posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:37:43 AM by Etoiline




(HUMAN) DEVELOPMENT



(HUMAN) DEVELOPMENT


Note: this takes place before TEOTW, but will converge eventually.


Part One


<Do you know who you are?>


Liz awoke with a start. Had someone been talking to her? Had she been dreaming?


"Do I know who I am? I’m Liz Parker. Why would anyone ask me that?" Liz though to herself. "I wonder what I was dreaming about."


Liz dismissed the thought, and since her alarm was about to go off anyway, she decided to get out of bed and get ready for school. The biology presentation was today, the one she worked on with Maria. They’d spent all night getting the posters ready, and Liz felt confident that they’d get the highest grade. She was first in her class, after all. Unless Max had come up with a better project!


Max . . . She stopped brushing her hair for a moment, thinking of the last time they kissed. How she missed the closeness they had then. She knew she would do anything for Max, even give up on loving him, no matter how much it hurt. Max needed all his power just to stay alive; he didn’t need her to complicate his destiny. So she had walked away- maybe the hardest thing she’d ever done. Possibly that was rivaled by the endless summer she had spent with her aunt in Florida, knowing he was out there, but so unavailable.


Max and Michael and Isabel were gone almost half the summer, partly to get away from it all and partly to explore their heritage. Tess had only gone with them for the last half of the summer, when they went to visit Nasedo in Washington DC at the FBI. Liz thought it was rather ironic that they spent a good month interning at the very place that had sent out agents to kill them.


Liz had missed Max, missed all of them. Except Tess. Even now, the thought of her brought a rush of emotion to Liz. Her cheeks colored at the jealousy she felt toward Tess. Even though Tess was Max’s destiny, Liz couldn’t help feeling possessive of Max. He was her first and only love. Forever. There would never be another like him. Nothing could ease the growing feeling of emptiness Liz had felt as she walked away from the pod chamber. How come Tess got to spend a month with Max? It was so unfair. Destiny, shmestiny.


Liz shook herself out of her reverie. She glanced at her watch, then jumped up from her bed. She had lost track of time, lost in remembering. She grabbed her favorite tank top from her dresser, the red one with the embroidered flowers at the neck. Shorts, panties. . . where was that bra?


She glanced at the mirror in the bathroom. She must have slept funny on her hair because there was a slight wave to it. Max always liked it when her hair was wavy. . . Liz shook her head in frustration, and slicked on some glossy red lipstick as her mother knocked on the door.


"Ready to go, sweetie?" Nancy asked as she walked into Liz’s bedroom. "You don’t want to be late for the big presentation, right?" Liz shook her head. Biology was first period, and the only class she’d have to see Max in today. . .


"I’m almost ready. I’ll meet you downstairs, Mom," Liz said after a beat.


"Are you okay, honey? You look a little tired."


"Just nervous, I guess. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine."


Liz picked up her backpack and followed her mom out onto the landing. They went down the back steps of the Crashdown. Nancy had already loaded the box of presentation materials in the backseat of the car.


<Do you know who you are?>


Liz stopped, her hand on the car door handle. "Is something wrong, honey?" her mom asked, worriedly. Liz looked up and shook her head, not really believing she was hearing voices in her head. "Just making sure I didn’t forget anything," she said, trying to rid herself of the feeling of the voice. She took a couple of deep breaths and the echo subsided. She opened the door and climbed into the car, saying, "Let’s go, Mom. Can’t be late!"


On the way to school they passed the sheriff’s station. Liz wondered what he was up to. She’d seen him off and on, but being the usually law-abiding citizen she was, she’d had little reason to talk to him. She hoped he was dealing with the news of aliens in town okay. He never mentioned it in their brief meetings, but it had to be uncomfortable for him.


As her mom pulled into the school lot, Liz saw Max. Her breath caught, even now, at his sight. Then she paled as she saw Tess standing next to him, her hand on his shoulder. Be calm, she told herself. It’s just Max and Tess. Destinied.




She managed to get the the entrance and had her hand on the door before Max called out, "Liz."




She stopped, and turned ever so slightly, and said, with great decorum, "Good morning, Max. Tess," and turned back, opened the door, and disappeared into the cool shadows of the entryway.


***




I stared after her as she disappeared behind the doors. How I missed her! THe entire summer I had missed her presence. Even though we were learning what others knew about us and what we knew of ourselves, I felt a void. While I was happy we were learning more about our powers and discovering more fully how we were supposed to save out planet, I always felt a little distanced from the others, even my sister.




Watching Liz walk away I almost wanted to cry. That day at the cave, when Michael stopped me from going after her, I barely heard her. I was in shock. Michael let me stand there for a while, then he and Isabel had to physically drag me back to the Jeep. I couldn’t move. She was gone. . .




I came back to myself after a while. Somehow I knew I could not stay in mourning. Although my heart was broken, I had to stay clear-headed. Maybe it was my memories of leadership, but I had to move on. Nonetheless, I still felt the emptiness left by Liz’s departure.




It was probably a good thing that Mom and Dad planned that vacation. Almost immediately after out lives changed utterly, we went down to Florida for three weeks, to stay at Mom’s friend’s condo. I mainly moped and thought about Liz (she was in the same state but might as well have been in another country). Isabel had a blast, going to the parks and shopping and of course sunbathing at the beach. Almost everyday she begged me to go with her, but I usually refused. I didn’t know how to hide my sorrow, which was so different from anything I’d ever felt. Izzy hid hers much better, but I know she missed Alex, and Michael. . .




I read as much as I could about the crash, which, admittedly, in Florida wasn’t much. I surfed the internet, looking for cover-up stories, and was often amazed at how insane some of these conspiracy theorists must be if they really believed what they wrote. I practiced honing my powers. I found I was a little better at dreamwalking than I thought- that’s how I know Isabel missed Alex and Michael. I was tempted, so many times, to reach out and touch Liz’s dreams, but I didn’t want to hurt her that way. Even though I was always curious to know if she dreamed of me as I dreamed of her. . .




