posted on 3-Feb-2002 8:46:11 PM by Mikyla
Hey everybody,

I was posting this story a long time ago on the old board, and I've been working on it, so I'm putting it back up here. Some of you have no doubt already read it, and if you have, there have been numerous changes to what I already had, and just hang with me until the new parts start coming out. Those of you reading this for the first time, enjoy.

Mikyla

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Feb-2002 2:13:44 AM ]
posted on 3-Feb-2002 8:49:27 PM by Mikyla
So Little Time

Author: Mikyla
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Only the storyline is mine. The characters belong to someone
else. Don't sue me.
Summary: M/L future fic. Max and Liz parted ways after Departure. 2 years
later Max gets a phone call.
Distribution: Ask and ye shall receive.
Feedback: Pretty please!!!

So Little Time

Chapter One

Max woke up with a persistent buzzing in his ear. He looked at the clock beside his bed and swore. 3.30am. He slapped his hand down an the phone and brought it to his ear, burying his head back in the pillow.
"This had better be very, very good."
"Max?"
He frowned, not immediately recognizing the tearful voice at the other end of the phone. "Who is this?"
"It… It's Maria," she whispered. "Maria Deluca."
Max almost chuckled when she said her last name, like he might have forgotten her in the two years he'd been away. "Is it Michael?" he asked instinctively. "Has Michael gotten himself in some trouble?"
"No!" Maria said quickly "Oh, no I'm sorry. Michael's fine. He's here with me."
Max sighed in relief. Maybe Michael had settled down a little since he'd moved in with Maria, but there were no guarantees. "Where are you?" he asked, rubbing his face tiredly.
"We're at the hospital," Maria said hesitantly, her voice catching. "All of us. Me, Michael, Isabel, Kyle...."
There was one name missing from the list, the one name Max always listened for, and he sat up slowly in the bed. "Where's Liz?"
The silence screamed over the line.
"Maria?" Max said hoarsely, a lump of dread beginning to form in his stomach. "Where's Liz?"
"She's here too," Maria whispered.
Max heaved a huge sigh. "Thank God. So, who's in hospital?"
He heard Maria start crying again, and heard her pass the phone to someone
else. "Hey, Maxwell," Michael said, his voice heavy.
"What the hell is going on, Michael?" Max said impatiently. "Why are you all at the hospital? Who's in there?"
"Max, we're all AT the hospital," Michael said slowly.
"Yes, we've established that."
"Max just shut up!" Michael snapped. "Liz isn't at the hospital Max. She's in it. That's what Maria meant when she said she was here."
Max frowned in helpless confusion. "What… what's wrong?"
"We're not sure," Michael admitted. "We're waiting for the doctor. We were all at the Crashdown when Liz collapsed. You'd better get back here."
Max got out of bed. "I can be there in two hours. I'm taking my cell phone.
Call me the minute you find out anything."
"I will," Michael promised.
Max hung up the phone and jumped out of bed, pulling on pants and a shirt with one hand while he threw things in an overnight bag with the other. He knew panic was taking over, the same way he knew there was nothing he could do about it.
Every day he battled the guilt he felt at leaving Liz to try and find out how to get to his son. Every time he brought it up, when he could get her on the phone, she told him he was only doing what he needed to do and she understood. Trouble was he didn't. Cutting off his musings, he ran through the house, collecting his keys and anything else he thought he might need. He threw everything into the trunk of his car and jumped in.

