posted on 16-Sep-2001 7:52:56 AM by LivE
TITLE: All for You
AUTHOR: LivE
E-MAIL: lieselvw⊕mweb.co.za
RATING: Will vary, PG for now
CATEGORY: M/L
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing related to Roswell, only a vivid imagination…
SUMMARY: Khivar is basically in control of earth (as part of a war he is waging against the Antar Royal Family) after convincing earth authorities that he was their savior and would protect them against the aggression of Antarian efforts to colonize earth. Humans that have tried to cross him are being kept in secret prison camps. An underground human resistance movement has started, but there are also humans who have chosen to work with Khivar (like Liz and Alex). Max and Michael have managed to escape earth and are living in a space ship at the moment, on the run from Khivar. Isabel has been caught by Khivar and Max has to act to get her back. (None of the 6 knew each other before apart from Max and Isabel.)
DISTRIBUTION: Only here and on Faith's site - I SHALL BELIEVE, please.


Author's Note: First off, this is NOT the Belle/Luca fic - sorry. Secondly, I am VERY fragile about Roswell and M/L still, so I cannot promise that this fic will ever be finished, but I'm going to try. I have been sending this out on e-mail to interested people, but the list has become so long, I decided I might as well post it. Thank you to all those that mailed me and left notes on the board missing me. It meant a lot!!

All the parts will be on this thread.


ALL FOR YOU


Chapter 1


They had drugged her. She was drifting between oblivion and consciousness… and she was cold.

“Why isn’t she waking up?” The voice was incredibly soft. Smooth like honey. Tugging at her memory.

“How the hell should I know? Do I look like a doctor to you?” An impatient voice. Where was she?

“She’s shivering, put a blanket over her…” The beautiful voice again, now filled with concern.

“She’s the enemy, Maxwell. Remember that.”

A long silence.

“Just do what I said.” The honey voice had an edge now. A minute later she was covered with something warm. Where was Alex?

Oblivion came to claim her again.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max Evans stomped through the ship, scattering people in his wake. She was just as mesmerizingly beautiful as when he had first met her. Just seeing her made longing and desire rip through his gut. A longing for things he would never have. Desire for things he could never have. Should never have.

She was working for his enemy.

Khivar.

Khivar who had conned gullible humans into letting him take charge of earth.

And Max had abducted her because of that.

He hated this. He hated the things he was forced to do because this was war. He had grown up on earth, as normally as an alien-human hybrid could, but Khivar’s arrival had changed all that.

It had been a day like any other during summer holidays three years ago. He had been preparing to return to college with his sister Isabel. His parents had been at the office. Then, the television and radio signals went dead. Static had filled the air for long minutes before pictures and sound returned. Only, all the channels had broadcast the same thing. Earth was under threat from another planet called Antar. However, just in time, a savior by the name of Khivar had come to earth to assist humans in protecting themselves against any Antarian aggression. Khivar and earth governments had been in secret negotiations for a while now and have come to an agreement that they would work together against this alien invasion. The population was warned that there were already some Antarians living on earth, trying to colonize the planet. Khivar had announced that all Antarians living on earth should surrender themselves to human authorities or face being hunted by both human security forces and Khivar’s army.

And Max had known. Khivar had finally come for him and Izzy.

Their parents had known this day would come too. They had known, but they hadn’t been prepared for it to be so soon. Their earth parents, Philip and Diane Evans, had been found and prepared by the Antarian Royal Family to care for Max and Isabel. To keep them safe until the situation was under control on Antar and their people could come and find them. The Evans’ had helped their son and daughter’s protector, Doran, train them for the day they would need to fight to stay alive.

As soon as Khivar’s broadcast had ended on that fateful day, Max and Isabel had left a letter to the Evans’, thanking them for their love and kindness.

And had fled into the desert.

A year later, they were joined by Michael Guerin, a soldier from Antar.

Michael had led a group that had secretly followed Khivar to earth to ascertain his activities and had realized the danger to their Prince and Princess when they found Khivar on earth. The ship they came in had been carefully hidden behind the moon and cloaked to ensure that Khivar remained oblivious to its presence. Communications with Antar were cut off to maintain security. Michael had taken a small group from the ship to earth and, after finding Max and Isabel gone from their home in Roswell, waited in Albuquerque for a sign that the Prince and Princess of Antar were still alive.

Max and Isabel had been living in a small camp in the desert for a year when Doran had finally managed to make contact with Michael’s group. Doran had disappeared from the camp every month to find supplies and to keep in touch with developments in the rest of the world and had found a small pocket of the human resistance movement in Albuquerque that provided him with both. Through them, he had met Michael. And a few months later, after carefully making sure that Michael had been who he said he was, Doran arranged a meeting between Max and Michael on a warm day in a remote spot in the desert of New Mexico.

A King and his second, meeting for the first time in this lifetime. Two very different men, who had respected each other immediately.

They had set up a new camp in another spot in the desert. Far away from Roswell, where Max and Iz grew up, and far away from Albuquerque, where Michael had spent his time on earth. When he came to the camp, Michael not only brought with him his group of Antarian soldiers, but also a human girl he had gotten involved with while living in Albuquerque. Maria DeLuca. She was a spitfire. She hated Khivar. And she was perfect for Michael.

She had also educated Max about the human resistance and the fact that there were humans that didn’t believe the lies Khivar had told the authorities. Humans that had seen the secret prison camps where Khivar kept the humans and aliens who crossed him. A resistance that was led by a mystical leader, called André, whom nobody seemed to know anything about.

As for the rest of humanity, they lived blithely on. Trusting their leaders to know right from wrong and to ensure that they could sleep safely in their beds at night. Waiting breathlessly for each new and wonderful invention Khivar helped earth to accomplish.

Staring out the window at the dark side of the moon, Max clenched his hands into fists. What was wrong with these humans? How could they just accept Khivar’s word? That tiny girl with the impossibly gorgeous hair lying in the cell behind his back was one of Them. One of the humans working for Khivar. Working against Antar and, most of all, against their own race. Even if she didn’t know it…

They had found Liz while trying to find out what Khivar had done with Iz. Isabel had disappeared during a mission a few weeks ago, sending the Antarian group into complete panic. Max had calmed down enough to order another mission, one he went on himself. One where they found out Khivar actually had human scientists working in his prison camps. And they had found the most brilliant of those scientists. Liz Parker. She worked in the inner sanctum, reporting to Khivar himself.

Now they had her. And she would tell them where Isabel was.

And Max would keep reminding himself that those beautiful doe eyes belonged to a woman who was working for his enemy and try to forget that he had gotten way too close to her during those short three weeks he spent on earth…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Maria tucked the blanket tighter around Liz and stared down at her sleeping face. This girl was a killer? A heartless scientist working with Khivar on horrible experiments? It seemed too incongruous. The girl looked so… innocent, helpless even, as she lay on the bed in her cell. Her dark hair spilled over the pillow and her one hand was curled under her cheek. Glancing up at the one-way mirror that took up one wall of the cell, Maria wondered if Max was there, watching this girl like he’s done ever since she’s been brought onto the ship. Liz had been unconscious the whole time, drugged by Max’s team as part of her capture, so Maria had not really had a chance to form a conclusive opinion on the girl that caused such an intense reaction with the Antarian Prince.

Carefully keeping her face blank in case Max was behind the glass, she looked at Liz again. Max hadn’t said much about the three weeks he and a team had spent looking for a way to gain access to the prison camp where they suspected Khivar was keeping Isabel. All she knew was that he had met Liz during this time and had apparently been knocked side-ways by the tiny girl. He had personally overseen Liz’s transport from earth to the ship and from the shuttle to her cell and had proceeded to give Michael a hard time about how the prisoner should be treated while on board.

Michael had not been impressed with what he termed Max’s obsession with ‘a lackey of their enemy’.

Maria has never seen Max Evans get like this about a girl in the two years she’s known him. He was a calm introvert who had spent his 22 years keeping to himself, only allowing his sister close. He’s never had romantic entanglements of any kind, not even indulging in meaningless one-night stands, according to Isabel. How he had managed to get through high school, looking like he did, without contracting some form of a girlfriend, was a mystery to Maria. But loneliness followed Max like a dark cloud and she had gotten to know him well enough to realize that he was an incredibly sensitive person who felt deeply about things and people. However, his whole life had been about being groomed to take over the throne on Antar one day and in spite of how much he wanted a normal life on earth, he would never have it. In Max’s code of honor book, that meant not getting involved with a girl since he had no rosy future to offer. Maria had seen the envy he tried so hard to hide when he looked at her and Michael sometimes and her heart ached for him. Ached for how alone he was and that he intended to never shower the intense love he was capable of feeling on another being.

That was until Liz Parker arrived on the scene. Even in her unconscious condition, she sent Max into a tailspin. He apparently couldn’t stay away from her cell with the best will in the universe. In the nearly 24 hours she’s been peacefully sleeping the drugs off, Max had worn a groove in the floor of the observation room next to the cell. He never went inside the cell, though, something else that puzzled Maria.

Bending down to smooth the blanket once more, Maria heard Liz whimper softly. A name. Mark. Then another name. Alex. Hmmm, this was interesting. Making a mental note to tell Michael about it, Maria finally tore herself away from the only other true human on board. How she wished circumstances could have been different. That Liz could have turned out to be a friend she could talk to about how crazy her life had become ever since she joined the resistance and got involved with an alien.

Wow, life was really weird lately.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

She shouldn’t be doing this. Kissing him. Again. Liz heard herself whimper, a small helpless sound breaking from the back of her throat. His mouth was insistent, hard, his tongue moving against hers in a possessive stamp of ownership that echoed through her body and obliterated the possibility of her ever being with anyone else but him like this again. Ripples of complete ecstasy raced through her veins as his hands molded her closer, curling around the cheeks of her bottom, pressing her into the arousal she had caused.

Her nails raked across his back, scraping his skin even through his shirt. He tore his mouth away from hers, throwing his head back as a groan was ripped from him. “Oh God, Liz!”

The sound of her name falling from his lips, his voice ragged and hoarse, made her head spin.

It was just a kiss. But it was so much more.

He was marking her as his own. She would never be the same again.

This was so wrong.

“Mark…”


TBC


[ edited 33time(s), last at 1-Mar-2002 9:52:23 AM ]
posted on 17-Sep-2001 11:19:00 PM by LivE
AUTHOR'S NOTE:: Wow, I am OVERWHELMED by the response. Thank you so much for all the kind words.
Secondly, I KNOW you all will have a lot of questions. And they will just get more as we go along. Hang in there, all will be revealed eventually.


Chapter 2

“Why hasn’t she woken up yet?” Max had taken only a few seconds to recover from his embarrassment at bumping into Maria when she exited Liz’s cell. He was starting to get frantic now, Liz has been unconscious for a long time, surely this was not normal?

“Breathe, Space King!” Maria patted his chest soothingly, still amazed at how unsettled Max has been ever since Liz came on board. “I’m only a nurse, but I’m guessing she was exhausted even before you drugged her.” She noticed Max winced at the last part. “Her body is probably recuperating from a lot more that the trip over to the ship.”

Running his hands through his hair in agitation, Max cast a distressed look at the door of the cell. “I just…” he trailed off, sounding lost.

Another tug at Maria’s soft heart. “Why don’t you go in there and—”

“No!” He took a deep breath and a step back, still staring at the door. “No,” he repeated, this time softly. “I don’t… want her to see me… yet.”

“Max, what happened between the two of you down—”

He turned away abruptly, cutting off Maria’s brave attempt to find clues to the puzzle that was Max and Liz.

“We need to find Isabel so we can go back to Antar while Khivar is still occupied on earth. Just tell Michael to find out what she knows.” Whirling back after a few paces, his voice was stern. “And not to hurt her.”

“Max.” But he had hurried off. Maria was starting to wish Liz would wake up too so she could enlighten all of them on what had transpired between her and Max. Turning around, she spied one of the men that had been in Max’s team on earth who helped find Liz. “Hey Dave! Wait up!” Maybe she can find some answers from a different source in the meantime.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Pacing in the cell, Michael cursed under his breath for the umpteenth time. Max won’t allow him to wake up the traitorous girl the hard way, and now he had to hang around and wait for Sleeping Beauty to wake naturally. If Max weren’t his Prince, he would have kicked his ass. Sure, the girl was cute in a girl-next-door kind of way, but in Michael’s opinion that should not be enough to send a guy down the deep end.

But it was true anyway, Max was obsessed with this woman, and he was making everyone else suffer the consequences. If Maria hadn’t so quickly captivated him too, Michael would have questioned the fact that it took Max all of three weeks to fall for this girl. Sighing deeply, Michael settled himself in a chair opposite the bed. It was a pity Isabel was missing, now they didn’t have someone that can search a person’s unconscious. Michael was really interested in finding out what this Liz was thinking, feeling and dreaming. It would take them a long way towards understanding what moved a normal human being into becoming a monster.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Alex! Lord, you scared me!”

He was grinning at her, pleased to have gotten one over on her. “So, how is our latest experiment going?”

“Good, we’d be ready to go in about a day more.”

“Geesh, Liz…” He scratched his head in that endearing Alex-way of his.

“What?” She was afraid she would know what he was going to say.

“Just… Sometimes I wonder if we’re…”

“Doing the right thing?”

He stared at her for a long time and then shook his head as if clearing himself of his doubts deliberately. “No. No, we’re doing the right thing.”

“Yes, we are,” Liz answered firmly. “You know this is the only way for us to ensure humanity’s survival. Our survival. We talked about this before we got involved, Alex.” She was wringing her hands, silently praying that Alex’s momentary bout of uncertainty was a passing thing. Praying that he wouldn’t leave her alone on this road that she’s chosen to walk. A road that has brought many surprises and a lot of shocks, but one that Liz ultimately believed was the right one. Even if a lot of her fellow humans would disagree.

And now, after her life had gone spinning into craziness last night, she needed Alex even more. She needed him to ground her. “Please, stay with me?” she begged quietly. “Alex…”


~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“You lost her!” The roar reverberated around the huge office and Nicholas cringed. Khivar was a frightening man when he was furious. “How the hell did that happen?”

“I don’t know. The one day she was still there and the next she was gone. No one saw anything suspicious.”

“You’re kidding me, right?” Khivar strode closer, towering over Nicholas. His leader was a handsome man, over six-feet tall with jet black hair and eyes the color of the sky on a summer’s day that he used regularly to mesmerize human women. Of course Khivar had chosen the human husk of a tall and handsome man, while Nicholas had been doomed to being a teenage shorty.

Shrugging, Nicholas wondered if he should give Khivar the other bad news. Probably not if he wanted to live to see the rest of the day.

“I am surrounded by idiots!” Khivar shouted again. “As if it isn’t bad enough that I have to hang around this pathetic little planet because my people are too stupid to find the two Antarian Royals, I have to cope with this incompetence too!” He grabbed Nicholas by the collar and practically lifted him up. “Find her. Do you hear me? Find her, and bring her back!”

“Yes.”

“She is marked, isn’t she?”

“Yes, but…” Nicholas braced himself. “Something is wrong. We can’t trace her, even with the mark.”

He was flung across the room while Khivar cursed in their own language. Foul curses that all the girls he had been entertaining himself with while on earth would probably never believe could come from the seemingly charming alien leader that was helping their planet.

Finally, Khivar turned his back on him. “This is your responsibility. Find her, or face the consequences!”

Nicholas fled the office, still not having divulged to Khivar the real scope of what had gone wrong in his organization. Maybe they’d be lucky and having messed with the minds of the people involved would save Khivar’s plans from too much future harm…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Liz!”

The hard sound of her name brought her back from the memory of beautiful eyes, staring at her with so much hunger it took her breath away.

“What is going on with you? We need to focus here.”

Alex was sounding uncharacteristically curt as he looked at her searchingly. Her hands found the sensitive spots just below her ears unconsciously, curling over them protectively.

Starting to frown, Alex walked closer. “You know you can trust me, right? What happened last night? I couldn’t find you…”

It’s not a ‘what’ that happened last night, it’s a ‘who’, Liz thought frantically. Mark. Mark happened last night. It had been so different from their first kiss a few days before. This one was wild, deep, passionate, frantic—all the things nerdy Liz Parker had never experienced before.

“Liz, are you even listening to me?” Alex was shaking her slightly, sounding really impatient. “Khivar will be coming soon. We will get in trouble if we don’t finalize this now.”

Looking up at her life-long friend helplessly, Liz shivered a little. It was too late. She was already in trouble. The places on her neck, still covered by her palms, suddenly felt warm.

She was carrying his mark.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Damn, why did he have to be in the hallway at the wrong time? Dave was squirming underneath Maria’s intense regard. She had been bombarding him with questions about his time on earth with Max for a while now, and he was starting to wish for cosmic intervention to save him from ‘Hurricane DeLuca’. How in the universe Michael managed to live with this chatterbox was beyond Dave.

“So you never actually saw Max with Liz?” Her badgering continued.

Shifting in his chair, Dave cast around for the right words. Words that wouldn’t get his Prince mad at him. “No, we didn’t. He was always with her alone.” As soon as it was out of his mouth and he saw the answering glint in Maria’s eyes, he realized his mistake. “But… but he was only really with her a few times. Mostly we were just following her. Trying to establish her routine, to see if she couldn’t maybe lead us to the Princess.”

What he didn’t mention was that Max had taken one look at the dark-haired scientist lady and ordered everyone to let him handle Liz Parker himself. Or that Max had acted quite strangely a couple of times, taking off alone and leaving his bodyguard in a complete panic and them sifting through the stuff in Liz’s apartment looking for clues.

Maria narrowed her eyes accusingly. “You aren’t helping me much, you know!”

“Uh… Sorry?” The whole thing just freaked Dave out. He had come from Antar on a ship with Michael, determined to find Khivar and take him out once and for all. Instead, they ended up finding their long lost Prince and Princess and got involved with a whole bunch of weird humans. Humans confused Dave. They were unpredictable and emotional and easily fooled. You just had to look like them and they believed you were one of them. How sad.

“Who is Alex?”

“He is her best friend, it seems. He works with her in the lab, doing some computer stuff.” Dave was relieved that there had been at least one easy question.

“So, what happened to him?”

“I’m not sure. Max told us to only bring Liz.”

And we’re back to Liz again, Maria thought. “And who’s Mark?”

Frowning in confusion, Dave squinted at Maria. “Mark?”

“Yeah, Mark. She keeps mumbling his name.”

Dave shook his head slowly. “Don’t know any Mark.”

“Are you sure? She sounded pretty…” Maria waved her hand in the air, “pretty taken with him.” The way Liz was sighing that name, Maria was sure taken was a wild understatement of what she was for the unknown Mark.

“I’m sure. She never met or mentioned a Mark that I know of.”

“Did you see her with anyone but Alex?”

Dave paused, looking uncomfortable. “Yeah.”

Tapping her foot, Maria lifted her eyebrows. “Well?”

“We’re not sure who he was. He was tall. Dark hair. We only saw him with her a couple of times, but he seemed real possessive of her.” Max had hated that. “And she was flirty with him too.” And Max had hated that even more.

“So he could be Mark?”

“I guess…”

“Did you find anything about Isabel?” Maria finally remembered to ask.

“No. She never went to any prison camp while we were there. She went to work in a normal looking lab. And there was no sign of anything remotely linking her to tests on aliens in her apartment.” Dave shrugged. “I assume that is why Max brought her here. We knew the lab she was working for was one of Khivar’s fronts and she had a telephone number of his office in her address book. So she has to know something.

Maria pursed her lips. All this sounded really thin to her. They had abducted Liz Parker on the basis of rumors that she was Khivar’s top scientist and the fact that she had a way to phone Khivar. This was yet another sign that Max had not been thinking clearly when he abducted her off her own planet instead of doing a more thorough investigation. “You don’t think you should have waited to find out more on earth before coming back?”

Dave hesitated, not wanting to criticize his Prince. “We probably could have, but we were worried about Khivar finding Max. The longer we stayed down there, the bigger the chances of that became. So we had to come back.”

Or Max had to hurry back to keep Liz away from whoever she was with down there, Maria mused. This was certainly interesting.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

He watched her sleep, tracing the contours of her face with his eyes. Wishing he could touch her hair, kiss her sweet, moist lips. Wishing she wasn’t who she was. Wishing things could have been so different for both of them.

What have you done to me, Liz Parker?

She rolled over, tucking her hand under her cheek, murmuring something that he couldn’t hear through the sound system linking the cell with the observation room behind the mirror.

He suddenly realized his hands were shaking and he lifted them to stare at them.

And what have I done to you?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I… I can’t stop kissing you.” His breath teased her mouth, still wet from his tongue. He sounded helpless. “Touching you…”

“I don’t want you to.” No! her mind screamed. Stop this! Stop this now.

“I should leave. I didn’t come here for…”

Panic seized her. “Don’t go!” Gripping his shirt in her fists.

What was wrong with her? Never in her life had she felt so desperate. So needy. If this was what she turned into around him, she was in deep trouble. She needed to be sharp, ready, not…

His warmth stole over her as he yanked her back against him, urging her body into full contact with every blessed, aroused contour of his. Staring up into his face, dark with desire, something stirred inside her and her breath stopped.

Everything seemed to shiver to a soundless halt around them.

Then she felt him shudder against her, a deep wracking shudder that consumed his whole body as he clenched his eyes shut and slowly skimmed his hands to her neck. A whimper was torn from her as his palms flattened just below her ears, his fingers sliding into her hair, cupping her head. The movement had seemed… unbidden, inevitable, instinctive.

Then his eyes opened and she knew. They were hovering on the precipice of something that would change them both forever.

“Liz?” It was torn from him.

“Yes.” The sound rushed out on a small rush of air even as her mind screamed ‘no’.

He didn’t kiss her, just stared at her with those magnificent and possessive eyes. Stared into her soul as she felt his palms heating against her neck. Felt him brand her as his.

“U Shayna Min.”


~*~*~*~*~*~*~

In one fleeting moment, Liz jerked upright with a loud gasp, Michael jumped to his feet next to her bed and, in the observation room, Maria whirled to Max.

Max, who seemed to be the only person frozen into tense stillness.

“She’s awake.”

TBC


posted on 20-Sep-2001 9:12:53 AM by LivE
Thank you AGAIN for all the amazing feedback. I'm so glad you are all enjoying the ride. And yes, there's going to be a LOT more questions before the answers start coming! *wink*

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 3

Isabel was feeling woozy. Ever since Khivar’s men had captured her while she had joined a small resistance group on a reconnaissance mission near Houston, she had been mind raped, manhandled and carted around so much she had lost track of her own whereabouts.

What scared her more, though, was the fact that she hadn’t been able to reach Max at all. No amount of dream walking could contact him and she had to surmise that he was either too far away, or she was being blocked by something, or… he was dead.

The last option was too unbearable to think about, so she concentrated on the fact that he was out of range. Doran had worked with her on her dream walking abilities during their years together and she was pretty good at it. Her abilities hadn’t stopped Khivar’s lackey Nicholas to search all her memories, though. She had prayed Max had been gone from the camp by the time Khivar’s forces found it. But the fact remained that Khivar now knew that the next King of Antar’s earth name, was Max Evans.

She had been kept in a room for days now, just another one in a long succession of non-descript rooms, her only contact to the outside world a man named Alex. Alex who worked for Khivar. Alex who refused to talk to her and kept injecting her with stuff.

She was trapped.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Where the hell was Liz! Alex was starting to lose hope that she was still alive. She had been gone for two days now. Had Khivar somehow decided she wasn’t worth anything to him anymore? Had Liz angered Khivar in some way? He used to be so taken with her. The whole thing made no sense to Alex.

Liz had started acting strange about two weeks before she went missing. She had become distracted and Alex had not been able to establish the reason for this. Liz had assured him she was fine and he had had no option but to believe her.

But now she was gone and he was stuck with their latest experiment. And he was a little lost without Liz, as she was the one with the real expertise.

His mind turned automatically to the girl being held in the room next door. After Nicholas had been with her, extra guards were posted and he was given a serum to inject the prisoner with every day. Nicholas had not said who she was and why they were taking extra measures with her, so Alex couldn’t help but wonder what made her more special than the other humans that were processed through the lab. Damn, but she was gorgeous! In spite of the security and secrecy, he had managed to catch her name – Isabel. Keeping his mind on his work with her around was hard.

He was still hoping Liz would come back somehow, so for now, he just kept the experiment in suspension.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Complete panic made adrenaline rush through Liz as soon as her eyes snapped open. She took in her surroundings – a stark white room, a single bed she was lying on, one wall completely covered by a mirror, no windows, a big guy sitting in a chair next to her bed… She leapt off the bed, away from the tall man who had jumped up too and pressed herself against the wall opposite from the mirror.

“Who are you? Where am I?” she snapped, trying not to show her fear. Another quick glance around the room told her there was no way out but through the door. She clenched her hands into fists at her side, if she had to fight this guy, she would.

“Whoa!” Michael held out his hands. “Don’t do anything stupid.” He walked closer, secure in the fact that he was much bigger than she was. And that he had alien powers she knew nothing about.

“Don’t come near me!” Liz instructed him, a small tremble in her voice and the hand she held to ward him off the only indications that she was afraid.

“I won’t hurt you,” Michael barked at her, throwing a glare at the mirror.

From behind the mirror, Max watched anxiously, his hands pressed against the cool glass. He saw the alarmed flickering of Liz’s eyes, the way her chest heaved with fear. But she wasn’t cowering, she was standing up to Michael.

“I—I need to go home. I have to… work.” Liz wondered if she sounded as desperate as she felt. She looked at the mirror, she could feel someone watching her, causing gooseflesh on her arms. “You have to let me go.”

Michael folded his arms across his chest and shrugged. “Can’t.”

Fear threatened to close her chest. “Who are you?” she asked again.

A pause. “Michael.” It was said reluctantly, brusquely.

“Why am I here?”

“We need information you have.”

“What kind of information?”

“About Khivar’s prison camps.” Michael watched her closely, seeing the small widening of her eyes before she carefully made her face blank.

“Prison camps?” I need to stay calm. Khivar is testing me or something.

“Yes, don’t play dumb with me!” Michael raked at her angrily, causing Max to stiffen behind the mirror. “We know he has prison camps and we know you’ve worked in them.” He stalked closer, crowding Liz against the wall. “Now tell me where they are!”

This is a nightmare, Liz thought to herself. Somehow I’m suspected of betraying Khivar. Taking deep calming breaths, she straightened her shoulders. “I don’t know anything about any prison camps and if you don’t get out of my face, I’ll hit you.”

Michael grinned at this bravado, making Liz even angrier.

“This is kidnapping! If the police or Khivar finds out… and Khivar WILL find out, my friends will miss me—” she rubbed the invisible places beneath her ears unconsciously, “—Khivar will be very upset about this.”

Putting his hands on his hips, Michael stared at her mockingly. “Khivar can go to hell. He won’t find you here.” He leaned closer again, until he was practically nose-to-nose with Liz. “So you better start co-operating with me—”

In one blur of a movement, Liz brought her knee up, hitting Michael in the groin and darted around him towards the door.

Michael yelped in pain and doubled over, but managed to get hold of Liz’s arm, jerking her back roughly before she could reach the door.

“Michael!” It was a roar of fury over the communications system, stilling both occupants of the cell immediately.

Liz was shivering as Michael let go of her reluctantly while glaring at the mirror. Pushing her into a sitting position on the bed, he dragged the chair closer, straddling it. “Listen, we don’t want to hurt you, but if you don’t co-operate, I might have to.” He cast a quick glance at the mirror as he said this.

“Who is that?” Liz asked softly, her eyes glued to the mirror. She rubbed her palms over her arms, trying to stop the trembling that had started at the sound of the vaguely familiar voice. “Who do you work for?” Was it Khivar that was here? His voice had always done strange things to her.

“Not Khivar, that’s for sure,” Michael answered dryly, as if he had heard her thoughts.

He is lying. They are trying to test me, Liz thought frantically. She cast another look at the mirror, again wondering if Khivar was behind it, observing this whole scene. Do they have Alex too? And Mark?

Lifting her chin, she tested him back. “So you work for the resistance?”

He regarded her steadily for a few seconds. “I’m not here to answer your questions. Do you work for Khivar?”

Maria was staring at Max as Michael continued his interrogation. She wondered if Michael knew how close he had been to harm when he had yanked Liz around like that. Max had nearly gone through the mirror and, even now, his jaw was flexing in anger, his eyes trained on every little development between Liz and Michael. Michael was in for it when he leaves that cell!

Liz’s raised voice brought Maria’s attention back to the inquest. “For the last time, I do work for Khivar, but I’m only helping him with projects that would be to the benefit of humanity. I don’t know where you get your information from, but he doesn’t have any prison camps. He is trying to help us.” Liz swallowed, trying to wet her parched throat. Her heart was beating a mile a minute and her body felt feverish. “Can I get some water?” She stared at the mirror as she said this.

Something was drawing her towards that mirror like a magnet.

Getting up almost involuntarily, she walked over, stopping within touching distance of the silent gleaming surface that separated her from whoever was watching.

In response, Max jerked his hands away from the mirror, taking a small step back. She had stopped right in front of him, seemingly staring right at him. He was unaware of his labored breathing, echoing loudly through the small room… unaware that Maria was observing the whole scene with her mouth hanging open. They stood like that for long moments, frozen into stillness, only a thin sheet of glass separating them, stopping them from touching each other.

Then, Liz lifted her hand, flattening it against the mirror, causing Max to stumble back another few paces with a harsh gasp.

“What the hell are you doing?” Michael, who had been stunned into silence by Liz’s actions, got his voice back. Stalking over, he pulled Liz away from the mirror, silently promising himself that Max needed to answer a few questions. Soon.

His voice broke the spell. Turning to Maria, Max motioned to the cell. “Go in and give her whatever she needs. And get Michael out of there, she’s had enough for now.”

Oooh, Michael is not going to be happy about this! Maria thought to herself as she made her way out of the observation room silently. And Max looked ready to explode. Damn, why did I end up in the middle of this mess?

The occupants of the cell both seemed stunned at her sudden entry into the room. Maria sighed when she saw Michael’s eyebrows shoot up in irritation. He knew Max had sent her in here to tell him to stop badgering the prisoner. She planted her hands on her hips and lifted her chin, Michael Guerin’s angry glares did not intimidate Maria DeLuca. “Hello Michael,” she told him sweetly and took a moment to enjoy him bristling at her tone. “He wants to see you,” she informed Michael, tilting her head towards the door.

“I’m going to kick his ass,” Michael grumbled beneath his breath as he reluctantly started leaving.

Liz suddenly had the insane urge to burst out laughing. One moment, the big guy with the spiky hair had been scaring the living daylights out of her, and the next he was backing down before a girl that wasn’t much bigger than her. One who seemed supremely unaffected by his gruff manner and fierce frown.

Maria caught Michael’s hand as he passed her. “Stay calm, he’s…” she threw a look at Liz, “he’s… upset.” She was whispering, trying to keep Liz from hearing the warning, but she needed to tell Michael that he would have to face one very angry Prince outside.

He is pissing me off,” Michael hissed back. In compensation, he squeezed Maria’s hand before stalking out of the cell.

The girls waited until the door slid shut behind Michael, before looking at each other.

She is gorgeous, they thought simultaneously.

“Where am I?” Liz asked immediately, seeing in this girl a possible ally in a difficult situation.

All business, Maria came closer. “Sit down, I need to check you over to see if you are healthy.”

“I am healthy!” Liz snapped at her. “Please help me! They are keeping me captive here.”

“I know,” was the only response as Maria grabbed her wrist, taking her pulse.

The glimmer of hope she had harbored died slowly and Liz sunk onto the bed, fighting off tears. Come on, Liz Parker, you are strong. Don’t cry, think of a way out.

“You seem okay,” Maria announced, having completed her examination. She frowned when she saw the listless look on Liz’s face. “They won’t hurt you, you know. Just tell them what they need to know.”

Liz didn’t answer. The realization that she was alone, really alone, weighed heavily on her. If only she could get a message to Alex, maybe he could organize—

“Who is Alex?”

The question caught Liz unaware and she stared at Maria suspiciously. Could the girl read minds? Like Khivar and Nicholas? But no, they needed to touch you to be able to do it.

“I’m not answering any questions,” she said firmly.

Maria ignored her. “And Mark?”

The name brought so much feeling flooding through her, she nearly blacked out. Squeezing her eyes shut, Liz struggled to control the longing that threatened to tear her apart. Again, her hands flew to the places where he’d marked her, the invisible signs of his possession. She just managed to halt a small sound from escaping her throat.

The violence of Liz’s reaction to that name was not lost on Maria. Somehow, she suspected she had found Liz’s weak spot. But now was not the time to press. “Are you hungry? I’ll go get you some food and water.”

Blinking up at Maria in confusion, it took Liz a few moments to react to the abrupt change in topic. She managed to nod weakly.

Maria turned to the door and turned back again. “If you’d like to shower or something, I’ll see what I can do after you’ve eaten.” She paused, gazing intently at Liz. “Max wants you to be comfortable.”

“Max?” Liz said blankly.

Maria pursed her lips. “You don’t know a Max?”

“Uh…” Liz seemed even more confused. “I…” Her face cleared up. “I, uh, I think I met this guy named Max a couple of weeks ago…” She shook her head and rubbed her temple. “I don’t think I knew him well, though…” She continued to massage her temple. “Why? Is he here?”

Maria just stared at her, trying to see if she was acting.

“Could I get that water now?” Liz sounded tired, deflated.

“Sure…” Maria’s mind whirled as she exited the cell to find Max and Michael arguing a few paces away. Liz had met Max on earth, but evidently he had not made the impact on her that she had made on him. Maria felt like crying for the lonely man she had started to love like a brother.

Max was going to be devastated…

TBC


posted on 22-Sep-2001 11:36:43 AM by LivE
Wow, thanks so much for the amazing feedback! *smile* Glad you are all enjoying the ride.

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 4

A wave of dizziness crashed over Liz. Oh lord! I’m getting withdrawal symptoms! In the chaos of the past few days and especially the past few hours, Liz had forgotten about her regular injections. “I need my… medication,” she announced abruptly when Maria entered the cell to collect the dinner things. Don’t show her how desperate you are, she cautioned herself. “Do you know if they brought any of my stuff?”

Maria could only shake her head in amazement. Either this girl had no clue what it meant to be a kidnap victim, or she had somehow realized that her circumstances were special. She wondered what Liz would do if she knew that Michael’s life was in bigger danger than her own during her incarceration. Anyone with a functioning eye in their head could see that Max absolutely hated having Michael close to Liz all the time while he had to watch from behind a mirror. And that every little thing Michael does or says in this cell is going to be taken the wrong way by Max. The situation was intolerable.

Maria sighed. Of course Max had brought some of Liz’s stuff, she was sure of it. But medication? Max hadn’t mentioned that Liz was taking medication for anything. “What is it for?” she asked suspiciously.

But Liz had a ready answer. “I contracted this weird thing while working on one of my experiments. I need to inject myself with anti-bodies every four days.” Actually, it was every five, but she wasn’t taking any chances. If she wanted to get out of this in one piece, she needed to stay in control. She’d already missed her previous dosage and look what was happening!

“Hmmm,” Maria looked at her through narrowed eyes. She was a nurse and something about this did not sound right. But on the other hand, Liz Parker was little miss scientist lady and who knows what could happen in a macro-biology lab. “What will happen to you if we don’t have the medication here?”

For a horrible moment her mind went totally blank. “I get dizzy spells and…” Liz fumbled, lifting her hand to press her fingers against her throbbing temple. “Uhm… I might slip into a coma.” The last part was not true at all, but there was no way she could allow herself to go without those injections for any period of time. “Please…” she ended weakly, praying that Maria’s obviously soft heart would lead her to help.

Damn, Maria thought, yet another reason for Max to hamper the interrogation. “I’ll find out,” was all she said out loud.

“Where are we?” Now that she had some food in her body and her latest dizzy spell was over, Liz felt ready to fight for her freedom again.

“Nowhere anybody would think to look for you,” Maria answered with an ironic grin.

There was a slight hum around her all the time, and Liz was starting to wonder if she was in some underground facility of Khivar’s. Could it be possible that he’s managed to keep one of his camps secret from her? But why would he do that? Surely she’s shown him that she could be trusted.

Liz had pondered her situation ever since Maria had left her to fix dinner and she had come up with no real solutions other than a renewed affirmation that she needed to contact Alex somehow to let him know where she was. He was probably frantic! The other part of her plan was to make sure that she passed this test of Khivar’s with flying colors. And for that she needed her injections.

And she needed to stay calm. Very, very calm.

If only the incessant feeling that she was being watched from behind the mirror would go away. Whenever she sensed she was being watched, her whole body seemed to vibrate and it was as if she could physically feel the intense regard of the person observing her from behind the smooth glass. Not a person, someone specific. How she knew that, was beyond her, but she was somehow sure that whoever he was, he was someone important. Important to me. The thought scared and excited her at the same time.

Maybe it was… Lifting her hands to the brands on her neck, she suddenly blanked out again. Who put these here again? The name was just gone. No, wait! Mark! Yes, that was his name. Wasn’t it? She hoped this weird feeling wasn’t another side-effect of the withdrawal symptoms she hadn’t bargained on.

“Hello!” Maria’s amused voice interrupted her disjointed thoughts. “Are ya still in there?” She waved at Liz’s head. “Or should we inject you for lucidity?”

“This is not funny!” Liz cried, panicked at the incoherence of her memories. “I really need those injections!”

“Okay, okay.” Maria held up her hands in surrender, looking slightly alarmed. “Don’t yell so loudly, you’ll bring Max bearing down on me!”

There was that name again. Max. She shivered involuntarily. He seemed to wield a lot of power around here and for some reason everyone believed he had her best interests at heart. Concentrating, she was able to conjure up a vague image of a tall dark-haired man. He raised his hands towards her and she jerked in a breath. What on earth was happening to her? Had they drugged her food? Inhaling deeply, trying to calm herself down, she did a quick scan. No, she was feeling fine. Apart from the memory mess.

Maria was watching her with an odd expression.

Tossing her hair back, Liz managed to sound controlled. “Well, looks like I should speak to Max then. I want to see him. I need to tell him that I know nothing you seem to want to know. He should let me go.”

I don’t think Max is letting you go ever again, Maria thought, amazed at how Liz’s eyes sparkled with emotions. She really had the most amazing eyes, huge and dark and memorable. Her hair fell in a shimmering chocolate waterfall down her back. Our poor alien Prince had no chance. The worst is, she is completely oblivious to her power over the heir to the throne of an entire other planet. Maria resolved to tell Max as soon as possible. He would be incredibly hurt, but better now than later when he had gotten even more attached to the tiny brunette.

“He doesn’t want to see you. So I’m afraid you’re stuck with me and Space B— me and Michael.” The words had come out harsher than Maria had intended, but she was already anticipating the look of anguish she knew she was going to see on Max’s face. “I’ll go see about those injections and a shower for you.”

She left Liz staring after her open-mouthed, wondering why Maria had suddenly turned almost hostile.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max was standing in front of a big window in the dining area, staring into the vast darkness that surrounded the ship. His stiff shoulders and fisted hands were the only clues to the emotions that were churning around inside him.

Watching him quietly for a few moments, Maria felt an unaccustomed bout of weepiness assail her. She blinked the moisture from her eyes angrily. For pity’s sake, she was Maria DeLuca who did not cry! Not when her father left them for a cheap floozy when she was little. Not when her mother had disappeared after being vocally opposed to Khivar. Not when she had to leave all she knew behind to follow a strange man… a strange alien, who had made her fall in love with him in spite of the fact that he irritated the crap out of her sometimes.

But now she felt sad for Max. And she wanted to kick Liz’s ass. How could Liz not fall for this amazing guy? How could she not return his affections? And the worst thing ever, how could she not even remember she met Max? The anger drove the tears from her eyes and Maria strode forward determinedly. “Max?”

He didn’t react immediately, lost in whatever thoughts were putting that frown on his face.

“Max.” She tried a little louder.

His voice held immeasurable weariness when he answered. “Yeah?”

“We…” Suddenly the thought of breaking his heart did not sit well with Maria. “We need to talk,” she informed him softly. It was still better that he found out from someone who cared.

“Look,” he thrust his hands through his hair, “I’m sorry I blew up at Michael like that. I just don’t like…” He trailed off. “How is she?”

If she hadn’t come over here with such bad news, Maria would have rolled her eyes in exasperation. There was obviously only one thing on Max’s mind lately. “She claims she needs her medication.”

Max’s frown returned full force. “Medication?”

“Yeah. Injections of some kind. Do you know anything about it?”

Shaking his head slowly, Max tried to remember if he ever saw her injecting herself. He didn’t. She had injected Alex, though. “What is it for?”

“She claims to have contracted something during one of her experiments.” Maria made sure that Max knew she highly doubted the validity of Liz’s statements. “Said she gets dizzy spells if she doesn’t get the injections every four days.”

Only a slight widening of Max’s eyes gave his shock away.

“Anyway,” Maria wanted to get off this subject as quickly as she could, “did you bring anything that looked like medication with you?”

“No…” Max was trying hard not to worry. Had he put Liz’s life in danger in a way he hadn’t even contemplated by bringing her here?

“Okay.” Maria didn’t look overly concerned. “I’ll tell her.”

Max looked at her suspiciously. “You don’t like her.” It was a flat statement, but Maria caught the slight note of disappointment.

It was now or never.

“She doesn’t remember you, Max.” It was blurted out. There was no way to make this sound better.

He froze, standing utterly still as he stared at her in incomprehension. “No…” It was whispered so softly that Maria had to strain to hear.

“I’m sorry,” she offered lamely, looking away from the stark hurt in his eyes. “She’s obviously involved with some Mark guy that—” She halted as Max jerkily lifted his trembling hands and stared at them. “Max?”

“That’s impossible.” He seemed dazed.

“It’s true. And… you have to deal with it before you meet her again.”

“No.” He shook his head. “No.”

His reaction was starting to freak Maria out. She had expected him to be hurt, but this… Max seemed totally in denial. “Why are you so sure?”

Because, Maria…” He dropped his hands, looking at a loss.

“Well, because is not a good en—”

“I did something to her.” He sounded bitter. “Something weird… something alien. I didn’t plan… I never meant…” His distress was spiking.

“Calm down, Space King! She seems plenty fine to me.” Maria rubbed her hand over his arm, finding the muscles stretched tightly in agitation. “Was she aware of… what you did?”

Yes.” The affirmation tumbled out on a harsh breath.

“Then I don’t get why she doesn’t remember you. And who the hell is Mark?”

“That’s what I’d like to know.” He sounded so grim and… possessive that Maria hoped poor Mark was on another planet in another galaxy.

She folded her arms across her chest, filled with confusion. If what Max said was true, what on earth was going on with the girl in the cell? “Something weird is up with that girl, Max. Even more weird than what you apparently believe you did to her.” She paused for a beat. “What did you do to her?”

He turned away from her immediately, not answering.

Oh-kay, Maria thought, that is a no-go zone. And still she was no closer to the whole truth about Max and Liz.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz drifted in the sleepy haze that preceded the dream world. She had taken a shower after being led blindfolded from her cell to what was obviously Maria’s bathroom. A bathroom she seemed to share with a man. For a wild moment, Liz had experienced a sharp stab of jealousy, wondering if that man was Max. Then she caught herself. Why did she care what Max did? She hardly knew him… didn’t she? No matter how hard she concentrated, his visage remained blurred in her mind.

The shower had revived her some, but her memory had kept doing strange things. As she had stood under the warm spray, she had suddenly remembered heated hands smoothing over her body, memorizing the slim lines of her form. She had remembered someone saying her name with so much need that she had had to lean against the side of the shower drunkenly to recover. His name had been lost to her just then. It was only after she had gotten back to her cell and the moment of intense recollection had been over, that she could find the name again. Mark. But now the name seemed hazy, somehow not fitting to the memory.

She tried picturing Mark, but that didn’t go too well either. His eyes, once so vivid in her mind, kept changing color. From intense blue to the deepest amber. The effort just increased her bewilderment.

With sleep came another dream.

Her lips felt swollen, kissed into a fullness that she’s never experienced before. Lifting her trembling fingers, she touched her mouth softly, meeting his gentle eyes bemusedly.

“Oh God, Liz, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have… mauled you like that. I don’t know what came over—”

She halted his apology with her fingers, transferring them from her own mouth to his. He shut up immediately, his eyes darkening with renewed desire. “I’m not sorry.” She had moved closer, wanting more of his taste. Who are you?” she whispered. “Who are you really?”

The question had an amazing effect on him. His whole face shuttered in an instant and he stepped back from her. “We shouldn’t be doing this.” He was fighting with himself, she could see that so clearly.

“Why not?”


Even as the question echoed in her mind, her dream changed.

“Do you know how much torture it is? Seeing you here?” From somewhere in the darkness the voice slid over her skin like the softest silk. Her whole body reacted to the voice and she pirouetted towards it, attracted to the source like a moth to a flame.

“I can’t see you.” She hardly recognized her own voice, so filled with desperation. “Please.”

Arms enfolded her from behind and she knew the hard body pressed against her instantly. Sighing, she melted back into him, folding her arms over his and entwining their fingers. “I missed you.”

“You did?” It was breathed into her ear just before his tongue traced the tiny whorls.

She heard herself whimper in helpless reaction. This man held absolute power over her, she recognized. And she had given it to him willingly.

“Of all the women in the universe…” he muttered against her skin, trailing soft kisses from her ear to her shoulder, pausing to lick the place where he’d marked her. The resulting heat that shot through her body stopped her breath momentarily.

Flattening his palms over her stomach, he pulled her into him tighter, letting her feel his arousal, letting her experience every labored breath he took.

“This is insane.”

“Yes,” she agreed on a gasp. It was insane and she didn’t care. For the first time in her life, Ms Liz-gotta-have-a-plan Parker had no clue where something was leading and didn’t care.

“Stay with me,” she begged, clinging to his strong arms shamelessly. “I need you.”

A sharp inhalation was his only answer.

Then he spun her around and before she could get a clear view of him, his lips were on hers, his hands cupping the places where he’d stamped his ownership on her. The kiss spiraled through her, sending sparks of flame traveling to the farthest parts of her body before they rushed back to pool in the center of her being. She arched closer to him, trying to get inside his skin as she tasted him over and over again. His tongue had parted her lips and was dancing with hers, delving deeper and deeper as the kiss continued. He held her face as if she was the biggest treasure he’d ever touched.

Her moan changed everything. He tore his mouth from hers and buried his face in her neck, nipping at the skin with his teeth. As she threw her head back in ecstasy, he lifted her up with one arm curled around her waist and she instinctively wrapped her legs around him. The sudden contact between her moist warmth and his hardness made them both groan and he slid his other hand down, cupping her bottom and pressing her even closer.

“I want to stay like this forever,” she told him fiercely. “Forever with you…”

Lifting her heavy eyelids, she suddenly spied two dark figures coming up behind him and fear ripped through her with sharp claws. “NO!” she screamed as she recognized the two men. “Nooo…” The word had turned into a wail of anguish.


As she thrashed around on the bed, her cries echoing through the sound system, Max jerked his hand away from where it had been pressed to the mirror. What the hell had he done now?

Her arms were abruptly empty, but the two figures kept advancing on her.

They must
never find him, Liz thought frantically, I have to concentrate.

Her agitated whisper sounded loud in the quiet cell and stunned Max even further. “His name is Mark, his name is Mark, his name is…”

Liz came awake with the sound of her own voice ringing in her ears. Blinking in amazement, she found the cell bathed in the dull glow of a shimmering silver handprint on the mirror. As it slowly disappeared from the dark surface, she realized with a gasp that there was another softer glow in the cell. And it came from her neck…

TBC


posted on 23-Sep-2001 11:23:41 PM by LivE
Geez everyone! *blush* I am TOTALLY blown away by the feedback! I cannot thank you all enough. I read some other stories on this board and I wonder what *I'm* doing, calling myself a writer! But as long as the readers enjoy what I'm doing, I'm happy!

Then, I wanted to give you all a small hint (to confuse you more *wink* ):
Liz dreams are a combination of memories, repressed fears and fantasies... with a little bit of inadvertent outside involvement thrown in... *big*

Bye!
LivE


posted on 26-Sep-2001 10:57:05 AM by LivE
Wow, the board is BACK!! Without further ado, on with the show...

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 5

The morning began really badly. Michael was stalking around in anger about what he termed Max’s obsession with Liz and interspersed this with complaints that the obsession was resulting in Max ignoring the urgency of their search for Isabel. While Michael counted every second that passed with Isabel still missing, Max held to his position that they will not get anything from their prisoner by force.

It was not a good time to be difficult with Max either. He had obviously not slept well. In fact, he looked downright miserable. His normally beautiful amber eyes were bloodshot and his dark hair stood on end, like he had been running his hands through it for hours. Something had obviously happened last night.

Two guesses who would have been part of that event, Maria thought. Geez, if she were insecure she would surely have had issues with the fact that everything on the ship now revolved around their female prisoner.

She sighed as she watched the two men, sitting on opposite sides of the breakfast table, not speaking to each other. “Okay, guys, can we not find some solution to this? Isabel is very important to both of you.”

“Hmpf,” Michael snorted in derision, “apparently not.”

“Michael.” Max’s voice made it clear that he was in no mood for this.

Patting Michael’s hand to shut him up, Maria turned to Max. “Max, honey, I have to say that I agree with Space Boy here for a change. We cannot keep coddling Liz for days on end while Isabel might be getting tortured in some prison camp.” She held up a hand when Max opened his mouth to object. “I’m not saying you don’t care about your sister, I’m just saying Liz knows things that we need to know, and you have to allow Michael to get it out of her.” After pausing for a breath, she continued, now talking to Max’s bent head. “Things have happened between you and this Liz. Things that might help us find Isabel. So, either you’re going to have to talk to her yourself—”

“No!” The vehemence of the denial took Maria by surprise.

Michael exploded immediately. “Do you, or do you not want your sister safe, Your Highness?” The last term came out very sarcastically. No one ever used Max’s official title around the ship, but Michael wanted to emphasize that Max was the one in charge. And the one responsible for any screw-ups.

“Of course I want her safe! It’s just that…”

“You don’t want your little girlfriend hurt in the process.”

The two men were back to glaring at each other. Rolling her eyes, Maria admitted that this was getting them nowhere.

“So, here’s my proposal. Max, you let Michael work with Liz today on his own terms. And…” she practically yelled over Max’s protestations, “and if that doesn’t work, we do things your way.”

A heavy silence descended over the table after the speech.

Max knew they were right. What kind of brother was he that he allowed a fixation on a girl he hardly knew to override his common sense and his goal to find a precious sister? To find the one, the only, person who had shared his life, his secret and all that he was until now?

Unfortunately, there was an answer to this question. That girl – the girl who had seemed to sense his presence last night when he couldn’t stand not being close to her anymore and stupidly went to the observation room – that girl held him in the palm of her hand. And suddenly, everyone else had taken a second place to her. He wanted Liz safe and happy. He wanted her not to have to face the horror of the war between the two Antarian foes. He wanted to be able to turn back the clock so he could undo what he had done to her in the heat of passion…

But most of all, he wanted to undo what his heart, his mind, his soul felt for Liz Parker. It scared him. It scared him so much that if it hadn’t been for Isabel being trapped on earth, he would have run like a coward. He had spent his life alone so far, figuring that he would have to wait until he was back on Antar before he could ever allow himself to love someone. Never in a million years had he expected that fate had decreed he would fall in love within two weeks. And not just fall in love, but bind himself to someone so completely it seemed he would never be a whole person without her again. And that fate had had a sick sense of humor. Liz was human. And she worked for his enemy.

Moreover, it seemed she didn’t quite feel the same way, he admitted, feeling his heart wrench in his chest. How is it possible that she could belong to someone else? Who was this Mark? He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the image of Liz in the arms of some other man, kissing, touching, loving…

Without thinking, he jumped up from the table, nearly upending his chair in the process. He needed to get away from these thoughts, these images that hounded him even in his sleep.

“Maxwell, are we disturbing you?” Michael’s mocking voice jerked him back to reality. “I apologize for interrupting whatever discussion you were having with yourself, but we need an answer.”

Staring down at his two best friends, he realized he was being the worst leader possible. He felt humbled by the fact that even while they disagreed with him, Michael and Maria were still loyal and would accept his decision either way. And he realized that in this, he couldn’t let his heart rule. “Do it,” he stated firmly. And I will be as far away from that cell as I can possibly get on this ship.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Combing her long blonde hair with her fingers, Isabel cursed the fact that she couldn’t take the chance to use her powers to do something about her appearance. There was no way she was going to bring more attention to herself by fixing her make-up and hair with the wave of her hand. But oh, how she longed to feel glamorous again!

Her room was quite comfortable, and if only Alex would stick around to talk to her, she would feel more or less okay. She hadn’t seen another living soul around since Alex had moved her to this room, and she had to wonder why that was. Surely Nicholas had realized who she was after mind-raping her? Surely Khivar now knew she was one of the two Antarian Royals they were searching for so desperately. Then why hadn’t Khivar come to gloat yet? And where was Max? She hadn’t been able to reach him yet, but she had to believe that he was searching for her.

The more she thought about her position, the more confused she became. Somehow, this was not what she had expected of an incarceration at the hands of Khivar.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Looking at the row of injection dosages that lined the locked cabinet in the lab, Alex wondered for the hundredth time where Liz was. She would be getting withdrawal symptoms by now. She had missed her last shot and she’s been missing for three days now.

Switching on his computer, he stared at the blinking cursor for a long time. It looked like he would have to continue with the work alone for now. He refused to believe that Liz was gone forever, so he would do what needs to be done in the meantime.

The lab was very quiet, there hadn’t been anyone else around here since Nicholas had arrived two days to ‘look over’ their latest prisoner again. And found that things had gone seriously wrong at the lab. Strangely enough Khivar hasn’t been here yet to find out where Liz was. Nicholas must have reported her absence by now, and Khivar was very possessive of Liz. Alex could recount several times during the two years they’d been working for Khivar, when he had observed the big alien hovering over Liz, watching her with those intense blue eyes of his, hanging on her every word. And Liz had flirted back. Yes, Alex had no doubts that Khivar had a personal interest in Liz Parker.

Typing in a file name, he rolled his shoulders and got down to business. Liz was counting on him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Groaning, Liz managed to push herself upright on the bed. What a night! First she had had another of those intense dreams about… Why can I not remember that name lately? I need those injections! Then the dream had abruptly gained a new and strange twist. Touching her hands to her neck, she stared at a spot on the mirror. Surely she was losing her mind. Khivar and his aliens had never left glowing handprints anywhere, so there was no that way what she saw last night could have been anything but part of her dreams.

As if the handprint on the mirror had not been enough, she had also dreamt that her neck had started glowing! With a harsh laugh, Liz got up and walked over to the mirror. There was no mark on its smooth surface to indicate the glowing print had been there. Lifting her eyes, she tucked her hair behind her ears, tilting her head first to one side and then to the other. Her skin was flawless as always. There was still no visible sign of the branding she may or may not have experienced last week.

This was one more reason she needed to get back to Alex desperately. They had not foreseen this side-effect. She was having delusions and now she couldn’t remember what was real or not from her past. Strangely some things were clear as day – her meetings with Khivar and Nicholas for one – while other things were like phantoms dancing at the edge of her consciousness, always just out of her grasp.

Moving back to the bed, she sank down on the tousled sheets, chewing her bottom-lip. There had been a man. Someone she had kissed and loved. The intensity of her reaction whenever she thought back to those moments in his arms convinced her of that. However, had she dreamed the whole marking of her neck part? How come there was nothing on her skin where he had branded her? Why—

The sudden opening of the door brought her head around with a jolt. Michael strode inside, but her eyes went past him, drawn irresistibly to the man striding away from the door down the hallway. Her heart slammed to a halt in her chest and a violent trembling spiraled outwards from deep inside her.

Oh my God…

She was already moving forward when the door slid shut in front of her, barring her view of the dark hair and strong shoulders.

Then Michael caught her arm. “Hey. Sit down, the games are over.”

“But I need…” Him, I need him. Her eyes stayed glued to the closed door.

“I don’t care, little girl. Sit down.”

He wasn’t yelling at her, but she understood immediately. Whatever had kept him from being tough with her yesterday has been removed.

Tilting her chin defiantly, she looked squarely at him. You can’t break me, she told him silently.

For a fleeting moment she saw respect in his eyes, and then he got down to business.

“I get the impression that you think we work for Khivar. We don’t. This is no test, but very serious business to us.” He paused, gauging her reaction. “I can see you don’t believe me.” He shrugged. “I don’t care. Tell me the truth and this will all be over.”

Liz remained mute, determined not to say anything.

“We know you work for Khivar. We know he removes people from society that don’t agree with his actions. We know you work in a lab that serves as a front for experiments he does on these prisoners.”

“If you know so much, why are you still keeping me around? See if you can prove any of that! People will never believe you.”

“I really don’t care about that either,” Michael stated casually, stunning Liz. “For right now, all I need to know is whether you know the whereabouts of a girl by the name of Isabel Evans.”

Before she could hide her reaction, her shock had registered on her face. This was about Isabel?

“Aha,” Michael’s voice was smug. “I see we’re finally getting somewhere. So you have seen her?”

“I—I met her a few weeks ago. She came to the lab.” Liz took a deep breath. “But I haven’t seen her since.” Keep bluffing.

“That’s a lie!” Michael roared in reaction. “Khivar has kidnapped her and I want to know where she is! Tell me!”

“I don’t know!” she yelled back. “I don’t know about any kidnapping and I certainly don’t know what happened to her after she left the lab that day.” Folding her arms, she turned away from Michael angrily. There was no way she was going to let some oaf—

She saw the bolt of light leave his hand in the reflection in the mirror a fraction of a second before a loud clap sounded next to her head, leaving a black mark on the wall. Spinning around she stared at Michael, who still had his hand raised and aimed at her, in shock.

“Yes, little girl, don’t play with me. I can really hurt you if I want to.”

Liz was beyond rational thought for the moment. This man was an alien! She had just always assumed he was human, that he was just one of Khivar’s dirty workers. But Khivar had obviously sent one of his alien soldiers after her!

This time, Liz trembled in fear. She was standing in front of an alien… without the protection of her injections.

“Why don’t you just mind rape me then?”

The question disconcerted Michael momentarily before he recovered. “That’s Khivar’s way of doing things. Tell me where Isabel is, or this time, I won’t miss.”

Staring at him, fighting down unbidden tears, Liz scrambled to find some sense in what was happening. Was Michael lying about working for Khivar? If he wasn’t, who was he? One of those other aliens – Khivar’s enemies? This was a nightmare.

Michael crowded close to her menacingly. “Where is Isabel?”

The tears won the battle. “Why do you want her?” she croaked.