Those dreams. . . I spent a lot of time sleeping. In dreams, I could imagine Liz with me, loving me, even (this was when I know I was dreaming) like me. Like she was from my planet, that she was my mate. . .




But finally the condo stay was over. We went back to Roswell, but only for a week. Michael and Izzy and I went on a road trip. We spent a week at the cave, examining the orbs, the pods, the surrounding area, but nothing new was forthcoming. We experimented with our powers finding new limits and frustrations.




Isabel was especially adept at manipulating objects, and we always had music. Her dreamwalking became easy, and we never knew when she would "practice." Personally I just think she was trying to get information to blackmail us with. We all had our demons, I guess.




She and Michael were civil, but not loving. I don’t really know, even now, how they feel about each other. I know that they both miss their respective humans, just like me.




The next week we spent at the cave on the indian reservation. We examined the symbols, trying to glean their meaning, comparing the positions to star maps of known galaxies. No luck there. If the symbols were directions, what did they lead to? We talked to RiverDog, tried to learn what may have happened when "the visitor" came. Then we spent the rest of the week simply exploring the reservation (but we avoided the sweat lodge, of course).




We also experimented with the healing stones, finding they could augment our powers over distances. Isabel could start the Jeep from a mile away, but I pointed out to her that particular skill just wasted a lot of gas. Michael practiced his warrior skills, blowing up rocks and innocent cacti (we always made sure we were far away when he was practicing) all the way across the valley near the cave. His power was still uncontrolled, but now much greater in magnitude. It was raw, unbridled force that he still couldn’t direct with accuracy. If possible he was even more moody than before. I wonder if he was like that back home.




I say that like there is a home. Maybe it’s been destroyed. Maybe it’s 100,000 light years away and there is not enough technology in the universe to send us back. I try not to think about it because there are too many unanswered and unanswerable questions. Like who is my mother? The one who raised me, or the one who came to us in the cave? Did she know us as we are now, our nature, and assume we would follow our previous destiny? Or did she just hope that we would somehow put aside our human feelings and follow our alien side?




Pierce/ Nasedo was not at all forthcoming as a protector. He did defer to me, which was a little disconcerting (although when I thought about it, it seemed right) but he would not talk about home. He kept hinting, during the internship at the FBI, that there were ways of retrieving memories of our life before. But he would never tell us what they were. I think he wanted us to try and find out on our own, but we had no clue even how to start. So I still don’t know if I was a good leader.




Everyone defers to me now. How did everyone know I was the "leader" but me? I get these vague whispers sometimes, memories or psuedo-memories because I want to remember so badly. I can see myself standing in front of Michael and Isabel - except they weren’t Michael and Isabel, I knew them as another pair - and delivering a speech, the weight of a crown on my head. I don’t know if these are real or just imaginings. I confided these to Pierce and he said, "Remember more. Do you know who you are? You don’t, not yet.




"It’s been hard, watching you in this body, blindly fumbling towards your destiny, when I knew you as a Royal and your purpose was sure. Nevertheless, my role is your protector. I will always serve you, no matter what body you reside in, or what planet you call home."




So now I have to be a leader. Of what? Of four people? Of what planet? How do I begin to save my race? We cannot even return. Nasedo doesn’t know how. He said I know, but he stubbornly refused to tell me how to remember. I thought of ordering him to tell us, but that had all kinds of implications I wasn’t sure I could handle. He might not have known, just like he didn’t know how to activate the orbs. And now he’s gone, and we might never know.




I miss Liz.





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 7-Jan-2002 2:39:41 AM ]
posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:40:45 AM by Etoiline




Part Two



Part Two




I dreamed.




Liz was there, of course. Her brown hair blowing in the breeze, her eyes sparkling with the reflections of stars above us. She was wearing that little red tank top, the one with the flowers - my favorite. We were sitting on a blanket, somewhere near where we found the orb after the frenzy of the visions. We talked about something inconsequential as we gazed at the stars.




We did not touch, as if a wall separated us. But we looked into each other’s eyes often, long, hungry gazes, knowing the desire and hating the constraints of destiny.




Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. This was Liz - we were made to touch, to love, to be. She had to know I would never leave her for Tess. I reached forward, touching the wall - an invisible crackling barrier of energy that seemed to burn my hand. Sparks flew from the contact, and an orange glow enveloped my hand and began to move up my arm. I winced in pain, but I kept my hand there, letting Liz see what she’d always known intuitively - that I would go through anything to be with her. I needed to touch her.




An eternal moment passed, as I willed Liz to look at me, to see me, to reach up and be with me. I thought I would be in pain forever, but I could endure that because it was for Liz. She looked at me. My soulmate. The glow had crept up my entire arm, and began to cover my chest as she finally reached up and touched my fingers through the wall - and as she did, the barrier crackled, and the glow which had nearly covered my body now rushed onto hers. The moment it veiled her entire body, the wall vanished.




Without the support of the barrier, we fell forward into each other’s arms. I touched her face hungrily, then drew her close for a kiss. And then - the connection. The most intense ever. I became her and she became me. I felt her sharp intake of breath even as she felt my heart speed up. I knew her memories just as she knew mine. I became aware of the workings of her body, and I could feel her amazement, tinged with scientific curiosity, at my alien physiology. I laughed. My Liz, ever the scientist.




‘Am I you?’ she asked, blinking.




‘I could ask you the same question. I can feel you,’ I answered slowly, smiling.




‘You know why I had to leave you to your destiny, then.’




‘I knew it the second you left, but Liz, the depth of feeling, your emotion. . . being a girl must be interesting.’ I grinned.




‘I know you still love me, Max. But what are we going to do about it?’ Liz asked, ruining the moment.




‘You had to go and ask that, didn’t you?’ I ask wryly.