When he was on the road he went back to thinking about things. Everything had happened so quickly after Tess had left for Antar. When the dust had cleared, all Max could think about was mending things with Liz. Finding out why she had lied to him about Kyle, and asking her to forgive him for Tess. The best laid plans, he thought with a grimace. He had also immediately begun the search for his son, and before too long he had realized he wouldn't find him by looking only in Roswell.
He been traveling whenever he could, without arousing suspicion, ever since. He spent most weekends out of town, so it had taken him a while, but one day about 3 months after Tess left, he realized Liz was avoiding him. He'd tried for a long time to confront her about it, but he'd stopped when he realized he was in very real danger of losing any relationship he had with her.
His cell phone rang and he answered it quickly. "What's going on?"
"Max it's me. Isabel."
He could hear Maria talking urgently in the background and he tried to hear
what she was saying. "What did the doctor say?"
"Are you on the road?"
"Isabel...," he said warningly.
"If you're driving I want you to stop, Max," she said firmly. "I want you to pull over. I mean it."
Max considered lying to her but, in the end, decided to do as he was told. He
found a spot and stopped the car. "Alright, I'm off the road. Now just tell me what the hell is going on."
Isabel took a deep breath. "The doctor spoke to Liz's parents, and they came
and spoke to us. It's not good, Max."
"Meaning...?"
"Liz has been sick for a while. She didn't tell anybody. We didn't know, Max. If we had, I swear we would have told you."
"I know that, Isabel," he said reassuringly. "I know you would have."
"I don't... I don't know how to tell you this," Isabel whispered, and Max was
astonished to hear the catch in her voice, and realize she was crying.
"Isabel, please," Max said, begging. "I need to know."
He heard her take another deep breath, as if to steady herself, then her voice came quietly through the line. "Just before everything happened with Tess, Liz was complaining of a sore throat. I told her to go to the doctors and she told me she would. When she never mentioned it again I assumed it was nothing and she never told me otherwise. She never said anything to anyone, not Maria, not her parents, no one, Max."
Max swallowed against the nausea churning in his stomach. "But something is wrong."
"The doctor's found a lump in her throat."
Max closed his eyes and opened them again, halfheartedly hoping that when he did he'd be back in his room and this would all have been a bad dream. He stared into the dark of the long road ahead of him. "What is it?"
"She has lymphoma Max," Isabel whispered. "Cancer. She never told anybody... she just... she never told anybody."
"She's not.." Max said helplessly. "I mean is she...?"
"She's dying Max," Isabel sobbed out. "She's dying."
Panic, disbelief, anger, grief, all roared through his body like fire, and Max threw open the car door, vomiting on the side of the road.


Michael stood staring out the window, his back to Liz, who lay on the bed
sleeping. He had asked to be able to see her, and he had asked if he could go in alone. Thoughts were running around in his head but not coming together to form any coherency. His mind kept going to back to Alex, how they had all suffered when he died. He couldn't help thinking this was different. With Alex it was sudden. No one had to deal with the gut-wrenching knowledge that he was going to die before it had happened. And he also decided this was worse. He turned around to face the bed, walking over and taking Liz's hand gently in his. He didn't know what to say, what to do to help her. So he waited.
He didn't have to wait long. He heard a commotion in the hallway, and he
didn't bother to look up when the door opened. He simply continued to watch the steady rise and fall of Liz's chest, continued to marvel at how much she had come to mean to him. He hadn't known how much until now.
He saw Max take her other hand, and he finally looked up. Max looked into his eyes and shook his head. "I've gone through it a thousand times while I was driving here, don't think I haven't," Max said. "Don't ask me."
"You saved her life once before, Max," Michael reminded him. "Without our
permission. Now I'm begging you. You are the only one of us who can do this. Heal her."
Max shook his head, and laid it on her hand where it rested on the bed. Michael blinked back his own tears when he heard Max begin to cry.
"I can't."

To Be Continued...

Feedback please guys. Thanks for reading *happy*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Feb-2002 4:12:47 PM ]
posted on 5-Feb-2002 4:09:54 PM by Mikyla
Chapter Two