“She means a lot to us. We want her back and safe from your wonderful boss. Where is she?” The last part was hissed right into her face. “Tell me!”

Her desperate attempt to turn her face away was thwarted when he threaded his fingers through her hair and forced her eyes back to his. “Last chance, little girl…”

Tears streaming down her face, scared and utterly defeated, Liz’s muddled mind came up with only one thing. “I need Max. Please…” She hardly heard her own words, so softly did she whisper them. A sharp pain sliced through her temples.

Michael’s head snapped back as if she had slapped him. “I thought you said you didn’t know Max.”

“U Shayna Min.”

On the other side of the ship, Max had jerked into silence while talking to some of his soldiers, a visible shiver running through his body.

“What did you say?” Michael had stumbled backwards and looked like he had been broadsided by an oil tanker. Liz hadn’t even realized she had spoken out loud.

What did you say?” Michael demanded again, rushing closer to grab hold of her upper arms.

“N—nothing.” Liz was scared, where had those words come from? She remembered them, remembered that they were important. But why did she remember them now?

“No, I heard you! You said U Shayna Min. Where did you learn that?”

“Why? What does it mean?” Even in her confused state, through the battle of trying to distinguish between real memories, dreams and delusions, she knew he didn’t need to tell her. She knew exactly what those words meant.

The pain in her temples got worse, then blissfully receded.

A tall raven-haired man had whispered it to her while he had branded her. You belong to me, he had said in a strange language she had understood regardless.

His name had been… “Max…”

And she suddenly feared that it had not all been a dream.

TBC


posted on 30-Sep-2001 11:30:33 AM by LivE
More thanks for the great feedback. It is SUCH an encouragement and such a kick that so many people are enjoying this!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


(FROM CHAPTER 5)

Tears streaming down her face, scared and utterly defeated, Liz’s muddled mind came up with only one thing. “I need Max. Please…” She hardly heard her own words, so softly did she whisper them. A sharp pain sliced through her temples.

Michael’s head snapped back as if she had slapped him. “I thought you said you didn’t know Max.”

“U Shayna Min.”

On the other side of the ship, Max had jerked into silence while talking to some of his soldiers, a visible shiver running through his body.

“What did you say?” Michael had stumbled backwards and looked like he had been broadsided by an oil tanker. Liz hadn’t even realized she had spoken out loud.

What did you say?” Michael demanded again, rushing closer to grab hold of her upper arms.

“N—nothing.” Liz was scared, where had those words come from? She remembered them, remembered that they were important. But why did she remember them now?

“No, I heard you! You said U Shayna Min. Where did you learn that?”

“Why? What does it mean?” Even in her confused state, through the battle of trying to distinguish between real memories, dreams and delusions, she knew he didn’t need to tell her. She knew exactly what those words meant.

The pain in her temples got worse, then blissfully receded.

A tall raven-haired man had whispered it to her while he had branded her. You belong to me, he had said in a strange language she had understood regardless.

His name had been… “Max…”

And she suddenly feared that it had not all been a dream.


Chapter 6

Images were rushing at her from all angles, leaving Liz limp, battered beneath their mental attack. Michael had stormed out of the cell after her incoherent ramblings, leaving Liz standing in a daze. An uncontrollable shivering had taken over her body, increasing in intensity until her teeth had chattered. She had eventually run to the door, pressing herself against it, making sure that when it opened she would know. She had listened to the tortured sounds of her own breathing and the frantic beat of her heart for what felt like hours, waiting… Waiting for him.

He was here, wherever here was, she just knew it. She felt it. All those times she had been aware of someone watching her from behind the mirror, he had been there. Somehow, the thought gave her no solace. He was here, but he was staying away from her.

Her whole world had been turned upside down in one shocking moment.

She did know Max. His name was branded in her mind, carrying with it so much emotion she had trouble acknowledging that she could ever have forgotten it.

The injections must have scrambled her brain completely. She had no idea how to differentiate between what was real and what not from her memories. Short, staccato pains in her head seemed to be the only sign that her memory was returning in full force. Suddenly the pain in her temples when Maria had talked about Max made so much more sense.

Max… She sank to the floor, her back sliding down against the door, with a small hiccuping sob. When she thought of him, it felt like a huge hand was squeezing her throat until she could barely breathe. His image was still blurry, but suddenly she remembered other things – the need and longing she had seen reflected in those golden eyes, how soft his hair had felt sliding through her fingers, the strength of his arms when he held her, the honeyed tones of his voice when he whispered to her. She remembered how desperately he had kissed her the last time they’d been together. The night before she was kidnapped…

But most of all she remembered how he had made her feel. Like the most beautiful girl in the world. Like she would stop breathing if he ever left her. That she belonged in his arms until forever was over. Like she was… complete.

Other things were coming back too, but the images were fractured, disjointed, increasing her confusion. Khivar marking her, his hand behind her head, burning something into her brain, telling her that he did that to all his loyal subjects so he could trace them if the enemy got hold of them. Alex, bent over his computer, typing furiously. Her parents, still in living in Boston in the house where she grew up. The lab in Carlsbad, where she worked with Alex. Running through a dark corridor, dragging someone behind her… Cold, intense blue eyes watching her every move as she worked in the lab.

Drawing her knees up against her chest, she wrapped her arms around her legs, hugging them tightly to her. Maybe she could keep herself from breaking apart into little bits by sheer will. It felt like her heart was shattering in her chest, that, if she allowed herself to make a sound, she would howl in pain. Nothing in her life made sense right now.

You belong to me. Deep, soul-stirring kisses that heated her from the inside out. U Shayna Min. Feeling like she was part of him. My name is Max. Hands holding her like they knew every inch of her already. You are Mine. Ignoring her fear that he was a spy for Khivar. Yes…

What had she done? What had she allowed this man to do to her? But worst of all, why did she now feel like she had been abandoned?

Why won’t he come to me? Is he an… alien too? Did he just… use me to— Oh God!

For the first time in many years, Liz Parker cried. Great, racking sobs escaped her as she tried to come to terms with what has happened to her in the past few days. It felt like a two-ton rock was resting on her chest, slowly squeezing the life from her body. She desperately wished she could sink into oblivion, away from this awful ache in her heart, the emptiness in her soul, this irrational longing for someone… something she shouldn’t be with.

Because, no matter what her heart was aching for, there was no way she could be with an alien… could she?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Leave him be, Michael.” The command was soft, but it halted Michael in his tracks. Only Doran, the protector of the Royal Twins for many years, could exert such influence. Over Doran’s shoulder Michael could see Max sitting slumped in his office, his head in his hands.

In spite of Max’s obvious distress, anger suffused Michael all over again. “I want to know what the hell he thought he was doing, getting himself bound to a human girl who works for Khivar.” Somehow Michael had managed not to shout at the tall blonde man who barred the door.

Doran glanced over his shoulder uncertainly at his Prince. He had seen Max and Isabel grow up in front of his eyes. He had been there when they came out of the pods and when the Antarian Royal Family’s Advisor handed them over to the Evans family. He was there when they took their first steps and when they started using their powers. He knew exactly what either of them was capable of. He trained them and taught them. They were like his own children. And he had made a huge mistake by not teaching them earlier about the mating ways of their race. It had just never seemed necessary. Isabel had dated a few guys superficially and Max had never had any relationship. Then Khivar had arrived on earth, upsetting everything, and the importance of finding a mate, the right mate, for these two had plummeted even lower.

So Doran had been flummoxed when Max had asked a few minutes ago about the Antarian bonding ritual. Max had had no idea what he had done to this Liz Parker. That he had bound the two of them together more surely than he could ever imagine.

“How could this have happened?” Max had cried in despair. “How can our race create bonds as a result of something we do in a moment of passion?”

“Just lusting after each other won’t end in a mating. You both would have had to make a commitment towards a life together, Max.” Doran had still been reeling about the fact that a human girl had gotten linked with their future king like this. This was something they had truly not foreseen. “You both would have had to want to share the rest of your lives with each other. Did you ask her for such a commitment? And did she agree?”

With tightly closed eyes, Max had relived that moment that had changed his life. He had held her so closely, afraid that she would disappear if he let go even an inch. Liz? It had been more than a question of just wanting her right then. He had instinctively known what it was that he had been asking of her: be mine from now on. Yes. He remembered how that one small whisper from her had reverberated through him like the primal beat of a drum, how it had energized his body, gathering together all that was human and alien inside him until it had seemed to flow from his palms to her, branding her without leaving a mark. “U Shayna Min.” How had he known to say specifically those words? You belong to me. How had he known she had said yes to more than a roll in the hay? He couldn’t really say. He just knew.

“Antarian matings are the result of a combination of things that differ from couple to couple. You need to share a mutual wish to bond, you need to want to make a lifetime commitment towards each other, desire each other…” Doran had looked at him intently. “Why her, Max?”

“It felt like I had found the other half of my soul.” Max had answered without thinking, startling his mentor. “I saw her and I… knew her.” The full impact of what he had done had hit him then, driving him into the chair behind his desk. In addition to the implications for him and his people, he was not sure that Liz had really meant to bind herself to an alien for life. He had taken her ‘yes’ at face value, even though she’d said it without knowing all the facts. Would she hate him for it now?

He had done the girl of his heart, and everyone around him, a huge disfavor and now he had to face Michael.

“It’s okay, Doran,” Max said, coming to his feet slowly. “I need to talk to Michael about this, he is right.”

Michael stormed past Doran immediately. “What were you thinking, Maxwell?” he yelled. “Or maybe that’s the problem – you weren’t thinking. You were just reacting to your hormones. Is that it?”

“I don’t know what happened. I hadn’t meant…” But that was the problem, he had meant. He had instinctively wanted to bind Liz to him so that no other man could ever have her.

Michael gaped at Max. “That’s all you’re going to say?” He planted his hands on his hips. “You bind some human girl, who works for our enemy no less, to you and all you can say is ‘you don’t know’ why you did it?”

Max looked away from his second-in-command. How could he explain that it had taken him one look, one time hearing that wonderful husky laugh of hers, to know that he wanted this girl in his life? That it took him all of a few days to stop caring that Liz Parker was all the things Michael just called her and more. That nothing had mattered but that she stayed with him, become part of him. How could he make Michael understand that his heart and mind were at constant war over this girl? That even now his heart was calling for him to go to her and stay with her, that there was no way she could be involved with the terrible experiments Khivar was reportedly doing on humans, while his mind yelled at him that she was the enemy and shouldn’t be allowed close to him at any cost.

“Can you believe this?” Michael whirled towards the silent Doran, still hovering in the doorway. When he received no answer, he swung back to Max. “You might as well have given us all over to Khivar, because if he ever gets his hands on her, he could find everything he needs to know about you in her mind. Everything!

“I’m not letting him get his hands on her again.” No way in hell, Max thought. “Even if I have to keep her locked up on this ship for the rest of her life, no one will get near her again.”

Michael just got angrier. “Do you listen to yourself? This… girl has you tied up in so many knots you are useless to us! Isabel is in some camp and all you care about is this Liz Parker!”

“Michael!” Doran interjected. “You are talking to your—”

“He’s right, Doran.” Max waved his hand to silence his mentor. “Is…” the words stuck in his throat, “is there any way to undo what I did to Liz?” He couldn’t quite meet Doran’s eyes, it felt like he was betraying Liz somehow by asking this question.

The thundering silence made him lift his eyes to the two other men. Michael was looking at him speculatively, and Doran looked uncomfortable. “Well?” God, why did he feel that stabbing pain in his heart at the thought of severing the link he had created with Liz in a moment of pure instinct?

“I—I don’t think it’s ever been done before, Max.” Doran didn’t meet his gaze. “I’ll have to study the historic texts.”

“You’re kidding me.” Michael sounded dismayed.

Doran was still staring at the floor as he shook his head.

“Well, that’s it, Maxwell, you’re not going near that girl until we’ve figured out a way to fix this mess.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Are you alright?” Maria cried in alarm as she rushed into the cell. She had come to the observation room to see if Michael had made any progress that would help them locate Isabel. But she had found Michael missing and Liz lying curled up on the floor, silent tears streaking down her face. “Max is gonna kill him! What did he do to you?”

Gathering the tiny brunette up, she helped Liz to the bed. When she went to leave, Liz clung to her hand. “Please stay… Tell me about… about Isabel.” The small pause piqued Maria’s interest. “You don’t really work for Khivar, do you?” Liz surprised her further by asking.

Maria stared at her, seeing the honest need for the truth reflected in those doe eyes that had ensnared Max. “No, we are the people Khivar wants to kill. Khivar distorted the story he told our governments on earth. He is the one trying to usurp power on Antar. He is trying to win a war against the Royal House of Antar.”

“Then why is he on earth?”

“Because the Prince and Princess of Antar had been hidden on earth to be safe from the war on their own planet. He is prepared to take over a whole planet to find two people, Liz. That should tell you something about how ruthless he is. You must have seen what he is capable of!” Taking a deep breath, Maria tried to calm down. Liz seemed ready to talk and shouting at her won’t help their cause. “Do you really work for Khivar? I mean, work for him?”

A numbness had settled around Liz’s heart. She had so much to still do on earth, for earth, but without… him it all seemed to matter less. She was so tired, but she needed to know about Isabel. “So where does Isabel fit into this?”

Deciding to leave the issue of Liz’s loyalties alone for the moment, Maria told Liz what she knew Khivar would know by now. “Isabel is the Princess of Antar. If you know anything that can help us, you must please tell us. Khivar wants to use her to get the upper hand on Antar.”

“Does she have powers? Like Khivar and Nicholas?”

“Eeeww, no.” Maria shuddered. “Khivar and Nicholas are what is called ‘Skins’. They wear human husks, they can’t survive in earth’s atmosphere in their original form. They come from a violent race, so all their powers are… intrusive is the best term, I guess. Actual Antarians can’t rape your mind against your will or make you see things that aren’t there. Isabel can dream walk – she can see what people dream.”

Maria had Liz’s full attention now. “And are you an Antarian?”

“Me?” Maria burst out laughing. “No!” She waved her hands dismissively in the air. “I am but a lowly human girl in love with an Antarian soldier.” She jerked her thumb across her shoulder. “Space Boy… Michael… he’s my significant other.”

The concept amazed Liz. “You are in love with an…”

“Alien. Yeah, I know. Wild, isn’t it?”

“Why? How? I mean…”

“Don’t ask me why I fell in love with that big oaf. I just did. Got him right where I want him too.” The sadness in Liz’s eyes stopped her.

“I—I lied before. I do know Max.” The pain in her temples reappeared briefly, but Liz ignored it this time. Her need to find out about Max was overriding everything else. “Could you tell me about him?”

Whoa, this could be dangerous! Maria wondered what she could tell Liz. What if this was just some ploy to spy for Khivar. “Why do you ask?”

“I…” Liz looked away, letting her long hair slide forward to hide her face. “Something happened between us, something I don’t understand. Why is he staying away from me?”

The sorrow evident in the last question won Maria over. “You’re in love with Max, aren’t you?”

“I don’t know him well enough to be.” But her hands were shaking as she said this.

“His name is Max Evans. He grew up on earth.”

“Is he an a— Is he from Antar too?”

“Yes, chica. He is the Prince of Antar.”

A vice abruptly clamped around Liz’s heart. Max and Isabel Evans. Beautiful, blonde, stunning Isabel Evans. The Prince and Princess of Antar. Oh God. “Does he… love her? Isabel?”

“Sure he does! That’s why you’re here remember – to help us… him, find Isabel.” Maria was oblivious to the tears that had gathered in Liz’s eyes. “You will help us right?” She rubbed her hands together gleefully. “Michael is going to be so mad that I got you to agree and he failed! And we can be friends now, I so miss having a girl friend to talk—” The mark of Michael’s power blast on the wall halted her flood of words. “Oh my God! That idiot! Max will have a cow! Michael didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“No.” But Max did. He hurt me so much more than a physical blow could.

“You’re crying!” Maria exclaimed. “Don’t cry! If you get upset, Max gets upset and then we all live in hell. What is wrong?”

“Nothing. I’ll help you. Will you let me leave if I help you?”

Maria’s mouth fell open. “You would want to leave?”

“Yes, as soon as possible.” I need to get as far away from this… alien prince who just used me as a means to an end. Who lied to make me feel special. What was I thinking anyway? I can’t get involved with an alien! This is totally against… “That’s the deal. I’ll give Max his Isabel, and then you let me leave.”

TBC



posted on 3-Oct-2001 12:37:21 PM by LivE
Wow, the board moves like lightning! I had to search to find this fic again. *smile* Anyway, sorry about dragging the M/I thing in there, but hopefully this part will make up for it a little. *wink*

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 7

“Hello out there!” Isabel banged against the door of the room she had spent the last 48 hours in. She was feeling decidedly grungy by now and wanted a shower… or something. Even Khivar should recognize that she was a Princess and not treat her like this!

Alex let out a long-suffering sigh. He was really going to get Liz for sticking him with the Ice Queen from hell. As if it weren’t enough that he had to keep the lab going without her, now he was stuck babysitting this girl who just wouldn’t be cowed by her incarceration. He trudged closer to the room slowly. His heart ached for Liz. By now it was clear that something had happened to her, or she would have gotten in touch with him. Liz was not the type of person to shirk her responsibilities.

Opening the door, he found a slightly bedraggled, but still beautiful, Isabel waiting for him with her hands on her hips. “You rang?” he said sarcastically.

“I want a shower! I smell and I’m dirty and—”

“You can do whatever you like when we get to your new digs,” Alex interrupted her. “We’re moving out tonight.”

“You’re moving me again?” Isabel was aghast.

Alex just shrugged. “Wouldn’t want people to know where you are, now would we? The new place is better, believe me.”

Staring at him angrily, Isabel decided to take the bull by the horns. “Where is Khivar? Why hasn’t he come to see me? They must know by now who I am.”

Very pale suddenly, Alex closed the door to the room firmly and gave her his full attention. “What do you mean ‘who you are’?”

“You mean they didn’t tell you?” Isabel shook her head. “I am one of the evil aliens Khivar has been trying to find for so long. My brother is the next King of the planet your precious Khivar wants to get control over. Only we didn’t hand it all over as easily as you humans did with the earth. There’s a war on our planet and Khivar is the aggressor. You people need to see the light!” she ended vehemently.

Oh crap, was all Alex’s shocked mind could come up with.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Doran watched his Prince with an unreadable expression. Michael had gone after another order to Max to stay away from Liz and now Max was pacing his office like a caged tiger.

“We need to find Isabel so we can go home and fight this war.”

“You really care for this Liz Parker, don’t you?”

Max turned haunted eyes on his mentor. “Yes, I care. Too much,” he admitted softly.

“I’m not sure there is such a thing as caring too much. You just need to find your balance again with her in your life. This is a new equation.”

Chuckling mirthlessly, Max swung away to the huge window from where he could, as usual, see the dark side of the moon. “That’s the problem. It’s not an equation. It’s a relationship and relationships don’t work according to numbers.”

Silence stretched between them for long moments.

“You are unhappy away from her.” It wasn’t a question from Doran, but a statement of fact. While Max had always been alone, now he was projecting an all-encompassing sadness that tugged at Doran’s heart.

“I—I really need to… at least touch her… again.” Thrusting his hands through his hair, Max turned back to look at Doran pleadingly. “I know you all think I’ve lost my mind to get involved with a human girl working for the enemy, but… in my heart I know she would be on our side if she knew all the facts.” He got a far-off look in his eyes and a small smile curved his lips. “She is amazing, Doran. You should see her work with kids. She does her job because she thinks she is helping humanity. Her heart is pure, I felt that.” The light died out of his amber eyes slowly. “She loved me… once…”

His last words decided things for Doran, his lie had been necessary. And now he would go see the new Princess of Antar and make things work for his Prince if he could.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I’m gonna be honest here with you, chica,” Maria said, eyeing the moisture shimmering on Liz’s lashes intently. “I don’t think Max is ever going to let you leave again. In fact, I’m not sure how he manages to let you out of his sight at all.”

Fighting down fresh tears, Liz stared at Maria in disbelief. “Does he distrust me so much?” she asked, hating the telltale quiver in her voice.

Now it was Maria’s turn to look amazed. “Distrust you? No, no, he just can’t keep his eyes off you! The guy is totally smitten.”

Liz wasn’t sure how to react to this. Max was smitten with her. But what about… “What would Isabel say about this?” What on earth kind of man did she get involved with? Not only was he using her feelings for him to find his Isabel, but he was apparently married and still didn’t mind falling for another woman too?

“Oh, I’m sure she will have a royal fit, but Max is his own person. If you are important enough to him, nothing Isabel says will make him change his mind.”

This was the last straw. Liz jumped up from the bed, her eyes blazing in anger. “How can you all be so cavalier about this? He is cheating on his wife and—”

“His wife!” Maria fairly screeched, silencing Liz. “Eeeww, no! Isabel is his sister!” Then her eyes got big as saucers. “You thought he was keeping you around to be his mistress!” Maria looked at Liz sympathetically. “You don’t have a high opinion of him, but you are wrong. He is one of the best guys I have ever met. You are one lucky girl, even if you don’t feel like it now.” When Liz just sank back onto the bed quietly, Maria continued shrewdly. “That’s why you were crying, wasn’t it? You thought he was cheating on his wife with you, and you wanted to be special to him.” Liz didn’t answer, but Maria could see the longing in her eyes, could see how desperately she wanted to believe. “You are special to him. I have never seen him like this over anyone. Don’t you think if he had brought you here to be his bit-on-the-side he would have tried to seduce you by now? While Isabel was missing? No, it kills him to stay away from you, believe me.”

“Then why…”

“Liz, you are working for our enemy. Our enemy, who has kidnapped Max’s only sister, someone he loves dearly and whom you’ve so far refused to help find. You are working in a lab that does experiments on people who cross Khivar. Can you really blame all of us for not really trusting you to be close to our Prince?”

“I would never… Max believes all this of me?” Liz felt gutted. What a tangled mess they were in!

“You mean you aren’t guilty of working for Khivar and against the resistance?” Maria watched Liz closely. Her mother had taught her to put a lot of stock in her own instincts, and right now, her instincts said Liz Parker was hiding something.

Taking a deep, calming breath, Liz tucked her hair behind her ears. “I mean I would never intentionally harm Max. Ever.” The last word came out as a vow.

Maria grinned happily. “That’s good, because that guy means the world to a lot of us and we would hunt you down if you hurt him.” There were still a lot of unanswered questions here, but her main concern had been answered. It was clear as day that Liz Parker was in love with Max Evans. Anything else could be fixed later. “Now, tell me where Isabel is.”

“I’m not sure,” Liz answered truthfully. “I’ll need to get back to my lab to find out.” Her mind went off the topic of Isabel immediately. The conversation with Maria had filled her head with so much information, she was having trouble taking it all in. Max wasn’t married. Isabel was Max’s sister. Max wasn’t staying away from her because he didn’t care. Max really is mine!

Max was the Prince of another planet! This stopped Liz in her tracks. This was all wrong. She could never be involved with an enemy. Never. But… he wasn’t just any enemy. He was… Max. The man who had held her like no one else ever had.

And like no one else ever would.

I can’t be with him if it means I have to betray him. But I can help him before leaving. Her heart ached unbearably at the thought.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Maria had obviously told everyone that Liz planned to co-operate, because she was basically left alone for the rest of the day. Liz could sense that serious preparations were going on outside her little cell, as every time Maria arrived with food or drink she glimpsed people running about.

But still there was no sign of Max.

Then, later that night, after Michael had been in to inform Liz they would leave the next morning to go find Isabel, a new man came to see her. She had been sitting on her bed, her knees drawn to her chest, staring at herself in the mirror when he appeared quietly, startling her. He was tall, with ash-blonde hair and a weathered face.

Doran had just managed to wipe the grin off his face following Maria’s ‘gotcha’ as he told her to keep Michael away from the cell for the next few hours, when he had his first look at Max’s Liz. She looked incredibly melancholy. Just like Max. She was tiny and beautiful, her eyes huge in her face, looking very vulnerable so curled up in one corner of the bed. It took her a while to register his presence and he could see first the disappointment and then the wariness entering her expression.

Yes, I did the right thing.

Who was this? Liz wondered. Yet another alien staring at her suspiciously because she might betray their Prince. She stayed mute, waiting for him to make the first move.

“My name is Doran, I am the Protector of the Royal Twins,” he finally said, his voice soft and unthreatening.

“I won’t hurt Max. I’ll leave him alone after I helped find Isabel, I promise.” Liz’s voice was flat, as if she’d repeated this particular phrase so many times it became a mantra.

“Okay.” Doran watched her, noting that she seemed to be holding herself together through sheer will. “That’s not why I’m here, though.”

“Oh?” A slight flickering of Liz’s dark eyelashes was the only sign that she was surprised.

“No. I just wanted to ask a few questions.”

He had her full attention now.

“How did you meet Max?”

Liz hesitated, feeling strangely hesitant to share such an intense and personal moment with a stranger. “He came to one of the classes I teach at the local college.”

“So you noticed him?”

“Yes.” Liz smiled mirthlessly to herself. It was a vast understatement. Looking into those mesmerizing eyes that had stared at her all through that first class, had nearly knocked her off her feet. ‘Hi, my name is Max.’

“And then?”

“He waited to talk to me after class… about some of my work.” And then he came back, again and again, and I started living for those moments he was close.

“Did you suspect he was an alien?”

“No…” But her uncertainty was clear. “I—I only found that out here.”

Doran shook his head. “You mean to tell me you never suspected something was… different about Max?”

Not able to answer that, Liz thought back to the few weeks she had spent with Max. At first, she had been too blinded by adoration for the gorgeous, gentle man who seemed as taken with her as she was with him, but that night when he marked her, she had known. She had known and had not cared. In spite of the fact that something very strange had happened between them, she had clung to him, said ‘yes’ to him and had wanted nothing different. Her heart had completely overridden her mind.

Her silence was answer enough for Doran. “And now that you know? Do you feel differently?”

No, her heart said immediately, but her lips said something else. “I realized I don’t know him well enough to know what I feel. But this is not my life. My life is in my lab, doing my work.” I need to get away from him, before I’m asked to betray him. “I—I’ll do my best for Isabel, though, I promise. I know she means a lot to him…”

Doran’s regard was becoming unsettling. It felt like he saw through all the words she was spouting to the heart of the matter. That he saw she had gotten in too deep with Max Evans to make any kind of decision easily and rationally. That in spite of how wrong the circumstances were for both of them, she kept wishing there were a way they could be together.

Gooseflesh suddenly rose all over her body and she turned to the mirror instinctively, fighting down an impulse to run over to the sleek surface in the hope of getting closer to him. For one last time.

None of this was lost on Doran. It was like watching a flower turn towards the sun. A fine trembling shook Liz’s body and he could see she was staring at the mirror like she was trying to see through it. It was a profound moment for the Protector. No matter what else Liz Parker was, she was inextricably linked to his Prince. And he knew with certainty that Liz would do everything in her power to help Max find Isabel… because it would make him happy.

Getting up, he glanced at the mirror. “You are to be drugged again for the journey back.”

“Okay.” Liz didn’t even glance at him, her attention riveted on the mirror. “Max won’t be going too, will he...” Again, just a statement of fact, laced with yearning.

“No.” It had caused an argument between Max and Michael, but Michael was adamant that Max would not be put in danger by going close to Khivar’s people. Max had only given in when Michael had promised to make sure that Liz got home safely after they’ve found Isabel. Doran moved closer to Liz. “It would be better if you lie down before I administer the sedative.”

Liz finally tore her eyes away, huddled down on the bed and turned her face back towards the mirror, towards Max. She was indescribably sad. She was leaving and she hadn’t seen him again. Surely it shouldn’t hurt this much. She was doing the right thing, for both of them.

She had no idea how the drug was administered and later she would remember this and marvel that, as a scientist, she had been so intent on Max that she had taken no notice of the alien technology around her.

Doran waited until Liz’s breathing deepened before turning to the mirror. “She will sleep for a while now.” Then he left and took up station against the wall opposite to the cell door. Max did not look at him as he exited the observation room and entered the cell.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

She was lying on her back, now facing away from the mirror. His eyes traced the exposed line of her neck hungrily. He was afraid to go closer, and he was afraid to stay away. How could someone so tiny hold so much power over him? How could someone looking so vulnerable be so powerful?

For endless moments he just stood there, drinking in the sight of her without the hindrance of cool impersonal glass between them. She was so beautiful to him, each heartbeat called her name, each cell in his body craved to meld with hers.

Finally he could stand the distance no longer and walked closer, sinking to his knees at her bedside. Still too afraid to touch her in case she wasn’t fully asleep yet, he traced her form with his eyes. Lingered on the rhythmic rise and fall of her breasts, on the sliver of bare skin visible between her tank-top and drawstring pants, on her cute little toes, peeking from beneath the sheet. Inevitably, his gaze returned to her face, the smooth skin of her cheek, the vulnerable contour of her temple, the elegant line of her jaw and, finally, the place just below her ear where he’d marked her.

Lifting a shaking hand, he moved his palm closer to that place, hovering a mere breath from her skin. It happened immediately. First a soft glow suffused her skin, and then it coalesced slowly into the swirling sign of the Whirlwind Galaxy, the symbol of the Royal House of Antar. It was a moving moment for Max and he had to swallow around the lump in his throat. This was the first time he’d actually seen this happen. The night he had marked her had been too passionate, over too quickly. And he had had no idea what he’d done or how to search for his sign, his mark. Even though he expected it, he was still surprised to find the identical twin of the sign on Liz’s neck shimmering in his palm when he turned over his hand. She had marked him too. They were linked. Inextricably.

His hand found a swath of her hair. He’d been mesmerized by it since he’d seen her for the first time. As he rubbed the silky strands between his fingers, he tried to memorize the sensation for what he now knew was a future without her. “I’m sorry, Liz.” He talked so softly he could barely hear his own words. “So incredibly sorry for not being honest. But I was afraid you would never let me near you if you knew… I never intended… Thank you for helping me with Isabel, even though it must be…” His throat closed up at the thought that he was busy saying goodbye. “Thank you for making me… human, just for a little while. For letting me be with you. You will probably never know how much it… you meant to me. And… there will never be anyone else.” He took a deep breath, leaning closer, lightly brushing his lips over her ear. “I belong to you.” He whispered it in his own language without even noticing, before sliding his lips lower, letting it linger over the dying glow if his mark. “If you ever need me, I’ll come.”

The pain in his chest was becoming unbearable. Tears blurred his eyes as he jerked to his feet, storming from the room before he broke down completely. It felt like he was ripping his heart out, but if he stayed any longer he would never let her go. He didn’t even notice Doran still standing guard at the door.

And back in the cell, Liz opened her eyes with a long, shuddering breath.

TBC


posted on 12-Oct-2001 5:04:54 AM by LivE
Hey guys!! Wow, I'm glad everyone still remembers this. I will post the next part as soon as I get home - I've been waiting for the board to get back up again.

Yes, I've been writing more - the show is too stupid to watch, so all I have left is fics.

LivE
posted on 12-Oct-2001 10:19:15 AM by LivE
Well, I'm going to try and tell you in the title where the new parts are, but the number of pages to the thread changes everytime I log on! *tongue*

Anyway, no, don't worry, since I've given up on the show anyway, I WILL be finishing this story. Nothing that the stupid Roswell writers do can upset me anymore! *angel*

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU

(FROM PART 7)

Lifting a shaking hand, he moved his palm closer to that place, hovering a mere breath from her skin. It happened immediately. First a soft glow suffused her skin, and then it coalesced slowly into the swirling sign of the Whirlwind Galaxy, the symbol of the Royal House of Antar. It was a moving moment for Max and he had to swallow around the lump in his throat. This was the first time he’d actually seen this happen. The night he had marked her had been too passionate, over too quickly. And he had had no idea what he’d done or how to search for his sign, his mark. Even though he expected it, he was still surprised to find the identical twin of the sign on Liz’s neck shimmering in his palm when he turned over his hand. She had marked him too. They were linked. Inextricably.

His hand found a swath of her hair. He’d been mesmerized by it since he’d seen her for the first time. As he rubbed the silky strands between his fingers, he tried to memorize the sensation for what he now knew was a future without her. “I’m sorry, Liz.” He talked so softly he could barely hear his own words. “So incredibly sorry for not being honest. But I was afraid you would never let me near you if you knew… I never intended… Thank you for helping me with Isabel, even though it must be…” His throat closed up at the thought that he was busy saying goodbye. “Thank you for making me… human, just for a little while. For letting me be with you. You will probably never know how much it… you meant to me. And… there will never be anyone else.” He took a deep breath, leaning closer, lightly brushing his lips over her ear. “I belong to you.” He whispered it in his own language without even noticing, before sliding his lips lower, letting it linger over the dying glow if his mark. “If you ever need me, I’ll come.”

The pain in his chest was becoming unbearable. Tears blurred his eyes as he jerked to his feet, storming from the room before he broke down completely. It felt like he was ripping his heart out, but if he stayed any longer he would never let her go. He didn’t even notice Doran still standing guard at the door.

And back in the cell, Liz opened her eyes with a long, shuddering breath.



Chapter 8


The loud arguing woke Isabel up. She could discern Alex’s voice and two other male voices in the room next door and she had to fight down the fear that it was Nicholas and Khivar with him. But it couldn’t be, not after what Alex said to her last night.

They had traveled through the night and she had actually fallen asleep a few times. They must have arrived here during the early hours of the morning and now she was lying on a narrow bed in what looked like a guy’s room. Out of habit, she tried to contact Max, but the eerie silence she had been experiencing since she was first kidnapped continued.

She was thoroughly confused. After telling Alex who she was, he had stared at her for a long time. Khivar doesn’t know where you are. His words had stunned her into silence. He had refused to answer any more questions and had dragged her out of the room unceremoniously. It had been then that she had noticed they weren’t in the lab. The room she had spent the past few days in, had not been near the lab where Nicholas had come to see her those two times. Alex had only taken the time to grab his laptop computer before he bundled her into a car and had driven off into the night. He had stopped only once along a deserted stretch of road to type furiously on his computer.

“Are you part of the resistance?” she had finally had the courage to ask him, but he had just glared at her and shook his head.

Now she was in a strange house who-knows-where. Max will never find her now.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max didn’t show up until the last minute, but in the end, he just couldn’t stay away. The shuttle was already humming and Michael was giving his pixie-girl a final hug, while Doran hovered over a still-sleeping Liz.

He felt like kicking himself. Wasn’t that meltdown after saying good-bye enough of a sign that he should stop torturing himself? Max kept his eyes carefully away from the only place he really wanted to look. He was doing the right thing, he told himself for the umpteenth time. She would want to be on earth, with her own people, not with some alien who hadn’t really given her a choice about being bound to him. “Michael, be careful.” He met his second’s gaze. “Don’t do anything else, just bring Iz back.”

“Yeah.” For once, Michael had no smart comeback.

Nodding, Max shook the hands of all the men who would accompany Michael on the mission, ending in front of Doran… and next to Liz. The two men said nothing as they looked at each other. Years of relying on one another made it unnecessary. Doran merely nodded at the silent plea in Max’s eyes.

“Right, let’s go,” Michael announced gruffly. He was a hard soldier, but still not immune to the moisture gathering in Maria’s eyes at his impending departure.

Max gave up trying to be emotionless. He gathered Liz into his arms and strode with her into the shuttle, oblivious to the fact that Doran had barred the others from following with a soft ‘give him a minute’. Burying his face in Liz’s hair, he inhaled deeply, his heart contracting at how familiar she felt and smelled. My Liz. He wanted to say he’ll come back for her, but he couldn’t really promise that. Who knew what waited on Antar? So he carefully walled up all his feelings in his heart and gently lowered Liz into a seat.

Her dream world was scary this time. It started out with Max holding her tightly, letting her feel his caring and his tenderness, making her feel safe. “If you ever need me, I’ll come.” And she tried to tell him she needed him right now, but her throat wouldn’t work. He was going to leave her, and she couldn’t bear the thought. “I belong to you.” But then, those two men appeared over his shoulder again and abruptly, Max was gone.

“Nooo…” she cried. “No, please!” She couldn’t let them have him, she had to do something, anything, to keep him safe. His name is Mark. Not Max. Mark. If she told them that, they will never find him. Spinning around in a circle, she scanned the horizon desperately for a sign of him. The two men were gone, resulting in a small burst of relief, but Max was gone too…


“Don’t leave me…”

He was near the door when he heard her. The small whimper hit him with the force of a giant wave. Was she talking to him? Or to this Mark he had heard about. He forced his feet to move away from her.

“Max!”

Her cry sounded so panicked that he whirled back, fully expecting her to be sitting up and looking at him. Instead, he found her curled up where he left her, a single tear spilling from beneath her still closed eyelashes. Oh God, this is agony!

He was back at her side with two strides, this time catching her face between his hands, not even noticing the glow beneath his palms. He didn’t care that she was drugged, or about all the problems they were faced with, he just kissed her as he had kissed her that last night before he brought her to the ship. Kissed her eyelids, her forehead, her cute little nose and her cheekbones. His lips trailed over her face, finding the small scar above her eyebrow, the line of her jaw and finally the corners of her mouth.

Her lips parted on a small moan and Max didn’t stop to ask questions, he caught the next moan in his mouth. She tasted exactly the same, addictive, sweet, like home. She was pliant in his arms, tiny shivers racing through her that communicated her desire to him. He crushed her closer, tearing his lips away and resting his forehead against hers. Fighting to get control over himself, fighting to stop trembling, he opened his eyes. They were both panting, still so close that their breaths mingled. Abruptly, he was disgusted with himself for mauling Liz while she was unconscious.

“Max…” She whispered his name and he knew he would never get used to hearing it fall from her lips in that tone of voice. Need. A tiny movement caught his attention—her fingers had curled around his wrist, holding him. “Min.” Mine. She had breathed ‘mine’ as she touched him…

The flashes came out of nowhere. The minute it took before Max jerked his forehead away from Liz in surprise was enough for him to see quite a lot of her life. Alex. Two older people that must be her parents. Himself, staring at her from the back of a class. Two men, one tall and darkly handsome, the other a teenager. His own face, flushed with desire. Running through the dark… through a tunnel.

“Max?” Michael’s voice cut into his shock. What the hell had just happened? Did I see into Liz’s mind? But how? Not even with Isabel had he ever managed that!

“Maxwell!” The loud call brought him back to reality. Michael was staring at him suspiciously, his eyes darting between Max and Liz, still in Max’s arms. Max hastily lowered Liz back into the chair and brushed her hair from her face gently. This was not the time to start wondering about weird alien happenings, but he couldn’t shake those images from his mind. Nothing weird had happened the other times he’d kissed her, what was going on now?

“Could we possibly leave now?” Michael inquired sarcastically. Max was acting stranger by the day and he blamed it all on Liz Parker. His once levelheaded Prince turned into an idiot around this girl. The sooner they get her back to earth and Max as far away from her as possible, the better for Antar.

Max was whisked out of the shuttle and before he could get his wits together, he was left standing, holding a tearful Maria, and watching the shuttle speed away from the ship. The expected sense of loss didn’t come, instead, inside him, there was a warm place. A place filled with the gentle presence of Liz.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I want to go see Liz Parker today,” Khivar announced when Nicholas arrived in his office later that morning. “Have you managed to find that prisoner from the resistance yet?”

Well, Nicholas thought in irritation, so much for starting with the good news. “Err, no, the prisoner is still missing and the guards continue saying they saw nothing amiss. She was just there one minute and gone the next. That assistant of Liz’s also claims to be clueless.”

Khivar’s annoyance increased. “And none of them were lying? I assume you did have the intelligence of going through their memories yourself?”

“Of course I did!” Nicholas snapped. “I found nothing.” He breathed in deeply, still not sure how to tell Khivar that his favorite scientist was missing too. Maybe he should just leave Alex to break the news and take the resulting wrath of Khivar. He would just stick to supplying the good news. “I have something interesting to tell you.”

“What?”

“We found an Antarian ship hidden behind the moon. We managed to jam their cloaking device by accident.”

Shooting to his feet, Khivar stared at Nicholas in shock. “They have a ship… here?”

“Yes, we found it an hour ago. I assume you want us to make it disappear?”

“Well I never, you finally grew a brain.” Walking over to a window, Khivar stared up into the sunny sky. “Take it out. Maybe we’ll be lucky and we’ll take out the Antarian Royals with it.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This time, Liz woke up right on time, just after the shuttle dropped them in the New Mexico desert and Michael settled them in a small cabin. The first thing she saw was Doran’s concerned face.

“How do you feel?” he asked anxiously.

Truthfully? She felt like crying and never stopping again. “What happened last night? Why could I hear Max but not move?” The questions came out on a croak and Doran rushed to bring her water.

As she gulped it down gratefully, he watched her carefully. “You two needed to say good-bye.”

It sounded so final that Liz had to bite back tears. “Why did you help us?”

“My Prince cares about you.” That he would do anything for Max was obvious.

Michael marched in the room, took one look at the now awake Liz and snorted. “Great, the princess is finally lucid. Get moving, we need to get Isabel before it’s too late.”

While Liz was still nodding, slightly fearful of the big soldier now that they were out of Max’s reach, Doran got to his feet and glared at Michael. “She’s Max’s wife, whether you like it or not, treat her with respect.”

Only momentarily speechless, Michael toned down his voice. “Yeah, well, decisions made while Maxwell was under the influence of his hormones don’t count and until she proves she didn’t bring us here to betray us all over again, I’ll keep my respect for more deserving candidates. Let’s go.” He left before anyone could react.

Jumping from the bed, Liz put her hand on Doran’s arm. “It’s okay. He has a right to be wary of me. But I really want to help you with Isabel.” She was still reeling about being called Max’s wife.

“I know.” Doran was still staring at the door in anger.

“I’m ready,” Liz said, gaining his attention. “Let’s find Max’s sister.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I have spoken to the resistance group as soon as we arrived. They’ve been watching the lab and it’s been deserted for days now,” Michael informed them as they cautiously entered the city limits of Carlsbad.

So Alex must have left. “I need my laptop,” Liz announced from the backseat.

“What the hell for? So you can make notes about us for Khivar?”

“Michael!” Doran fumed.

“No, so I can contact my assistant. He would know where they took Isabel.” Liz had decided to ignore Michael’s barbs, knowing he was frantic with worry about Isabel and knew nothing about herself. She would have reacted the same way.

One of Michael’s team took a half-hour to retrieve the laptop from Liz’s flat. Her heart beat fast as she booted up and used a borrowed cell phone to download her mail. Relief flooded her as she saw the message from Alex.

Liz, gone to the lake for a few days of R & R. Took the notes for our latest experiment with me, so don’t freak! Hope to see you soon, Alex.

“Great,” Michael muttered over her shoulder, “he’s gone fishing?”

“No, just drive to Roswell. I know where to find him.” Liz’s hands were shaking. If the message was right, she would find Isabel with Alex. The message was a day old, though. Who knows what could have happened to them in the meantime?

The drive was long and tedious, providing Liz with ample time to miss Max. She literally ached with longing. His heartfelt words of the previous night were burnt into her memory. There will never be anyone else. How could this have happened to her? She was in love with someone she could never be with. Not if she wanted to complete the task she had set herself. Not if she didn’t want to get to a point where she would have to choose between Max and humanity. Between Max and a cause she believed in with all her heart. Or… did she?

The way he had touched her last night, so reverently, tenderly, yearningly, made her wonder about her beliefs. Was she right? Were things really as black and white as they’ve always seemed to her? Max was shaking her world’s foundations without even trying. He was making her question, for the first time in her life, whether science really could explain everything.

He made her want to throw away all she had worked so hard to achieve, just for a few more minutes in his arms. To hear him say her name just one more time. She was consumed by him.

“We’re here.” Michael’s brusque tone stated his distrust of Liz’s instructions clearly.

Without looking at Michael, Liz phoned a number on the cell phone. “It’s me. I need to talk… okay.”

Everyone was staring at her as she ended the cryptic call. “I have to go see this friend alone.”

“No way,” Michael yelled immediately.

Liz ignored him again. “He won’t come if I have someone with me. Do you want to know where Isabel is, or not?”

Michael was quiet, both taken aback at the fact that Liz did not act scared of him and because there seemed to be no other option than hers. He hated being dependent on someone else.

“Doran can watch me from a way off. But I need to talk to this guy alone.”

They really had no choice.

Fifteen minutes later, Doran watched as a guy caught Liz in his arms and whirled her around, obviously overwhelmed with joy at seeing her again. He sighed. Trust Max to choose a girl that was going to drive him nuts with jealousy without even trying.

“Parker! We thought you were dead!” Kyle Valenti cried as he finally put an out-of-breath Liz back on her feet. “Where the hell were you?” He kissed her cheeks.

Liz couldn’t help laughing. Kyle was a great guy and a good friend. “I’m fine now, but I don’t have time to talk. Have you seen Alex?”

“Sure, he came through here. Left this morning. Had a knock-out blonde with him.”

“Isabel Evans?”

“Yep.” He got serious. “But Liz, she’s one of them. We told Alex to take her somewhere else.”

“Oh Kyle!” Liz searched for words frantically. “I need to find her…find Alex. It’s really important! Did he tell you where he went?”

“You know better than to ask that! He will contact you when he needs to.” Kyle frowned at her, seeing her increasing agitation. “There’s something more important you need to know. Something exciting.”

Liz was having trouble concentrating on Kyle’s words. Panic was racing through her veins at the thought that Alex might have gone underground with Isabel. They would never find them if Alex didn’t try to contact her again. She saw Doran moving closer out of the corner of her eye, probably as a result of her obvious distress.

“… planning to shoot some ship from the sky. Can you believe it?”

Doran was suddenly looking very pale, his gaze riveted on Kyle. Liz forced her attention back to Kyle too.

“Khivar apparently thinks those other Antarians he’s looking for might be on that ship. I wish I could see that! It will probably look like something from Star Wars. I’m hoping he waits until tonight, at least then we’d be able to see the fireworks.”

A dreadful feeling exploded in the pit of Liz’s stomach and she jerked her eyes back to Doran. He looked ready to keel over with shock. It clicked immediately. The humming she’d felt beneath her feet these past few days… she’d been on a ship! The ship Khivar plans to blow up. The ship that still held Max Evans.

“Nooo…”

TBC


posted on 14-Oct-2001 1:33:16 AM by LivE
Glad you're all still enjoying this!! Thank you for the feedback and the encouragement.

New part tomorrow, I think. *happy*
posted on 15-Oct-2001 1:07:20 PM by LivE
Just a note about all those hating Michael: it's not as simple as him not wanting Max to have a human girlfriend while he does what he likes. Remember, Michael's job is to protect Max, and Liz is working for Khivar, the guy who is trying to kill Max!

But let me not keep you all in suspense any longer...

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU

(FROM CHAPTER 8)

Liz was having trouble concentrating on Kyle’s words. Panic was racing through her veins at the thought that Alex might have gone underground with Isabel. They would never find them if Alex didn’t try to contact her again. She saw Doran moving closer out of the corner of her eye, probably as a result of her obvious distress.

“… planning to shoot some ship from the sky. Can you believe it?”

Doran was suddenly looking very pale, his gaze riveted on Kyle. Liz forced her attention back to Kyle too.

“Khivar apparently thinks those other Antarians he’s looking for might be on that ship. I wish I could see that! It will probably look like something from Star Wars. I’m hoping he waits until tonight, at least then we’d be able to see the fireworks.”

A dreadful feeling exploded in the pit of Liz’s stomach and she jerked her eyes back to Doran. He looked ready to keel over with shock. It clicked immediately. The humming she’d felt beneath her feet these past few days… she’d been on a ship! The ship Khivar plans to blow up. The ship that still held Max Evans.

“Nooo…”



Chapter 9

The panic attack sent Max to his knees with a choked gasp, causing complete chaos in the dining hall in seconds. He couldn’t breathe past the fear closing his throat and the abject terror pressing down on his chest—he didn’t even hear Maria crying out his name. Hands lifted him from the floor, moving him to a chair and worried soldiers milled around him, trying to ascertain if he has unexpectedly taken ill.

It took only moments for him to realize that the feelings were coming from someone else. From Liz. She was scared out of her mind. A cold rage followed immediately in the footsteps of this thought. If someone harmed her he would kill them with his bare hands! Surging to his feet, ignoring the intense pain in his chest, he stabbed the nearest soldier with a uncompromising look. “We’re going down to earth. Now.”

“Max!” Maria was pulling at his sleeve, her eyes filled with worry. “What’s wrong?”

“Liz. Something is happening to Liz.”

Shock registered on Maria’s face. “How do you know?”

“I—I just do. We’re leaving.” He stormed out of the room towards the shuttle docking area, confused people trailing behind him.

“Your Highness! You can’t just go down to earth. We need a plan.”

The stern words from one of his officers forced Max to take stock of his actions and he stopped, taking deep breaths to calm himself. As he turned to face his men, his right hand unconsciously flattened over his heart, a soft glow emanating from the symbol on his palm. The resulting gasps and stunned stares of the onlookers went unnoticed. “Right. Something has gone wrong with the team we sent to earth to find my sister. I need as many of you as we can spare to go down with me to see what we can do.”

“Are you sure this isn’t a trap?” another officer asked, his eyes still glued to the light seeping through Max’s fingers.

“I don’t know. All I know is that they seem to be in danger.” Max felt like screaming at them to stop questioning him so they could leave. Instead of abating, Liz’s terror seems to be increasing and he had to force himself to stand still to speak calmly to the group.

“I’m coming with you,” Maria said firmly from her position right next to him. “I know the resistance and we might need their help.” She braced herself for protests from Max, but he merely nodded. “So let’s go people,” Maria ordered, and watched in approval as the crowd dispersed, running for their rooms to find what they would need for the journey and the task ahead.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“The men are on their way, Khivar,” Nicholas announced smugly. “In two hours, we’ll be free of that spy ship.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Maria shoved a pale and shaking Max into the shuttle. “Now tell me the real story,” she instructed him. “What’s with the glowing hand and how the hell do you know they’re in trouble?”

Max silently lifted his hand from his heart and turned the palm towards Maria, showing her the Antar Royal Symbol that glittered on his skin. Watching her mouth fall open, he fisted his hand and dropped it to his side. “It happened when I marked… married Liz.”

The men were starting to drift into the shuttle, gear on their shoulders. They were all casting uncertain glances at their Prince, obviously wondering if he’s lost it. They’d never seen him this agitated before.

“Wait, wait, wait!” Maria feared she was going to hyperventilate. There were just too many weird things to assimilate here. “You married her?” Her hands fluttered in agitation. “When? How? Wha—”

“I… We bonded. It’s the way my people marry, Maria. I didn’t plan…” He slashed his hand through the air in disgust. “Let’s just say neither of us knew what we were doing. But we’re linked now. That’s all I know.”

“Is this why you know she’s in trouble?”

Nodding, Max wondered how to explain that he knew he was experiencing Liz’s emotions. And that he was worried out of his mind about her.

“Sir? We’re ready to leave.”

Max glanced around the shuttle, now crowded with soldiers. How amazing that nearly all of the Antarians on the ship were ready to follow him, some Prince they’ve only recently met, to their deaths, just because he asked them to. Having grown up in the USA, this was a strange concept to him. Only his training by Doran had prepared him for this role.

“Let’s go, but make sure we are undetected.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“We have to do something, Michael!” Liz was close to having a breakdown. As soon as Kyle’s words had penetrated her mind, she had taken off, running down the road as fast as her legs could carry her, propelled onward by the terror that she would be too late to save Max. There was no time to think about who she was, about where her allegiances lie in normal times, there was only the one thought: I have to warn Max.

Michael was remarkably calm after she conveyed the news and Liz bounced around him in panic, fearful that he wouldn’t believe her.

“Are you sure about this?” Michael didn’t trust Liz yet. He still did not fully understand how Max and Liz got to be so close in such a short time. It had taken him months to trust DeLuca and even longer for him to admit he was in love with her. Liz, on the other hand, had managed to bewitch Max in a matter of hours, it seems, and Michael was unconvinced that there were no ulterior motives involved from her side. Right now, he wondered if she was trying to get them to send a message to the ship so Khivar could find out its location. That would be too perfect.

“For God’s sake, Michael!” Liz’s cry was filled with dread. “They are going to kill Max!”

She looked so panic-stricken that Michael started to worry. “How the hell would he know about the ship?”

“I don’t know and right now, I don’t care,” Liz’s voice wobbled. “Please… please do something.”

Casting a concerned look at Doran, who seemed just as distressed at Liz, Michael admitted the truth. “We can’t contact him, Liz. There is no way to contact the ship. Communications on the ship had been shut down to ensure security. Maybe—maybe if we had Isabel here, she could have contacted him somehow.”

Her breath literally stopped. The pain in her heart was so intense she had to wrap her arms around herself for fear of falling apart completely. “No.” It can’t be. “No…” We never had a chance to… “I never said good-bye.”

Michael was looking at her strangely, but Liz didn’t notice. She was remembering the day she met Max Evans.

“Hi everybody!” Liz had called out cheerfully as she had entered her classroom at the college in Carlsbad. She had been presenting a special course on the molecular differences between humans and apes to some advanced students and had enjoyed it immensely since it was one of her favorite subjects. Having excelled all her life in biology and science, she had gotten early admission into Harvard, finishing her degree in record time. It had been after the publication of one of her research papers that Khivar had contacted her, asking her to head his research lab. And so her career with Khivar had begun, in Carlsbad if all places.. She had taken Alex with her, a friend from her school days and a computer genius. He had recorded all her findings and wrote programs to assist her research. Most of all, he had stood by her in the face of the shock and disgust from some of her former friends that she could work for Khivar. That she could work for an alien.

The noise level in the class had diminished by the time she reached the podium. The tingle that had run down her spine as she had walked through the room had turned into a slight shiver as she had turned around. Her eyes had scanned the group in front of her for the reason and two seconds later their gazes had collided, startling her breath from her lungs. Never in her life had she seen such intense eyes. Or eyes that particular shade of golden. She had just stared at him in amazement. He had hair the color of a raven’s wings and shoulders that filled his black sweater delectably. Quite simply, he took her breath away. And he had stared back as if the rug had just been pulled from beneath his feet too. As if he’d just seen a vision. As if he had felt the same electricity she had.

Bone-deep recognition had funneled through her. Not the kind where you recognize a face, but the kind where you recognize a soul. This man was her other half, the one she’d been waiting for. She had taken a step towards him before a loud noise jerked her back to reality.

Glancing at the student that had dropped his books, her eyes had returned to that magnetic amber gaze immediately. He had appeared slightly dazed by then, but his eyes had never wavered from hers for a moment.

It had taken all her willpower to get through that class and not sound like a complete fool. By the end of the period, she had been ready to explode with tension and anticipation.

She had known he would wait.

Whatever had happened between them was not something you ignored.

She had deliberately kept her back to the emptying class as she gathered her material, but a part of her had known exactly when he had stood up and walked closer. She had imagined that she could feel his heat as he halted behind her.

It was only after she had finally turned towards him, meeting his gaze, that he had spoken. His voice had been low, rough, skittering across her skin until she was covered in gooseflesh.

“Hi, my name is Max…”

And she had known, her life would never be the same again.


“Liz!” Michael shook her arm, shocking her out of her reverie. “Can we find Isabel soon enough to help us? When is this attack going to be launched against the ship?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know where Alex took her.”

The situation finally got too much for Michael. “You mean you don’t know if your friend hadn’t killed Isabel already?” he yelled at Liz. “If my whole family dies today, so help me—”

“Khivar will never just kill Isabel and you know it, Michael,” Doran cut in. “He wants one of them alive to help him get hold of the throne.” He pulled Liz from Michael’s grasp and spoke to her urgently. “You are linked to him. You have to try and contact him.”

“Me?” Liz gaped at him. “Linked? What—what do you mean?”

“There is no time to explain properly, but…” Doran lifted Liz’s hand to her neck, pressing her palm against Max’s invisibly mark. “Focus on him.”

Too desperate to question what she was doing, Liz just followed instructions. Squeezing her eyes closed, she thought of Max.

His hands had shook as he cupped her face tentatively, touching her for the first time. “Liz…” Her name had been a mere exhalation of breath, as if he’d fought a long battle with himself and had finally given up.

Their fist kiss had been soft, lips brushing against each other in a reverent moment, each of them savoring the sensations of finally being this close.

“This can’t be…” But even as he’d said it, his head had bent until he could touch his mouth to hers again. And had ignited a firestorm.


Her palms felt warmer, but she kept trying to reach him. She understood nothing of these alien powers that until now frightened her, but if they meant she could warn Max, she’d use them.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A soft hiss, sounded around the shuttle as it raced through space, was the only warning that the once huge Antarian ship was gone. The group stared at the empty scanning screen in the shuttle in horror.

“Oh my God, Max!” Maria clutched Max’s arm. “Someone disintegrated the ship! We could have been…” Tears started streaming down her face. “We had people on there!”

Max nodded grimly, putting an arm around her. There had only been a few men left on the ship, but they had been comrades. How on earth had Khivar found out about the ship?

There was only one way Max could think of, and that was too horrible to contemplate. Had Liz somehow given out the location of the ship to Khivar? He just couldn’t believe that she would voluntarily betray him like that. He had to believe that whatever it was that had her so scared had been used to coerce the information from her.

What a mess.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Can you feel anything?” Doran asked after long moments of watching Liz concentrate. He was trying very hard not to show his desperation and rattle Liz’s concentration in the process. He had had so much faith in this connection, this link, that these two had forged so instinctively, that the lack of a breakthrough by Liz was intensely disappointing.

She finally opened her eyes, looking at him uncertainly. “I—I think he’s coming closer…”

A stony silence met her stammered statement. No one knew what to believe.

Michael was staring at her neck, seeing the sign of his Royal House shining on her skin. The sight gave him chills. And it confused the hell out of him. It was the sign he had pledged loyalty to so long ago. And now it was worn by a girl he didn’t trust.

“We need to go back to the cabin,” Doran said when everyone remained frozen in place. “If Max is… if they come to earth, they would go there first.”

This galvanized them all to action and they ran to the vehicles, taking off at high speed, thankful to finally have something concrete to do.

Liz chewed her bottom-lip the whole way. She had listened silently to Doran explain about the Antar bonding ceremony and what it meant. And then she had listened to him explain about the link that now existed between her and Max.

“The strength of the link depends on the persons involved,” he ended, watching her intently.

Not knowing what to say, Liz had merely nodded her head. There was so much to take in. And this was so much worse than she had ever expected. Not only was she involved with an alien, she was linked to one. To an alien Prince no less. One that could sense her, like she could sense him.

But somehow, all that paled in comparison to the fact that she wanted him to be safe. She would face the consequences of her rash actions later, right now, she just prayed she was right about Max coming.