She gazed at me. I looked into her eyes, Then I blinked. For a second it had seemed her eyes were glowing. But when I looked again, they were the same as they’d been since third grade. She held my gaze, her hands in mine, the connection still thrumming between us, giving our hearts the same beat, our breath the same rhythm.




I had to be close to her. I pulled her onto my lap, tilted her face up to mine, and kissed her deeply.




Suddenly the world exploded into blue flame. We were caught it it, utterly destroyed, or we would have been if we had not been connected. I held Liz tight against my chest, squeezing my eyes shut until the blaze subsided and the night was as before, with one important difference...




‘Max, are you alright?’ Liz’s sane question brought me back from wherever I had been.




‘Liz, I’m fine. I love you. But I know something now - I just saw it, Liz, look inside yourself. You’ll see it too. And then you’ll know what we’re going to do about it,’ I said, hope dawning in my heart.




She looked down at herself, gaze focusing inward, eyes widening as she found the bright pulsing blue core in her heart, the same as I could see in mine.




‘Max, what. . . I don’t understand.’ she asked, bewildered.




‘Liz, you’re. . . you’re like me, now. Somehow.’


And I woke up.




posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:44:48 AM by Etoiline




Part Three



Part Three




Liz’s body pulled her abruptly out of the dream, not letting her linger in her fantasy world where she was like Max, where she was the one destined for him and not that blond-haired usurper.




This was the third night in a row that she had had that dream. And every time, just as she was basking in the wonder of knowing she was changed, she awoke several minutes before her alarm clock was to go off. The sunlight streaming through her window was enough to make her realize it was just a dream, and she was the same old Liz Parker as she always had been, not an alien, and certainly not Max Evan’s destiny. And every morning she was hit with a renewed feeling of loneliness, knowing she couldn’t be with the one person she’d ever given her heart to.


<Don’t you know who you are? Don’t you understand?>




Not again.


<Only you can provide what the Zitan needs.>




I am not hearing voices! Liz thought, much less voices that make no sense! Of course I don’t understand! Leave me alone!


<You are his heart, his soul.>




Whose heart? What are you talking about? How is it that I, Liz Parker, who has never taken drugs, never mind hallucinogenics, could be hearing voices? Scratch that, a voice that is not my own. I must be going crazy.


<He told me once that he could not live without you. That he did not love her. Now they are both gone. But you can make a difference this time! Why can you not see that you must do this? You must go!>




Shut up. I’m going to be late for school.


<Please . . .>


*****




"Liz, wait. I need to talk to you." Max grabbed her arm as she was about to walk away from her locker.




"Not now, Max. I have class."




"Liz, you have lunch now. You can’t be late to the cafeteria! Please. Talk to me! Why are you shutting me out? How many times do I have to tell you that the only destiny I have is with you? Don’t you understand who you are to me? You’re my heart, my soul. Please. Talk to me."




The echo of the voice’s words in his caused a shiver to run down Liz’s back. Max released her arm and reached a hand to her face. "Liz, are you okay? You look pale."




Liz shied away from his hand and shook her head. "I’m okay. I think I need to go to the bathroom. I may have lunch now, but you don’t, so go to class and leave me alone. We don’t have anything to talk about." She walked quickly towards the nearest restroom, luckily only a few steps away.




God, it was so painful to have to push him away like that! Especially with the memory of the dream hovering just beneath her consciousness. But what Liz realized in the cave was still just as true now as it had been when she walked away. She and Max might be soulmates, but their destiny was apart. She pushed open the door to the girls’ restroom, half-afraid he was going to follow her. Hoping she was the only person in the room, she still chose the farthest stall. She shoved the door open and dropped her bag, crumpling to the floor along with it as she began to cry.


<Why can’t you understand, he needs you!>


*****




I really wanted to follow her. But she was right; I had class. And I had no right to charge into the girls’ restroom after her. I was getting a weird feeling of déjà vu, seeing the door close in my face. It seemed like I could remember another door closing, another love disappearing behind it. Of course that couldn’t be real. Of course, because the love was blond.




I tried to forget that. But there was no way I could ignore the feelings I had for Liz. It was totally different than anything I had ever felt before. It was like I had to get her back, that something was missing in me that only she could provide. So many times over the past year, I had wished that I wasn’t alien, that I was only human and I didn’t have a destiny as a king. And that I could be free to love the human I love.




posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:45:30 AM by Etoiline




Part Four



Part Four


<I won’t remember him.>


<You will know him somehow. You performed the reven-daai, the never apart, the soul-linking, and that is forever. You will find each other.>


<Why must I go separately? Why can’t I go in the place of his "trophy," the bride he fought so hard to win but now hates? Why send her?>


<You are not a royal. You cannot be in the ship with the remains. The enemies will know if there is a unknown aboard the ship.>


<How is this going to work? You can’t make me a hybrid. They didn’t kill me. I’m not dead.>


<But you will be. We can only send your essence. Not your body.>


<What . . . How will we . . .>


<It is your choice, your sacrifice. When you find each other, he will awaken you. You will know.>


*****




It happened in the middle of biology, with Max sitting behind her. Maria was gabbing as usual, Ms. Carter was talking about DNA again (how many times would they have to go over this? Building blocks of life, blah, blah, blah). Liz was doodling in her notes, and suddenly Liz heard the voices. Voices, this time. Two distinct voices, filled with enough emotion that Liz could almost see what was happening.




She hadn’t realized she had spaced out (almost literally) until Maria dug an elbow into her arm, causing her to drop her pencil, while at the same time, Max hissed behind her, "Liz, are you alright?"




She looked at Maria in confusion. "Ms. Carter asked you a question, Liz. What the four bases are or something."




"Miss Parker? My heart will stop if you don’t know the answer to this question. Is something the matter? You do know the four bases that make up DNA, don’t you, the reigning science fair queen?" Ms. Carter said, half-jokingly.




"Umm, guanine, thyamine, cytosine, and . . ."


BRRRIINNGGG!




