apology. He put a hand on her arm as she clicked the phone off, and she looked at him inquiringly.

“I owe you an apology, Is. You were right all along. Even though I’m still afraid for them, I was obviously wrong about trusting them with the truth. I’m sorry you missed out on all those years with Mom.”

Isabel hugged her brother tearfully. “Thank you.” When she let go, Isabel watched as he lay his head carefully against the back seat, his face still pale and drawn. She glanced at Michael worriedly.

Liz finished talking to her mother, explaining that Maria had called her at the ski lodge in a panic about something and she’d gone straight over there instead of coming home. Her Mom wasn’t too happy that she hadn’t called before hand, but said it was all right if she spent the night seeing as how she had a change of clothes for school. They would go by in the morning to pick up her books. Liz joined Maria where she was standing next to Kyle and Mr. Valenti.

“Let’s ask Liz,” Kyle said to his father as she approached. “Do you think we should tell Max that Zan is …..with us?”

Liz bit her bottom lip uncertainly. She didn’t know whether or not it was a good idea to drop the news that his dead son was in the trunk of the car. Liz shuddered.

“No, I think we should wait. He’s been through enough, and although he might be glad that Michael got his body out, I don’t think telling him he’s in the trunk is…..”

“Ew,” Maria cut her off, raising her hands in a gesture for silence. “That’s enough. I don’t even want to think about it. We shouldn’t tell him.” Everyone nodded in agreement.


“Did you ask about the picture Maria?” Liz asked her friend.

“We didn’t see it,” Jim answered, and Liz glanced over to where Max was sitting with his sister and Michael, sadness etched across her features. She hadn’t really expected them to have found it, but it still bothered her. Max’s only link to his son was gone and now all he had were his memories. An idea began to form in her head, but she decided to discuss it with Maria later.

“Well, I think Kyle and I should move along then. I need to take care of this in Roswell and I don’t think we should linger here any longer than necessary.” Jim threw his coffee cup away and walked towards the vehicles. Getting into the driver’s seat he addressed Jesse and Isabel.

“Do you all want to come with me and Kyle or do you want to ride back with them? Kyle and I are leaving to go home.” He looked over at Max who was attempting to eat soup out of a small Styrofoam container with a plastic spoon. “We’ll get together tomorrow after everyone gets out of school and I’ve had a chance to monitor the news and see what’s being said about the fire.”

“We’ll go with you,” Jesse said looking at Isabel for agreement. She nodded and leaned over to kiss Max on the cheek, then reach up and hug Michael. “If you get home before us, tell Mom we’ll be there as soon as we get can.”

Max looked at all of them, his dark eyes wide with grateful sincerity. “I don’t know what to say….” He began, knowing “Thanks” was not close to adequate for what they’d done. “You all risked your lives for me and I……” Max shook his head, overwhelmed by their sacrifice, feeling completely unworthy.

“You’re welcome, Son.” Jim spoke for all of them, seeing that Max was too overcome to continue. “Take care now.” Kyle, Isabel and Jesse all climbed into the car and they pulled away.

Sitting back in exhaustion, Max put the soup container on the seat beside him, suddenly feeling nauseous from the smell. His stomach was rebelling, the pounding in his head still making him want to clutch it in agony. He’d felt a little better after his nap in the car, but now his abused body was letting him know that even sitting and holding a conversation had been too much for right now.

Liz moved forward quickly as she saw his worsening parlor. “Max, what is it?’

“I…..” he opened his eyes to see her bending over him, her darks eyes alight with concern. “I’m dizzy,” he finally said, swallowing convulsively, “and I feel sick.”

Liz frowned, suddenly concerned that he might have a concussion. She didn’t know why she hadn’t realized it before. She knew the symptoms from having witnessed her Mom get hit on the head when a box had fallen off the shelf in the storage room at the Crashdown, and she’d listened to the paramedics discuss it.

Max began to struggle to get up from the car. “I…..need to get out,” he said hoarsely, afraid he was going to throw up in the car. Michael jumped out of the front seat and reached through the door to haul Max out of the back seat, wrapping an arm around him, leading him to the trash can a few feet away from the car. Maria took Liz’s arm comfortingly as they stood by watching as Michael helped his friend.

“He’ll be okay, Liz.” Maria tried to sound confident.

“I think he has a concussion, but I don’t know what we can do. We can’t take him to the doctor, Maria. I guess we just need to get him home so he can rest.”

Michael helped Max walk back to the car, his face ashen. Maria handed him a bottle of water, which he accepted gratefully, and Max rinsed his mouth several times, turning away to spit. Liz searched through her purse, coming up with a package of mints.

“Let’s go, Michael. We need to get him home.” Liz climbed into the back seat resuming her job as pillow to Max’s head. Max lay quietly with his eyes closed, feeling worn out and basically like death.

“I think I might re-think my feelings about wanting to be completely human if this is the way it feels every time you guys get sick,” Max whispered, his mouth quirking in a humorless smile. Liz let out a small huff of laughter, causing him to smile for real and she found her heart melting at the sight.

Liz couldn’t help but remember the day they’d had the car accident in the Jeep on the old highway. She’d been so worried about him, but when he’d woken up, Max hadn’t shown any signs of injury. And even after his ordeal with Agent Pierce, he was almost completely back to normal after they’d slept in that old van. His and his sibling’s alien physiology obviously allowed them to recuperate much faster than humans. The thought made Liz feel a little better. Hopefully with a lot of rest and TLC, he would recover quickly.

Physically that was. Emotionally was another matter. Liz realized that she’d been so consumed with Max’s physical health, that she hadn’t really had time to evaluate his mental health. She looked down at his tired features, her hands unable to keep from caressing his skin, her fingers from threading through his hair.


Liz knew he was worried about going home to face his parents, and she also knew that he was existing on fumes right now, so questioning him about his emotional well being was probably not a good idea. If he seemed somewhat remote, Liz didn’t blame him. For someone who was so dependent on being in control, Max had had precious little of that lately and he was more than likely trying to gain some of it back. There hadn’t been any deep discussion of what had happened, no rehashing of events, but it could wait. The only thing that was important right now was that they were all safe and that this nightmare was almost over. Max still had a lot to deal with, but Tess was dead and however tragic, his quest for his son was now resolved.

Liz acknowledged to herself that her need to help him was elemental. Since the night he’d shown her his soul, she’d felt the undeniable need to take away his loneliness and isolation. It was that need in herself that had dictated her actions even after the horrible events of last year. Going back to him after Tess left, sticking with him even when they were barely connecting, it had taken his almost leaving the planet without telling her to make her try and break away from his bond with her. Even so, Max’s soul still called to hers and she couldn’t ignore it. She didn’t want to.

“How was the ski trip?” Max’s voice startled her out of her introspection. His eyes opened so he could peer at her in the semi darkness.

Liz’s eyes widened for second. The ski trip. It seemed like a lifetime ago. “Yeah uh….it was fun actually.”

“I’m sorry you had to cut it short…..” Max stopped as Liz began to shake her head.

“Don’t apologize, Max. Do you honestly believe a ski trip was more important than this?” Her dark eyes looked at him in reproach.

“I didn’t mean that. It’s just…..you never seem to get a break from….all this.”

“Neither do you,” Liz pointed out gently.

Max started to shake his head, but refrained when pain shot through his temple. “It’s my life. I don’t have a choice,” Max dropped his eyes away from her face. “You do.

“You’re right Max. I do. And this is where I choose to be.”

Max stared into her eyes, before taking her hand in his and holding it to his lips for a long moment then resting it against his heart. “Thank you,” he whispered, knowing it was inadequate. Max closed his eyes, unable to fight his body’s need for sleep any longer.

“You’re welcome.” Liz gave his cheek one last caress before closing her own eyes to rest.


Up in the front, Maria and Michael sat silently for a while, just grateful to be headed home. Maria glanced at the couple in the back seat, noting that they both seemed to be sleeping, Liz’s head resting against the back seat, Max clutching her hand against his heart like a lifeline. Maria turned back to the front and studied her boyfriend’s expressionless face.

“I understand from Max that you were pretty brave tonight.”

Michael glanced at her with a raised eyebrow, but didn’t speak.

“He said I should be proud of you.” Maria continued, caressing the hand that she’d been holding in her lap. “I am, you know. Proud of you. You should be too.” Michael shrugged his shoulders noncommittally, uncomfortable with the praise. He wasn’t used to it so he didn’t know how to handle it.

Before Maria’s comments had distracted him, he’d been thinking about little Zan. Finding his body was an experience that he could have gladly lived without, but at the same time, he was glad for it. Seeing that small, helpless child laid out on that cold table had put into perspective everything that Max had gone through over the last few months, and Michael finally understood in a way that he hadn’t before, why Max had nearly killed himself trying to find the child. Michael wished with all of his heart that there had been a way to save him. It also gave him some measure of satisfaction that he had made several of the people involved in the boy’s confinement pay for what they’d done. Especially that crazy doctor.

Michael frowned. He really hadn’t allowed himself to dwell on the lives he’d taken tonight.

“What are you thinking about?” Maria asked, seeing the frown marring Michael’s face.

“Zan,” Michael acknowledged after a moment of contemplative silence.

“I’m sure it was really hard finding his body like that,” Maria said carefully, not wanting to say the wrong thing and have him clam up now that he was talking.

“Yeah, “Michael said, still not willing to open up all the way.

“I know Max is going to appreciate that you went to the trouble of having Kyle get Zan’s body. You’re a good brother, Michael.”

Silence reigned for a few moments.

“I killed a lot of people tonight.” Michael’s voice held no inflection, and he said it as if waiting for her to condemn him.

Maria carefully chose her answer. “No one who didn’t deserve it.”

“I know that,” Michael glanced at her, his eyes flashing, before he sighed. “I just…..” Michael stopped, frustrated, unable to voice his ambivalent feelings about the necessity of his actions, versus his abhorrence.

“You did what you had to do. If you’d enjoyed it, I would worry about you, Michael.”

Michael looked at her again. How did she do that? Know exactly what he was thinking even when he couldn’t put it into words.

Maria just smiled at the expression on his face. “I love you too Spaceboy. Now put the pedal to the metal, cause we have school tomorrow and it’s still promising to be a long night. “

Michael did what she asked, sending the Jetta speeding towards Roswell.


TBC....


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 17-Nov-2002 9:34:42 AM ]
posted on 3-Dec-2002 10:48:24 PM by sylvia37
Hey everyone. Sorry this took so long. You know the usual excuses. Work, holidays....

I hope you like this next part. Let me know what you think.


Everything to You Part 36

The car barely stopped in the Evan’s driveway before the door to the house opened and Mr. and Mrs. Evans came rushing out followed by Isabel and Jesse.

Liz gently shook Max’s arm to wake him. “Max. Max we’re home.”

Max didn’t respond so she tried again, a little more forcefully. “Max.”

Michael opened the back door to help him out, but frowned when he saw his friend’s sleeping form. Liz looked up at him worriedly. “He won’t wake up, Michael.”

“Max. Man come on, your parents are out here about to have a cow.” Michael added his stringent voice to Liz’s but Max still didn’t respond. Michael looked at Liz. “Let’s get him inside.”

“What’s happening, Michael?” Isabel asked him as he strode around to the opposite side of the car where Max’s feet were.

“He’s fine. He’s just sleeping really hard.” Michael tried to sound confident, but he could tell by the looks on everyone’s faces that they didn’t believe him. He opened the door and leaned in to grasp Max by the shoulders, dragging him forward until he could get a firm enough grip to haul him out of the car. Jesse quickly went around to the other side and slid his arm under Max’s, helping Michael take him into the house.

“Liz, what’s wrong with him? Was the shot to his head more serious than Isabel thought?” Mrs. Evans asked, looking as the petite girl’s anxious gaze followed the guy’s progress into the house. Maria came to stand with them

“I’m not sure, Mrs. Evans. It was just a graze….he was awake and coherent since we got him out but…..I think he may have a concussion. He was dizzy and nauseous, and he couldn’t keep any food down……”

“We need to take him to the doctor…..”

“No!” Isabel, Liz and Maria looked at each other as they all said the word at the same time. “We can’t take him to a doctor Mom,” Isabel explained. “They’ll want to take blood and we can’t let them.”

“Oh, that’s right. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize….” Diane Evans answered apologetically, realizing how much she didn’t know about her children.

“It’s okay, Mom. We still have a lot to tell you.” Isabel reassured her mother. “How was he on the trip home, Liz?”

“He slept almost the whole way. We only talked for a minute before he passed out. I really think he just needs rest. You remember how fast he recovered the last time, Isabel.”

“You’re right. I never even gave it a thought. When you guys showed up at the mine, I just accepted the fact that Max was okay.”

“The mine? Last time? What are you talking about?” Mrs. Evans frowned, knowing she wasn’t going to like the answers to her questions.

“You remember I told you that Max had been taken by the FBI once before, Mom? After we got him out, we all met in an abandoned mine to figure out what we were going to do, but Max and Liz didn’t make it until later because they were being chased. Max was fine when they got there.”

Liz nodded. “Yeah, Mrs. Evans. He was pretty weak when Michael and Isabel got him out, but after a night’s sleep, he was almost completely normal.”

“You’ve all been through so much.” Mrs. Evans shook her head. “And Liz, you and Maria have been right there with them. You’re both very special.”

Liz and Maria exchanged small smiles as the four women headed into the house in time to see Max beginning to stir on the couch where Michael and Jesse had laid him. Liz started to step forward, but stopped realizing that Mrs. Evans probably wanted to take care of her son, however Diane realized that all these people towering over him might be hard to wake up to so she gestured to Liz. “Go ahead Liz.”

Liz sat next to him on the couch as his eyes fluttered open.

“Liz?” Max said groggily.

“You’re home, Max. Take it easy, okay.”

Max focused on Liz’s face momentarily to get his bearings, then looked around at the anxious faces surrounding him. His eyes settled on his parents and he immediately began pulling himself into a sitting position.

“Don’t Max. Just lie down, Honey.” Diane stepped forward, and Liz rose from the couch so she could sit next to her son. She looked at his strained face, noting the shadows under his eyes and the paleness of his skin and realized that she’d never seen him sick before. Diane glanced up at her husband who’d come to stand by the two of them, and she took his hand for support.

Max couldn’t look them in the eye. After everything he’d put them through and not trusting them with the truth, to have them look at him with such love was almost too much.

“We’re so glad you’re all right, Son,” Max’s father began. “Don’t worry about explanations right now. There’s plenty of time for that when you’re better.”

“Your father’s right, Max,” Diane agreed. “We just want you to know that the only thing that matters is that you’re safe, and that you’ll always be our son, and you’ll always have a place in our home for as long as you want one.”

Max stared at his parent’s faces, swallowing thickly. Diane’s heart contracted at the expression on his face. It was the same expression he had when he’d first come to them as a frightened six-year-old. She’d hear him crying in his room at night, wanting to go home, and she’d go to him and rock him and tell him that this was his home and she was his mother from now on and that she loved him.

Diane followed her same instincts now and pulled Max into her arms, rocking him slightly, letting him know that he was the son of her heart if not her body. She felt tears on her shoulder and squeezed a little tighter, letting her own tears fall. Isabel walked up next to her Dad and he put his arm around her as they came together as a true family for the first time since Max moved out.

Liz, Maria and Michael looked at each other in mutual understanding and started to leave the room to let the newly reunited family have their time together, but Diane pulled away from Max and saw them.

“Wait. Please. Phillip and I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done. You’re all welcome here anytime you like.” The three teenagers stopped their retreat from the room, Liz and Maria smiling in thanks while Michael just shoved his hands in his pockets and looked uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure how to handle all of this tender family camaraderie so he just kept quiet.

Max lay back against the pillows, his body trembling. He wasn’t sure if it was fatigue or the tremendous relief he felt in being able to finally face his parents with the truth. Max just knew that his body was on overload and he couldn’t seem to control any of his reactions right now. Diane turned back to look at him, noting the parlor of his skin and the crease between his eyes.

“Max honey? Tell me what you need. Are you hungry? Thirsty? I know we can’t take you to a doctor, but can you take medicine? Some aspirin……?”

Max paled even more at the thought of food and shook his head, only to grab it as pain shot through it at the movement. He really needed to stop doing that. Diane glanced over at Phillip and Isabel worriedly.

“No Mom. I just ……I’d like to take a shower and….clean up.”

Diane nodded and rose from the couch. “Do you need help…..”

“I got it,” Michael said as he moved to help Max stand up, glad to have something to do besides stand around. Max bit back a groan as he lifted his aching body into a standing position. Michael could feel him trembling as they made their way towards the stairs, but he refrained from commenting, only concentrating on getting his friend up them.

“Let me get you some of your father’s things to wear and a towel.” Diane moved quickly ahead of them and hurried up the stairs.

“Don’t let her run herself into the ground playing nurse, Dad,” Isabel commented as they watched Max and Michael make slow progress up the stairs.

“I’m afraid your Mother is pretty stubborn when it comes to taking care of people, Isabel. I doubt I could stop her, but don’t worry. It will give Max incentive to get better if his Mother’s here driving him crazy.”

Isabel laughed at her father’s comment.

Upstairs, Michael led Max to the bathroom and helped him sit on the toilet. “Do you need me to stay?” he asked reluctantly, willing but not particularly wanting to.

“No, just….will you turn on the water and adjust the temperature? I can do the rest.” Michael nodded and did what Max asked. “I’ll be outside in the hall when you’re ready to come out.” With that comment, he opened the door and almost ran into Mrs. Evans who was clutching a towel and some clothes in her hands.

“Oh, Michael. These are for Max.”

Michael took the preferred items and put them on the counter by the sink before shutting the door to give his friend some privacy. He stood awkwardly in the hall with Mrs. Evans, who was looking anxiously at the closed bathroom door.

“Uh…he didn’t want me to help,” Michael said finally.
.
“Oh…well…..” Diane was at a loss as well. “Are you hungry or thirsty? If you come down, I can get you something.”

“I….uh…told Max I’d stay here until he was ready to come out. You know…just in case….”

Diane looked up at the uncomfortable expression on Michael’s face. When Max and Isabel had first started bringing him home, she’d thought it was odd that they’d befriended such an unkept and somewhat unfriendly child, but Diane had looked into Michael’s background a little and discovered his foster care situation. She’d been proud of her children for wanting to take care of someone who was less fortunate than they were, and so she’d never interfered when Michael appeared at the breakfast table or showed up for dinner at a moment’s notice. Now, of course, she knew it was more than that

Isabel had told her about how the night she and Phillip had found them on the side of the road, Michael had been too afraid to show himself. It broke Diane’s heart that they hadn’t known, and Michael had ended up in an abusive home instead of with his siblings. That’s how Isabel explained they thought of him. As their brother.

“When he comes out, come downstairs and let me get you something. And Michael….” Diane glanced back at the tall alien slouching awkwardly against the wall as she headed down the stairs. Michael briefly met her gaze before letting it skitter away. “Welcome to the family.”

Michael’s head shot up as he watched Mrs. Evan’s retreating back, wondering if he’d heard her correctly. He shook his head, and leaned back against the wall once again, waiting for Max to finish. He had to admit the Max’s parents were being pretty cool about everything, but he felt strange with all of these new people knowing about them. Exposed. It appeared they could trust them, but he’d spent too many years hiding in the light to accept this new development easily.

Thinking about Mrs. Evan’s comment, Michael couldn’t identify exactly what he was feeling. Over the years, he’d tried not to dwell on the regret that slipped in every time he witnessed a happy family moment between Max, Isabel and the Evan’s. Regret that he hadn’t had the guts to join Max and Isabel on that road when the headlights had appeared, leading them to loving parents and a happy home. Now, after so many years of loneliness, he had a loving girlfriend, friends who cared about him and adults who were willing to treat him like family. Three years ago, he’d never have believed that Max giving away their secret for the sake of love would lead to this.