After what felt like hours later, they neared the cabin in the desert, the four-wheel drive vehicles bumping over the rough terrain. There was no sign of the shuttle and Liz’s heart literally stopped. Blinking back tears, she missed the cabin door opening and Maria bounding out.

But she didn’t miss seeing Max appearing on Maria’s heels.

A harsh sob escaped Liz’s throat in reaction. She was rooted to her seat, staring at him across the space that separated them, too afraid that he was an apparition conjured up by her confused mind. He had stopped on the veranda, his gaze searching through the people milling about before finally landing on her.

She would never forget the way his face lit up when he saw her.

Maria’s joyful cry when she saw Michael galvanized Liz into action too. Opening the door of the vehicle slowly, she stepped out, unaware of the tears streaking down her cheeks. He was looking at her as he had that first time they’d seen each other, like she was just too good to be true.

They never heard the silence descending on the group that surrounded them.

Max broke the spell by stepping forward. “Liz?” A soft question, as if he still had trouble believing she was really there.

She ran to him then. Ran to him and flung herself against his chest with such force that he staggered backwards a step before stabilizing them and lifting her up against his chest. She was crushed into his body so tightly she could barely breathe.

You are safe! They thought simultaneously.

And in that moment, nothing else mattered.

TBC
posted on 18-Oct-2001 10:56:45 AM by LivE
Small note of help for those having trouble with the screen cutting off the words: I copy JUST the text part of fics that are being posted and paste that into Word and tehn I can print the chapters without any problems. Hope that helps some.

Things are getting good now (for a while at least), so ENJOY!! *big*

LivE
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU

(From Chapter 9)

After what felt like hours later, they neared the cabin in the desert, the four-wheel drive vehicles bumping over the rough terrain. There was no sign of the shuttle and Liz’s heart literally stopped. Blinking back tears, she missed the cabin door opening and Maria bounding out.

But she didn’t miss seeing Max appearing on Maria’s heels.

A harsh sob escaped Liz’s throat in reaction. She was rooted to her seat, staring at him across the space that separated them, too afraid that he was an apparition conjured up by her confused mind. He had stopped on the veranda, his gaze searching through the people milling about before finally landing on her.

She would never forget the way his face lit up when he saw her.

Maria’s joyful cry when she saw Michael galvanized Liz into action too. Opening the door of the vehicle slowly, she stepped out, unaware of the tears streaking down her cheeks. He was looking at her as he had that first time they’d seen each other, like she was just too good to be true.

They never heard the silence descending on the group that surrounded them.

Max broke the spell by stepping forward. “Liz?” A soft question, as if he still had trouble believing she was really there.

She ran to him then. Ran to him and flung herself against his chest with such force that he staggered backwards a step before stabilizing them and lifting her up against his chest. She was crushed into his body so tightly she could barely breathe.

You are safe! They thought simultaneously.

And in that moment, nothing else mattered.


Chapter 10

Oh God, I’m never letting go again, Max thought has he tightened his hold on Liz. Having her close like this, alive, breathing, hugging him back, not drugged, was all he had dreamed off since the kidnapping. He knew he should ask her if this was okay, if she wanted him to hold her, but his throat wouldn’t work. Nothing on this earth would have moved him to break up this precious moment.

Liz’s face was pressed into his neck, her hands clinging to his sides convulsively. As he removed his one arm from around her, she made a soft protesting sound and it finally dawned on him that she was just as involved in this embrace as he was. The thought warmed his soul, shooting rays of sunshine through his body, banishing the final remnants of the fear that had driven him to earth. To hell with tomorrow, right now, they wanted to be with each other.

Threading his fingers through her hair, he tugged her face up and leaned his forehead against hers, just absorbing her nearness, wallowing in her scent, her softness, the sound of her breathing. “I was so afraid…” he murmured, not finding the right words to convey how intense his concern for her had been.

Opening her eyes, she found him staring at her from close range, felt the sharp inhalation lifting his chest into closer proximity with hers as their gazes locked. “Me too.” I was afraid you would be hurt or worse. That I would never see you again and I couldn’t bear the thought. Closing her eyes again, Liz prayed that time would stand still for just a few moments longer, allowing her to stay in his arms some more. Kiss me please Max, she thought desperately, before reality intrudes again. Just one more time.

But he didn’t. He just continued holding her so close she could feel the buttons of his shirt press into her skin.

So she lifted her mouth the fraction-of-an-inch that was needed for their lips to touch. Momentarily frozen, it took Max only a second to recover before he kissed her back with a raw groan.

The flash surprised them. Max was stunned to hear Liz beg Michael to do something, anything to save Max’s life. And Liz lived through Max’s panic that someone was hurting her, threatening her.

The kiss was short-lived.

“Maxwell.” Michael’s voice broke into their absorption with each other, and they drew apart, staring at each other in alarm.

“Lizzie!” Maria pulled Liz away from Max, hugging her tightly. “I’m so glad you are all safe. We were so worried.”

“But…” Liz’s confused interjection was lost as everyone crowded around Max, forgetting about her.

Michael slapped Max on the back. “Glad you’re safe, Maxwell. How did you know they were going to attack?”

Max had to tear his eyes away from Liz, standing off to the side with Maria, to concentrate on Michael. “What are you talking about? We didn’t know… we came because you were in trouble.”

Frowning, Michael shook his head. “We were never in trouble. We found out Khivar planned to destroy the ship and there was no way to…” He faltered to a halt when he saw the shock on Max and Maria’s faces. “What?”

But Max suddenly had eyes only for Liz again, his face filled with awed wonder. “You mean all that was for… for me?” he asked Liz in a strained voice.

Lowering her gaze to the ground, Liz tried to win time to compose herself by playing dumb. “Was what for you?”

When he spoke, he was right in front of her suddenly. “All that… that terror I felt. Was it all because of me? Because you were afraid for me?”

Damn, Liz thought, there is no way to get around the truth now. She just nodded her head jerkily, still avoiding his gaze even though she could feel his eyes boring into her.

“Oh Liz…” Max took her hands.

“What are you going on about?” Michael demanded harshly.

“We came because I could… feel Liz’s distress about something. I thought…” Max was looking down on the shiny crown of Liz’s bent head as he talked, rubbing his thumbs over the back of her hands. “I thought you guys were in danger somehow. We had no idea they were coming. We had just left in the shuttle when the ship was destroyed. We came to save you.

The look on Michael’s face was absolutely priceless, but no one was really paying attention to him.

“You saved our lives, Liz!” Maria hugged her again, this time from behind since Max was planted firmly in front of her, holding onto her hands.

Liz didn’t know what to say. Technically she hadn’t done a thing but panic about Max’s safety. Peeking up into Max’s face, she found him staring down at her with such intensity that her heart nearly stopped. It felt like he was gazing into her soul. His eyes held a mixture of emotions: relief, wonder, sadness… but most of all, she could see such love shining down at her that her throat closed up.

Max was completely overwhelmed. He had known that she had been in love with him before, it would have been hard to miss. But he had feared that his duplicity had killed whatever she might have felt for him. It was a humbling thought to realize just how much she had worried about him being in danger. She loves me. In spite of everything, she loves me. He ignored Michael’s taken aback sputtering and Maria’s attempts to clue her boyfriend in. He couldn’t stop gazing at Liz. Lifting a hand, he trailed a tender finger down her cheek, enjoying the slight widening of her eyes. “Thank you.”

Stepping back, afraid of all the emotions crowding in on her when he was this close, Liz shook her head resolutely. “I didn’t really do anything. I’m just…” she swallowed, “I’m just glad you are all okay.”

“We need to talk,” Michael said determinedly to Max. Maria diplomatically took Liz off to one of the bedrooms, but Liz’s eyes clung to Max’s until she was pulled around a corner.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The discussion went on until late that night. The ship has been totally destroyed and with it, the only way to get to Antar. Communications with their planet was not possible until they could manage to find a secure way of doing it without giving away the whereabouts of the Antar Royal group on earth. And they still needed to find Isabel. Max had frowned when Michael and Doran had relayed Liz’s strange behavior while they were searching for the other Evans. “She’s hiding something, Maxwell,” Michael kept repeating.

Max was informed that Liz’s assistant, Alex, had disappeared with Isabel for some unknown reason. Liz had not seemed shocked or upset to hear this. Michael believed that this was a ruse to delay them finding out that Isabel had already been killed by Khivar.

“I would know if she’s dead, Michael,” Max had told him tiredly.

“Oh yeah? Do you feel her right now?”

Max had had to acknowledge that he didn’t. He didn’t want to think about the possibility that Iz was dead. She and Doran were the people closest to him… until Liz had happened. He couldn’t bear the thought that Liz might have something to do with Isabel’s kidnapping, let alone his sister’s death.

Of course, it hadn’t taken Michael long to get to why he really wanted to talk to Max. Liz Parker. Michael wasn’t sure why she had been so frantic to save Max, but he was sure that they shouldn’t fully trust her yet. “Don’t tell her anything, Maxwell. Nothing about us or how we operate.”

Even though it killed him to admit it, Max knew Michael was right. He might love Liz, but he was not sure he could trust her yet. The thought depressed him to no end.

Doran had quietly relayed what he had seen during Liz’s meeting with her “friend”. He left nothing out, and wasn’t surprised at the thinning of Max’s lips when he heard about the boisterous hug and cheek-kissing that had taken place.

In the end, they had decided to keep the issue of finding Isabel a priority, while some part of their group will start organizing a new base for them here in the desert. Max was starting to fear that, unless a miracle sent a new Antarian ship to earth, he would have to take care of Khivar here.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz wasn’t asleep when he came. Left alone by Maria in one of the three tiny bedrooms of the cabin, she had been lying in bed, listening to the low hum of the conversation going on in the living room. Confusion swamped her. Everything inside her screamed to be with Max. To allow herself to love him with all that she was. He seemed so genuine, so gentle and so not at all what she had expected. But she was afraid. Afraid to let him come too close. Afraid of the choices she would have to make later if she didn’t make them now. So she pretended sleep while Max hesitated in the doorway.

His gaze felt like a touch and for a wild moment, she contemplated opening her eyes and inviting him in. He left so quietly, she didn’t even hear him, she just felt the sudden emptiness in the room.

Max was just as confused. Seeing her lying on the bed, so small and impossibly beautiful, had created a yearning in his heart and in his body. As he showered quickly, he remembered the few times he had held Liz, really held her. They had never made love, just shared the most mind-blowing kisses he could ever have imagined. Even with his lack of experience he knew that those kisses had been amazing. That the level of desire he had experienced for Liz was in the realm of the mythic. When he was with her, she consumed all of his senses. He sighed, flinging himself on his bed and prepared for yet another sleepless night. She was in his heart and his blood after two short weeks and he ached to have her…

Hours later, a soft footfall made his eyes snap open. Liz was standing next to his bed looking down at him uncertainly, the same loneliness and need he was feeling painting her features. His gut clenched in reaction, but he waited for her to make the first move. Oh please…

“I—I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…” She started backing away and he panicked.

“Wait. Don’t go.” He sat up, unaware that his bare chest was the reason for Liz’s soft gasp.

“I just wanted…” I just wanted you to hold me tonight. To hold me and not ask questions.

“Me too,” he whispered softly, opening his arms invitingly. “We’ll talk tomorrow, just stay here tonight.”

Drowning out the voice of reason in her head, Liz rushed over, flinging her arms around his neck and pressing closer. It feels like coming home. He scooted backwards on the bed, managing to maneuver them into lying down without letting her out of his arms. Liz snuggled against him shamelessly, reveling in the warmth of his bare skin, rubbing her cheek against his shoulder. Her tank top was an almost negligible barrier between them, but it still bothered her. Tonight was about more than mere lust, though, it was about a deep-seated need to be close, to share one final moment of togetherness before the real world tears them apart.

He pulled her half on top of him, curling an arm around her, letting his hand rest just beneath the swell of her breasts. His other hand caught one of hers and he lifted it to his mouth, pressing his lips against her knuckles for a long breathless moment. Her whole body reacted to that touch, leaping in response to this man that had linked her to him so irrevocably.

Tilting her head back, she stared up at him through heavy eyes. He was impossibly gorgeous, made even more so because he was so supremely indifferent to his looks. She had no idea why he had picked her, bookish and boring Liz Parker, but just for tonight, she would ask no questions.

Saying nothing, he brushed his lips over her forehead before resting his cheek on the top of her head. Liz had never felt so cherished. She fell asleep with the steady beat of his heart in her ear.

Max felt calm for the first time in many days. Peace came over him as he relished in the perfect fit of their bodies, the warm exhalations of her breath against his skin. He wanted her just this side of madness, but he loved her too, wanted her to feel safe and warm.

And this was what he would give her tonight.

Tomorrow could take care of the questions and the uncertainties.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

He woke up suddenly, finding Liz spooned against him, the soft skin of her back resting against his chest. His face was buried in her hair, sending the scent of strawberries into his body with every lungful of air.

“Liz…” he sighed in longing, pulling her tighter against him, against his burgeoning arousal. She made him want her by just being close.

A small sound escaped her throat and she moved her legs until they were tangled with his, sliding their thighs together sensually.

His hand found the bare skin of her stomach and he burrowed beneath her tank top, spreading his fingers over her ribcage until he could literally feel each breath she took. She shifted restlessly against him, her breathing getting deeper, more labored. His mouth trailed over her bare shoulder and up her neck, opening moistly against the sensitive spot behind her ear.

She moaned softly.

Yes, he thought exultantly, want me as much as I want you!

She startled him by turning over unexpectedly and pressing the hard peaks of her breasts against his chest. A raw groan spilled from him as she dragged her nails up his naked back until her fingers could press into his nape. She urged his head down, silently begging him to kiss her.

His soft hiss was music to her ears.

His hands found her face, cupping it gently as he stared down into her eyes. He wanted her. She knew him well enough by now to know this. But he was being cautious, keeping a tight reign over himself.

“Just one kiss, please…”

He rolled over in one smooth move, trapping her body with his own, his breathing suddenly loud in the room.

Liz met his hungry kiss halfway, lifting closer, threading her fingers through his hair. He touched his tongue to hers then withdrew, playing with her tenderly, fanning the flames of her passion. Sliding his arm beneath her, he arched her into his body as he slowly deepened the kiss.

She was so hungry for him. Opening her mouth wider, she ran her tongue over his bottom-lip… and caused an explosion.

He kissed her hard, desperately, delving into her mouth with fierce desire as his hands shaped her curves, igniting a fire in the pit of her stomach. He pressed his arousal into her, rubbing their bodies together in a way that was driving her mad.

She wanted his hands on her, she wanted him inside her, she wanted… all of Max Evans.

Ripping his mouth from hers to snatch great gulps of air, Max felt the fire threaten to consume him. He was nearly blind with need for her. She was his, his mind and heart cried, no one else should ever touch her like this again.

“Max,” she moaned his name, sending such a bolt of lust through his body that he almost panicked he would hurt her.

He tangled his hands in her hair, holding her away from him and they stared into each other’s eyes while panting for breath.

“Say yes,” he urged her. Say yes to me, to being mine, to staying with me.

“Yes,” she answered, “always yes.”



Coming awake with a start, Max heard himself gasp for breath, the remnants of the dream still thundering through his bloodstream.

Liz was curled up against him, her hair spilling over his shoulder and her hands clinging to one of his as if she was afraid he might disappear while she slept.

He didn’t hear her at first over the loud thumping of his heart, but gradually her murmurs became distinct.

“Yes,” she was saying, “always yes.”

TBC
posted on 21-Oct-2001 6:03:11 AM by LivE
Just a small note first: THANK YOU for all the wonderful feedback! I am SO glad you are all enjoying this journey.

Secondly, all my work, including regular updates of this fic for when you have trouble accessing this board, can be found on Faith Evans' site I Shall Believe at this link:
http://www.geocities.com/cause_its_me/i_shall_believe.html

Bookmark it! *big*

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU

(FROM CHAPTER 10)

Ripping his mouth from hers to snatch great gulps of air, Max felt the fire threaten to consume him. He was nearly blind with need for her. She was his, his mind and heart cried, no one else should ever touch her like this again.

“Max,” she moaned his name, sending such a bolt of lust through his body that he almost panicked he would hurt her.

He tangled his hands in her hair, holding her away from him and they stared into each other’s eyes while panting for breath.

“Say yes,” he urged her. Say yes to me, to being mine, to staying with me.

“Yes,” she answered, “always yes.”



Coming awake with a start, Max heard himself gasp for breath, the remnants of the dream still thundering through his bloodstream.

Liz was curled up against him, her hair spilling over his shoulder and her hands clinging to one of his as if she was afraid he might disappear while she slept.

He didn’t hear her at first over the loud thumping of his heart, but gradually her murmurs became distinct.

“Yes,” she was saying, “always yes.”



Chapter 11

Journal Entry 214

I have fallen hopelessly and irrevocably in love. And there is no future for us.

To make a long story short about the lack of recent entries, I have been kidnapped… no, ABDUCTED by an alien prince who wants me to help him find his sister. Did I mention this alien prince was Max? The Max whom I met two weeks ago and who kissed me like there’s no tomorrow?

I cannot even write this, it is so insane, but... I am married to him. That night, the night I tried so hard to block from my mind, well, it DID happen. He did mark me. And for his people, that means marriage. Me, Liz Parker, scientist working for humanity, married to an alien.

He made me SEE things when he kissed me. I can FEEL him when he’s close. They tell me we are linked now, that Max carries the same mark I do. Somehow, I had marked him right back.

It is so unbelievable. He is gorgeous and I’m still boring, nerdish Liz. I’m not sure how it happened, but this man is in love with me too. I can see it in his eyes, feel it in his touch. It is killing us both to be in this hopeless situation.

I had never been as scared in my life as I was yesterday. I thought he was going to die. That’s when I knew that, to my heart, it didn’t matter WHAT he is, just WHO he is. And it was so weird, because he had rushed to earth to save ME! He had felt my panic and he came. Just like he said he would.

I slept in his arms last night and I knew I BELONGED there. I wanted to stay there forever. I wanted him to do more than hold me. However ludicrous this situation is, I long for us to make love. Even if it’s just once.

I love him. I hardly know him, but I KNOW him. And I love him so much it hurts.

And this cannot be.



The sound of typing drew Maria outside the cabin and she emerged to find Liz sitting on the stairs, working on her laptop. Watching from a few feet away, she again wondered about this girl. Stumbling around still half-asleep to find water just before dawn, she had inadvertently wandered into Max’s room. At first she had through she might still be dreaming when she saw the couple so closely entwined on the bed. You could hardly see where one began and the other ended as they had clung to each other in sleep. Michael would have a cow if he knew Liz had spent the night with Max, but peaceful look on Max’s face had stopped her from waking them up. To Maria’s soft heart, the expression of happiness on Max’s face was such a welcome relief from the past few days that she had just sneaked off again, leaving them to each other.

It took her a while to remember that she should probably check on what Liz was doing on her computer now. She might be trying to contact Khivar, but somehow Maria had trouble believing that. Not after seeing Liz’s overwhelming relief when Max appeared in the cabin door yesterday afternoon. Emotion like that could not be faked.

Tiptoeing closer, she peered over Liz’s shoulder at the words rapidly appearing on the small screen.

… so confused. He makes me feel things I’ve never felt before. I don’t know what to do. We both want things we can’t have. I just need—

“Morning you two,” Doran said as he came around the corner of the cabin unexpectedly, startling both Liz and Maria. Maria cringed when she heard Liz gasp in shock at finding her so close. Damn, Doran, this was just getting good! Maria gave him an exasperated look as he swept past into the cabin.

Slamming the laptop closed, Liz threw a glare at Maria, born more out of panic than anger. What had Maria seen and… will she tell Max?

“Morning, girl,” Maria said cheerily.

“Morning,” Liz answered, her response stilted. She couldn’t really blame Maria for checking up on what she was doing. They didn’t have a reason to fully trust her yet. “I—I was writing in my journal,” she explained, her cheeks flushed.

Things have been weird ever since she woke up this morning, literally surrounded by Max, by his arms, his body and his scent, the dream of them still vivid in her mind. “Say yes.” And she had. She had said yes over and over again. Never had she wanted someone more. He made her feel like the most desirable and most precious girl in the world all at the same time. She had laid still for long moments, reveling in the strength of his arms, the sound of his heartbeat in her ear, the gentle feathering of his breath across her temple. Wanting so much to kiss him.

Instead, she had extracted herself gingerly from his embrace, biting her lip when his soft protesting murmur reached her ears, and left.

The sun was slowly rising in the east and the desert was already starting to warm up. Soon, it would be uncomfortably hot here.

Maria settled herself on the stairs next to Liz. “I cannot believe you are already awake. You had a rough few days and last night…” A small smile curved her mouth. “Let’s just say I could see you and Max were both sleeping well for a change.”

Blushing profusely at the realization that Maria must have seen them, Liz ducked her head, allowing her hair to hide her face. “I…” She didn’t really know what to say.

Smoothing Liz’s hair behind her ear, Maria chuckled. “It’s okay. You make him happy, that’s all I care about.”

Liz was silent for a long time, pondering the statement. Maria sounded so sure, but how could Max be happy with her if he didn’t trust her? “What about the fact that I’m a traitor to your cause?” she finally asked, a slight trace of bitterness coloring her voice.

Now it was Maria’s turn to pause. “Will you give Max over to Khivar?”

“No.” The denial came out firmly.

“And will you help us find Isabel?”

“Yes.”

“Then I don’t care about anything else.”

“I have to go back to work for Khivar after we find Isabel.” Liz didn’t even realize how sad she sounded.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea? Wouldn’t he know you were missing and mind rape you to find out what you were doing? He would learn about Max then!”

Shaking her head with a tiny smile, Liz spoke with certainty. “Don’t worry, he won’t find out anything about you all from me.” She opened up her laptop again, quickly closing her journal file. “I need to contact Alex. Can I borrow a cell phone again?”

A few minutes later, she had typed in a mail message to her life-long friend.


Alex, I need the notes for our latest experiment URGENTLY! As well as ink for my printer. We would have to meet. I am close to the lake, so let me know a suitable time. Liz.”


“Is that some secret code? What’s with the ‘notes’ and the ‘ink’?” Maria asked, hovering over Liz’s shoulder.

“Isabel and my injections respectively,” Liz said shortly, not wanting to get into the issue too much.

“What is going on here?” Michael’s abrasive voice interrupted their discussion. He was standing in the door, rubbing his hands through his sleep-tousled hair and looking none too pleased about finding his girlfriend consorting with the enemy.

“Morning, Space boy! Nice to see you too,” Maria quipped sarcastically. So much for a possible continuing good mood after last night’s reunion sex! She felt supremely satisfied when he looked sheepish for a moment, giving her a slight, apologetic smile. “Liz was sending a message to Alex so he can bring Isabel to a meeting point.”

Michael eyed the laptop, the mail message still visible on the screen, with suspicion. He was clearly still torn about how far he should trust Liz.

“Where’s our hunky Prince?” Maria was needling Michael on purpose, trying to remove some of his attention from Liz.

“Geez, Maria, do you think you could not drool so obviously about—”

She jumped up and stopped him with a kiss, grinning at him impishly. He gave her an irritated look, but hugged her closer.

“Have you made breakfast?”

Liz thought Maria was still joking, but at Michael’s nod, she had to re-evaluate. Obviously, the man can cook. Go figure…

Seeing Max again after last night was harder than she had anticipated. He appeared in the kitchen without warning, knocking the breath from her lungs. Feverishly, her eyes drank him in. Hair still damp from a shower, old faded jeans clinging to his hips, an old t-shirt, molding to that chest that she had slept on last night…

“Hey.” He spoke softly to everyone, but looked at her. The same yearning she felt was mirrored in his eyes and she had to look away quickly to gain control over herself. She wanted to rail at the unfairness of this situation. She had finally found the man she wanted to be with, and they were on opposite sides of a war.

At the breakfast table, Liz felt the weight of Max’s regard like a physical touch. She couldn’t help herself either and her eyes rose to meet his at regular intervals. Their gazes clung, saying things their mouths couldn’t admit out loud. She had no idea what she ate, but everyone’s praises told her that breakfast had been surprisingly good, in spite of having been prepared with dried goods that had been stored in the cabin. When the meal was finished, Liz had to stifle an audible sigh of relief. The ever-growing heat in Max’s eyes was echoing in the pit of her stomach, stoking her need for him. She had to get away before she embarrassed herself.

She was already on her feet when Doran asked what the plans for the day were.

Max had to drag his attention away from Liz to answer. “Michael and I will go talk to the soldiers about a new location. We might even do some scouting ourselves. Liz…” Her name came out slightly hoarse. “Liz should wait here and check her mail regularly. We need to get hold of Isabel as soon as possible. I don’t like us staying in this place too long. We might become sitting ducks.”

For once, Michael seemed happy with Max’s planning and nodded his agreement. In fact, as long as Max and Liz were not in one location, he was more than satisfied.

“How far are we from Roswell?” Liz kept her eyes carefully away from Max as she spoke.

“About two hours’ drive, I think,” Michael answered. “Why?”

“Well, I told Alex I was relatively close to Roswell to help us arrange a meeting time and place—”

“You mean you managed to convey all that in that little note?” Michael’s suspicion was back in full force. “Probably needed to keep things covert while you worked for that bastard, right?”

“Michael.” Max sounded infinitely weary. “Let’s just find Isabel and then worry about the future, okay?”

All he got from Michael was a curt nod.

After the preparations were completed, Max and Michael took their leave of the group staying behind at the cabin. Too afraid to hope for anything, Liz was surprised when Max stopped in front of her and traced a tender finger down her cheek. “Stay safe, okay?”

She only managed to stare at him numbly, her heart in her eyes.

“Liz…”

“Get a move on, Maxwell,” Michael ordered and dragged him off.

Liz felt like a part of her had been dragged off with him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Khivar was furious. Again. “I thought you told me last night that the ship was destroyed?”

“It is!”

“Then what is this about survivors?” He was staring at an uncomfortable Nicholas with a terrifying glint in his eyes.

“Just that we had a small blip on the scanner just before the ship disintegrated. It might be nothing…”

“And it might be more Antarian royalists left alive.” Swinging around, Khivar absently took in the scenery outside his office window. People were hurrying through the streets, pretending that life was still normal. Poor idiots.

“I see I will have to postpone my visit to Ms Parker. Get as many soldiers as you can to scour all frequencies. We have to find those Antarians before they make trouble.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

By the time dusk rolled across the desert, coloring the sand in hues of orange and purple, Liz was ready to climb the walls. There had been no message from Alex yet and Max had stayed away the whole day too. She was desperately aware that she only had a limited time left with him before she had to go back to her real life. Maybe two days at the most. The thought made her incredibly miserable.

Maria had spent the day telling her about the resistance… and about Max. She now knew where Max and Isabel had gone to school and that he was a science geek just like her. The only weird moment had been when Maria told her about her mom who disappeared three years ago while working for the resistance.

“What was her name?” Liz had asked, dreading the answer.

“Amy DeLuca.” Maria had looked at her strangely as Liz desperately tried to hide her shock. “Why?”

“Just wondering,” Liz had croaked, fleeing to find a drink.

And then Max and Michael had returned, tired and sweaty from spending the day in the desert sun. Michael had taken off to a shower immediately, dragging Maria with him.

After watching them leave with a crooked smile, Max went to the kitchen, grabbing two cold bottles of water before turning to Liz and holding out his hand. “Take a walk with me?”

She entwined her fingers with his without demure.

They descended the steps of the cabin slowly and Max steered them towards a cluster of trees. He said nothing while they walked, just held on to her hand tightly, measuring his pace to suit hers.

The breeze was cool, ruffling her hair against her neck, but Liz was only aware of the heat of his body next to hers. Her heart beat loudly and painfully in her chest as each step brought them closer to that talk they so urgently needed to have.

Closer to more lies she had to tell this man that held her heart in the palm of his hands.

And closer to the moment of saying good-bye.

TBC



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Oct-2001 6:10:29 AM ]
posted on 25-Oct-2001 2:44:54 AM by LivE
Wow, thanks for the wonderful feedback! I am stunned at how many people enjoy this enough to leave me a little note! There are some good guesses out there about what's going on - that's all I'm saying on this topic! *big*

Also, I know Liz's actions doesn't make a whole lot of sense yet. I haven't given any real answers on a lot of things, so bear with me, there are many little things that will be addressed in future parts.


*sad*Now for the bad news, I'm going away for a while to the coast (and will have no comp!). I need this, since work has caused a meltdown that wasn't pretty (and let me not get into the assistance the "new and improved Roswell" has given to that). Sooo, this is the last part I'm posting for a while. I'll be updating this fic again on 5 November or so.

Again, thank you for enjoying this! And sorry for leaving you without updates for so long. But hopefully it will be worth it when I get back!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL for YOU

(From Chapter 11)

And then Max and Michael had returned, tired and sweaty from spending the day in the desert sun. Michael had taken off to a shower immediately, dragging Maria with him.

After watching them leave with a crooked smile, Max went to the kitchen, grabbing two cold bottles of water before turning to Liz and holding out his hand. “Take a walk with me?”

She entwined her fingers with his without demure.

They descended the steps of the cabin slowly and Max steered them towards a cluster of trees. He said nothing while they walked, just held on to her hand tightly, measuring his pace to suit hers.

The breeze was cool, ruffling her hair against her neck, but Liz was only aware of the heat of his body next to hers. Her heart beat loudly and painfully in her chest as each step brought them closer to that talk they so urgently needed to have.

Closer to more lies she had to tell this man that held her heart in the palm of his hands.

And closer to the moment of saying good-bye.


Chapter 12

The little hut in the mountains was sort of quaint, but Isabel wanted to go home. It was clear that Alex was working on some mysterious mission, but so far he had refused to divulge any information to her. At least now she had access to a bathroom regularly and that had improved her disposition a little, but her nerves were starting to get frayed. Alex’s unflappable attitude was not helping either.

“Are you not going to hand me over to Khivar then?”

Alex sighed, long and loud. Why did he have to end up spending all his time with this princess-wannabe? He must have had bad karma in his previous life. “No.”

“Are you going to let me go free?”

This time he just shrugged and continued stuffing things into a bag. “I need to go check my mail. My cell phone can’t get any reception here. You’ll have to come along I suppose.” He sounded so reluctant that Isabel wanted to smack him. Narrowing her eyes at his back, she wondered why her looks and charm wasn’t working on this guy. Maybe he was gay.

Snapping the case of his laptop closed, Alex took a look around the hut. It had one large living/sleeping/cooking area and a small bathroom through a door. Real estate agents would probably term this place “cozy and rustic”. He snorted. It was closer to claustrophobic if you were spending it with someone you didn’t choose to be with and who had a bad effect on your hormones.

Please, Liz. Be okay and come help me decide what to do with this alien girl!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Michael, she loves him.” Maria was rubbing Michael’s hair vigorously with a towel after their shower. Sitting behind him on the bed, she missed him pulling a face.

“Life is not always about true love, Maria. She works for Khivar. Why is everyone conveniently forgetting this just because Max has the hots for her?”

This earned him a smack upside the head. “If you think that’s all he has for her, you are more clueless than I suspected! Have you not heard how he talks to her? He has a Liz-voice.” She crawled around until she could face him. “I’m not saying trust her with the keys to the kingdom, I’m saying just take into account that they are in love.” Cupping his face, she urged his eyes back to hers when he tried to look away from her. “They are in a horrible situation, Space Boy. Think of how we would have felt if we couldn’t be together.”

“Hmmpf, at least I wouldn’t have had to listen to endless yapping about feelings and stuff,” he muttered.

“Please, Michael, go easier on them.”

He sighed. “You drive me crazy, you know that?”

“Pleaaasseeee, Space Boy. Please, please, please, pl—”

“Oh for pity’s sake! Fine!” he snapped.

“Cool!” Maria bounced off the bed. “Now, just to show my appreciation, I’ll…” She tapped her finger on her chin, pretending to think.

“You’ll adore my body for a whole night?”

“Nah,” she grinned. “I’ll help you make dinner!”

“Maria!” His growl followed her hasty retreat from the room.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

His gentle golden eyes were going to be her downfall. Liz shivered under Max’s scrutiny, longing to just fall into his arms and forget about the rest of the world, including her self-imposed task to save humanity.

They had found a flat rock beneath the copse of trees some yards away from the cabin. After carefully helping her onto the rock, Max finally let go of her hand and she abruptly felt chilled. “Max…”

Holding up his hand, he smiled at her tenderly. “Let me start, please.”

He really has the most beautiful voice, she thought absently as she nodded. Especially when he uses that gentle tone.

Max stared down at her, suddenly unsure of where to begin. She was even more breathtaking in the dusk light and his heart ached with longing for a chance to share a life with her. But he could not ask her to do that. Shoving his hands into his pockets, he started pacing, debating what to say. This was so important to him and he did not want to mess it up.

Liz watched him prowling around restlessly and allowed herself the luxury of drinking in every little detail about him while his attention was away from her. His hair fell over his forehead in wispy bangs, so black that even the rays of the sun could not manage to find lighter streaks. His arms looked as strong as she knew they were, the muscles flexing as he moved. The line of his jaw, presently darkened by the shadow of a beard, fascinated her and she yearned to slide her tongue over the rough skin.

“I’m so sorry.”

His first words were not what she had expected at all. Instead of questioning her about her work, he was apologizing. A new rush of emotion clogged her throat.

“I was just supposed to see if you knew where Isabel was.” His shoulders lifted and dropped as he spoke, still facing away from her. “I had a team with me who knew what they were doing and I…” He turned around slowly, his gaze searching for hers, pleading for understanding. “I broke every rule there was.” Taking a small step closer to her, he froze again. “I shouldn’t have been alone with you at all. I should have stuck to just monitoring you in class like the plan said, but…” He smiled crookedly, self-deprecatingly. “We’d been on earth for three days, watching your lab. I—I heard you laugh. I hadn’t even seen you yet, but that laugh…” Shaking his head, he searched for the right words. “It got to me. I ignored my men and went to your course and after one look at you I… just… couldn’t stop being with you.”

Liz was enraptured. This was like a fairy-tale. Not in her wildest dreams had she ever expected to hear such sweet words from any man. He was still not referring to the vast chasm of being on different sides of a war that separated them – this was just about them.

“The more I got to know you, the more I fell under your spell. In spite of everything that was wrong with the situation, with us, I wished we could have a future.”

“So did I,” she answered him honestly, her eyes shimmering with unshed tears.

He sucked in a breath at her soft confession, taking another step closer but checking himself quickly. “Things got out of hand. I’ve never been so… impetuous in my life. I should never have gone to your apartment. I never meant to let things go so far. I just… couldn’t stay away.” His voice and eyes turned serious. “But you have to believe me when I say that I never intended to… link us like that. I’m still not sure what happened exactly, but I know I took advantage of—of the moment and—”

“You don’t want to be linked to me?” It even hurt just to speak the words.

Two steps brought him within touching distance, but still he kept his hands at his sides. “More than anything. But I didn’t really give you a choice—”

“You did.” She paused, her dark eyes shining up at him. “I said yes, Max.” Liz? he had asked. Yes, she had responded. You are mine.

They stared at each other in awed silence. How much had been going on beneath the surface of their frantic moments together, while both of them were too afraid to say out loud what they felt? While they were too caught up in trying to fight a battle for their causes and thought that snatched moments were all they would ever have?

This time, he raised his hand and caught a swath of silky hair between his fingers. Her admission that she had been a willing participant made his heart soar. “Yeah.” She had said yes. His smile could have lit up the sky.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Alex was concentrating so hard on the little dirt track they were traveling on, that he totally missed the peeved looks he was getting from Isabel. Hell, he thought, what am I going to do if Liz doesn’t turn up soon? The others won’t help me. He grimaced. And I’m stuck with an alien.

“Could you check when the phone gets reception, please?” He held his cell out to Isabel with one hand.

“Sure.” The exaggerated sweetness in her voice made him pause for a minute, but his worries were much bigger than the sensitivities of some girl. Could I just let her go? What would she tell her friends when she reaches them? He glanced at his blonde passenger, marveling again at the fact that she looked so… normal.

“What are you doing on earth?”

Isabel kept her eyes on the little display window of the phone in her hand, not wanting to show him how much it still upset her that people thought of her as a freak. “Why, we’re trying to colonize the planet, didn’t Khivar tell you?”

Alex chuckled. “Okay, so apart from that, what are you doing here?”

Giving him a sidelong glance, Isabel figured she didn’t have much to lose and told him her life story.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The silence had stretched between them while Max continued to sift strands of her hair through his fingers. Liz was afraid to talk, afraid she would shatter this intensely intimate moment. Around them, night was falling and she had to squash a moment of fear about what tomorrow would bring.

“I wish…” he breathed, as if speaking aloud his thoughts without realizing.

“Me too.”

I wish I had met you earlier.

I wish we weren’t so very different.

I wish things were normal.

I wish I could just take you and go someplace else where no one knows our names and where we can just be us, Max and Liz.


Her heart thudded painfully in her chest as she spoke the next words, hating them, but knowing they had to be said. “I have to go back to—”

Pressing his fingers against her lips, he cut her off. “Let’s not think about the future.” Could this hurt anymore? His voice gained urgency. “We have today and tomorrow and I would really like to get to know you. The real you.” His fingers started caressing her bottom-lip and his eyes followed their movements. “I want to just spend time with you, be close. We have a few days during which we share the same goal. Let’s concentrate on that.”

Her heart nearly melted when he smiled that crooked smile of his again.

“Let’s… pretend. Please?” His eyes were pleading earnestly.

She stared up at him mutely. How she longed to just give in, to pretend for a short blissful period that her life wasn’t so complicated. That Max was just a normal guy, crazily in love with her. That their marriage was real and had a future. That she could just love him without question.

“I…”

Pulling her to her feet, he wrapped his arm around her waist, holding her close. His right hand tunneled beneath her hair, cupping the back of her head. “Please,” he said again. “I’m not asking you for… something physical. I—I just want us to just be together, no strings attached.”

Without conscious thought, she pressed against him, her arms creeping around his back as she absorbed his heat, his unique scent, the solidness of his body, the sound of his slightly erratic breathing, the strength of his embrace. Home. Once again, she felt like she had come home.

Could she do this? Would it not be so much harder to leave when they had had time to be close?

Max pressed his cheek against her temple, his breath feathering through her hair as he spoke fervently. “Will you give me that, Liz? Will you give me these few days?”

“Yes.” Her answer to this man was always ‘yes’.”

They clung together in relief at the respite they were giving each other until Michael yelled that dinner was ready.

Max wished he could see her better, but the darkness hid her inner thoughts from him. Liz was holding onto his hand tightly when he stepped away from their embrace. He had been serious when he had told her he only wanted to get to know her better, this was not the time to start a sexual relationship, no matter how much he wanted her. This was a time to show her he loved her and cared about her, not complicate things further for her. However, how he was going to manage to keep his hands off her he wasn’t sure.

“Maybe we shouldn’t tell the others…” Max wanted his time with Liz to be without pressure from outside. Michael was doing his job protecting his Prince, but his overbearing manner will just make Liz more nervous.

“How about we just say nothing at all,” Liz supplied, her genuine grin nearly knocking the breath from his lungs.

Walking back slowly in silence, they each pondered what these next few days might bring, wondering if it would be as life-changing as the last time they had been together, praying it would be long enough to tide them over during the lonely time that was coming.

“Max?”

“Yeah, sweetheart?”

After a moment of shocked surprise about the instinctive endearment, she took a deep breath and plunged ahead. “Will you… hold me again tonight?” She gave him back his plea in a voice husky with longing. “Please?”

A short hitch in his breath and then a rough whisper. “Yes.”

TBC
posted on 4-Nov-2001 9:57:08 AM by LivE
Hi all!!

I'm back! Just bumping the thread so I can post a new part tomorrow. I hope not to disappoint after the long wait!

LivE

posted on 5-Nov-2001 1:34:35 AM by LivE
Hi all! Here is the next part (finally!). Welcome to my new readers and thank you to those of you who kept the thread from disappearing into cyberspace!

Soulfinder, what can I say, but welcome to the dark side. Max Evans will never be the same again to a lot of us. It really is heartbreaking. Please mail me if you need to talk - I totally understand.

Right, on to the part: some small disclosures about things you might have wondered about in this part as well as some other events that you all would enjoy! *wink* However, real answers are a LOOOONG way off still! Hang in there.

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU

(FROM PART 12)

Max pressed his cheek against her temple, his breath feathering through her hair as he spoke fervently. “Will you give me that, Liz? Will you give me these few days?”

“Yes.” Her answer to this man was always ‘yes’.”

They clung together in relief at the respite they were giving each other until Michael yelled that dinner was ready.

Max wished he could see her better, but the darkness hid her inner thoughts from him. Liz was holding onto his hand tightly when he stepped away from their embrace. He had been serious when he had told her he only wanted to get to know her better, this was not the time to start a sexual relationship, no matter how much he wanted her. This was a time to show her he loved her and cared about her, not complicate things further for her. However, how he was going to manage to keep his hands off her he wasn’t sure.

“Maybe we shouldn’t tell the others…” Max wanted his time with Liz to be without pressure from outside. Michael was doing his job protecting his Prince, but his overbearing manner will just make Liz more nervous.

“How about we just say nothing at all,” Liz supplied, her genuine grin nearly knocking the breath from his lungs.

Walking back slowly in silence, they each pondered what these next few days might bring, wondering if it would be as life-changing as the last time they had been together, praying it would be long enough to tide them over during the lonely time that was coming.

“Max?”

“Yeah, sweetheart?”

After a moment of shocked surprise about the instinctive endearment, she took a deep breath and plunged ahead. “Will you… hold me again tonight?” She gave him back his plea in a voice husky with longing. “Please?”

A short hitch in his breath and then a rough whisper. “Yes.”


Chapter 13

Dinner was absolute torture for Max. It took all of his strength to maintain a calm and normal façade when all he wanted to do was drag Liz off to a room for some time alone. He felt euphoric about the fact that Liz had not tried to lie about her feelings for him. Until she had admitted that she was just as involved in what was happening between them as he was, he had not realized how much he had wanted her to say out loud what he had sensed from her when connecting. And then she had knocked him sideways with the request that he stay with her tonight! He suspected she had been oblivious to the full effect those words had had on him. Rationally, he had known that tonight would be nothing more than last night – it would be unfair of him to get sexually involved with her when he couldn’t promise her a future – but his imagination had run wild. Images of her, naked and flushed beneath him had rushed through his mind with such force that he had felt feverish with lust for a few moments.

The intensity of his reaction had rocked him to his soul. Yes, he had seen beautiful women before, even women much more beautiful than Liz. And yes, he had sometimes wondered what it would be like to finally make love with someone. But never had he experienced what Liz had managed to evoke with only a few small words. She hadn’t uttered anything overtly flirty or provocative and still she had nearly driven him mindless.

His very next thought had been one of insane jealousy. He never wanted her to ask any other man to stay with her for a night. That overpowering sense of possessiveness he had felt ever since he first met Liz had come roaring out of its hiding place. How he wished that the signs of his Royal House on her neck were visible–-he wanted them to act as a warning to anyone else: she is mine. The thought that she might fall in love with someone else one day was unbearable.

Then he kicked himself. Reality was very different from his imagined perfect world. Reality dictated that he let her go once they’d found Isabel. Reality put them in opposing camps of a war. Reality meant that in spite of her acquiescence to their linking, she wasn’t really his. The unfairness of the world made him want to yell in fury. How could the universe bring him all the way to this small out-of-the-way planet and allow him to meet this girl who seemed like the other half of him, just to pull them apart again. It was like dangling water in front of a man dying of thirst, letting him see heaven, only to snatch it away.

“Max?” Liz’s soft question brought him out of his reverie to find himself staring at her so fiercely that it was a wonder she hadn’t run off in a panic. “Is everything okay?” Seeing her look at him with those wide expressive eyes, filled with love and more than enough heat, twisted his gut, causing him to jerk his gaze away.

“Sure,” he said shortly, wincing inwardly at how callous he sounded. Noticing that Maria was watching him with a speculative look, he forced himself to concentrate on his dinner. Tomorrow they would hopefully find Isabel and that will end this torture of being with Liz but not really being with her.

And tomorrow would start a whole new kind of torture.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Thank God!” Alex cried loudly when he saw the message from Liz. He hadn’t allowed himself to think too much about what could have happened to her, but the relief at seeing her name in his inbox was overwhelming. Hastily clicking on the message and scanning through it, his frown increased. Liz wanted Isabel back urgently? That sounded ominous. Not to mention that she had apparently not been able to inject herself lately.

“What’s going on?” Isabel was still sitting in her seat, but he had gotten out of the car and opened the laptop on the hood of the vehicle. She was staring at him through the windshield curiously.

“Liz is back,” was all he was prepared to say, his fingers already flying over the keyboard.


VERY glad you are safely back from your trip. I will bring the notes of the experiment tomorrow at 15h00, but be advised that the experiment is CONTAMINATED. Take extreme caution. Ink for the printer is not a problem. We can meet at the old farmhouse. Again, I’m very glad you’re back! Alex.


There, that should tell Liz that he would bring Isabel, but that she was an alien.

“How do you know the message was from Liz?” Isabel had stuck her head out of the window and was resting her chin on her forearm. She had seen Liz a few times when she had initially been locked up at the lab about three weeks ago. They had started moving her around after that and she can only remember seeing Liz once or twice after that. “Are you in love with her?” Isabel surprised herself by asking.

Staring at her in astonishment, Alex wondered where that came from. Then an idea formed in his mind—maybe he could use Liz as an excuse to keep the blonde at arms length. Lord knows, he needed something to stay away from her, and the fact that she was an alien wasn’t doing it…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

After dinner, Liz went off to check her mail and Max used the time to take a shower. He ran into Maria on the way back to his room and suddenly he just needed to talk to someone about Liz. “Maria, do you have a minute?”

Hearing the uncertain note in Max’s voice, Maria changed course immediately. “Sure.”

They went to Max’s room and Maria perched on the bed as he went over to the window, staring out into the black night unseeingly.

“Are you worried about Isabel?”

Casting a look over his shoulder at Maria, he admitted for the first time that he truly was very worried about his sister. He had been too afraid to think about her much, afraid that he would lose it if he allowed all the possibilities of the situation into his mind. But what if Isabel was not… No, she was still alive. She had to be.

That was not what he needed to talk to Maria about, though.

“I don’t know how I’m going to let her go, ‘Ria.” She’s in my blood and my heart, part of me.

Maria didn’t even ask whom he was referring to. “Are you sure she wants you to let her go?”

He took a long time to think the question over before answering. “I don’t think she wants to go, but I think she feels she has to.” Shoving his hands through his hair in a furious movement, he expelled a frustrated breath. “I hate this!”

“Take what you can from the moment, Max,” Maria told him firmly. “Who knows what tomorrow will bring? You can’t let that ruin today.”

She was right, he admitted. He should stick to his decision of making the most of what time he had with Liz and not let the uncertainty of the future detract from that.

“Is she really working for Khivar?”

Max looked at Maria sharply. “Why do you ask that?”

“It’s just, there are so many things that don’t add up. Khivar hasn’t launched a nation-wide search for her yet. And if he’s got Isabel, he must know about you by now. Why hasn’t he contacted you with some kind of demand?”

“If she wasn’t working for Khivar, wouldn’t she have told us that? She should know by now that we are on a different side.”

“She reacted really weirdly when I talked about my mother.” Maria stood up and walked over to Max, joining him at the window. “She could have been involved with my mother’s kidnapping… But she looked… sick when I told her.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Max stared down at his friend questioningly. How did she know how much he wished that Liz was not what she seemed to be?

“To tell you that you shouldn’t just take things at face-value and give up too soon. If I had done that, I would never have gotten Michael into a relationship.”

A faint smile curved the one corner of Max’s mouth upward. “That’s true.” He paused, remembering something else that bugged him. “Can I ask you a question about you and—and Michael?”

Maria grinned impishly. “Yes, sex is safe between a human and an alien. No, nothing weird has ever happened—”

“Maria!” He felt his face flush. “Nothing weird, huh? Not even… You haven’t… seen things when he… kisses you?”

“Seen things?” Maria looked nonplussed.

“You know, like stuff from his past… memories.”

“No,” she replied, frowning at him. “Did something like that happen between you and Liz?”

But Max turned away from her, suddenly not feeling comfortable with sharing such an intimate moment with her. “Thanks ‘Ria.”

Maria was still shaking her head when she left the room.

“Alex mailed back!” Liz’s breathless cry in the hallway brought Max out of the room too. “He has Isabel and he will bring her to an old diner on route 285 tomorrow at three!” Her joy was shining from her eyes as she spoke to Max, genuinely happy that she could be giving him this good news.

Max felt a knot around his heart ease—Isabel was safe. “Thank you,” he told Liz, his voice gruff with emotion.

Liz had to forcibly restrain herself from running over to give him a hug.

“It better not be a trap,” Michael said from his doorway, earning him a smack on the arm from Maria.

“It won’t be,” Liz assured him, but she was still looking at Max.

“We all need to get some sleep then,” Max said after a long silence. And Liz’s pulse skyrocketed at the underlying hunger in his words.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Her breath stopped when he entered her room an hour later. She had been too keyed up to get in bed, and instead, she was perched on the edge, wearing drawstring pants and a tank top. Now that he was here, she felt inordinately shy and her gaze skittered away from his. “Hi,” she whispered.

Max was next to her in an instant, his hands tenderly brushing her hair behind her ears. “Don’t be nervous,” he urged her. “It’s just me… just us.”

Nodding, she scooted back on the bed, getting beneath the sheet, unable not to stare as he followed her. He was wearing a T-shirt and boxers, but he still looked ridiculously sexy.

Once beside her, he pulled her into his arms, spooning her body against his, holding her tightly, almost convulsively.

And that was all he did.

Liz could hear the increased tempo of his breathing and felt her own pulse speed up. Why wasn’t he kissing her? Twisting around, she startled Max into letting her go and raising himself up on an elbow.

“Is something wrong?” His voice sounded husky, strained.

Shifting higher on the pillow, Liz slid closer to him, not taking her eyes of his. He would only have to lean forward, a matter of inches, and their lips would meet. He saw the awareness and desire fill her eyes at the same moment. It was the wrong time. It was the wrong place. But it was the only time and place they had.

“Max—”

“Shh…” Max whispered as he closed the small distance. He simply had to kiss her.

So different. That was the first thought that moved through Liz’s mind. His lips barely brushed hers before she felt his tongue at the corner of her mouth. Lifting her hands, she framed his face and tried to draw him closer. But even when his mouth pressed more fully against hers, he wouldn’t be rushed. Slowly, carefully, he explored her mouth with his tongue as if it were the first time, as if he had all the time in the world. He sucked at her bottom-lip, teasing a small sound from her throat.

Always before, there’d been such urgency, such demand. And Liz could feel it this time too, simmering beneath the surface.

Tempting her to unleash it.

When he lifted his mouth from hers to explore her neck, to whisper her name in her ear, feelings swirled through her. She’d wanted him before, but not this sharply. She’d needed him before, but not with this kind of ache. Hunger made her call out his name.

Drawing back, he looked into her eyes. She tried to remember that this was all wrong. The time. The place. But she couldn’t. Wrapping her arms around him, she drew his mouth back to hers. Nothing had ever been so right.

One more taste, Max promised himself as her lips parted beneath his, inviting him in. Her mouth held a sweetness that he would always crave. You are mine. He pulled her tighter against him, locking their bodies perfectly together, not even trying to hide his reaction to her.

It felt so right. Even as the thought formed in his mind, he felt himself tumbling over the edge. Control, something he prided himself on, slipped away like it always did when he was with Liz. He slid his fingers into her hair—to hold onto her as the kiss got deeper, hungrier. Deep within himself, he felt something stir to life.

And with it came the flashes.

Images of him.

“We have to do this, Alex, we can’t let Khivar win.”

More images of him.


Tearing his mouth from hers, he gasped her name between labored breaths, staring at her as if he was seeing her for the first time.

“What? What did you see?” She sounded panicked.

“Stuff from your childhood,” he mumbled. I love you, he wanted to add. You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met. And I love you.

But none of that passed his lips. What he had seen in those flashes re-affirmed his view that Liz was one of the most courageous people he knew. Maybe he’ll tell her tomorrow that he now knew she wasn’t really working for Khivar. Tonight they had some catching up to do.

Fisting his hand in her hair, he covered her parted mouth with his once more, groaning when her tongue teased his back. His hands shaped the slim lines of her body, lingering on her breasts, the dip of her waist, the swell of her bottom. They couldn’t stop kissing.

Max pulled away from her abruptly, yanking his shirt over his head before pulling her back into his arms and burying his face in the crook of her neck. The skin there was soft as silk and begged him to taste it. He gloried in her gasp as his tongue sneaked out to touch her.

Liz felt on fire. He was doing things to her she had never experienced before. She had spent her life studying, working, away from guys. This was new. And yet so familiar. His breath was warm against her skin, causing a small shiver to race through her body. She reveled in his bare chest, her fingers tracing the contours of his muscles.

Max’s lips had found the sensitive spot below her ear where his invisible mark rested. As he brushed his mouth across it Liz arched against him violently in reaction, her fingernails digging into his flesh. Rearing away from her, he stared down at her. “You’ve never done this before, have you?”

She didn’t even try to pretend she had no idea what he meant. “No.”

A surge of lust tore through his body as a result of the admission. No other man had ever been this close to her! He ground his teeth to stop himself from telling her that no other man would ever be this close to her. He really had no right to do that.

“Max?” She was looking up at him hesitantly, her face still flushed with passion.

He turned her over with a smothered groan, pulling her back against his chest. “We should go to sleep,” he forced himself to say over the clamoring of his body. He couldn’t take something so precious from her without being able to promise her a future.

“Are you angry?” she asked after a long silence.

He sighed, still battling the effects of desire racing through his veins. “Not at you, at the whole situation. I wish so much things could be different.”

Finding his hand pressed to her womb, she laced her fingers with his. “Me too.”

Lying quietly, Liz listened to Max’s breathing slow. Alex better be there tomorrow and take her away from this man. Before she got in so deep that she would throw away all she had worked for. Before Max became more important to her than her cause.

If it wasn’t already too late…

TBC
posted on 7-Nov-2001 2:17:10 PM by LivE
I'm spoiling you all! *big*

For those of you wondering, there are still a LOT of answers coming, one of which is in this chapter. *wink* This chapter also has something else you all have been wanting to read... well, sort of (this chapter is rated R.) *angel*

And yes, Em, Alex's li'l plan to use Liz as a buffer against Iz will put a serious damper on his first meeting with our alien prince!

Again, I'm so overwhelmed with the feedback! Thank you so much for all the kind words and I truly enjoy all the speculation--it keeps me on my toes!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU

(FROM CHAPTER 13)

Max’s lips had found the sensitive spot below her ear where his invisible mark rested. As he brushed his mouth across it Liz arched against him violently in reaction, her fingernails digging into his flesh. Rearing away from her, he stared down at her. “You’ve never done this before, have you?”

She didn’t even try to pretend she had no idea what he meant. “No.”

A surge of lust tore through his body as a result of the admission. No other man had ever been this close to her! He ground his teeth to stop himself from telling her that no other man would ever be this close to her. He really had no right to do that.

“Max?” She was looking up at him hesitantly, her face still flushed with passion.

He turned her over with a smothered groan, pulling her back against his chest. “We should go to sleep,” he forced himself to say over the clamoring of his body. He couldn’t take something so precious from her without being able to promise her a future.

“Are you angry?” she asked after a long silence.

He sighed, still battling the effects of desire racing through his veins. “Not at you, at the whole situation. I wish so much things could be different.”

Finding his hand pressed to her womb, she laced her fingers with his. “Me too.”

Lying quietly, Liz listened to Max’s breathing slow. Alex better be there tomorrow and take her away from this man. Before she got in so deep that she would throw away all she had worked for. Before Max became more important to her than her cause.

If it wasn’t already too late…


Chapter 14

Sleeping close to Liz meant sharing dreams. Max woke up with Liz still spooned tightly against his chest. His heart was racing frantically as fear for Liz’s safety gripped his heart—he couldn’t let her go back to Khivar, back to doing what she had been doing before. Khivar would kill her in a heartbeat if he knew she was double-crossing him. On the other hand, Max knew she wouldn’t listen to him and that he really had no right to stop her from doing what she thought was best for humanity. But this latest dream would haunt him till his dying day.


“Khivar is coming,” a pale Alex announced as he put down the phone.

“We are ready, Alex, the serum is working, I’m sure of it.”

Alex paced in agitation, raking his fingers through his hair repeatedly. “We won’t know if the serum is working until they try their mind rape. How can we know?”

Liz wasn’t feeling as certain as she pretended either. She had been working for Khivar for mere months and almost all her time had gone into the research for this serum. Their prisoner would be the guinea pig. It was someone from the resistance, someone who knew things, and if Khivar gets info from this woman, their serum, providing a chemical block to mind rape and the tracking “brand” Khivar puts on all his followers and prisoners, would have been a failure. She bit her lip, the childhood nervous reaction manifesting again. Still, the serum had to work—she had improved on a formula her own group was using and a mildly successful one that the resistance had manufactured. The other two serums only worked if it is administered just before the mind rape. It had kept Liz and Alex safe so far, since they always knew when Khivar was coming, but Liz’s serum was something that would be active inside the body for days, providing a more secure protection against prolonged alien efforts to mind rape.

Khivar had come alone this time, supremely confident of his own power and superiority over puny humans. Liz was terrified, if something went wrong here today, they were all dead.

“Liz Parker, my favorite little scientist!”

His eyes, cold and lustful, slid over her like icy fingers and Liz fought not to shudder in reaction. Instead, she smiled back at him in flirtation, attempting to look awed by him. Khivar was a handsome man and he knew it. He had a devastating smile and a sculpted body that he used to his own advantage at every opportunity. Liz suspected that the only reason he hadn’t tried to sleep with her yet was that she was valuable to his organization. That didn’t stop him from acting like she was one of his possessions, though.

He leered at her as he walked over, sliding his hand under her hair and running his fingertips over the point at the base of her skull where he had implanted his “mark” on her. “You are looking delectable as always.”

Alex’s loud throat clearing drowned out Liz’s breathless thank you. “The prisoner is waiting for you, Khivar.”

Frowning at the interruption, Khivar let his hand drop away from Liz. “Let’s hope we can make some progress this time. Nicholas is obviously a fool since he has never gotten us anything truly useful from any of our prisoners. How is it possible that none of the resistance members we’ve had here knew anything of real consequence?” He was stalking down the corridor towards their holding room now, Liz and Alex trailing hurriedly in his wake. The lab, the rooms where the prisoners were held and the short hallways were all a pristine white. Cold and impersonal. What a frightening sight it must be for the people that enter here never to leave again.