"I expect the entire class to know what 'A’ stands for in the genetic code when we return on Monday. I’ll return your grades on your group projects on Monday as well. Miss Parker, are you sure you’re alright? I can give you a nurse’s pass," Ms. Carter said as Liz moved toward the classroom door.




"No, Ms. Carter, I’m okay. Don’t worry. I’ve just had a lot to think about. No problems," Liz said, hoping the teacher was convinced.




"Alright, young lady, just keep your head out of the clouds in your next period. I hope you get it all under control. And you will, knowing you!" Ms. Carter waved Liz out of the classroom, and Liz slipped out quickly.




Seeing Max across the hallway, she turned and headed to her next class, consciously reminding herself not to turn back and look at Max, who was almost assuredly following her to make sure she was okay. She hurried through the door and took her seat, pulling her textbook out and trying to make it clear that she did not want to be bothered. It must have worked, because she saw Max look through the window in the door, then move on. As soon as she walked away, she put her head down and tried not to cry.


*****


It was late that evening, just before she went to bed, before Liz could think about what she’d . . . heard during biology. She was sprawled on her bed, journal in hand, trying to put her thoughts into words.




"It’s late. I can’t sleep. The memory of the conversation is still rattling around in my head, demanding that I figure out what was going on. As far as I can tell, the first voice, the one I heard the day of the biology presentation, she (it’s definitely a female) appears to be Max’s mother, or at least the mother of the King on his planet. It seems like she’s asking this other person, the real love of his life, to go with him to Earth. She has to die first, because they can only send essences, and she has to go after the ship carrying the royal essences has reached Earth, or the enemies will know something (else) is wrong. The enemies apparently don’t know about this reven-daai ritual, which binds two people together, like a marriage. Some sort of mind-sharing happens and the King, the Zitan, needs this girl to function now. It was a secret thing, that only the King and the girl and the mother knew about. The King had battled others to win who I assume is Tess now, but he realized after a while of seeming to truly love each other that she had tricked him and he began to hate her.




"Am I a bad person to wish that this was true, that Max didn’t love Tess in that other life? And am I insane to think that this could have anything to do with me? Why it seems like I remember this? I must be crazy. I can’t be remembering this. I’m human. I was born, I didn’t come out of a pod. I would know. Wouldn’t I? She said the girl would be ‘awakened.’ Could that be the connection Max and I share? No, it couldn’t be. I refuse to believe this without some sort of scientific proof. I am human, no matter how much I want to be with Max. I’m just indulging in a little bit of make-believe. That’s all it is. I’m trying to ignore Max’s destiny and that’s wrong. I will forget this because it can’t be true."




Writing her thoughts down, Liz felt better. The litany of truths allowed her to separate her feelings from her imaginings, and she, being the scientific, methodical person she was, she knew what was fantasy and what was fact. But she couldn’t help wishing what she had heard was true.




posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:45:59 AM by Etoiline




Part Five



Part Five




<M’allia, my only, I will never leave you. We can never be apart–the reven-daai is forever, through this life and the next. If something. . . happens to me, I promise I will find you. I will battle death for you, to be with you. I could do no other.>




Max turned his head, thinking surely the voice he heard was not only in his head. He had been working on a particularly difficult math problem and it must be making him loopy. "Max Evans, you are crazy. You’re so crazy in love with Liz, you’re making things up and thinking somebody else said them–" he paused. He didn’t feel someone else had said those words. He felt almost like he remembered them. It was a weird sensation, but no weirder than waking up after dreaming about Liz. He wished he could have spoken to Liz earlier in the day. She’d clearly been ill in biology, and it was all he could do to not pick up the phone and call her. Liz hardly answered anymore, and when she did, she always made up some lame excuse about having homework or chores or work. Her mom must have orders not to let him talk to Liz, because he got the brush-off there too.




Frustrated, he turned back to his math. He attacked the paper with a vengeance, solving that problem, at least, unlike the one he couldn’t with Liz. And it was a problem. He could still feel her kiss from the dream, so heated he felt a blush creep up his neck. He couldn’t think straight without her. Could it ever happen? Could Liz ever be like him? Or could he ever be like her. . .




Angrily he hit his desk with the palm of his hand. He just wanted to be with her! He saved her life, dammit! They deserved to be together, to be bonded like he and Tess apparently were. He shuddered as the memory of their first, forced kiss washed over him. At the time, he believed it was pleasurable, but when he found out she had tricked him, he did not trust her. And he was supposed to be with her? She probably had duped him in his other life too. An eerie feeling of déjà vu left him shivering, and he decided he should leave off the math. It was late, after all, and it was the weekend. He could get all the sleep he wanted, and dream about Liz.




While he was undressing, he thought hard. How could he get her back? There was this empty place inside him that only she could fill, and she’s out there, believing she has to leave him to his destiny. He didn’t want it! He wanted her. She was his. . . life. There must be some reason why he connected with her, and if he dared hope, it had to be something like in the dream. Why else would it be so vivid, so lifelike, like it actually happened?




He pulled on boxers and a t-shirt, and threw himself into bed. He tried to think of things that had made Liz happy, to see if there was anything he could do, anything that he could give her, to make her let herself love him again. Soulmates weren’t meant to be apart.




He put his hands behind his head, and stared up at the ceiling. M’allia. He decided it meant dear one, or in quiet whispers, lover. At least, that’s what it seemed like from the context. It almost sounded spanish. And that reminded him of the Mexican festival he and Liz had gone to last year. They’d had a wonderful time, sampling the spicy foods and dancing to the mariachi band. . . in fact, he had bought the cd, almost on impulse, because she liked dancing to the music so much. He got out of bed and went to his cd rack. Maybe he’d make her a copy of the cd, and they could dance to it together, he thought as he pulled the cd from the rack. He flipped it over, perusing the track list. That one, he noted mentally, and that one. . . those were the ones they’d liked the most. His eyes lingered on the contact information. "We’d like to spice up your life even more. Candlelit dinner or office party, call us for all your music needs." The number was in town. He had a great idea. . .