Maria paced the small room, waiting for Michael to come out. When he did she walked over to him quickly. "Well? Did you ask him?"
Michael frowned at her. There were times when she knew him too well, and the thought never made him very comfortable. "Ask him what?"
"Don't give me that. You know what. Is he going to help her?"
Michael took her arm and led her away from the rest of the group. He met Isabel's gaze over Maria's head and smiled sadly at the understanding in her eyes. She knew Max couldn't help. He pushed Maria down into a chair and sat down beside her. "Maria, you know Max would do anything to make Liz well," Michael said gently.
"So he's doing it?" Maria said hopefully. "He's in there healing her."
"No Maria, he's not."
Maria frowned. "Why not? Doesn't he realize how serious this is? She's dying, Michael! Does he know she's dying?"
"He knows, Maria," Michael said firmly. "There's nothing he can do."
"That's bullshit!" Maria cried, jumping out of her chair and storming towards Liz's room. Michael swore and went after her when he realized what she was doing, but he didn't get to her fast enough. She stalked into the room and he hurried to close the door behind her.
"Max, I want to know what the hell you think you're doing!" she said loudly. "You have to help her."
Max looked up and Maria's jaw dropped. He looked half dead.
"Jesus Christ, Max," Michael growled, going over and pulling his hand away
from Liz.
"I thought... I thought if I just tried," Max said helplessly. "I had to try."
"Once," Michael snapped. "You had to try once. Not nearly kill yourself trying to heal someone who isn't going to get better."
Max said nothing, just shook his head and laid it on the bed again. Maria lay her hand on his shoulder and gently stroked, watching Liz. "Why isn't it working?" she asked.
"There are a lot of times when I can't do anything," Max said hoarsely. "I couldn't heal Alex because he was already dead. I can't heal Liz this time
because..." He paused, frowning as he tried to think of what to say, how to explain. "I know you're thinking because I saved all those kids, I should be able to do it again. But the human body changes as it gets older. Becomes more resistant to things. And cancers are different. What I do, changing the molecular structure of thing, it doesn't always work. Something's in Liz's body and I can't get rid of it."
Maria thought desperately for a moment. "What about the healing stones? They worked for Michael. Maybe..."
"I'm an alien, Maria."
"This isn't something I tend to forget, Michael," Maria snapped.
"We'll try -- you know we will -- but, as far as we know, the healing stones only work on aliens."
Maria sighed, then nodded.
"I'm sorry," Max whispered, reaching up and covering her hand.
"I have a big fat mouth," Maria told him, sorry she'd yelled at him. "Ignore
me."
Unbelievably, Max heard himself give a weak chuckle. "Don't worry. I always do."
"How rude," Maria said mildly. "You weren't supposed to agree with me."
"Max?"
Maria gasped, and Max's head shot up off the bed. Liz opened her eyes slowly and looked around the room. The first person she spotted was Maria. "Oh-oh."
"You bet your ass… oh-oh," Maria said severely. "Would you care to explain to me why you kept this a secret? I'm your best friend, Liz. I should have been the first to know."
"At this point I seriously doubt any explanation is going to be good enough," Liz said tiredly. "So can we save this conversation for another night?"
Maria battled back her hurt feelings and smiled. "Ok. But only cause you're
sick and all."
Liz spotted Michael standing in the corner of the room and smiled. "Hey."
Michael walked up behind Maria and slowly turned her around, stopping to
kiss Liz on the forehead. "We'll get out of your hair. There are a couple of
people waiting to see you outside, though, so no funny stuff."
"Michael, I'm in a hospital," Liz reminded him.
Michael flashed a grin from the doorway. "It wouldn't stop me."
The door closed on Maria telling him what a pervert he was. Liz finally looked at Max, and a soft smile curved her lips.
Max smiled back. "You could have just called," he joked. "You didn't have to get thrown in hospital to make me come home."
Liz shrugged. "I missed you. I figured this was as good a way as any..."
She trailed off, and Max watched her smile fade. "I could feel you...," she
whispered.
Max frowned. "Feel me?"
Liz nodded, frowning as she tried to think of how to explain. "Just before, trying to heal me. I could feel you... I don't know, moving stuff around. I felt it the day of the shooting too, but with everything that came afterwards I just forgot." She lay her hand on his cheek gently and shook her head. "It won't work, but I love that you tried."
"You expected me not to?" Max asked.
Liz's eyes widened, and she couldn't think of anything to say.
"What's happened to us, Liz?" Max whispered, running his hand gently over her hair. "I'd like tobelieve this is the only reason you've been avoiding me,
bt it's not."
Liz sighed fretfully rubbing her forehead. "I don't want to talk about this now, Max."
Max stood up and paced the room, frustrated. "What the hell is it, Liz? Is it still Tess? You know she's gone..."
When Liz had decided on her plan, she hadn't realized it was going to be this hard. But she had to do it, for both of their sakes. "And so... what?" Liz snapped. "Everything goes back to the way it was? You have a son somewhere out there, Max, a son you have to find..."
"You're always telling me you're okay with it," Max told her.
"That's not it, Max!" Liz yelled. "That was never it. You can bunny hop all
over the universe looking for him, I don't care. But you will do it without me. Everything you ever do will be without me."
Max stopped, staring down at her. "What are you talking about?"
Liz looked away from him, unable to meet his eyes. "I know not all of this is your fault, Max. I lied to you about Kyle, and kept lying to you."
"You know I'm willing to forget all that," Max told her. "I've never asked you for an explanation."
"I know. And maybe I could forget about it too. Forget about you and Tess.
God knows I've certainly tried."
"Then what is it?"
Liz finally looked at him. "I'll never, for as long as I live, forgive you."