The prisoner was sitting on a small cot, her arms tightly folded against her stomach. Please hold on! Liz urged her silently as they watched Khivar approach her.

“What is her name?”

The woman’s head snapped up, hate burning in her eyes. “I can speak for myself.” She got to her feet a little drunkenly resulting in a worried glance between Alex and Liz—would their plan be revealed?

“Your resistance movement is pathetic,” Khivar told her in a hard voice. “You know nothing about these other aliens you are so desperately supporting in the hope that they will save you all.” His tone changed, became more conversational. “I will enlighten you. Zan is weak and selfish. He will not do anything for you lot. So you might as well—”

“Then why…” The woman was fighting for a normal breath, “haven’t you caught him yet? If he’s… so inconsequential, why are you all the way here on this ‘puny’ planet looking for him?” Her voice gained strength as she spoke, virtually spitting the last words in Khivar’s face.

“Shut up,” Khivar roared, grabbing hold of the woman by her upper arms. Liz had never seen him lose his cool to such an extent and she took an involuntary step backwards.

The next few moments were pure horror. Khivar gripped the woman’s head, nearly crushing her skull with the force of his hold, causing a small whimper to escape from her throat. Closing his eyes in concentration, he poured all his strength into forcing himself into her mind. It all looked so… harmless from the outside.

Until the prisoner started convulsing uncontrollably, harsh gasps for breath lifting her chest.

Paralyzed with fear and revulsion, Liz leaned back against the wall, pressing her palms against the cold plaster in a desperate attempt to keep from crumbling to the floor. Next to her she could hear Alex’s loud breathing as he too struggled with making it through this scene.

It felt endless. And in Liz’s heart, her hatred for aliens grew.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the woman slumped in Khivar’s hold and he tossed her away from him like a rag doll. “Nothing significant,” he said grimly. Whirling around towards Liz and Alex who were still frozen to their spots, he waved a hand at the woman. “Get rid of her body.” Then he stormed out of the room.

Only then did Liz allow the shaking in her soul to consume her body too. She felt sick, her stomach roiling in reaction to the careless disregard for life she had just witnessed. Slowly she slid down the wall until she was on the floor. Her eyes wouldn’t leave the crumpled body of the prisoner.

Their serum had worked.

But at what price?

A small sob tore through her lungs. “Oh God, Amy, I’m s-so s-sorry!”



“Noo…”

The soft moan tore through his gut with sharp claws. Liz was still in the midst of this terrible dream/memory. Max pushed himself up on an elbow and tugged her onto her back. Tears were slipping from beneath her closed eyelids, increasing the ache in his heart. He caressed the moistness away with his thumbs and gathered her closer, enveloping her body with his own. “Shh…” he whispered as he held her, “everything is fine now”. Her shivering slowly lessened, but her small hands continued to grip him urgently.

“Not Max too, please no…”

The sound of his name, laced with so much anguish, shocked him into stillness momentarily. He reared back from her, but she was still asleep. Tenderly he brushed her hair from her face and rested his forehead against hers as he continued to soothe her with his fingers. “Shh,” he repeated, “I’m here.”

“Max?” A breath of a question.

Pressing his lips to her temple, he kept his words soft. “I’ll always be here.” If you’ll let me.

Liz lay quietly in his embrace for long moments, slowly calming down as Max continued to whisper words of comfort, continued to wrap her in his love. After what felt like hours as he agonized about her distress, her long eyelashes flickered against his cheek, signaling that she was finally waking up.

Lifting himself away, Max stared down at Liz. “Are you okay now?”

Mutely she nodded. Raising her hand to slide it down his rough cheek in wonder at his caring. And gradually the timber of the embrace changed as they became aware of the fact that she was pinned beneath him, his knee wedged between her thighs.

Their gazes locked, their breathing became ragged.

His long finger reached for her mouth, stroked across the soft, sensitive flesh of her bottom lip. The smile that tipped his lips was tender, telling her he coveted what he touched.

“Max…” This time it was a sigh filled with longing.

An agonized groan rumbled up from his chest and he buried his face in her neck, as if struggling with an internal battle. His silky hair tickled her jaw and his hot, moist breath caressed her throat. He shifted his weight slightly, causing his thigh to press against her sensitive core.

Liz inhaled sharply as sensations clamored within her. His unmistakable arousal pressed against her hip, throbbing with desire, matching the pulse he had created deep inside her.

“Max, I need you.” The words tumbled out heedlessly, unplanned and unbidden. She watched as his eyes widened then squeezed shut before opening again, filled with an agony of longing.

“I need you too, but…” He took a deep breath. “I—I can’t do this… take you and just… leave you the next day. If… if we ever do this, it has to be the start of forever together.”

Her hunger made her bold. “I’m not asking for everything, Max, just… something for us to share. Tonight.”

His whole body went rigid for a moment before he turned her gently over until she lay on her side, facing away from him. Liz felt acute disappointment at his action, until he pulled her back against him and whispered ‘okay’.

She settled fully against him, her bottom nestled against his rock-hard groin. And waited.

Max was on new terrain, but he was determined to give Liz an experience she would remember. Gently, he slid his thigh between hers, lifting her top leg over his. Starting slow, he pushed up her tank top a little and brushed his fingers along her belly, moving higher beneath her top. Liz flinched at the sudden contact and a swell of tenderness filled his chest.

“Close your eyes, sweetheart. Just feel.” Forget about tomorrow and anything but this moment.

Feeling her relax, he nuzzled the side of her neck where his mark lay at the same time he cupped her breasts in his palms, filling his hands with her warm flesh. They moaned in unison at the new and wonderful experience.

Liz was squirming against him, so he slid one hand from beneath her top to smooth over her hip and thigh. Slowly he petted her everywhere but where she burned the most for his touch. Drawing another fortifying breath, he finally let his hand drift over her quivering stomach, just above the waistband of her drawstring pants.

Liz turned her head towards him and opened her eyes. Her dark eyes were almost black with arousal and the sight made his gut clench with need. “Don’t tease. Touch me, please,” she urged in a voice husky with impatience. Her hand lifted to his cheek as she twisted so their mouths could meet. Her fingers tangled in the hair at the nape of his neck and she inexorably drew his lips to hers. “Please.”

Their parted lips met and she clung to him, drawing his tongue into her mouth. One kiss melted into another as they poured their desire into the open-mouthed caresses.

And then he slipped his hand into her pants and touched her intimately, finding her wet and eager. At his first stroke, her groan vibrated against his lips. Splaying his free hand over her stomach to hold her firmly in place, he deepened his exploration, his body screaming in agonized reaction to the sensation of being able to caress her like this. He was shuddering with need, but he fought his primal impulse to just complete his possession of her and be damned the consequences. This was for Liz. His Liz. And he would do it right.

Her climax was furious and intense and sudden, her entire body convulsing against his, his name a drawn-out muffled moan against his mouth. Swallowing all her sounds, he wrapped his free arm around her and held her as waves of pure, blissful fulfillment engulfed her.

With a final shudder, she wrenched her mouth from his and slumped back against him. Their harsh breathing was the only sound disturbing the silence in the room. Pressing his face into her neck, against his mark, Max left his hand buried against her as he struggled to gain enough composure to control the pulsing, wild need in his groin. The need to make her his in this final and irreversible way. The need to be her first lover. Her only lover. The need to tie her to him so comprehensively that she would never be able to leave his side again. To keep her away from Khivar and from harm.

“Max?” Liz felt like her body was warm melted wax. Dimly she thought she should probably be shy after what she had just shared with him, after how she had let him touch her, but she couldn’t. Not when it felt right like very few other things in her life did. Right that Max was the first man to be this intimate with her. Right that he was the first man to witness her in the throes of an orgasm. And right that he was Max… the alien. It went against everything she believed in, but she didn’t care what he was anymore. She wanted him, the man who held her and looked at her with such overwhelming gentleness. Max. She wanted Max.

“Shh,” he was saying against her ear, hugging her closely as he finally slid his hand away from the apex of her thighs. “Go to sleep now.”

“But you—”

“Shh, sweetheart. I’m not important.”

Yes, you are, she wanted to say, but he was murmuring ‘thank you’ and brushing his lips over her temple.

The languorous results of his lovemaking were catching up with her, dragging at her limbs and eyelids, but she laced her fingers with his and brought his hand back to her breast, pressing it close. “Sheyleth…” The term slipped from her just as sleep claimed her.

Max’s breath hitched in his throat before he repeated the Antarian word. “Sheyleth.” Lover. Keeper of my body. Tightening his arms around her, he pressed his cheek against hers, his lips resting close to her ear and finally said the words he couldn’t say when she was awake. “I love you.” And I don’t know how I’m going to walk away from you.

TBC
posted on 10-Nov-2001 2:33:07 AM by LivE
Okay! Finally a few li'l answers you have been waiting for. *wink* There's still a lot unanswered, I KNOW that--we'll get there eventually.

Again, thank you so much for the great feedback. And, yes, Liz owes Max one now! *wink*

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ALL FOR YOU

(FROM CHAPTER 14)

“Max?” Liz felt like her body was warm melted wax. Dimly she thought she should probably be shy after what she had just shared with him, after how she had let him touch her, but she couldn’t. Not when it felt right like very few other things in her life did. Right that Max was the first man to be this intimate with her. Right that he was the first man to witness her in the throes of an orgasm. And right that he was Max… the alien. It went against everything she believed in, but she didn’t care what he was anymore. She wanted him, the man who held her and looked at her with such overwhelming gentleness. Max. She wanted Max.

“Shh,” he was saying against her ear, hugging her closely as he finally slid his hand away from the apex of her thighs. “Go to sleep now.”

“But you—”

“Shh, sweetheart. I’m not important.”

Yes, you are, she wanted to say, but he was murmuring ‘thank you’ and brushing his lips over her temple.

The languorous results of his lovemaking were catching up with her, dragging at her limbs and eyelids, but she laced her fingers with his and brought his hand back to her breast, pressing it close. “Sheyleth…” The term slipped from her just as sleep claimed her.

Max’s breath hitched in his throat before he repeated the Antarian word. “Sheyleth.” Lover. Keeper of my body. Tightening his arms around her, he pressed his cheek against hers, his lips resting close to her ear and finally said the words he couldn’t say when she was awake. “I love you.” And I don’t know how I’m going to walk away from you.


Chapter 15

He was alone when he woke up, his arms empty of the girl who had managed to become a part of him so quickly. Max rolled over, seeing the dull gray of dawn outside the window. Where could Liz be at this time of the morning? He so very much wanted to wake up with her still here, just once.

Liz was sitting outside on the top step, arms around her knees, staring sightlessly towards the lightening horizon. She was in serious, serious trouble. For three years, she’s been working against… beings like Max Evans, but last night was the final seal in her coffin. Max was not selfish or egotistical or evil or anything she had believed aliens to be. He was the complete opposite. He was more human than a lot of the humans she’d come into contact with during her life. But how can she just drop the people that were counting on her? Wouldn’t that be a selfish act in itself? Could she really just go after her own happiness and ignore the best interests of all those people she’d been working to help over the last few years?

Her musings were interrupted when a pair of powerful bare thighs suddenly bracketed her hips and strong arms embraced her tightly as Max settled behind her. “Hey,” he murmured, nuzzling her ear. The slightly raspy morning tone of his voice made her shiver with pleasure. She was so far gone for this man!

“Morning,” she replied quietly, scooting back until her bottom was pressed into his groin and her back plastered against his still bare chest.

“Are you always up this early?” He sounded amused.

“No, not really. I… I just had to think about a few things.”

She felt him stiffen behind her, his arms tightening around her involuntarily. “Oh? Have—have you come to any conclusions that I should know about?”

Hearing the hesitancy in his voice, she realized truly for the first time, how much power she had over this man. How much power they had over each other. Loving someone means giving them the power to hurt you like no one else could. Abruptly, she felt like crying. “Max, I wish I could… stay, but—”

“I know,” he interrupted her. “I know,” he repeated softly, sliding his fingers beneath her top to trace circles on her stomach.

Turning her face towards him, she leaned her cheek against his lips, breathing in deeply in an attempt to absorb his scent into her body. Lifting her hands, she curled her fingers around his thighs, clinging to him, hearing his soft inhalation at her touch.

They sat like that for a long time, staring off into the distance. The sounds of the desert waking up surrounded them—the cries of birds in the distance, the rustle of the morning breeze through the copse of trees, the scurrying sound of a lizard on the sand.

“Liz…” Max had been stressing about telling her what he learnt from his flashes last night. But he couldn’t bear to let her go back to all that danger, so he had no choice. “I know, Liz.”

Liz felt all the air leave her lungs. “Know what?” she croaked.

“That… that you’re not working for him.” Khivar. The name remained unspoken between them.

Liz wasn’t sure what to say.

“Were you ever going to tell me?”

“Yes.” It came out unequivocally.

“When?”

“I… Before I left.” She had planned to leave him a letter, explaining how she felt and what she must do.

Another pause filled with unuttered questions.

“I don’t get it,” he finally said in a voice filled with confusion. “You don’t work for Khivar and I work with the resistance too, so—”

“I don’t.” Her head was bent as she stated this. “I don’t work for the resistance.”

His hands stopped their caressing touches. “You don’t work for the resistance?”

Liz shook her head.

“Then—”

“Max, I work for people who don’t want any aliens on earth,” she broke in, scrambling out of his arms so she could kneel between his legs and look into his eyes. His beautiful, hurt eyes. Her hand was shaking as she lifted it to his face, tracing the now beloved contours of his jaw. “We want our planet back, Max. This is not our war you and Khivar are fighting here, but our people are dying as a result.” She saw a flash of pain in his eyes and winced at her own words. “I don’t know what to do. I—I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want you to leave me, but… I owe these people. They paid for my training and they’ve kept me alive while I tried to help the people that Khivar caught and brought to the lab. I have to keep on doing that. He is a monster, he has no regard for the life of a human being.”

Max caught her face in his hands. “You can’t go back there,” he said urgently. “Don’t go, please! Don’t you see? It’s bad enough that you work against him, but if he ever finds out you’re my… that you’ve been with me, it will be even worse.”

It stunned Liz that he was more worried about her safety than about the fact that she was working for a group that wanted to remove him from earth. He was looking at her so pleadingly that she took the initiative for the first time, leaning forward to press her lips against his.

Groaning, he kissed her back with desperation, opening his mouth over hers and parting hers with an insistent tongue. His right hand found her rear, arching her into intimate contact with his arousal. She whimpered against his mouth, so very addicted to his kisses. He put his all into each kiss and it was incredibly arousing to have all his intensity concentrated on her.

Doran came to a halt at the corner of the cabin, not wanting to disturb the intimate scene on the steps. His lie about not knowing if a link can be undone was worth it. These two belonged together. It was a strange thing to admit for an alien mentor who was sent not only to protect his Royal charges, but also to make sure they ended up with the right partners. Well, the 17 years on earth had changed him too and he’d much rather see Max happy than in a political liaison. Max needed someone to love him for himself, not for being the heir to the throne of a whole planet or because he was an alien with strange powers, but because he was Max. As Doran watched, Max’s hand curled around Liz neck, angling her face for a deeper kiss and lighting up the sign of the Royal House of Antar that still rested below her ear. Yes, he did the right thing, he thought, as he silently turned around and left them alone.

The kiss was endless and somewhere in the midst of it, Max lifted Liz into his lap, wrapping her legs around his waist, bringing their lower bodies into intimate contact. Liz’s gasp interrupted the melding of their mouths momentarily, but he couldn’t get enough of her, so he kissed other places—like her jaw-line, her ear, her neck and her throat. All the while, Liz’s hands roamed his chest, touching, caressing, kneading, making him mad to have her. He was about two seconds from losing it here, on the front steps of the cabin where anyone could see them, when she rubbed herself rhythmically against his erection.

Liz was dazed when he pulled back, taking great gulps of air to try and get hold of himself. He pushed her hair behind her ears and grabbed her hands, stilling them against his racing heart. “Stop, please, or I’ll…”

Folding her tightly against him, he held her until they calmed their breathing and their bodies somewhat.

“It’s a good thing I didn’t meet you when I was sixteen,” he told her huskily, a smile in his voice.

“Oh?” she played along, knowing he wanted to get them back to normal somehow.

He chuckled quietly. “Hey, I had the same hormones every other guy had. I would have been trying to get in your pants so fast…” He fell silent, remembering that he probably wouldn’t have done that. He would have had to watch this girl from afar and dream, all the while knowing he was different from her, that he would have to leave her one day.

“I would have let you.” Her whisper rocked him to his soul and he blinked back the tears that suddenly filled his eyes. Tears of frustration at the unfairness of it all. Tears because Liz Parker was all he ever dreamed his love would be and so much more. And now he would have to let her go.

“Don’t go back to him, Liz, please.” It was torn from him. “I’d die if something happened to you.”

“I have to,” she replied fiercely. “Please understand. I—I need to help my people.”

He wanted to ask if someone else couldn’t do it, but he knew they couldn’t. Liz had more knowledge in her head than anyone else and she was ideally positioned to help the people Khivar brought to the lab and also to learn what he was planning.

“Are you angry?” she asked softly, leaning back so she could meet his gaze.

“No.” He looked deeply into her eyes, urging her to see his honesty. “Your people don’t know anything about me or my followers. All they had to go on was Khivar and his misdeeds. Why should they trust me if I say that we have no intention to take over earth?”

Her eyes were moist as she hugged him. “I—I trust you…” The words were breathed against his neck and she felt him freeze. His fingers tightened painfully in her hair.

“You do?”

“Yes.” And she did. In spite of all that was wrong with this situation, she knew Max would never do anything to harm her or humanity intentionally.

“Oh God, Liz!” He was shaking against her. “Come back to bed, I need to… Let me just… Come back to bed.” He started rising. “Hold on.”

Liz had no intention of letting go at all. She felt light as air after telling him the truth. It probably didn’t change much about their future, but it felt glorious not to have this secret between them anymore.

The powerful bunching of his muscles as he stood up, still holding her in his arms, ripped a small moan from her throat. She wanted to be as close to him as humanly possible. She wanted them to make memories that will last them forever. Who cares if the circumstances were terrible? Who cares if the cabin had two other people sleeping in the room next to theirs?

Max had been striding through the living area of the cabin like he was being chased by wild dogs when he came to a sudden halt. Liz twisted her neck to see what was going on and found Michael standing in the entrance to the hallway, his hands on his hips. He had an unreadable expression on his face.

“Michael,” Max sounded firm, “out of my way.”

“I would like to,” Michael said mildly, “but we have a problem.” He flicked a glance at Liz, who was now trying to get Max to let her stand on her own two feet. “I need to speak to you, privately.”

“Michael, if this is some scheme to keep me from—”

“No, it isn’t.”

The look in Michael’s eyes convinced Max that something important truly had come up and he let Liz out of his arms reluctantly. She was blushing profusely and if he hadn’t been frustrated as hell, he would probably have been embarrassed too.

“I’ll go shower,” Liz mumbled, moving away from him.

He held onto her hand until the last moment and watched until she disappeared around the corner before turning to Michael.

Raising an eyebrow at Max’s state of undress, not to mention his state of arousal, Michael walked out of the cabin, sitting down on the steps. He waited until Max had settled next to him before talking. “We got a call from the resistance. Khivar knows there were survivors from the ship.” Michael paused. “Maxwell, he’s started a nation-wide search for the survivors. We have to go into hiding as soon as we have Iz back.”

Max was silent for a few moments before reacting. “Or we can stop hiding and finish this, once and for all.”

TBC

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 10-Nov-2001 2:37:09 AM ]
posted on 13-Nov-2001 12:19:52 AM by LivE
NOTE: Err, for the record, Max wasn't NAKED when he and Liz were outside on the steps in the previous part. Michael saw him in his BOXERS, the one’s he slept in. LOL, NO ONE has seen Max naked, even Liz.

Okay, it's time for one or two more answers... and for Max to meet Alex! *wink*

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ALL FOR YOU

(FROM CHAPTER 15)

Max had been striding through the living area of the cabin like he was being chased by wild dogs when he came to a sudden halt. Liz twisted her neck to see what was going on and found Michael standing in the entrance to the hallway, his hands on his hips. He had an unreadable expression on his face.

“Michael,” Max sounded firm, “out of my way.”

“I would like to,” Michael said mildly, “but we have a problem.” He flicked a glance at Liz, who was now trying to get Max to let her stand on her own two feet. “I need to speak to you, privately.”

“Michael, if this is some scheme to keep me from—”

“No, it isn’t.”

The look in Michael’s eyes convinced Max that something important truly had come up and he let Liz out of his arms reluctantly. She was blushing profusely and if he hadn’t been frustrated as hell, he would probably have been embarrassed too.

“I’ll go shower,” Liz mumbled, moving away from him.

He held onto her hand until the last moment and watched until she disappeared around the corner before turning to Michael.

Raising an eyebrow at Max’s state of undress, not to mention his state of arousal, Michael walked out of the cabin, sitting down on the steps. He waited until Max had settled next to him before talking. “We got a call from the resistance. Khivar knows there were survivors from the ship.” Michael paused. “Maxwell, he’s started a nation-wide search for the survivors. We have to go into hiding as soon as we have Iz back.”

Max was silent for a few moments before reacting. “Or we can stop hiding and finish this, once and for all.”



Chapter 16

“Liz?” Max wasn’t looking at her, but his fingers continued to caress her hand. They were sitting on “their” rock in the shadow of the small grove of trees as they waited for the hours to pass until the meeting with Alex and Isabel. Just after breakfast Max had told everyone firmly that he was going to spend the day with Liz. Amazingly, no one had said a word in protest. So they had taken some water and went for a walk and just talked for hours—Liz telling Max all about her parents, growing up, studying at Harvard and Max telling Liz about his earth parents and going to school in Roswell, New Mexico, headquarters of alien conspiracy theories of all places. They talked of everything but the recent past and the future.

But now Max suddenly looked serious. “Who is Mark?” His voice sounded tight.

For a moment, Liz was completely blank. Mark?

He would still not meet her gaze. “It’s just… you talked about him a lot when you were… unconscious. I know it has nothing to do with me and if you have someone close to you that’s fine, I just—”

“Max,” she silenced him with a tender smile.

“Never mind, forget I asked,” he continued, hardly hearing her.

“Max,” Liz said more firmly, “Mark doesn’t exist.” Now she had his full attention. “I—I take these drugs… injections to counter the mind raping abilities of Khivar and his men, but when you—”

“Liz!” Max cried, forgetting his own jealousy for a moment, “the injections that the resistance uses are not foolproof, it only lasts for a short—”

“I know,” she replied hastily, it was obvious he was going to go off on one of his what-you’re-doing-is-very-dangerous tangents. “I—I worked on the formula, together with one my group was using. This one… my version lasts for 5 days. It works, Max.”

His face was a study in contradictions—relief, hope, uncertainty. “There’s a drug that can help us stop a mind rape for such a long period?”

“Well… I haven’t tested it on a—one of you before.” She smiled at him hesitantly, not sure if it was okay to see the lighter side of their differences already. His answering grin relaxed her until a new thought hit and she started to frown. “Although… I did inject Isabel since I didn’t know what… who she was. And Nicholas didn’t rush out of there like he found your sister after he saw her the first time.”

“He didn’t?” Max wore a thoughtful expression now, his fingers still playing idly with those of Liz’s left hand. “That must mean it worked for Iz too.” His face lit up. “Damn, Liz, do you know what this would mean for my…?” Faltering, he shot her a concerned gaze. “I mean—”

Suddenly sure of what she should do, Liz stopped his apology with her mouth, kissing him softly. “Yes, Max, I’ll give some of the serum to you.”

He flashed her a brilliant smile. “But… what about your group?”

She looked away from that all too perceptive amber gaze, tucking her hair behind her ear. “I’ll just not tell them.”

Max watched her quietly before running his knuckles tenderly down the side of her face. “I don’t want you to get in trouble.”

Turning to him suddenly, Liz pierced him with an urgent look. “You’re worried about me? Well, I’m even more worried about you. Max, Khivar wants you dead! It’s you he’s looking for. You’re the whole reason he came to earth with an army, not me.” She bit her bottom-lip, trying to hide its tremble. “I need to do something. Please.”

A furious outpouring of emotion clogged Max’s throat and he gathered Liz onto his lap, hugging her fiercely. He had no words that could make this better. They were in an untenable situation and nothing would change that. Wanting to get away from the inevitable good-bye that was lying ahead he changed the subject. “So, no Mark, huh?”

Liz heard the smile in his voice. “No,” she assured him, returning his smile.

“That’s good, because I would have had to deck him.”

“So you were jealous!” She regarded him with huge eyes that were dancing with repressed joy.

“Yeah,” he admitted ruefully.

“So was I,” she surprised him. “I thought Isabel was your wife.” Her cheeks were flushed with embarrassment.

“My…wife?” He stared at her in shock. “No, no, she’s my—”

“Sister,” she completed, grinning up at him. “I know that. Now.

He shook his head at her. “What a pair we are.” Touching his forefinger to her nose, his frown returned. “I don’t get it, why did you keep talking about a Mark if he doesn’t exist?”

Liz’s soft blush turned into a furious one. “Uhm, when I created the serum, we didn’t really have time to test the effects of it wearing off and, uhm…” She was stammering in acute embarrassment. “Max, in those two weeks you and I… I was so afraid Khivar would find out about you and about us, that I used to dream he would find us together and… and do something horrible to you. I decided to call you Mark in my head, hoping that it would set him on a wrong trail if somehow the serum failed.” Her words started rushing out in a torrent, as if she was desperate to get past this horribly awkward moment quickly. “Then, when you abducted me, I continued dreaming about… you and having nightmares that Khivar took you away. Only, when the serum started wearing off I got really confused about what was real and what not. It felt like my memories were… scrambled, I guess you could say. Until the serum was completely out of my system I only remembered the name Mark.” She finally met his eyes, hers shimmering with feeling. “But it was you, Max.”

A sharp inhalation and a crushing embrace were his only answers.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The ride in the all-terrain vehicle was conducted mostly in silence, with Alex brooding behind the steering wheel. He had no idea what Liz was up to, but he sincerely hoped it would mean that the alien girl would be taken off his hands. He had sort of hinted that he was in love with Liz yesterday when he had finally gotten that message from his life-long friend and ever since, the statuesque blonde had been cool towards him. Well, that was fine with him. With the work he and Liz were doing, it would be suicidal to get involved with an alien. “André” would not be at all impressed if either of them went against the goal of their shadowy group. He grinned to himself, wondering what the members of the resistance would do if they knew they were just more pawns in the brilliant maneuverings of the elusive “André”. He used them to work against Khivar when it suited him and they all thought he was their leader. Ha!

“André” had decided that Khivar was their first order of business and had allowed the resistance in Albuquerque to work with the alien enemies of Khivar. This not only assisted in the efforts against Khivar, but gave them time to learn about the Antarian Royals’ side—knowledge that would assist them when it was time to act against the Royals. Slanting a look at Isabel, Alex mused that they haven’t learned much yet. For the first time, he now knew the name of one of the Antarian Royals. A strange feeling gripped his gut. By rights he should have informed “André” immediately, but he had been hesitant to do it for reasons he didn’t want to examine. He sighed. Soon, he would be with cool, levelheaded Liz again and she would help him make the right decision.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Silence also pervaded the other vehicle traveling towards the rendezvous point. Max was driving with Michael in the passenger seat while Liz and Maria took up the back seat. Doran and some of the soldiers were following far behind in another jeep. When Maria caught Max glancing at Liz in the rearview mirror for the umpteenth time, she marveled that he hadn’t crashed the car into something yet. He barely watched the road. A sidelong look at Liz confirmed that the petite brunette’s eyes were glued to the mirror too. The desperation in those shared stares was heartbreaking to watch.

Max and Liz had only returned from their “walk” a few scant minutes before they had to leave the cabin and, miraculously, Michael had grumbled only halfheartedly. Maria assumed it had finally dawned on him that Liz had saved not only Max’s life, but hers too and now he had no clue how to handle Liz. He was obviously still worried that the meeting with Alex might be a trap, but he wisely kept silent, seeing very clearly that Max was in no mood to hear anything bad about Liz with her imminent departure hanging over their heads.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

From the outside, the old diner looked deserted, as it had been for many years. Liz and Alex had redone the basement, though, filling it with emergency supplies as a kind of fallback venue in case they ever needed to hide. Alex had no intention of letting Isabel know about that basement, so they ended up sitting on one of the old derelict benches beneath what was left of the roof over the outside eating area of the diner, sharing a bottle of water.

Alex could almost hear his heart beat in his chest with fear. Luckily, it was so quiet out here that he would be able to hear Liz coming from a mile away. This thought made him feel slightly less anxious. There was no way anyone could sneak up on them.

Unless they were already here, hiding somewhere.

“Are you ever going to tell me what we’re doing here?” Isabel sounded peeved. She was hot and tired from the long drive and she worried about what was going to become of her. For some weird reason, she had felt safe with Alex, but what if he’s decided to give her over to someone else? Someone that wouldn’t mind handing her over to Khivar.

The far-off drone of a car engine turned their heads towards the road. A single vehicle was approaching.

“Showtime,” Alex mumbled, getting up to watch the car approach.

Liz was sitting up straighter in her seat, peering closely at the vehicle next to the diner. “It’s Alex’s car,” she announced with relief. She stole another nervous look at Max, hoping fervently that his sister was fine. He flashed her a crooked tender smile in the mirror.

Continuously scanning the horizon for possible threats, Michael was grudgingly starting to think that maybe he had been too harsh with Liz. Maybe she truly was trying to help Max. That still didn’t take away the fact that she was working for Khivar though, but maybe she was starting to see the error of her ways.

“Oh geez,” Alex muttered as he saw that the oncoming car had two men in the front seat. “Isabel, go behind the diner. Now.”

But Isabel was on her feet next to him, fairly bouncing in excitement. “That’s Max and Michael!” Whirling around, she threw her arms around a stunned Alex. “Thank you!”

“Huh?”

“It’s my brother!” she cried before running towards the car that had now been brought to a halt.

As Alex watched in amazement, two guys jumped from the car, both coming over to hug Isabel.

“Wow, Iz, we were really worried!” the dark-haired one was saying. Only then did Alex notice Liz alighting the car too. By now, Isabel was hugging the guy with the weird hair and Liz was coming over.

“Liz! Am I glad to see you! Honey,” he ended loudly. The reaction was comical—Liz blinked in confusion and Isabel whirled around to glare at him. Alex made it look good, hugging Liz tightly and kissing both her cheeks. But when he looked up, the dark-haired guy was much closer and was glaring at him like a tiger guarding his mate. Alex looked down at Liz’s flushed face and saw her look at the guy uncomfortably, pleadingly. The guy stopped, but he still looked like he wanted Alex for breakfast.

Stepping away from Alex, Liz made the introductions. “Everyone, this is Alex. Alex, this is Michael, Maria and… Max, Isabel’s brother.” She pointed at the weird-haired big guy, a cute girl and the glowering guy in quick succession. Alex didn’t miss that change in voice inflection when she introduced Max. Hmmm…

Michael and Maria said hi, but Max just nodded his head.

Liz felt ready to kill Alex. What was he up to? She risked another glance at Max, wishing she could assure him there was nothing between her and Alex, but his sister was demanding his attention again. She could still see the tension in his body, though.

“We should leave,” Michael announced. “Hanging around could only bring trouble.”

“Sure!” Alex said brightly. The sooner they got away from these aliens the better. “I’ll take Liz home.”

A deafening silence descended on the group as everyone looked at Max. A very pale Max. “Liz, I thought—”

“Yes,” she assured him hastily before turning to Alex. “Alex, we need to sort out some things with these people, so we’re going with them tonight, okay?”

Excuse me? Alex took her arm. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” he asked through a fake smile.

“Uhm…” Liz sneaked another look at Max. “Okay.”

Alex could practically feel Max’s eyes boring into his back as he led Liz out of earshot. “Okay, Liz, what is going on here? Did you not get my message that that girl over there is an alien?”

Liz sighed. “I know she is. This is really complicated, Alex.”

“How did you end up with Isabel’s brother? And why do I get the feeling my life is in danger because I’m within two feet of you? The guy doesn’t have death-ray eyes, does he?”

“It’s… complicated, Alex.” Liz wasn’t sure what to tell Alex. “I need for us to spend tonight with them, so you and I can hear what they are planning and decide what we are going to do now.”

Alex’s face cleared up immediately. “Ah, I get it. We’re going to spy.” He whispered the last word close to her ear.

Watching them from afar, Max felt an overpowering urge to go rip Alex away from Liz. He was being totally irrational and he knew it. There was no way Liz could have hidden a romantic relationship with Alex from him during those flashes, but the thought that she was going to leave him was slicing through his gut like a white-hot knife and he wasn’t in the mood to think clearly.

“Max?” Isabel was looking between him and the focus of his attention. “What is going on here?” Max was acting like an insanely jealous boyfriend about Alex’s Liz. Max wasn’t hearing her however, he was sharing an intense stare with Liz and the air practically sizzled between them.

You belong to me. The words hung unsaid between them, but Max and Liz heard them all the same.

Liz turned resolutely to Alex, flooring him with her answer. “No, Alex, we’re going to help them.”

TBC
posted on 28-Nov-2001 9:02:56 AM by LivE
Wow, we're back in business!! Here is the next part - remember Max's little jealous fit last part? And I think there might be one or two little things you all might like in this part! *big*

Thanks again for the great feedback!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

TITLE: All for You
AUTHOR: LivE
E-MAIL: lieselvw⊕mweb.co.za
RATING: Will vary, PG for now, but NC-17 in later parts
CATEGORY: M/L
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing related to Roswell, only a vivid imagination…
SUMMARY: Khivar is basically in control of earth (as part of a war he is waging against the Antar Royal Family) after convincing earth authorities that he was their savior and would protect them against the aggression of Antarian efforts to colonize earth. Humans that have tried to cross him are being kept in secret prison camps. An underground human resistance movement has started, but there are also humans who have chosen to work with Khivar (like Liz and Alex). Max and Michael have managed to escape earth and are living in a space ship at the moment, on the run from Khivar. Isabel has been caught by Khivar and Max has to act to get her back. The aliens and Maria have never met Liz and Alex (who grew up in Boston).


ALL FOR YOU


(FROM CHAPTER 16)


“How did you end up with Isabel’s brother? And why do I get the feeling my life is in danger because I’m within two feet of you? The guy doesn’t have death-ray eyes, does he?”

“It’s… complicated, Alex.” Liz wasn’t sure what to tell Alex. “I need for us to spend tonight with them, so you and I can hear what they are planning and decide what we are going to do now.”

Alex’s face cleared up immediately. “Ah, I get it. We’re going to spy.” He whispered the last word close to her ear.

Watching them from afar, Max felt an overpowering urge to go rip Alex away from Liz. He was being totally irrational and he knew it. There was no way Liz could have hidden a romantic relationship with Alex from him during those flashes, but the thought that she was going to leave him was slicing through his gut like a white-hot knife and he wasn’t in the mood to think clearly.

“Max?” Isabel was looking between him and the focus of his attention. “What is going on here?” Max was acting like an insanely jealous boyfriend about Alex’s Liz. Max wasn’t hearing her however, he was sharing an intense stare with Liz and the air practically sizzled between them.

You belong to me. The words hung unsaid between them, but Max and Liz heard them all the same.

Liz turned resolutely to Alex, flooring him with her answer. “No, Alex, we’re going to help them.”



Chapter 17

Alex had been silent after Liz’s declaration and had stayed so until they had piled into their cars. Max was again driving the one vehicle, joined by Isabel and Michael while Maria had opted to join Liz and Alex in Alex’s car. Liz had volunteered to drive and Maria’s presence was another comfort since Liz was sure Max was none too pleased about her traveling with Alex.

“So, I’m Maria and I work for the resistance,” Maria announced as soon as the cars started moving. “Why are you working for that slime Khivar?”

Throwing a stunned look at Liz, Alex fumbled for an answer. Wow, was this girl direct or what?

Liz was concentrating on the vehicle in front of them, wondering if Max was watching her in the rear-view mirror. After she had finally told him most of her secrets this morning, Max had decreed that as few people as possible should know she wasn’t really working for Khivar. If the news leaked out, her life could be in serious danger and he would rather suffer the disapproval of his friends than put Liz in more danger.

While they traveled, Maria took it upon herself to bring Alex up to date about Liz’s activities since her abduction. Alex’s eyes grew larger with each new revelation and, although Maria managed to not say too much about Liz and Max, she did make it clear that they were an item of sorts. This brought Alex’s questioning gaze back to Liz, who resolutely watched where she was driving so she wouldn’t have to tell him anything.

“So that’s why he acted like I was trying to steal his girlfriend?”

Girlfriend?” Maria hooted with laughter, causing Liz to cringe. “Boy, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” Maria leaned forward, poking her head between the two front seats. “Max is the sweetest man on earth, but you don’t want to mess with his—”

“Maria!” Liz hissed, trying to end the torrent of words.

“You don’t want to mess,” Maria continued blithely, “with his girl.”

Staring at Maria in amazement, Alex was trying to absorb everything. “You’re telling me that in between getting abducted and drugged, there was time for Liz and Max to… get it on?”

At Maria’s startled look, Liz blurted out, “I didn’t tell him about Max before…”

“Ohh!” Maria’s eyebrows shot up and she turned to Alex. “Well, then I have even more juicy stuff to share.”

Liz groaned.

In the other car, Isabel had finished telling Max and Michael about her strange incarceration. “I saw Nicholas only twice.” She touched the small mark on the back of her neck. “They put some sort of mark on me, but then Alex started moving me around and I never saw Nicholas again. Khivar never came either. I’m not sure why they got nothing from the mind rapes. I was sure that they would have had you all by now.”

“Were you injected while Alex had you?” Max asked, taking his eyes off the road for a few seconds. It was torture not to stare at the vehicle behind him all the time, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to see Liz laughing and talking with Alex. Now that he had had time to cool off, he realized how unfair his reaction to Alex had been. He had no rights over Liz. In fact, wasn’t the whole point of not consummating their relationship so that she could be free to pursue whatever direction her life should take when she left? Gritting his teeth, he resolved to apologize to Liz and tell her she was free to be with whomever she pleased.

The thought made him ill.

“Yes, I was injected about four times, I think. Why?”

Max shrugged. “We can talk about everything tonight. There’s a lot we have to discuss.”

“I can see that,” Isabel told Max icily. “When did you get so cozy with Ms Scientist back there? God, you were eating her with your eyes!”

Michael snorted from the back seat. “Cozy? It’s more like—”

“We’ll talk tonight,” Max interrupted him, clenching his hands on the steering wheel. And he had a few hours to come up with what they should be told.

The rest of the journey was completed without incident, if Alex’s small panic attack because they were being followed could be discounted. Maria and Liz assured him it was their own people, but he kept looking over his shoulder at Doran’s vehicle nervously until they stopped at the cabin and he could see for himself that Liz knew the occupants of the third car.

Liz felt drained. Now that the adrenaline rush of finding Isabel was over, she longed to take a shower and curl up in Max’s arms. Only that would probably not happen tonight. Looking over at Max, she surprised a yearning expression in his eyes that he quickly shuttered when he realized she was staring back. That decided it. She walked determinedly over to him. “Can I talk to you alone, please?”

Everyone else stopped what they were doing to watch.

“Maxwell,” Michael said in a warning tone.

Max ignored him and nodded at Liz, walking into the cabin with her. He started speaking as soon as they reached the short hallway “I want to apologize for being so rude to Alex. If… if you want to… Your life is your own.” His voice was tight with control and his eyes downcast. “I’m really sorry, I had no right—”

Liz curled her fingers around his forearm, halting him. “Alex and I are friends, Max. That’s all.” Her breath stopped when he finally looked at her, a small light of hope starting to flicker in his eyes. “I promise,” she reiterated, looking up at him with wide, expressive eyes.

Staring at her intently as if to gauge her true feelings, he abruptly cursed softly and pulled her against him, lifting her feet off the ground as his arm anchored her to his body. He whirled them into his bedroom, kicking the door closed behind him and then his mouth was on hers. The kiss was ravenous, bruising, possessive, and Liz went under with a small moan, wrapping her arms around his neck to hold on tightly.

He drew her lower body hard up against his own and his lips crushed her own apart, their tongues making contact. Heat began to pool deep down in her abdomen, desire licking a taunting flick across her breasts, because yes, save her soul, she loved that he had been jealous enough to get worked up into this frenzy of lust. She let him taste her surrender to this hot and seductive passion and heard his groan with joy.

Liz didn’t know herself, the touch of his hands and the hunger of his kisses seemed to draw a completely different person out of her skin. Normally she was levelheaded, scientific Liz Parker, but one touch from this man and she was a wild and wanton woman with a deep sensuality that demanded reciprocation from him. Where he touched, she reveled in sheer pleasure. Where he didn’t she writhed in restless need.

Max muttered something into her mouth that sounded like a signal for them to slow it down. But, no, she thought feverishly, pushing her hands beneath his shirt so she could feel his warm skin. All hint of toning anything down faded in that moment as, with a deep shudder, he took control. The kiss got deeper, more intense as their tongues dueled and Max’s hand found its way underneath her top, brushing deliciously over her sensitive skin.

“Oh Max,” she sighed against his lips. His hand stilled immediately, maddeningly close to her aching breast.

He pulled away slowly, breathing erratically as he stared down at her in shock. The signs of his rough passion were everywhere—her puffy lips, her mussed hair, her top bunched beneath her breasts…

“Max?” Isabel’s voice sounded from the other side of the door as she tried the handle.

Leaning back against the door, Max prevented her from opening it, his eyes still glued on the girl in his arms. The ravished girl in his arms. “Give us a minute, Iz,” he managed in a hoarse, tight voice.

He could hear Isabel’s suspicion had increased tenfold when she answered. “Don’t take too long, we need to get a few things in the open.”

“Yes, we do,” he answered, still staring at Liz. Yes, we do.

Isabel stalked back to the living area, finding Michael sprawled on the couch with Maria, while Alex was standing staring out the window. “They’ll be right out,” she announced, her voice laced with irritation as she flounced into a chair. Michael’s sardonic chuckle was the only reaction.

Minutes dragged past and Isabel’s agitation spiked steadily. What? Her brother, the next King of their planet, now had the hots for a human girl and was shirking his responsibilities? “That’s it!” she cried, vaulting from her seat. “What is going on with the two of them?”

Max and Liz appeared in the doorway as if by magic, holding hands.

Looking at his sister, Max felt a fleeting sense of guilt for being so wrapped up in his jealousy that he hadn’t properly welcomed Iz back. “We’ll tell you,” he informed them firmly, tightening his hold on Liz, “but it goes no farther than this room and the people in it.”

Everyone’s eyes were glued to their linked hands as they crossed the room and Max waited for Liz to sit down. He remained standing next to her, still maintaining his hold on her hand.

And finally, the other people in the room heard the full story.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Khivar frowned at the nearly deserted lab before wandering to the equally deserted holding room down the corridor. A nervous assistant hovered at his side.

“They went away for a few days, Khivar,” the man stammered. “A short holiday, Alex said.”

Narrowing his eyes at the hapless scientist, Khivar had trouble containing his anger. “You mean they both just left? Leaving the lab in the hands of mere assistants like you?”

“Well, we weren’t busy with any big experiments or anything…”

Turning in a slow circle, Khivar scanned the gleaming, sterile surfaces of the worktables. Was something else going on here? Why would Liz Parker just take off without telling him or Nicholas? She had never given him a reason to doubt her loyalty, his regular checks on her through his mark and the quick mind searches he did whenever he saw her, showed nothing but a steady continuation of scientific work. Not even a boyfriend as far as he could tell either. It still confounded him that some humans had these fuzzy patches in their memory that he couldn’t make sense of, but after three years of being on earth and finding them regularly, he had started assuming they were just genetically part of certain members of the species.

Also, the resistance had not given him any real trouble yet. The members of his following that they got rid of were minor losses. So he had bided his time, watching, learning.

However, the appearance of an Antarian ship so close to earth, one that he had only learned of by chance, gave him reason to pause. He was increasingly becoming convinced that there were things going on that he was unaware of. The feeling did not sit well with him.

And now his most important scientist had disappeared just around the time he learned of that ship. It could be coincidence. Or it could be another sign that he should tighten his operation.

Maybe it was time to call in the big guns. He needed to activate his spy in the resistance…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Hectic questions had followed Max’s revelations of his linking with Liz, her role in the shadowy group she still insisted they not know too much about, and their plans for the future. Maria was overjoyed, clapping her hands in glee. “I knew you weren’t involved with killing people from the resistance!”

A flash of pain crossed Liz’s face, her fingers curling into a death grip around Max’s. “Maria… We—we couldn’t help it. Sometimes, people did get hurt and… killed in that lab.” She evaded Max’s piercing look.

“So you’re going to go back to Khivar now. And let us know if he plans anything against us.” Michael’s voice was flat, as if he didn’t know how to feel about this.

“Yes,” Liz answered, finally meeting Alex’s confused gaze. “Alex can decide for himself, but I will help you where I can. My group wants no aliens on earth and Max promised me you guys would leave as soon as Khivar is neutralized. I believe him.” She smiled up at Max and they shared a long, intimate look.

“What about your group? What would they think?” Michael wasn’t ready to just accept all this yet.

“I… I’m not going to tell them about you. They don’t need to know you guys are, you know, aliens.” She risked a glance at Isabel, who had now fallen silent and was glaring at Max furiously. “Only, Kyle has seen Isabel and he knows who she is, so I don’t think we should have contact with her personally.”

“I agree,” Max said immediately and Isabel’s mouth thinned even more.

“I could help you work on communications with your home planet,” Alex offered out-of-the-blue, startling everyone.

“Alex!” Liz cried, happy tears springing into her eyes as she ran over to hug him.

Alex cast a nervous look in Max’s direction, but Max seemed okay with the spontaneous display so he felt safe in hugging Liz back. “Can’t let you off on your own, Parker, you are way too gung-ho to be safe.”

The last comment brought a thunderous frown to Max’s face that Liz saw immediately when she turned around. “He’s just kidding,” she informed Max as she moved back to his side, letting him curve her into his body protectively.

“We can work out the details tomorrow,” Max announced, his hand absently running up Liz’s back and tunneling beneath her hair. Liz leaned into him, closing her eyes in bliss, completely forgetting their audience.

“Why don’t we all go to bed and get some sleep?” Max continued, his fingers now rubbing the back of her neck soothingly. “This has been a long and… weird day.”

“Hell yeah,” Michael affirmed, jumping up to drag Maria off to their room.

Isabel and Alex lingered, watching Max and Liz with varying degrees of concern. “I suppose I get the couch?” Alex asked into the silence.

“Iz, why don’t you take the third bedroom?” Max told her. “I’ll come say goodnight soon.”

“So what? You guys sleep together too?”

Max held onto his temper, knowing his sister had had a rough time and also had no reason to trust Liz. “Yes,” he said firmly, “Liz stays with me.”

Isabel threw him a look that clearly told him he would get it as soon as they were alone and left the room.

Her exit made Alex grin. She was one tough cookie! Turning back to Max and Liz, his mouth fell open at what he saw. Max’s hand was now resting just below Liz’s ear, and beneath his hand a strange symbol was glowing on Liz’s skin! “Err, goodnight then,” he mumbled, not able to stop staring at the sight.

“Night, Alex,” Liz said, but her besotted gaze remained on the alien touching her. A horrible idea started to form in Alex’s mind as he watched them leave. Had Liz been brainwashed into getting together with this Max? Was he just using her to reach a goal? Was Liz doing this out of her own free will? He had never seen Khivar turn a human into a willing drone, but who knew what these other aliens could do?

It was time for Liz to start taking those injections again. Who knows, maybe they can cure her of whatever force Max Evans had put on her…

TBC

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Nov-2001 9:04:58 AM ]
posted on 30-Nov-2001 10:39:48 AM by LivE
Since we were offline so long, I thought I'd give you all the next chapter quickly! *happy*

A FEW IMPORTANT COMMENTS:

1. Max’s marks on Liz are INVISIBLE unless something (mostly his touch but sometimes her own) triggers them to glow.

2. Liz DID NOT forget Max because she was taking the injections. The confusion was part of the withdrawal symptoms and her own efforts of trying to ensure Khivar would not find out about Max. So, Alex's hope that the injections will cure Liz of whatever force Max has put on her, is in vain. *big*

Now, on to the chapter! You all WILL enjoy this, that much I know!! *tongue* This is one of my favourite parts to date.

LivE
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Chapter 18

“Max, what are you doing?”

Isabel’s first words told Max his suspicions had been right, his sister was not happy about his relationship with Liz. He held her gaze steadily as he answered. “What my heart tells me to.”

It was not the answer she had expected and her stunned expression reflected this. He gave her a few seconds to recover and then listened to all the reasons she could come up with to show him why his relationship with Liz was ill fated and a mistake. None of them were new.

“You are right,” he told her quietly. “Everything you said is valid.”

Hope flared in her eyes for a moment when she thought she had convinced him. The light died again when he continued.

“But I love her.” The conviction in his voice brooked no argument. “Rationally I know we have no future. I have to go back to Antar some day and Liz’s life and work is here on earth. But… that doesn’t change how I feel. How we feel. And—” He held up his hand when Isabel started to interrupt. “And this is the only time we have… the only time I might ever have with her. And this time, I’m going to be selfish.” He pinned Isabel with intense eyes filled with the complete scope of his feelings for Liz. “She’s leaving tomorrow, Iz. I need whatever I can have of her. Can you understand that?”

Silenced by the urgency in his voice, Isabel could only nod.

Walking over to her, Max hugged her, telling her how happy he was she was safe. After that, they talked about the destruction of their ship—their only way back to Antar, about Khivar and what he might do next, about the serum against mind rapes that Liz had created, and about the fact that Max had decided to end Khivar’s reign of terror once and for all.

Not one word more was said about Liz Parker.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was late by the time Max got out of Isabel’s room. He could see she was still reluctant to trust Liz and he accepted that he would have to live with that for now. But Max was determined to trust his heart about Liz and he was also determined to make sure that Khivar was defeated.

And Liz would help him do that.

Halting in the door of their room, Max felt an overwhelming sense of tenderness flow through his body as he watched Liz, curled up asleep on top of the bed, her damp hair fanning out behind her. Obviously she hadn’t managed to stay awake waiting up for him. Gently, he moved her to her side of the bed before sliding his glowing hand over her hair to dry the tresses quickly. After settling her comfortably, he bent over her, reverently brushing his lips over her forehead and cheeks. “Mi Shanaya.” Loosely translated it meant my love. It was amazing that it had taken a human girl to make him start using the language of his birth. Antar had a rich and descriptive language—one that used symbolism more than mere words. What the phrase actually meant was: Keeper of my Heart. Was it not more apt than merely saying my love? Only one person can hold your heart in the palm of her hands.

Staring down at her sleeping form, he knew he somehow had to make tonight special, make it last…

As soon as Max left the room to go shower, Liz opened her stinging eyes. Mi Shanaya. Just as before, she instinctively knew what it meant. Her heart felt like it was physically breaking in two in her chest when she thought about leaving him tomorrow. The only thing that kept her to her resolve was that she would be working for him too now. Swiping at her moist eyes, she tried to get herself under control. Time with Max was too precious to waste on crying.

Liz was waiting up for him when he got back, still damp from his shower. Sinking down onto the bed next to her, they stared at each other silently.

“I’m going to miss you, Max.”

The soft words sent a wave of intense longing through his gut, causing him to fight down an urge to grab her up in his arms and take her somewhere far away where no one knew who they were. Taking her hand, he laced their fingers and stood up. “Come with me.”

She followed willingly, trustingly, not asking questions.

Alex was lying on his side, feigning sleep when they passed him and he silently padded after them, determined to find out what kind of hold this alien prince had on his friend.

Outside on the veranda Max pulled Liz in front of him, folding his arms around her from behind. She could feel his bare chest rise and fall against her back and instinctively she pressed harder against him. Max’s lips trailed over her nape, reminding her of the little implant Nicholas had “marked” her with so long ago. “Max, Khivar and Nicholas would have put something like this on Isabel too…” Lifting his hand, she rubbed his fingers over the tiny scar. “You have to remove it, or else they will find her. The serum only decreases the range of the mark, it doesn’t override it entirely.”

As Alex watched from behind the curtain, he could clearly see the fury in Max’s expression even as he handled Liz tenderly.

“Liz…” Max brushed her hair away from her nape, exposing the “mark”. “Let me take this off you, I hate that he has… done this to you.” I hate that he has touched you at all.

Covering the scar with her fingers, she stopped him. “You can’t. I’m going back to him and he’ll notice.”

Alex’s eyes widened as he saw the desperation with which Max suddenly hauled Liz against him, holding her as if his life depended on it.

“I don’t think…” Max swallowed convulsively to calm himself. “Don’t let him near you, please Liz! I’ll—I’ll die if something happens to you. If anything weird happens, anything at all, you come to me, promise me!”

The intensity and urgency in Max’s voice was the real thing. Alex didn’t even hear Liz’s answer as he stared at Max in stunned disbelief. The man was totally head-over-heels for Liz! Alex still wasn’t too sure what that meant in alien loyalty terms, but for now he was content that Max wasn’t out to harm Liz in any way—the alien prince was too genuinely concerned for her welfare. Shaking his head, Alex returned to his makeshift bed to ponder this new discovery.

“Look up there.” Max spoke softly against Liz’s ear, pointing up at the stars with a not-quite-so-firm hand. High above them, a bright V of stars winked in the inky black sky.

“What are they?”

“My home.” He breathed deeply, letting his hand drop to her waist to hug her closely. “My other home.”

Liz stared up at the five brilliant stars, a lump forming in her throat. Those stars seemed far away and cold. How amazing that one of them could have produced the warm, gentle man holding her so tightly now. “What are they called?” Her voice trembled from holding in so many emotions.

“The Whirlwind Galaxy. My planet is the one at the bottom.” Max rested his cheek against the shiny crown of her head, searching for the right words. “I thought… maybe you could… think of me when you see them next time.”

Stiffening against him, Liz suddenly clawed at his fingers, prying them from her so she could turn around. “I don’t need stars to remind me of you!” she informed him passionately. He felt the heat of her fingers against his cheeks as she cupped his face, staring up at him with eyes filled with the starlight he had just referred to. “I will never forget you, I promise you that.” She looked away suddenly. “I was hoping you… would come and see me after all this is over… before you… before you return…”

It was his turn to frame her face in his hands, his palms intuitively sliding over his marks, lighting the soft glow. “I promise,” he vowed, kissing her tenderly in affirmation.

When he lifted his mouth, Liz was craving more. “Max, please…” But he held her off.

“I want to… try something, share something with you,” he told her hesitantly. “Will you let me?”

Yes.” As always, it was yes.

His voice dropped lower, became more intimate, brushing over her nerve-endings like a soft caress. “Just look into my eyes and let your mind go blank…”

One moment, she was staring up into those amazing amber eyes, the next she was someplace she had never been before.


She was standing on a beach, bathed in moonlight from the three moons that hovered high above. The waves lapping the shore were small, like those of a lake, and the sand beneath her feet felt like the softest powder. She was alone, standing at the edge of the water while the soft breeze fluttered through her dress. “Max?”

“I’m here.”

His voice came from behind her and she turned towards it, her eyes scanning the endless sand stretching in all directions. “I can’t see you.”

“Soon,” he promised. “Just let me look at you first.”

There was something in his voice, a note of awe, of reverence, that made her look down at her clothes again. She was draped in a shimmering robe the color of pearls, the soft, gossamer material sliding over her skin like a kiss.

“Touch it,” he urged, still unseen.

Following instructions, she lifted her hand and spread it against the material covering her stomach. The sign of the Royal House of Antar appeared beneath her hand. Her gasp told Max she had grasped the significance of the robe.

It was a wedding dress. A traditional Antarian wedding dress.

“I wanted to do this right this time. Even if it’s just in this dream world. ” He appeared in front of her, wearing dark-green pants and a long fitted jacket of the same color with a mandarin collar in gold trim. He looked regal, like a Prince should. Liz was completely speechless.

Ridiculously, Max felt his heart beat in a crazy rhythm as he looked down into Liz’s beautiful face. “I wish we could have had our families here, to share this with us, but things are not ideal. I’m so sorry about that.” He took a deep fortifying breath, staring into her eyes intently. “Liz Paker, Mi Shanaya, will you marry me? Here on my world?”

Tears pooled in her eyes and she bit her lip as she nodded fiercely. “Yes. Yes, Max!”

A stunning light of joy filled his face.

This time, both of them knew exactly what they were doing. Stepping closer to her slowly, Max lifted his hands to cup her neck, pressing his palms over the sensitive places below her ears.

The warmth of the glow of his hands seeped into her bloodstream, causing ecstasy to fizz through her like champagne bubbles. Her eyes drifted closed and her head tilted back as she savored every sensation of being so close to him. Images of his world flashed through her mind, interspersed with images of her. He was… inside her somehow, his essence blending with hers, merging until she could feel every emotion he was experiencing. His joy, his love, his longing and his sadness.

Max waited until her eyes snapped open again and met his. The moment had been too precious to spoil with words—this bonding of their souls.

“U Shayna Min.” They whispered it together. ‘You belong to me.’

He held her to him afterwards, quietly stroking her hair as they basked in the togetherness of the moment.

“Max?” Liz’s soft question was uttered against his throat.

“Hmm?”

“Is this really what Antar looks like?”

He smiled into her hair—his Liz, the eternal scientist. “According to the memories Doran shared with me, yeah.”

“It’s truly beautiful,” she said wistfully.

Max was surprised about how much it meant to him to hear her say that.

“How long can you keep us here?”

“It’s only a dream state, sort of, so… I guess for a few hours, why?” He wasn’t prepared for what came out of her mouth next.

“I want you to make love to me. Here, in this place… now.” Her cheeks were flaming, Liz knew that for a fact, and she couldn’t meet his eyes, afraid to see shock or revulsion at her forwardness there, but her need to share her body with him overrode her shyness. “Please…”

A punch to the gut could not have winded him more. Make love to her? Here? His mind warred with his heart, but only for a second. This was a dream world, not reality. He could make this special and keep the memories without it having irreversible repercussions. The thought made his body react violently.

Pulling slightly away from her, his fingers found the shoulder straps of her robe. “May I?” He hardly recognized his voice, thick and husky with need.

Liz was touched that he still asked, but she nodded, staring up at him, seeing how black his eyes had become as the loose material slipped from her body, leaving her naked to his gaze. His sharp inhalation caused a rush of heat to pool deep in her body, readying her for the invasion of his. She trembled as he stared at her, at the elegant line of her neck, the aroused peaks of her breasts, the deep indentation of her waist, the slim lines of her thighs.