He put the cd on his desk. He would call in the morning. The florist, too. Liz liked roses. Satisfied with his plan, he walked back to his bed. He got in, pulled up the covers, and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.




<M’allia, carava rami! J’vallé arue.>




posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:46:50 AM by Etoiline




Part Six



Part Six




<Lover, come back to me! I need you.>




The phrase came to Liz as she got ready for bed. She shook her head ruefully at the thought that it might have come from Max. Of course they couldn’t communicate like that. Of course. But the feeling persisted as she brushed her teeth. And the more she thought about it, it seemed like that had been a translation of sorts, that Max had not said those words, but others, in another language. She shook her head again. She was letting her imagination run away from her. All this because of a silly dream! There had been some bad food at the cafeteria or something, that was the reason for the voices. She ignored the feeling she had remembered the conversation. It couldn’t be real, thus it had to be ignored.




She couldn’t help but send back her own feelings of sorrow and longing as she pulled the covers up to her chin, chagrined that she was giving in to such fancies. She pulled her teddy bear close, wishing it was Max. She squeezed her eyes shut to keep from crying, but was soon lost in a dream.


*****




He reached out to touch her arm. "This may be the last night I ever see you. Must you go so soon? It is not yet day. Stay but longer,
m’allia." He feathered a touch on her cheek.




Max reached across his pillow in his sleep, longing for the warmth that, in another lifetime, had once again left him for the sake of propriety and destiny.




He knew that a king could not, should not desire a peasant, yet he knew they were linked, even before the reven-daai. Once again she left him. And once again he woke to see he had been dreaming, seeing the blond hair spilling over the pillow, the one who tricked him, who had spun her web of lies, yet lead him to his soulmate.




Liz felt a hand brush her cheek and turned into the phantom caress, letting her body move in sleep as she could not allow it while awake.




"You know I cannot stay. She cannot know. I cannot allow the love we have in this life jeopardize what we may have in the next. You know they will kill you, not today or even this maurean, yet you know they will overthrow you. They are more powerful than you know. I cannot bear to know that they will erase your essence. But we are one. Soulmates. You see why I must leave you. They must not have us both." She lowered her eyes as a single tear escaped. "One of us must be left behind. It cannot be you."




His heart wrenched in his chest at her words. His
m’allia, ever the pragmatist. The only one who could move him from his silent dutifulness, to heights of passion no one, not even the skilled courtesan he was forced to call his wife, could ever match. But also the one with the words that, however he hated to hear them, reminded him of the truth.




She rose from the bed with silent steps, and looked back but once through the diaphanous bedcurtain. Her tears glistened in the light of a single candle, but she did not need the light to know that the king was weeping too.




Max’s pillow was wet when he woke in the middle of the night.


 


*****




Why can’t I have a happy dream about Max? thought Liz as she angrily wiped tears from her sleep-heavy eyes. We’re friends, not unrequited lovers! The little bit of self-delusion was not lost on her as she turned over, pulling the covers tighter around herself, determined not to dream about anything but happiness and world peace. And most certainly not a certain alien who seemed hell-bent on pulling her back into his world.




posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:47:24 AM by Etoiline




Part Seven



Part Seven



"Who is that girl?" I asked my bahrein.



"Which girl, sire? There are only hundreds here, vying for your hand, or at the very least, your protection." he said dryly.



"That one." I pointed. "Over there by the kitchen."



"With the blond hair? That is Lady a’Vere T’arin. She is actually one of those seeking a fiefdom, being betrothed already to the Baron a’Rosschil. He is with Marquis a’Brism, by the light-fountain. But a pretty one, to be sure. I shall endeavor to introduce you, milord." The girl in question glanced my way, smiling shyly before turning to her friend and giggling behind her hand.



My bahrein left my side without realizing I had been pointing at rather a different girl, a brunette standing just to the side of the kitchen portal, behind where Lady a’Vere had been standing. I saw now she had a much plainer dress than those around her. But the simple dress did not detract from her beauty; in fact, it enhanced it. I realized she must be a kitchen servant when she disappeared for a moment, only to reappear with a tray laden with sweetmeats. She walked towards the table closest to me; of course, the king must be served first. I moved to intercept her, only to be intercepted by my bahrein and Baron a’Rosschil.



"I am so pleased you have noticed my relessa, sire. I do hope this means you will be favorable to our petition for your protection?" the Baron asked, with a mixture of condesention and fear. Of course, he was worried that I would steal his betrothed from him, thus the sarcasm, yet he could not insult his king, young though I was, and on my coronation night.



"The royals have always been generous with our protection. And the Rosschil land shall, of course, be included." I let my mind wander as I performed my kingly duties, returning again and again to the servant girl’s face. I wanted her. And in my naiveté, I thought it would just be a dalliance. A king and a servant; how could there be love?



*****



"Your Majesty, the Baron a’Rosschil."



My barhein announced the baron as he opened the massive doors to the throne room, motioning said baron into my presence. He glanced, once and quickly, to my right where the queen’s empty throne stood. He thought he might be sereptitious, but I saw. I saw many things others wished I had not. And even things I wished I had not, such as that servant girl, the night of the ball. . . even now thoughts of her swirled in my head, a not unwelcome distraction. I shook my head imperceptibly as the baron began to speak. Time later to dream of the girl.



"Your Majesty, I wish to express my undying thanks that you have extended your courtesy and protection to the Rosschil lands, in this, your first year of coronation. My deepest sympathy for the death of your father; yet I am sure you shall continue his just rule . . ."



I waved a hand at him to continue. Banal condolences never failed to annoy me. Yes, my father was dead this last maurean, and yes, I grieved for him, but I did so in my own way and did not wish to be reminded of it by every simpering syncophant of the old regime. Sometimes I wish the old man had managed to find that scientist that prolonged life, just so I could continue my life as, if not a normal youngling, at least a princely one - and not a zitan. Everyone, even I, knew that I was terribly young to carry the coronel upon my brow.