Michael yawned. He was pretty damn tired, having expended a lot of energy fighting tonight, then driving back to Roswell from Alamagordo. Maria had insisted upon driving some of the way, and he’d caught a few minutes of sleep in the car, but not enough to make much difference. Now that the excitement was pretty much over, reaction was setting in and he wanted nothing more than to go to sleep for about a day.

Suddenly hearing a thump from inside the bathroom, Michael straightened up and knocked on the door.

“Max?”

His inquiry was greeted with silence, and he knocked again. “Maxwell!” This time his voice was louder and more forceful.

“I’m okay,” a faint reply sounded through the door and a few seconds later it opened to reveal a partially dressed Max. He was standing in his boxers, leaning heavily against the door. Michael tried not to react to the sight of Max’s body, but the obvious loss of weight was clearly visible, his ribs prominent in his thin frame. The raised gash below his shoulder where he’d stabbed himself looked angry and red. Michael raised his eyes to Max’s face.

“What happened? I heard a noise.”

“ I fell against the wall when I got out of the tub,” Max said, too exhausted to be embarrassed. “Can you help me? These sweats Mom gave me are too big, and my powers……”

“Yeah,” Michael answered, taking the pants from him. He concentrated, his hand glowing for a moment and then handed the pants back to Max, holding onto his arm as Max stepped into them and pulled them up. The shirt was big too, but that didn’t matter so much.

Isabel was coming up the stairs when she spotted Michael helping Max into his pants and she stayed back for a moment, giving them some privacy. She also noted her brother’s alarming appearance, especially the cut across his shoulder and her throat tightened. At least they’d taken care of the people who’d done this to him. She hadn’t given herself much time to dwell yet on her actions tonight, but she knew as soon as she and Jesse were alone, she would have to face them. Isabel shivered in reaction to the thought and pushed it away. Seeing Michael put his arm around Max to help him, she hurried up the rest of the stairs.

The two of them helped Max into his old bedroom, absently noting that nothing had changed since he moved out. Isabel pulled back the covers on the bed and Max sat down, waiting to lay back while she adjusted the pillows behind him so he could sit up. His mouth lifted on one side at her solicitousness, and Isabel made a face at him.

“Don’t get used to it.” She sat down next to him on the bed while Michael took the computer chair, and the three aliens finally allowed themselves to relax, the familiarity of the meeting together in Max’s room helping to ease the stress they’d been under.

Isabel stared at her brother, and despite his haggard appearance, the fact that he was safe finally began to sink in. Tears gathered in her eyes, and seeing them, Max touched her arm comfortingly.

“I’m okay, Is.”

“I know….I just….”Isabel wiped at her tears then reached out to touch his shirt where the stab would lay. “When Liz told us that you’d tried to….” she stopped, unable to voice the words. “We almost lost you, Max. I know it was horrible, but why did you do that to yourself?”

“I can’t…..I can’t talk about that right now.” A quick flash of pain darkened Max’s eyes to brown as his gaze pleaded with her not to pursue it.

“I’m sorry…..I’m sorry…you’re right….” Isabel took the tissue that Michael handed her, and tried to compose herself, sorry that she’d brought up the painful memory. She took her brother’s hand and looked at him, sincere sorrow etched in her gaze. “I’m sorry about Zan, Max.”

Max leaned back on the pillows, too physically and emotionally drained to do more than nod. He couldn’t talk about Zan yet either. The grief was too raw to share right now.

“Yeah Max….about Zan. I……” Michael hesitated, unsure if he should bring this up now, but Isabel nodded her encouragement so he continued. “I found Zan’s bod….Zan while I was searching for you.”

Max stared at Michael, the words barely sinking in. “You found….you found…..”

“Yeah….Kyle and I brought him out before we torched the place and Valenti….took care of….you know….the details.” Michael could barely look at his friend’s wounded expression. God, he sucked at this emotional stuff.

“Thank you…” Max managed to whisper past the lump in his throat. He was grateful, but he just couldn’t think about it now. It was too much to deal with. He just wanted to sleep and make everything go away. It all hurt too much. He sighed and looked at his Isabel and Michael, his chest tightening with emotion, overwhelmingly relieved that they were safe. If something serious had happened to them because of him….

“You guys, I…..”

“Can the touchy feely shit Maxwell.” Michael cut him off, telling by Max’s expression what he was about to say. “We did what we had to do, and it wasn’t any less than those bastards deserved for what they did to you and Zan.”

Isabel frowned at Michael in exasperation. “What Michael’s trying to say in his oh so profound way is you’re welcome, and we know that you would have done the same for us.”

Max nodded, laying his head back tiredly, closing his eyes. “I’m proud of both of you,” he said quietly.

“We all are,” Mr. Evans echoed as he entered the room, having heard that last comment. Mrs. Evans, Maria, Jesse and Liz all followed until practically everyone was standing in Max’s bedroom.

“Max, Honey I brought you some water. I didn’t want to give anything to upset your stomach.” Mrs. Evans handed her son the glass.

“Thanks Mom,” Max said, taking the glass. He was really thirsty, but he was afraid to drink too fast. Max avoided everyone’s gaze as he took a cautious sip.

All of these people in his room watching him made Max extremely uncomfortable. He knew they were concerned and he was grateful, but he hated being the center of attention. Especially like this. His eyes sought out his usual source of comfort, sighing in relief when he saw her. Liz was standing just inside the doorway, and she smiled at him in sympathy when his anxious eyes landed on her.

“Mrs. Evans? Can I talk to you a minute?” Liz asked, deciding to kill two birds with one stone. Getting some of them out of the room would give Max a break and she really did need to talk to Mrs. Evans.

“Of course Liz. Michael, would you like something to eat?”

“A sandwich would be good. Uh…Thanks.” Michael remembered to add at the last minute. Maria rolled her eyes at him. Here it was the middle of the night, and Michael could still eat. He lifted an eyebrow at her, but she just shook her head. Catching Liz’s eye, Maria realized that her friend wanted her to come too, so she moved towards the door.

“I’ll help too, Mom.” Isabel said getting up from the bed. “Do you want something, honey?” she asked Jesse as she passed him.

“I’ll have whatever Michael’s having.”

Mr. Evans and Jesse found seats in the room as the women left. “So tell me about what happened from the beginning,” Mr. Evans said, addressing the room in general.

*****************************

“What did you need to speak to me about, Liz?” Mrs. Evans asked as she opened the refrigerator. “Maria, can you get the chips out of the pantry? Second shelf.” Maria nodded.

“I want to get your opinion on something. Actually, everyone’s opinion,” Liz began hesitantly. “But first…um..Isabel, what did Mr. Valenti say about Zan?”

“Zan?” Mrs. Evan’s looked at her daughter in confusion as she prepared sandwiches.

“Michael found Zan’s body, Mom, and had Kyle carry him out before we destroyed the place.”

“Oh,” Mrs. Evans hand covered her mouth, her eyes betraying her sadness and horror. “That poor child.”

“Jim said he would take the body to the morgue until we decided what to do. Apparently he has something on the guy that’s in charge so he didn’t think he’d ask too many questions.” Isabel set the glasses she’d prepared on a tray before looking up at the others sadly. “Michael told Max while we were upstairs. He just seemed…too overwrought to talk about it. I feel so bad for him.”

Liz nodded, feeling the same way. She knew it was going to be a while before Max was able to talk about everything, if he ever did. “I had an…idea….you know…about what we could do.” Liz hesitated again, unsure if she was overstepping.

“Go ahead, honey,” Mrs. Evans encouraged her.

“Well….maybe we could have a service for Zan. You know…..a memorial service and a burial. To give Max some closure.”

“That’s a wonderful idea, Liz.” Mrs. Evans looked at the young girl in admiration.

“The only thing is that I know that burial plots and head stones cost a lot of money and…..”

“Nonsense!” Mrs. Evans interrupted Liz. “Phillip and I will take care of all the arrangements. Zan was our grandchild, even though we didn’t get to know him. It’s our responsibility.”

“Are you sure, Mom?” Isabel said. “Jesse and I could…..”

“No Honey. Your Dad and I will be happy to do this. You and Jesse keep your money.”

“Thanks Mrs. Evans,” Liz said, relieved. “I’ll go tell the guys it’s ready so they can come down.”

Maria smiled as her friend she hurried out of the kitchen. Maria knew Liz was anxious to be with Max and she didn’t blame her.

Liz could hear the murmur of voices as she came up the stairs. “It sounds as though you were pretty thorough. I’ll be anxious to here what Jim has to say in the morning,’ Mr. Evans was saying as she entered. They all looked up at her, one set of eyes in particular looking extremely relieved to see her.

“Sandwiches are ready,” Liz gestured downstairs. Michael, Jesse and Mr. Evans rose to go, but Mr. Evans stopped to look back at Liz when she made no move to follow. She gestured towards Max. “I’ll stay to make sure he’s okay.” Mr. Evans nodded and headed down the stairs

“You don’t have to, Liz. You should eat….” Max said even though he desperately wanted her to stay.

“I’m not hungry, but if you want to be alone….”

“No! I mean…I want you to stay….if that’s okay with you.”

Liz smiled and sat down on the bed next to him, but it faded as she studied his expression. She could tell he was still in pain.

“Do you want me to get you something? I know your head still hurts. Maybe you should try some aspirin like your Mom suggested.”

“No. I don’t think it’s worth the risk. We’ve never taken any pills and the drugs they used on me were specially formulated for our systems.” Max rubbed his head with his fingers, glad he could be himself with her. He hadn’t wanted to worry his parents with how really bad he felt. “It really hurts, but I know it will be all right eventually.”

Liz watched as he closed his eyes and lay back. “I wish there was something I could do….you know…to make you feel better.”

“Just having you here makes me feel better,” Max told her, meaning it. Everything hurt just a little less when she was near.

“I’ll stay as long as you need me,” Liz said reaching out slowly to wrap her fingers around his. Max opened his eyes to look down at their intertwined fingers before raising his gaze to her face. She looked tired, but still as beautiful as ever. Some of her hair had come undone from it’s clip and silky tendrils floated, framing her face. Max wanted to tell her that he would always need her, that there was never a time over the last three years where he hadn’t needed he. But he didn’t. The tenuous nature of their relationship kept him silent so he just gazed at her, drinking in her beauty, unaware of the naked expression on his face.

Liz blushed slightly at the look in his eyes. Noticing that his water glass was empty, she asked, “Do you want some more water?”

Max shook his head and was immediately sorry as his stomach rolled and the pain intensified. Liz immediately noted his pallor and grabbed the trashcan from beside the bed, but Max gestured it away and she put it back down. Her eyebrows creased in concern as he put his head in his hands, and Liz only hesitated a moment before sliding up the side of the bed until she was resting with her back against the headboard. Gently pulling his hands from his head, she tugged until Max was resting against her, cool fingers lightly caressing his forehead and temples.

“I really need to stop doing that,” he said pitifully, and Liz suppressed a laugh at the pathetic sound. Max sighed despite the pain. His head pillowed against her softness was the most wonderful thing he’d ever felt, and even the pounding ache couldn’t diminish the feeling. He knew he should make her go, that she was tired and needed to sleep too, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it yet. He promised himself that in a few minutes he would be strong and tell her to go. Right now, he needed her to keep the demons away a little while longer.

They lay in comfortable silence. Liz mulled over the last few hours and she couldn’t think of a better way for it to end then to be lying here with Max in her arms, safe and….well not exactly sound. She smiled to herself, thinking about Mrs. Evan’s Florence Nightingale tendencies. Max was definitely in for some motherly TLC. Whether he wanted it or not.

Max’ body was completely relaxed against her now, obviously asleep, and Liz basked in how right it felt. This was where she belonged. This is what she’d missed the most about not being with him. The completeness of being in his arms. Sliding down more comfortably on the bed, she felt her eyelids grow heavy as the day’s events finally caught up with her. Liz nestled into Max’s embrace, letting the sound of his even breathing and the comforting feel of his sleeping body against hers, lull her to sleep.


TBC.....
posted on 13-Dec-2002 10:04:26 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Sorry this took so long as usual. I loved reading all of your comments. RealisticDreamer, you wrote a book, but I love your insights.

I guess I should put a mild angst warning as well as a warning that part of this chapter may push the PG 13 rating although not by much.

All of the speculation and suggestions are taken into consideration although I have to warn you that most of this story is already thought out so it may not go as you would like, but I promise that Dreamers will not be disappointed, (at least I don't think so) but I don't promise that it will be easy.

So thanks again for reading and I hope to hear from all of you.


Everything to You Part 37


It was a peacefully sleeping couple that Mrs. Evans found when she came up the stairs a little while later. Staring down at them, Diane thanked God for her son’s safe return and for the girl who’d done so much to help him.

Maria walked in the room behind her, but stopped in surprise when she saw what Mrs. Evans was staring at.

“Oh, I was just coming up to see if Liz was ready to leave,” Maria said uncomfortably.

“Why don’t you stay, Maria? It’s late and there’s plenty of room for all of you here,” Diane said quietly. “You and Liz can have Isabel’s old room and Michael can have the couch. Jim said he was going to be here early so that way you can hear any news he has before you leave for school.”

Maria hesitated a moment, almost wanting to say no so she could be alone with Michael at her house, but Michael had been practically asleep on his feet after he’d finished eating anyway and she was exhausted as well. Besides, Liz would probably appreciate being able to see Max before she left for school in the morning.

Maria frowned thinking about school. Unfortunately it was a necessary evil. They all agreed that it would look suspicious if none of them showed up. As much as they all wanted to skip it, they knew everything had to look as normal as possible. It would be bad enough that Max was missing, but Mrs. Evans was already prepared to call the school with an excuse for him that would last for several days, maybe even a week if necessary.

“Okay, thanks Mrs. Evans.” Maria leaned over and gently shook her friend’s shoulder. “Liz.”

Liz stirred, her long eyelashes sweeping up to reveal sleepy brown eyes. “Maria.”

“Hey, Sleeping Beauty. Mrs. Evans has offered to let us stay here, but she wants us to sleep in Isabel’s room. Prince Charming seems to be okay for now.” Maria inclined her head towards Max’s mother, her eyes conveying the fact that Diane was watching Liz sleeping in bed with her son. Liz’s own eyes widened as she sat up, being careful not to jar a dead to the world Max. She slid out from under him, straightening her clothes as she rose, glancing cautiously at Mrs. Evans.

Diane just smiled at her and the three women left Max’s room, turning out the light as they went. Jesse and Isabel were saying goodnight when they arrived.

“Oh, Liz. You know I got two of the hard drives from that doctor’s computers,” Isabel said as Jesse helped her on with her coat. “If you want, I can give you one of them so you could see how you do at interpreting the stuff on it. I don’t know if they’re password protected, but if they are, I can have that guy at school help us figure them out.”

“Okay, just let me get my coat,” Liz answered.

Liz followed Isabel and Jesse to their car and put the hard drive in her bag in the car.

“Thanks, Isabel. This was a really smart idea. I’ll let you know what I come up with.”

Isabel nodded as she got in the car. “Okay. Bye.”

Liz watched as they pulled away, then went back inside. After saying goodnight to the Evans, she got ready for bed while Maria said goodnight to Michael. She waited sleepily until Maria finished in the bathroom and got into bed before turning out the light.

“’Night, Maria,” Liz said as turned over on her side, getting comfortable. “Try not to wake me up when you go down to be with Michael.” Liz smiled in the dark as Maria elbowed her in the arm.

“I’m only going to go for a minute just to see how he is. We know how to control ourselves in other people’s houses.”

“Uh huh,” Liz said, and earned another elbow. Closing her eyes, Liz said a quick prayer that Max would sleep through the night.


************************

The apartment was cold, and Isabel shivered as she sat in the living room while Jesse took a shower.

She had taken her own shower and put on her pajamas, but as tired as she was, Isabel didn’t feel like laying down yet so she sat on the couch with her knees tucked under her chin contemplating the fire she’d started in the fireplace.

Fire. Isabel closed her eyes against the memory of the burning house and the smell of burnt flesh that accompanied it, and few moments later, she suddenly felt the couch give as Jesse joined her. He pulled her against his chest, wrapping his arms securely around her.

“Not ready to sleep yet?” He asked.

“Not yet. But you go ahead. I’ll be in in a little while.”

“I can wait.” Actually, he was really tired, but Jesse knew Isabel needed to get things out of her system, so he was willing to wait.

They sat quietly staring into the flames, and gradually Isabel relaxed in Jesse’s hold, trying warm her chilled body.

“I’d understand, you know.” Isabel said suddenly, still staring at the flames.

“You’d understand what?” Jesse asked.

“I’d understand if you want out.”

“What makes you think I want out?”

“You didn’t sign up for this. I married you under false pretenses and dragged you into a life and death situation. You have every right to leave and not look back.” Isabel’s voice trembled as she spoke her deepest fears.

“Didn’t I say for better or for worse, until death do us part?” Jesse turned Isabel towards him, but she wouldn’t look at him.

“Yes, but…..”

“Do you think I was lying?”

“No, but….”

“Do you believe that I love you?”

“Yes, but….”

“Didn’t I say when you told me what you were that I didn’t care and that I loved all of you, even the alien part?”

Isabel finally looked up into her husband’s serious brown eyes, her own eyes shimmering with tears. “I killed people tonight, and then I covered it up. What I did went against everything you went to law school to fight against.”

“That’s true. I did go to law school to fight against injustice. Do you think what those people were doing to Max was justified?”

“Of course not.”

“Then what you did tonight…what I did and what Michael did….was fight an injustice. Not everything about the law is black and white, Isabel. And not everything about life is either. If I thought that involving traditional law enforcement would have saved your brother, then I would have suggested it. But I’ve worked with enough government agencies to know that you and your family are right to keep your abilities a secret. At least for right now. And those people would have killed you or kept you a prisoner or worse if we hadn’t fought them. There’s no way I was going to let that happen.”

Isabel’s tears fell as she went into her husband’s embrace, holding him fiercely. “I love you so much.”

Jesse lifted her head and wiped the tears from her eyes before putting his lips to hers. Lifting her from the couch, he carried his wife into their bedroom.


*****************************

Maria crept down the stairs and quietly approached a sleeping Michael. Pulling back the blanket, she pushed his heavy form until there was enough room for her to slide in and snuggle next to him.

“You know I was sleeping,” Michael’s irritated voice came from the dark.

“I hope so. It’s late,” Maria answered, not the least bit perturbed. “Turn over and hold me.”

Michael sighed and complied, pulling her small form against his larger one. He tried to stay mad, but the feel of her soft, pliant body shaping itself to his was too good to sustain his irritation. Closing his eyes, Michael allowed himself to feel the comfort she was silently offering.

“Are you okay?” Maria asked after she’d snuggled for a while.

Michael grunted noncommittally.

“Was that a yes?”

“Yeah,” Michael answered almost absently. His body was having the usual reaction to her nearness and he was contemplating doing something about it. He ran a tentative hand underneath the blanket, up her leg, caressing her smooth skin.

Maria shifted more closely against him, feeling her own reactions, but remembering her words to Liz, she shifted away, ignoring Michael’s groan of protest as her hips brushed against him.

“We can’t. I’m not even supposed to be down here.”

Michael placed small kisses along her neck and behind her ear where he knew it drove her crazy. “I can be quiet if you can,” he whispered.

Maria arched her neck to give him better access, then shook her head pulling away. “Behave Michael. I didn’t come down here for that.”

“Then what did you come down here for?”

“Stupid me, I was worried about you while you were in that place playing super hero, and I just wanted to…I don’t know…..be close to you for a while to convince myself that you were really fine. I mean you were shot for God’s sake and…..” Maria pushed against his chest to lever herself up, but Michael’s arms tightened around her, stopping her flight.

Maria looked at him. “You want me to stay?”

“You know I do. Don’t make me beg.”