“God, Liz…” he muttered finally, his fingers coming up to rest against her collarbone, tracing the curve lightly. “I’ve dreamed so many times…”

He was touching her everywhere, his hands almost compulsively tracing the hills and valleys of her body. Everywhere he touched, she burned. Her breathing turned into pants, short gasps for air to fend off the dizziness his caresses caused. His fingers found her breasts, fanning over the pebbled peaks, tearing a small moan from her throat. Her hands were fisted in the waist of his jacket in an effort to stay upright and beneath the material his skin felt scalding hot.

Suddenly overcome with a need to feel that skin next to hers, Liz tore at the fastenings of the jacket, getting in his way until he took over the task with a soft frustrated curse. He yanked his clothes off in a few short movements, her desire spurring him on.

Finally, they were naked. Skin slid over heated skin, want urging them closer and closer still. Their kiss was deep, tongues mimicking a more intimate act as their bodies strained together.

His arousal throbbed against her stomach and Liz had never felt anything more perfect. Every pulse told her he wanted her, every little shift in his body increased the hollow ache in hers.

He laid them down on their discarded clothes without breaking their kiss. Liz wrapped her legs around him, rubbing the moist evidence of her need against the ridge of his erection. The action had Max tearing his mouth from hers, throwing his head back with a harsh groan before he began moving rhythmically against her. The friction was unbearably exciting and Liz arched beneath him, determinedly keeping her eyes open so she could watch him. After a few moments, his mouth found her breast, ripping a keening cry from her that echoed around them.

She couldn’t wait anymore, her hands finding the taut muscles of his rear and urging him to complete their union.

He stilled above her when the slick tip of his arousal parted her folds and he stared at her intently, as if memorizing her face. He looked glorious to Liz—a deep flush staining his cheeks, his mouth moist from her kisses, his eyes filled with desire, love and possessiveness. “Only ever you, Liz,” he told her and pushed into her in one deep stroke.

The feeling was indescribable and Liz forgot to breathe. His hands found hers, lacing their fingers together and holding them above her head as he slowly pulled out of her. Instinctively, she tightened her legs around his hips, not wanting him to leave.

“Tell me!” He sounded frantic, desperate.

“Only ever you, Max,” she promised him, arching helplessly when he plunged back in. The action broke their restraint and they moved together in an ever-increasing tempo until the first small spasms of release started spiraling through their bodies.

It was a moment Max would never forget. Even through the harshness of his own panting, he heard the telling hitch in Liz’s breathing, felt her go still and hover on the precipice, all her tiny muscles surrounding his arousal going taut for a few seconds. “Yes,” he urged her, pressing high and deep and felt her go over.

She moaned his name as she came.

It was all it took to push him into release too.

Forcing her eyes open, Liz stared at him shuddering above her as she felt his surrender spill heatedly deep inside her body. It felt so real. So incredibly, wonderfully real.



The intensity of their reactions jerked them from the dream plane.

Max caught her as her legs gave out, managing to get them both into a sitting position on the steps as the last vestiges of their orgasms still reverberated through them. He could care less that his release had been very real and he was a mess as he held her close. Embarrassment could not impinge on a moment so perfect.

And, as he stroked her hair, her face resting against his damp chest, he made another vow to himself. He would find a way for them to be together for real one day, one way or another.

TBC
posted on 3-Dec-2001 9:55:14 AM by LivE
Get out the hankies for this part, you all... :(

And hang in there!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU

FROM CHAPTER 18

The intensity of their reactions jerked them from the dream plane.

Max caught her as her legs gave out, managing to get them both into a sitting position on the steps as the last vestiges of their orgasms still reverberated through them. He could care less that his release had been very real and he was a mess as he held her close. Embarrassment could not impinge on a moment so perfect.

And, as he stroked her hair, her face resting against his damp chest, he made another vow to himself. He would find a way for them to be together for real one day, one way or another.



Chapter 19

Alex was waiting in the idling car and Michael, Maria and Isabel were standing around on the veranda. Everyone was ready for the departure. Everyone but Max and Liz.

Max had finally had another dream come true—Liz had woken up in his arms that morning. However, it had been a bittersweet moment. He had lain awake most of the night, just watching her sleep, afraid to miss one moment of having her near. Their intense experience in the dream plane had left them both drained and after Max had carried Liz back to their room on quaking legs, they each had a quick shower, and tumbled into bed. How ever much he had wanted to really make love to her, he had just held her tightly, listening to her breathing, and knowing that she too had been unable to sleep for large parts of the night.

It had been the longest few hours of his life… and the shortest.

Morning had come too soon and even though he had known he should let her rest, he had kissed her awake at the first sign of the dawn light creeping over the horizon. Kissed her and kissed her and kissed her, his hands rushing over her hair, her face, her body, desperately storing the sensations for the time alone that was coming up.

Liz had had tears in her eyes when he finally broke away to rest his forehead against hers. I can’t do it, she had wanted to confess. I can’t leave this… leave YOU behind. Staring up into his solemn amber eyes, she had prayed he would force her to stay, that he would take the decision out of her hands. But he had said nothing, as she had known he would, only skimmed tender fingertips over her face, committing her features to memory.

They had dressed in silence, Max kneeling at her feet to tie the laces of her sneakers, remaining in that position with a bent head for long moments after completing the task. The sight had nearly made her dissolve in floods of tears and she had sunk to the ground in front of him, finding herself in his arms immediately.

It had been the purest agony.

Breakfast had been spent discussing the way forward. Alex had promised to start working on a communications link to Antar and Liz to report any activities of Khivar aimed at Max and his group. They had worked out how to get messages across, deciding to use Doran, who was known to the resistance, and then Liz and Alex had injected themselves with the serum in preparation for the trip back, also providing the others with serum to use when it became necessary in future.

Alex had watched the injecting bit with an eagle eye and it had removed any lingering doubts he had had about Max’s intentions towards Liz. Max had hovered over her protectively while she worked on herself, but he made no move to stop her, only covering the small mark of the needle with his hand after she was finished. It had taken Alex a few moments to realize that Max had healed the tiny scar.

Then was time to leave.

Maria had somehow contrived to get everybody out of the cabin and onto the veranda, leaving Max and Liz alone inside.

They weren’t ready.

Liz was dying. She couldn’t show Max how close she was to breaking down completely. The only thing holding her together was his almost compulsive embrace. Taking deep breaths, she attempted to commit his scent, the feel of him, to memory, to take it so deep into herself that it would remain a part of her forever.

“Liz…” His voice was hoarse and strained. He said nothing more, just Liz.

The wealth of emotion she heard in that one syllable was almost her undoing. The whimper, soft and filled with anguish, was out before she could stop it.

The sound seemed to tear through him, Liz felt the convulsive shudder run along his lean body just before he tugged her head back, crushing her mouth beneath his. The kiss was long, desperate and deep… and without flashes.

Pulling away, Max stared down at her. “The serum… it inhibits the flashes.” No wonder he had been so stunned when he suddenly started getting flashes from their kisses. It had never happened in the two weeks he’d been with her on earth, and only started after the serum had finally worn off on the ship. The ache in his heart increased with the decrease in his link with her. He’d come to rely on that link—the connection—that had even allowed him to know what her body wanted of his when they made love. Her needs, felt through the link, had guided his hands and his mouth… and finally his whole body.

“Liz… Are you sure?” He wanted to beg her to stay, he was prepared to do it on his knees if necessary, but it was her decision, not his.

She took a long time to answer, silently holding onto him as she thought. Then she nodded her bent head just once.

Max felt like crying.

He kissed her one last time with everything he had in him. It wasn’t nearly enough.

They walked outside in silence with Liz folded along the length of his side, her face pressed into his shoulder. No one said a word as they watched them move towards the car. Alex looked away as Max opened the passenger door for her—it seemed wrong to play voyeur to this moment.

Helping Liz into the seat, Max let his hand linger over her hair, memorizing the silken feel. His heart lurched at the thought that this might be the last time he ever touched her. She was staring at him with wet eyes, and for the life of him, he couldn’t get his throat to work to say good-bye.

With one final lingering look, he closed the door between them, watching her turn her head to the front and biting her lip.

“Ready?” Alex asked his longtime friend softly as he stared at Max just outside Liz’s window. The look on the young prince’s face would stay with him forever. Just as he was about to ease his foot off the brake, Max suddenly yanked open the door again.

“Wait!”

The harsh command caused a flurry on the veranda and Alex stomped his foot back on the brake.

“Liz!”

Max was framing her face, pulling it around so he could meet her eyes. Liz’s heart had literally stopped. He was staring at her with undisguised emotion.

“Liz, I love you. I can’t let you leave without telling you that.” He spoke in an urgent voice. “I love you,” he emphasized. “Never forget that.”

“Me too… I mean…” She dashed at her tears with a trembling hand, trying to get the words together. “I love you too. So much.”

“Then stay!” Everything he had wanted to say came out in a rush. “God, Liz, don’t go. Please stay! We’ll find another way to handle this, but—”

Stopping him with her fingers over his mouth, she found the courage to do the right thing. “I can’t.”

He looked at her for a long anguish-filled moment, then nodded.

“Max…” Liz had no idea what she wanted to say. Wait for me? Don’t get killed?

Leaning into the car, he kissed her tenderly. “When this is over, I’ll find you. I promise.” It was a vow from the heart.

This time, Alex drove off as soon as the door was closed, his heart aching when he saw Liz twist around in her seat to catch one last glimpse of Max.

Max stood in the same spot, his hands in his pockets, until long after the dust trail of the all-terrain vehicle had disappeared from his sight.

Maria came to find him half-an-hour later. “Max…” He turned his face away when she touched his arm. “Are you okay, Space King?”

Clearing his throat, he nodded, still not looking at her. “We should get back, we have a lot to do,” he told her gruffly, silently closing a door in his heart.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The drive back to Carlsbad was long and tiresome. Liz and Alex took turns behind the wheel, but Alex wisely kept silent, sensing that Liz’s emotions were close to the surface. She had seemed to pull into herself when Max had finally disappeared from sight. Only talking once: What if I never see him again? The question had been rhetorical and he hadn’t replied. After all, what on earth could he say?

When they got close to the city, they started getting their stories straight, deciding on Alex’s short vacation version. Liz had only been missing for a few days longer than he had been gone from the lab too. It was almost unbelievable that all in all, she had been gone from her apartment for only five days. Five days that completely changed her life.

Alex dropped her off at her home and left for his own place. Liz felt immeasurably weighed down as she trudged up the stairs to her door. It didn’t feel like home anymore. Home had become a person, someone who was very far away from her now.

Don’t think about him, she coached herself. Don’t fall apart and don’t think about him. Don’t think about his eyes, his mouth or his kisses. Don’t remember how it felt to be one with him…

I love you. The words rang in her heart, refusing to die down. I love you. Never forget that. She smiled mirthlessly. Forgetting was something she wouldn’t be able to do. Ever.

A light was shining in her apartment.

Liz stumbled to a halt outside her door, a sense of dread stealing over her. It was after eight at night, who could be in the apartment? Had she forgotten to turn the lights off when she left? Had the person who collected her laptop left them on?

Carefully, she unlocked the front door and stepped inside. Silence permeated the rooms, the light spilling from her small den. Dropping her laptop on the kitchen counter, she moved to the lighted room.

Nicholas was lying on her couch, twiddling his thumbs.

He raised an impervious eyebrow as she came into view. “Well, Ms Parker, it’s about time you came home.”

“Hi Nicholas.” Liz was surprised at how normal her voice sounded. “What are you doing in my apartment?”

“Why, waiting for you, of course!” he said mockingly, slowly rising from the couch. “Khivar has been missing you.” He moved closer to her. “Where have you been?”

“I went away with Alex for a few days. Things have been so hectic lately that I…” she trailed off, realizing she was babbling.

Nicholas was circling her, his eyes roaming up and down her body. Liz had to forcibly stifle the urge to cover Max’s invisible marks with her hands.

“Did ya have fun?” He was leaning close to her ear when he spoke. “You haven’t lost that famous virginity of yours, have you? Alex doesn’t look like he has it in him, but I’m sure Khivar wouldn’t mind if the dear boy does the honors.”

Liz had stiffened at the insolent words, but she refused to rise to the bait.

“Strange that our leader has such an aversion to having sex with virgins. I guess he likes experience. He’s been waiting for you to get rid of yours, you know.”

“I’m too busy for that,” Liz told him through tense lips.

“It only takes a few minutes, my sweet. I could help—”

“Why are you here, Nicholas?” she interrupted him angrily.

He gave up taunting her. “Khivar wants to see you. Now.”

The words struck cold fear into Liz’s heart. “Why?”

“Because he missed you?” he said sarcastically. Grabbing her arm, he whirled her towards the door. “Let’s go.”

They arrived at Khivar’s mansion 40 minutes later. He was standing alone in his dining room when she was ushered in. “Liz! Nice to see you again.” Walking closer, he looked at her narrowly. “I hear you took a few days off?”

“Yes, I was tired.” She made sure she looked straight at him. “Alex and I went fishing.”

“You humans have the quaintest customs!” He stopped right in front of her. “Don’t leave again without telling me,” his voice had hardened. “We had… things to deal with, and you were missing.”

“I’m sorry, I thought we would have a quiet few days and it was okay to leave.” Liz breathed carefully, calming herself.

He stared at her long and intently before nodding his head and smiling. “You haven’t gone off and gotten yourself a boyfriend, have you?” He lifted a hand and stroked her cheek. “I would hate to share you.”

It took all of her willpower to stay still under his questing finger that slowly slid down the side of her neck. “No, still determinedly single.” She forced a grin. “You know me, it’s all about the work.” His fingers slid to the back of her neck, passing over the spot where Max’s mark lay before coming to a halt on the tiny scar of his own mark.

His routine probe of her mind yielded only more of the fuzzy patches it normally did, but that did not interest Khivar. What did interest him, was the fact that while he could feel the little implant on her nape with his fingers, he couldn’t find its signal.

Something was neutralizing his brand.

TBC
posted on 6-Dec-2001 10:01:06 AM by LivE
Things are getting rocky for a little bit. Hang tight!

And, as always, thank you SO much for the great feedback!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

ALL FOR YOU


Chapter 20

“Max, you have to slow down,” Maria’s voice was filled with worry as she stood in the doorway of Max’s room—he sat hunched over a jumble of maps and papers, spread out on the bed. The bed that hasn’t been slept in much.

Two weeks had elapsed since Liz had left and in that time Max had been killing himself with planning, preparing and strategizing with his soldiers, Michael and Doran. Not a word about Liz had left his mouth in this time, but he was more driven than ever. They all watched him in amazement. He had always been their Prince, but now he seemed to don the cloak of leadership so much more readily. He drove them all hard, but no one as hard as himself. Max had a mission—an almost insurmountable mission—and he was leaving nothing to chance.

Michael was delighted that Max was stepping up to the plate so determinedly now. But Maria and Doran, who had gone to more trouble than Michael to get to know the man behind the title, noticed the haunted look in Max’s eyes. He was doing this to free his people, yes, but he was also doing this to get Liz away from Khivar. Maria was almost sure Max had had the odd nightmare about something terrible happening to Liz.

And now she had to give him the first message they’d gotten from Alex…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Liz, you have to slow down.”

Lifting her head tiredly to look at Alex, hovering in the door of her office at the lab, Liz managed a smile. “Can’t, Alex. You know that.”

Stalking inside, Alex gave her a fierce look, “I know that killing yourself isn’t going to make the person you’re working so hard for happy, that’s what I know!”

She ignored him. “Have you… finished that last task I gave you?” Meaning, did you send the message to Max.

“Yes, I have, but I still don’t agree with leaving out pertinent information.” Like Khivar watching Liz like a hawk, as if he knew something weird was up.

“There is nothing he can do about it,” Liz answered quietly. Max had become “he” ever since they got back. The lab was probably bugged, so they could only talk about what they were doing for Max when they were outside in the open some place. “Please, nothing is wrong, just do your work.”

“Would you please take the night off and go eat dinner with me some place?” Alex tried again. “Lizzie—”

Blinking back the tears, Liz fought to maintain the façade of professionalism she has been hiding behind ever since Max disappeared from her sight on that desert track. “Thank you, Alex, but I’d rather be—”

“Alone. I knew you would say that.” He walked closer to her desk, his hands in his pockets. “I’m going to have to force you then.” Her eyes flew to his, finding his expression resolute. “If you don’t go out with me tonight, I’m telling him.”

Liz was truly shocked. This was gentle Alex, who she thought had still been leery of Max Evans and all he stood for. Now he was threatening her with disclosing her personal situation to Max! “You wouldn’t!”

“I would.” He folded his arms across his chest. “You’re pale and tired and you’ve lost weight. He’s going to have a fit.”

That’s if he ever sees me again, Liz thought ruefully. But Alex was right. She’d been burning the candle at both ends to keep Khivar happy while at the same time finding out whatever she could about his operation for Max, not to mention to keep “Andre” updated with Khivar’s activities too. Khivar’s control structures were surprisingly centralized—he ran most everything himself and he didn’t have as many soldiers from Antar here on earth as Liz had suspected. “Andre” had slowly started a project to sway the humans working for Khivar over to the resistance’s side a few months back. This was risky, but “Andre” figured they had to take the risk to gain in the long term. One day, Khivar will only have his alien troops and a few die-hard human supporters left to count on.

And when the day of active resistance came, the people Liz had processed through this lab, will return from the camps they are living in…

Liz sighed and closed her laptop. “Okay, meet me at my apartment in an hour,” she capitulated. She didn’t want Max to know Khivar has been acting strange around her or that she was busy working herself into an early grave. She figured if she was tired enough at night, she would fall asleep without seeing Max’s face when he had begged her to stay. It had been the hardest thing she’s ever done – leaving him there in the desert. But she still believed that earth belonged to the humans – even if the thought of Max leaving earth completely was too devastating to think about. This wasn’t about her, it was about her whole planet.

Alex went off looking relieved, and Liz wearily closed up so she could go home. Max’s absence left a permanent aching hole in her heart and how she wished she could just stop taking the stupid serum so she could feel him again! But with Khivar as suspicious as he was, there was no way she could risk it.

It was drizzling outside when she drove to the apartment complex where she lived—the weather was echoing her own emotions. She felt… empty and unbearably sad. Her feet dragged as she approached her front door—the place that had always been her refuge now felt cold and lifeless. Max had only been to the apartment two times, the first time after one of her classes when she invited him and the second when he had just materialized on her doorstep late one night. The night he had marked her…

The lights in her apartment were on again. A creepy feeling of deja vue crept over her, something was wrong.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max studied the message Doran had gotten from Alex while Maria hovered over him, obviously concerned about his reactions. It was a list of names of the troops Khivar brought to earth—two hundred of them—and their locations—Antarians working for Khivar, the backbone of his operation. This small group was being supported by all the security forces of the USA, so if those human forces could be swayed away from him, they would be home free.

There was no word in the message about Liz and the disappointment tasted acid in his mouth. Desperately afraid for Liz and what she was facing alone in Carlsbad, he fought again to stop himself from rushing over there and dragging her back here where he could watch over her safety himself. The piece of paper crinkled in his hand – the list was invaluable. With the names and the locations, they can plan an attack to get rid of these soldiers, leaving the resistance to take care of whatever humans were working directly for Khivar.

“How are they?” Maria broke the silence.

“He doesn’t say,” Max replied tersely, still staring at the list of names.

“Well,” Maria sounded uncertain, concerned, “that’s good I guess. If they were in trouble he would have let us know, right?”

But that was the problem, Max wasn’t sure Liz would let him know if she was in trouble. She would try to handle things on her own, trying to stop him from putting his own life in jeopardy for her. Beautiful, courageous, obstinate woman. Mi Shanaya.

“Max?”

“Uh, yeah, I suppose.” Suddenly, he needed to be alone and carefully laying the precious message on his bed, he rose stiffly. “I’m going for a walk, tell the others we’ll have a meeting later tonight, please, Maria.”

“Are you sure? I could walk with you… Tell you about—”

“Thanks, but no.” He smiled at his friend, trying to ease the concern in her eyes. “I just need a few minutes on my own.”

She let him go then, and he walked to the flat rock where Liz had first told him who she really was.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This time, it was Khivar waiting for her in her apartment. He had rarely seen her after hours before, leaving that kind of work to Nicholas, but there he sat on her overstuffed couch, looking for all the world as if he owned the place. Liz lifted her chin, hiding the instant fear that slithered down her spine. “Khivar! This is a surprise,” she managed calmly.

He was watching her intently, like he was trying to see through her. “I have some startling news that I need to discuss with you,” he finally informed her, those cold blue eyes never leaving her face for an instant.

“Actually, I have plans tonight,” Liz told him firmly. “Can this wait until tomorrow?”

He rose from the couch abruptly. “No, this isn’t a request, it’s an… instruction.” Carefully avoiding the word “order”. “The Antarian Rebels I’ve been trying to find are here in New Mexico.”

The hand of fear around Liz’s heart closed a little tighter. “They are?”

“Yes. And I have reason to believe that someone within my organization is helping them.” His regard was stifling, penetrating, watching for any little sign that she might know what he was talking about.

“That’s… impossible.” She stared at him with wide eyes. Keep it together, Liz, he is testing you.

“One would think so, yes.” He smiled at her thinly, his handsome face filled with icy scorn. “I’m not sure how a human thinks he… or she, will get away with this for long…”

Realizing her hands were clenched into fists at her side, her fingernails digging into her palms, Liz made a concerted effort to relax. “How did you find these Rebels? Isn’t that good news? You’ve… we’ve been looking for them for so long.”

Closer now, Khivar started circling her slowly. “I’ve always wondered how it was possible for them to hide so well on this primitive planet. I thought that the archaic communication systems around here were blocking me. We could never pick up a signal. And those stupid fools of the resistance were too chaotic to be a real threat.” He had stopped behind her and was talking intimately into her ear. “But now it seems they have help. From someone close to me. Someone clever.”

Khivar watched as Liz shivered. What was she hiding? His spy in the resistance couldn’t find out anything concrete, just that a message had been relayed via the resistance to a shadowy figure seemingly linked to his prey. The contents of the message were unknown since only a few people worked with it. But the message originated in Carlsbad—home to Khivar’s head office. A lot of people had asked Khivar why he had chosen an out-of-the-way place like Carlsbad for his main base and he never really answered them truthfully. The real reason was the search for the missing two Antarian Royals and the fact that his investigations had proven they had been hidden somewhere in New Mexico. Now, he was about to be proven correct.

If only he could figure out what is going on with his favorite scientist.

“Do you know of anyone that would want to harm our cause?” he asked Liz, still towering over her menacingly.

“No.” Liz cringed when she answered too quickly. What did he know? Did he have anything on her or was he just trying to see if she’d crack?

Sliding his hand over her nape, he fingered the small scar where his tracking device lay. Still nothing, not even when he touched it. Concentrating more of his power into the effort of activating the small chip, he suddenly had a flash of Liz… touching a mirror. The flash was gone as quickly as it came and it left him frowning. Something was strange about the vision—there had been a microsecond when he could have sworn he saw something shimmering on the surface of the mirror.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The sudden flash of Liz touching a mirror where his handprint glowed silver, forcibly jerked Max out of his silent reverie. He had been concentrating on her, trying to regain a tiny bit of the sensation of being linked to her, when the flash surprised him. Was it something from his memories? No, that couldn’t be, he had never seen her awake from inside the cell.

Something else was happening here.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What was Khivar doing, standing so still while touching his brand? Liz fought against the panic, reciting the periodic tables in her mind. Heat abruptly coiled through her stomach and, for a fleeting moment, it felt like Max was touching her intimately. Involuntarily, her neck arched as she gasped.

It had happened so unexpectedly that she recovered too late.

Khivar was in front of her in an instant. “Well, well, well… Someone’s been at my Lizzie!” His eyes bored into hers. “Who was it? Who was he?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Clutching at his head, Max wondered if he was starting to lose it because he missed Liz so much. Another flash of her, neck arched in ecstasy had also assailed him, another scene that didn’t come from his memories. God, he missed her!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I—I’ve just been having strange dreams lately,” Liz tried to cover. What had he seen? She smiled weakly. “I think maybe I’ve been without a guy for too long.”

He watched her closely, before stepping up to her and placing his hand over the scar. “Let’s see about those dreams then…” Closing his eyes, Khivar forced his power into the chip one more time, not even hearing Liz’s whimper of pain. The image rushed over him with a force he hadn’t expected, as if it was powered by something… not human. “Only ever you, Max.” Opening his eyes, he stared down at Liz with a new light in his eyes. “Max… His name is Max.”

Alex had halted outside the front door when he heard Khivar’s voice inside. The last words made him cold. Sneaking a look around the door, his worst suspicions were affirmed when he saw Liz being held by Khivar, a small grimace of pain on her face, her eyes starting to look dazed.

Spinning around, he dashed towards his car. Only one person could help Liz now.

Khivar increased the grip he had on Liz’s neck. “Who is he?”

“I’m… telling you,” Liz gasped, fighting the dull ache in her head, “I dreamt him.”

Bringing his other hand to her breast, he curled his fingers around her flesh, just this side of real pain. “I can force you to tell me…”

“I’m telling you the t—truth…” Liz felt his thumb starting to caress her neck in a mockery of their embrace. He was still staring at her hard and she felt the darkness waiting to pounce on her. “P-please… I’m not lying…”

She could be right, Khivar mused. The poor girl is probably so sexually repressed that it made sense for her to have such erotic dreams. A small glimmer of light caught his attention and his eyes jerked down to her neck. This time when he moved his thumb just below her ear nothing happened. Had he imagined the soft shimmer he had seen there fleetingly?

Because… it couldn’t be, could it?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max’s roar brought everyone running. He had finally surmised that whatever he was seeing was from Liz. By some weird miracle, he was seeing flashes of her. And the last one had been of a man with the coldest blue eyes touching her, hurting her…

An amazing calm took hold of him as he faced all his frantic people. “I’m going to Liz. Start putting our plans in action.” Rubbing his hand over his heart, he forced his mind to rule his actions. “Michael, take over until we get back. Decide on a way to neutralize those men on the list Alex sent us.”

First, he would find Liz.

Then, he would kill the bastard that’s hurting her right now.

TBC

***YES, there is a reason why the Khivar suddenly had access to Liz's mind... the same time Max was trying to reach her. *wink*
posted on 10-Dec-2001 2:29:31 PM by LivE
Like I said, things get a bit hairy for a while. My apologies in advance...

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

ALL FOR YOU


Chapter 21

Alex drove like a maniac, only encountering one other vehicle on the long stretch of desert road between Carlsbad and Roswell. He prayed he would be able to find help in time. This was the first big crisis their group had faced.

What the hell had happened? They’d been back for two weeks and, after that initial meeting between Khivar and Liz, things had more or less gone back to normal. Khivar had been watching them round the clock now, but they hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. The message he had sent to the resistance had gone via encoded e-mail to someone in Albuquerque who had printed out the message to leave it at one of the resistance’s dead-drops. Only one person knew the message came from him and that person was totally reliable.

No, it couldn’t have been the message. Khivar was raving about Max. It seemed incongruous that he had suddenly learnt about Max now, after two weeks back. The serum had worked as usual, so that avenue was closed. He shook his head in frustration. There were no answers, just more questions.

And even if Max Evans loved his friend the way Alex hoped he did, the alien prince was probably not the best person to save Liz. This was a job for “Andre” and their group. The group had people in place already and they were only an hour’s drive from Carlsbad.

~*~*~*~*~*~

A moan threatened to break into her blissful unconsciousness. No, Liz prayed, please don’t let me wake up. Another moan escaped and she finally realized it was coming from herself. They’d been at her for hours and the pain has become part of her now. For some reason, those brief flashes of Max had stopped and neither Khivar nor Nicholas had had any success in prying anything more from her mind.

That didn’t mean they had given up though. Something had spooked Khivar enough to order a continuation of her “interrogation”. Her body was battered and bruised from many minutes of hands sending the heat of the sun through her body. Her mind felt like it would turn to mush if just one more thought went through it. But still she hung on, afraid that if she gave in completely, they would find the group she worked for. And they would find Max.

“It was like something was activating those flashes I got from her,” Khivar mused from someplace else in the room. “Like the combined energy from me and whatever else was happening triggered them somehow…”

Her moan turned into a keening sound of pain as another attempt was made to find answers in her mind.

“Don’t kill her!” The harsh command came from her left. “She’s not worth anything to me dead.”

“Then maybe we should let up for a while.” Nicholas’ voice. “She’s not breathing too well.”

“Fine. But don’t give her time to recover completely.”

A small silence ensued. “I don’t think she’s ever recovering completely again.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

Please… It was a refrain in his mind as they drove through the darkness towards Carlsbad. Towards Liz. He never really got past the “please” phase of his silent begging—there was too much to beg for. Don’t let her die. Don’t let her suffer. Don’t let them take her away where I can’t find her. Don’t let me be too late. It was driving him quietly out of his mind.

Max had insisted that he wanted to drive when they had finally decided to hit the road. He was taking Doran and two other men with him, not having had the energy to argue when the plan was put to him. Besides, who knew what he’d be walking into? However, in spite of his good intentions, his attention hadn’t been on his driving and it hadn’t been long before his three passengers had forced him to turn the keys over to Doran.

Please… I can’t feel her. Now, he was staring out the window at the black night they were traveling through at high speed. Once they had left the desert dirt track, the miles went faster, but still not fast enough for Max. I can’t feel her. After those few precious flashes of Liz and his decision to go find her, the group had basically ordered him to take one of Liz’s injections in case he gets taken by Khivar. He only took half the dose, though, a fact he had hidden from a hovering Maria. I can’t feel her. It had still been enough to ensure that he couldn’t reach Liz again, the dose just enough to dull his powers.

“Don’t try to connect with her,” Doran said unexpectedly from behind the wheel and Max glanced at him in shock. “If you do, they might see your marks on her neck.”

Max felt his jaw and his gut clench in fear. If Khivar saw those marks he would know Liz was bonded to someone in line for the Antarian throne. And there was only one of those on this planet. Him. Max Evans. Crown Prince Zan. Khivar would never let her live.

An endless nightmarish reel of scenes was spiraling through his mind, each of them filled with visions of Liz being tortured, hurt… and worse. The only thing holding him together was the cold rage steadily building inside him, aimed at the person responsible for all the pain in his life. Khivar. If it hadn’t been for him starting a war on Antar, Max would have grown up as he had been meant to—in his parents’ house on his home planet. He would have known all along who he was, where he belonged and where he would end up, instead of being the loner in a small town in New Mexico, USA, too afraid to get involved with other people.

On the other hand, it was truly ironic that if Khivar hadn’t started that war, he would never have met Liz. Never have known what it felt like to look at someone else and see himself in their eyes. Never have known the ecstasy of kissing or of being close to someone else. Never have known what it felt like to love.

Please…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Being left alone in a dark corner of the warehouse where they’d taken her, Liz took deep breaths, forcing oxygen into her painful lungs. She only had a vague recollection of most of the hours she’d spent there, but the fact that they were continuing to question her, was some relief. It meant she hadn’t blurted out something important yet. It also meant the serum was still working. What had gone wrong then? Khivar had seemed most concerned about the implant in her neck. The serum hadn’t neutralized the implant before, could it be that her proximity to Max had somehow managed to do that?

Lord, but it hurts.

The only thing that kept going through her mind was that she needed to keep her hands away from her neck at all costs. Khivar could not see the signs of the Royal House of Antar on her—not even by accident.

And where was Alex? He should have noticed she was missing by now. Please don’t let him do something drastic and stupid.

Footsteps echoed hollowly across the concrete floor towards her. This time, she couldn’t stop the tears from leaking from beneath her tightly closed eyelids at the realization that more torture was on the way. Time had become meaningless, passing in a blur of pain and frantic, disjointed thoughts.

“Well, little Lizzie, the boss and I just remembered something we should have checked in the beginning… Have you been sleeping with someone then?” Nicholas sounded eager, gleeful. “If you have, we’ve been going about this all wrong.”

Mercifully, Liz blacked out as his hand trailed down her body.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“What the blazes?” Kyle stared blearily at Alex who had just woken him in the middle of the night with his loud pounding on the door. The sight of Alex’s worried face was enough to bring Kyle to immediate lucidity. “What happened?”

“Khivar is interrogating Liz.”

Too stunned to move for a moment, Kyle’s mind took giant leaps. They had contingency planning for this, but it had happened so much sooner than they had all expected. “Come in. We need to get to work.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A deep, numbing coldness took hold of Max as he stood in the middle of Liz’s living room and stared around him. It had taken more than an hour before Doran and the team had been satisfied that the apartment was empty and that no one was watching it before they allowed Max to go inside. There was no sign of a struggle, no sign of any violence. Only Liz’s purse, lying haphazardly on the floor.

Surprisingly, he felt nothing. It was as if a thick steel door had slammed on his feelings and Max was extremely thankful for that. He couldn’t allow himself to feel right now, or he would lose his mind. Only when Liz was safe again, would he open that door.

Gingerly he trailed his fingers over objects in the room, hoping against hope that he would get a flash—anything—that could give him a clue as to where she was.

No luck.

Then, from behind him, he heard Doran talking. “Alex? It’s your long lost buddy Dan!” Whirling around, Max watched anxiously as Doran talked to Alex, finding out that Alex was on his way back from a short business trip and would be there in half-an-hour. Doran lifted his eyes to his silent Prince. “We’ll be waiting…”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Khivar was staring down at the unconscious Liz with a frown. Still a virgin—how was that possible? That momentary glimmer on her neck… could he have deluded himself into seeing it? Only one person in the universe could carry a mark below their ears like that, and the thought that Liz Parker had somehow become bonded with Prince Zan was ludicrous. He must have dreamt it. On the other hand, something was definitely blocking his signal. He had tested the little device himself a number of times and it functioned, but still no signal—no way to trace Liz’s whereabouts. Had she been duping him for a long time?

For the first time, Khivar wondered if he hadn’t been too complacent about humans. The majority of them had just accepted that he was a good guy, here to help them, and the resistance had seemed small and insignificant. Nothing had hinted at the fact that humans were a serious threat until now.

Nicholas’ throat-clearing broke into his reverie. “One of our soldiers was just killed in Albuquerque.”

Fear, something he hadn’t ever experienced before, tightened Khivar’s throat. “Killed? How?”

Nicholas looked very uncomfortable. “Energy bolt…” They both knew what that meant. The attack was from a soldier serving the Antar Royalty.

Spinning back to the prone form of Liz, Khivar barked an order born of desperation. “Wake her up and find out what she knows… now.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Alex and Kyle arrived with little fanfare and a short meeting later, they had decided on a plan. Introductions about Max and his team just indicated them as a group supporting “the cause” and that they were here to help Liz.

Kyle made a few calls and they determined that Liz had been taken to a warehouse on the outskirts of Carlsbad, near the caves. His calls also organized more support for the mission. Piling in the vehicles, Max ended up in Alex and Kyle’s car.

“We have to take her to the camp if we get her out of there,” Kyle stated firmly. “She won’t be of use to us near Khivar anymore and I really don’t need her in more danger. You guys have done enough.”

Throwing a look at Max, Alex wondered what he thought about this plan, but Max’s face showed no reaction. “If Liz agrees, I guess that’s okay.” He ignored Kyle’s strange look.

“I think we have enough on Khivar’s operation to neutralize him now. Those drugs Liz has been working on will help put his soldiers out of commission.” Kyle sighed deeply. “That leaves us wide open for the other bunch of aliens to take over, though. We will probably have to start over with them. I can’t understand why we don’t get any information on them! Surely their group must be as big as Khivar’s, at least!”

Another look to Max just showed a mirthless smile and for the first time, Alex gained an appreciation of how weird Max’s life must have been. “Let’s just get Liz out of there, then we can talk about the rest.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The warehouse was heavily guarded with both alien soldiers and human security troops. Kyle and Max would go inside to grab Liz and the rest of them, including some of “Andre’s” followers that had arrived on the scene, were in charge of taking out the guards.

Causing a diversion was easy. An explosion in the warehouse next to their target was created first and then it was all action. Doran and the other two royal soldiers were careful to only use their energy blasts when their human helpers couldn’t see them.

Max and Kyle entered the building from the back, carefully sneaking through the maze of huge bins littering the inside of the building.

The fight outside was intense, gunfire echoing through the night, but Doran could see that his group was not gaining the advantage. They didn’t know the area like the guards and soon bullets were flying to and from various hiding places. He prayed that Max and Kyle would at least have time to get Liz out in the confusion.

Stumbling to a halt just in front of Max, Kyle’s eyes widened in shock when he was confronted by a kid of around fifteen. A kid who was aiming a glowing hand at them. The next moment, he was shoved out of the way as the blast hit the wall next to his head. “Keep them busy, I’ll get Liz,” Max told him in a voice that rang with authority. Only later would Kyle wonder why he had summarily obeyed. Taking off in a random direction, he was pursued by the kid.

Max willed himself to calmness as he saw Khivar standing over Liz, obviously waiting to hear if the attack was repulsed. There was no way he could take Khivar on with the serum in his body. Slowly, he pulled the gun Kyle had forced on him from his belt—at least the bullet will slow Khivar down for a bit. And he was desperate enough to try anything.

Jerking around when he heard a sound behind him, Khivar saw a tall, dark-haired man walking towards him. He blinked, staring at the man’s amber eyes and in that instant he knew, this was no mere human facing him. Lifting his hand, he aimed it at the advancing figure. “Who are you?”

Max didn’t bother answering, he merely lifted his hand too, the glowing symbol of the Royal House of Antar appearing for a moment in his palm. The shock registering on Khivar’s face gave him the precious seconds he needed to fire the gun from close range, the impact flinging Khivar to the ground. Running over, Max gathered all his strength and pressed his hands around Khivar’s head, focusing his energy on knocking the other alien out.

Khivar struggled against him, trying to recover from the bullet wound to his chest and the heated hands against his head. In a desperate effort, he managed to send a bolt of energy at Max, cursing the frailty of the human husk he was confined to—it would take him a few minutes to regain his strength.

The bolt hit Max in his right side, burning a hole through his clothes and into his skin. It was too late, though, Khivar slumped to the ground, still conscious, but too weak to do anything but watch as Max stumbled over to Liz and scooped her up with one arm, the other cradling his injured side.

Don’t think, Max told himself as he literally dragged them away from Khivar. Don’t look at her and don’t think. Just move.

Outside, he found a Hummer and carefully placed Liz in the front seat before painfully climbing in himself. His head was starting to ring, but he had to get Liz as far away from here as he could. Ignoring the continuing battle around him, he held his hand over the ignition of the Hummer, needing three tries before the vehicle kicked to life.

Driving off into the night, away from the warehouse and the lights, Max finally spared a glance at Liz, lying so still on the passenger seat. Apart from a small trail of blood running from her nose, she seemed almost peaceful. Wincing, he slid his injured side’s hand over her thigh, feeling her warm skin with relief. “I’ve got you now,” he whispered huskily. “Just hang on… please…”

And for a second time that night, he was begging a higher power incoherently, not even noticing that tears had gathered in his eyes. Please… I’m too weak to heal her or myself, just let us get away from here.

Please…


TBC
posted on 15-Dec-2001 9:57:02 AM by LivE
Wow, thank you to all that kept the thread going. You guys are great! *big* This chapter is like an oasis in the desert - some warm and fuzzies in between the bad stuff. Enjoy! *happy*

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 22

He was so damned tired and weak. It was pitch-black in the cave, but Max hardly noticed. He didn’t have night-vision, just a keen sense of where things were around him, something else alien that he’s just discovered about himself. His right side was on fire, the flesh burnt, but at least he wasn’t bleeding. I should have killed the bastard when I had the chance… If only I hadn’t had to save Liz—Nicholas could have come back any minute.

Normally, carrying petite Liz Parker would be no sweat for Max, but with his one side more or less useless, he had to half-drag her with his one arm around her waist. Her breathing sounded labored again and he felt a shiver of fear pass through him. He couldn’t lose her, not now.

They had ditched the Hummer a few miles back, with Max making a small attempt with his weakened powers to hide the vehicle. He hadn’t wanted to drain his strength totally, because every now and again he had had to place his hand on Liz’s chest, urging her suffering lungs back to life. He had found a desert survival pack and two bottles of water in the back of the Hummer and had slung that on his back, together with a blanket, to take along. The ringing in his head, a sure sign that he was in bad shape, got worse as the miles passed slowly. There were periods from his long difficult walk he had no memory of. Periods where only sheer will seemed to have kept him going.

Once, he had come back to consciousness to find himself on his knees, Liz still clutched to his good side. Hearing what had sounded like the engine of a vehicle in the distance, he had left her there for a few precious minutes, going back on their trail to hide his footprints.

Now, mercifully since dawn was creeping over the horizon, he had found a cave where they could rest and hide. Where he could try to heal some of the damage that has been done to Liz. The rage that swelled inside him at the thought of her body, bruised and burnt inside, nearly made him choke.

Setting Liz down carefully against one of the cave walls, he managed painfully to get the survival pack of his back and gratefully slid down to the floor. So tired. Max wanted to close his eyes and go to sleep, but a soft wheezing sound from Liz got him moving again. Finding the water, he drank a down a few gulps, while resting his hand on Liz’s chest to make sure she was still breathing. He needed his strength now.

A few deep breaths later, he was as ready as he could be under the circumstances. He opened the blanket on the cave floor and moved Liz onto it. He wished he could see her face, but there wasn’t time to start looking for wood for a fire right now. Placing his hands over her chest, he gathered his waning strength, praying he would overcome the faint effects of the serum and sent all the healing power he could muster into her body. Her lungs were… cooked, as if they’d been in an oven… or as if a fiery hand had done it deliberately. My sweet Liz. All this because you know me. Max pushed the thought away, not wanting to get distracted.

He was trembling in a shockingly short time, even weaker than he had thought. But at least he felt her lungs heal, the burnt tissue slowly cooling down. Sweat and tears mingled on his face, but he didn’t notice. Please get better. Please. At last, when she drew a deep, shuddering breath, he let go, almost collapsing on top of her. Black spots swirled before his eyes and in the stillness of the cave, he could hear his ragged pants. Shivering, he fumbled to find her hand, lacing their fingers together.

“Max…”

It was a soft raspy breathy sound, but it was the sweetest he had ever heard. “I’m here,” he managed to whisper before the blackness claimed him totally.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Damn, that hurts!” Kyle muttered as Alex tried to stem the blood seeping from his arm. “I can’t believe we let those bastards get away!”

“They got reinforcements. We were outnumbered.” Alex sounded much calmer than he really was.

“We have to find my… Max and Liz.” Doran was pacing the small room where they had met again after being chased off by the guards.

Kyle grimaced when Alex tightened his bandage and then sighed. “They got away, don’t freak out.”

Doran felt like smacking the human. This was the first time in his career as the Protector of the Future King of Antar that he had no idea where Max was, or whether he was alive. “We have to find them,” was all he retorted.

“Have you seen a map of New Mexico? It’s miles of nothing, desert, mountains and more nothing.” Kyle got up to stretch his muscles. “Liz knows where to find us.”

All of them were too afraid to voice the possibility that Liz may not be in a position to tell Max where to find them.

After watching Doran pace for a few more minutes, Kyle grabbed Alex by the arm. “We need to talk, alone.” He dragged Alex outside of the apartment they had used as a base in Carlsbad before he spoke. “Right, now tell me who this Max is.” Seeing Alex’s eyes widen, he emphasized the important part. “Who he really is.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If it hadn’t been for the warm fingers, Max’s fingers, curled around hers, Liz would have gone into a blind panic when she woke to the blackness around her. Lying perfectly still, she listened to the sounds around her, hoping they would give her a clue as to where she was. Max’s labored breathing was the first thing she heard, then there was a soft scurrying sound, like a small animal running across stone.

The excruciating pain in her lungs was gone! Tentatively, she took a few deep, experimental breaths and, apart from a few twinges, her lungs felt fine. Her head still ached, though. As well as a place deep down in her body…

“Max?” Liz moved closer to him, running the fingers of her free hand up his arm until she could reach his face. Beneath her hand, his face was scalding hot and damp with sweat—he was obviously running a fever. She trailed her hand over the rest of him, biting her lip in concern about the state he was in.

A moan of pain stopped her examination. The right side of his shirt had been burnt away and her softly testing fingers found the edges of the hole the blast must have made in his body.

A hand suddenly clamped around her wrist, dragging her fingers away from the wound, and making Liz gasp loudly.

“Liz…” His voice sounded weak. “God, you’re okay!”

“Max, what is wrong with you!” Liz cried, fumbling closer until she could press small, frantic kisses over his warm face.

“You’re better…” he mumbled. “Was afraid… not enough…”

“Max!” She turned his face towards her, even though she couldn’t see him. “How can I help you? Please tell me.”

“Burnt… pack against the wall…”

Feeling the small movement he made with his hand to a place above his head, Liz crawled there, ignoring the dizziness and lingering pain in her own body and felt around in the dark until her fingers found the survival pack. It took forever to open it by touch alone, and even more long minutes until she found what felt like a flashlight. She prayed it worked and flicked the switch, abruptly bathing them in a strong glare.

“Oh my God…” Max looked terrible. His right side was burnt from his ribs down to his hip, his shirt hung in tatters and he was bathed in sweat. Liz forced down the panic and unpacked the bag, finding a first-aid kit at the bottom. Gently rolling Max onto his good side, she got to work, bathing the burn and then dressing it efficiently. Then she lifted his head and made him swallow some water, fearing dehydration.

“Love you… Liz…” Max muttered after she took away the bottle, his eyes flickering open fleetingly. “So sorry…”

Impulsively, she leaned forward and pressed her cheek against his, cool skin against hot. “Don’t apologize, you saved my life. I love you so much.” She felt his small sigh flutter through her hair. “Rest now.”

She sat with his head on her lap until she was sure he was sleeping, bathing his face with a bandage she had wet with water from their bottles. He seemed to be resting easier now that she had dressed the wound, so she got up gingerly to do some exploring. With the flashlight in hand, she managed to find the entrance to the cave, now filled with the dull light of day.

She couldn’t go much further, though, since outside a fierce wind was blowing, whipping up sand furiously. The sight caused her to sag against the wall of the cave in relief. Nobody would be able to find them in this dust storm and their trail will also be erased.

There were several offshoots off the cave and she explored a few of them, finding a small pool of water, just enough to put her hands in up to the wrist, in one of them. She splashed water over her face and shoulders, before pressing a cool, wet hand into the top of her pants, where her womb was burning with heat. What did he do to me? A small sob escaped before she got control of herself again. Max needed her—this was not the time to fall apart.

Walking back, she drank the water left in the one bottle, and went back to get more. She would use the water in the empty bottle to bathe Max’s body and face, leaving the other bottle for drinking water. After wetting the bandage with new cool water, she placed it over Max’s forehead. “Come on, love, fight this,” she begged him, settling next to him for the long haul.

It took hours. Liz alternately bathed his face and torso and talked to him about her childhood, about being lonely, about her studies. She told him how it had felt like the breath had been knocked from her body when she saw him for the first time, how she had wished he would stay to talk to her after that first class.

Her headache eventually drove her to take some aspirin from the first aid kit, swallowing it down with a little water. She was afraid to drink too much, opting to give Max a few sips every few minutes. He seemed to be hovering in some kind of stasis, not getting worse, but not getting better either. Her headache didn’t get much better either. She had to do something.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Get Nacedo or whatever the hell name he uses in the resistance over here! I want to know why Crown Prince Zan is roaming around freely here, why he came for Liz and why we knew nothing about it beforehand!” By the end of the sentence, Khivar was screaming at Nicholas. Things had gone wrong incredibly fast. More of his soldiers had been killed throughout the night and Khivar still remembered the look in Zan’s eyes. He told himself he wasn’t afraid of the young Prince, but something had changed. Zan looked… complete somehow. His power was now equal to that of Khivar, which meant one thing—Zan had found a mate.

Liz Parker.

Khivar roared in fury again. He had been so sure that Zan would never get involved with a human—that he would remain vulnerable while he was on earth. A new strategy was needed. Urgently.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max mumbled something Liz couldn’t understand, lifting his hand, palm outwards, as if he was seeking something. He was starting to breathe harder again and the sound worried Liz. Tiredly rubbing her hand against her aching temple, she caught his searching hand, not sure what she would do with it. He calmed down immediately.

In the rushing silence, his eyes snapped open unexpectedly, staring up into hers intently, his eyes almost black. His fingers flexed in her grip and she realized that, as weak as he was, he was trying to move their hands in a specific direction. Curious, she pulled his hand towards her and he let her. He put up resistance when she moved to kiss his palm.

It was then that she saw the whirlwind symbol, glowing dully on his skin. Her gaze flew to his, still staring at her urgently. Liz… she heard in her head and abruptly she knew what he wanted. Tugging his hand higher, she placed his palm over the mark on her neck and watched in shock as his body jerked as if an electrical charge had gone through him. Liz! This time the call was more urgent and she scrabbled to find his other hand, lifting it to mirror the position of the first one, bending over him to allow him access.

He blinked once, his eyes going dark in reaction to the precious contact with her.

Then his whole body arched violently beneath her, his hands curling around her neck to hold onto her tightly. Vaguely, she heard him cry out something in an unknown language, a long, low sound of pain.

Liz felt a strange power run though her, zinging along all her nerve-endings, pulling all her muscles tight. The force of it seemed to gather in strength, tunneling upwards until it found Max’s palms. Tumbling onto him, Liz felt the shock of the power surge go through him, felt his body move beneath hers spasmodically. Her fear was short-lived—she could feel him heal as she clung to his shoulders. Images rushed through her mind, images of Antar, of his parents, of her.

Endless moments later, the power died down just as suddenly as it had sprung to life, leaving her lying along his length, listening to his gasps for breath as his thumbs caressed the soft, sensitive spots below her ears.

“Liz…” he whispered her name over and over, awe in his voice.

Pushing herself up on her elbows, Liz stared at the spot where the dressing of his wound had peeled away to leave smooth and unscarred skin open to her gaze. There was not a mark left on him! She jerked her eyes back to his in astonishment. “Max, what just…”

Max finally let go of her neck, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her higher against his body so that her face was right above his. He spoke against her mouth, his wide-open eyes, filled with love, staring into hers. “Mi Shanaya, you just saved my life…”

TBC

***So, what happened to heal Max? Tune in next time! *wink*
posted on 20-Dec-2001 4:02:33 PM by LivE
First off, humble apologies for taking so long to post - lightning struck my phone line and I've been offline!

Secondly, this part has some good stuff in it, but some really BAD stuff in it too - just a gentle warning. Don't kill me yet - trust me, it WILL get better!

Happy holidays!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 23

“I don’t buy that.” Kyle’s gaze bored into Alex’s, trying to see what he was hiding. “There was something about that guy…”

“He’s in love with Liz, that’s all,” Alex repeated, hoping he looked as nonchalant as he sounded. It was not easy lying to someone that has become a good friend in the past few years. Only for Liz would he do this. “Why? What did he do to make you think there’s something up with him?”

“It was like he knew Nicholas,” Kyle mused. “And why are those people in there,” he stabbed a finger towards the apartment they had just left, “panicking like there’s no tomorrow because the guy took off into the desert?”

“They’re his friends, Kyle,” Alex placated. He changed the subject. “I’m panicking about Liz too, are you sure Max got her out of there?”

“I told you, Nicholas chased me off and I ran into the middle of a gunfight. Both Nick-boy and I got shot, I went back to the warehouse, and Khivar was just getting up, all blood-soaked and spitting mad. Liz and Max were gone.” He fell silent, obviously contemplating something. “Max took on Khivar and got out of there alive…” He turned on Alex with fiery eyes. “Tell me again that this Max guy is normal! He took on the alien leader of this planet with a gun and got himself and Liz out alive! Alex, don’t make me throttle this out of you!”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Alex held up his hands in defense.

“Who the hell is Max and what the hell is he doing with Liz!” By now, Kyle was yelling. “And does this have anything to do with that alien amazon-girl you brought into my house a few weeks back?”

“Kyle, buddie, calm down!” Alex was retreating in front of Kyle’s threatening pose. He was much taller than Kyle, but Kyle was a wrestler and all-American sports star. Alex was Mr. Computer Geek. No contest. “He loves Liz. He really does. Don’t worry.”

Kyle just kept staring at Alex, now more convinced than ever that Alex was hiding something. Something that had to do with Max…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The kiss was soft, gentle, a brushing of lips over skin. It conveyed so much—love, relief, tenderness, protectiveness... Liz felt tears pooling in her eyes at the careful way Max was holding her and kissing her. The issue of how he got to be healed was shelved for the moment as she let him caress the horror of the past night from her mind. He trailed soft fingertips over her face, handling her as if she was exquisitely fragile. His mouth feathered over her cheeks, brushing her eyelids closed, his tongue sneaking out to catch the moisture at the corners of her eyes. Liz sighed at the soothing gesture, snuggling closer to his warmth. She was still lying full-length on top of him, their legs tangled together and his half-bare torso pressing against her, the familiar feeling adding to her sense of safety.

Max needed to be gentle with her, and she needed to feel someone touch her without violence.

His hands stroked her hair back from her face, coming back to cup her cheeks and pull her lips back to his for another delicate kiss.

“I love you. I was so scared…” Max whispered into her parted mouth. “Are you okay now?”

“Yes…” He is treasuring me. Liz wrapped her arms as tightly as she could around Max’s neck, mimicking his caresses with her own. She let her mouth drift over his eyebrows, down the side of his cheek, hearing the small hitch in his breath when she moved over the sensitive place between his cheekbone and his jaw. Dragging her tongue over the stubble covering his face, she reveled in the male textures and taste of his skin.

He lay quietly beneath her, allowing her the freedom to love him back. His hands had slid to her hips, resting motionless on the smooth curves. Silently, he was telling her he was hers to do with as she pleased. She just wanted to bask in his love and tenderness. The burning in her womb was slightly better now and she successfully managed to push all thought of it away. It was over. Finally, it started to feel real. Khivar and Nicholas—Nicholas with his burning hand between her thighs and over her womb—were far away and she was safely back in Max’s loving embrace. “Oh, Max…” Her voice wobbled as she finally allowed the tears of joy to run down her cheeks. “You came for me!”

“I’ll always come, I told you that.” His quiet voice, filled with so much conviction, flowed through her, healing two weeks of loneliness.

As he hugged her closer, murmuring soothing, loving words into her hair, her tears turned into wrenching sobs. She cried for all the tension of the past few weeks, working with and lying to Khivar. She cried for all the pain and fear of last night. She cried because of her terror at seeing Max so hurt. She cried in relief because she had truly dreaded she might never see Max again.

He held her close and kissed her tears away, every one of them, removing them with his lips and tongue as soon as they spilled from her lashes. “I love you,” he kept repeating. “I love you.”

Finally, with the worst of the storm of her crying over, he rolled them to their sides, lifting her thigh over his hip and resting her head on his arm, her body curved as close to his as the positions allowed. Then he stroked her face with soft fingertips, smoothing away the last signs of her tears. “You’re not leaving my sight again,” he informed her firmly. “Not until… Don’t leave me again.” His hand cupped her chin, lifting her face so he could look into her eyes, letting her see the dark torture still lingering from worrying about her fate. “Please, Liz,” he begged urgently, his moment of macho domination passing quickly.

Her small nod led to more kissing, this time deep and intense, their lips clinging together. His hands molded her closer against him, willing her to feel his warmth.

Long moments later, he finally pulled back, leaving her mouth soft and swollen. Liz peeked up at him through her eyelashes as he rested their foreheads together. “Max, how did you know to find me? What happened just now?” she whispered, not wanting to be loud within the gentle bubble of peace that surrounded them.

“Mmmmm,” he rested his mouth briefly against hers again. “My little scientist.” Smiling crookedly, he curled a hand behind her knee resting on his thigh, pulling her tightly into his body, before sliding his arm around her waist. “Sleep first, Liz love, we need rest. Then we’ll talk, I promise.” His slurred words made her realize that she was fighting to keep her eyes open too. The bout of crying had left her drained, and now that she felt safe, her body was urging her to finally rest. Max’s hand was rubbing her back in a soothing way, sending warm tingles through her body and she gratefully snuggled against his chest, resting her face in his throat. “Don’t let go,” she mumbled, feeling his arms tighten around her, before she drifted off.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I think I’ve made some progress with the com link to your p—home,” Alex informed Doran quietly. They were driving away from Carlsbad, on their way to Roswell, since Kyle had been adamant that Liz would go to his house and not come back to her own apartment. Kyle was as close to a boss as Alex and Liz had, so his orders were followed. Doran had been very reluctant to leave the last place he had seen his Prince, but Alex’s confirmation that Liz would follow orders had swayed him. Now, Alex was driving with Doran and Max’s other men in one vehicle, while Kyle and some of “Andre’s” supporters brought up the rear.

Doran threw Alex an excited look. “You have?”

“Well, I’ve done something right, I’m just not sure who we’re going to reach. That would be up to you.”

Turning his face away, Doran stared at the dusty landscape speeding by outside the car window. “It should be up to my Prince,” he said softly.

The note of sadness in his voice did not escape Alex. This man—this alien—cared a lot about Max. “I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Doran laughed mirthlessly. “He will only be fine if she is fine.”

“Who? Liz?”

“Yes. He has given her his heart and she will forever be a part of the fabric of his soul.”

Alex blanched, this sounded serious. “Whoa, they’re in love, that’s all.” Casting a glance at Doran he saw the protector looking at him with pity. “You mean…”

“I mean, they are linked now. Take her away and only half of him will be left.” Doran turned to stare out of the window again. “Just like his father.”

“What about his father? Is he still alive? Is that why you call Max ‘prince’ not ‘king’?”

“Yes, his father is alive. But he is incarcerated on Antar. Our Queen was killed when she sent Max and Isabel away. The King and Queen had been separated earlier… Our King hid his sorrow, but Khivar knew he was vulnerable without his mate and children, so…”

“Does Max know all this?”

“Prince Zan knows his father is alive, yes.” Doran rubbed his face tiredly, wishing he could get hold of Isabel so she could find her brother.

Staring at a dust storm on the horizon, Alex pondered the life of Max Evans. Living a lie on one planet, all the while knowing you were destined to go fight a war on another planet, your real home. “Is this bonding thing and being so… linked… to someone else normal for your people?”

Another small mirthless smile creased Doran’s face. “No, it seems to be the fate of the royal males. Our people are much like yours, some couples are happy, some are not.”

“Why on earth did he choose Liz?”

“Do we ever really know why two beings love each other?” Doran answered wisely. Seeing that Alex was not too enamored with that answer, he tried again. “Zan… Max has been a loner all his life. I thought it was because he wanted someone of his own kind. I never dreamt he would…” he trailed off, sighing.

“So what happened? Liz fell in his lap or something?”