". . . and I would hope, that with the protection you have so graciously provided to the Rosschil lands, that you would grant us the favor of a visit? We, that is, my relessa and I, have planned a spectacular event for the eve of our marriage, three weeks hence. . . we would be doubly honored by the august royal presence."



I blinked once, dispelling the image of the girl, before I could respond. "Hm, well of course the royal schedule must be consulted before we could commit to such a gathering. But rest assured we will take your request into account." I always felt silly using the royal "we", but my father had told me to always use it in official dealings, and I took all his words to heart.



"I thank you for the indulgence, messire. My relessa and I greatly hope my lord may attend. I shall look for your correspondence?" the baron said, almost wheedling.



"Yes, of course. You may go." With a wave of my hand, my bahrein once again opened the hall doors, and escorted the baron out.



"Yessul," I said to my bahrein when he returned, "what was the company that served at my coronation ball?"



"Sire?" he looked at me askance.



"The serving company. The food, drink, the tables? Surely you remember, Yessul, you always take care of these things."



"Ah, yes, Sire. That was Lari’ing’s company. She always provides for the royal feasts."



"Yessul, I want you to write to the baron a’Rosschil and recommend to him Lari’ing’s company for his wedding three weeks hence. And make sure you leave no doubt that I shall not attend unless he obtains her services. Oh, and write to Lari’ing and tell her she must make herself available to him - and she must not let any worker go until after that night."



So I was using the baron’s wedding as an excuse to meet the girl; what did I care for the baron or his relessa?



*****



 


"Milord, why do you not dance? Is the music not to your liking?" the baron’s voice jolted me from my fixed stare at the kitchen portal.



"Nay, dear Baron, simply the many things that weigh on our mind. I shall dance soon enough." With the girl, I hoped. She had not made an appearance, but surely Lari’ing was sufficiently obeyant to royal edict and kept the girl.



"Actually, Rosschil, we would like to inquire on the quality of the service tonight? We highly recommend the company." I said sweetly.



"Sire, the service couid not be better. We have never seen such-"



"We wish to tour the kitchens, Baron. We wish to see the company in action as we could not at our coronation. But we do not wish to make a fuss. Announce our retiring for a short while. We shall return, and your party shall not be much perturbed."



"As my Lord wishes. . ." he stammered, standing as I stood and motioning to the light-orchestra. As the music tinkled to a halt, I inclined my head and walked from the table, in the direction of the bedrooms. That hallway, however, connected to the kitchen so the heat from the ovens could be utilized. A clever construction, and most convienient for me.



I entered the kitchen silently, almost enjoying the moment when Lari’ing noticed me and immediately dropped to her knees, dragging on the skirt of the girl next to her. Who, in the moment before the girl bent her head, I saw to be the one I was after. As every other company member felt my presence and knelt in obeisance, I walked toward the girl, knelt myself, and said to Lari’ing, "This one, I take tonight. Ask no questions and answer none. I thank you for your service and rest assured I shall not forget your compliance," I said, looking deeply into Lari’ings eyes, until she realized the significance of what I had said, and not we. I took the girl’s hand, lifted her to her feet, and left the room silently as I had come.



posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:48:30 AM by Etoiline



Part Eight


Part Eight


 


"Sire, I
will not be your whore."



I was reasonably taken aback by this. No one had
spoken to me thus, ever, and I was unsure how to respond. I opened my mouth
to say some platitude, but for once my eloquence deserted me. But she surprised
me once more, reaching a hand to my face, then drawing a finger across the
coronel
near hidden in my hair.


"But you have been in my dreams, Sire. Only
if you are true to yourself and to me shall I consider this. I want your word,
your
cabien, or I shall kick and scream and bring your reputation down
with the walls of this room. And you know I do not lie."


I gazed down at this little girl, this slip of
a peasant, staring up at me with hands on hips and eyes blazing, and lost my
heart to her right there. She was something real in a world of pretense and
a whiff of true romance in a foul place. And I had yet to learn her name.


"The cabien, Sire. I will not, unless
you give me this protection."


"Demanding, aren’t you? Aye, lass, come
here. You shall have the
cabien, and be the only such graced since I
have worn the
coronel." I said it lightly, but there was a tremor
in my voice I could not control. It was true; she would be the first I had connected
with since I became the
Zitan. I would be sharing my life with a stranger,
a peasant, one whom I had just discovered could hold the key to my heart. I
felt justifiably afraid for a moment; then I touched her.


*****


"Zaria," I breathed. Perfect.
Her name, a match of mine.


"Sire?"


"You’re beautiful." The cabien
still raced in my blood, bringing an almost painful awareness of her to my senses.


"So you keep telling me, Zan."
I bristled for a moment at the use of my given name by a peasant, but I quickly
quenched that emotion. After that connection she was anything but a peasant.


I glanced out the window, and gasped. The moon
was high, which meant I had managed to sit mindlessly at the high table for
longer than I thought, or the connection had lasted too long. I had been lost
in her for quite some time.


"Zaria, I must leave you. I must return to
that boring table and be kingly. But do this one thing for me. You saw the private
entrance, did you not?" She nodded; the
cabien hid nothing. "Please,
find me,
m’allia. I must see you again." I grasped her hand
as I stood; her wet eyes almost stopped me, but I could not stay another moment.


*****


"Milord, I heard you were looking for me."


I turned to see Lady a’Vere. Hardly the one
I was longing for, but she mustn’t know that. As I looked into her eyes,
however, I realized how beautiful she was, how perfect an example of our species
she was, how the light scintillated off her blond hair. How her shape seemed
to be made to fit mine. I tried to fight the compulsion, to resist the desire
to kiss her, the baron’s own
relessa, knowing, even with my considerable
powers, this one was my match. My last horrified thought before she captured
me utterly was hers: why be a baroness when you can be a queen?