"I'm not sure we should be letting her do this," Isabel said to Michael, looking over to make sure Maria couldn't hear them. "What if Max doesn't
understand?"
"This is what Liz wants," Michael reminded her. "And she didn't have to tell us about it. She wants us to make sure Max is okay."
"How is he supposed to be okay?" Isabel whispered. "You know how he feels about her. This is going to destroy him."
"And the alternative?" Michael said harshly. "Through everything that happened with Kyle, thinking Liz had slept with him, and through all the stuff with Tess, he still loved her, Isabel. If they start everything up again, and then she dies, I don't think Max will survive. Liz wants him to walk away from her before that happens. She's not getting the sweet end of the deal here, remember. She has to spend whatever time she has left alone."
Isabel opened her mouth to speak again, but closed it when Max walked out of Liz's room. She rushed over. "Are you okay?"
Max looked up, and Isabel was surprised to see determination, not devastation, in his eyes. "I don't know what the hell just happened in there, but I think Liz expects me to just swallow everything she just said, and go back to searching for my son."
"You need to find him, Max," Isabel reminded him.
"I'm not leaving," Max said flatly. "You can tell her when you go in to see
her."
Isabel watched him stalk off down the hallway, and she couldn't help the pleased smile that curved her lips. She looked over at Michael, who stood frowning, and stuck out her tongue at him. "It's like you said. In spite of
everything, he still loves her."
Michael shook his head. "And in the end? When, despite all his powers, he can only hold her hand. Is it going to be enough?"
Isabel shrugged. "It's going to have to be."

To Be Continued...

Thanks for all the feedback everyone
posted on 9-Feb-2002 2:11:07 AM by Mikyla
Chapter Three

Liz was finally allowed out of hospital a week later. She stood packing her bag, and didn't turn around when the door opened. "I'll be ready in just a second, Dad."
"That's okay, honey," Max said behind her. "Take your time."
Liz sighed angrily and shook her head. The plan that had seemed such a great idea all this time had gone up in smoke simply because Max refused to listen to her. "How many times do I have to tell you I don't want to see you?" she said coldly.
"I told your Dad I'd pick you up," he told her, ignoring what she'd said the same way he'd ignored it every other time she'd said it. "He wasn't too happy about it, but things are really hectic at the Crashdown, and your Mom has gone shopping for a new something machine."
"Milkshake," Liz told him.
"No, thanks, I've just eaten," Max joked.
Liz grimly fought back the smile threatening to break. "You're not funny."
"Sure I am," he said easily. "You just don't appreciate my comedic talent."
She turned around and glared at him. "Max, please just go away. I'm tired of
asking you..."
"And I'm tired of hearing it," he shot back. "So give up."
He pushed the wheelchair he'd brought in front of her, and gestured to the
seat. "Your carriage awaits."
Liz stared bad temperedly down at the wheelchair. "I can walk."
"You're not allowed to do that. Don't you watch ER?"
Liz sighed and sat down in the wheelchair. "Fine. I can't stop you from
pushing me out of the hospital..."
"Or off a balcony," Max murmured.
"But when I get home I want you to go."
Max heaved a huge sigh. "You know, Liz, if I didn't know you so well, this
bitch act might actually fool me. But I do know you. And I know what you're doing."
Liz closed her eyes against the sting of tears. "I'm not trying to do anything but make you leave me alone. Why can't you just listen to me?"
Max said nothing as he wheeled her out the doors of the hospital. When they
got to the car, Liz stood up slowly and waited patiently for Max to stuff her bag in the trunk. He came around and unlocked her door, opened it, then
surprised Liz by bending down and swinging her into his arms.
"What are you doing?" she squeaked.
"Putting you in the car," Max told her, doing exactly that. "We don't want
you tiring yourself out."
"Getting into a car is not going to tire me out, Max," Liz said primly, then
sucked in her breath when he leaned over her. "What the hell are you doing
now?"
Max grinned at her discomfort and kissed her quickly. "I'm putting your
seatbelt on. I would have thought that would have been obvious."
"Ok, there is to be absolutely no kissing of any kind," Liz said firmly.
Max just laughed. "Are you actually listening to yourself? You sound
ridiculous."
Liz knew he was right, so she pressed her lips together and settled for glaring at him. She kept it up until he started the car, then she deliberately turned her head and stared out the window.
"So what happens now?" Max asked. "I assume you're going to get some kind of treatment?"
Liz remained silent. Max sighed. "Fine, don't talk to me. I'll just sing to fill the silence."
Liz's eyes widened. Max's voice wasn't ear-shattering, but it wasn't something she wanted to listen to the whole drive home either. When he
started singing the song he'd serenaded her with so long ago, she broke.
"Chemotherapy!" she yelled. "I'm having chemotherapy. Now for Christ's sake stop singing!"
Max smiled at her even as he acknowledged the pain that shafted through him. He was almost getting used to the feeling. "When's your first appointment?"
"Next Monday," Liz told him. "Why? Are you going to come and watch?"
"Not just watch," he said quietly. "I can help."
"We've already been through this..."
"I didn't say I was going to try and heal you again, Liz," Max interrupted. "I just said I could help. Maybe, given time, I might be able to do more. My powers are always changing, I don't know what I'll be capable of six months from now. But for the time being I'll do what I can."
Liz looked over at him, wondering if she had six months left, but she didn't
say it aloud. What she was doing was hurting him, she knew it, and it didn't
make her feel any better telling herself it was for his own good. "Okay," she said quietly, throwing her plan to the wind.
"Okay what?" Max said suspiciously.
"You can come to my chemo appointment," she said, smiling.
Max took his eyes off the road to look at her, then turned back. "Good."