Throwing him an exasperated look, Doran shifted in his seat until he could look straight at Alex. “The man is a prince, brought up to be one. He’s had girls falling into his lap all his life. They find him… attractive.” Doran grinned when Alex snorted. “He’s never paid attention to any of them. But after he met Liz, he was… thrown, I guess you could say. He told me he fell in love at first sight. And there she was, working for Khivar.” He grimaced. “No, she wasn’t the easy choice at all.”

“So, what happens when you guys go back to your planet?”

Doran shook his head, concern etching his features. “That is up to them.” And I pray they make the right choice…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Staring at the bleak world outside the tent, Khivar cursed the day he met Liz Parker. Things were going wrong rapidly and the only way his soldiers and followers could be picked off so easily was if someone had provided their locations to the enemy. And now he was confined to this primitive tent instead of the comfortable mansion he had gotten used to in the time he’d spent on earth. He was hiding. The thought increased his fury.

To add to his problems, Nacedo was still missing. The shape-shifter was his spy in the resistance, but no word had been heard from him in days.

And Khivar desperately wanted to know what the resistance knew and what they were up to.

Those damn royals! he swore silently. If only Zan hadn’t found someone on this godforsaken planet to fall in love with… If only the human he chose hadn’t been someone who knew far too much about my operation. Liz Parker with her innocent face, virginal body and huge guileless eyes. How she had tricked me!

Whirling back to the com radio set up in his tent, he made a vow that he would make her pay somehow. Even if he lost the war…

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They had woken up earlier and had talked softly ever since. Liz had laid on her back, staring up at Max while he had explained about the flashes that had alerted him to her distress. While talking, he had slid his hand to the back of her neck, painlessly removing Khivar’s tracking device from her neck. He had held it in his fist, changing the structure of the molecules until a small silver drop of liquid fell to the cave floor. “Never again,” he had promised her.

In turn, Liz had told him the bare facts about her torture at the hands of Khivar and Nicholas. The white line around his mouth and the tenseness of his muscles telling her she should not reveal all the gory details. Upsetting both of them again had no point, it was over now.

“What happened? How were you healed?” she finally asked him.

Max had threaded his fingers through her hair almost hypnotically while she talked, soothing both of them. He drew a finger over his mark on her neck, lighting it up immediately. “I remembered a story Doran once told me about my parents… my real parents,” he said with a smile. “They had been in an avalanche just outside our city and my father had been injured. Doran said that my father was healed when he linked himself to my mother again. That the link somehow produces a power of its own without weakening either of them.”

Liz touched her neck in awe. “But… I don’t understand.”

“I don’t really either. No one was really sure if the story was true and my parents never talked about it, but the legend goes that the link created a life force that healed my father.”

“Wow,” was all she could think to say.

He leaned closer, brushing her mouth with his. “Yeah, wow. You are one special lady, Liz Parker,” he told her and kissed her protestations from her lips. Then he had gone to fetch more water, bringing enough for them to wash themselves a little. In spite of all that they had shared before, Liz had been thankful that he had turned his back when she stripped off her clothes. It was bliss to wash off the majority of the dirt and grime from their ordeal.

The sharp pain shooting through her womb caught her unaware. She had been dragging on her underwear when it struck. Her gasp brought Max around in a flash.

“What is it?” he asked worriedly, hurrying to her side. “Is something wrong?”

“No,” she shook her head, dizzily aware of the fact that her underwear was halfway up her thighs. “I’m just…”

Max caught her panicked look at knelt down to finish dressing her. Her tank top did not cover the lower part of her stomach and Max impulsively leaned forward to press a kiss to her bare belly, just above the lace of her panties after sliding them into place.

Fire engulfed her immediately, ripping a long moan from her throat and startling Max.

He stared up at her in shock—her head was thrown back, neck arched in total abandon as her hands scrabbled to get hold of him.

“More…” she panted. “More!”

“Liz?” He had never heard her voice sound like that. It was gravelly… weird.

“Aaaaahh!” she cried out, sliding through his arms and tumbling to the ground.

“Liz!” Max caught her just in time and carried her back to the blanket. As he laid her down, her eyes flicked open. They were green—a vivid unearthly green.

Panic raced through his veins while Liz acted as if she wanted to draw him into her skin. Her hands kept pulling at his body, strange words tumbling from her mouth. Antarian words. She was begging him to have sex with her! Nothing sweet or romantic, but coarse, crude words Max had never thought he would hear from her lips. And still she was speaking in that terrible voice.

Abruptly, she let go of him, her hands going to her womb, her fingers clawing at her skin. Max grabbed her hands, pulling them away from her and laid his own hand on the abused lower part of her stomach. The first sensation was of fire, hot flaming fire coming from inside her. The second was even more shocking: he saw Nicholas bending over Liz, his hand traversing the space from her womb to between her thighs. I’m going to make you beg, you little bitch…

Noooo!
his mind screamed in agony as he fought to get a grip over himself. Lying down next to her, he pressed his mouth against her neck, against his mark, and rested his palm, glowing with the symbol of her possession of him, over her womb. She was moving so much he had to throw his thigh over hers to hold her down as he tried to fix the chemical damage Nicholas had wrought inside her womb. All it had needed was the touch of someone other than Liz to the sensitive skin of her lower stomach to set the hormonal changes in motion.

Max wanted to die at the thought of someone else touching Liz so intimately.

He wanted to kill Nicholas for what he did.

And no matter how hard he tried not to see it, that image of Nicholas with his hands on Liz just didn’t want to go away while he healed her.

And neither did his tears at what knowing him was costing Liz…

TBC
posted on 24-Dec-2001 1:19:06 AM by LivE
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my readers! And thank you so much for making my life special with your feedback!!

LivE


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 24

Swimming up through clouds of haziness, Liz finally came to. She was alone. With her eyes still shut tightly, she groped around to find Max and felt his fingers close around hers. Opening her eyes, she spied him sitting away from her, their only contact through their hands.

His eyes were wet.

The realization made her sit up abruptly. “Max?”

He opened his mouth as if to speak, but no words came out.

“What’s wrong?” Liz looked down at herself, she was wearing her tank top and a corner of the blanket was tucked around her hips. The expression on his face when she met his gaze again punched a hole of fear in her stomach. “Max!”

His fingers clenched around hers and then he let her go and jumped to his feet, a wild look in his eyes. As he stood over her, she noticed that his whole body was trembling. “Max, you’re really scaring me…”

“How are you feeling?” The words seemed to be forced through lips so stiff they hardly moved. His voice sounded raw, as if he was overwhelmed with some unidentified emotion.

“Fine…” But Liz wasn’t sure. Her body felt bruised and tired, and for the life of her she couldn’t remember anything other than washing herself. The time after that was a big blank.

“I have to…” He gestured vaguely over his shoulder before coming forward abruptly and brushing his lips over her forehead, not touching any other part of her.

He was almost out of the cave room before she found her voice. “Max!”

Freezing in the doorway, he bent his head, clenching his hands into fists at his sides. “I need a few minutes alone. Please…” he mumbled quietly before disappearing.

Liz clutched the blanket to her, wondering what had happened. And why she was so tired…

Arriving in the cave opening, Max swallowed again to contain the raging fury inside of him. He felt that if he let down his guard for one second, he would explode. Pacing around restlessly, he tried to keep the black tide of some alien reaction to what had just happened from taking him over.

The bastard had wanted to… The fury swelled a little more. It had been the equivalent of a date rape drug. Liz in the grip of her own stirred up hormones and very vulnerable to whoever had triggered the response. And she wouldn’t have remembered a thing. Only the serum had kept her from succumbing to the results of Nicholas’ tampering immediately.

He had wanted her willing.

Whirling around, Max punched his fist into the cave wall, not caring about the pain reverberating through his arm as he continued to pound away in helpless rage. What sort of a planet did he come from that could produce beings so sick and cruel? He had never hated anybody in his life, not even the misguided people whose hunger for power had caused his banishment to earth.

But he hated Nicholas now.

Finally realizing that he had managed to smash his hand raw and bloody against the unyielding rock, he sank to his knees, leaning his forehead against the cool stone in front of him as he battled more tears. He had been afraid to touch Liz after healing her, not sure if what he’d done had worked. He hadn’t wanted Liz to witness the violence of his reaction to what had happened to her—he had only held his alien part at bay with serious effort, containing the ever-growing pool of power inside him by sheer will.

If he hadn’t, he would probably have flattened everything around him.

Breathing deeply, he sat down with his back against the cave wall he had just tried to batter into oblivion. Leaning his head back against the cool stone, he closed his eyes, fighting off visions of Liz moaning so pitifully.

If he had had any uncertainties about how much he loved Liz Parker, they had been erased by his reaction to last night and this morning. He realized that he was obsessed with her happiness. He doesn’t just want her to be healthy and relatively peaceful, he wanted her life to be perfect—filled with love, with being cherished and with the fulfillment of all dreams she’d ever had. He wanted no one to ever touch her in anger or violence, he wanted her to feel secure and safe.

But most of all, he wanted to be the person to provide her with all this.

Max remembered asking Doran a long time ago if the link between him and Liz could be undone, whether they could “divorce” and there had been many occasions in the meantime when he had wondered if he shouldn’t lean on Doran to finally give him an answer about this. Letting Liz go, relieving her of his presence in her life would make her so much safer. But after these last few hours, he knew he wouldn’t be able to give up from his side. He would still give her the option to make her own choice, but even if the physical marks of their link were removed, his heart would still be hers.

Fleetingly he thought about the possibility that his people would demand he produce an heir when he gets back to Dendar. And if he had to leave Liz behind… Well, the thought of children without Liz seemed… unbearable.

A soft sound brought his head up. Liz was standing a few feet away, practically dwarfed by the blanket she had pulled around her body. She looked achingly tiny and vulnerable. The look in her eyes shook him—she looked ready to bolt. In his haste to get himself away from her and under control, he had made her feel unwanted. The thought sliced through him.

“Liz…” He held open his arms. “I’m sorry!”

She came slowly, watching him warily, but he held her gaze until she was within reach. Catching the ends of the blanket, he tugged her down into his lap. “I’m sorry,” he repeated.

“What happened?” she asked guardedly.

Hugging her close against his chest, he pressed tiny kisses against her cheek, fortifying himself and her for the upcoming talk. She listened quietly as he told her, with as little detail as possible, about what Nicholas had done to her.

The only sign that she had heard was the perceptible tremble that infused her body.

Liz was torn between being extremely angry, extremely afraid and extremely embarrassed about what happened. Max hadn’t said too much and she could only guess at what she had done while under the control of the chemical changes. No wonder he had stormed off as soon as he was sure she was recovering!

When she stayed silent he hugged her tighter.

“I’m so sorry, Liz. I wish you never had to cope with people like… him.”

“It’s not your fault.” Carefully, she buried her head into his throat, beneath his chin, still very wary of any sign that might show Max was upset with her.

Bringing his hand up, Max stroked gentle fingers over the sensitive spot below her ear, causing shivers of a different kind in her body. He said nothing, just held her like she was precious, quietly soothing away her fears of what her recent loss of control had done to his feelings for her.

“He’ll never touch you again, sweetheart.” I’ll kill him first.

“Did you… did you fix…?”

She felt him sigh against her. “I hope so.”

Slowly, he peeled away the blanket, finding her still in her tank top and panties. His first tentative touch against her stomach was feather-light, but Liz sucked in a breath in any event. At the sound, Max pulled his fingers away, dipping his head so he could see her face. “Okay?”

Biting her lip, she nodded, blushing profusely. “That was just… just you.”

Relief poured through him. Relief and giddiness. She was going to be fine! He splayed his whole hand against her warm stomach, feeling the small tremors just below her skin and knew they were there because of his touch. He couldn’t help grinning. “I love you!” he whispered in her ear.

A smile was creeping over her face too, lifting his heart even higher.

Only one thing would make this perfect, Liz thought as she lifted her face and stared up at Max. Covering his hand on her body with her own, she gave him a teasing smile. “Kiss me.”

His own smile vanished like morning mist before the sun and his eyes went dark. “I was hoping you would say that.”

He tugged the blanket away from her completely, throwing it open next to them with one hand while he kept his hold on her with the other. Still, when he bent his head towards her, he stopped. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Immediately, unequivocally.

The kiss started soft and felt like rain to the parched earth for her battered soul.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Yes.”

The unknown voice on the other side of the phone line just uttered one word and rang off. Doran looked at Alex and nodded his head. A message would be sent to the Royalists on Antar.

One of the soldiers had been dispatched to Michael and Isabel for a final decision on the message in the absence of their Prince. Still fearing that the phones are probably being monitored, the messenger had instructions to only say yes or no.

‘Yes’ meant that Alex would try to contact Antar and relay the message that their Royals were alive and were fighting against Khivar on earth. That Khivar hasn’t won here too. It was a long shot, but it was all they had.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Michael pored over Max’s carefully laid out strategy for attack. The news from Doran’s messenger – that Max and Liz had escaped Khivar but were now missing – concerned him. He was not used to making such big decisions on his own. He was a soldier first, then a politician.

Max better get back soon.

Isabel intended dreamwalking her brother tonight if there was still no news. The first wave of attacks against Khivar’s soldiers had gone well, but they had had the element of surprise. That was gone now, so things will get harder. Maria had been in touch with the resistance and had quickly gotten their agreement to help with the human supporters of Khivar. All over the country, a silent war had started.

But the two people that had started it all were missing in the New Mexican desert.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“We can’t stay here long,” Max whispered against Liz’s mouth.

Wriggling closer to his warm body, Liz arched her neck, telling him soundlessly to keep on caressing her. “I know.”

“Maybe…” his mouth drifted over her collarbone, “maybe we can find the Hummer again.”

Liz felt his hand slide over her hip to cup her bottom, lifting her into his aroused length. “Yes,” she sighed, not really talking about the vehicle. “Maybe…” Her fingers speared into his hair, urging his mouth lower. “I have to… find Kyle…”

Max pulled away immediately, pinning her with an intense look. “We’re going together.”

“Yes, Master,” she teased him, rubbing her hand down the side of his serious face. “We have to find Kyle.”

Kissing her hard, he got to his feet, lifting her up as well. Smiling ruefully into her surprised face, he smoothed her hair from her face. “If we don’t go now, we won’t go at all.”

She tugged at his hand when he started to move to the back of the cave. “Max… Are we ever…?” Going to make love?

Lord, I hope so!
he wanted to say, but instead he hugged her again. “I don’t know,” he answered honestly. “There is so much we need to discuss first.”

Her head knew he was right, but her heart and body urged her to change his mind.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Alex’s message, dictated by Doran, traveled a much shorter distance than any of them had foreseen. Four soundless ships, on their way to earth, intercepted the message only hours after it left the atmosphere.

The message was played twice—Zan’s name echoing through the shocked silence on board. There was no decision to be made, the message was relayed without delay to the proper authorities on Antar.

And down on earth, oblivious to the reaction his name had caused among a group congregated above him in space, Crown Prince Zan took Liz’s hand firmly in his and started on a long walk through the desert.

TBC
posted on 29-Dec-2001 10:37:20 AM by LivE
Thank you for all the Christmas wishes! You guys are the best! Thanks especially to Mitra for all the bumping!

I think you're all going to like this part...*big*

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 25

Reports of more deaths of soldiers had been arriving throughout the night and the mood in Khivar’s camp was muted. An alliance between the Royal Guards and the Earth Resistance was not something that Khivar had worried about yet, since he had never suspected that there were any Royal Guards on the planet. Instead, he had been searching for a few individuals: Zan, his sister and whoever had been sent to protect them.

Somewhere something had gone horribly wrong and suddenly all sorts of forces were uniting against him.

Striding outside to stare up at the stars dimming with the approach of dawn, Khivar grimly admitted that he had underestimated a number of people. Liz Parker was the most notable of these. How had she managed to get herself bonded to the alien prince? And why on earth had they bonded but not consummated? How had she duped me for so long?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

With Alex’s assistance, Michael had been able to set up a communications network with his soldiers that Khivar could not trace. Alex had made it his business to know exactly what Khivar’s capabilities in this sector were and his experience came in handy now.

It was early on the second morning of Max and Liz’s disappearance that Isabel knocked on the door of Michael’s room softly. Her heart sank at his hopeful look. “Nothing,” she admitted. She had been trying to dreamwalk Max for hours until deep into the night, but had had no success. “Either he didn’t sleep or the serum is still in his system and is blocking me.” Sighing, she sat down on the edge of Michael and Maria’s bed. “What are we going to do?”

Michael returned his gaze to the papers filled with battle plans that were laid out on the floor in front of him. “We are going to follow his orders, that’s what,” he said firmly. They’ve had amazing successes, but Khivar had warned his soldiers by now and they had been disappearing from all over.

“Have we heard anything resulting from that message yet?” Truthfully, Isabel wasn’t sure that she really wanted an answer—she had decidedly mixed feelings about Antar—she remembered nothing of the planet they had left when they weren’t much older than babies. Diane Evans had been more of a mother to her and Max, but especially to her, than anyone else in her life and it had been really hard to leave her earth parents when Khivar had taken over the planet a few years ago. On the other hand, she was so tired of living in the desert like this, of not having luxuries around her and of not being able to go shopping like any other normal young woman. And, on her home planet, she was a Princess.

“Not a thing,” Michael’s brusque tone interrupted her thoughts. “It will probably take a day or so before we get a response. If we get a response.” Michael did not believe in sugarcoating things. Sighing, he went back to studying Max’s plans, he would have to organize a meeting with the resistance soon, they couldn’t go on relying on Maria to ferry messages across. It was time the resistance knew who and what they were assisting.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz shot a glance up at the stars that were winking out one-by-one above them in the dawn-sky. How bizarre that the person holding her hand so warmly down here in the desert of New Mexico had been born on one of those shining planets so far above her!

Sensing her momentary lapse of attention, Max turned his head to look back at her. “Everything okay? Are you tired?” They had been walking steadily for most of the night, only stopping when Liz had really needed to rest her feet. Max hadn’t said a word of complaint about the fact that he had had to shorten his strides to allow her to keep up with him.

She smiled brightly at him, reveling in being in his presence, in loving him, and in his oh-so-obvious love for her. “I’m fine. I was just enjoying the view,” she teased, dropping her eyes to his backside. “Pity you fixed your shirt, though.” Max flushed in embarrassment, but his gaze darkened and Liz giggled at how easily she could get to him. She had been flirting with him all through their long trek and had alternately been scolded or kissed senseless. Whatever happened, she was enjoying herself and this precious time she had to be alone with him. Ruefully she shook her head at herself—she was enjoying herself in these circumstances? No wonder she had fallen in love with an alien with an alien so easily!

Their night trek had started with Max halting just outside the cave they had spent the last few hours in to stare at the desert stretching off in both directions. Then he had looked at her, quite sheepishly actually. “Do you have any idea which way we should go?”

Liz had laughed loudly at this. Firstly, here was a man, granted he was of the alien variety, but still a man, asking directions. And secondly, she had been unconscious when he had carried her here. They had eventually debated their options and decided on a course—Liz hoping that the landmarks that looked vaguely familiar to her, truly were the ones she was recognizing.

Max had amazing stamina and Liz began to understand how he had managed to drag her so far while he had been hurt. At some point during the night, she had been terribly tired and he had moved the emergency pack to his front and let her hop on his back, claiming she weighed as much as a feather. It didn’t last very long though with Max stopping at a small copse of trees to let her slide off. Her questioning gaze had found him flushed and he had mumbled something about her virtue being in danger if she stayed on his back.

It all made her love him more.

Now dawn was breaking and Max looked at the horizon, where the sun was just starting to rise, in speculation. “I think we shouldn’t keep walking now that the sun is up,” he informed Liz, stopping to pull her into his side. “We can keep going until we find a place with some shelter, but I don’t want us to dehydrate or get heat-stroke or something.”

Leaning against him, Liz just nodded. She was tired. An office-worker by profession, she was not terribly fit, so a reprieve would be welcome.

Kissing her forehead tenderly, Max hugged Liz for a few moments. She was even more courageous than he had thought, and had trudged through the thick desert sand for hours without complaining. If only they could find the damn Hummer he had ditched the other night! Surely everyone was panicking about them by now? And he was more determined than ever to finish this struggle with Khivar once and for all. It was time to get his life in order. Resting his lips against Liz’s warm skin, he sent a silent wish heavenward: to get this over with so he could talk to Liz about the future.

The thought of losing her made him panic, and he pulled her fully into his arms in reaction, finding her cheeks with his hands and tilting her face up for a rough kiss. Could he really ask her to stay with him? What if she said no? As her tongue touched his fleetingly, teasingly, his desperation increased. She belonged in his arms, in his life. Her body fit his, completed his. He changed the angle of his kiss, parting her lips with his tongue and sweeping inside. It was getting harder and harder to keep control over his physical need for her. Her merciless teasing and flirting had kept him at a slow simmer all night, but he still had visions of everlasting promises and a romantic room somewhere for their first time. She deserved it.

Feeling her step in closer, pressing herself against his length, he vaguely heard himself groan. Her hands were restless, sliding from his shoulders to find the hem of his shirt, plunging underneath until she could rake her nails down his back. His body jerked helplessly in response, the movement tearing their mouths apart. Max buried his face in her neck, too wrapped up in the sensations swirling through him and tightening his gut, to take any notice of the soft shimmer of his mark. “Liz…” He had no idea what he wanted to say to her—Stop? Don’t stop?

His rough imprecation thrilled Liz. She wasn’t sure when she had turned into this wanton person, but his careful abstinence was increasing her hunger for him. Right now, with his breath on the skin of her neck, his fingers curled into the curve of her bottom, she wanted him more than ever before. Impulsively, she started rubbing her breasts against him, sucking in a breath at the wonderful sensations.

Max snapped his head up, one part of his brain scanning the surrounding desert frantically for a place to go—somewhere not so out in the open—the other soaking in the feel of those feminine curves against him. She was going to be the death of him! Curving an arm around her back, he pressed her tightly against his chest, stilling her movements. “Sweetheart…” he started cautioning her, but the desire in her eyes silenced him. Momentarily, he felt a lump in his throat at the thought that she felt this way about him—it was something he had never anticipated happening, certainly not on earth, maybe even never. “I want you to always look at me that way,” he blurted out recklessly. Just for now, he wanted to pretend that there was nothing standing in the way of a future for them.

“Only if you promise to always kiss me like this,” she threw back.

Was she kidding? If she ever did become his, he would make kissing her like this a lifetime occupation! “I promise,” he vowed, prolonging the enchantment.

Standing on her tiptoes to rub her nose against his, Liz played along. “So let’s find a place to rest, so I can start collecting on those kisses.”

“Yeah,” he breathed against her lips, unable to put an end to the intimate moment.

The soft whisper of his mouth against hers was intoxicating and arousing. Liz fumbled behind her until she managed to get hold of one of his hands. He put up only token resistance when she pried his fingers away from her behind and eagerly lifted his hand to press it against her breast. A soft moan slipped out when he instinctively cupped the small mound.

A rational part of his mind was amazed at what he was doing. He was in the middle of nowhere, having barely escaped a fight with his life, still being hunted by a power hungry dictator, and he was heedlessly allowing lust to rule his actions. Breaking their kiss, he trailed his open mouth over Liz’s cheek towards her ear.

“I want you so much…”

The words were ragged pants, but they shot fire through her veins, a rushing moistness to her core. His thumb was grazing the hard peak of her breast rhythmically and she felt her womb contract in desire.

Around them, the desert sand was being warmed by the sun, the cicadas taking up their song.

Max suddenly had a fleeting flash of him and Liz in a tangle of naked limbs and soft sheets, his name a soft cry on her lips. That was how it should be…

Catching her face in his hands, he gently pushed her back, smiling wryly at the confused disappointment in her expression. “Honey, you have me working on a hair-trigger here,” he told her, his voice husky. Just a slight movement of his hips against hers underscored his point. “Have mercy, please, I’ve… I’m not used to this. I don’t want to embarrass myself.”

Liz was biting her lip again, a sure sign that she was feeling uncertain.

Max angled her face up until she had no option but to meet his gaze. “Let’s find our way out of here and back to our friends and then we’ll… talk.” The way her eyes lit up nearly took his breath away. “But we have to find some shelter for today first.” Taking a deep breath, he laced their fingers together and started off towards a mountain ridge in the distance.

With that promise ringing in her ears, Liz would have followed him anywhere.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Are you sure the message said Prince Zan is alive?” The voice was deep and carried easily around the com-chamber on the ship.

“Yes, Sire.”

A long moment of silence stretched the nerves of the young man standing anxiously in front of the com-center. If only he had known how to handle this himself, without needing some higher authorization…

“The previous message said Zan was dead… This is why you were sent, to retrieve his body.”

“Yes.” It was all very confusing. But they all knew which message they wanted to be true.

“Did the two messages originate from the same place?”

“No, Sire. But the origins were not far apart, the sender could have moved from one location to the other.”

“We need to verify both messages. There is no way we can… We have to be sure. This will change everything either way.”

“I know, Sire.”

“Send a message back—you know what to say. We have to find out where to strike.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Oh, Space Boy!” Maria came breezing into the cabin, having haphazardly parked the all-terrain vehicle she had used to make a run to the resistance in Albuquerque in front of the porch. Michael barely had time to move before Maria had whirled through the door of their room and flung herself into his arms, kissing him noisily. “Did ya miss me?” she asked with one of her trademark impish grins.

He shrugged, knowing it would make her mad.

She shoved him away immediately, planting her hands on her hips. “Why do I even bother? You are like the worst boyfriend in the universe! I really should trade you in for some other—”

He silenced her like he always did, with a hard kiss. “Damn, and it was so quiet here without you.”

Maria’s grin returned with speed. That had been Michael-speak for ‘I missed you’.

“Now tell me what happened in Albuquerque…”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Hearing the buzz of the com-unit, Khivar hurried back to his tent. Seeing the caller’s identification sign, he breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, Nacedo was checking in…

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They had stumbled onto the small resort purely by accident. It was tiny, with only a few cabins and a few camping spots, none of which seemed to be occupied. As they approached the office, Max could only hope they didn’t look like escaped convicts or that the owner would be too desperate for cash to care about who they were. Whatever the case, Liz’s hopeful look at the cabins had made up his mind—they would stay here for the day.

Finding some crumpled dollars in his pocket, Max did some alien magic and turned them into hundreds. The owner gave the money one look and handed over the keys to one of the cabins without commenting on their lack of luggage or a vehicle.

Liz was grinning by the time they were walking down the trail to their cabin. “You come in real handy sometimes!”

But Max was too busy fighting images of a bed, a double bed with soft sheets, to pay too much attention to Liz’s compliment. He halted abruptly, pulling Liz to a stop through their linked hands. I should just turn around right now and go phone a cab or a car rental company or something…

“Max?”

Her big eyes were staring up at him, her face filled with a question mark. Behind her, the cabin loomed invitingly. The cabin with a shower, a kitchen and… a bed. The cabin that could soon hold Liz. A naked Liz in the shower. In the bed. Oh God.

“Max?” Liz was tugging on his hand now. “Is something wrong?”

“I…” His throat felt scratchy and he cleared it hastily. He tore his gaze from the cabin and tried to ignore the thoughts of being alone with her, with a bed near, for the first time since their bonding. “We should probably…” He couldn’t say it. Meeting her eyes, he knew he couldn’t tell her they should leave.

He was staring at her now, drinking in the sight of her, even as dusty and sweaty as she was, she was gorgeous to him. The ache to have her hadn’t gone away, it had just receded to the background. Now, with the heaven of a private room at their disposal, it had returned full force, slamming into his gut like a tidal wave. A small drop of moisture slipped from the hollow of her throat and ran lazily down to the valley between her breasts. He felt his breath literally stop before he managed to yank his eyes back to her face. Her gaze fairly scorched him.

Maybe that talk about the future should happen really soon—like the moment they stepped inside that cabin!

TBC

***Don't miss the next part - that's all I'm sayin'...***
posted on 2-Jan-2002 2:54:28 PM by LivE
Thank you for all the wonderful feedback and wishes for the new year. Now, on to the part you've all been waiting for - hope it's not a let-down after all the build-up! *wink*

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 26

Max was in hell. Finally having fled the small cabin after listening to Liz shower for all of two seconds, he had gone to the little office/curio shop/tuck shop and purchased Liz an oversized T-shirt, ‘Carlsbad’ emblazoned on the front, to wear so she could wash her other clothes. He had also bought them some colas and snacks to eat. Then he had stood staring at the map of the Carlsbad area that had been up on the wall of the shop, trying to see where they were. They seemed a long way away from the more visited tourist areas near the commercially utilized parts of the Carlsbad caves.

He had spent as much time as he could over in the little shop, but it still hadn’t kept him away from the cabin long enough. His feet had dragged as he had approached the porch, his mind filled with images of Liz wearing only the shirt he was clutching in his hand. How the devil was he going to do this without making a complete fool of himself? He didn’t have any experience either and his control over his body with Liz around was more or less zero at the best of times… and now that actual lovemaking was at hand, he was in even deeper trouble.

He desperately wanted to make this special and wonderful for Liz.

Liz had phoned Kyle from a pay phone shortly after they had arrived and Max had watched as she tried to talk calmly while Kyle had yelled into the phone from the other end about how worried they had been. The conversation had taken place in some kind of code that Max hadn’t understood much of—only figuring out that Kyle had wanted to meet them somewhere as soon as possible. His heart had stopped when Liz had looked right at him and informed Kyle that the meeting would have to be the following morning. Her eyes had told him that she had bought this time for them with a reason. The thought had made him dizzy.

Kyle had reluctantly agreed that they could make their way to the rendezvous point on their own tomorrow, ending the conversation by saying they could probably all use some rest before the next phase began since Khivar had disappeared anyway.

Then they had walked back to the cabin and towards the discussion that had been lurking in the wings ever since they had realized they were bonded.

Their talk about the future had taken less time than he had anticipated and had been filled with tears and firm stands from both of them. Decisions had finally been made and afterwards they had stared at each other with a new awareness—things weren’t perfect, but this time was theirs.

Liz took her time in the shower – the feeling was blissful after so long in the same clothes and without adequate water supplies. The resort was really basic – her parents would have been appalled at the place. The cabin had an ugly orange bedspread on the only bed and the cutlery in the kitchenette consisted of a diverse assortment of mismatched things.

She didn’t care one bit. The most important feature of the little place was perfect. His name was Max Evans.

No words had been spoken about the looming big step they were about to take. It hadn’t been necessary. They just knew.

There was another reason she was staying in the shower so long. Liz was nervous like she had never been before in her life. What if this was one big disaster? What if she did something wrong? She knew the scientific facts, of course, she had studied enough biology for that. She knew what went where and more or less what he would look like without clothes. But the reality was so different from dry facts. She had no idea what her body would do under these circumstances. What had happened on the dream plane had been a perfect situation – just their minds had been involved. Now, things were up to her body too.

Stepping out of the tiny shower cubicle, she grabbed a towel and stopped in front of the mirror, clutching the coarse material to her breasts. What if he was disappointed by what she looked like? She bit her lip, telling herself she was being an idiot. This was the guy who’d held her through an orgasm, touched almost all of her and still wanted her.

And he loved her, of that she was as sure as she was of the earth orbiting the sun.

Pacing in the quiet bedroom did nothing to alleviate Max’s panic. The shower has been off for a long time now and he wondered what Liz was still doing in the bathroom. He stared around him. In desperation for something to do, he had ended up changing the awful color of the bedspread to a deep blue, softening the feel of the bedding in the process, and had proceeded to redo the whole room. It had started out as a way to keep his mind of what was going on behind that closed door to his right, not to mention what was going to be happening here soon, and had morphed into a urgent effort to make this room into something special. By now, the room looked completely different. For one, it was color-coordinated in blue and cream and what was more, he had added sprinkles of flower-petals fashioned from leaves all over the room. Was it enough? Would she hate him one day for taking her virginity in this dingy cabin in the middle of nowhere?

Suddenly, the bathroom door opened behind him and he swung around, swallowing anxiously. Her eyes were huge in her beautiful face, staring at him as if she feared he was going to take off or something. She was wrapped in a thin towel that had obviously seen better days too. Max could care less about the towel, his eyes were glued to what it revealed—the gentle upper slopes of her breasts, a generous portion of smooth thigh and a trembling, inviting mouth.

He was halfway across the room towards her when he caught hold of himself. If you touch her now, it’s going to be over, he cautioned himself, clenching his hands into fists at his sides.

They stared at each other for long moments, having so much to say and no words to say it with. Max thrust his hands into his pockets as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. If Liz only knew – he was trying to hide his all too obvious physical response to the situation—to her.

“I guess,” Max gestured vaguely towards the open door Liz had just come through, “it’s my turn now.” And I’m going to freeze myself to death in there before I come out again.

Liz was gaping at the room—the totally transformed room. Taking a step forward, she felt something silky and cool beneath the sole of her foot. Rose petals. White rose petals. “Max,” she breathed, abruptly feeling emotional as she met his amber gaze again.

Unexpectedly, he blushed, biting the corner of his lip as his eyes flickered away from hers. “I just wanted… I mean I don’t want you to feel… It was…” he stammered.

“You did it for me.” Not a question, a statement of fact. “Oh Max!” She walked over to the bed, touching the newly done spread with slender fingers before turning bright, happy eyes to him. “I love it! I love you!”

The words still knocked his breath from his lungs. “They’re my colors,” he blurted out. “From Antar, I mean. The colors of my family.”

Liz looked at the room with new eyes. The colors of the Royal House of Antar. “Thank you,” she whispered, not knowing how better to make him see how much the trouble he had gone to meant to her.

He was suddenly standing close to her, his heat enveloping her. “On my planet, when… a bonding had taken place… there’s this room in the Ruling House—our house—with these colors. It’s for the—the first time between… For the wedding night.” Doran had showed him and Isabel pictures of all the rooms in their parents’ palace when they were little, telling them about each room. The blue and cream ‘Consummating Room’ had stuck in his memory. Many lonely nights while he had been in high school in Roswell he had wondered if he would ever get to use that room and if it would be with someone he loved.

They were staring at each other again and Max cleared his throat. His hands itched to touch her and he lifted one without thinking, sliding his fingers over her damp hair. Her soft sigh yanked him back to reality and he stepped back from her hastily. “Shower.”

She nodded and he fled into the bathroom.

After dressing in the T-shirt she found on the bed, Liz sat propped against the headboard, her knees drawn up to her chest and the shirt pulled over them. The morning sun filtered through the lace curtains in the window, dappling the rich blue cover she was perched on with patterns of light, highlighting some of the rose petals that were strewn on the bed. Picking one up, she rubbed it between her fingertips, listening to the shower run in the adjoining room. The scent of the flower felt especially aromatic—just like everything else seemed… more. She just knew she would remember every tiny detail of this moment for the rest of her life.

She was still sniffing the rose petal when she became aware of Max standing next to the bed, a towel wrapped around his hips. His tender smile made her heart beat faster.

“I thought that was the ugliest T-shirt I’ve ever seen in my life, but I was wrong,” he said in a husky voice, fingering the sleeve.

Struck speechless by the sight of all that bare skin in touching distance, Liz almost didn’t hear his compliment. Their previous moments alone when he had been wearing so little had been too intense for her to truly appreciate how gorgeous his body was. His arms were strong, his pectoral muscles strongly defined and his stomach ribbed. Her eyes widened when her gaze slipped lower.

Max dropped down onto the bed immediately, embarrassed about the obvious lack of success of his cold shower that the thin towel did nothing to hide. He was never going to make it inside of her before losing it, he just knew it!

“Liz, I—I really want to do this right for you, but I…” The heat and desire in her eyes caused him to stumble to a halt. A ringing started in his ears and he realized it was because he had forgotten to breathe. “Liz,” he groaned, leaning forward to kiss her, helpless to stop himself.

She was in his arms instantly, fitting herself against him urgently as he pulled her into his lap. The kiss was hungry and unrestrained, their tongues dueling, sliding against each other, their hands reveling in touching each other.

Sweet heaven, Liz thought, feeling the desperate way in which Max was trying to kiss all of her at the same time. His mouth had broken away from hers, traveling over her face to her neck, leaving a damp trail behind. A moan slipped from her when his fingers slipped beneath the hem of the shirt, sliding over her thigh to her hip. She wanted to touch all of him too. His skin was heated and silky, covering the hard muscles beneath it but not hiding their tiny movements. When she curled her fingers into the bulge of his shoulder, he groaned her name and his mouth covered hers again in a bruising, rough kiss.

Their connection opened with a rush, flooding them with images of their dream plane loving and their feelings.

Her nervousness brought Max back from the brink. He lifted his lips and rested his forehead against hers, listening to their labored breathing punctuate the stillness of the room. Silently he berated himself for falling on her like an animal—this was her, their, first time, for Pete’s sake!

Swollen lips and tangled hair evidenced his wild behavior with her. Touching her mouth gently, he tried to fight down his baser urges. “I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

She sighed with a small smile. “You think too much and you worry too much.”

“Tell me why you’re nervous?” He watched her blush and stroked her face again. “Please. Then I’ll tell you why I’m nervous.”

“I—I’m not sure what to do.”

“Me too,” he murmured, kissing her cheek.

“I’ve heard awful things about the first time.”

“So, we can only get better, right?” This won him a smile.

The peace lasted only a moment, then a horrible thought hit him. “Liz!” How could he have forgotten that he could get her pregnant? Her startled look had him taking a deep breath. “Honey, we need to think about—about birth control.” The shock on her face told him she had been just as carried away as he had been.

“But,” she looked alarmed, “I’m not using anything. What will we do?”

Liz felt sick. Surely fate couldn’t be so cruel to show her heaven and take it away. A soft touch on her cheek had her lifting her gaze to Max’s. He was looking at her anxiously.

“When I healed what Nicholas had done to you… I—I can change you inside. Will you trust me?” He rushed on. “It’s not permanent.”

She didn’t even need to think about the answer. “Yes.”

Overcome by her unquestioning trust, Max moved her onto the bed and onto her back carefully. He lay down next to her, but hesitated. “I need to touch your skin…”

Lifting her hips, Liz pulled the shirt up to just beneath her breasts, blushing profusely.

Max nearly passed out. She was gloriously naked. Knowing that there was no way he’d be able to concentrate, he yanked a corner of the bedspread over her hips, tugging it low so her womb was accessible.

“How do you know how to heal?” Liz asked in an attempt to diffuse the tension.

He glanced at her before spreading his hand over her stomach. “I just know. We are born with these powers—they differ from person to person. Doran showed me a few things, but mostly, it’s just instinct.” Taking a deep breath, he stilled the trembling in his hand and closed his eyes in concentration.

Barely breathing while she watched him, Liz took a moment to ponder the wonder of the situation. An alien was about to make love to her. Tracing the lines of the mussed black hair bent so close to her body, Liz corrected herself. Max Evans was about to make love to her.

A tingling in her womb made her suck in her breath. It felt warm and soothing, not at all like the burning that had plagued her after Nicholas—

“Don’t think about it—him,” Max’s quiet voice interrupted her near descent into darkness. He crawled higher on the bed until he could slide his arm beneath her shoulders. “I’m here.” He kissed her forehead. “You’re safe.” He kissed her nose. “I love you.” He kissed her mouth.

The kiss didn’t stay innocent for long. Soon, her arms were around his neck, holding him close as his mouth parted hers, tasting her surrender. His arousal pressed into her hip, the towel only barely still there.

His fingers found her breasts, fanning over the aroused peaks and wringing a small cry from her throat.

“Tell me you love me, please Liz.”

Cupping his cheeks with her hands, she lifted her lips from his a fraction, far enough to see his vulnerable eyes, but close enough that he would feel every word she spoke. “I love you, Mi Shanaya,” she told him deliberately.

He sucked in a harsh breath at the endearment, the first time she’d spoken it aloud to him. Keeper of my Heart. It stunned him that hearing those words meant so much to him. He touched the hem of her shirt and she lifted her arms in silent permission.

A few seconds later, they were both naked. Max held her against him, afraid that she would be intimidated by his nudity. “Tell me what to do,” he pleaded. “I want to do this right.”

She pressed her face into his shoulder, luxuriating in the feel of his hard, warm body resting over hers. “Just love me. I’m sure we’ll get it right.”

Moving between her thighs slowly, Max kept his eyes on her face, watching for any sign that she was uncomfortable.

Liz closed her eyes, breathing in his scent, experiencing every little movement he made against her skin. He was holding most of his weight carefully off her, but the ache in her womb made her curl her legs around his hips, wanting to bring him closer to that place that was calling to him.

A rough sound escaped Max when his arousal slid against the scalding wetness of her core. He was shaking by now with the effort of keeping himself from just heedlessly plunging inside her. Instead, he kissed her again, his hand cupping her breast, kneading the small mound almost convulsively. He deliberately kept their connection open, straining to feel what she felt and to know what she needed. He touched her the way she wanted to be touched, the way her body told him to. Slowly, he began to rub his hips against hers, almost coming at the first sign of wet friction against his erection as the underside slipped through her folds.

Tearing her mouth from his, Liz arched beneath him and moaned long and low. Her hips found their own rhythm, bucking against him in an effort to increase the intense spasms that had started in her womb and had sent a fresh wave of warm moistness to the apex of her thighs. “Please Max…” She was panting harshly now, her nails digging into his shoulders, her legs holding him tighter and tighter. And still he was not where she wanted him to be—deep inside her. “Please!”

Max knew he wouldn’t be able to hold out long after entering her, so he needed her as close to the edge as he could get her. But her movements were driving him crazy. The scent of her arousal was around him, the hard peaks of her breasts brushed against him tantalizingly with every shift of her hips, and the small sounds she made deep in her throat sent a fierce rush of lust slamming into his gut.

Rearing back, he braced himself on his forearms, lifting his body away, from the clinging embrace of her legs. Liz whimpered in protest, her hands sliding down the damp curve of his spine. Max nearly lost it then. His body arched helplessly beneath her hands, his head going back as he formed a harsh, inarticulate sound of hunger.

“Max?” Liz was digging her fingers into the backs of his thighs by now, silently urging him on, urging him into her. She had had to force her heavy eyelids open, but it had been worth every effort. The sight of Max’s flushed face, the sheen of moisture on his skin, and the glory of his fully naked body poised to mesh with hers would stay with her forever.

Pressing closer, Max halted as soon as his body touched hers. They both watched as the tip of his erection slipped into her body—it was the only place they were touching right now.

“Say yes, Liz,” he prompted her hoarsely, his body shaking with the effort to control it.

She stared up at him through a haze of need, finding the strength from somewhere to wrap her legs around him again. “Yes! Only ever you, Max.” His eyes widened when she repeated the promise he had exacted from her in a moment from a dream so long ago.

Grabbing onto her thighs, he started pressing into her. “Tell me if I hurt you,” he pleaded, sweat forming on his forehead. He was killing himself to go slowly and gently. In a few short strokes, he had reached her barrier.

“Don’t stop!” she pleaded, urging him on with her legs and hands, hearing him call her name when her body gave way with a soft tug to allow his total invasion. “Don’t ever stop.”

Max clung to her, afraid to move a muscle. Liz was gasping in his ear, small spasms deep inside her body enveloping his throbbing shaft. “Sweetheart?”

She hugged him closer, not capable of forming coherent words. The pain had been so much less than she had expected and was dulled so quickly by other sensations—the frantic movement of his chest, the slide of his thighs against the insides of hers, the agitated sound of his ragged breathing, the delicious pressure of the base of his arousal against her pleasure point.

It took only a small shift of Liz’s hips to send them over the edge. Max felt himself lose control over his body, felt instinctive movement take over. He had so wanted to be able to watch her and guide her through her release, but only a few strokes was needed before he felt the jerk of his own orgasm racing though him, the hot spurts of it flowing from him and into her.

Liz had stared at him in amazement, never having seen him lose control like this before. He had gasped her name just before his climax overtook him, the sound whipping her own release closer. But it was the feel of his hot spurts inside her, combined with the short strokes of his body into hers, that triggered her own explosion, arching her off the bed as her hips jerked against his, his name a cry on her lips.

Max collapsed against Liz afterwards, their still shuddering bodies pressed closely together. He stayed inside her—too many years of loneliness and too many months of wanting had preceded this moment for it to be just over in an instant. His body craved more.

When he finally moved, Liz saw that his eyes were damp. She had to swallow too when he caressed her hair reverently, as if she was too precious to believe. “Max?”

“I’m sorry I hurt you and that… that I couldn’t… wait for you.” He stared down at her, his wet eyes filled with love.

Liz reached up and pulled his mouth to hers, kissing him deeply. “I love you,” she told him gently. Immediately, the tears in his eyes welled up anew. “Max?”

He touched her lips with his fingers. “I never thought…” He met her gaze, breathing deeply. “I thought I would never experience love. I never belonged here on earth and… I never knew if I was ever going to go back to Antar. I was afraid of what people would do if they knew what I was. Sharing yourself with me like this… Liz, you don’t know what it means to me.”

He had been so lonely, Liz realized. She kissed him again, concentrating on sending him her love through their connection. It was a long, slow mating of mouths.

“Are you really okay?” he asked against her lips, his hands drifting over her warm, damp skin.

“Wonderful. Perfect.” She interspersed each word with a brush of her mouth.

“Mmm,” he murmured, tasting her, feeling his body hardening inside hers. Cupping her cheeks, he lifted his head, looking down at her intently. “Are you sure?” Her nod, made him smile slowly. “Because,” he nuzzled her face, “I need—”

“More?” she cut in. Shifting beneath him sensuously, she sighed. “Me too. Much more.”

This time it was slow, giving them time to savor each sensation fully. Max listened to her breath hitch as he slid in and out of her in steady rhythm. He stopped once or twice to fully experience the way her inner muscles gripped his shaft.

Liz closed her eyes, hearing the sounds he made as he moved inside her. The feeling of being filled by him was indescribable, the spasms of his body increasing her own excitement. She felt the rhythmic clenching of the muscles in his thighs and buttocks as he pumped into her, heard him whisper and groan her name, sensed his pleasure through their connection.

Their releases were longer in coming, but so worth waiting for. Max watched as she climaxed, drinking in the sight of her arched throat, her parted lips, the flush that covered the whole upper part of her body.

Liz watched him again too, timing the movement of her hips to the movements of his, fiercely happy to be sharing this with him. He shuddered above her, inside her, flooding her with more of his warm release. “I love you,” she whispered again, seeing his eyes snap open as a result.

U Shayna Min. You are mine.

They slept curled into each other, still loath to give up their newfound physical closeness. It was after two in the afternoon when Liz finally woke up to find Max watching her sleep.

“I love seeing you wake up,” he admitted. He leaned closer to murmur in her ear. “Especially with your body covered in glowing hickeys.”

At her shocked exclamation, he grinned. “I’m sorry, it seemed that I got carried away a little.” He placed his fingers on a few marks on her body, removing them. “I cannot think why,” he said with a contented chuckle.

“I’m hungry,” Liz admitted after they shared a few smiling kisses. “What did you bring us?” She was already scrambling from the bed, locating the resort T-shirt on the floor and pulling it over her head.

Max watched indulgently, knowing he was going to take that shirt off her again eventually. “Nothing wonderful. Some snack bars and stuff.”

Liz had already gone to the living room of the cabin and returned with the handful of snacks. She dumped them in the middle of the bed and climbed back on, sitting cross-legged next to Max and tucking into the first thing she could lay her hands on.

Staring at her, Max wondered if everything she does from now on would turn him on. His eyes fell on the stupid Carlsbad logo that was blazoned on the front of the T-shirt she wore. Grinning, he leaned over and swiped his hand over picture, erasing it. Then he “wrote” with his finger over her chest, leaving blue lines forming the words: Property of Max Evans. That was true in all the ways there were now.

His show of possessiveness made Liz forget her food.

And their third time was even better than the first two.

TBC
posted on 6-Jan-2002 9:17:19 AM by LivE
Wow, I'm glad I didn't disappoint you guys. Writing is going a little slow lately, so please be patient!

I'll make it worth your while. And yes, there are some more sad things ahead, but we'll get through it! *wink*

LivE

posted on 7-Jan-2002 3:30:16 PM by LivE
First of all, thank you for the wonderful feedback! I appreciate that some of you take the time to drop me a line.

And sorry, you're all going to have to wait a little longer to learn the contents of Max and Liz's talk about the future AND for Max to fry Nicholas', erm, power source. *big*

Enjoy!
LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 27

“Yes!”

Liz wasn’t too sure which one of them was panting this, but the sound accompanied the slowing of their breathing after another wonderful climax. Max was holding her tightly, his face pressed against her shoulder, his body still joined with hers, pulsing inside her, as they drifted down from their high.

Dawn was here. And with its arrival their time in the little cabin was at an end—they had to return to the real world now. Fear about this had haunted them throughout the night, leading to desperate attempts to make as much of their time together as they could. They had held each other, kissed for hours and made love as many times as they could manage.

This last time had been tinged with panic, giving the experience an edge that had led to a shattering release for both of them. Max’s chest was still heaving when he braced his elbows next to her head and lifted himself away. Resting his forehead against hers, he sighed deeply. “I don’t want to leave.”

In answer, Liz wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his hips, trying to envelope him with her love. “It’ll be okay.” But she didn’t sound sure.

Dipping his head a little, Max pressed soft kisses against her mouth. “We can handle this.” He seemed to be attempting to convince both of them. His hands caressed her hair, tangled around her face on the pillow. Finally, he lifted his head, staring down into her dark chocolate eyes. “Liz…” He searched for words momentarily. “This is where I belong.”

Liz waited for him to continue with baited breath, knowing this was an important moment for them.

“In your eyes. Inside your soul.” He swallowed. “With you. I belong with you.” His gaze was intense, serious, slightly sad. “I’m sorry we can’t—”

“Shh,” she halted his apology with her fingers. “No talk about the future. We’ll deal with when it comes, remember?”

“Yeah, but…” He looked doubtful, worried. “I love you, Liz Parker. You believe that, right?”

She tugged his head down, kissing him passionately in response. Yes, she knew he loved her, she had seen it in his heart and in his soul throughout the night, heard it from his lips, experienced it in the way his body had blended with hers.

But outside, a war was waiting for them.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Where the hell have you been?” Khivar yelled at Nicholas as soon as he entered his revered leader’s tent.

“Thanks for the concern, I was trying to heal myself after being attacked by Royal soldiers!” Nicholas knew he was on thin ice, no one talked to Khivar this way and lived. But he was past worrying. First of all, his boss had abandoned him at the warehouse, taking off with a care only for his own life. Secondly, he had been in pain for the past 24 hours after sustaining burn wounds from one of the attackers. Thirdly, he was incredibly pissed about not being able to get his hands on Liz—he had been so close and she would have begged him for it. But lastly and most importantly, the recent attacks had proven something: Khivar was fallible. Already there were murmurs among their formerly loyal human followers that Khivar’s end was near.

With Khivar in the tent was a stunning woman. Nicholas blinked at her, wondering how on earth Khivar could be thinking about sex at a time like this. The woman gave him a sly grin and winked.

“Who is this?” Nicholas waved at the woman.

“Don’t you recognize me?” The woman sounded smug and annoying. It cleared things up for Nicholas immediately. “Nacedo.”

“That’s Gloria to you, dear boy.” Nacedo obviously thought the whole thing was a huge joke. Khivar and Nicholas were not as amused.

“Nacedo was just telling me how pathetically he had failed to find out where the blasted royals are,” Khivar cut Nacedo’s little moment to the quick. He turned icy blue eyes on the shapeshifter “You were saying?”

“I was saying, whoever this Andre is, he keeps things close to his chest. The group in Albuquerque only receives orders from him from time-to-time. And the orders are handled by the leadership of the group. The only new people I’ve seen around are two women and a guy, but they came from the Roswell group and only stayed a few days to help with assignments. Nothing weird about that.”

“You are telling me we don’t know a thing about the royals?”

Nacedo shook his head, the long blonde locks of his female body dancing around his face. “I’ve tried, but if the royals have any links with the resistance, they must be at the level of this Andre.”

“But you brought the names I asked for?”

Nacedo nodded and Khivar turned to Nicholas. “I want to wipe these resistance members off the face of the earth. Find each one of them, and take them out.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kyle was pacing around the small warehouse on the outskirts of Roswell—waiting for Liz and Max was driving him crazy. The sooner he can get Liz away from everything and back to their camp deep in the desert, the better. And this Max-guy will just have to fend for himself. Kyle was sure that Khivar was regrouping and he wanted to finish this with as little loss of life as possible. He grimaced at his bloodthirsty thoughts, but losing lives was inevitable—this was war.

Alex held his own council. He had kept in touch with Michael, who was still at the cabin, through Doran, but so far there has been no reaction to their message. Which either meant the message was not received yet, or it had gotten into the wrong hands. Bouncing on the balls of his feet, his fists tucked into his pant pockets, Alex hoped he hadn’t led the enemy right to Max. Boy, that would be ironic.

Doran was quiet, standing like a statue in the one corner of the room. Only Alex had any inclination of how emotional the big bodyguard was at the imminent arrival of his Prince. He was watching the door like a hawk.

Liz’s phone call yesterday afternoon had sent a wave of relief through the whole group. Her request for a night’s rest before they returned had had Alex and Doran look at each other with varying degrees of worry, amusement and silent approval. But they had said nothing. Max and Liz had had a rough time of it, and more was lying ahead, let them have this time alone.

The door opened suddenly, Liz and Max coming through it simultaneously, hands locked together. Doran sighed, if he had had any doubts about what had happened last night, they were gone now. Max looked… complete. While the bonding had done something to him already, Doran could see that his Prince was… whole for the first time in his life now. He exuded a quiet air of power, it seemed to hum around him, and finally Doran was a hundred percent sure about lying to his Prince. He had known that a bonding could be undone if it hadn’t been consummated yet on that day a long time ago when Max had asked him. There had been no need to study historical texts. But Max had needed someone to complete him before he could take on Khivar and win.

And Liz was that missing piece.

“Liz Parker! If you ever give me a scare like that again, I’m sending you to a prison camp!” Kyle was across the floor, throwing his arms around Liz in a bear hug, yanking her from Max’s grasp in the process. Max just smiled—secure in the love he shared with Liz and the knowledge that Kyle was her friend.

Doran was hard-pressed not to fall to his knees in front of Max. He was the Prince’s protector, but more than that, he felt like Max’s surrogate father in a lot of respects. “I’m glad you’re back,” was all he managed to say around the lump in his throat. “I’m glad you’re both okay.”

A tender smile creased Max’s feature as he watched Liz being hugged by Alex too. “Yeah, we’re both fine.”

“There is much we have to discuss, Max,” Doran got back into official mode immediately. “Michael is waiting at home.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“If we can just get rid of him finally, then we’re home free. The planet will be ours.” The voice echoed around a small conference room on the largest ship. “If he is alone, he will be weakened. And if we kill him now, his people on Antar will surrender too.”

The group around the table, solemn and serious, nodded their agreement, then turned at the uniformed man waiting at the head of the table.

“It’s all up to you, D’lor. Find out what is going on down there so we can act.”

D’lor bowed deeply and left the room, his heart beating wildly at the thought of the responsibility resting on his shoulders.

If he made a mistake, Antar would be lost.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“So,” Alex said to Liz with a wicked grin, “you are fairly glowing. Anything you want to share with the class?”

“Alex!” Liz blushed and smacked his arm. “Gentlemen don’t ask things like that.”

He hugged her to him with one arm. “Wow, you thought I was a gentleman all this time? I’m touched.” Kissing her on top of her head, he hugged her closer for a minute. “Are you happy?”

“Yes,” Liz answered immediately, her eyes glowing with inner-joy. “Oh Alex, I never knew love felt like this.”

Alex smiled crookedly. “It doesn’t for everybody.” Seeing Liz’s face fall, he grabbed her chin and forced her eyes to meet his. “What?”

“We will have to say good-bye again soon. I don’t think—”

Max and Liz caught each other’s gazes from across the floor of the warehouse. He immediately straightened away from his discussion with Doran and started walking over to Liz. By now, she had gone rushing to him too, falling against his chest and into his arms, while biting her lip.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.” He didn’t need to ask why she was sad. The ache was steadily growing in his heart too.

Several pairs of eyes watched the little exchange—Doran with a small smile of satisfaction, Alex with a frown of worry and Kyle with a look of speculation. It was clear that Liz was totally besotted with this enigmatic man. All Kyle had managed to weasel out of Doran was that Max was interested in getting rid of Khivar too and that he was thus prepared to support “Andre’s” efforts in this regard.

Tightening his hold on Liz, Max cursed the circumstances they were in. He had discussed with Liz telling Kyle who he was, but she had been adamant that if Kyle knew, he would tell “Andre”. It was better that they find out who Max was when he was on his way back to Antar and they could be convinced he had no designs on earth. Max had grudgingly agreed. In any case, he wanted Liz to be safe, and seemingly Kyle could ensure this. All Max could get out of Liz about the camp where she would be staying, was that it was a safe place where “Andre” was hiding some of the people they had saved from Khivar’s clutches.

Max had to go back to Michael and Isabel at the cabin to organize things with Michael, but he had promised Liz that he would come to find her as soon as he was sure of what their next move was going to be. Hopefully, the preparations to finally get rid of Khivar won’t take long.

“I’d like to talk to the rest of my group and meet again,” he now told Kyle over Liz’s head. He was keeping her tucked against him, trying to absorb as much of her physical closeness as he could before they had to say good-bye.

“That would be a good idea.” Kyle couldn’t stop staring at how Liz melted against this Max. She had been so strong during their battle to infiltrate Khivar’s operation. She had been through so many traumatic situations in that lab, that he had stopped counting. And here she was, nearly in tears because she was going to leave this man who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere into her life. Kyle hoped the trust Liz and Alex put in this Max was well founded. On the other hand, Max did risk his own life to get Liz away from Khivar. Still, there was something different about Max Evans. “We should all regroup and meet here again in 24 hours. Would that suit you?”

“Sure.” Max nodded. The sooner they got this show on the road, the better.

“Right.” Kyle looked uncertainly at Liz. “Then we should get going. “Andre” would very much like to see you and hear what else you can tell us.”

“Okay.” Liz fisted her hands into the back of Max’s shirt.

“Just… give us a few minutes.” Max spoke quietly, but everyone immediately left the building. He framed Liz’s face in his hands. “I’m coming for you. As soon as I can.”

“I know. I’m just being silly.”

Covering her mouth with his tenderly, he stroked his tongue over her bottom-lip, slicking the sensitive skin before he deepened the kiss. Their connection opened automatically, letting them pour their feelings into each other.

“It’s just for a little while…” Liz breathed against his lips.

“Yes,” Max promised again. “Just a little while.”

“Or I’m coming to find you, Max Evans!”

He grinned against her mouth, kissing her once more, hard and desperate. It never felt enough.

“Take care of yourself, Max. I love you.”