*****


Liz tossed in her sleep in revulsion, hardly able to bear
seeing through Max’s eyes, Zan’s eyes, as he was sucked into
T’arin’s/Tess’ lies. Every night, a new segment of this dream.
She could barely stay awake at school, and every night, before she could sleep,
Max had come by and called up to her as he tried to talk to her at school. She
knew he needed her, and deep down she knew why. But she also knew what
his destiny was supposed to be, even if in that past life Tess had been a traitor.
He made it so hard to be strong, but she knew she had to be. There was a reason
they were apart; she could feel the shadow of horrible things to come if they
screwed destiny.


But every night, she was subjected to another lie. She
saw T’arin’s insidious suggestions, the goading of the king who believed
he loved her and she loved him back. She saw the sham marriage as Lady a’Vere
became Lady a’Rosschil and the murmurs of power to gain if the baron were
to take on the king. She saw the first strike and the call to war. The king’s
first year bearing the coronel would be the only one of peace; he never
gave another ball. And Lari’ing’s company never served at the palace
again. The palace was guarded tightly as the war raged outside the walls; the
secret entrance was blocked at Rath’s suggestion. His own marriage to the
king’s sister was delayed as the king insisted on this costly war; costly
to the kingdom and the lives of those in it.




posted on 7-Jan-2002 2:49:01 AM by Etoiline



Part Nine. . .finis?


Part Nine . . . finis?


 Tuesday night. Liz still dreamed. She and
Maria and Alex would go on whatever strange road trip Maria had planned tomorrow,
but for now she dreamed.


 


Even as Max awoke from his own dreams of kingship, alternately
shivering from abhorrence or burning with desire, she dreamed. Even as he dressed
quickly in his haste to reach Liz, even as he ran to her balcony and called
up to her, as he climbed the fire escape and reached her window, she dreamed.
Putting a hand to the glass, he called her name in both hope and despair. "Liz.
. ."


 


She heard his voice, but not his words. She did not wake,
for she thought his voice spoke in her dreams, and in a way, it did. . .


 


"My lord, come inside."


 


Yessul parted the tent flap and laid a hand on my shoulder.
Ever concerned for my welfare, that one. Indeed, I had been sitting outside
the royal pavillion much longer than I realized. The last sun had gone down
some time before, I noted belatedly, and the evening fog was quickly descending.
I rose from my chair and followed Yessul into the pavillion, stopping abruptly
at the heavy scent assaulting my nose and the smoky dimness from the torches
.


 


"I. . . took the liberty of ordering some entertainment
for you tonight. I know this . . . war with the Baron is taxing upon you and
you needn’t have come to the battleground. With so little comfort here,
I thought you would desire a . . . companion." I saw the faintest tinge
of a blush reach Yessul’s cheeks as he quickly ducked out of the tent.


 


"Your Majesty. . . do you wish companionship?"
a breathy, yet familiar voice came to me, seeming to float along on the fragrant
smoke. A small laugh drew my eyes to the veils surrounding my sleeping area.
A negligent wave of my hand and they parted, revealing such a companion certainly
worthy of my adoration, was my heart not soley given to Lady T’arin. Indeed
just before my sojourn to the battlefield, I had wed to the lady, in the midst
of this silly war the baron concocted to discredit me. Aye, the lady herself
was the cause for the war
, but one look at her and any male could see
why.


 


"My Lord?" Again, that voice. So familiar.
Why had I heard the voice? And slowly, something inside me began to change,
something I had thought forever dedicated to one, something that I realized
was false. And as I knelt beside the girl among the silken bedsheets and gazed
at her face, I suddenly
remembered. And I broke the hold forever when
I said her name. . ."
Zaria."


"Zaria, I remember. She. . .T’arin. . .she
put me in
miindsket. She trapped a royal! She made me forget you and
wage this silly war against the baron and. . oh gods. . . Vilandra. . . I knew
something was happening with her but I could think of nothing but T’arin.
. .
vishu na Barak!" I sank even lower on the bed, clutching my
head in my hands. I would truly need the high god Barak’s aid in this.
I had let my kingdom go to ruin over a woman!


 


"Shh. My lord, this was the only way I could see
you. You closed the entrance-" I saw the gleam of tears before she turned
her head aside "-and I thought you did not want me. And you wed. . .her.
But I had to see you just once more-"


 


"M’ailia, it was good that you did.
Else this planet would be destroyed for the love- nay, the
false love
of a woman. Perhaps I
am too young for the coronel, to have
let myself fall prey to her
. But all will be well. I have you, now. Nothing
can part us.
Nothing." I spoke with the conviction of all my power
and my kingship, and the very air crackled with the force of it. I reached a
hand to her face, touching her lips with my thumb. As her lips parted, I felt
it- the intense need to be with her, what I had not felt since that night in
the baron’s backrooms. I pulled her close and kissed her, and felt the
blood rush to my face, and other parts. . .


 


CRASH!


 


"What was that? My lord, they are close!"
Zaria’s panicked cry startled me almost more than the noise outside had
done. But seconds later, Yessul strode in, carefully looking at the walls and
nowhere near the bed.


 


"My lord, you must leave. They are trying a night
attack, and the baron has
majises who can lift the fog for his troops
while obscuring the view for your soldiers. They cannot hold this line. You
must go back to the palace straightaway. I have ordered your steed here, and
an escort for your retreat. I will follow with your things-"


 


"Order one more steed. And a drykka for
this lady. She comes with me." At Yessul’s widened eyes, I stated,
more firmly, "The lady comes with me." Yessul nodded once, and disappeared
through the tent drapes.


 


"Hurry, lady. We have not much time. Put these
on. You will be as one of my
Drykkan, my sworn body soldiers. That way
there can be no speculation among either side and the Baron will think you just
another soldier. We cannot have him knowing my reason for leaving! Both our
reasons for war have just evaporated- I no longer want his woman! Hurry. I have
just found you and could not bear to lose you again,
m’ailia."