“I like it when you beg,” Maria said laying her head back down on his chest, shifting her hips back in place over his.

Michael groaned again. “I thought you were trying to keep this clean.”

“Okay, sorry,” Maria stilled her movements. They lay in silence, taking comfort from each other’s nearness.

“I like it when you worry about me.” Michael broke the silence with his quiet confession.

Maria smiled into his chest, but as she lay there absorbing the reassuring sound of his heartbeat, she couldn’t help but think about Liz and Max’s situation.

“Isabel told us that you told Max about Zan. She said he was too overwhelmed to talk about it.”

“Understandable,” Michael answered, and silence reigned for a few moments before Maria heard Michael’s troubled sigh. “It was hard telling Max.”

Maria nodded her head against his chest. “I’m sure.”

Michael thought about it for a moment. “He’s just so…..I’m used to him being in control. He was always the one who made the decisions even before we knew he was the king. Now he’s……vulnerable. I’ve seen it happening slowly over the last few months, but now that this happened…..” Michael stopped and Maria held her breath, afraid to move and stop this wondrous moment. Michael confessing his insecurities.

“I always thought I’d like to be the one in charge, but not like this.”

“It’s hard to see someone you care about in pain,” Maria spoke carefully, “especially someone you’re used to being strong. But I think Max knows that he can trust you to take care of things. I mean you proved it tonight. I think that if Max didn’t think he could trust you, he wouldn’t have let you see how weak he really is right now. He’s counting on you to keep things together, and I know you won’t let him down.”

Michael was silent as he contemplated her words. He guessed he had shown that he could take charge and make good decisions tonight. And Maria was right. Max hadn’t criticized or tried to take control of the situation at all. Michael didn’t know if that was good or bad, but he felt a little better. He could handle things while Max was getting himself back together and hopefully from this point on, he and Max could be on more equal footing instead of always at odds with each other.

Michael realized that his hands had naturally gravitated to Maria’s softer parts, but he also noticed that she wasn’t complaining. Running his hands under her night shirt, he caressed her soft backside.

“You’re hands are on my ass, Michael.”

“I know.”

“This stays PG, okay? Mr. and Mrs. Evan’s are trusting us.”

“Mmm..hmmm” Michael nuzzled her neck.

“Okay….maybe PG-13…” Maria slid her hands under Michael’s shirt drawing lifting her head for his kiss.


*********************************


Head moving back and forth on his pillow, Max strained against phantom bonds. In the throws of a dream, he lay in his bed at the Hardwell Ranch, metal cuffs biting in to his wrists. Doctor Hardwell stood next to him, a scalpel in his hand. An open wound lay just above Max’s heart on his chest, and occasionally the doctor would reach out and probe it with the scalpel, causing excruciating pain to radiate through Max’s body. He turned his head away, he saw Tess staring at him hatefully from her hospital bed.


“You let our son die.”

“No! No, I tried to save him!” Max cried, but she just sneered and disappeared to be replaced by a tearful Liz dressed in her Crash Down uniform looking at him sadly.

“I don’t even know who you are.”

“I’m me, Liz. Please…..” Max cried out as the scalpel jabbed into him again.

The image of Liz just shook it’s head sadly and faded to be replaced by one of Khivar, laughing at him, his arms crossed in contempt.

“You were always so weak, Zan. You’ll never be anything but a child playing in a man’s world.”

Tess appeared beside Khivar, taking his arm to smirk contemptuously at Max.

“You were a king. Now you’re just a boy”

The scalpel dug again and Max writhed in agony. He opened his eyes and gasped as little Zan appeared, clutching his puppy.

“Why didn’t you come sooner, Daddy? I needed you”.

“Zan…I’m sorry.” Max whispered, watching his son’s image fade from his sight. The doctor shook his head and leaned over to peer into the wound before sticking the scalpel back in. Max sobbed against the pain, his back arching off the bed. The doctor nodded in satisfaction and jotted notes.

“You’re a freak”

Max’s head jerked towards the voice. The orderly Michael killed in Max’s room was standing against the wall, his face twisted in a mask of hatred.

Voice continued to taunt him as the doctor jabbed, and caught up in the nightmare, Max lay hopelessly, feeling his life draining away with every probe of the scalpel. Just as he didn’t think he could stand it another minute, Liz suddenly kicked open the door of the room. She ran forward, jerking the doctor away from Max, whirling him to face her. Punching him in the face, Liz knocked the doctor to the ground.

“Max,” she said breathlessly as she reached down to undo the restraints. “We have to get out of here.”

“Liz…..” Max sat up and kicked his legs over the edge of the table. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to save you,” Liz said, grabbing his arm as she hurried towards the door. She peered around the corner, then dragged him with her into the hallway. They ran down the hall and out the door, running until Max had to stop, panting for breath. He leaned over at the waist, hands on his knees, and when he looked up, he and Liz were standing out in the desert. The stars were brilliant overhead and Liz was staring up at him, a look of loving desire on her face.

“Love me Max.” She reached up to kiss him. Her warm lips touched his and Max put his hands on her shoulders, shocked to feel bare skin. He looked down and saw his own naked body.

“Liz…..”

“Make love to me, Max. I’ve waited so long. Only for you.” Liz was kissing his bare chest running her hands down his abdomen. Max groaned and bore her to the ground as her hands touched him intimately.

“God….Liz….yes…”

Max joined their bodies, a cry of joy torn from his lips as he finally became one with the woman he loved. Their hips moved together in rhythm, moans of desire coming from their lips. Max looked up as the sky overhead suddenly changed, a glass ceiling taking it’s place. A huge telescope dominated the room. Pale arms encircled his neck, and he looked down, gasping in horror as brown eyes faded into blue, Tess looking up at him in triumphant satisfaction, blond curls spread out like an obscene halo around her head.

“It’s our destiny.”

Max jerked awake, gasping for breath. Disoriented for a moment, he realized where he was and swung his legs over the side of the bed. The dream was vivid in his mind, the sound of the voices taunting him with his failures ringing in his ears. Running a trembling hand over his face, Max pulled his shirt off and wiped the sweat from it. He looked down at the wound on his chest, not surprised to see it bleeding, and shivered at the memory of the doctor probing it with the scalpel.

Max got up carefully, happy to see that he wasn’t quite as unsteady on his feet as before. His head still hurt, but it wasn’t the same pounding pain, just a dull ache. Opening the bedroom door, he almost ran straight in to Liz.

“Oh, Max,” Liz’s fist was raised as if to knock on the door, and she lowered it quickly, whispering, fearful of waking up the others.. “I…I heard a noise and….are you okay?” The sounds of his distress had come clearly through the wall between his and Isabel’s old room.

Max took in her flannel pajamas and mussed hair. “Yeah….I…..”

“Max, you’re bleeding!” Liz gasped as she saw the wound on his chest. It was angry and red, and Liz’s throat tightened at the memory of how it got there. “Let me help you clean that up.”

Taking his arm, Liz led Max into the bathroom and didn’t hesitate. Grabbing the washcloth he had used earlier and wetting it, Liz dabbed at the torn flesh as he sat on the toilet to give her better access.

“How did it start bleeding?” Liz asked as she glanced at him.

“I don’t know. I woke up….and it was like this.” Max didn’t want to talk about the dream. It was too close, and he wasn’t ready to share his inner demons, even with Liz.

Liz let it go for the moment. Though his face was expressionless, she knew there was more to the story, in fact, it was just that expressionless mask that gave it away. Max was coping with something and he didn’t want her to know what it was. She found some alcohol pads under the sink, and opened one, carefully cleaning the wound. Max’s intake of breath was the only indication that he gave of the pain he must be feeling from the penetrating disinfectant.

“Are you feeling better?” Liz asked as she threw away the pad and washed her hands, noting that he didn’t have that pained crease in his forehead anymore. Max put his shirt on and splashed water on his face as Liz moved out of the way. He toweled it dry before looking at her.

“A little bit. My head doesn’t hurt as much.”

“Good.”

They left the bathroom, and stopped at Max’s door.

“Do you want me to….come in and keep you company?” Liz asked.

Max avoided her gaze. “No….you should get some sleep. You have school tomorrow. I’ll be fine. Thanks for …you know…” Max gestured at his chest.

Liz stared at his expressionless face, desperately wanting to ease the look of strain that was developing there.

“Max…..” Liz reached out to touch him but stopped when he stepped back reflexively.

“Liz….I’m sorry….I…..” Max closed his eyes in misery, but he couldn’t get the picture of his dream Liz, her face in the throws of passion, turning into Tess. Even though it was only a dream, Max knew that it wasn’t that far from reality and his skin crawled with disgust.

“It’s not you,” Max said finally, opening his eyes to see her looking up at him with compassion.

Liz nodded. “I know.” She hesitated. “When you’re ready to talk…..I’ll be here.” Liz looked at him for another moment, then turned back and quietly entered Isabel’s room.

Max stood staring at the closed door, his face finally reflecting his inner battle. Closing his own door quietly, he got in bed, and turned on the lamp knowing that sleep was an impossibility now, Liz’s words echoing through his mind.

“When you’re ready to talk….."

Max sighed and brought his knees up until he could rest his head on them. Closing his eyes against the onslaught of images and voices from his dream, Max prayed for daylight while on the other side of the wall, Liz lay in her bed and stared at the ceiling, sensing his turmoil, keeping vigil with him through the rest of the night.

TBC....

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Dec-2002 9:02:06 AM ]
posted on 13-Dec-2002 10:15:18 PM by sylvia37
Something's up with the board cause this didn't move.
posted on 15-Dec-2002 7:13:43 PM by sylvia37
Selfish bump. *happy*

posted on 30-Dec-2002 11:09:33 PM by sylvia37
Happy Holidays to everyone. I tried to post a message on December 28, the 1st birthday of this story as Mareli was so kind to point out, but I couldn't get on the board, nor could I yesterday. I wanted to let all of you know that I worked on the next part before the holidays but, as I'm sure a lot of you experienced, I was too busy last week to even turn the computer on.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me for the last year. Can you believe it's been a year? I never believed I'd be still writing this story a year after I started. I want you to know that I appreciate every kind word and all of you who took the time to write and tell me what you thought.

I hope to have the next part done by the end of the week, but since the holidays are still upon us, I can't guaranty.

Hope you all have a joyous and blessed new year Thanks again.

Note to Mareli:

You're so sweet to notice the birthday of my story and don't worry, I haven't forgotten you during the holidays.


Sylvia

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-Dec-2002 11:13:31 PM ]
posted on 4-Jan-2003 10:57:36 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. Well I made it before the end of the week just barely. Thanks for all of your kind comments and I hope you like the new part. Let me know.

Special welcome to Solaris, our new reader. Thanks so much for your words. I'm so glad you decided to read, and I look forward to hearing from you again.


Everything to You Part 38

Liz leaned her head against her locker, closing her eyes for a moment. God, she was tired. After her encounter with Max in the hallway, she’d spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, knowing he was in his room fighting his demons. She’d almost gone to him a hundred times, but she’d forced herself to stay put and give him space.

Liz sighed as she lifted her head and opened her locker to change her books out for her after lunch classes. It had been hard staying away when he was in pain, but she felt like she needed to do what he’d asked to help him regain some control in his life. Liz meant what she said when she told him that she was here when he needed to talk, but knowing Max, she was going to have to push him.

Staring at her books, Liz frowned. Giving Max space was one thing, allowing his wounds to fester was another. She’d already seen the damage it had caused when he’d held so many of his feelings of guilt and rage inside. Liz wasn’t going to allow him to do that again. When the time came, if Max hadn’t already opened up to her, she would confront him.

Heading out to the quad, she spotted Maria at their usual table, resting her head on her arms. Liz smiled. She wasn’t the only one who hadn’t gotten any sleep.

“Hey, Maria.”

“Hey yourself.” Maria lifted her head to look at her friend, noting the dark circles.

“We’re a pair. We look like we partied until dawn instead of fighting evil scientists.”

“What time did you get back to bed?” Liz asked sitting down.

“I don’t know. I woke up and realized that the Evan’s were going to catch me with Michael on the couch and ran upstairs. I figured I’d pretend like I was using the bathroom so I went in there first, but I didn’t see anyone.” The girls opened their lunches. Mrs. Evans had actually made lunch for all three of them that morning.

“Where is Michael anyway?”

“I have no idea. He and Kyle should be here by now.”

Kyle and his dad had shown up that morning at the Evans for breakfast. Mr. Valenti told them that he’d called some people in Alamagordo this morning to catch up on the news. Apparently they’d sent emergency equipment to the ranch, but by the time they got there, everything was pretty much leveled. No word on whether or not any bodies were found or what kind of investigation was going on.

“Max didn’t look quite so bad this morning,” Maria commented glancing at her friend. She was being kind actually. He hadn’t seemed to be in as much pain, but Max’s eyes had been blood shot and those dark circles weren’t at all improved.

Maria hadn’t asked Liz if anything had happened in the night while she was with Michael, but she could tell by the worried glances Liz kept giving Max at the breakfast table that something was going on. Max hadn’t really stayed too long. He had come down to hear what Valenti had to say, and eaten a little breakfast of eggs and toast before telling all of them goodbye and heading back up to his room. He and Liz had exchanged one of their unspoken looks before he’d left the kitchen table, but Liz hadn’t made any move to follow him.

“He told me his head felt a little better,” Liz said, pulling her sandwich out of the bag.

“When was this?” Maria asked.

“Last night while you were downstairs.” Liz looked at Maria and noted the questioning look in her eyes.

“I heard noise coming through the wall and I thought something was wrong so I got up to check on him, and he was coming out of his room when I went to knock.”

“Was he okay?”

“Not really,” Liz sighed contemplated her food. “His wound was bleeding and he looked….I don’t know….you know how sometimes it looks like he’s not reacting to things but he really is?”

“No, but tell me anyway.”

“When things are really bothering him, sometimes Max will….shut down….you know like push his emotions down so they don’t make him lose control. I can always tell when he gets that look on his face…..like nothings bothering him, but it really is.”

“Okay, so he looked like nothing was wrong but you knew it was.”

“Yeah….and after I cleaned up his wound, we were in the hall and I went to touch him and he pulled away like he couldn’t bear to be touched. I could tell that something happened, but he just said it wasn’t me.”

Maria gazed sympathetically at her friend’s worried face. “Well you know Max’s been through a lot and after what that skank did to him, I’m not surprised he’s a little standoffish. He just needs time to get past it.”

“I guess.”

Maria raised her eyebrows. “You guess?”

“I don’t know, Maria. I mean… his son died. He may not have known him for very long, but….that’s not something you just get over. And add to that all the stuff that Tess made him do…..”

“I get it. He’s on emotional overload.”

“Yeah,” Liz nodded. “He’s been so out of control since Tess arrived that I’m afraid he’s going to…”

“Overcompensate?” Maria glanced at Liz’s face. “What? I know a few SAT words too, you know.”

Liz smiled and shook her head. “Anyway….I’m afraid he’ll just try to keep it all inside.”

“Well we won’t let him,” Maria declared. “If it looks like he’s bottling up, we’ll just…have an intervention. We’ll confront him with his problem and…..”

“He’s not a drug addict, Maria.”

“You know what I mean. Besides, if I know you, you’ve already decided how much time to give him before you don’t give him a choice, little Miss Planner.” Maria laughed when Liz threw her napkin across the table at her.

“So enough about me,” Liz said. “How was Michael last night?”

“Horny as ever.”

Liz choked on her drink and grabbed her napkin back to wipe her mouth. “Maria…..”

“Relax, Mom. We didn’t do anything….much. Michael is always horny.” Liz just shook her head smiling.

“Seriously, we talked actually…about his feelings,” Maria said.

“Wow…he didn’t like spontaneously combust or anything…did he?”

“Not while I was there,” Maria answered, looking around. “But he might have since then. Where the hell is he?”

“Forget about that. Tell me what you guys talked about.” Liz said.

“He just told me how hard it was to tell Max about Zan and that it’s hard seeing Max hurting… some other stuff.” Maria didn’t want to share all of Michael’s confessions, even with her best friend. Some things should be kept only between them.

Liz nodded, understanding Maria’s reticence. She imagined that Michael was feeling a little insecure since Max had always been the one in charge. “Michael did a great job last night. I’m sure Max realizes that he can trust him.”

“That’s what I told him.” The two girls smiled at each other. A moment later, voices were heard and they both looked up to find Michael and Kyle heading towards their table arguing.

“I told you to keep it clean, but you had to let your fucking friends get a hold of it.” Michael threw his books on the table as he sat down next to Maria, still glaring at Kyle.

“I didn’t let them do anything, I told you. Pauly always manages to get in my locker. It’s a game with him. I didn’t know he’d steal it. Chill out, man. I’ll buy you the next issue.”

“What are you guys talking about? Where’ve you been?” Maria looked at her boyfriend as he pulled his sandwich out of the bag and ripped the wrapping off.

“I borrowed a biker magazine from Han Solo here, and Pauly found it in my locker during one of his break ins and stole it. Michael asked me for it today, and when I finally figured it out, we went to find Pauly. He had …uh…used it for …uh….personal gratification.” Kyle grinned into his sandwich.

“Oh my God, you guys are pigs,” Maria exclaimed, disgusted. “If we didn’t need you for procreation, you’d be nothing but a waste of air and decent nachos.”

“Oh, and women are so much better,” Kyle said, waving a chip in Maria’s direction, then saying in falsetto, “Take me to the mall, Kyle, so I can buy another pair of black shoes to go with the 20 other pair of black shoes I already have. Can you say high maintenance?”

Liz hid her smile behind her drink, and even Michael’s mouth lifted for a second at Kyle’s imitation, until Maria turned her glare on him.

“And speaking of high maintenance, what’s up with women’s bathrooms at department stores?” Kyle continued, warming to his theme. “I saw the inside of one through the doorway once and I swear they had a living room and a big screen TV. We’re lucky if we get a stall with a door."

“I’ve got two words for you,” Maria answered him, holding up two fingers. “Toilet seat. Why spend money on a decent bathroom for people who can’t even aim a pointed object into a big round hole right in front of them.”

This time Liz couldn’t hold back her giggle at the outraged look on Kyle’s face, but as the two continued to argue, she caught a movement out of the corner of her eye, and turned her head to see Mark headed towards their table. He smiled in return as he approached, then looked at the others, acknowledging them with a nod. Michael watched him suspiciously, but Mark ignored him, not unfamiliar with Michael’s personality.

“Liz, can I talk to you a minute?”

“Uh…sure.” Liz rose from the table to follow Mark as her friends watched.

“I don’t like that guy,” Michael said after they’d moved away.

“You don’t like anybody,” Maria retorted, still watching as Liz and Mark stood talking.


“How’s your family?” Mark was saying. “Is everything okay?”

“Oh…yeah….everything’s fine. Thanks.” Liz answered.

“Good. I was really sorry you had to leave before the trip was over. We were having a good time and..well… there was something I wanted to ask you.”

“Ask me?”

“Yeah. I know we talked about…you know….maybe getting together for a date after we got back….and I know you said you weren’t sure if you were ready yet…..but I didn’t get the chance to …..” Mark stopped and sighed. “I’m not doing this very well.” He looked at her seriously. “What I wanted to ask is if you would go to Prom with me?”

Liz stared at him, her mouth slightly open in shock. This was the last thing she’d expected.

“I know we talked about going out as friends and that’s all it would be if that’s what you want but…..I’d really like for you to come with me.” As he gazed down at her large brown eyes, Mark smiled slightly at the bemused expression on her face.

“I…uh…..” Liz glanced towards the school as the bell rang, cutting her off.

“You don’t have to answer right now. Just think about it.” Mark said and he gave her a small wave before heading towards the school building.

Maria approached a confused looking Liz. “What is it? What did he want?”

“He asked me to Prom.” Liz shook her head and looked at Maria. “I had no idea he was going to do that.”