“Be safe, Mi Shanaya.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Two convoys left in different directions. Kyle drove one vehicle with Liz in the front seat and Alex in the back, while some of their other men followed behind.

“You sure you’re okay, Parker?” Kyle sounded gruff, but he still couldn’t quite recover from the scare she’d given him.

“I’m fine. We were stuck in a desert dust storm and we walked for miles. But I’m fine.” Liz wished Kyle could just leave her alone for a while until she had her heartache under control. Leaving Max was never easy.

“Hmmm.” Kyle frowned, deep in thought. “It’s just… you sure didn’t look fine to me the last time I saw you in that warehouse…”

Thinking fast, Liz wondered what plausible excuse she could come up with to explain what had been happening. “Uhm, yeah… I was drugged,” she pounced on the explanation with relief. “Max carried me until I regained consciousness.” Well, that was pretty close to the truth.

“Hmm,” was all Kyle said again, leaving Liz uncomfortable. She would have to talk to Alex to find out what he had told Kyle.

“So, Parker,” Kyle seemed to have let the issue go. “What does Mr Evans have that the rest of us guys don’t?”

“Kyle!” Liz blushed again.

And all Alex could come up with in the silence of the back seat was… glowing hands.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The drive back to the cabin took much less time than Max had anticipated, probably because he fell asleep somewhere in the middle and only woke up when the car started bumping across the desert dirt track close to their destination. At this moment, sleep was a welcome respite from missing Liz.

The sun was beating down on the sand around the remote cabin, but Maria was waiting on the front porch, anxious to see Max. As soon as the door of the car opened, she rushed down to hug him. When they turned around, Michael and Isabel was on the porch too. “He will die before he tells you, but he was worried sick too.”

Max gave her a crooked grin and started up the stairs to meet his family.

Bursting into tears, Isabel flung her arms around him. “Don’t do that to me again, Max!”

All of them turned around when a weird screeching sound floated towards them from the desert. “What was that?” Max asked.

“I have no idea,” Michael responded, nodding to Doran to send some soldiers to check it out. “A message came back, but we couldn’t make head or tail of it. You need to look at it.”

Max sighed and followed Michael inside. There was no time to rest now.

The message was bizarre to say the least:

From a far horizon
A sign will be seen


Staring down at the words, Zan heard a refrain in his head.

A ruler of the Fifth Planet
Will rise and return.


Everyone looked at him strangely when he repeated what was whirling through his mind. “I think we should send it. I think it’s some kind of code to ensure that I’m the true Zan.”

Michael obviously thought Max was a few kittens shy of a litter after his ordeal, but he did it anyway. What the hell, the sender of the message didn’t sound too rational either.

Then Max appraised them of what had happened since he’s last seen them. Maria was the only one to catch on that something significant had happened between Liz and Max during this period too. She gave Max a big grin and a thumbs-up sign, making him blush.

The next moment, a yell was heard from outside the cabin. Michael was the first one out the door, his hand held in front of him defensively. The sight outside made him halt in his tracks.

A small group of men were standing very silently just below the porch, wearing what looked like full uniforms of blue and cream. Royal Guards of Antar—Michael would know, he was one.

“Err, Max?”

But it wasn’t necessary to call Max, he had appeared at Michael’s shoulder, causing a sharp in-drawn breath from the man heading the little delegation. D’lor stared at his young lord in awe. He had never met Zan, the royal twins had been sent to earth when he was still a young boy. But he had been King Aran’s personal guard for years now, and the man that had just stepped onto the porch was the spitting image of his father.

Gathering himself together, he silently praised the gods that the messages to Antar that Zan and Vilondra had been killed had been lies.

And then he bent his head and touched his fingers to his forehead. “Prince Zan,” he managed hoarsely. “We have come to serve you.”

TBC
posted on 23-Jan-2002 12:01:00 AM by LivE
Wow, now I'm glad I didn't post since 7 January! *tongue* BUT, I'd like to apologize for taking so long. I was sick and very busy at work (and consequently too tired to write). Sorry!

Hope you all still remember this!
LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 28

That night, in three different locations in New Mexico, three different meetings took place that would play a role in the future of Earth and Antar.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Khivar met with some of his trusted people in his desert camp.

“So, as far as we know, King Aran thinks his children are dead?”

“Yes, Khivar, we sent the message months ago, like you instructed. The King was reportedly devastated, but he still hadn’t given up or divulged his place of hiding.”

“Then the war on Antar is still not won by us.”

“We are close, Khivar, very—”

“Silence!” Khivar was sick of hearing what people thought he wanted to hear. Look where it got him. “The truth is that we’re still not in control of the citadel. The King’s troops are. And they’ve hidden the King so well, we can’t find him.” His words were laced with contempt. He had come to this stupid little rock in the back of beyond of space to get rid of the heirs to Aran’s throne himself. It seemed that as long as Aran was clinging to hope due to the existence of his children, he fought on against Khivar’s total occupation of Antar. Khivar had wanted to break the spirit of the old King, but Aran wouldn’t believe his children were dead until he saw the bodies. The generals Khivar had left in charge of his campaign on Antar were ready to tear their hair out by now.

And Khivar could only be in one place at a time.

A soft throat clearing from outside the tent broke the tense silence inside. A nervous comms operator entered, looking anxious. “I have news Khivar.” His face said it all—it was more bad news.

“Our ships…” Ever since Khivar had arrived on Earth three years ago, he’d had four ships guarding space around them. “They’ve been attacked. We only have one left.” The operator rushed out the news, seeing no way for this to sound good.

Khivar came to his feet, pale. “How?”

The message-bearer shuffled his feet in fear. “Ships from the King—”

“Don’t call him that! To us, he is not the King.” A futile outburst, since whatever they called Aran, he had now managed to maroon Khivar on Earth. “And cease all communications! If they find us…”

The gathered group looked at each other uncomfortably and with more than a little fear. Khivar had seemed invincible before, but he was gradually losing stature as the hours passed. He hadn’t managed to get hold of the Prince and Princess, he hadn’t managed to keep control over Earth and now, they had lost almost all their ships and their way to communicate with Antar.

“Find Alex Whitman. His tracker will help us. I want to know where Liz Parker is, because my hunch is, wherever she is, our dear Zan won’t be far away.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

When Liz had arrived at the camp in the mountains, they told her to wait before going to see Jim, and as she walked past his cave, she heard arguing inside. This made her smile—some things never changed.

She had slept throughout the afternoon, deathly tired after her ordeal and the night spent in Max’s arms. Her body felt tender, reminding her of just how intimate she and Max had been. But she wouldn’t change a minute of it.

This is where I belong. The words had held so much meaning, because Max had never felt like he belonged before. He had been a stranger on this planet and for all intents and purposes he will be one again on Antar. It was so much more special that he had chosen to let her into his life, into his heart, into his soul.

“Hey, Lizzie,” Alex had entered her cave-room and saw that she was lying awake. “Feeling better now?”

She pushed her hair from her face as she sat up. “Yeah, I was kinda tired.”

This caused a smirk from Alex. “I’ll bet.” He leaned closer. “Do they have super-stamina too?”

“Alex!” Liz blushed to the roots of her hair. She was still not used to being a lover. No wait, that didn’t sound right. Max was her husband… she was a wife. She had had a long talk with Alex when they’d reached the camp, telling him exactly what had happened to her in that warehouse and how Max had rescued her while being hurt himself. And she had heard that Kyle was distinctly suspicious about Max, but hadn’t said a word about Max possibly being Antarian yet.

Alex hugged her again, so tightly that she couldn’t breathe. “When I see your alien prince again, I’m kissing him for bringing you back to us. Even if he did corrupt your virtue afterwards!”

“He didn’t corrupt me, Alex. He loved me. There’s a big difference.”

“But he’s still going back to Antar, right?” he asked quietly.

Liz just nodded, tears gathering in her eyes.

“What are you going to do?”

Swiping at her eyes, she turned away from him. “Say good-bye.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max was staring at Doran who was busy bringing the new group of soldiers up to date. Doran had grinned like a Cheshire cat when D’lor had introduced himself so formally to Max. His protector’s look had said it all: It was about time you get your due honor.

We have come to serve you.
The words echoed in Max’s mind as he stared around the group congregated outside the cabin. He had known he was a prince all his life, but to experience it first-hand was strange indeed. He wished Liz were there to be his center. Missing her was like a constant ache in his gut. At various times throughout the day he had been haunted by snatches of memories from the previous day and night—the way she whispered his name, the look of wonder on her face when he loved her, the feeling of having her in his arms.

Seeing her wear that stupid shirt with his name scrawled on it.

It had been so much more he had ever dreamed of.

He had received feedback on the success of the campaign launched against Khivar’s people by Michael’s soldiers. Max had been proud when he learned how much Liz’s list of names and locations of the alien troops had helped them. And proud about the way Michael had taken charge in his absence. They had managed to decrease Khivar’s numbers already, but now he had gone into hiding.

“Tomorrow we meet with Kyle’s people and the resistance to finalize our plans. I want this over with,” Max had informed the group. And tomorrow, there was something else he needed to do – organize security for Liz. He wouldn’t be able to stand it if something happened to her again.

“Excuse me, my Prince, but… we have news.” It was D’lor that had come to find Max as he sat on the flat rock that still reminded him of Liz, staring up at the night sky.

“Our ships have managed to disable those of Khivar, only one escaped.” D’lor looked at Max closely. “This means that communication with Antar has become possible.” The soldier suddenly looked uncertain. “It would mean a lot to King—your father if you would contact him.”

Unexpectedly, a ball of fiery emotion erupted in his stomach. His father. His real father. Max felt momentarily paralyzed and all he could come up with was: Liz. She would have loved sharing this with him, would have made sure that he didn’t make a fool of himself and bawled in front of his father.

“Sire?”

Max jerked back to reality. “Yes,” he finally managed gruffly. “Please organize it.”

Then he went to tell Isabel.

The communicator included a holographic image—letting both sides see the other while talking. The old man, worn out by war and mourning a mate he had loved beyond all else, stared at his children, the ones he had been told were dead, as if he was afraid he was seeing ghosts.

“Vatresh,” Max finally whispered. Father.

Beside him, Isabel burst into tears, clinging to her brother while her eyes never left her father—her father who also had tears in his eyes by now.

“Your mother would have been so proud…” He told them what the situation was on Antar—that his soldiers had been withholding total control of the planet from Khivar for years. That they had hidden him, together with some ships and other essentials, away from Khivar. That his people fought on because of loyalty to him and because he had promised them his children would return one day to finally end the war. That he had sent all but one of the ships to earth when he got the message of their deaths—with the instruction of bringing back their bodies.

Max stared at him as he talked. His father was an intimidating man exuding power. How on earth was he ever supposed to follow in this man’s footsteps?

“You look just like your mother,” Aran eventually told Isabel.

The statement clinched it for Max. This was not about himself, or his future with Liz, it was about a cause so much bigger than that. “We’re going to defeat Khivar here on Earth, Father. Then we’re coming back.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Sheriff Valenti!” Liz ran over to hug the man that had been a surrogate father to her while she worked for “Andre”. Kyle’s dad had been the Sheriff of Carlsbad when he got involved in the fight and his expertise and wise council had helped the group a lot.

“Liz.” He hugged her back. “I hear you’ve had some excitement since I saw you last?” His voice was teasing. “I’m glad you’re alright, though. Many people here,” he waved his hand around the mountainous camp, “owe their lives to you and Alex.”

Indeed, many people were smiling at her as they walked through the camp. It was situated high in the mountains of New Mexico, utilizing caves and rock outcroppings to make it invisible from the air. And it housed a surprising number of people. People she and Alex had smuggled out of Khivar’s labs through tunnels and via various safe houses.

They entered a cavernous hollow in the mountainside – the “mess hall” of the place. Coffee was available and they sat down with a steaming cup each. Liz was glad for the diversion. If she had sat around any longer, staring up at the stars and wishing it was last night this time…

A blush suffused her cheeks at the thought of exactly what she had been doing last night this time—returning the compliment Max had paid her in that cabin of his so long ago.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Jim’s voice interrupted. He was grinning wickedly when she blushed even harder. “Or, according to what Kyle tells me, I don’t even have to pay to guess who you were thinking of.”

“No,” she bit her lip in embarrassment.

“Well, I want to hear all about this guy who managed to turn our Liz’s head, but first, tell me about Khivar. We need to get this over with.” Jim rubbed his jaw with narrowed eyes. “Although I don’t like that we are concentrating on Khivar so much. It leaves us wide open for those other aliens to take advantage.”

Liz bent her head. “What if—what if those other aliens weren’t what Khivar said they were. What if they were just living here peacefully?” Her voice shook as she talked.

There was a long pause. “Is there something you’re not telling me, Liz?”

“No—no,” she swallowed. “I was just wondering…”

“Well, don’t get confused, Lizzie. This is war and those aliens don’t belong here. We can’t allow even one of them on earth. What if they start breeding with us? What will become of the human race?” He paused when he heard Liz gasp. “Would you want someone you care about to sleep with the likes of Khivar? Have his kids?”

“No,” she whispered. “But…” But Max is different.

Jim touched her arm. “You are just like that darn infuriating woman… Too soft hearts. This is the right thing, Liz. None of them belong here. And when I see one, I’m not going to ask questions. This is war, my dear.”

And war never had a good side.

TBC
posted on 24-Jan-2002 9:50:33 AM by LivE
Hi all,

Thank you so much for all the well wishes! Thankfully I am better and have been writing more (work is more tolerable), so hopefully it won't be long before I can post again.

Cheers,
LivE
posted on 26-Jan-2002 12:01:12 PM by LivE
Thanks to everyone that took a minute to leave fb! I lost about two pages worth with the board problems! :o

Anyway, some tiny hints in this part...

Enjoy!
LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 29

Liz had dreamt of Max. She had slept in the shirt that declared her his property and dreamed of him touching her all over again. Sleep had been a welcome relief after some of the conversations she had had last night. The disturbing one with Jim, another one that had left a mother with tears in her eyes and one with a very suspicious Kyle.

Kyle knew something was up with Max and only his inability to grasp that Liz could betray their cause was keeping him from making the final connection to who Max was. Liz’s heart ached because she was torn in so many directions at once. Torn between the man she loved and the men to whom she owed her life and her loyalty.

But now all her worries paled beneath her excitement at the prospect of seeing Max again. Max had asked that only Kyle and Alex of “Andre’s” group come to the meeting, so Liz felt safe to show the extent of her joy while they traveled in the car to the meeting point. Alex kept grinning at her as she fairly bounced in the backseat, but Kyle was quiet.

Members of the Albuquerque resistance group will also attend and Liz felt sure it was going to be an interesting morning. If only there was some way she could make sure she had more time to spend with Max. That would make her really happy.

The meeting point was halfway between Roswell and Carlsbad, since this was closest to the locations of two of the hideouts.

Everyone but Maria was quiet in the vehicle ferrying Max, Michael and Doran. Maria was excited to see Liz again, not to mention some of her old friends from the Albuquerque resistance who were coming to the meeting too. She had been moving around with Michael so much during the last few months, that she was afraid of losing touch with some of these people. Also, she had Michael with her and Max back safely, so her life was as good as it was going to get under the circumstances.

Max, when he managed to stop thinking about the fact that he was going to see Liz in a few minutes, was busy drawing up strategies in his head. He was convinced that they would need a number of teams to accomplish a victory. If he could get the other groups to agree on letting his people handle Khivar and his soldiers, then the human groups could handle the human element of the enemy.

How strange it felt to be sitting here in the middle of a desert, making plans to destroy the alien leader of your own alien planet. Sometimes fate dished out strange destinies indeed! Fate had decreed that he be born to parents that ruled another planet. Fate decreed that he be born in a time of war. Fate decreed that, of all the available planets in the universe, he had ended up on Earth. And fate decreed that he would meet his other half at this highly uncomfortable time in history.

It all just made him more determined to make this end as soon as possible. He wanted to be able to make his own decisions about his future. He wanted to stop living in fear that someone will make an attempt on his life at any given time. He wanted to be free to plan a life with Liz.

The closer the car was getting to their destination, the more Max could feel Liz’s presence. It felt like slow champagne bubbles drifting through his consciousness, making him feel more alive. He started smiling unconsciously. Never mind the terribly circumstances they were meeting in, he was going to see Liz!

And hopefully she won’t throw a fit when she heard his plans for her.

The meeting took place in an abandoned old farmhouse, a few miles off the main road between Roswell and Carlsbad. It was surrounded by desert, providing ample space for the security crews to make sure that no one unauthorized observed the gathering.

Drawing up outside the building, Max got out of the car and immediately his eyes scanned the porch running alongside the front of the house. A few men stood around—obviously guards of some kind—but there was no sign of Liz. Irrationally, he felt a little stab of disappointment that she hadn’t come rushing out to meet him.

Inside, Liz was chewing her lip in an effort to not interrupt Kyle’s monologue and run outside. She knew Max had arrived, but she couldn’t let Kyle find out about this strange link between them. He was already suspicious enough. But it was taking all her strength to keep her face impassive and her body calm.

It was a strange moment when Max entered the building. As Liz stood watching breathlessly, he came striding in, an entourage following him, staying respectfully a step behind. Darting a glance at Kyle, she saw him watch this procession with narrowed eyes. Turning back to Max, she found his warm eyes caressing her and she forgot about wondering if Max had any idea just how revealing his entrance had been.

While everyone else was busy with hellos, Max covered the ground separating him and Liz with long strides until he could sweep her into his arms. He hugged her close, resting his cheek on the crown of her shiny hair and breathing in deeply. “Hi.”

Liz didn’t even answer, just snuggled closer and tightened her hold around his waist. Only the audience they would have kept them from kissing desperately—Max settling for brushing his lips over her forehead before turning back to the group that was by now waiting for their attention. The greeting was supremely unsatisfying and Max decided that he would have to make sure he had a few minutes with Liz after the meeting was concluded. In the meantime, he kept her firmly anchored to his side.

“Right,” Kyle came forward, “let’s get this show on the road.”

The main decision-makers converged in the center of the room, while the others moved to line the walls. It started out with an information session, including all they knew about Khivar’s operations. They still lacked the vital details about the exact location of his secret refuge, though. All Liz and Alex knew what that the camp could not be too far from Carlsbad, since Khivar had always managed to visit his hiding place and return in the space of a day.

Teams were made up to seek and eliminate the remaining alien soldiers supporting Khivar as well as find the human collaborators among the security forces. This last project was given to the Resistance since it was something they had been working on for years in any case.

Max and Kyle had a disagreement about how they would handle searching for Khivar. Kyle wanted to use some kind of trap to lure Khivar into the open or to get Khivar to take a hostage that would be taken to his camp, but Max opposed this, knowing that the only two people that could be used would be Alex or Liz.

The worst of it was that he couldn’t tell Kyle the whole story of what had been done to Liz while Khivar had interrogated her last time, since he would then have to explain how she had gotten healed so miraculously.

“I still have that thing in my neck,” Alex announced from the sidelines suddenly, halting the disagreement. “If I stop taking the serum for a while, they might be able to track me.”

Everyone stared at the ground. No one was willing to ask Alex to make this sacrifice.

He waited a few breaths, then continued. “I’m probably the best person to use in any case.” This gained everyone’s attention. “I can fashion a tracking device for you guys to use to find me or, if that fails, I can figure out how to work their comms to contact you.”

“Alex…” Liz didn’t know what to say. This was dangerous to say the least. “What if we can’t find you in time and the serum wears off? Khivar would find out everything about us.”

“We’re going to have to take that risk,” Kyle jumped in. “Unless someone has a better plan. This is all we can do. That alien isn’t going to come out to meet us on his own.”

“Tell me again how the serum impacts on this marking device of Khivar’s?” Max’s quiet question brought a few heads around.

“It seems to inhibit the range of the thing. When we are close to him, like in the same town, it works and this has kept him happy mostly since we tried to stay close to him until now.”

“So we hope you are out of range now.” Michael’s brusque interruption silenced the group again. “Or we might be providing the bastard with a nice little opportunity to get rid of all of us in one foul swoop.”

Kyle immediately got irritated by the sarcastic tone of Michael’s statement. “In case you haven’t noticed, the cause is bigger than the bunch of people in this room. Our fight will be continued with or without us.”

Michael was just opening his mouth to say that at least one group in this room would be more or less devastated if their leader was eliminated, but shut up after a warning glance from Max.

“I would like to have one of my people close to Alex at all times,” Max announced. If he could keep D’lor or one of the Royal Guards close enough, that might improve their chances of not losing Alex.

“Fine, we’ll have a couple of people close to him,” Kyle agreed.

“The rest of us should also work in groups to find out what we can about where Khivar might be hiding. Maybe we can find him before he…” Max was hoping that they could avert Alex’s possible abduction.

“I’m coming with you,” Liz whispered to Max when the others started planning for their missions.

Looking at her in alarm, Max took her arm and steered her away from the main group. “You know I would love that, sweetheart, but I think you’ll be safer in the camp.”

“Please, Max.” She looked at him pleadingly, her hands clutching at his arm. “I would go crazy sitting in that camp wondering what is happening to you and to Alex. And,” she stepped closer to him, “no one would look after my safety better than you.”

Max was still unsure. He desperately wanted more time with Liz, but he intended taking on Khivar as soon as they knew where he was and he wasn’t sure he wanted Liz around for that. On the other hand, Khivar might already have found out where “Andre’s” camp was.

“Max?”

He sighed. Like there had been any real chance of him telling Liz no. Any moment they could be together was one sent from heaven. “Only if you promise to listen to me when things get hairy. And if you don’t say a word about the bodyguard you’re going to have from now on.”

Liz’s beautiful eyes were shining as she threw her arms around Max. “I promise.”

Kyle took the news better than Max expected. He just invited himself along into Max’s team, which was fine by Max. This would mean they would know what was going on in “Andre’s” head all the time too. And if Kyle somehow figured out

And he got to keep Liz around.

The groups broke up after that, all going back to their own places to gear up for what Alex was silently terming ‘The Final Battle’. At least he hoped so. And lord, he really hoped he would get out of this alive. He had wondered after his offer if he had temporarily lost his mind, but he was doing this for Liz. For Liz and for all the people he had been trying to help from the beginning. They needed to get Khivar off their planet. The sooner the better.

Max had taken Liz aside when the meeting ended, moving into another empty room to steal a few minutes of alone time for them before they had to leave. “How are you feeling?” he asked, cupping her face in his hands tenderly.

“Empty,” she told him. “I miss you.”

“I miss you too,” he whispered back before settling his mouth on hers for a breath-stealing kiss.

Immediately they were assailed by images from their lovemaking—soft moans, harsh gasps, promises of love and commitment. The kiss was too short to be enough, but Max felt his body start heating up at a rapid pace and he broke away from Liz to rest his mouth against her hair. She tasted so sweet to him, like all his tomorrows wrapped together. He told her quickly about seeing his father for the first time and her reaction confirmed his thoughts of yesterday: she was his balance. She was so happy for him and so worried about how he handled it.

“I love you,” he murmured into her hair, knowing it was even truer because she had effortlessly realized how big the moment with his father had been to him.

They couldn’t stay too long, so Max pressed one more hard kiss on her already puffy lips before he steered her outside. There he ignored all the interested stares and brushed his mouth over Liz’s lingeringly before he helped her into Kyle’s car. Even though he knew he would be seeing her again in a few hours, he still hated to watch the car drive off.

“Let’s go, Maxwell,” Michael called from their vehicle. “The little wife will be around to drool over again tonight.” Michael was not happy with Max. He couldn’t understand why they were letting that girl be part of their team. She would just get in the way or get in trouble and make Max lose his head. No, just like he was leaving Maria out of harm’s way, Max should have done the same. Michael came from a race where the women warriors were truly fierce, but they had been trained into the job. Neither Liz nor Maria was ready for trouble in his opinion, so they belonged away from the action. But as usual, Max wasn’t thinking with his brain.

Michael watched Max ignore him as he got into the car, turning to Doran instead. “I want you to organize a guard for Liz with D’lor. Bring them to me and I’ll explain how important she is to me.”

Doran’s nod was overridden by Michael’s loud snort. “You know, Max, I haven’t said a thing before, but what the hell are you doing?”

“Michael—”

“You can play house here on earth, but what happens when we go back? Have you forgotten which group she belongs to? They won’t allow her to stay with you if they knew—”

“Thank you for your opinion, but this is my decision.”

Pausing, Michael stared at his Prince in amazement. “You’re just going to tell those guards of yours that you have a wife they need to watch over? Don’t you think you should talk to our King—your Father—about this first?”

Max hesitated before answering. “I think this is my problem. And I’m going to handle it my way.” In truth, he was too scared to tell his father about Liz and frankly he hadn’t thought of the possibility that the guards could tell the King. Gritting his teeth, he decided he would just have to tough this out. Liz was his wife according to Antarian customs and as a result she was a prime target for Khivar. Not even his fear of the repercussions of his father finding out would stop him from ensuring her safety at all costs.

She was too important to him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Khivar’s pacing outside his tent was interrupted by a breathless soldier. “We have located Alex. He is moving at the moment.”

Finally, some good news! “Have him followed. I want to find out where he is hiding.” And in the process, we may even find the elusive Ms Liz Parker and her pet alien prince.

TBC
posted on 3-Feb-2002 9:46:26 AM by LivE
Geez, everyone! Sorry for taking so long (again), but this time I have an excuse: my phone line was dead for a few days. It was horrible! It's over now, though, so let's get on with the story...

Thank you SO much for all the feedback and encouragement, it means a great deal to me.

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 30

“We need to talk, Sire.”

Max stared at Doran in surprise at his sudden reversion to formality and his humble manner. They had arrived back at the cabin an hour earlier, where Max had given out instructions to Isabel and the rest of the soldiers. As expected, Isabel had also not been impressed with the fact that Liz had become a part of Max’s group and was going to stay with him… and she had said so loudly. It was only after the argument that Max had realized that D’lor had been staring at them in shock.

And now Doran was acting strangely.

Still frowning, he followed Doran to the flat rock in the little copse of trees close to the cabin.

Waiting until they were out of earshot of the others, including the two guards that had followed them at a respectful distance, Doran turned on Max with fiery eyes. “Max… Zan, it is time you start acting like the Prince you are!”

Max’s eyes widened at the sudden vehement statement.

“I know you grew up in a place where your station wasn’t an issue, but now you have to make a choice. If you are planning to follow in your father’s footsteps, then you are the Prince of every single one of us gathered in this cabin. And that means you are the person with the final say.” Doran took a deep breath and clasped his hands behind his back. “I know that ever since Michael has come to earth, you have felt like he was the teacher in a lot of ways… well, that time is past now. You need to tell him that you are the leader now, and he should not talk to you the way he did while we drove back here. Especially not in front of your soldiers. The same with Isabel.”

Speechless, Max stared at the wizened man that had been like another father to him for as long as he can remember.

“I’m just saying, Max, that what was fine when you were younger, is not fine now. You need to tell these people where they stand with you. And where they stand with Liz. She is your wife, Max, not some bimbo you picked up and couldn’t care less about. She is more important than Isabel in our hierarchy—third after you and your father. And if you intend to stay bonded to her, as it looks like you are, they need to start showing both of you the respect your positions deserve, whether Liz stays here or goes with you doesn’t matter.”

The last statement made Max look away, his heart twisting painfully.

“And there is something much more important than that you need to know. Bonding with Liz has made you stronger—it vastly increases your power. For the first time, you are Khivar’s equal in ability. While the linking has done some of it, the… consummation of that link has finalized this. I admit that I’d always assumed it only happened between male members of your line and another Antarian, and I wasn’t sure it was genetic. But I can now see you are changed. Having Liz near you, preferably touching you, will make you the best weapon we have against Khivar…”

Max had still been stuck on the increase of power due to his new sexual status, but the last statement jerked his head up. “You mean I have to have Liz near me when I face Khivar? I don’t think so!”

Doran’s eyes narrowed. “You mean you haven’t felt a difference when she is near you?”

Abruptly, a flash of his miraculous healing in the cave raced through Max’s mind. Liz had done that by just touching him and concentrating on him. He gaped at Doran.

“I can see you have. I’m not propagating taking her into the middle of battle. For that matter, I’m not saying you should be in the middle of battle. I am saying that if you ever get in a situation where you are have meet Khivar, you should know that you are his equal.” Doran gave Max a direct and urgent look. “It’s time to take charge and be Prince Zan now, Max.”

And with that, he bent his head and touched his fingers to his forehead.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Everyone got out of Khivar’s way as he stormed through the camp cursing a blue streak. They had lost Alex. He had somehow gotten out of range before they could get a clear hold on where he was and where he was going.

So now it was back to waiting again.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They met again at a small motel at the edge of Carlsbad. Liz had arrived with Kyle before Max had, and she had proceeded to book a double room, trying hard not to blush too hard while doing this. She shouldn’t have worried, the hotel manager hardly gave her a second look. As long as the money came in, he didn’t care who slept with whom under his roof.

Surprisingly, Kyle hadn’t said anything either, just organized himself a room so that it didn’t look like they had arrived together. She was profoundly thankful to Kyle for another reason too. Jim had been very unhappy when he had learned that Liz intended being with Max for the duration of the campaign against Khivar, but Kyle had told his father that he would keep an eye on her since he was going along too. Liz felt terrible about lying to all of them. They had done so much for her during the last three years of working for Khivar. She wondered if Jim would ever forgive her when he found out she had deceived them all about Max.

And she worried about Alex. He had bravely left the camp not long after they had arrived back from the meeting to head for his apartment in Carlsbad. With him had been one of Kyle’s most trusted people while the guy Max had ordered to keep Alex under surveillance would be waiting at the apartment. It was a huge gamble—one Liz hoped would not cost her her best friend in the end.

The motel room door opened so quietly, she missed it completely. She had been sitting on the bed, her knees drawn up to her chest, deep in thought when the shadow suddenly fell over her.

Her little yelp of fear almost made D’lor keel over in shock. Hastily he backed away from the bed and bent his head to touch his fingers to his forehead. “My Lady! I apologize! I did not mean to startle you.”

By now, Liz was standing upright on the bed, her back pressed to the wall. “Who—who are you?”

D’lor just kept his eyes lowered and his fingers where they were. “D’lor, My Princess.”

That was all he said and Liz wondered wildly if the man was delusional or just plain batty. What was with all the references to royalty? Why was he standing there looking like he was awaiting his execution? And what sort of a name was D’lor?

“Uhm… I think you’ve made a mist—” It was then she noticed the faint sign on the back of his hand—the swirling mark of the House of Antar. “Oh!” she cried in relief, finally allowing herself to move away from the wall, “you’re with Max!”

Nodding vehemently, D’lor risked a peak at his new princess. “Yes, Prince Zan sent me. To see to your safety.”

“Oh well…” By now Liz was starting to feel truly foolish for her cowardly behavior. She climbed off the bed with as much dignity as she could muster and approached the soldier with an outstretched hand. “I’m Liz Parker, nice to meet you.”

D’lor had no idea what to do. Touching the hand of his Prince’s mate was not the done thing where he came from. And she hadn’t given him permission to stop standing at attention either.

This was the strange tableau that greeted Max when he arrived in the room. For a moment, he was too surprised to speak. He had told D’lor to meet him at Liz’s room, but he hadn’t meant the man should go inside! Quickly, he rushed forward, putting an arm around Liz and telling D’lor to stop saluting. He had to fight to keep a grin from his face—obviously Liz would need a few pointers in Antarian customs.

Deciding D’lor could wait a few seconds, he turned to Liz, cupping her face to smile down at her. “Hi Sweetheart.” He brushed a gentle kiss over her smiling mouth, wishing they were alone so he could kiss her properly. It had been an unsettling afternoon—the conversation with Michael and Isabel about not going against his commands had been awful. They had been shocked and outraged and he was hoping that giving them space would give them all time to calm down.

“Max!” Liz promptly forgot about the hovering guard. She lifted up on tiptoes and kissed him back, lifting his spirits immediately.

D’lor was going to turn away, but then he saw the marks start to glow when Max’s hands curled around Liz’s neck and he stared unashamedly. How many nights had he listened to his King talk about his children—lamenting the fact that he might never see them again and that his line was going to end with him. But here were the visible signs that the Royal House of Antar lives on and has a future!

Finally breaking away from a pouting Liz, Max took a deep breath and turned to D’lor. “I want you to meet my… my Liz,” he informed the soldier. His gaze went back to his love and his fingers tightened around hers. “Guard her better than you would guard me,” he said gruffly.

“Yes, Sire,” D’lor returned eagerly. He would do this for his young Prince, but he would also do it for the King he had served for many years.

Max and Liz were staring at each other intensely, their eyes clinging and slowly heating up with need. It had been a long time since they had been alone together last. Two days and a night, in fact.

It felt like years.

Hunger to share that oneness with Liz again that he had first tasted two nights ago was curling through Max. He could literally feel it start to unfurl in his stomach, sending arrows of sensation to all the parts of his body. He had already taken a step towards Liz when he remembered that D’lor was still there.

He spoke without looking at the guard. “D’lor, don’t take this the wrong way, but,” he pulled Liz closer by the hand, “go away. Just come and tell me when there’s news about Alex…”

The guard hastened to comply with the order… and only started grinning when he was safely outside. Yes, Zan was his father’s son, there was no question about that!

Staring down at Liz, feeling the heat of her body all along the contours of his own, Max wondered at his own control. He wanted to haul her off to the bed and love her long and hard. He wanted to bury himself so deep in her that they blended into one being. He wanted to tell her he loved her until his throat was raw.

But the faint shadows in her eyes stopped him.

Liz closed her eyes and breathed deeply when Max’s fingers brushed her hair behind her ear and drifted down her cheek tenderly. Against her eyelids she could still see the dark leashed hunger that had lurked on his face and she wanted that. She wanted him to be demanding tonight—to make her feel so much that she forgot the realities surrounding them. Realities such as the fact that all over the country there were teams getting ready to eliminate kingpins of Khivar’s power right now. That her best friend was patiently sitting at home, waiting to be abducted.

Opening her eyes again, she found all her answers in the warm amber gaze watching her so lovingly.

“They’ll be fine,” he promised her now in a tender voice. “We’ll all be fine.”

It wasn’t really something he could predict, but still, it made Liz feel better.

“Love me, Max…” she whispered.

“I do! So much. And I’m going to.” He crushed her to him then, fisting his hand in her hair and dipping his head to bring his mouth down on hers. Her lips parted immediately and he delved his tongue inside, tasting her, filling her with a small part of him.

Liz was back on tiptoes, her hands clutching at the hair at the nape of his neck, her slender body straining against his. When he shifted his hips, sliding a thigh between hers to get even closer, she made a small sound of passion into his mouth at the feel of his arousal pressing into her stomach. It drove him even wilder.

They kissed hungrily, greedily, their open mouths crashing together repeatedly as they fanned the flames of their desire higher and higher.

Max was barely keeping himself in check. He itched to just wave his hand and let their clothes disappear before tumbling Liz onto the bed, but the joy spearing through him at the abandon with which Liz was giving herself over to their embrace held him in thrall.

He trailed his lips down to her chin before tilting her head with his hands to reach her throat.

“Oh, Max…” Liz heard herself moan his name as the trail of fire his tongue was making reached the deep V of her shirt. Her fingers unconsciously dug into his shoulder blades, trying to convey without words that she needed more.

His fingers trembled when he undid the buttons that hid her breasts from his gaze. Even though this wasn’t their first time, he was still overcome by the fact that she was allowing him this intimacy. Pulling away slightly, he watched her face as his hands moved lower. They were both breathing unsteadily, sometimes taking deep breaths, sometimes forgetting to breathe at all.

Finally he could spread the sides of her shirt open, pushing it slowly from her shoulders until it slid down to the floor in an untidy heap at their feet. Her breasts, still encased in a plain cotton bra, were heaving, the peaks already hard in response to his kisses. The sight made his mouth water. Glancing at her flushed face once, he slowly turned her around in his arms, enfolding her in an embrace from behind. Nudging her with his thighs, he walked her over to the dresser mirror, halting in front of it so they could see their reflections.

His skin was so much darker than hers—the tanned tone of his arm contrasting shockingly with the milky white of her stomach. Nuzzling her hair away from her nape with his face, he pressed feather-light moist kisses on her neck. Still keeping one arm securely around her middle, he used his free hand to undo the button of her jeans and languidly slide the zipper open.

“Don’t move,” he instructed softly and used both hands to push her jeans over her hips, letting them settle around her thighs, just above her knees. Then, abruptly, his hands were back on her, one cupping her breast and the other sliding between her legs, grazing the damp material of her underwear.

Liz let her head fall back against his shoulder, but she fought to keep her eyes open, to watch as he touched her body, his fingers weaving magic over her sensitive parts. She heard herself sigh, saw her body arch towards his hands, shamelessly begging for more. Her fingers found his hard thighs, digging into the muscles beneath his jeans.

Her clothes soon became an unbearable obstacle and she helped him get it all out of the way before they stumbled over to the bed. If she weren’t so aroused and desperate herself, she would have grinned at the haste with which he yanked his own clothes off.

Coming over her, he settled between her thighs and rested his forehead against hers as he gave them time to bask in the sensations of their bare skins sliding against each other. “I love you,” he murmured, his mouth hovering a scant breath above hers. He moved his hips once, sliding his arousal against her slick folds.

“Max,” she pleaded then, lifting her hands to cup his rear and push him closer.

But he had other ideas, trailing kisses and nips over her neck, spending long moments lighting up his marks below her ears and listening to the sounds she made when his tongue traced the swirling designs, before moving lower until he could caress her breasts.

Liz arched helplessly beneath him, her hands clutching his head against her as his tongue flicked against the stiff peaks.

Her whimpers spurred him on. He gloried in the little sounds she made when he loved her—loved that they told him what she liked, what made her even hotter. And she tasted like sweet heaven, her essence beating through him, whipping his blood into a frenzy until even the tips of his fingers experienced little pinpricks of sensation.

But he couldn’t hold out forever, his body’s cries for fulfillment getting more urgent by the moment. He felt himself tremble in reaction—tremble at the awe of the moment as he hesitated just short of entering her.

Her eyes were staring wildly up into his, the faint sheen of sweat on her skin telling its own tale. “Sheyleth,” she breathed. Lover. Keeper of my body.

Surging into her with a fierce groan, Max halted again as soon as they were completely one. “Yes,” he told her huskily, “but so much more, Liz.” He framed her face with unsteady hands as she wrapped her legs around his thighs. “My wife.”

The words made her suck in her breath sharply, the effects of them reverberating to the place where he filled her. “Max… Yes!”

Their movements were fast and urgent, he pushed into her deeply with every thrust, until it all just became a blur of pleasure interspersed with the soft sounds of their enjoyment. He drove her on until she climaxed in a blinding rush, her neck arched and her lips parted in a soundless scream. A moment later he shuddered against her uncontrollably, a muffled sound tearing from his throat as he buried his face against her neck and the warm spill of his release filled her deep inside.

Afterwards his arms stayed wrapped around her, his hips resting in the cradle of hers until their breathing returned to normal.

“I love you, Max,” she murmured against his hair.

Lifting his head, he captured her gaze, his own filled with determination. “My wife,” he repeated. It sounded like a vow.

A vow for when, not if, Khivar was out of their lives.

TBC
posted on 5-Feb-2002 3:24:24 PM by LivE
Alrighty, hold on to your hats, things are heating up!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 31

The waiting was excruciating. Alex couldn’t decide if he should pace around or just sit and twiddle his fingers. Whatever he did, he wished his would-be captors would get on with it. Instead, he sat down in front of his computer and worked on the communicator he was carrying a little, testing and re-testing it to make sure it was working. It would not be funny if he got captured and no one could find him!

Surely Khivar would have people searching for him in Carlsbad. Even with the serum still in his body, the tracking chip in his neck could be found if they were close enough…

Sighing, he got up to find himself a soda. He hoped that all this worked out in the end. If Max had somehow managed to con Liz into believing him… No, that probably wasn’t possible. Alex had seen the look on Max’s face when he was around Liz a few too many times to think he would have been able to fake that depth of emotion. But was he sincere about leaving earth? Alex had spent way too much of the three years working for Khivar, dodging life-and-death situations, to be happy about the possible colonization of earth by another alien race. Even if they do seem to be different from Khivar. And Max had a powerful reason to want to stay behind now.

Her name was Liz.

And if Max—Prince Zan—stayed, then who knew who else would follow.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Morning came too soon.

Liz had woken up early, but stayed in the warm embrace she’d shared all through the night, her body curved into a much harder one. Smiling, she had snuggled closer to Max, not wanting the magic moment of peace and togetherness to end too soon.

But, with the gray light of dawn starting to color the sky outside the window, the world was bound to intrude soon enough.

Max’s one arm was draped over her hip, his forearm lying gently against her lower stomach. She was using his other arm as a pillow, feeling the hard steel of his muscles just below the heated silk of his skin. His lightly curled fist rested on the sheet a short distance from her face. Fascinated, she moved her own hand until she could measure her fingers against his, tenderly uncurling them to press their palms together. The contrast was stark—her own hand looked puny in relation to his. Tracing the contours of hand, she marveled that such seemingly innocent digits could wield so much power. It was a hand that could alternately kill and heal.

And a hand that could caress her soul from her body.

Max lay quietly behind her, having woken up when she started stroking him. Already, he could feel his body come to life, wanting more of her, knowing that they were on stolen time. But he wanted to let her do this—let her learn the tiny details of his body. He listened to the sounds of her breathing, hearing the small changes as she concentrated. The satin wave of her hair slid against the rough skin of his cheek. He memorized the scent of her, traced the exact contour of the hollow behind her ear with his eyes, felt the flatness of her belly against his arm.

As she studied him, he studied her.

And all the while, he tried to ignore the dark premonition that had settled uncomfortably on his shoulders.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Doran was watching Alex wander through the streets of Carlsbad. Alex looked as tired as Doran felt. He had been on guard all through the night and will be relieved soon so he could go report back to Max. It was mid-morning by now, why on earth was Khivar’s minions taking so long to pick him up? Alex had had breakfast at McDonalds, and had followed that up with a stroll in the mall. Not many people were around yet, and this worried Doran. Would it make it easier for any potential abductors to see that Alex wasn’t alone?

Doran had to respect these humans. Not only had Liz amazed him with the way she accepted Max and the way she put herself on the line for him, but now this Alex was doing the same. It was truly something that Antar should thank them for.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Michael stared sullenly at the group that was assembled around him, waiting on instructions.

“Thank you for what you’ve done for me so far, but it is time to let me be your Prince now.” Max’s words from yesterday kept haunting him. At first, he had been annoyed, even irritated when Max demanded his presence in the cabin, leaving everyone else but Isabel outside. Then, when he realized what Max was talking to them about, he had alternated between anger and chastisement and reluctant respect. He had become so used to knowing more than Max, to telling Max how things should be. But this Max had been a new experience. Instead of being slightly unsure and apologetic, he had stood quietly but firmly in front of them, looking them in the eye as he talked. “Michael, this means you will never talk to me again the way you did today in front of the other soldiers. If you disagree with me, you come talk to me privately.”

Michael had seen that Isabel had been just as shocked at he was. Her quiet brother, who had always tried to blend into the background, had come out fighting. Although, even as he spoke to them he kept his quiet manner. “Liz is my wife. Accept that, both of you. No matter what happens, I made this choice and nothing is changing it.” Isabel had opened her mouth as if to protest, but Max had cut her to the quick immediately. “From now on, you two will both treat me and especially Liz with respect. She deserves none of what you two have been throwing our way. She’s done too much for us—for me.”

Isabel had gotten a word in anyway. “But I’m still her Princess, even if she is your wife!”

She and Max had stared at each other in silence for a few moments and Michael could see that Max had been reluctant to say what he then said. “No, Iz, she is your Princess.”

The shock on Isabel’s face had been clear. Max had squeezed her upper arm in silent apology for what he’d had to do, but he hadn’t said anything more. Just left the room and went about packing for the today.

And, for the first time, Michael felt he was serving the true heir to Antar’s throne.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Finally, paydirt. The woman observed the Antarian Royal Protector from a safe distance. Wondering if the man knew how obvious his heritage was. Probably not, he had been around these puny humans too long.

They had been watching Alex Whitman ever since he came to Carlsbad and, as they suspected, he was not alone. His marker had suddenly been picked up late last night and Khivar had sent a team to the town immediately. Only, Nacedo had been more interested in the men tailing Whitman than the human himself.

The Protector was talking with another man—another Royal Guard. And then he turned to leave. Nacedo threw another look at the human the Protector had been watching so closely, debating whether he should stick around to see what the human was up to.

But, no, it would be much more interesting to find out if the Protector was on his way to his Prince. Finding the Prince of Antar alive would be a much better prize than this girl Khivar was going on about so much. Nacedo had only seen Liz Parker a couple of times.

But he’d seen enough to enable him to recreate her visage. And once they’d figured out which on the Prince was, good old Cal can step in to do the rest.

Maybe, at last, they could end the miserable life of the last male heir to the Antar throne himself.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They’d had breakfast together in a small, basic diner across the road from the motel, but Max had enjoyed every moment anyway. He had sat across from Liz on the cheap vinyl seat and stared into her sparkling eyes. She was so happy. And all because she was with him.

After showering together for the first time earlier, a session that had taxed his self-restraint severely, he had left her to dress and went to check on progress with all the teams. Kyle had been waiting for him outside in the parking lot, and together they had made a few cryptic calls.

The bottom-line was that so far nothing strange had happened. Doran was coming later to give a full report.

It was supremely frustrating. Max was itching to get a move on and finish this. He wanted to find Khivar and make sure that the rebel alien would not be presenting any more trouble to either Antar or Earth. But mostly he wanted to find Nicholas—Nicholas who had planned to use Liz’s body…

“That’s a frightening look,” Kyle’s voice interrupted his violent thoughts. “Is there something I should know before we go into battle together?”

Max forced himself to calm down. He needed a clear head for what was coming. “No. Just thinking I want this over with.”

“So who are you really, Max?” Kyle did not believe in beating around the bush.

Max’s hesitation was telling. “A friend.”

“See, this all seems very convenient to me. Too convenient.” Kyle folded his arms across his chest and leaned back against the car. “You suddenly pitch up to save Liz from Khivar. She is obviously head-over-heels in love with you, but we haven’t known you that long. Either you move incredibly fast, or I don’t know all there is to know.” He pinned a narrow-eyed look on Max. “Are you not telling us everything?”

“All you need to know is that I have my own reasons for wanting to get rid of Khivar.” Max paused. “And that I would do anything for Liz.”

“And when all this is over. What then?”

“Then I will go back to where I came from,” Max answered quietly.

“And where is that?” Kyle wasn’t giving up.

Catching sight of Doran approaching them, Max turned away from Kyle. “You won’t have to see me again, Kyle, don’t worry.” He nodded at the motel, his eyes on Doran and went inside to check on Liz.

D’lor had trouble not saluting as his Prince strode up, but instead, he just stepped aside and opened the door to the room.

Liz bounced up from the bed where her laptop still sat open and came into his arms. Wearing a pair of jean cut-offs and a tank-top, she was looking incredibly cute. A tight ache settled in Max’s heart. Would they ever get to the point where this would be a regular occurrence?

“Hi, sweetheart.” He brushed his mouth over hers tenderly, hugging her against him. “What are you up to?”

“I’m checking out some of those names of the soldiers I’ve gathered. I’m hoping I might hit something on the police sites.”

The silent concern in her eyes made him reassure her quickly. “Alex is fine. They haven’t made a move on him yet.” He brushed her hair behind her ear, letting his fingers linger in the silky tresses before dropping them to her bare shoulder, stroking the skin absently. “I have to go talk to Doran for a few minutes, will you be okay without me?” He was only half-joking, hoping she’d tell him to stay.

Instead, she grinned up into his face. “I’m sure I can manage to entertain myself for a little while. If you leave me with some seriously good memories.” Already she was moving her body against his in an arousing rhythm. Fire shot through his blood immediately.

“You are a witch, Liz Parker,” he muttered before swooping down to take her mouth with his hungrily. Her lips parted beneath his without bidding, and he plunged his tongue inside, stroking it against hers until she moaned softly. She made him ache without trying, made him tremble with need with a mere brush of her hand over his stomach. Eventually he had to step back from her or completely lose his head. “I won’t be long.” His voice was hoarse and he cleared his throat before continuing. “I just… I really need to talk to Doran and then… I’m coming back here.”

Liz looked dazed herself, still clinging to his shoulders even though she’d allowed him to put a few inches of space between their bodies. She sighed blissfully, testing his resolve to finish business first.

Groaning, he pressed a few hard kisses on her mouth. “I love you.” He backed away, only to come back immediately for more kisses. “Hold that thought,” he told her, seeing the look of longing and hunger in her eyes that he’d grown to crave.

“I love you!” Liz finally found her voice as he was halfway out the door. Wow, time with Max was never boring.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Doran was waiting in a little lounge area off the office of the motel’s manager. He almost smiled when he saw his Prince’s distracted rush towards him. It was clear that Max would want to hear the necessities, but not a long, detailed story about his night spent watching over Alex.

He got it over with quickly, sharing his suspicion that Khivar has somehow realized that Alex was being used as bait. This made Max sigh. He had wondered if Alex’s sudden appearance in Carlsbad would not be a dead give-away that something was up. “We have to keep trying, we don’t really have many other options.”

As he spoke, Max caught sight of Liz entering the little diner across the street. Was it time for lunch already?

“That’s all I can tell you for now,” Doran realized he didn’t have Max’s full attention and decided to call it a day.

“Okay, keep me posted,” Max instructed him, already getting to his feet to go after Liz.

Nacedo was stunned at how fast someone came running from the motel where the Protector had disappeared into when he lingered outside the diner looking like Liz Parker. As soon as he saw the face of the man on the way, he sucked his breath in.

His pursuer had “Son of Aran” stamped all over him.

After everything, it had been as easy as this.

So he put on his happy Liz-smile and waved at the man, surreptitiously looking over the Prince’s shoulder to see if anyone else was following. Only the Protector watched with an indulgent smile from inside the motel. Nacedo was hard-pressed not to smirk—how these people had managed to keep the Royal twins alive until now was a mystery…

Now he needed to get the young Prince away from prying eyes, and then he was taking him down.

Max faltered when he got near—something was wrong here.

“Liz” smiled and stepped closer, curving her hand around his neck. “Come with me or she dies.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Doran shook his head at the speed with which Max had rushed off towards Liz—the man sure had it bad for his wife. Then, as he stood watching, he realized something: Liz was alone in front of the diner, not one of her two bodyguards in sight. Frowning, he stepped closer to the window.

“Doran?” a husky voice called his name from behind… Liz’s husky voice. In horror, he wheeled around, seeing D’lor hovering a scant few feet behind his Princess. As his eyes swung back to the diner, he saw “Liz” wrap an arm around Max’s neck and start into an alley.

“Doran, where did Max go?” Liz was suddenly afraid at the pallor of Max’s friend.

“Oh my god…” He whirled around, his eyes searching for D’lor’s frantically. “Someone has the Prince! Liz… She looks like Liz.”

Utter chaos broke out. Liz ran to the window, just too late to see Max disappear around the corner. Doran and D’lor were moving across the street already, having taken off after Max and whoever had him.

Liz was being forcibly held back by her other guard from following them. How could Max not know it wasn’t her? And how was it possible that they had found someone that looked just like her to con him with. “How…”

“Shapeshifter, my Lady,” the guard murmured. “They can look like anybody.”

Kyle arrived too. “What the hell is all the yelling about?” He sounded irritated. “I thought we were trying to be inconspicuous.”

“Kyle!” Liz cried. “They have—”

But Max had appeared behind Kyle, looking concerned. He gave the scene an all-encompassing look and moved towards Liz immediately. “Baby? What is wrong?”

“Max!” Liz flung herself at him, rushing past a stunned Kyle to fall against Max. “We thought—” But even as his arms enfolded her, she knew it wasn’t him. And he had never called her “baby” before. She watched in horror as he lifted his hand and a bright beam of energy knocked her guard to the ground.

“Evans!” Kyle roared, already pulling out a gun. “I knew we couldn’t trust you!” The energy wave hit him before he could even lift the weapon.

And only then did “Max” let Liz struggle free from his hold. She stumbled away from him, lifting her chin in defiance.

“Nice show, my dear,” he sneered. “No wonder you managed to become the Prince’s bedmate so quickly.”

It was horrible seeing Max’s beloved face and hearing such callous words come from his mouth. “Stop being him,” she ordered, sounding fiercer than she felt.

His mocking smile disappeared immediately. “Let’s go, I wouldn’t want you to be late for the execution.”

TBC
posted on 7-Feb-2002 8:52:58 AM by LivE
Okay, angst warning for this part! But trust me!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 32

Pain. Excruciating pain.

The world around him was hazy, it felt like his whole body was on fire, the skin so hot that he was perversely glad that his arms were being held away from his sides.

Max lay still, his eyes closed, unable to move, his mind sluggishly trying to cope with what had happened to them. “Come with me or she dies.” One look into those familiar wide eyes that had shone with pure malice had made him want to rip himself away and run to find Liz. He knew he could overpower the shapeshifter. But then he had felt a… presence with Liz—his Liz—and he knew this man wasn’t bluffing.

It had just taken that split-second of hesitation and the shapeshifter was touching him, making defense impossible—his shield would surround them both. And if he killed the Liz-imposter, she was going to die too.

He had been afraid for a fleeting moment, but then rage had rolled though him in a crushing wave and he knew that if anything happened to Liz, he would hunt them all down for it until his dying day.

Around the first corner there had been more of them.

And everything had gone black in an instant.

He had no idea where he was now. Only that his body was hurting.

Between the moments of dizziness he tried to reach for Liz with his mind. Prayed that she was near and he could at least make sure she was safe. Or unharmed. Nausea, something he had never experienced before, plagued him now. Intermittently he would have to fight bouts of gagging and he numbly wondered what triggered these. Were they still touching him? Hurting him? He had no idea, his skin unable to cope with more sensations than the fiery burning it was already relaying to his brain.

“Liz…” He heard his own muffled mumble as if from far-off, at first not realizing he had actually spoken aloud. Sucking in a painful, ragged breath, he strained again to feel her, his hands curling into tight fists at his side.

“Don’t even try,” a mocking voice instructed him. “Don’t you think we know by now how to keep you helpless?”

Max didn’t react, he couldn’t. Inside him, a howling had begun.

“And don’t worry about the little traitor, we’re taking good care of her.”

The internal howl burst from him unchecked, rage managing to do what the pain hadn’t—make him fight against his bonds.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz shivered, folding her arms protectively around her middle. She was in a stark room of what looked to be an old bomb shelter. There was only one tiny air opening high above her, the sunlight it allowed in just lifting the internal darkness to hazy gloom. She hadn’t cried. Not when that “Max”-monster dragged her over the unmoving bodies of Kyle and her guard to get her out of the motel. Not when she realized they must have Max too. Not when the shapeshifter had pressed his fingers at the back of her skull and plunged her into unconsciousness.

The tears had flowed while she had remained vulnerable in that nether world. She had woken up with a wet face, knowing that she had dreamed that Max was already dead.

She had screamed at her captors, banging futilely on the thick steel door until someone had finally answered. "Don’t worry, we won’t let you miss his demise.”

And then, a few minutes ago, it had started—little flickers of light that she had ignored at first, too immersed in her sorrow and fear to pay attention. One particularly bright glimmer had brought her head up and abruptly she remembered waking up in the cell on Max’s ship, the glow of his silver handprint slowly dying away against the mirror, while on her neck the signs of the Royal House of Antar had still shimmered. Tentatively, she touched her neck, waiting for the next flash of light. It seemed to take forever, but it came.

Max was reaching out to her.

And his marks on her skin were confirming this.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Khivar watched from the entrance of the cell where his nemesis was being held to a sterile table by energy shackles. So this was the man he had come here to kill. If he had known that all it would take to make the young Prince play right into his hand was to tempt him with some pleasures of the flesh, he would have done so a long time ago.

He didn’t want to think about what Liz had done to him, but as his glance slid to the holographic image of the cell where she was kept he felt fury burn like acid in his stomach. Not only had she sold him out, but she—a human—had sold him out to another Antarian.

“Get him to talk,” he ordered the shapeshifter that still hovered close-by, a gleeful grin about his success on his face. As Khivar watched, Nacedo morphed into the image of Liz again before moving closer to the table.

At least Zan had stopped that awful howling and thrashing. Now he was lying quietly again, sweat pouring from his body. Khivar’s eyes narrowed when he saw the slight frown marring Zan’s face. What the hell—? Jerking his gaze over to the image of Liz’s cell, he saw her huddled in one corner of the room, her hands cupped around her neck and her eyes closed. But something strange was—

“Enlarge image.”

As the picture zoomed closer, a chill ran through his body.

Because Liz Parker had a glow spilling from beneath her fingers.

And this time he was sure he wasn’t hallucinating.

Cursing, he stormed over and shoved Nacedo out of his way, removing the obstruction from his view. Grabbing Zan’s wrist, he forced his fist around. Sure enough, a glow was just visible between his tightly clenched fingers.

The implication hit him like an avalanche. And with it came a small flicker of fear.

Zan had found himself a mate.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Liz!” His throat felt raw from all the calling out. Was she never going to hear him and come to him? Falling to his knees, weak and almost out of his mind with worry, he finally realized that he was on a beach.

Wearily he lifted his head, staring around himself numbly. It wasn’t just any beach, it was the beach from Antar, the place on the dream plane where he had taken Liz on that night so long ago.

High above him in the night sky, the three moons again made the rippling water sparkle, but this time there was no vision in white waiting for him at the water’s edge.

Despair flooded him and he bowed his head again. “Please, sweetheart…” It was a whisper that drifted away on the night breeze.

Moving his hand to in front of his face, he saw his fingers spread and then disappear, before re-appearing a few seconds later. He was losing his hold over this world, fading—

“Liz!”

She was suddenly standing in front of him, looking bemused, her hands covering his marks on her neck. He didn’t even bother standing up, just scrambled forward on his knees through the soft sand and grabbed hold of her.

She tumbled against him. “Max,” she muttered into his throat, her arms coming around him convulsively. “I don’t care if this is a dream, just don’t go!”

The moment he touched her, it felt like a current going through his bloodstream, charging him and increasing his power.

“Are you alright?” he asked anxiously, running desperate hands over her body in spite of the fact that his mind told him this was the dream plane and her real injuries would not necessarily be visible.

“Y-yes.” She was crying against his skin, holding him as if her life depended on it. “They’re hurting you, Max, I can feel it.”

“Don’t talk about that now,” he soothed her, not wanting anything to disturb their precious time together. “I love you,” he promised urgently, afraid that he wouldn’t get the chance to tell her again. Framing her face, he pulled back so their eyes could meet. “You changed my life, you know that, right?”