***

Maria stretched up and pinned the corner of the banner into place.
"She's only been gone a week," Michael whined. "Don't you think you're going a little overboard?"
"You don't want to know where that pin is going to end up if you don't use
it to hang up my sign," she warned.
Michael heaved a beleaguered sign and climbed up the ladder. "If I fall off
here you're going to feel so guilty."
"No, I won't," Maria assured him breezily.
Muttering under his breath, he pinned the last corner into place, got off the ladder, and stomped off to put it back where they'd got it. Maria grinned at his back before turning her attention back to the sign. She eyed it critically.
"It looks fine," Michael told her. "And even if it didn't, I'm not going back up there to fix it."
"I just want Liz's homecoming to be a little bit special," Maria said testily.
Michael looked around the room dubiously. Everything was pink, and the roof seemed to have exploded with balloons. "A little special. The room looks like it's been sprayed with calamine lotion."
"Pink is a very upbeat color," Maria said, slapping him.
"All you need is drums and you've got Mardi Gras."
Maria spun around when Max's car pulled up. "Ok, shut up. She's home."
Max got out of the car and ran around to help her out. Liz smiled when Maria came running out.
"Hey, babe," Maria said with a huge smile.
Liz got out of the car slowly, smiling at Max. "I'll be fine now."
"I'll get you inside," he told her.
Maria put a supporting arm around her and ushered her inside. Liz got a good look at the room and nearly tipped over backwards. "Good Lord."
Maria laughed. "Welcome home."
Liz looked at Max helplessly, but he just shrugged. "Aaahh, it looks great,
Maria. Thanks."
"You're welcome," Maria said happily. She spun on Michael. "See? I told you it wasn't too much."
Michael rolled his eyes, walking up to Liz to give her a careful hug. "I told her it looked like the room had been sprayed with calamine lotion."
Liz put her lips next to his ear. "I was going to go with pepto bismol."
Michael snorted with laughter, covering it up by coughing. Maria looked at
him suspiciously, but said nothing.
"I'll just go and get your Dad," Max murmured, still looking around the room in apparent wonder.
Liz nodded, and watched as Max left, Michael following him.
"So," Maria said sternly. "Now seems like the perfect opportunity to explain
to me why I only found out about all this a week ago."
Liz sighed. "Maria, no one found out until last week. Not even my parents. I
just didn't want to tell anyone."
"Why?"
Liz shrugged. "I thought I could just get through it on my own."
"This isn't something you should have even contemplated going through on
your own. We all deserved to know."
"I made a mistake, Maria, I admit that now. But I'm not going to spend
whatever time I have left apologizing. I made a decision. It was the wrong
one, and I fixed it. You're just going to have to forgive me."
Maria nodded, throwing her arms around Liz and hugging her close. Liz
stroked her hair. "I'm okay. Don't worry. I'm alright now."
Maria would have scolded her for the blatant lie if she didn't need them so
badly. She blinked back the flood of tears that had been threatening since
she found out, and hugged Liz closer, as if she could somehow keep her here, keep her alive, just with that. When they'd lost Alex, it had hurt, but this was going to be worse. This time they would all watch it coming, and they had nowhere to run from it. Her best friend in the world was going to die. And Maria didn't know what she was going to do.