“What did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything. I just stood here with my mouth hanging open like an idiot.” They walked back towards the table where Michael and Kyle had already vacated. Besides,” Liz picked up her books. “We decided we were having a girl’s night, remember?”

“Yeah, but that was before we actually had dates. I mean, you and Max were broken up and Michael would just as soon be shot again so……. but if you wanted to go, I could convince him.” Maria stared at her friend’s averted face. “Do you want to go out with Mark?”

“I’m not sure,” Liz confessed. “I mean….I like him, you know…..but not…..”

“Not in the way you like Max.”

“No.” Liz said. Staring down at her hands, she thought about Max as she’d seen him last night after they’d rescued him. Exhausted….tortured…..heartsick with the loss of his son….but trying to be so brave and not show his feelings. It made her heart ache just thinking about it, and she longed to be back at the Evan’s house by his side.

“Look Liz. I understand why you’re confused right now. I mean you broke up with Max with good reason at the time, but a lot of things have happened since then, and we know now that he wasn’t really completely responsible for his actions. I’m not saying that you should jump back in as though nothing’s changed, but…..maybe you need to really examine your feelings and try to figure out what you really want. Mark’s a great guy and any other girl would be thanking her lucky stars to have him asking her to Prom. You look like it’s the end of the world.”

Liz sighed as they stopped in the hallway. “I know. You’re right. I just need to think…..”

“No.” Maria cut her off. “Stop thinking and listen to your heart. Do you want to be with Max or don’t you? It’s that simple. If the answer’s no, then going to Prom with Mark would be a great way to start dating again.” Maria gazed Liz, noting the frown on her face. She didn’t really think Liz wanted to be with Mark, but she wanted to goad her into figuring it out on her own.

“We’re late, and I think we’re having a quiz in English today. I’ll see you later.” Maria left Liz standing in the hall and headed quickly for her next class, confident that her friend would make the right decision.


**************************


“Max? Lunch is ready. Do you want to come down or do you want me to bring it up?”

Mrs. Evan’s stood at the bottom of the stairs. She knew Max was awake because she’d heard the shower earlier. Before that, he’d been asleep in his room when she’d gone to check on him, his restless movements betraying the fact that his sleep was anything but peaceful. Diane sighed in worry.

Neither Liz nor Max had heard her get up last night. She’d heard noise in the hallway and had opened her door to see them heading into the bathroom. As she’d waited indecisively, almost ready to see if she could help, they’d entered the hallway again, neither one of them noticing her door being open slightly as they talked outside of Max’s room. Diane’s heart had twisted when she saw Liz reach out to touch her son, his stoic expression starting to crack as he involuntarily stepped away from her hand. Her admiration for Liz had grown as the girl hadn’t gotten mad or upset by Max’ rejection, just accepted the fact that he needed space and offered to listen when he needed it.

What Liz hadn’t seen was Max’s expression after she went into her room. It was heartbreaking to see his brave front crumble the minute the petite girl closed her door. Diane had wanted to rush out and enclose him in her arms as she watched him stare at Liz’s door with such longing, such despair, but she’d stayed where she was until he finally went back into his room. Listening with one ear the rest of the night, Diane knew that neither one of the two teenagers had gotten much sleep after that.

“I’ll be down in a second,” Max’s voice came faintly from the direction of his bedroom.

“Do you need help?”

“No, I can do it.”

Diane went back to the kitchen, ladling soup into bowls and getting crackers out of the pantry. Max made his entrance a few minutes later, dressed in the same t-shirt and sweats Diane had given him last night and although his progress was slow, he seemed much steadier on his feet than last night and his face wasn’t quite as strained.

“Michael is going to bring some clothes over after school,” Diane commented as she brought the soup bowls to the table. “Would you like juice or water?”

“Juice, please.” Max said watching his mother’s movements. It felt familiar to be sitting here in her kitchen. Comforting, but he felt the need to protest, unsure about his status as yet with the family. “Michael doesn’t need to do that. I’ll just go back to the apartment…..”

“Don’t be silly,” Diane interrupted as she sat his juice on the table and took a seat opposite. “There’s no need for you to stay at Michael’s anymore now that we know the truth.” Diane glanced at him before lifting her spoon, trying to be objective. “Unless there’s some reason you don’t want to stay here…..”

Max felt a stab of guilt at his mother’s question, her tone betraying her own uncertainty about their relationship despite her efforts. “It’s not that. I just didn’t want to assume…..”

“You’re my son, Max,” Diane cut him off with a loving squeeze to his hand. “You’ll always be my son and that means that there is always a place in this house for you. You’re father feels the same way. He only asked you to move out to try and get you to be honest with us. He spent many nights up late in his office and here at home worrying about you.”

“I’m sorry,” Max looked down at his steaming soup. “I…..”

“Don’t apologize again, Max. I know why you felt you had to lie, but that’s all in the past now. This is your home for as long as you want it to be and that goes for Michael as well,” Diane smiled, “ although I suspect that he likes his privacy since Maria probably spends more time there than she does at home.”

Maria’s movements hadn’t gone as undetected as she’d thought last night and although Diane didn’t approve of their relationship at such a young age, it wasn’t for her to say. However, if they were going to spend any more nights in their house, she would have to lay some ground rules.

“Yeah. It was really more like living with two people than one.” Max looked at his mother thankfully. “I’d like to stay.”

Diane smiled and the two ate their soup in silence for a few moments. Max sipped his gingerly, but it appeared to be sitting okay on his stomach so he relaxed a little and reached for the Tobasco sauce his mother had thoughtfully put on the table. . Diane watched him, relieved to see him enjoying his food. He’d only picked at his breakfast this morning and she couldn’t help worrying about his health. If his appearance was anything to go by, he hadn’t been eating well for quite some time. She was going to remedy that.

“You’re staring at me, Mom. I’m fine. You don’t have to worry.” Max smiled slightly as his Mother’s cheeks flushed a little.

“I’m sorry, Honey. I’m just so glad you’re here and all right. Let me take care of you for a little while and I promise I’ll stop worrying so much. All right?”

“Okay,” Max suppressed his sigh of resignation. He owed his mom at least that much. He would try not to protest her hovering.

Diane smiled to herself, knowing that Max was chaffing under her Mothering. She would try and keep it down to a minimum, but she hoped he would open up a little about his problems. If his restless night and equally disturbed nap earlier were any indication, he was keeping a lot bottled up inside. Diane realized he hadn’t had time to process yet since his ordeal, but she wanted him to know that she and Phillip were here to help.

“Max?”

Max looked at her in wary inquiry, her tone warning him that he might not like what he was about to hear.

“Isabel told us a little bit about what’s been happening to you, not just what you went through this past weekend, but with Tess and the baby.”

Max swallowed heavily, putting his soupspoon down. He’d known that Isabel probably told them what happened but he wasn’t ready to open up to his parents about it. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be ready. Max wiped his mouth with his napkin and got up to put his bowl in the sink.

Diane followed, picking up the glasses. “I’m not asking you to talk about it, but just listen for a moment, okay?” Diane spoke gently noting her son’s strained expression. It was the same one he’d worn with Liz last night and she recognized it as the face he always wore when he was trying to hide his emotions. She’d seen it throughout the years, but since she’d found out about what he’d been through, it had taken on new significance. “Let’s go into the living room.”

Max nodded, relieved that his mother didn’t expect him to talk. He followed her into the other room and they both sat on the couch at opposite ends, facing each other.

“I want you to know that your father and I are so sorry about Zan. Isabel told us that you tried to heal him, and I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for you to realize that you couldn’t.” Diane paused as Max averted his face, but not before she saw the grief flash through his eyes. Her own chest tightened into a painful knot, but she continued anyway.

“I want to tell you something that I haven’t ever told you or your sister. It happened before we found the two of you.” Diane took a deep breath. “I’m sure you probably figured out that your father and I couldn’t have children of our own, otherwise you would have brothers and sisters. It’s one of the reasons why we were so thankful when we found you and Isabel.” Swallowing to steady her voice, Diane continued.

“A couple of years before you came to live with us, your father and I found out I was pregnant. We’d been trying for many years without success, eventually going to doctors, doing tests… that sort of thing. We’d almost given up hope, so you can imagine how excited we were when we found out. The doctor was relatively optimistic that everything would be fine so we made plans for the nursery, picking out wallpaper…looking at cribs…I had to take it easy, so I took a leave of absence from my job, and your father spent his weekends waiting on me practically hand and foot. I did everything I was supposed to do….I took my vitamins…I ate all the right foods for the baby…..I only exercised with the doctor’s prescribed permission. Everything was going fine until about the middle of my fifth month.”

Diane paused again, the pain a memory now, but still enough to hurt. “I woke up one night, pain shooting through my abdomen….blood all over the bed. Your father……he called an ambulance but it was too late. I lost our baby. It was a boy……we named him Phillip Jr..”

Diane looked up to see Max staring at her, his expression mirroring the pain that must have been on her face. “I can’t tell you how much I blamed myself for what happened. Your father tried to tell me that it wasn’t my fault….that it just wasn’t meant to be but….all I could see was that I’d lost our baby and it had to be my fault because otherwise God wouldn’t be punishing me this way. It took me a long time to realize that I couldn’t have done anything to save our son. He just wasn’t strong enough to make it into this world with us, but…. I believe his spirit is with God now. He doesn’t punish us, Max. I know that because you and your sister were God’s answer to our prayers.”

Tears burned the back of Max’s throat as he listened to his mother share her own painful story with him.

“I know that my words won’t instantly relieve you of the guilt that you’re feeling, because no matter how many times someone else tells you it wasn’t your fault, you have to come to terms with it in your own time. But I can tell you that eventually, the pain will get better. It won’t ever go away, but it won’t hurt the way it hurts right now forever.” Diane leaned forward to take Max’s hand, squeezing it as she gazed into his eyes. “Your son is happy now, at peace. You need to believe that so you can forgive yourself, Honey.”

Diane continued to hold her son’s hand as he tried to get a grip on himself. Reaching for the box of tissue on the side table, she dabbed at her eyes, and the tension in the air slowly dissipated as they sat in silence while Max managed to get himself under control. His mother’s story had touched a cord in him that he’d been trying to suppress, and as hard as it was to let himself think about it, Max felt just the slightest bit better knowing that someone else knew what he was going through. And, amazingly enough, he hadn’t had to utter a single word.

“There’s one more thing I want to tell you and then I’ll leave you alone,” Diane smiled at the relieved expression that flitted across her son’s face before he could hide it. “I know that Michael told you that he brought Zan’s body from the building last night.” Max nodded painfully at her words and Diane squeezed his hand again in understanding before letting go. “Liz made a suggestion last night that I think is a wonderful idea, but I want to run it by you first since you are Zan’s father. It should be your decision.”

“What is it?” Max said, perking up at the mention of Liz’s name.

“She suggested that we have a memorial service for Zan. Your father and I would be more than happy to make the arrangements if you want to go ahead with it.”

Max looked at his mother for a moment before dropping his gaze to his hands. It hadn’t occurred to him what he was going to do about Zan’s body. Honestly, he’d been avoiding the thought ever since Michael had told him, but now that he had to face it, this seemed like the only course of action. Leave it to Liz to come up with the best idea.

“I….thank you…..that sounds like a good idea.” Max’s voice was hoarse with his effort to control his emotions. He wished Liz was here. Her presence always seemed to calm him and although he knew his mother would comfort him if he reached out to her, Liz was who he really needed. Who he always needed.

“Zan was our grandchild, Max. I only wish we’d had a chance to know him.” Diane’s heart twisted in sympathy as Max nodded at her words, the tears he’d been fighting springing to his eyes despite his efforts. “I’m sorry, Honey. I know this is hard,” Diane slid forward on the couch, offering the comfort of her arms and Max leaned into them for a moment before pulling back.

“I’m going to make some calls about the arrangements for Zan, okay? Do you want me to get you anything before I start?”

Max shook his head, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, and standing with an effort. Once again, he was exhausted, and his head was throbbing from the tension of controlling his emotions. “I….think I’ll go lie down for a while.”

“That’s sounds like a good idea. I’ll wake you when Michael gets here.”

“I probably won’t sleep, but thanks.” Max looked at his mother, and Diane swallowed the lump in her throat at the raw emotion that shown from her son’s translucent amber eyes from just a moment. “And thanks for….just being…...my mother.” Max couldn’t think of another way to put it so he just said what was in his heart. His mother’s expression at his words made him realize that he’d said the right thing.

“My pleasure, Honey. You go rest now.” Diane watched as Max turned and headed slowly up the stairs, sighing deeply as he disappeared around the corner. She headed into the kitchen for the phone book, wiping at her eyes with her tissue, once again saying a little prayer of thanks for the gift of her children.

TBC......
posted on 17-Jan-2003 11:28:35 PM by sylvia37
Hello everyone. It took a little longer than I expected to get this part done so sorry for the wait.

I was so happy to see so many of you posting your opinions. Unfortunately, if you read the different posts, you'll see that everyone has a different idea of the way things should go so inevitably, someone is going to be disappointed. I hope that those of you who are won't stop reading or writing me about what you think.

Thanks for reading.

Everything to You Part 39

Michael knocked on the Evan’s door, shifting the duffle bag full of Max’s clothes to his shoulder. Liz and Maria had Max’s books. A moment later, the door opened and Mrs. Evan’s smiled at them.

“Come in. You didn’t have to knock.”

The three teenagers entered and stood awkwardly still not used to this new situation.

“Max is upstairs so why don’t the three of you go up there. I’m sure he’s ready for a change of clothes and some company other than mine. Can you stay for dinner?”

“Uh…no we can’t,” Liz said. “We all have to work tonight at the CrashDown.”

“That’s too bad. Isabel and Jesse are coming and Jim Valenti was going to stop by later too.” Diane gestured towards the stairs. “ Go on up.”

They found Max sitting up sideways on his bed, obviously having heard them. His eyes met Liz’s briefly before he looked up to acknowledge Michael and Maria, and Liz felt the chasm between them like a lead weight on her chest.

Michael tossed the duffle bag down and sat, while Liz laid his books on his desk.

“I…uh…made a list of the homework and put it with your books. If you get it done before tomorrow, we can come by in the morning to pick it up before school, and if you need help….you know….with some of it just….call me or….”

“Thanks for bringing them,” Max said with a small smile.

“So…Valenti’s coming over tonight,” Michael said. “Call me later and let me know what he said, but make it late because we all have to work tonight.”

“I will.” Max picked up the bag and pulled out some fresh clothes. “I’m going to go change. I’ll be right back.”

After he left the room, Maria sat next to Liz. “You okay, Pumpkin?”

“Yeah….why wouldn’t I be?” Liz tried to sound flippant.

“Oh I don’t know….maybe the vibes I’m getting from the two of you? Does this have to do with last night?”

“I…..” Liz hesitated a moment. “ I guess so,” she said finally. After being up half the night, worrying about Max for most of the day, and having Mark ask her to Prom, she wasn’t sure of anything at that moment.

“Well, Michael and I will leave and give you two a chance to talk.” Maria said, and before Liz could protest, Maria grabbed Michael’s arm.

“Let’s go Spaceboy. Maybe if we’re nice, Mrs. Evans will give us milk and cookies for our after school snack.” She waved at Liz. “We’ll wait for you.” Maria saw Liz open her mouth as though to stop them, but she pretended not to notice as she ushered Michael out of the room. Liz and Max had issues to resolve, and Maria figured the more time they spent alone together, the more likely they would do that.

Liz closed her mouth as Maria and Michael disappeared and stared blankly at the door, anticipating and dreading Max’s return at the same time. She knew what Maria was up to, but Liz didn’t think today was the day that she and Max were going to resolve anything. He’d made it clear last night that he needed time and Liz felt the same way.

Max came around the corner, surprised to find Liz alone in his room. “Where did Michael and Maria go?”

“Downstairs to talk your Mom into giving them a snack,” Liz replied.

Max nodded and moved over to the bed to unpack the rest of his things. He didn’t need to do it right this second, but he needed to do something with his hands. Max knew he ought to apologize for the way he’d left things last night, but he wasn’t sure if he could do it without losing it. He’d barely held it together with his mother this afternoon during their talk. Liz deserved to know what was going on inside of him right now, however, especially because the expression on her face this morning before she left and just now when she’d come into his room with Michael and Maria made him realize that his remoteness was hurting her. And that was the last thing he wanted.

He turned to address her, but Liz had come up next to him, their hands touching as she took the shirt he’d been folding and refolding from his hands. Her scent invaded his senses as he breathed in, making him dizzy for a moment. Fighting his need to crush her against his body and never let go, Max’s hands trembled as he tightened the stranglehold on his emotions.

“Uh….you seem to be having trouble….” Liz indicated the shirt she’d taken from his nerveless fingers and she quickly folded it putting it in his dresser. Leaning past him to reach his other clothes, Liz went to closet for hangers. Max watched her put away his things, and he had a sudden attack of déjà vu as though he’d watched her do this before, maybe in another life. His stomach quivered at the thought.

“Liz…..I um….wanted to tell you that…..I was sorry about….last night,” Max rushed to fill in the silence.

Liz turned to look at him seriously. “Max, you don’t have to apologize.”

“I know I told you that it wasn’t you and I hope you believe that….” Max paused as she nodded and sat down on the bed.

“I just…..

“It’s okay, Max. I know you need time. I’m not pushing you to talk…..”

“I know you’re not and I appreciate that. It’s just that….I know I seem….I don’t want you to think that I don’t…,” Max shook his head, knowing that his words weren’t making any sense. He looked at Liz, the crease between her brows giving away her feelings and Max sighed, trying to put his thoughts into words. Finally he spoke quietly.

“I don’t know if you know this about Michael, but when he gets really upset, especially about Maria, his powers go haywire. He almost took my head off once with a lamp when we were talking about his jealousy. It shattered just from the force of his emotions.” Max looked over at Liz to find her watching him with sympathy.

“I think if I let go of everything I’m feeling, I’ll take out a city block.”

“Max….” Liz stood up and stepped towards him.

“Liz…please just don’t think that I don’t want you around or that I don’t….need you….but….”

“I don’t, Max.”

“The fact is…I do need you…I…..”

Liz finally came close enough to stop his tumble of words as she put a gentle finger to his lips.

“It’s okay. I understand. You don’t have to explain.” Liz reached up and put her arms around his neck, holding him close even as he stiffened for a moment before burying his face in her shoulder. She could feel him trembling and her arms tightened protectively.

“I’m sorry.” Max whispered against her neck. His lips inadvertently touched her soft skin and he felt Liz shiver.

“You don’t have to be sorry. Nobody is expecting you to be something you’re not and I’m not going to force you to do things you don’t want to do,” Liz pulled away to look at him. “There’s been enough of that.”

“But eventually you’re going to have to let it out, Max. You can’t keep it all bottled up inside. When the time comes, I’ll be here to help. I may even push a little.” Liz smiled in self-deprecation and was happy to see Max’s mouth lift in return. Liz moved away from him and picked up her backpack.

“I’ve got to go. Will you call and let me know what Valenti has to say too? You can just leave a message if I’m still at work.”

Max nodded and followed her down the stairs. Liz had noticed that he still seemed a little stiff so she went slowly to accommodate him. They entered the kitchen and saw that Mrs. Evans had indeed provided milk and cookies to Michael and Maria although it appeared that Michael had eaten the majority. When he saw Liz, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and stood up.

“Guess we have to motor. Talk to you later Maxwell.”

“Thanks for bringing the clothes.”

Maria turned to Mrs. Evans. “Thanks for the cookies Mrs. Evans.”

“You’re welcome. Tomorrow, just come right in when you get here. You don’t have to knock.”

“Thanks.” Liz said as she looked one more time at Max, who returned her look briefly before shoving his hands in his pockets and letting his glance slide away. Mrs. Evans closed the door after them and looked at Max having noted the exchange between him and Liz, but he didn’t acknowledge her stare, just left the kitchen and headed back up to his room.