 


She undressed quickly, and just as quickly, but too
quickly for my desires, donned the men’s garments. There was hardly anything
one could do to disguise the beauty of her face, but the
drykkan helm
would have to serve.


 


"My lord, the drykka is here. We must go!"
Yessul shouted from outside the pavillion. I pulled Zaria from the bed, and
said, "You shall be safe, my lady."


 


She chuckled, and when I looked at her questioningly,
she said, "I am not a lady, sire, only a peasant. You know this, but when
you say it, I believe I could be. Even in this outfit. But, enough. Let us fly!"
And so we ran hand in hand to the waiting steeds and a
drykka was wrapped
about Zaria as well as myself. No watcher could perceive who was
zitan
and who was
drykkan.


 


And we did fly.


 


*****


Regret is such a terrible burden.


 


weeks later. . .


 


"Sister, what troubles you?"


 


"Nothing, my king, my . . . brother. Leave me
be."


 


And I had. So I had talked to my mother. I told her
everything. I knew something was bothering Vilandra, but I could not understand.
I thought perhaps my mother could. I thought ‘Landra would be happy with
Rath, and I left her alone. But it seems I should not have. And now the war
was far more than a silly one, fought only over a woman who desired more than
her means. Aye, the baron still fought, for I had kept the deceiver by my side
rather than give her to the enemy, but Khivar was at the gates of the kingdom,
held by fewer and fewer of my adherents every day.


 


My mother told me of the reven-daai. She told
me to find the one bit of happiness I could in these uncertain times, to connect
with this woman, become one with her, the one who had captured my heart so unerringly
that the sight of her could break a
miindsket. The reven-daai was
a ritual so old and rooted in myth that only the king’s historians had
accurate records of it. She had done it with my father, and she knew that he
was always with her because of it. And Barak knew, I desired that, to have Zaria
with me for all time.


 


And not a month before I left her to suffer in my total
absence, we performed the ritual. It was the last time we would be together
truly, for after that all we had were stolen moments behind closed doors. And
even the little time I had with her compromised my power, for soon after the
reven-daai, the Baron a’Rosschil recruited enough of my subjects
usurp the throne. He was able to to this in large part because no matter how
careful we had been, there is always some gossip or crone who finds the truth
and we had been found out. The resulting scandal allowed the baron enough leverage
over me and enough righteous anger at the throne that many joined him on principle.
Never mind the fact that Khivar was at work behind my sister. All my will was
focussed upon my soulmate. Soon all I had was Zaria, and finally she was left
alone.


 


*****


 


Liz woke, feeling sick at all she had lost. . . no, what
Zaria had lost. But in a way she had lost Zan, and to the very
same liar. But Liz knew Zaria had indeed lost even more than Liz herself had.
Zaria had to watch her love die. But in true scientific fashion, she had helped
him live, in essence, at least, as she sought out the scientist Zan had mentioned
at one of their clandestine meetings, the one who was trying to find a formula
to extend life. . . but instead of extending the life of her beloved, she helped
the scientist devise a way to send the life-essence of the royals, even the
royal deceiver’s, and send them to Earth, the far-away planet of exile.


 


It was almost as if Liz knew what Zaria did, how she kept
working through her tears, being strong for her soulmate. Liz felt Zaria’s
love for Zan, as powerful and forbidden as her own for Max. And Liz knew, if
Max came for her tonight, she would fall willingly into his arms and take him
back, and damn the consequences.


 


*****


 


Alas, Max did not come back that night, and she hardly
saw him at school. Their schedules were different that day, but there was one
point during passing time when he asked if he could stop by that night. Liz
told him about the random road trip Maria was adamant about them taking, relieved
not to have to lie or make up an excuse as to why she wouldn’t see him.
He accepted the reason remarkably well, and walked away with a small smile,
saying, "I’ll see you soon, then. I love you."


 


*****


 


"She lives her life based on her advice." Maria.


"And that’s supposed to be a recommendation?"
Alex.


 


Liz stared up at the glowing neon of the fortune teller’s
sign. She sighed, and followed her friends inside. After waiting for Alex and
Maria to learn their future, and fighting a totally unreasonable anxiety, it
was her turn. She felt like she was about to lose something, but what was there
to lose? Of course she and Max would be together. She unconciously knew it-
she’d had the experience of a past life, even if she could not conciously
admit it to herself.


 


But as she walked through the absurdly arched door into
Madame Vivian’s parlor, she shivered. When Madame Vivian gestured to a
chair, she hesitated. There was no reason for this, she told herself, stop being
childish. She sat down in a rickety chair across from the fortune teller, tucking
her feet beneath her.


 


"I need to see your palm, love. I always start a
session with a palm reading." Liz obediently stretched her hand across
the table.


 


A shock ran through Liz as their hands touched. She suddenly
felt dizzy, and then she felt a deep emptiness. Something she knew was gone,
but she did not know what.


 


"My, my, my. You had some powerful past-life memories
stored in you, child. I’m sorry, but to know your future you must give
up your past. I don’t know what you had, but you cannot know both your
past and future. I hope, for your sake, that your future will be happy."
Madame Vivian shook her head. Past-lives were always tricky. Sometimes a tatter
of the past remained, but most often all memories were swept away by the reading
of the future. She read Liz’s palm almost perfunctorily; the real reading
would come from the cards. The best reading, saved for last.


 


"This boy, he’s . . . different. . ."


 


Liz had forgetten. Somewhere, deep inside of her, a
voice echoed sadly, barely registering.


<I do this for you, m’aili. We are forever.>


 


Finis.


Now watch EOTW. Unless you're a dreamer. . . then read
Part Ten, coming soon.




posted on 7-Jan-2002 9:31:36 AM by Etoiline
Thanks for your input I'm very happy that you like it, Scifi. I plan on making an extra gushy dreamer part, at some point, but no guarantees when. My last semester of college just started, so we'll see what time I have!

luv, Etoiline