When he got there, Max sat down heavily on the bed and put his head in his hands. He hated himself for the way he was feeling. One minute he wanted to crush her against him, the next, he didn’t want to be touched. When Liz reached out to him, all he could see in his head was his dream. The horrifying vision of her staring up at him with love and passion only to change into Tess, was going to haunt him for the rest of his life. Tess’s scornful voice still raged in his head as well, telling him how worthless and pathetic he was, and when he looked at Liz’s face, her eyes so beautiful in their purity and goodness, he felt every taunt like a knife in his gut.

When Liz had touched him, Max’s first instinct was to pull away, but the feel of her arms had promised too much comfort for him to do it. He could still feel the imprint of her body against his and the scent of her still lingered in the air.

Rubbing his hands over his eyes, Max stared at his books. He hated feeling so pathetic. Pathetic and needy and ….fragile. Liz deserved to have someone who could go a whole 24 hours without breaking into tears. Until he was a whole person again, Max was reluctant to give her any indication that there might be a chance between them. Not that he was sure that that was what she would want now, but he still loved her with every breath in his body, and it wasn’t fair for her to be saddled with an emotional cripple.

Getting up from the bed, Max sat down at his desk. Homework. It seemed impossible to him after everything that had happened that he was still, in reality, just a high school kid. At this moment, he felt like the oldest half human alive. Sighing, Max hit the books.

*****************************

Liz finished lighting candles on her balcony and wrapping the blanket tighter around her, sat down on her favorite lawn chair with her journal propped against her knees.

She was tired, but she knew she wouldn’t sleep. It had been a relatively quiet night at the CrashDown, but she’d ended up staying late because a last minute group came in right before they locked the doors. When she’d finally managed to make it to her room, Max had left a message saying that Valenti had had some good news for them. Several bodies had been found in the fire, including one who appeared to be missing a limb. Valenti said that the procedure, once they realized they couldn’t identify it would be to list her as a Jane Doe and send for dental records, but Valenti was relatively sure that Tess had never had dental work done so there would be no identification. It also appeared just from preliminary reports that they were ruling it an accident. Max said that after Michael and Valenti had been forced to go back into the building, Valenti had realized that the bullets from the guns could be identified, so he’d had Michael dissolve the bodies to the point where they could get rid of them. The fire took care of the rest.

Liz could hear the relief in Max’s voice when he’d said that they’d found Tess’s body, and Liz’s own relief had caused her to sit abruptly, her legs suddenly like Jello. Tess was dead. They could finally close the chapter of her life in Roswell.

Well sort of, Liz thought as she sat contemplating her journal. Tess’s path of destruction was long and wide and the repercussions would last the rest of their lives. Max’s especially and by association, hers.

That is if she wanted it to.

Liz ran her hand over her journal. It had been an eventful weekend to say the least and Liz couldn’t help but be distracted by everything that had happened with Max and with Mark. In fact, she’d been so distracted that she hadn’t realized that Maria was picking up the slack on her tables until she saw one of her customers giving Maria a tip.

“I’m sorry, Maria. God, I’m such a basket case tonight.”

“You are,” Maria said, nodding thoughtfully. “ You really are, but I forgive you.” Maria laughed as her friend swatted her with her rag.

“It’s your fault. If you hadn’t left me alone with Max, I wouldn’t have had a conversation with him…”

“And you would have kept on being confused,” Maria finished for her. “Face it, Babe. You need to do what I said and figure this stuff out. Otherwise, I’m going to have to start charging you a percentage of your tips.”


So here she was, alone at last, ready to try and figure stuff out.

It wasn’t a question of whether or not she loved Max. She did. Liz had told him so the day they broke up and again when he was so desperately in pain during his captivity. But she’d figured out the day he’d come back from LA that sometimes…love wasn’t enough. Max had loved her, but he’d chosen his quest to find his son over her. There had to be faith and trust as well and somewhere along the way, she and Max had lost those things.

But that was then and this was now and a considerable amount of water had passed under the bridge. All of the things that had come to light since then made a dramatic difference in their relationship and hopefully, looking back through the journey of their past would help her decide her future.

Opening her journal, Liz turned to the page dated September 23.

I’m Liz Parker and five days ago, I died. After that, things got really weird….

Weird. Liz lifted her eyebrow at that. She really had been the queen of understatement.

I could feel everything he was feeling. I could feel his loneliness. For the first time I was really seeing Max Evans, I saw me as he saw me, and the amazing thing was…in his eyes…I was beautiful.

Liz shivered at reading her own reaction to seeing Max’s soul for the first time. If she lived to be a hundred, she would never forget that moment, the moment Max had revealed his love for her.

Max Evans put a force on me. It’s like my whole life changed in an instant.

How true were those words? Nothing was ever the same after Max healed her. It was like she’d been living life in black and white and Max changed it to color.


The future was always so clear to me. A straight path towards my goal. I just never counted on there being any intersections.

Liz had to smile at that one. How innocent and naïve she sounded, having no idea of how far she was going to stray from her path.

Part of me wants safety, wants to go back to how things were, to a life that I could predict, where I know how life is going to be. And the other part of me wants to go somewhere else, into the unknown.

The tough thing about following your heart is what people forget to mention, that sometimes your heart takes you to places you shouldn’t be, places that are as scary as they are exciting and as dangerous as they are alluring. And sometimes your heart takes you to places that can never lead to a happy ending.


Okay, so maybe she hadn’t been so naïve.

And that’s not even the difficult part. The difficult part is when you follow your heart,, you leave normal.
And once you do, you can never go back.


Liz stopped reading for a moment and thought about that. She been contemplating the same questions then as she was contemplating now and her choice had been to leave normal. It had caused as much pain as it had joy. Had it been worth it?

This heat wave has made everyone crazy. Heat expands, melts, makes things boil, sets things on fire. And seeing the effect of this heat all around me just pointed out in this really blatant way how my life wasn’t expanding…that I was stuck.

God, she remembered how she felt when she saw Michael and Maria going at it on the counter at the CrashDown. Like her body was going up in flames and only one person could save her.

The heat wave finally broke and I’m probably the only person in Roswell who didn’t benefit from it. But it’s for the best. Because if Max Evans and I had given in to temptation, if we had kissed each other even once, it would have taken us somewhere we both know we never should have gone.


Closing her eyes, Liz remembered what happened right after she’d finished writing that statement. Max had showed up on her balcony and her world had never been the same. She was transported back to that moment when Max touched her hair and looked at her with his incredible eyes and told her that everything they would go through would be worth it for him because they would be together. Then his lips had touched hers for the first time and she’d truly been lost.

Max Evans put a force on me.

Liz opened her eyes to find her fingers brushing lightly over her lips as though she could still feel his there. They’d shared hundreds of kisses since then, but that first one would be imprinted forever in her mind and body. Her first taste of the passion….the heaven that Max Evans could show her.

Liz flipped forward in her Journal.

I guess everyone has their reasons for keeping people away, an instinct to protect yourself from getting hurt. It’s part of human nature. I just wish Max would understand that…that he would realize that he’s not that different from us at all. Maybe then we’d have a chance.

And here was the first taste of the pain Max Evans could cause her as well. She’d understood why he tried to keep them apart, but her heart was telling her that they belonged together.

Liz closed the journal, not really interested in the rest at that moment. Her heart had been telling her that they belonged together, and after that, the orbs had pushed them in that direction. All of the pent up passion that they’d been suppressing came to a head in the CrashDown kitchen one sunny afternoon. Talk about never being able to go back to normal. Liz still remembered the unfamiliar stab of desire that had hit her when she’d felt Max’s lips moving over the sensitive skin of her throat and then her collarbone as her uniform button had given way to his frantic fingers. Who knows what might have happened if she hadn’t had that vision of the crash.

They’d gone farther than that since that fateful day, but Liz would never forget the raw passion Max had shown at that moment. It was such a contrast to the tender, worshipful kisses he’d given her before, and both were equally devastating to her resolve.

Liz reopened the book and came to the last entry.

I think I’ve figured out why I haven’t written in this journal in nearly a year. It’s just ironic that I would figure something out really deep from like the least deep guy in America.

What had she figured out from Sean? How to break into locked buildings without using alien powers? God she’d been so messed up back then. If only she’d seen beyond her hurt and realized what Tess was doing to Max. Liz closed her journal with a sigh. There was no use going over that territory again. Alex’s beloved face came to mind and she swallowed back the tears that always followed. They’d all been blind and they’d paid the price.

Liz closed her eyes, absorbing the feelings that reading her journal had provoked. The fear when Max had first revealed his alien status to her….the awe when he’d let her see into his soul…..the nervous excitement every time he came near….the burning ache in her body when he kissed her…..

She hadn’t forgotten any of those things, but her memories of them had been tempered by all of the bad things that had happened since, tainted by Tess and her evil manipulations.

Sitting back in her chair, Liz thought about Max as she’d seen him this afternoon. So hurt and in so much pain that she couldn’t stand it, but the Max that looked out at her from those tear ravaged amber eyes was the Max in this journal. The Max that had turned her black and white world to color. The Max who had showed her her first real taste of fear… of passion…… of love.

And there was no way that she could think about being with anyone else but him.

Liz let the truth wash over her. Her choice was Max. It had always been Max. The feelings Mark invoked her didn’t even compare.

She didn’t want to go back to normal. Max was her normal. Her soulmate. Everyone else would truly always be second best. And Liz didn’t want second best.

Jumping up to blow out candles, Liz climbed inside her bedroom window to call Maria. Her friend grumbled sleepily, but perked up when Liz told her why she’d called.

“I won’t ever feel about anyone else like I feel about Max.” Liz finished. “I still love him, Maria. So much sometimes it hurts.”

“So what are you going to do about it?” Maria asked, relieved to hear Liz finally admitting the truth to herself.

“Well, I’m not going to go to Prom with Mark, for one thing.” Liz said decisively. Even though she really wouldn’t be going with him as anything other than a friend, Liz couldn’t do that to him or to Max for that matter. Max because even though they weren’t together, her heart was his. And Mark because he might say he was only going as her friend, but he was hoping for something more and she didn’t want to lead him on.

“But other than that…I’m not sure. I mean I know Max still loves me too….but I don’t think he’s in any shape to jump into a relationship right now.”

“Maybe not a physical relationship, but I think he needs to know that you’re open for more than friendship with him, Liz. I think it will help him more than anything else will, knowing that you’ve forgiven him and are willing to be with him again.”

“I wish I shared your optimism,” Liz said. “I think he has a lot to deal with and having to worry about me and my feelings might just be an extra burden right now.”

“I totally disagree. I think knowing that you love him and support him is just what that boy needs to set him on the road to recovery.”

“Maybe,” Liz answered, suddenly yawning as the day finally caught up with her. “It’s really late.”

“The rest of us already knew that.”

Laughing, Liz sent her kisses over the phone and Maria huffed at her before hanging up.

Liz settled down in her bed, pulling her covers up to her chin. She suddenly wished she could go see Max right this second. Was he sleeping peacefully or were his dreams filled with visions of doctors torturing him, and his dying son. Liz hoped fervently that it was the former. At least she would get to see him in the morning when they picked up his homework on the way to school. She couldn’t wait. Turning over on her side, Liz closed her eyes and tried to sleep.


TBC....



posted on 18-Jan-2003 10:06:38 AM by sylvia37
Sorry about that folks. I had the wrong date on there.

Sylvia
posted on 20-Jan-2003 12:36:45 AM by sylvia37
Selfish bump
posted on 21-Jan-2003 10:24:36 PM by sylvia37
selfish bump
posted on 24-Jan-2003 12:26:34 AM by sylvia37
Just bumping.
posted on 30-Jan-2003 11:24:02 PM by sylvia37
Just a quick note to say hi to everyone and thanks for your comments and bumps. And welcome to our new readers, Gigo and RoswellBel. Thanks so much for giving my story a try and for leaving your comments. Please let me know what you think of the new part. I love hearing from you.


Everything to you Part 40
Liz knocked on the Evan’s door and waited somewhat nervously for it to open, pushing an imaginary strand of hair off of her cheek. Her hair was back in a clasp today, with some of it hanging in a dark, shiny mass down her back. Her hand clutched the paper bag she held tightly as she shifted to her other foot.

Liz didn’t know why she was nervous. After all, it wasn’t as though she hadn’t seen Max since she had made her decision. In fact, she’d seen him every day for the last week. After school, she, Michael and Maria would come by his house to drop off his books and more clothes, and almost every morning, they would come by to pick up his homework and eat breakfast with him.

It was just that there hadn’t really been time for any significant discussion about their relationship or anything else for that matter. They hadn’t spent any time alone together. And honestly, Liz wasn’t sure how she wanted to proceed anyway. Even though she’d decided that she didn’t want to go to Prom with Mark, and that she hadn’t given up on a relationship with Max…in the cold light of day…she didn’t know exactly where to go from here.

There was still so much they hadn’t worked through. And a lot of it didn’t have to do with Max’s continuing recovery from his ordeal. They’d never had an honest discussion about any of the things that had led up to their breakup in the first place. All of the hurt and anger from both sides needed to be hashed out before they could even begin to think about starting over. As much as she loved Max, Liz was not going to go into this again without everything being laid out on the table. And obviously Max wasn’t in any shape to do that right now.

Physically, Max was much better. He was no longer stiff or in pain, his head had healed and his powers had come back. Liz knew for a fact that his mother was making sure he got three meals a day, and although his appetite was not that of a normal teenage boy, it was obvious that he was healthier.

The only thing that hadn’t seemed to improve was the lack of sleep. Diane had confided to Liz that Max was waking up in the middle of the night. She would hear him moving around in his room and once or twice she knew he went downstairs to watch TV. During the day, he would nap, but it was sporadic and didn’t seem to be very restful.

Liz was more aware of this than Diane knew. She’d woken up last night, unsure of what had disturbed her sleep. Lying in her bed, Liz had tried to figure out what was bugging her when she heard a noise on the balcony. Sliding quietly from the bed, she crept to the window, afraid that someone was trying to break in. When she peaked out she saw a shadow going over the rail, and she recognized Max immediately, but by the time she got the window open and ran to the ladder, he was already gone. Not knowing what to do, she’d wanted to call or run to his house but it was already so late that by the time she dressed and made it down there it would be morning. Liz had decided that she would just have to wait to talk to him about it when she got to his house today, although today might not be a good day for that discussion either.

Today was the day of Zan’s burial.

The door opened and Mrs. Evans waved her in. “Don’t you look nice.” Liz smiled and looked down at her black skirt and jacket. “Thank you.”

“ I wasn’t expecting to see you until later.” Mrs. Evans said as she looked at the younger girl in inquiry.

“I know but….I have something I wanted to give Max….you know…before the service.”

“He’s upstairs getting ready.” Mrs. Evans glanced up the stairs in worry.

Seeing her look, Liz asked, “How is he?”

“About the same. Quiet. Not sleeping. I think he even left the house for a while last night.” Mrs. Evans sighed. “I just wish he would confide in me instead of running off on his own.”

Liz wanted to tell Max’s mother where he’d been last night, but it was really Max’s prerogative whether or not he wanted his mother to know where he was, so she only nodded understandingly and headed up the stairs. When she reached Max’s room, she knocked tentatively.

A moment later, the door opened to reveal Max standing in black dress pants and white shirt. His hair was neatly combed and he hadn’t put his shoes on yet.

“Liz.” Max looked at her in surprise before his eyes roamed down her petite figure.

“Hi, Max. I …..uh…can I come in?”

“Yeah,” Max said stepping aside to let her in. Liz saw his shoes next to his bed and his jacket laid neatly out. As she turned to him, she noticed the untied tie around his neck.

Seeing where he eyes looked, Max picked up the end of the tie. “I was just getting ready to do this.” Max turned to his mirror and began tying as he glanced at Liz in the reflection. “What are you doing here?”

“I have something I wanted to give you.” Liz watched him for a moment. “Are you ready for today?”

Max stared at her reflection not saying anything. She looked so beautiful with her hair pulled back from her face, the black jacket and skirt complimenting her small figure. The serious expression on her face made his heart ache with love but he swallowed and looked away again as his clumsy fingers attempted to make some semblance of order out of his tie.

“I’m …not sure.” Max looked back at his own reflection, sighing as he undid the mess he’d made and started over. “I…uh…didn’t tell you that I went to the morgue.”

Liz’s eyes widened and her stomach lurched at the thought. “Why?” she asked, her voice cracking on the word as her throat tightened.

“I…wanted to see him one last time.” Max concentrated on the tie, avoiding her gaze as he tried to block the sight of his dead child’s pale, lifeless body from his mind. He couldn’t just let them bury his son without seeing him again. Michael had tried to convince him not to go, telling him that he wouldn’t want his last memory of his son to be of a cold body on a slab at the morgue with autopsy marks all over it, but Max had insisted. It wouldn’t have been fair to Zan that someone who loved him hadn’t seen what was done to him. To remember it.

Max glanced at Liz’s sympathetic face. “It was pretty bad…but I’m glad I did it.”

Liz nodded and glanced down at her package. Max noticed and raised a brow in inquiry. “What did you want to give me?”

Taking a deep breath, Liz pulled her gift from the bag as Max turned away from the mirror. His eyes went to her hands and he caught his breath.

She held a picture frame. It was actually two frames held together by a bracket in the middle so it could be closed like a book or sat on a desk. Max took it slowly from her hands and gazed down at the pictures in shock.

One side held a 5” by 7” picture of Zan. The other side had several smaller pictures, each of Zan in a different setting.

Max looked up to see Liz smiling at his expression. “Liz…how…..”

“You know that Isabel pulled the hard drives from a couple of the computers at the ranch. I managed to get into the one she gave me and these were in there.”

Staring down at the pictures of his son, Max felt a lump form in his throat. The larger picture was a profile. Zan was leaning on a table with his arms crossed obviously looking at someone, but the most remarkable thing about it was that he was smiling. Not a full blown smile but….Max looked up at Liz, his heart twisting, and Liz nodded in understanding.

“He looks just like you, doesn’t he?”

Max nodded and looked back down at the picture. The small smile on his face was a mirror image of his father’s. Reaching out to touch that smile, Max swallowed to loosen the tightness in his throat and looked at the other pictures. He immediately recognized one of them as a copy of the one he’d lost, and his control began to slip. The others were similar to that one. Zan sitting in a chair staring at the camera solemnly, Zan eating, looking up with a spoon halfway to his mouth, and the last one was of Zan sitting crossed legged on a bed, a puzzle in front of him, looking at the camera.

Liz watched as silent tears slid down Max’s cheeks. She didn’t even think he was aware of them and her own tears began to gather as she watched him reverently staring at the pictures.

Liz’s original idea had been to go to a sketch artist and have him draw a picture from her memory, but this was so much better. She’d been so happy to find these pictures on that hard drive that she hadn’t even looked at anything else.

Of course, not all of the pictures were like these. Liz shuddered, remembering some the things she’d seen. She wasn’t sure that Max would ever be ready to look at what was contained in those horrible pictures. Liz hadn’t wanted to herself, but she’d been forced to in order to look find the ones she could use for her gift.

Dr. Hardwell had documented all of his procedures with pictures….and not just of Zan. There were pictures of Tess too. Liz had actually gotten physically ill from looking at one of them. She hadn’t really thought that there was anything that would make her feel sorry for Tess, but after seeing some of the torture she’d gone through…..Liz mentally shook her head. Tess had more than gotten what she deserved.

“Thank you….” Max looked up from the pictures and Liz was suddenly bombarded through their connection with his emotions. Grief….rage….love…..

The waves dissipated almost as soon as they started, but she was paralyzed with their intensity for a moment. When she could finally breathe again, Liz had to bite her tongue and force herself not to object as Max mentally pulled away. Now was not the time to push the issue.

“You’re welcome,” Liz finally answered a little shakily. Seeking to break the tension, she looked at his tie.

“You…your tie…um….here….let me fix it….” Stepping close, she began to untie the messy knot at his throat, concentrating on not looking at him.

Max stared down at her shiny head, not daring to breathe. He was terrified. His control had slipped while looking at the pictures, and he knew that Liz had felt his raging emotions before he’d reigned them back in. Now with her standing so close, he was afraid. What if he harmed her somehow?

Without realizing it, Max let out his breath and was instantly assaulted by the scent of Liz’s shampoo and the lotion she used on her skin. Oh God, he remembered that smell. How many times during their heavy makeout sessions had he nearly let that scent overcome his good sense. Now as he stood here breathing in her essence, feeling her hands lightly touching his throat as she expertly tied his tie and the familiar way she fit under his chin, he felt comforted rather than aroused, and the tension eased from his body.

Liz finished her ministrations and stepped back slightly to admire her work, then glanced up. Max’s eyes were closed, and at first she thought he was upset. But then she saw the ease of the tension around his mouth and forehead and she breathed a sigh of relief.

“All done,” she said quietly, not stepping back from her close proximity.

Max opened his eyes and gazed down at her. “Thank you.”

Liz stared back at him and they were lost for a moment, their eyes conveying things their mouths were afraid to utter. Liz finally managed to pull her gaze away, and as she took a steadying breath, she realized that she hadn’t brought up his late night visit yet.

“Max…..I saw you on my balcony last night.”

Max’s cheeks burned as he stepped back, shaking his head. “I’m sorry…I couldn’t sleep and…..” Stopping in embarrassment, Max looked away. He hadn’t meant for her to wake up.

The dreams of his captivity came every night, but last night had been different from the rest. In this one, instead of being tortured himself by Dr. Hardwell, it had been Zan, his skin the sickly pale shade of death…his small body riddled with marks. In the dream, Max had begged the doctor to stop, telling him that he would take his son’s place, but Dr. Hardwell had only looked at him with his blank stare and said it was for the good of mankind.

As Max had sobbed, the dream changed. Pierce was standing over his son’s body. Staring at Max, he gestured to a mask covered man who picked up a scalpel and drew a line down Zan’s chest, blood welling from the wound. Max had woken up with a gasp, his own chest throbbing in response where they had done that exact same thing to him in the white room. Stumbling from his bed, Max had paced his room like a caged animal until he couldn’t stand it another minute.

He hadn’t meant to end up on Liz’s balcony but the promising comfort of her presence, even in sleep was more than he could resist. As he’d sat on her favorite lawn chair, the force of his emotions must have woken her up.

Liz stared up into his tense face. “You don’t have to tell me right now but…please wake me up next time. I don’t care what time it is.”

Max finally raised his gaze and found himself staring down into her dark eyes, framed by a thick fringe of lashes that had caressed his cheek on more than one occasion. But it was look in them that held him mesmerized. Love. Love was shining out of them, and his breath caught as he realized the significance of that look.

Liz saw the dawning realization in his eyes, and although her cheeks pinkened, she didn’t back down. Instead she reached up and caressed his cheek. “Not now, Max.”

A mixture of relief and disappointment warred for his attention as he nodded and gestured to the pictures. “Thank you.”

“It was really just luck that I found them.”

“But you didn’t have to do this and….I can’t tell you how much it means to me.” Moving away, Max set the frame on his desk, his hand lingering for a moment.

Liz looked at her watch. “It’s almost time. Maria should be here any second to pick me up.”

Max nodded and walked with her to the door. “I’ll see you over there.”

Liz turned back to look at him once more, before dropping her gaze to his shirt front. Gathering her courage, she reached up to place a soft kiss on his cheek.

“Bye Max.” Liz hurried towards the stairs where she could hear Maria’s voice coming from the kitchen.

Max watched her disappear before sat on his bed to put his shoes on, his face still tingling from the touch of Liz’s lips. Seeing the picture frame out of the corner of his eye, he got up and picked it up. His son’s hazel eyes gazed back at him, brave and resigned and Max suddenly remembered the compassionate words of the nurse who’d given him the picture.

“He was so sweet. No matter what was done to him or how he was treated, he never got angry or upset unless his mother was gone too long.”

Turning to the other picture, he gazed at the smile on Zan’s face. Even in that place, he’d found something to be momentarily happy about. From the look of the picture, it appeared that whoever he’d been staring at had been cropped out. Max could only guess that it had been Tess. Something else to be grateful to Liz about.

Max put the frame down and picked up his jacket. Staring in the mirror, he saw the fit of his jacket was not quite as good as it used to be….when he wore it to Alex’s funeral. Taking a shuddering breath, Max closed his eyes as the memory suddenly hit him. Standing at the graveside while Maria sang….glancing over at Liz’s stoic face……arguing with Sherrif Valenti afterward.

Sometimes the memories came out of nowhere. It had been happening more and more frequently lately as though Tess’s final grip on him was over now that she was dead. Although not all of them were about him and Liz, most of them were extremely unpleasant.

A picture of Liz’s angry face came back to him. They were in Alex’s bedroom and he could hear Liz telling them her theory that Alex’s death was alien related. God, where had all of that fear and resentment that had welled up inside him come from?

Tess. Max remembered her grief stricken face at the funeral. She’d stood there faking her tears, and making them all believe that she cared, all the while working her mind games on him, making him feel things and say things that he never would have done. Making him into a selfish, paranoid….asshole.

How had Liz even considered coming back to him after the way he’d treated her? How could she be considering it now? Max stared unseeing at his reflection. A lifetime worth of groveling wouldn’t be enough to make up for the hurt and grief his actions had caused her.

Shaking his head at his depressing thoughts, Max glanced one more time at the picture frame, and making a decision, he picked it up. Turning it over, prying up the clasps and removing the backing, Max removed the copy of the original picture he’d had of Zan and put it in his pocket. Taking one last glance in the mirror, Max headed out the door. Now he was ready.

**********************



“We meet together today to share our love and sympathy with Max and his family in their loss.”

They stood at the graveside, a gentle breeze blowing, causing a loose end of the canopy to flap lightly. It was a crisp day, but luckily not too cold to be standing outside. The minister spoke quietly and with sincerity. He was a friend to the Evans and had only been told that the child they were burying was Max’s son, his mother had disappeared while she was pregnant and that the child had died of complications from birth. Since the casket was closed, he hadn’t seen Zan, so the minister assumed they were eulogizing a baby.

Max stood next to his parents with Isabel and Jesse next to them. Liz, Maria and Michael were standing next to the Valenti’s. The mood was quiet and somber, and as she stood there staring at the small casket, Liz realized suddenly that of all the ways she’d thought the search for Max’s son would end, this wasn’t one of them.

“And Jesus said; Let the children come to me. Do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Liz looked at Max. His face was completely devoid of emotion as he listened to the minister speak.

“Jesus also said; ‘Blessed are those who mourn. They shall be comforted.’ There is great comfort in knowing that during our time of need, God is watching over us, sharing our pain as well as our joy.”

Liz knew Max didn’t really believe that he or anyone like him was made by God, so she didn’t really know if the minister’s word were comforting to him or not, but she hoped so.

“God of all mercies, you make nothing in vain, and love all that you have made. Comfort us in our sorrow at this time and console us by the knowledge of your unfailing love: In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

The minister said a few more words of comfort and prayer, then Maria stepped forward slightly and picked up her guitar. As the minister committed Zan’s soul to the heaven, she sang in the background.

“Would you know my name
if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?”

“The Lord will feed his flock like a shepherd, He will carry the lambs in his arms. The Lord carries them close to his heart, He gently leads those who have young.”

“Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?”

Liz wiped at her tears and looked up to see Mrs. Evans and Isabel doing the same. Max was staring at the little casket, his eyes shimmering as his tears finally began to gather.


“A voice from heaven said: God now dwells with his people. He himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes,”

“I’ll find my way
Through night and day,
‘Cause I know I just can’t stay
Here in heaven.”

“There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, For he has made all things new.”

“Beyond the door
There’s peace I’m sure,
And I know there’ll be no more
Tears in heaven.”

“Lord, you’ve given us the promise of eternal life. Let that promise be a comfort to Max and his family and all of us as we mourn this day for Zan. Thank you for the precious life you have given us and may we always remember that we are one and safe in your care: In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

“I must be strong
And carry on,
‘Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven.”

They stood silently as the last note faded away. Sniffles could be heard occasionally, but for the most part, there was silence as each person paid homage in their heart to the a little boy they’d never known, but whose life had affected theirs so much in the last months. Eventually, Mr. Evans thanked the Minister for coming and walked with him to his car before coming back to the group. No one was sure what to do or say as they surreptitiously watched Max standing at his son’s graveside. Finally, Liz moved around to Max’s side.

“Max?”

Max stood for another second, his hands in his pockets staring at the casket before looking at Liz, his grieving eyes making her heart twist in sympathy. He gave her a small smile before he looked up at the group of people waiting for him.

“I have something to say before we go.”

Max reached into his pocket, taking the picture of Zan out to look at it.

“I can’t ever repay any of you for what you did for me…and Zan. You risked your lives when you didn’t have to and…there are no words to tell you what that means to me. If I saw the worst of humanity in the people who…..held us….then you are the best.” His gaze encompassed the small group of his friends and family who had come to help him say goodbye to his son.

Stopping for a moment, Max looked down at the picture again. “And I wanted to say that I’m sorry.” He looked at his parents. “I’m sorry Mom and Dad for not trusting you enough to tell you our secret.” He looked at Isabel. “Isabel always knew you would still love us but….anyway….thank you for everything you’ve done. For that day when you found us and for caring enough to not stop trying to find out what was wrong. You saved my life twice.”

Phillip and Diane Evans were smiling through their tears as they acknowledged their son’s heartfelt words.

Max wasn’t finished yet. He took a deep breath. This was the hard part.

“And I wanted to say that I’m sorry for a lot of other things too. I’m sorry that you all got caught up in Tess’s plan. I’m sorry that because she wanted me…that you all were hurt and put in danger.” Max looked at Liz and Maria. “There’s nothing I can do to make up for what she did to Alex….” He looked at Kyle and Jim, “or to you Kyle….but I wanted you to know that if there had been a way…I would have done everything I could to prevent what happened…and the fact that you’re all still standing here today with me….”Max glanced at Michael and Isabel, “……with us… is…” Max stopped and shook his head, unable to find words to continue.

“The….uh…last thing I wanted to say is that….I know that…..” Max had to stop and swallow as a lump formed in his throat. “Zan was never meant to be.” His voice broke and Max heard his sister’s small sob as he forced himself to continue. “…..but I can’t be sorry that he was born. You didn’t know him….” Max glanced at Liz. “At least most of you didn’t….but he was really special. He lived his whole life in a place ….where he was considered only as a test subject…less than human. He was never treated as anything but a ….thing to be studied and experimented on but….he didn’t complain. When Liz and I connected with him, he knew that he…wasn’t going to make it but…he didn’t blame ….me or …..”

Max had to stop again as his voice gave out, and he felt Liz’s hand slip into his. He looked down at her gratefully.

“What I’m trying to say is that Zan was a brave little boy who didn’t deserve what happened to him and even though I’m sorry for the way that he was…conceived….I’m not sorry that he was my son.” Max looked at the picture in his hand. “And if there was a purpose to his life, maybe it was to teach me to appreciate what I have…and never take for granted the life that Michael, Isabel and I have had on earth.”

There was silence for a moment before Mrs. Evans finally stepped over to her son and hugged him. Max let go of Liz’s hand as he returned his mother’s hug, then was hugged again by Isabel. Mrs. Evans gestured to the picture in his hand.

“Is that…..”

Max nodded at his mother’s question and handed the picture to her as Isabel, Jesse and her father crowded close to see it. Mrs. Evans covered her mouth, fresh tears falling as she looked at the picture of her grandson. “He looks just like the pictures of Max in our albums.”

“Where did you get this?” Isabel asked.

“Liz found it in the hard drive you gave her.” Max glanced at Liz as he answered. Mrs. Evans handed the picture to Maria as Michael and the Valenti’s looked on as well.

“I have copies, Mrs. Evans. I was going to give you and Mr. Evans and Isabel and Jesse one later.” Liz said. Mrs. Evans looked at Liz gratefully, then glanced at her husband. Phillip nodded to her in understanding.

“Everyone is invited back to our house for lunch so….whenever you’re ready….” He took his wife’s arm and laid his hand on Max’s arm one last time before they headed to their car. Jim did the same and walked off with them.

Liz, Maria, Kyle, Michael Isabel and Jesse stood together in respectful silence as Max walked over to the casket one last time, putting his hand on it as he stood for a moment. After a few minutes, Liz finally joined him, taking his hand. Max looked down at her beautiful face, the sympathy there a balm to his aching heart.

“Are you ready?” Liz asked.

Max nodded and took a deep breath as he looked at the casket one more time, saying goodbye to his son in his heart.

They turned and walked away as a group, and together as a family, drove away from the cemetery.

TBC......

"Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton

Bible verses in order:
Mark 14:10
Matthew 5
Isaiah 40:11
Revelation 21:3,4

Some but not all of the minister's prayers were taken from an excerpt of a child's funeral published for use by Hospitalchaplain.com

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 31-Jan-2003 12:15:17 AM ]
posted on 12-Feb-2003 10:45:44 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone. I just want to say wow and thanks for all the fantastic feedback. It's really great to hear from so many of you and I'm glad that it touched you enough to write.

This next part contains spoilers for "It's too Late and it's too Bad" and "Baby it's You." Saying that, I have to tell you that this part was really hard for me to write because if I had known what those episodes were going to be like, I wouldn't have watched them the one time I did. Oh, what they did to our show.

So, on with the part. Please let me know what you think and this is posted in two parts for length.

Everything to You Part 41


“So he’s coming down to the Crash for lunch one day. He said I owed him that much because he’d said we could go to Prom as friends and I still said no.” Liz stole a carrot stick from Maria’s plate.

“Sounds like he took it pretty well.”

“Yeah, he did,” Liz answered, chewing thoughtfully. “Mark’s a good guy.” Just not the guy for me, Liz thought. He’d been disappointed a couple of weeks ago that Liz hadn’t wanted to go to Prom, and had tried to convince her that he wouldn’t blow it out of proportion, but Liz had been firm. She didn’t want to lead him on and besides, she and Maria already had plans. He had plenty of time to ask someone else, someone whose heart wasn’t already taken.

It had been a month since Zan’s burial service. Max had gone back to school the Monday after the service and everything had pretty much gone back to normal. As a matter of fact, things were almost too normal. With no crisis looming on the horizon and Max’s parents now knowing their children’s secret, it was almost as if they were living a normal teenage life for the first time in 3 years.

The only problem was, she and Max were almost exactly at the same point they’d been then. They saw each other at school, shared classes and lunch, and even occasionally got together with Michael and Maria and Kyle at the CrashDown, but that was it. She knew that Max was aware of her feelings, but he didn’t seem in any hurry to push the issue. And honestly, Liz hadn’t expected him to, but she was worried about him. Although he tried to give the appearance of normalcy, he was more withdrawn then before and there was rarely a smile on his face.

That’s why Liz invited him to come to CowPatties to see Maria and the Kitshickers sing tonight. Maybe in a relaxed setting, she could get him to loosen up and talk to her.

“Hey, I lost you there.” Maria wiggled two fingers in front of her nose.

“Sorry, Maria. I was just thinking. So….I’m really excited for you about this job offer.”

Maria had been offered a weekly gig with the Kitshickers when school was over.

“Yeah me too. To be honest, I just didn’t see me going to college. I mean, academics was never my thing, not like yours. Singing is what I’ve always wanted to do. And this way, I can be close to Michael too. He thinks once school is over, they’ll hire him for the day shift over at Meta-Chem, and he might be able to make enough working full time to stop cooking here.”

“That’s great, Maria.”

“Yeah, he might even take some night classes in Art over at ENMU.”

“Are we talking about the same Michael?” Liz asked incredulously.

“I know. He’s actually joining the human race,” Maria said gleefully.

“I’m really happy for you, Maria.” Liz said, but Maria caught the slightly wistful tone in her voice.

“So have you figured out what you’re going to do about Max yet?”

“He’s coming tonight, did I tell you?”

“No,” Maria exclaimed, surprised that Liz had managed to pry Max out of the house. “What did you do, tell him there’d be strippers?”

“No,” Liz laughed. “I just told him that you were singing and that we were all going to be there and he said he’d come.”

“Will wonders never cease. So…when’s confrontation day?” Maria gazed at her friend shrewdly, and Liz looked at her in surprise for a moment before sighing in resignation.

“I’m not sure. I don’t know if it’s too soon or not, but it just can’t go on like this you know?”

“I agree Sweetie. He’s definitely not letting go of any of this stuff and if he gets any more quiet, he’ll forget how to talk.”

“I know. But maybe tonight will be good. I mean, he did volunteer to come. Maybe it means he’s trying.”

“Maybe,” Maria said, trying to sound upbeat but she knew it was a long shot. Not only did she see Max at school and get to hear Liz’s side of things, she had Michael on the other side. He tried to interest Max in doing things like basketball or coming over to watch hockey or just hanging out together, but Max usually made an excuse. Michael was starting to worry too, although he tried to brush it off, but Maria could tell he was at a loss.

“I have to go. I’ll see you tonight.” Maria got up and Liz nodded watching her leave before cleaning up the table and going upstairs. She hadn’t decided what to wear yet, but she wanted it to be something special. Maybe the blue skirt…….



**************************


“I’m leaving Mom,” Max called as he pulled on his jacket and fished his keys from his pocket.

“Max,” Diane Evans called from the kitchen, before entering the living room wiping her hands on a dish towel. “Where are you going, Honey?”

“Maria’s singing tonight with Mr. Valenti’s band. Liz invited me.” Max still wasn’t quite used to having to account for all of his whereabouts since he returned to living in his parent’s house. Not that his parents hadn’t been cutting him a lot of slack, it was just weird knowing that someone was worried when he didn’t show up at a reasonable hour. Living with Michael, he’d pretty much come and gone as he pleased.

“Okay, well have a good time.” Diane said it casually, but she was secretly pleased that he was going out. It would do him some good to relax and have a good time. And if Liz was going to be there, maybe he would open up a little. She seemed to be the only one who could coax a smile or even a reaction from him…about anything. Diane waved goodbye as she headed back into the kitchen.

It was a chilly night for March, so Max kept the top up as he headed to Michael’s house. He wasn’t really feeling particularly excited about tonight, but he couldn’t say no to Liz’s plea. Although she’d asked casually, he could tell that she really wanted him to come.

He knew that his family and friends were worried about him. Max’s lip curled in a humorless smile. If they knew about the dreams they’d be more than worried. They would probably have him committed.

Sometimes he didn’t even allow himself to sleep knowing that he was going to relive his captivity with Pierce or Dr. Hardwell or even worse, his time with Tess. Max shivered and it wasn’t from the cold.

Pieces of his memory had come back in the last few weeks and it wasn’t pretty. Some familiar gesture or word would trigger it and he was helpless to stop the sudden onslaught. Max had been sitting in Social Studies when Mrs. Carr had started talking about the Observatory and suddenly he remembered his reaction to waking up next to Tess on the Observatory floor, wondering in horror what he’d done. Of course the other memories of that place were horrible too, so he’d spent the rest of class trying not to run screaming from the room. Later when he’d been alone, Max also remembered Tess telling him she was pregnant and his own curious lack of response. It was hard to believe that Tess had had such a stranglehold over him that even his reactions and feelings were being controlled, but obviously it was so.

There had been times of clarity, Max knew now, such as when he’d lost it while taking out the trash one night. He’d suddenly remembered that one while doing that exact same thing the other night. Somehow at the time, his situation had penetrated Tess’s control over him and he’d broken down unable to comprehend how he’d been so stupid and irresponsible. When he looked back on it, Max couldn’t believe how gullible he’d been. If only he’d realized during one of those times of clarity what was happening to him, he could have asked for help or….something. But they were few and far between and obviously, whatever moments he’d had were forgotten before he could react to them.

Alex came to mind and guilt gnawed at him as he remembered Liz telling him about Kyle’s memory of Alex’s death. How Alex had been unable to believe what Tess was doing to him and how he’d collapsed from the strain. It would come as no surprise to Max to find out that Tess’s mindwarp had caused him brain damage as well. How else to explain his stupid behavior months after she’d left. It was interesting to Max that he’d still been under her influence even when she was gone. What a waste of a valuable asset. Tess’s ability was obviously much more advanced than the rest of them and the fact that she’d chosen to use it for her own evil purposes was sad and twisted.

Max tapped his fingers on the steering wheel as he waited for the light to turn green. His dreams didn’t just involve him, either. He dreamed about Zan being tortured, and in a new twist, Liz was now also part of the horror. He clearly remembered how he felt when Pierce had showed him that picture of Liz, dead and bleeding during his captivity. At the time he’d thought nothing in his life could hurt more than that moment, but he was wrong. His subconscious proved that to him every night. Images of Liz being tortured in front of his eyes were enough to make him glad that aliens could subsist on a minimum amount of sleep.

Of course, subsist being the operative word. Max knew that until he could come to terms with what had happened, he wasn’t going to have any sort of life, but it was all too fresh right now. Whenever he thought about talking about his feelings or God forbid, his dreams, his chest became tight and he had to force himself to breath until it loosened up.

Max was just grateful that Liz was being patient. It was obvious to him that she wanted to help him deal with it, but she wasn’t pushing. He also knew that she was willing to be more than just friends and Max was awed and humbled by her willingness to give him another chance….but he was paralyzed by his own fear. He’d loved Liz more than anything else on this earth and yet he’d hurt her beyond measure. How could he make up for that? How could he ever be worthy of her faith and love when he couldn’t even deal with his own feelings much less be responsible for someone else’s heart?

Liz deserved someone who was strong and capable of sharing her burdens as well as his own, and Max just wasn’t that person right now. Maybe in the future, but was it fair to ask her to wait? Was it fair to expect her to keep shouldering his problems without being able to return the favor? No, and that’s why he was reluctant to give her any indication that he wanted their relationship to move forward. The love was there between them but it was still buried beneath a whole lot of baggage.

Max honked the horn for Michael and a few minutes later, he appeared, pulling on his jacket as he locked his front door.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

There was silence as Max drove towards CowPatties. His relationship with Michael and his sister was another whole ball of wax that Max wasn’t ready to deal with yet either. It was obvious to him that they were more than happy to concentrate on their lives here on earth. Now that the Granolith had been destroyed, there was no reason for anyone from their home planet to come looking for them. Isabel had always wanted to have a normal human life and Michael’s choice to stay on the planet with Maria rather than go back to Antar when they had the chance made it clear to Max that they were ready to stop looking for answers to their existence and just be content with what they’d been given.

Michael no longer needed constant supervision of his actions and had more than proved himself capable of taking care of things when the going got rough. And besides, Maria would keep him in line if he needed it. And Isabel…..she used to rely on him and Michael as the only people who understood her, but now that Jesse loved and accepted her with all of her secrets and insecurities, she didn’t need Max’s presence to reassure her.

Although Max was truly happy for both of them, he felt a little lost without their reliance on him. He’d been the leader….the decision maker…the practical one. Now….he was just Max. They’d both found love and security and…..they didn’t need him. At least he knew that they would be okay if something happened to him, and it was really a relief not to feel completely responsible for their wellbeing but….it was hard to let go a responsibility that had been his for so long. He wasn’t sure he knew how to be just their brother and not their caretaker.

Michael, for his part, knew nothing about what Max was feeling. He was struggling with his own doubts about their relationship. He still didn’t know how to deal with this roll reversal. Max had always been quiet and reserved, but this was different. They had never spent a whole lot of time talking about their feelings, but they hadn’t needed to. They knew each other inside and out. Max was the practical one, the thinker, the “let’s weigh all of our options before we act” guy. And of course, Michael was the opposite, reacting instantly to any given situation good or bad, by jumping in with both feet without thinking of the consequences. They’d balanced each other, been good for each other, even when they were at odds, just because their opposite personalities had forced the other to think outside their own little box.

But Michael was no longer the person he used to be. He was no longer the “less fortunate” one nor did he need someone to watch out to make sure he wasn’t acting impulsively. He’d grown up, matured and he had Maria now. She made him feel loved and wanted and he didn’t need to keep looking for something he didn’t have. But all of that didn’t suddenly make him able to deal with his wounded friend. Michael had no idea how to help Max with his problems and it made him feel a little lost realizing that he could no longer rely on their innate sense of each other. They were going to have to relearn each other and it was going to take some time apparently. And patience had never been Michael’s best quality.

When the two aliens arrived at CowPatties and entered the dim interior, they both looked around for Liz until Michael finally saw her close to the front and gestured to Max. Making there way over to her table, Max couldn’t help but stare.

The skirt she was wearing was of a gauzy material that started low on her waist and clung to her hips ending at her ankles. In the dark lighting it appeared to be almost transparent, but as he got closer, Max could see that it was a pale blue with small dark flowers dotting the material. Her sweater was a black V-neck with three-quarter length sleeves, ending at least an inch above the skirt and it hugged her curves enticingly. With her hair hanging in a dark wave down her back and the smile on her face as she listened to Kyle, Max felt his stomach tighten in longing.

Liz turned as she sensed Max’s presence and her smile widened when she saw him.

“Hi,” Liz said. “You’re just in time. Maria’s about to start.”

Michael shed his jacket and smacked Kyle on the arm. “After the first set, let’s go see if we can start a game,” referring to the pool tables in the back.

Kyle looked down at his arm, then back up at Michael. “You might want to watch the arm if you want to play pool.”

Michael ignored him and turned to Max. “You want to play?”

Max shook his head negatively then looked at Liz and said as an afterthought, “but you might ask Liz. She’s a shark.”

Michael and Kyle both turned to look at Liz, who blushed and rolled her eyes at Max. She was surprised and pleased to see a smirk on his face as they shared the memory of their first date.

“Only compared to you,” Liz said, ribbing him back. Max’s smiled deepened and her heart did a summersault at his teasing.

Jim Valenti came up to the mike to introduce Maria, and the group quieted down to listen. As she came forward, Michael blanched a little at the amount of skin she was displaying, and he looked around with a glare to see if the other men in the bar were ogling, which of course they were. Liz hid her smile at his expression behind her soda, but Max saw it and smiled ruefully in return. Michael better get used to it because Maria was Maria and she was going to be doing this every week once school was out.

The same thought seemed to occur to Michael and he reached for his own soda, grimacing as he suddenly wished it was something stronger. As the set progressed and Maria ground her hips and she and Valenti did their routine, Michael grew increasingly agitated. At one point, during a particularly steamy part, the bowl of peanuts on the table began to rumble and twitch ominously, but luckily, Max noticed and grabbed it before it could explode.

“Calm down!” Max hissed as he grabbed Michael’s arm.

Michael blanched again at what he’d almost done and he nodded at Max and took another long drink. Finally, the set came to a close and Maria bowed to the clapping audience before coming down from the stage.

“Hey guys. Pretty great, huh? Were we rockin’ or what.”

Michael wisely kept his mouth shut, and grabbed Kyle’s arm. “Let’s go.” Kyle rose obediently and the two of them headed towards the back of the bar.

“What the hell’s wrong with him?” Maria asked as she watched her boyfriend stalk off without at word.

“Nothing,” Liz interjected quickly, seeking to avoid a fight. “The pool table’s just calling his name. You were great.”

“Men,” Maria said in disgust as she sat down at the table. The waitress came by and everyone ordered fresh drinks. Valenti and the band continued to play while they listened and chatted about nothing. When Jim finally stepped up to the mike and the first strains of “Angel Eyes” started to play, Maria looked pointedly at Liz and inclined her head towards Max. Liz frowned at her in confusion, and Maria sighed in exasperation, before mouthing “DANCE.”

“Oh, uh….Max,” Liz said. “Do you want to dance?”

Max hesitated, but Maria kicked him under the table and he looked at Liz’s face. Seeing how much she wanted him to say yes, but expected him to say no, Max found that he couldn’t disappoint her. Standing up, he held out his hand to her. Liz smiled and took it, and the two of them headed to the dance floor. Wrapping his arm around her narrow waist, Max took Liz’s hand in his and began to sway to the music. After the first awkward moment, their bodies flowed into each other fitting naturally together.

Girl you’re looking fine tonight.
And every guy has got you in his sight
What you doing with a clown like me
Is surely one of life’s little mysteries


So tonight I’ll ask the stars above
How did I ever win your love
What did I do, what did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way

Well I’m the guy who never learned to dance
Never even got one second glance
Across the crowded room was close enough
I could look but I could never touch

So tonight…..



The strong arms surrounding her were so familiar and so missed. Liz breathed his scent and unconsciously snuggled closer.

Listening to the words of the song as they danced, Max closed his eyes as he felt Liz fit more closely to him, happy that his body didn’t react negatively. He had always been the one who looked but never touched, and he was still surprised that she’d chosen him above everyone else.

Don’t anyone wake me
If it’s just a dream
Cause she’s the best thing
That ever happened to me
All you fellows, you can look all you like
But this girl you see, she’s leavin’ here
With me tonight

There’s just one more thing I need to know
If this is love, why does it scare me so
Must be something only you can see
Cause girl I feel it when you look at me

So tonight I ask the stars above
How did I ever win your love
What did I do, what did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way


Liz lifted her head and looked up at Max. The room narrowed and faded to just the two of them as they stared at each other, caught up in the romantic fog that the song had woven around them. Max’s eyes were drawn to the lightly parted lips so close to his and all of his denial went right out the window as he wondered distractedly if they still tasted as good as they looked. Liz’s eyelids flickered then lowered as she reached up, unable to resist, hoping that he wouldn’t pull away, anticipation tying knots in her stomach as she felt his warm breath caress her lips.

“Max! Liz!” Maria’s frantic voice broke through the haze and they jerked apart, arms dropping hastily.

“Max, you’ve got to come quick. Something’s wrong with Michael.”

Max and Liz looked at each other, before quickly following Maria to the back of the bar. There they found Michael rolling on the floor, frantically beating at his arms and back. “Get it off me! Get it off me!”

Max dropped to the ground and grabbed his arms. “Michael! What is it? What are you talking about?”

“It hurts. It hurts.” Michael moaned, trying to wrest his arms from Max’s grasp. Max looked up at Kyle. “What happened?”

“Hey, man. I have no idea. We were playing pool and he was missing all of his shots and getting really PO’d. Then he pulls out his ID card, waves his hand over it and orders a beer. After he downed that one, he ordered another one and downed that one too. Two minutes later he’s freaking out.”

“Shit!” Max said under his breath. Alcohol. Michael knew their systems couldn’t tolerate alcohol. “Help me with him Kyle. We have to get him out of here before anyone calls 911 or the cops.”

Max grabbed Michael under the arms to haul him up, but stopped when Michael gasped. “Don’t touch me. It hurts.”

“Then get up by yourself. We’ve got to get out of here.” Max stood up but stayed close as Michael struggled to stand.

Maria was practically foaming at the mouth. “You drank a beer? After you knew what happened to Max? Have you lost your mind?”

“Save it for later Maria,” Liz said as she watched Max and Kyle follow a slow moving Michael towards the exit.

“I can’t leave right now. I have to do two more sets.” Maria said frantically as she followed Liz.

“We’ll take him home. Just get there when you can.”

Liz followed the guys to the car and waited as Michael lay across the back seat, then climbed in the front. Kyle got in his own car and they pulled out of the parking lot. Michael was grinding his teeth in agony at the feel of the seat on his skin. By the time they got to his apartment, he was almost ready to weep in gratitude.

Liz and Max managed to get him out of the car and inside, but when they got to his bedroom, Michael couldn’t lay on the bed. It felt like flames were licking his skin if anything touched it at all. If it hadn’t been for the people in the room, he’d have stripped his clothes off too.


In the mean time, Maria tried to go back to work, but she couldn’t concentrate, alternating between being royally pissed and worried out of her mind. The memory of Michael’s web covered body haunted her to this day, and she couldn’t get it out of mind as she tried to do her set. Finally, she pulled Jim off the stage and apologetically told him that she had to go, explaining hastily that Michael had become ill. Jim told her not to worry about it and to go take care of her boyfriend. Driving barely within the law, Maria made it to Michael’s and burst through the door, hurrying to the bedroom only to stop in her tracks at the sight that greeted her.

Michael was hovering in the air above his bed. Max stood beside him, his hands glowing as he levitated him. Sweat was beading Max’s brow as he used his powers to slowly lower Michael to the bed. Michael tried no to stiffen as he touched the spread, and even though it was still uncomfortable, it was better than before.

“How’s that?” Max panted as he wiped his hands across his face.

“Better, thanks.” Michael answered. They gazed at each other for a moment and Michael realized that maybe things hadn’t changed all that much. Max’s lip curled as he came to the same conclusion and the two looked at each other in mutual understanding.


“You know, you two would be great at parties with that act. Have you thought about going on the road?” Kyle grinned at Liz who frowned at him in mock severity.

“Is he going to be alright?” Maria asked Max tightly as she stared at her boyfriend’s prone figure.

“Yeah, I think so. It should wear off in a while, but I can’t tell you how long.” Max stood up and headed into the bathroom to wash up while Maria stared at Michael, irritation and relief warring for her expression.

“What were you thinking Michael?”

Michael was braced for the tirade so he didn’t flinch at her tone, but he didn’t answer right away either. He knew he deserved it and that she couldn’t make him feel any stupider than he already did.

Max stepped out of the bathroom and Liz touched Maria’s arm. “Don’t be too hard on him,” she whispered before she, Kyle and Max left them alone.

“Well?” Maria said impatiently.

“I don’t suppose this could wait till later. I’m not exactly feeling up to a fight.”

His resigned tone penetrated Maria’s anger, and she sat down on the bed a little harder than necessary, watching as he grimaced at the jostling.

“Tell me why you were drinking,” Maria said a little less angrily.

“I just felt like it okay,” Michael said defensively.

“But why Michael? I mean, after what Max almost did that one time when he drank just a sip, and all that stuff you went through with Hank, I would have thought you wouldn’t even consider it. What made you do it?”

Michael was still silent, and Maria thought about his attitude when she’d come off stage after the first set.

“Is this about me and Jim again because if it is then…..”

“No, it isn’t about Valenti. I still think he should act his age and stop….touching you on stage but it’s not really about him.”

“Then what is it?” Maria waited for an answer then crossed her arms and looked at him pointedly. Sometimes getting Michael to talk was like pulling teeth.

“I’m not going anywhere Michael, so we can sit here all night until you tell me or you can tell me now so we can get over it and you can sleep.”

Michael sighed, knowing she meant what she said, but he still didn’t answer as his eyes flicked to her outfit and the amount of bare leg showing above her boots, before he looked away.

Maria noticed his perusal. “What? Is this about the way I’m dressed? You’ve seen me in worse, Michael.”

“But not in a roomful of drunk guys,” Michael burst out, then winced as the force of his words shook the bed. “You can’t see how they were looking at you.”

“So this is why you drank? Because you’re jealous of other guys looking at me on stage?”

Michael frowned and opened his mouth, but nothing came out as he realized how stupid that sounded. Was that really what it was? Maria always wore provocative clothing when she dressed up and it had never bothered him before. Why now?

“This isn’t really about my clothes or even about me and Jim is it?” Maria said perceptively. She now knew what was wrong, but she wanted him to admit it.

Michael turned his head away from her suddenly feeling exposed. Maria had a way of seeing right through him and as much as he admitted that he loved her, he still wasn’t comfortable with the vulnerability of it.

“Tell me the truth, Michael.” Maria said quietly.

“I’m ….not sure okay? I just saw you up there and saw all these guys looking at you and…..”

“ You went all Cave man on me.” Maria finished for him, not bothering to hide her smile.

“I guess.”

“You know I’m yours, right?” Maria asked.

“I….” Michael closed his eyes, sighing before turning to look at her. “Yeah, I know.”

“So you know there’s no way some guy I meet while I’m working in a bar is going to sweep me off my feet and persuade me to leave you.”

Michael didn’t answer, awash in the realization that he wasn’t quite as secure as he thought he was about Maria’s feelings. So much for his confidence in his newfound maturity. So far tonight, he’d had to have Max save him from his own stupidity and now he had to admit to himself that he was afraid that Maria was going to find someone else and leave him. Some things never changed.

“You do know that right? Because I would be really insulted if you insinuated that I was so…..flaky that I would let some loser who thought I looked good in a tight skirt……” Maria’s voice started to rise with her irritation.

“No!” Michael stopped the tirade by raising his own voice. “No I don’t think that. This isn’t about you. It’s about me. I’m the one who has to….change.”

Maria stared down at him, her heart melting in a puddle at his words said with such resigned self doubt. She leaned down close to him. “Do your lips hurt?”

Michael looked up at her and lied. “No.”

Her lips touched his in a gentle kiss that rapidly became more passionate, until Michael had to stop for fear of ruining the moment by screaming in pain. Maria sat up, taking in his pained expression with sympathy.

“Did you learn your lesson about alcohol?”

“I can safely say that once was enough,” Michael told her, closing his eyes.

Maria wanted to lay down next to him, but contented herself with holding his hand as she watched over him.

TBC next post...
posted on 12-Feb-2003 10:48:42 PM by sylvia37
****************

Liz emptied a towel full of ice into the sink. Kyle had left and Max was standing on the other side of the counter.

“So how long do you think Michael’s condition is going to last?”

“Long enough for him to learn his lesson I hope.” Max answered, rubbing a finger over a scratch in the counter.

“I’m pretty sure that even Michael has learned a lesson from this.” Liz folded the towel and laid it on the counter. “That is if he remembers what he said and did.” Liz teased him and Max had the grace to blush.

“I wonder why alcohol affects each of you differently. It would be interesting to see what happens to Isabel. Maybe we could get Jesse to do an experiment on her.”

Liz was smiling, but Max could tell that she was half serious and he grinned in spite of himself at the thought of Isabel subjecting herself to an experiment just to satisfy Liz’s curiosity. Liz saw his smile and hers turned rueful, agreeing that it probably wouldn’t happen.

“So….I’m sorry our night got cut short. I was hoping we’d get to dance some more.”

Max didn’t answer, suddenly afraid of where this conversation was going.

Max’s reaction to her statement was exactly encouraging, but Liz pressed on. “You know Max….”

As Liz started to speak, she turned to leave the kitchen, but suddenly her foot came out from under her as she slipped on a piece of ice that had fallen from the towel. Max reacted instantly, coming around the counter to grab her arm, keeping her from falling.

Max started to ask if Liz was all right, when he suddenly had a flash of memory. He and Liz were standing in the hallway at school.

“What the hell were you and Sean Deluca doing here last night?”

“Max, not now. I have to find a place that’ll scan this.”

“Why? Who were you just talking to?”

“The Swedish embassy in Washington.”

“This has to stop. I will consider the possibility that Alex was killed by an alien if you consider the possibility that he killed himself.”

“No, he didn’t!”

“And what if he did? Then you are doing nothing but raising people’s suspicions about us. You have nothing to lose here, and we have everything to lose!”

They both looked down at the same time to see him grasping her arm tightly. Liz’s expression was one of hurt anger.

Liz opened her mouth to thank Max for keeping her from falling but she stopped as she saw the blood drain from his face. He looked down at her arm where he held it and snatched his hand away as if burned.

“Max?”

“I…uh…I’m sorry. I have to….to go.”

Max turned and headed for the door, leaving Liz staring after him in bewilderment, and her heart sank as she heard the familiar sound of the Chevelle’s engine as he left.

What just happened?

Max drove blindly, headed he didn’t know where, trying to escape the memories, but they suddenly wouldn’t leave him alone.

Walking into the Valenti’s front door to find Liz and Tess talking.


“What are you doing here?”

“Um, nothing …you know….we were just…we’re talking. I should go.”

“Talking about what?”

“Nothing.”

“Max, you know, it’s okay, Forget about it,” Tess interjected.

“No, I want to know.”

“We’ll just talk later,” Liz said to Tess.

“No, please don’t go on my account. Go ahead and ask you questions.”


Max heard the screech of brakes and looked up to see that he’d drifted into the on coming lane of traffic. He jerked the wheel and avoided a collision by inches. His heart was beating so hard he thought it was going to rip out of his chest and gratefully, he realized the park was just ahead. Pulling into a parking space, Max sat there breathing heavily for a moment before grabbing his head in misery.

He remembered telling Liz that he knew they’d had an argument about Alex, but he hadn’t remembered the details. Now he wished that they’d never come back.

“Max, she just has a few questions about my powers, that’s all.”

“New theory?”

“I just wanted to know some things about mind control and I thought…”

“Oh so Tess killed Alex. Is that your theory?”

“No.”

“Max, she didn’t say that.”

“That’s what you’re thinking. Why don’t you just ask it?”

“Max, of course that’s not what I’m thinking!”

“Tess, did you kill Alex?”

“Max…”

“What were you doing the night that he died?”

“Will you stop it?”

“Go ahead! What were you doing?”

Kyle appeared. “She was with me. We were watching Gladiator on video.”

“An alibi from one of your own.”

“Can I leave now?”

“Yep.”


Max stumbled out of the car, feeling ill. Had that really come out of his mouth? Had he really spoken to Liz like that? Ridiculing her and insulting her? And in the hallway at school, he’d grabbed her in anger.

Max sat blindly on a bench and rubbed his hands over his eyes, before looking down at them as though he’d never seen them before. How could he have done that?

Tess, he thought, rage suddenly racing through him so acutely that he actually felt his powers gather ominously, his hands crackling green with them before he managed to regain control. Looking around to make sure no one saw, Max clenched his fists.

Tess had been controlling him. Max knew that. And suddenly he felt unfamiliar anger at his family and friends roll through him. Why hadn’t they noticed? Did they really think that he was capable of behaving that way? That he would actually touch Liz that way no matter how angry he was? Max pushed the thought away.

No! It wasn’t their fault. It was his. He was the one to blame. He’d let Tess in even after she’d proven how untrustworthy she was. He was the one who let her manipulate him and….

Max forced himself to stop as a flash of memory from the observatory had him leaning over, gasping for breath. He was so confused. His feelings were a jumble of anger, hurt and shame, and the fact that the anger was directed at both Tess and his friends made him even more ashamed. If he didn’t know how much it would hurt his family, Max would have gotten in the car and drove away so he’d never have to face them again. As it was, he sat in the park for most of the night, wondering how a night that had started out so promising had ended so badly. The thought of facing his dreams kept Max glued to the bench, before he finally made his way home right before dawn.

TBC....

"Angel Eyes" by Jeff Healy
posted on 19-Feb-2003 8:03:48 PM by sylvia37
Hi everyone, just a quick note to say thanks for all the comments and bumps. You guys are great. This next part is a little short, but I wanted to get it out before the move so you wouldn't have to wait so long for the next one. Let me know what you think.

Everything to You Part 42


Liz looked in the mirror to check her hair as she straightened her apron. It was up in a high pony tail and she adjusted the antennae a little before exiting the bathroom and heading out onto the restaurant floor. Saturday morning breakfast rush was over but soon, lunch rush would begin and Mark was coming in for his promised meal today.

Making the rounds of her tables, Liz couldn’t help but be a little preoccupied, and it didn’t have anything to do with Mark coming in. No, as usual, it had to do with love life or lack thereof. Liz sighed, then berated herself for it. The ache in her chest was not going to go away that easily. If it was that easy, the mountain of sighs she’d let out in the last month would have worked already.

A month. One very long, very frustrating, very worrisome month had gone by since the night that Michael had demonstrated an alien’s lack of tolerance for alcohol and there had been no change in her relationship with Max. No, scratch that. There had been a change, but it wasn’t for the better.

Liz didn’t know what happened to send Max running out the door that night, but whatever it was, it had caused a severe setback in his progress. At least before, he would speak when spoken to and make an attempt to interact with Liz and his friends, sitting with them at lunch and occasionally meeting them after school.

But since that night, Max had withdrawn almost to the point of rudeness. He rarely spoke, and when he did, it was only because he was asked a direct question. He didn’t socialize at all now, and he’d even quit sitting with them at lunch.

The day after Michael’s incident at CowPatty’s, Liz tried to talk to Max about what happened but whenever she tried to reach him, he either wasn’t home, or Mrs. Evans said he was in his room napping, or so she thought. Liz thought he was just avoiding her. When he didn’t show up for lunch at school the following day, she knew it. So she went looking for him. It wasn’t until she’d almost given up that she finally found him running around the track. Her heart had ached at the sight. The aura of loneliness that surrounded him at that moment was almost a tangible thing, but when Liz tried to talk to Max about it, he said that he just wanted to get back in shape because he’d been letting his exercise routine go and that he needed to get to class. Liz tried not to be hurt by his abruptness, but the ache in her chest had become permanent when he continued to avoid talking to her and she knew now that he ran every day during lunch.


Patience is a virtue, or so Liz told herself, and after all, you don’t get over losing your child in just a couple of months and that was just part of the baggage Max was carrying around, but patience had never been Liz’s strong suit. And even though Max wasn’t talking, she could tell that his withdrawal was taking a toll. Circles remained beneath his eyes, and they’d lost most of their luminescence. He never smiled and any spark of life that had previously been there, seemed to have died with Zan. It was as though by burying his feelings, he’d buried himself. And Liz could understand up to a point. He was terrified of allowing all of his bottled up emotions out, but this was getting serious. She was afraid for him.

And she wasn’t the only one. Diane Evans had come to see her yesterday during her evening shift.


“I can’t seem to get through to him, Liz. Except for a long talk Phillip and I and Isabel had about their powers and some of the things that have happened over the last few years, Max has barely spoken to us. He comes home from school, does his homework, goes to work on the nights he’s scheduled, eats with us occasionally, but that’s it. When Phillip and I try to get him to talk, he answers us in one or two word sentences.” Diane Evan’s brow wrinkled in concern as she looked at Liz. “And he’s still not sleeping. I hear him almost every night. I don’t know what to do. Has he spoken to you about any of this?”

“No, Mrs. Evans,” Liz was forced to answer. “but I’m sure he’ll get better. He just needs time.”


Liz wished she could say the same. With Graduation only a little more than a month away, college was looming on the horizon, and despite receiving several college acceptance letters, Liz couldn’t muster much enthusiasm. How could she think about leaving Roswell without Max? Especially the way things were right now.

The door jingled and Liz looked up to see Mark striding in. He smiled when he saw her, and Liz smiled back, pushing her depressing thoughts to the back of her mind as she walked towards him. “Hey.”

“Hi. I’m here for my consolation lunch,” Mark’s eyes sparkled at her, his lips curving as he took in her lifted eyebrow.

“Poor baby. It must have been so horrible that you had to take Laurel to Prom instead of me. And be named King and Queen too. My heart aches. Really.” Liz teased him. “Besides, I’ve see you and Laurel together. Don’t tell me you’re sorry about that.”

Mark acknowledged her statement with a shake of his head. “You’re right. Laurel’s great and if you hadn’t said no, I wouldn’t have found that out.” Mark sat at the counter. “But that doesn’t mean that you don’t owe me still.”

“Don’t worry. I don’t go back on my word. A deal’s a deal.” Liz pulled out her order pad. “So, what would you like, Sir.”

Liz took his order and excused herself to get his drink and work her other tables before coming back to chat. They talked about finals and what they had planned for summer and Mark told her about his acceptance to Cornell and how now that he and Laurel had started dating, it was going to be harder to leave. Liz nodded in understanding, the ache in her chest intensifying for a moment as all of her previous thoughts came rushing back.

Just as she was about to shake them off, she felt a hum in the air and looked up to find Max and his parents entering the front door. Mrs. Evans waved and Liz waved back as her eyes were drawn inevitably to Max. He glanced her way and his steps faltered slightly when he saw Mark sitting at the counter, but his expression didn’t change as he acknowledged her with a slight nod.

Liz’s heart sank a little lower as she took in his stoic features. This is why she hadn’t confronted him yet. His whole demeanor screamed “keep your distance” and Liz admitted to herself that she was afraid. Afraid that she wouldn’t be able to get through the walls he’d erected and that her already tattered heart would get trampled beyond repair if she allowed herself to open it up to him. They were both protecting themselves and it was getting them nowhere.

The Evan’s had chosen a table that wasn’t in her section, and Liz was relieved. She wasn’t sure that she could hide her feelings at Max’s seeming indifference from his parents. She tried instead to concentrate on her and Mark’s conversation and ignore the humming in the air as her connection to Max intensified with his close proximity.

At their table, Mrs. Evans took in the atmosphere of tension between her son and Liz as Max seemed totally indifferent to his one time girlfriend. Diane held back her sigh of frustration with her son’s stubbornness. She knew it was exactly the opposite, but she also knew that he wouldn’t admit to his feelings. She’d had to practically turn on tears to get him to come to lunch with them today, hoping that seeing Liz and getting out of the house would do him some good, but obviously he’d cut himself off from everyone, not just her and Phillip.

Max for his part, tried his best to ignore the two people at the counter. He hadn’t wanted to come here in the first place, but his mother’s expression when she asked him to come to lunch had made him bite down on his automatic negative response. His father’s worried expression had added to his guilt until he’d given in. Now, if he could just get through this meal without throwing up, he’d be doing good. His exercise equipment was calling his name and he just wanted to go home and lose himself in his workout routine.

Cringing inwardly as he heard Liz laugh at something Mark said, Max swallowed as he stared at the menu. Since the night in the park, Max had spent all of his time physically…. going to school, working, eating when he had to…and working out. Everyday, he ran during lunch and every night, he worked on his strengthening equipment until he exhausted himself enough to at least get a few hours of sleep without nightmares. It was the only way he managed to get any sleep at all. Mentally…it was basically the same story. While he hardened his body… he fortified the walls surrounding his emotions, the rote of his workout routine helping to alleviate the stress of constantly keeping his feelings in check.

He was too afraid of letting go of his control. The few times he’d let any of his emotions get away from him, Max had been shocked at the amount of violence they’d demonstrated. His grip on his alien energy became tenuous during those moments and he was terrified he might hurt something…or someone. The thought of Liz being within 10 feet of him if he lost control…... That’s why he physically as well as mentally kept his distance from her. That and the fact that his guilt over the things he remembered was eating him alive. The only problem was, it was getting harder and harder to ignore the signals Liz was putting out. Max knew he was hurting her…he just didn’t know how to stop.

Seeing her with Mark was like a dagger in his heart, but he dismally reminded himself that he was the one pushing her away. If she wanted to start a relationship with another guy, what could he possibly say about it? Max ran a finger along his upper lip, not surprised to see it tremble. This was going to be the lunch from hell, he just knew it.

Liz served Mark’s lunch and quickly checked on her other tables before going back to have a soda while he ate. They were talking about his move to New York when her father came bursting through the kitchen door.

“Liz! You’ve got a letter from Northwestern.” Heads turned in their direction as her father enthusiastically announced it loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear. One head in particular jerked in her direction at the mention of college but Liz didn’t notice. This was actually one letter she’d been waiting for. This was the college she really wanted to go to and despite all of the unknowns in her life right now, she couldn’t help but be excited by the prospect of getting into her first choice and by her father’s enthusiasm.

“Don’t keep us in suspense, Liz. Open it.” Mark said, smiling encouragingly.

Liz ran her finger under the flap and pulled the letter out. The smile that spread across her face was all the answer they needed, and her father pulled her into a bear hug, lifting her from the floor.

“Congratulations Sweetie.” Liz hugged him back excitedly. When he put her down, Mark slid his arm around her shoulders, hugging her lightly.

“That’s fantastic, Liz. Congratulations.”

Liz turned to Mark intending to thank him, when she was hit by a wave of jealous emotion so intense that she almost doubled over with it. Her body tensed with the effort of resisting it, and her breath came out in a gasp. It left almost as quickly as it came, but Liz was left breathless by it’s effect and she ignored Mark’s anxious inquiry as she turned her head just in time to see Max bolting for the front door. His parents sat at the table in stunned surprise at his abrupt departure and Liz was suddenly furious. Damn it, there was no way he was doing this again.

“I’m sorry, will you excuse me for a minute. I have to do something.” Liz ran to the glass doors and yanked them open, seeing Max striding quickly down the sidewalk.

“Max!” Liz called running after him and she saw his steps falter then stop as he heard her coming up behind him. His instinct said run, but Max couldn’t do it. It would be like slapping her in the face.

Liz circled in front of him, a little breathless, taking in his tense features. Her fury abated a little at his expression, but it didn’t go away and she cut right to the chase.

“I felt it Max. You can’t keep hiding from me.”

Max felt his cheeks redden at her directness and his automatic denial died on his lips. “I….I’m sorry. I didn’t….I’m sorry.” He said again. Max looked down into her own flushed face and he was mesmerized momentarily by the becoming color in her cheeks and the way her dark eyes snapped at him in worried irritation.

“I don’t want your apologies, Max. I want you to admit what happened back there.”

Max looked away from her, unable to say anything. He was hanging on by a thread.

Liz waited and watched as his struggle to remain in control showed on his face for a moment, but when he didn’t say anything, she plunged forward, determined to make him admit his jealousy.

“I won’t let you do this, Max. I know what I felt. Why can’t you just admit that you’re jealous of Mark.” Liz saw him wince, and the air crackled for a moment with energy before Max’s jaw tightened in control.

“Okay…”Max finally conceded, knowing she wasn’t going to let it go. “I….I saw him touch you and I…..but it doesn’t matter.” Max looked her in the eye and opened his mouth to utter the stupidest words he’d ever said.

“I have no right to feel ….that way….and if you want to be with…..”

“Don’t you even think about finishing that sentence.”

Max’s teeth snapped closed as Liz’s furious words cut him off punctuated by the accompanying emotion penetrating their connection, and he looked away from her, ashamed. She was right. This wasn’t about her wanting to be with someone else because deep down where Max allowed his emotions to live, he knew that Liz wanted to be with him and that Mark was only her friend. It wasn’t fair of him to pawn his inability to express his feelings off on her. Max also kept his apology to himself, knowing that she already could tell how sorry he was.

Liz’s heart softened as Max’s miserable expression told her that he knew what he’d been about to do. She wanted to pull him into her arms and kiss away the crease in his forehead and tell him it was okay …..Liz took a deep breath. No. No more wishing. No more waiting. It was time for action.

“Max, will you do something for me?”

Max nodded hesitantly, still not looking directly at her. He could feel that her anger had abated but he was afraid he knew what she was going to ask him, and he wasn’t going to like it.

“Can I meet you later at your house? I want to go for a drive.” Liz watched as his head finally came up and he looked at her in puzzled wariness.

“Uh….”

“I’ll come by your house after my shift….around 3:00.”

“Why…”

“Don’t ask questions. Just…will you do this for me?”

With everything in him screaming that this was a bad idea, Max nodded slowly. He couldn’t say no to her after what happened today. Something had to give and either way, it had to be today.

Liz felt her shoulders relax as he agreed. “Good…..I have to get back. I’ll see you later.” Liz turned towards the CrashDown.

“Liz….” She turned back towards Max as he stood on the sidewalk with his hands in his pockets.

“Congratulations on the letter.” Liz smiled, surprised by his words, grateful for them even if she wasn’t sure he actually meant it.

“And..uh…. will you tell my parents that….”

“Don’t worry about it, Max.” Liz watched as he nodded and turned away, and she hurried back to the restaurant.

As she entered the CrashDown, Liz immediately headed to the Evan’s table to reassure them that Max was okay and that he was sorry he’d worried them. She didn’t tell them in detail what was going on, but Liz did tell them that she would be by this afternoon to get him and that she had a plan to try and help him. They were concerned and relieved and offered their thanks and encouragement and Liz was grateful that they were so understanding.

Luckily, she’d only had one table left when she’d ran after Max, so Liz quickly apologized to them, telling them that she’d had an emergency, but they were fine so she finally went back to where Mark was watching her curiously. She felt slightly embarrassed, knowing how it had looked to see her rushing out the door after Max, but first she had to talk to her father.

She found Jeff Parker at the grill, and Liz quickly explained that she and Max were trying to renew their relationship and that he’d gotten the wrong impression from Mark’s affectionate gesture and she’d run after him to reassure him that they were just friends. If her father thought that Max’s reaction was a little extreme, he didn’t say so, but he did admonish her for running out on her customers to chase after her boyfriend and Liz apologized and told him that she’d already apologized to her customers.

Mark was just finishing his meal when Liz reemerged from the kitchen.

“So…you and Max are…..”

“No…yes….I don’t know.” Mark raised an eyebrow at her and Liz felt herself blush.

“Max is….having some problems and….I’m trying to help him.”

“Yeah, I noticed he was out for that week a while back and then he seemed…I don’t know….I mean he was never a bundle of laughs anyway but……”

“He’s….he went through some stuff and …..he’s having a hard time.” Liz didn’t want to talk about this with Mark. No one outside their inner circle could possibly understand.

“You’re still in love with him.” Mark’s stated bluntly.

Liz looked at him wide eyed, but nodded after a moment, seeing no reason to deny it. “Yeah.”

“Does he love you?”

“Yes,” Liz answered truthfully. There was never any doubt in her mind that Max loved her.

Mark nodded thoughtfully at her firm answer. “Well….I hope he deserves you, Parker.” Liz heard the faint note of regret in his voice, but he quickly hid it and stood up, pulling his wallet out of his back pocket. Liz stopped him with a hand on his arm.

“Hey, I owe you, remember?”

Mark smiled. “I know. I was just going to leave a tip.”

“It’s on the house,” Liz smiled up at him and walked with him to the door. More people were coming in and she was about to get busy again.

“Thanks for lunch, Liz. I’ll see you at school on Monday.”

“Bye.”

Liz returned to her tables, taking drink orders but as things began to pick up, her mind was only half on her work.


“I hope he deserves you, Parker.”

She had to admit that when she’d finally broken up with Max after his trip to LA, Liz had felt used and betrayed, but now that she knew the truth…it wasn’t a matter of who deserved what.

Max needed her…. and she wanted him back to the way he was before Tess got her claws in him. Maybe that was unrealistic of her considering all that he’d been through, but Liz was determined to give him a chance to find himself again. The Max that had saved her life was still there. Afraid….scarred….but not gone. And if it had to be a matter of what was deserved, then they both deserved the chance at the happiness that had been stolen from them and to start their relationship over with a clean slate.

This afternoon would be the start and now that she’d taken the plunge, Liz felt relief as well as apprehension. She needed to make some calls.

Liz didn’t have any illusions that Max would instantly be back to his old self, but hopefully she could help him face his past, and get beyond it. Either that or push him right over the edge, that nasty little negative voice in Liz’s head taunted her.

No! No this was the right thing to do. From what she’d seen and felt today, Max was riding the edge of a very thin line and she’d allowed her fear to let it go on for too long. Max needed help facing his demons and if he wasn’t going to ask for it, then she was going to have to force him to confront them whether he wanted to or not. Liz just hoped that they would all come out better in the end, because she wasn’t just fighting for their relationship…Liz was fighting for Max’s sanity and possibly for his survival.


TBC...