“Oh Max, don’t talk like—” Like we’re never going to see each other again, she had wanted to say. But the need in his eyes silenced her. “I love you too, more than I can ever show you.”

“Do you know where you are?” He looked down at her anxiously. “Maybe if we can find out I can tell Isabel. She’s bound to try and reach me.”

Liz shook her head, looking distressed. “It looks like an old bomb shelter, but I can’t tell… I’m sorry!”

“Shh, sweetheart.” He pulled her closer again, wrapping trembling arms around her. “I’m sorry for getting you into this.”

Liz jerked away, pressing fingers over his mouth. “Let’s stop apologizing. We can’t change what happened.”

Kissing the fingers covering his lips, he made her a promise. “As long as there’s breath in my body, I’m going to keep trying to find a way to get us out of here.”

“Me too.”

He kissed her tenderly then, leaning closer and sliding his mouth over hers softly before gently probing between her lips with his tongue. Fighting the urge to crush her against him and love her roughly, he kept his caresses light and sweet, wanting to make her forget about the harshness of their circumstances. His fingertips slid along her jaw while they kissed, tracing the silken line from her ear to her chin and back again slowly. Giving in to the need, he splayed his fingers and speared them into her dark tresses, trembling slightly when he felt the satin caress against his skin. How he loved having her hair in his hands! Oh God, what if he never—

Ruthlessly he squashed the thought as he registered her small whimper and felt her press closer to him. He wished he could take her into his own skin, take her in there and never be apart from her again.

Liz kissed him back desperately, gathering fistfuls of his shirt to make sure he couldn’t leave. Her mind was singing and crying at the same time—singing about her love for this amazing being and crying because he might be ripped from her life before she had a chance to truly love him.

“Max…” Her lips throbbed from his kisses, but it hadn’t been enough. “I need—” She needed him to make love to her, to make her feel part of him.

He was panting against her, their foreheads resting together even while their hands continued to touch and memorize. “Be careful,” he told her. “Don’t make them angry, promise me.” He sucked in a harsh breath and jerked in her arms. Something was happening to him. “I don’t have long.”

“Max, what are they doing to you?” His flesh was slowly heating beneath her questing fingers, heating until it burnt where she touched him.

“It’s not important.” But he was gasping now. He let his hands drop from her and moved back a pace, his eyes searching hers intently.


Khivar was almost beside himself as he watched Nacedo and Cal, the other shapeshifter, work Zan over. He had yelled at them to stop the linking between Zan and Liz as soon as he had realized what their glowing marks represented. Zan would be stronger while he was mentally linked to his mate—not as strong as when they were physically touching, but it was still dangerous to let it continue.

The shapeshifters had started to sweat themselves from the heat they were generating. It had taken an effort from both of them before Khivar could see an impact on Zan. He had started shivering and his fingers had unclenched, making the palms clearly visible. And slowly, too slowly for Khivar’s taste, the glowing sign of the Royal House of Antar had started to diminish, started to stop mocking him.

His vision was blurring and Max wanted to break something at the unfairness of what was happening. He wanted to see Liz, wanted to keep her in his sight for as long as possible. He felt her hands clawing at him, trying to overcome the heat that was engulfing his body as she attempted to hold him here on the dream plane.

“Stay alive,” he managed to whisper. “Stay alive so I can find you.”

“Max!” she cried and he heard the tears in her voice. “Nooo.”

The sound ripped at his heart, tearing terrible wounds into his soul that hurt more than the physical torture of his captors ever could. But when he tried to speak again to promise her he won’t give up, he couldn’t make a sound or move.

And in front of his eyes the world—their world—dimmed into an indistinct gray mist.


He came to with a hoarse sound, his eyes snapping open to find Liz bending over him. “Liz!” he cried, happiness momentarily overcoming him. How had she gotten here? As another wave of dizziness passed, his mind cleared. “Liz” was bathed with sweat. And she had a cold glint in her eyes.

“Oh Max!” she cried, touching his face. “You have to help me! We have to contact your sister so she can help us out of here!”

Jerking his head away from her, he stared at the Liz-imposter with venom. “I’m not telling you anything.”

A silence, only interrupted by Max’s painful breathing, hung in the cell for a few endless minutes.

Then another voice spoke from the doorway. “I suppose we’ll just have to go ask your Princess then, won’t we?”

TBC
posted on 8-Feb-2002 1:50:05 PM by LivE
Hi all!

I'm posting more regularly because I'm going away for 10 days from Sunday. So, here is a new part and another one will follow tomorrow sometime. I don't want to leave you all in a bad place!

More Angst! But hold on for the next part!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 33

Blinking fuzzily, Kyle heard loud voices close by. It was those people that always congregated around Evans and they were all talking at once.

“We’re going back to the cabin and I’m calling Isabel so she can start trying to contact Max!” Michael sounded incredibly angry. “What the hell is wrong with you people? How can you let Max go off alone like that!”

Silence descended after that statement and Kyle heard footsteps storming off. He stumbled to his feet, just in time to see a dejected little group look at each other and break up. He waited until only the one new guard was left. The one with the weird name. The one who had obviously been to wait around to make sure he was okay.

Kyle was absolutely furious. How the hell had this Max person managed to dupe the level-headed Liz Parker? Things had gotten very confusing just before he was… knocked out, or whatever, but he could have sworn Evans was the one that had hit him with an alien energy bolt. There was no way Liz could have gotten involved with an alien and not known it… was there?

Well, he was going to find out what the hell was going on, or die trying!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They were on their way to Liz! Max felt blind panic sweep through his body, totally overwhelming the other aches and pains they left him with. They had wanted him weakened so they could work on Liz without his interference. If only there had been a way to kill them without putting Liz in more danger he would have done it—there was no way her guards would let her live if anything happened to Khivar.

Desperately he tried to contact Liz again. Come on, Sweetheart! He fisted his hands—holding tightly onto the marks that identified him as her property. Damn him for being so weak!

Liz had been waiting for another sign and, at the first slight flickering of the signs on her neck, she closed her eyes and rushed to meet Max on the dream plane.

He was shivering when she saw him, looking pale, barely standing up straight. “Max!” she cried, rushing into his arms.

His arms wrapped around her feebly and he whispered in her ear. “They’re coming to you. Have to heal me so I can help…”

Not knowing what exactly he was talking about, Liz focussed on the ‘heal me’ statement first. Finding his hands, she placed them against his marks on her neck and concentrated like she’d done once before in that cave.


And in his cell, a 45-minute drive from where Liz was, Max arched as if electrified.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Khivar’s short-range comm receiver blinked to life. “Something weird is happening to the girl,” the guard reported.

“Drive faster!” Khivar yelled at Nacedo. If only they hadn’t had to keep the two so far apart, then we wouldn’t have been wasting precious time now.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Doran drove fast, still keeping an eye on Kyle that was sitting in the passenger seat. Michael had ordered that Kyle be kept with them, fearing he would report everything that had happened to his people. And Michael wanted the Resistance and “Andre’s” group to continue with executing their part of the plan.

“Who the hell is Max Evans?” Kyle burst out. “Are you lot all working for Khivar or has he betrayed us all?”

“He hasn’t betrayed anyone,” Doran answered calmly. This was the time for truth.

“Are you kidding me?” Kyle was a breath short of losing his temper completely, until the slight glow of Doran’s hands on the steering wheel caught his attention. “You’re all aliens aren’t you?” he managed.

“Yes,” Doran answered. “But not in the way you mean. We don’t work for Khivar. Max certainly doesn’t work for Khivar.”

“How deluded are you? Do you not know that Evans was the one that nearly blew me to Kingdom Come and then made off with Liz?”

Doran sighed. “That wasn’t Max. It was a shapeshifter. We have those on our world—beings who can look like anyone else.”

This was news to Kyle. In all their time of studying the aliens, they hadn’t learnt about this little detail. “Who the hell is Max Evans?” he now repeated angrily.

Doran’s hands tightened on the steering wheel. “He is Crown Prince Zan of Antar. The one Khivar is here to kill.”

And finally Kyle had to face what he had been denying to himself all along. So many little things had just not made sense, but he had refused to believe that Liz would do this to them. Or... “How did he get Liz to betray us?” He wondered if he sounded as sick as he felt.

“They fell in love.” Throwing Kyle an imploring look, Doran pressed on. “If you believe nothing else, believe that.”

Kyle was silent, trying to assimilate all he’d heard. “How many of you are on earth?”

But Doran understood what he was really asking. “I know you won’t believe this either, but we’re all leaving. As soon as we get rid of Khivar, we’re going back to our planet. Max is needed there and he’s going. We don’t want your planet, we just want our own one back.”

“And what about Liz? He’s just going to take off after using her and leave—” Doran’s angry look stopped his words.

“What they do is up to them. But he loves her more than you could understand.”

“Hmpf,” Kyle snorted. “I doubt that. He got her in the sack—”

“He married her,” Doran interrupted again, shocking Kyle. Looking back to the road, his voice softened and filled with worry. “He married her and what happened today was because he was trying to keep her safe.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Staring down into Liz’s eyes, always so luminous, Max marveled at the wonder of their link and the power it generated. His body was growing stronger by the second, and with that, his power spiked.

He was going to need every ounce of it if he wanted to keep Liz safe from Khivar. If only they didn’t realize that he was the origin of the power and that if they weakened him enough…

“Max?” It was a soft call that barely registered with Max.

A tentative hand touched his shoulder, almost causing him to snarl at the interruption. Then, Isabel stepped into view. She had opened her mouth to speak, but now she was just standing there, slack-jawed at the sight of Max and Liz so wrapped up in each other.

Knowing this was important, Max gently removed his hands from below Liz’s ears, but wrapped her hands firmly in his. “Isabel, there’s not much time.” He spoke still looking at Liz.

“Where are you?” Isabel had obviously gotten the message that there was only time for business now.

“We’re not sure. But Liz thinks she is in an underground bomb shelter. I’m also being held in what looks like a military facility. I heard a helicopter earlier.”

“That’s all you can give me to work on?” Isabel sounded panicked.

“Ask Alex to help,” Liz told her quietly. “He’s great at this type of thing. And we’ve tried to pinpoint possible locations for Khivar’s secret camp in this area before.”

“Okay,” Isabel looked uncertain and anxious. “Max…”

“Go, Iz,” Max urged her. “We’re okay for now.”

Nodding, she left them alone.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kyle watched with trepidation as Isabel lurched into the lounge of the cabin, looking disheveled and worried. “We need Alex,” she announced without preamble. Right, Kyle thought, she was the amazon girl Alex had brought to Roswell with him once. Lord, was Alex in on this too?

Whirling towards her, Michael frowned. “What can he do? What did Max say?”

“Max was…” she darted glance at Kyle. “He was with Liz. On the dream plane,” she finally rushed ahead. “They’re not sure where they are and Liz said Alex might be able to use the clues they can give us.”

That was all that was needed. “Go get him,” Michael told Doran. “And make sure you disable all his tracking devices.”

By now, Kyle was speechless. These people truly seemed worried about Max. And about Liz. The guy with the weird name, who had remained standing in one corner the whole time, had only spoken once. “I failed her.” He had obviously been talking about Liz.

And what the hell was the “dream plane”? Why was no one surprised that Liz was there too?

“I can start searching so long,” Maria said from the sidelines, gently laying a hand on Michael’s arm. He nodded and she moved off with Isabel.

Kyle wondered if he had somehow stumbled into a nest of aliens. Did they have breeding spaces in a cellar below the cabin? Where did they all come from suddenly?

The next moment, Michael was in his face. “You will help Alex find where that bastard is keeping Max and Liz. And then you will convince your people to let us go back to Antar without trouble.”

Kyle just stared at him. Yeah, right, he thought.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Full power. Max felt light as air, but filled to the brim with energy. His body was healed, the horrible heat gone. Thank goodness it had obviously taken Khivar a while to get to wherever Liz was. He should take note of how much time elapsed, maybe it could help them figure out where they were later.

For now, he needed to make sure that not one finger was laid on Liz. Framing her face in his hands, he spoke urgently. “Honey, listen to me, whatever happens, don’t let go of me. I’m going to protect you, I promise.” And hope they leave me alone while I do it.

“How Max?”

“I—I’m working on that.” He didn’t want to worry her further.

Her hands moved over his shoulders, his chest. “Are you alright now?” she asked in wonder, her trust in him total.

“I’m better than alright.” He could feel another presence with Liz and he leaned down to kiss her. Come inside me, he told her without words, inside where it’s safe.


Khivar swore when he drew near Liz and she was suddenly enveloped by a green, shimmering shield. Angrily, he sent a bolt towards her, only to have it repelled.

Max felt the efforts to break down the shield and, once again, he was stunned at how easily he withstood it. How easily THEY withstood it. With Liz in his arms, they could go a long time like this.

Fitting herself closer to Max, Liz teased his attention back to her and away from the attacks. “I love you,” she whispered to him, her lips brushing his. How many times has she said those words to him, but never had they been truer than right now, while he was protecting her.

Giddy with relief at their success, Max grinned down at her. “So, my alien powers turn you on, huh?”

“Oh yeah,” she flirted back. But then she felt a moment of panic again and her brow furrowed, causing Max to tighten his arms around her. “How long…?”

“I don’t know,” he told her. “This is new ground for me too.” They kissed again, this time with more urgency.


“This can’t last forever,” Nacedo panted at Khivar. They’d been combining their blasts. “We just have to keep going.” But they were starting to get tired too.

Max had no idea how long the attacks lasted. He only knew they WERE slowly starting to impact on the shield. And on his power. So he’d drawn Liz down onto the sand with him, cradling her against his chest as she sat between his legs. He hoped that if he enveloped her with his body, his essence, here on the dream plane, it would keep the shield going for longer.

“Liz,” he said urgently, “if we ever get the chance, if we could physically touch, it would multiply the power we have right now even more. Remember that, sweetheart, for when we get out of these cells. We’re going to have to do this together.”


Nacedo and Khivar looked at each other and aimed together, each one of them with both hands. They were running out of steam.

Liz was ripped from his grip as if by a strong wind, and moved to just outside his reach. “Liz!” he cried in panic, scrambling closer with an outstretched hand.

He felt the shield flicker and seized hold of her fingertips frantically to haul her back again. “Hold on!”

Clinging to his hand with a death grip, Liz fought to get closer to him, but it felt like she was in quicksand and she had trouble moving. At least they were touching again, but Max had started trembling and she felt faint too.

“Hang on,” he pleaded, his eyes begging and she tried harder. For him.


Sweat was pouring off Khivar and Nacedo when they stopped the blast. Khivar stared at the sight of the stupid human girl who had betrayed him, huddled on the ground and surrounded by the presence and power of the Antarian Royal Heir, and he snapped.

“I’m not playing this game anymore. We’re killing them both.” He looked frightening. “And I want them to watch each other die.”

TBC
posted on 9-Feb-2002 10:15:53 AM by LivE
LOL, ladylou. You had me chuckling about the cricket! I'm not so sure that we deserved that win, but hey, we'll take what we can get. And I'm not taking ANY bets on the rugby!

Thanks, as always, for the great feedback. This is the last part before I'm going away for about 2 weeks. I hope someone can keep the story on the board for me, please! After this part, there is only two parts left before the end.

Hope you all enjoy this,
LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 34

“Max! They want to kill us!” Liz cried as she tumbled back into Max’s arms when the attacks on the shield stopped. Max was breathing hard, like he’d run a marathon, but he held her to him convulsively.

“I know,” he soothed her. “We need to make it look like their plan will work. If we can only get to touching distance, then I can protect both of us and get rid of them.”

“You can’t protect both of us when we’re apart?”

He shook his head. “But I don’t think he knows that.”


“Take them to the camp, but don’t let them touch each other,” Khivar told Nacedo. “The two of us have to recharge and Cal is the only other one with enough power to help us. I want us all to work on one of them at a time. I’m thinking we kill the Prince first.”

Nacedo eyed the girl, who still had the shield around her, with worry. “How do I move her if the shield is still there?”

“Sweetheart, I’m going to drop the shield now. Go with them and get as close to me as you can.”

“This is a huge gamble, Max.”

“I know, we don’t have any other choice. They can’t work up the energy for blasts right now, so you’ll be safe for a while at least.”


And in the real world, Liz’s shield flickered out.

“Get her!” Khivar yelled immediately, impelling Nacedo forward to grab hold of her arm. “And get little Nicholas in here, I’m going to let him take her to her husband.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“There are only two places that have the kind of cells or bunkers you described in this area,” Alex told Michael who was hovering over his shoulder. He pointed to two places on the map visible on his laptop screen. “This one seems the farthest away from civilization, so it is probably the place he would have chosen."

Alex had arrived with Doran an hour earlier and had gotten to work immediately. That he had been shocked about the events that had taken place in his absence was an understatement. Liz was captured? By Khivar? And he knows she’d betrayed him now! Alex was too scared to think about what could be happening to Liz right now.

And then he had arrived at the cabin to find a sulking Kyle there. Kyle had thrown him a withering, accusing look, scaring Alex witless. Kyle was way too close to “Andre” and this would mean Alex’s final hours as an employee of the infamous Resistance leader had arrived.

“What is it?” All Michael could see on the map was a bunch of little dots.

“It’s an old army facility—a training camp. They had these bunkers built to withstand a nuclear attack. It consists of the actual camp,” he pointed to a large congregation of dots, “which houses a jail, and some bunkers surrounding the camp.” There were little dots placed at intervals circling the camp. “I think there used to be tunnels that linked the camp with the bunkers, they would have made them big enough to drive a jeep in them. But I’m not sure if those are still usable.”

Michael stood staring at the map silently, contemplating their options. They didn’t really have any. “We should go there, we don’t have a choice.”

“I agree,” Alex piped in immediately. He wanted Liz out of there as soon as possible.

Michael turned to Doran. “Get a group together, we’re leaving in fifteen minutes.” His eyes fell on Kyle. “And bring him along, I don’t trust him here.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Shivering, Liz held herself reigned in tightly as Nicholas arrived to accompany her to wherever they were taking her. He was leering lewdly at her, something that looked incredible horrible on a teenage face like his. They bundled her into the jeep unceremoniously, but Liz couldn’t help seeing their puzzlement at the absence of another shield.

She hoped Max knew what he was doing.

And that he was alright.

The sun was shining down on them brightly and only a few slabs of concrete with slits in them gave away the existence of the facility where Liz had been held. “Alone at last,” Nicholas told her as he started the vehicle. Technically, it wasn’t true, they had a soldier in the backseat, but apparently the guy didn’t count with Nicholas. “I’m sorry you abandoned me so abruptly last time,” he grinned, “ we could have had some fun.”

Liz ignored him, not wanting to provoke more conversation. Tentatively, she reached for Max with her mind, just to make sure he was still there and ready.

“Don’t, Liz!” Max cried in alarm. “The signs on your neck!”

Belatedly she jerked her mind away from his, sneaking a sideways glance at Nicholas to see if he had noticed anything weird. He was looking at her speculatively. “It’s a pity we don’t have time…”

Shuddering, Liz turned her face away. Max had been trying to keep his fury about the presence of Nicholas from her, but it was too intense to hide.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They heard the jeep before they saw it and everyone dropped down to the ground before Michael could even give the command. Creeping closer to the tip of the small hill, Michael managed to get a glimpse of the vehicle, apparently on its way to the same destination as them. A flash of long auburn hair made him suck in his breath. “Bingo.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They were standing in a wide clearing in what looked to be the center of a military camp. This might have been the parade ground once. Around them, most buildings were in ruins, with only the jail, where they had just dragged him from, having some semblance of its earlier purpose. Behind some of the broken walls, Max could spot tents.

Khivar had arrived in his cell in a rage earlier. “I’m not even going to bother anymore. I just want you dead. You and that bitch that betrayed me. Your death is enough to change the course of the war on Antar. Your sister was always too vain to be a good Queen.”

And, just because he was frustrated, Khivar had Cal hurt Max, burning two handprints into the skin of his chest. Max had pretended to be more hurt than he was, trying to lull Khivar into a false sense of security.

So, here he was standing, waiting for Liz to arrive and fighting to keep the pain contained so he could see this through. If only he could connect to Liz now, but he didn’t want to risk her while Nicholas was with her. Come on, Sweetheart. It had become a refrain.

Khivar was pacing up and down like a caged tiger and Max could visibly see him charging his power—his hands starting to glow with contained energy. It was a frightening sight. All Max had to go on was Doran’s word—that together he and Liz could overwhelm Khivar.

This was either going to work, or they were dying together here today. My Liz. So brave.

Max sucked in his breath when the jeep finally came into view. He felt a strange alien thing wake up inside him when he saw Nicholas pull Liz from the jeep, keeping her in his grasp. It was the same feeling that had nearly made him pound the cave wall into oblivion after he realized what Nicholas had done to her earlier.

Her eyes melded with his, telling him she trusted him. Asking what to do. Just get as close to me as you can, he urged her wordlessly.

“Finally,” Khivar hissed, striding to stand between Max and Liz. He gave Max a long look, a glint of malicious satisfaction in his eyes. Then he turned to Nicholas, who had steadily been moving forward, seemingly following Liz. “Search her mind, let’s see if we get lucky this time.”

Max saw Liz’s eyes widen in fear—she doesn’t have the serum in her system anymore. He strained uselessly against the hands that held him imprisoned. He could only do one thing at a time with their link. And he needed his power for what was coming.

His eyes pleaded with her to understand why he was letting this happen and Liz braced herself, keeping her gaze on Max.

Nicholas dug his fingers into her skull needlessly, making her wince, before he started the mind rape. The pain was excruciating and Liz bit her lip until she tasted blood. Dimly she heard a harsh sound from Max, but her vision had gone blurry and she couldn’t see what was happening to him.

Nicholas saw, though. Max’s eyes had gone totally black as the rage built up inside him, and with a powerful energy shove, he managed to fling the guards holding him away and came running, flashing past a surprised Khivar at speed. The sight made Nicholas hesitate, dropping his hands from Liz, who promptly stumbled to the ground. Before anyone else could move, Max had sent a blinding blast at Nicholas.

Liz fought her way to action while this was happening, struggling to stand up and go towards Max. Khivar was not having that and he aimed a blast at her, only to find it repelled by the shield that divided Max and Liz from him. Liz flung herself against Max, holding on as multiple blasts buffeted their shield. She pressed Max’s one hand against her neck, starting the healing without even being asked.

It took only seconds. Then Max shoved her behind his back. “I’m going to have to drop the shield to do this, stay behind me.” Taking extra seconds to harness their combined power, Max watched the crowd blasting at them. The blasts from the soldiers were puny, but those from the shapeshifters—who had traditionally been the guards of the Royals until they changed loyalties—and Khivar were very strong.

When he raised his arm, he could see Khivar blanch and the sight provided him with almost as much satisfaction as getting rid of Nicholas. Khivar’s sudden silence confused his men enough to give Max the opportunity he needed.

As the shield dropped, a huge wave of energy pulsed from Max and Liz raced outwards, disintegrating anything living in its path.

It only took seconds.

A great hush descended upon the area, Max and Liz standing in at the center of it, staring around them in shock. Never had they expected this to happen.

Dragging big gulps of air, Max scooped Liz into his arms. “Are you okay?”

She nodded into his chest, to complain about a headache seemed so incongruous right now. “I didn’t see Khivar—”

“He took off before I could drop the shield.” Max kissed her hard, relieved to have her with him again. “I’m sorry about not getting to you soon enough.”

But Liz’s attention was snagged by something else. “Max, we’re glowing!”

They were. Their bodies shimmered lightly in the harsh desert sun.

“Zan!” A shout from what sounded to be Michael broke into their absorption with this new development.

Still holding onto Liz’s hand, Max took off running in that direction. He found Khivar surrounded by a group led by Michael, all holding up defensive hands towards Khivar. But he was holding Kyle. There was amazement in Michael’s eyes as he looked at his Prince, what he’d seen today just could not be described. If only Kyle hadn’t tried to sneak away from them… right into Khivar’s path of flight.

Khivar looked like a desperate man. The kind of power this Prince had managed to create—with the help of a mere human—was overwhelming. “I’m taking this… human with me. And you’re going to let me go.” He didn’t even notice that his hand was glowing against Kyle’s head.

“There’s no place you can hide from us,” Max told him quietly.

“Max,” Liz interrupted softly and imploringly. Khivar was busy killing Kyle without knowing it. Max squeezed her hand in understanding.

Giving Michael a glance, Max started speaking, inciting the desperate rebel alien to further rage. “Where will you go? You will be reviled here on earth and on Antar. You couldn’t even defeat humans—” As he continued talking, Michael circled around and nodded at Max.

It all happened in a blur. Michael jumped forward to yank Kyle away from Khivar the same moment Max aimed a glowing hand at him, enveloping the alien in an energy field. Kyle slumped to the ground and Liz itched to run over to see how he was, but she sensed that Max needed her now, so she kept their hands linked.

“Your time is over, Khivar,” Max told him firmly.

And used the energy field to force him slowly to his knees in front of the future King and Queen of Antar.

“And ours have come.”

TBC
posted on 21-Feb-2002 12:27:53 PM by LivE
Well, I'm back from my little sojourn to the coast... And I'm tanned and LAZY! I didn't write as much as I'd hoped I would while there, so the next part (which is a humdinger btw) will only be out sometime over the weekend. *holds thumbs*

Thanks so much for the great feedback and all the bumps--I really appreciate it! Now I have to start catching up on all the fics I missed.

LivE
posted on 23-Feb-2002 12:03:54 PM by LivE
Right, so here is the penultimate part. WARNING: It's a three-hankey part! But I'm finally giving some answers...

Thank you again for the bumping and great feedback!

LivE

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter 35

“You’re killing him, Liz.”

Kyle’s soft words in her ear tore at Liz’s already shaky self-control. Her jaw ached from clenching it so tightly to stop the tears from flowing. They were standing to the side of the group that had converged to see Max and his people off. The ship was waiting silently in the background—an inanimate observer to one of the biggest moments in Liz’s life. Max was finally leaving, just as they had planned, but still…

His eyes kept coming back to her, just as hers was unable to leave him. Max and Isabel were standing with his earth parents, Philip and Diane Evans, whom Liz had met during the past week—a week during which she and Max had hardly spent a minute apart.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

**A Week Earlier**

“Respectfully, Sire,” D’lor was hovering beside Max as they waited for the ship to come take Khivar away. Max had sealed him in an energy field that would need Max’s own effort to release him again and then he had been made unconscious. He had decided that Khivar needed to be taken back to Antar under arrest—that it would be more effective than just telling his followers he had perished.

Max had also healed Kyle and in the process made sure Kyle knew exactly how he felt about Liz. He could see a new respect in Kyle’s eyes now and the thought pleased him. Kyle meant a lot to Liz and his help would be needed to make sure they could get off Earth without interference from “Andre”. On the other hand, he had learned nothing from Kyle, who had been full of Liz’s serum.

“Yes, D’lor?” Only then did Max notice that Michael was watching the scene intently.

“We should probably leave the planet as soon as possible, Sire,” D’lor wasn’t looking him in the eye, but staring at his feet, sounding hesitant. None of them knew for sure what their Prince’s plan for his human mate was, but it was bound to be an emotional issue. “May I suggest you join the ship—”

“No.” Max did not elaborate immediately, but waited until he could fold Liz under his arm. Dropping a soft kiss on her bent head, he sighed deeply. “There are some things we need to finish before we can leave.” He cleared his throat and hugged Liz closer. “Some people we need to say goodbye to. We’ll leave in five days.”

It was as close to a royal command as Max had ever issued and D’lor had no recourse but to touch his forehead in agreement. Thankfully, no one else said another word.

Liz fisted her hand in Max’s still-torn shirt and pressed her face into his warm throat. The next few days will be some of the hardest in her life.

The ship was an awesome sight to Liz. Naturally it was the first real spaceship she had seen in her life and the size of it amazed her. But what outdid all of the other things, was the sight of a column of soldiers disembarking in what seemed to her to be full official dress—all wearing the royal blue and cream colors of Antar. Their faces were flushed with excitement at seeing their Prince and Liz could sense that Max was no less affected.

“I wish Isabel was here to share this,” he whispered to her hoarsely.

Not knowing how to make that up to him, Liz just nodded.

After the group had born off the still unconscious Khivar, D’lor came over to Max again. “Sire, the ship can’t stay long, but we thought you might want to be the one to share this news with the King.”

Overcome with emotion, Max could only swallow and curve Liz even more fully against his side. “Yes, I would like that.”

Liz wondered if other people could also hear how much emotion Max was hiding beneath his relatively calm veneer.

“Come with me?” he asked her then, his eyes pleading for her to share in this majestic moment.

“Of course,” she promised him, sliding her hand into his. “Lead the way.”

This made him smile and Liz felt immeasurably lighter. The day had been wearying and frightening, filled with moments when she hadn’t been able to stop herself from fearing that she was never going to see Max again. As they prepared to walk on board the ship, she saw D’lor whisper something into one of the guards’ ears and that his eyes turned to her, filled with shock. Biting her lip, she lifted her head and stared back. I know I’m not what you would have wanted for your Prince, but he wanted me and to me that is all that counts.

Max had felt her slight hesitation and turned to her. “Are you sure you’re okay with this? I know the last time you were on a ship wasn’t exactly—”

“I’m fine, Max,” she assured him, wondering if he was blind to the shock waves rippling through his soldiers as one-by-one they learnt who this woman was he kept so close to his side.

They formed a guard of honor in any case.

Inside the ship looked a lot like Liz remembered from her last time. She hadn’t seen much that time apart from her wanderings in Maria and Michael’s apartments. Her heart was in her throat by the time the group had assembled in a large room with comfortable seats. For the most part the soldiers remained outside, but D’lor, Doran and Michael were inside and waiting to the side. Michael had quietly taken Liz’s arm and escorted her to stand with them and away from Max.

His full attention had been on a flickering image that was starting to form in the middle of the room, so Max had allowed Liz to drift from him and now she watched with baited breath for her first view of the King of Antar.

He seemed like a very distinguished man, this father of Max’s. He spoke quietly, his eyes trained on his son with that unique intensity that Liz had always associated with Max. They spoke in Antarian, with Max relating haltingly that Khivar was now in their hands in a language he hadn’t used much before.

She didn’t understand what they were saying—her few uttered words of the language having resulted from being linked to Max—but Liz could read his body language and see the confidence that shone through. Somewhere between all that had happened, her Max had turned into Prince Zan.

The King seemed overwhelmed at the news. He stared at his son for long moments as Khivar was brought and lain out at Max’s feet.

“Te banum shollom,” King Aran whispered. ‘It is over.’

Max felt pretty emotional himself. “Yes, Father,” he affirmed the statement. It truly was over.

“When are you coming home?”

His gaze sought and found Liz’s across the room. “In about a week. We need to finalize some things here first. I need to say goodbye to my par—the people who looked after Isabel and I.”

Aran nodded solemnly. “I understand. I just can’t wait—” He cut himself off. “I understand. Do what you must.”

“Father, I—” Max halted, staring at Liz. Maybe some things were better said in person. He tore his eyes away and met his father’s slightly worried look. “We’ll see you soon.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Nobody had asked why Kyle had agreed so quickly to allow Max and his people the five days requested to get their things in order for leaving. He had booked himself into a hotel, the money provided by Doran, and promised to stay there until the ship returned to take Max away. Max had asked Kyle to come around to see them off, knowing that Kyle would have to report this to “Andre”.

“Dad? I’m just calling to say I’m fine and I’ll be around in a few days.” Kyle grinned at the angry retort from Jim.

“Yes, I know I went missing for a while… No, Khivar is out of the picture, Dad, I promise. We managed to get the best of him finally.” Kyle sighed. Jim was going to be so mad when he finally learned the truth. “Max disappeared Dad. No, Liz is with me.”

And so it went.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

After the ship with the soldiers and Khivar had left, Max and Liz returned to the cabin to inform Isabel of all that happened. She was pretty quiet through it all, merely giving Liz a quick glance when it became clear that the only thing that saved them all from Khivar was Max’s link to Liz.

Max and Liz cleaned up hastily, dragging on fresh clothes before appearing in the lounge area where a silent Isabel was waiting. Giving her a hug, Max told Isabel to go back to Roswell, to Philip and Diane and that he would meet up with her there later. For now, he wanted time alone with Liz.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

By unspoken mutual consent, they drove back to the motel outside Carlsbad where they’d first made love—Max holding her hand the whole time. Neither of them spoke, but they could feel each other’s emotions close to the surface.

Max had stopped in Carlsbad itself on the way, where they’d stocked up on food, clothes and toiletries for their stay. The owner of the motel became effusive when he saw the amount of money Max was prepared to spend and he immediately gave them the keys to the cabin they had shared last time. It looked exactly the same, still in the blue and cream colors Max had created during their last stay.

They worked silently to put away all their shopping and then, finally, they stood on opposite sides of the bed, staring at each other.

“Liz…” Max’s voice was thick with emotion.

“Don’t say anything, Max,” she halted him quickly, a desperate tone in her voice. “We’ve talked about this already.”

Swallowing, he nodded. “I can’t believe it’s finally over.”

Smiling slightly, Liz moved to kneel on the bed. “Yes, it is.”

Max copied her action, crawling forward until he knelt in the center of the bed. “Come here,” he urged softly, holding out his hand.

Obediently, she closed the gap between them, with Max hauling her the last few inches until she was flush against his chest, straddling his powerful thighs. Instead of kissing her, as she had expected, Max held her close with one arm and lifted his right hand to lovingly trace the features of her face. So much love shone from his gaze that Liz felt a lump forming in her throat and tears well in her eyes.

“Don’t cry,” he admonished her tenderly. “I’m trying to make you happy, not sad.”

“You are making me happy!” Liz swiped at her wet cheeks angrily, irritated by the fact that her vision was blurring and she couldn’t see him properly. “I just…” she faltered, then took a deep steadying breath. “I know you said… But Max, whatever happens in the future, I want you to know I’ll be okay with it.”

“Liz!” he said alarmed. “There is no way—”

She kissed him hard, stopping the flow of his protest with her lips. “Just know that I’ll be okay.”

He stared at her a long time, his honey-dark eyes searching hers intently. “Yes,” he said finally, “you will be okay.” Then he bent his head and kissed her, parting her lips with his tongue and starting a gentle dance with hers.

Liz felt light-headed, her body heating up immediately as his hands drifted over her hair and back before cupping her rear to fit her more firmly against his lower body.

He made love to her slowly, taking his time to slide their clothes off and to caress every inch of her body with his hands and mouth. A stillness permeated the room as if every object knew that this was a moment of reverence. Even Max and Liz were quiet while they loved each other.

Only when at last he pushed inside her, did Liz make a sound—a breathless, hitching sigh escaping her as her back arched in tandem with his thrust. Her mind was filled with images from his—fleeting flashes of the dark hours that had preceded this moment interspersed with memories of her.

Tightening her inner-muscles around his shaft, she held him inside her for as long as she could. Max sucked in a harsh breath, before expelling it again in a rush. The sound made her eyes snap open, finding him staring down at her with fierce yearning.

“I wish…”

“Oh Max!” She didn’t have to tell him she wished too—he knew all her feelings by now.

They rocked together slowly, rhythmically, all the while staring into each other’s eyes. Trying to prolong the intimacy didn’t work—they’d been wanting this too much. Max clutched her tightly to him, pressing his mouth against her neck as he felt the spasms of a climax start deep inside her body. She murmured his name on a broken hitch and he let his control fly too, spilling warm release into her body.

Afterwards, they clung to each other, both of them with tears in their eyes.

“I thought he was going to kill you,” Max finally voiced the dark fear that had haunted him while Khivar had had them both. “I was so afraid I’d never see you again.”

Liz touched his face tenderly, her fingertips lightly caressing. “I wasn’t afraid for me, I knew you would protect me, but I worried about you.”

Max kissed her again then, a wild, savage, fierce kiss that emphasized his ownership of her and his relief that they were safe and together. When he lifted his mouth, hers was swollen and moist. Immediately contrite, he leaned down, laving soothingly at her lips with his tongue. “I’m sorry… sorry.”

Later, Liz clutched him to her when he started moving away, keeping him in her arms and inside her body. “Don’t go, not yet.”

Leaning on his elbows, he stayed, brushing her hair from her face. “When are you going to tell Maria?”

“Soon.” Liz bit her lip, remembering the day she had arrived at the desert camp filled with people “Andre” had saved from Khivar.

“Amy?” She had found the woman Jim was involved with now in the cave room they were sharing. Liz felt her heart beat crazily in her chest as Amy DeLuca turned around and flashed her a big smile.

“Liz, honey, you’re back!”

They hugged warmly with Liz fleetingly remembering how she had stormed out of the room where Khivar had tortured Amy to retch in the nearest bathroom, thinking Amy dead. It had been Alex who had had the guts to go over and check the pulse of the woman lying so still on the ground. He had come running to Liz then—Liz who had medical training—telling Liz that Amy was alive—barely—and that they needed to save her.

It had been a nightmare and Amy had taken a long time to recuperate, with Liz spending frantic days running herself ragged in the lab and then hurtling through the dark tunnel that linked their safe house and the small cabin where they’d been treating Amy.

“We missed you,” Amy said with a grin now. “Jim always starts grumbling when you stay away too long. I think he wanted a daughter like you.”

Amy and Jim were involved, but Amy had never fully gone over to his thinking that all aliens were bad. Although she had never met any of the others, she had remained firmly sure of the position of the Resistance that only Khivar was to be eliminated while this Prince he had come to seek was a good person.

“Thank you.” Liz had swallowed. “Amy, I have something to tell you. I—”

Having learnt a long time ago that many unexpected things happened around this camp, Amy had remained silent, waiting for Liz to speak.

And Liz wanted to tell Amy, but she wasn’t sure what was going to be worse for Amy—continuing to believe her daughter was dead or finding out Maria was alive but that she couldn’t see her. “Maria, your daughter… I saw her, Amy.”

Liz watched anxiously as Amy’s face froze for a moment, before it started shining. Then, she had had to field all the questions Amy fired at her.

Until Jim had come to whisk her away for the meeting she had been dreading.

The group calling itself “Andre” met in a large cavern in the mountain camp although not all of them actually lived there. They had done a lot for her through the years, but Liz always felt slightly nervous when she had to face them. They were hard men. And now she had something to hide—she loved the alien prince they were trying to capture and kill.

Jim stood behind her as she settled herself in a chair in front of the four men, all of whom had worked for the FBI’s Special Unit responsible for the Control of Alien Life on Earth.

“So, Liz,” the man called Pierce said with a smile, “we hear you have news about Khivar…”


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Now, as she stood here watching Max preparing to leave the planet, Liz clung to the memories they’d made during the last five days. They’d made love as often as they possibly could, even when Max had taken her with him to his parents’ house in Roswell to say goodbye.

Diane had taken to Liz immediately, telling her with tears in her eyes that she had wished so hard that her lonely son would meet someone like her eventually—someone that loved Max as he deserved to be loved. In turn, Liz was amazed by the two wonderful people who, a long time ago, had listened to what must have sounded like a crazy story, and took in two alien children and treated them as their own. They loved Max and Isabel and Diane had moved Liz into Max’s room without saying a word.

“Liz? Did you hear me?” Kyle asked.

“Yes,” she croaked and Kyle decided not to push things when he saw how pale she was. Hell, he couldn’t believe he was worrying about the obvious distress of Evans either, but the man looked positively miserable.

Michael suddenly appeared at their side. “King Aran wants to say a few words to all of you.” He gestured at the ship and to where Diane and Philip were already moving through the doorway. Max stood waiting for them silently, hugging Liz against him as soon as she drew near.

Inside, they were taken again to the room where Aran had learnt of Khivar’s capture, but this time his image was already filtering from the communications-link. Max gathered his parents in front of the flickering beam and folded Liz into his arms, holding her so tightly Liz had trouble breathing.

Doran translated as Aran spoke.

“Diane and Philip, I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for my family. I know that it must have been a big sacrifice to take my children in. As I watch them now, I can see that you have done a fine job of raising them—their mother would have been so proud. I also want you to know that you will always be welcome here in our home on Antar and I’m sure my children would want to come and visit you often. Thank you seems like so little to say, but… thank you.” The King bowed his head to the two people to whom he owed his beautiful grown-up children.

“And for the rest of you…” The King faltered slightly when he finally laid eyes on his son and the girl he was holding as if his life depended on it. “I hear that we owe much of our victory over Khivar to members of the human race. My wife was right to send my children to your planet, you are a remarkable race. I thank all of you too.”

King Aran’s gaze went from Max and Isabel and returned to Max, turning measuring. “My children, I wish you a safe journey.”

And just like that, it was over.

The group was ushered outside again and emotional hugs and kisses were shared between the Evans’ and their children, as well as the other humans staying behind.

Max had trouble letting go of Liz. He pulled her off to the side and kissed her desperately, crushing her body to his. “Liz,” he breathed against her mouth. “I promise—”

“I know,” she told him through her tears, her throat aching so much she could hardly speak. Raising up on tiptoe, she gave him one final sweet kiss. “I love you, Max Evans.”

His eyes were as wet as hers when he jerked himself away from her with effort and shoved his hands into his pockets to walk away with a bent head.

Liz was crying so much she could hardly see him, but she stayed where she was, hugging herself and blinking furiously so clear her vision. Max faltered at the top of the ramp leading into the ship, turning around to give Liz one last look.

“Mi Shanaya, always.” His whisper drifted through her mind as their connection flooded her with his love.

Then he was gone.

And Liz barely registered when Alex and Maria put their arms around her shivering body in comfort.

TBC

***Don't kill me yet - one more part to ccome, remember?***
posted on 25-Feb-2002 12:58:06 PM by LivE
Thank you (again) for the great feedback, I'm glad you all found that last part as emotional as I did while writing it. I just wanted to promise all of you that this will not end horribly - you all know me any way, I'm a sucker for happy endings!

Then, thank you jassifras for my birthday wishes! I'm not sure how you knew about it, but THANK YOU!!

LivE
posted on 26-Feb-2002 3:36:23 PM by LivE
Well, this is the end to a long journey! Wow, I never meant to take so long to finish this fic! *big* Anyway, I just wanted to say a few things:

First, thank you so very much for all the kind and enthusiastic feedback--you guys made it all worth while.

Second, I hope the ending was worth all the angst! And I hope the part isn't confusing - I jump around in time a lot.

Third, no, I still don't plan on writing Belle and Luca's story yet, sorry. *sad* I haven't got anything else planned right now either.

Fourth, keep the Max and Liz we all fell in love with in your hearts!

Regards,
LivE *happy*

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Chapter 36

**The Present - A Month After Max had Left**

A slight breeze ruffled the wispy dress around her legs, the dark expanse of water in front of her rippling around her ankles seductively. As Liz stared out towards the moonlit horizon, she shivered slightly. So much had happened during the last month.

Liz, I can’t ask you to give up your life here to come with me. His beloved voice echoed through her memory—from that morning before he made her his completely.

You don’t have to ask, I’m offering. My life is with YOU now, Max.

How clearly she still heard his sharp intake of breath at her firm statement. But still he hadn’t given in.

Soon after Max had left for Antar, she had taken Maria to meet Amy at Kyle’s house in Roswell.


“Where are we going?” Maria whined for the millionth time, making Liz smile—a rarity since Max’s ship had disappeared from her sight.

“You’ll see.”

“You’ve not lost it totally due to missing M—, erm… just tell me!” Maria amended herself, mentally kicking herself for bringing back the shadows to Liz’s expressive eyes.

“I really miss him, Maria.”

“I know, chica. I miss Space Boy too. You know they—”

“Yes,” Liz quickly interrupted. But her heart wasn’t so sure. She ached with the irrational fear that Max would forget her quickly once he’d arrived on his new world, the world where he was a Prince instead of a mere normal man, where females probably threw themselves at the handsome heir to their throne. Then she got angry with herself, did she trust Max’s love so little? He would never just forget her.

But fear was an insidious thing.

Pulling up in front of the house Kyle now lived in again, she turned to Maria. “Here we are.”

“Here?” Maria stared at the plain, small house with a frown. “What is here?”

“Well, Kyle for one,” Liz answered with a grin.

“Okay, Liz babe, you have gone mad. The guy is cute and everything, but I think alien sex has kinda spoiled me for—”

“Hey, Kyle is a great guy, you would be lucky!” Liz couldn’t help but grin when Maria looked panicked. “I didn’t bring you here to see Kyle. I brought you here to see his dad’s girlfriend.”

Maria gaped at her. By now, she was starting to be sure that Max’s leaving had fried something vital in Liz’s mind.

The door of the house opened abruptly, Amy standing hesitantly just outside of it. Liz turned back to Maria. "That is Jim’s girlfriend. Maria, it’s your mom.”

A soft choke escaped Maria. “But…” she stared at her mother dumbly. “But she…”

“Khivar brought her to our lab a long time ago. I’m sorry, Maria, we had to make her disappear or he would know… she was still alive.” Liz cast a look at the worried-looking Amy. “Go to her. She’s afraid you’re mad at her for not letting you know she was hiding.”

Maria suddenly flew from the car, running towards Amy and the embrace she had missed for three years.

Later, while mother and daughter caught up in some other place in the house, Liz, Kyle and Jim had chatted in the den.

“Liz, are you sure you’re okay?” Jim still couldn’t believe that bastard Max had just disappeared on her. Kyle had told them an edited version of events, just saying that Max had been instrumental in killing Khivar before he said goodbye to Liz, never to be seen again. He didn’t mention that Max had been the OTHER alien the group called “Andre” had been searching for.

“I’m okay,” Liz assured him, but the worry and sadness in her eyes belied her words.

“Well, you deserve a holiday after all you went through. I hope Kyle let you rest while you two were holed up wherever.” Jim gave his son an affectionate look and, for the first time, Liz realized that Jim harbored secret hopes for her and Kyle. Maybe if she hadn’t met Max…

“Yeah well…” Surprisingly Kyle blushed, evading Liz’s gaze. “So, no news on the other alien group yet?” he changed the subject.

“No,” Jim said. “It’s like they disappeared off the face of the earth. We can’t get a good lead on them.”

“Maybe they were never here to begin with,” Kyle stated, still avoiding looking at Liz.

Liz was floored. What had Max done to Kyle when he healed him? The only thing Kyle had ever told her about it was: ‘that man loves you more than the human mind can comprehend.’ But whatever it was, it had turned Kyle into his ally. He had stood by Liz, holding her when missing Max got too much and she cried until she had no tears left, finding things for her to do that had nothing to do with their alien quest, and bullying her into eating. Through it all Alex and Maria had stayed close too—the four of them turning into a tight group.



Now, as she stood here, on this strange shore with the soft sand beneath her feet, she still couldn’t quite comprehend how her life had changed in so short a time. All because an alien prince loved her.

Reflecting on that morning she and Max had planned what to do in that dingy resort outside Carlsbad, she marveled at how sure they had been of what they each wanted.

“I want to come with you, Max.” Biting her lip, she lost the battle not to beg. “Please.”

“I want you there,” he had answered moving around the bed with the awful spread to stand before her. “You have no idea how much. But Liz—”

Tears had sprung into her eyes, abruptly silencing him. “Sweetheart! I’m not saying no!” He brushed tender fingers over her cheeks before framing her face with his strong hands—hands that were going to love her soon. “I don’t know how to do this. I don’t want to drag you over there and then you can’t live… breathe there. And I’m really not happy with taking you away from the only place you knew all your life… your parents, friends, work. Liz, I can’t ask this of you. I need to go back to see what options there are for me—for us. Then maybe I can come back… some day.” His thumbs caressed the sensitive corners of her mouth. “Do you understand?”

She understood that he was trying to do the right thing for her. But didn’t he understand that the right thing was being wherever he was? “I want to go with you when you leave,” she said stubbornly, curling her fingers around his and squeezing. “It will work, I know it will. Your body is not so different from mine, if you can live there, so can I.”

But Max had remained worried.

It had turned into a tense discussion before Max was finally convinced that he wasn’t going to ruin her life by letting her go with him to Antar. He had had overwhelmed tears in his eyes when he finally compromised. “But Liz, I will have to go there alone at first and make sure you won’t be at risk.”

“How long?”

“It takes a week or so to get there… Three weeks, I’d need three weeks.”

At that point, three weeks hadn’t sounded like much when compared to the lifetime they would have together. But Liz hadn’t been prepared for seeing Max in his role as Prince Zan. During the fight with Khivar, she had seen a side of him she hadn’t before and it reminded her forcibly that Max had a heritage that she could not compete with. He was to be the heir to the throne of an entire planet—her mind couldn’t even wrap itself around the concept, it was so big. Thus she had told him that she would understand if he changed his mind about coming back after he’d seen his future. He had been so sure he wouldn’t, but she couldn’t help but be scared that, while he would always love her, he would be taken away from her by his destiny.

So, it was with trepidation that she had gone to the now-deserted cabin in the desert after the promised three weeks to wait for his return.


***A week ago***

Inside the cabin, Alex, Maria, Kyle and Amy were talking animatedly while three silent onlookers watched from the sidelines, but Liz could barely swallow, let alone speak. She clung to the wooden doorway in an effort to keep herself steady, but her hands were trembling visibly as the vast sand vista remained undisturbed.

“They’ll be here, chica,” Maria assured her, adding a comforting hug to the statement. “In fact, I’m surprised he hadn’t been here waiting for you when we—” Oops, wrong thing to say, Maria admitted to herself. Liz had been quiet ever since Max had left, sometimes retreating into her own little world for long periods.

Maria hoped that Max arrived soon, or he would only find a Liz-puddle here, instead of the girl he left behind. And if Michael weren’t with him, she would go to Antar and kick that pigheaded man’s butt to the curb too—he’d better have missed her as much as she had missed him.

One of the silent watchers was Jim Valenti. He had gotten the shock of his life when Amy finally revealed the reason for their visit to this remote place. She had come to see off her daughter, who was leaving for another planet with her alien boyfriend. Being Amy, she had looked decidedly smug about apparently having been right about the other aliens. She hadn’t been so obvious as to say it out loud, but her look said: I told you so all along. He had nearly burst an artery in fury, until Kyle had added his version of the story. Liz hadn’t said a word during the whole discussion, but he could see her start slightly every time Max’s name was mentioned. It was then he realized that something huge had happened in the lives of Liz, Maria and Kyle somewhere along the way—and it all resulted from the influence of the royalty of Antar.

Jim hoped they weren’t all deluded.

And he hoped to heck Pierce never asked him about any of this. How on earth could he explain that not only Liz and Alex, but his own son had aided these other aliens from escaping earth? And that he was in on it now. Damn. At least they had waited until almost all the guilty parties were on the verge of leaving Pierce’s sphere of influence.

Liz’s parents had no idea what to expect. Their daughter had spent the majority of the last month at their home in Boston during which she finally let them in on her secret life of the last few years. Not only had Liz been spying against Khivar, whom they were shocked to learn was a monster, but she had somehow gotten involved with another alien and now planned to go live on his planet.

Most eyes regularly returned to the petite brunette guarding the door so closely.

“What if he found someone else, Maria?” Liz whispered, her eyes still glued to the empty horizon.

Maria gasped and spun her around. “Now I know you’ve lost your mind!” she scolded Liz. “You never saw the way he looked at you when you weren’t watching—like you were his salvation. I knew him a long time before he met you and you made him a whole new person, Liz. He’ll be here, I can guarantee you that.”

Liz bent her head, her long, dark hair spilling over her face, hiding it from Maria.

“Do you remember when you were on our ship? In that cell?” Maria tried again.

“Yes.” A faint whisper.

“He hardly left that stupid observation room, Liz. No matter how wrong you seemed for him then, he couldn’t stay away. He watched you and he loved you, even though he thought you would never be his. I feared for Michael’s life a couple of times while he was in there talking to you.” She grasped Liz’s shoulders, giving her a small shake. “Trust in your love for each other. He’ll be here, even if he has to go through some people to do it.”

Maria was right, Liz admitted. Lifting her hands to her neck, she touched the places where he had marked her for the first time since he left, tracing shaking fingers over her skin. When he’d been so far away, she hadn’t wanted to feel the absence of the link between them, so she hadn’t even tried to rekindle the glowing signs. But now… Concentrating on an image of Max she lovingly called up in her mind, she pressed her fingers onto the swirling sign of the Royal House of Antar.

The sudden glow that erupted was so bright, Maria took a hasty step back. “Holy cow!”

Everyone came rushing over, talking simultaneously, but Liz was leaning back against the doorframe with closed eyes, her face a picture of bliss. He was coming! She could feel all the atoms in her body starting to hum and every last one of her fears slide away.

Uncurling his tightly clenched fists, Max stared down at his glowing palms and nearly shouted with joy, oblivious to the gasps of shock sounding around him. Whirling around, he grinned openly at Michael, who had been pacing the floor behind him. Just like Liz, Max had fought his own demons while away, praying that Liz would be there when he got back. Facing his father with the news of Liz was not as hard as he’d feared. Aran had been less shocked than he had anticipated, but remained wary of this strange girl they were allowing into their family. Nothing had phased Max. He had rushed around for a week, preparing a place for him and Liz to stay and making sure she’d be okay health-wise in between starting with his duties as Prince. The terrible empty ache in his heart spurred him on to work himself until he was too tired to feel anymore.

On the other hand, the journey back to earth had been excruciating. There hadn’t been much to keep him busy and he ended up pacing his room for hours, dreaming up bad scenarios—all of which ended in Liz not being at the cabin when he arrived.

But now he had the glowing proof that she was down there, waiting for him. Oh lord, they had so many lonely days and misery-filled nights to make up for! Next to him, a group of females chittered excitedly. Max sighed. They were to be Liz’s servants and they kept telling him that they would need to see Liz first, to prepare her for her “royal mate”. He had told them to forget it in no uncertain terms. The moment they land, he wanted to hold Liz and not let her go until they got back to Antar. At least.

Maria and Liz clung to each other as the ship settled onto the sand with a soft hiss. They were oblivious to the little crowd that gathered behind them with gaping mouths, their whole focus on the door that was opening way too slowly in the hull of the ship.

Max waited impatiently as the Royal Guard went outside ahead of him. It was all he would allow before he rushed down onto the desert sand with Michael at his heels.

And there she was. His heart literally stopped when he saw her again, looking more beautiful than he remembered. “Liz,” he breathed in awe, his feet suddenly unable to take him forward.

Liz had the same problem. As Michael and Maria embraced and kissed, she stood rooted to the spot, drinking in the sight of the man she loved. He wore jeans, she noted incongruously, surely that wasn’t what he normally wore on Antar.

Then he smiled and the paralysis that had plagued her limbs disappeared.

She ran towards him with a small cry, only allowing him a few strides before she flung herself into his embrace, wrapping her arms and her legs around him so that their bodies pressed together tightly. A huge shudder wracked her body when the heat of his skin seeped into her, finally chasing away the chill that had settled inside her when he had left.

Neither of them spoke for long breathless moments—it was enough to feel their connection jump to ecstatic life and flood them with love and longing and desire. Frantic kisses later, Max tore his mouth away, panting harshly. “I want so much to love you right now, but I think your parents would be upset.”

Belatedly, Liz remembered they had an audience and slid her legs from his waist. Max was staring down at her as if he didn’t quite know what to do first now that he had her in his arms again. He ended up holding her hand tightly as he finally met the two people that had given him the love of his life.

And he wasted no time in asking them if he could marry their daughter.

**Present**

Warm hands settled on her hips, drawing her back into a very aroused body.

“I’ve wanted to bring you here for real for a long time,” Max whispered against her ear as light from the three moons bathed the beach she had first seen on the dream plane.

Her Antarian wedding dress slid over her skin seductively as he slowly trailed his hands over her stomach and up towards her breasts. “Max,” she sighed, her head falling back against his shoulder as his caresses unfurled a warm, moist heat in the pit of her stomach.

They had spent the whole journey here finding new ways to make love. After the first almost frantic coupling just seconds after they had entered Max’s rooms on the ship, they had relaxed, knowing they had their whole lives ahead of them to be together like this. They had kissed for hours, basking in being able to sleep together every night and wake up holding each other every morning. They had even talked about having babies one day, Max smilingly promising that he would undo his magic in her womb as soon as she was ready to bear his children.

Her servants had been horrified at the fact that she allowed Max to see her in various states of dishevelment, telling her respectfully that a Princess should strive to be as perfect as possible for her mate. Max had laughed when she told him the story, wiping away her worry that she was already not worthy of him by picking her up and dropping her on his bed, proceeding to very deliberately ruin her appearance. The servants had eventually given up on that particular tradition.

Whenever Max had been busy with his own duties, Liz had spent time with her new servants, getting to know Antarian customs. It was a whole new way of life she had been committing herself to, and she wanted to make Max proud. She planned to get involved in science on Antar too, but would aim most of her duties at forging relations between her old planet and her new one.

The meeting with his father had gone well, but Liz had the feeling that she would still have to prove herself to the King in future. He accepted that his son loved her to distraction, but he wanted to see proof of her feelings too. That would come in time, she knew.

As for now, she and Max were celebrating a new beginning in the place where they had spent so many glorious hours on the dream plane. The air smelled different here on Antar and the water drifting around her feet had a thicker substance than that of earth. But the planet had its own unique beauty.

“I love you,” Max whispered into her hair as his hands continued their languid seduction of her body.

“And I love you,” she promised him back. They had held a blessing ceremony here a few hours ago, presided over by the King, making their bonding public. But everyone had gone now, leaving them alone on the pristine beach.

Sliding her hands in between their bodies, Liz found Max’s arousal and trailed teasing fingers over it, listening for the inevitable hitch in his breath. He pushed into her palms while pressing his hands more firmly over her breasts. “Will the sand bother you?” he asked thickly.

“No.” She arched into his caress. “Not if you do your magic.”

He did more magic than just stopping the sand from ruining their moment—he caressed her body to singing life when her dress was gone before tenderly sliding inside her. His eyes burned down into hers as he rocked rhythmically above her.

Ever since they’d met in a college classroom many months ago, all their actions had had each other as a first priority, both consciously and subconsciously.

It was all for you.

Completion rushed upon them as always, quickening their breathing and their thrusts until they climaxed with soft sounds of satisfaction before resting quietly in a loving embrace.

So much was lying ahead of them on this new planet, but as Max whispered the words that had sealed their fate so long ago, his lips against his mark below her ear, Liz knew that they loved enough to see them through that may come.

“U Shayna Min.” You are Mine.

THE END

*happy* *happy* *happy* *happy* *happy*
posted on 1-Mar-2002 9:47:38 AM by LivE
THANK YOU for the kind feedback, everyone! I'm glad you all enjoyed the ride.

Then, just a note about possible future stories. I am working on another of my short one-parters about the Family Evans from my Experiment Universe. I'm not sure when it's going to be finished, though. Other than that I don't have anything in the works.

Again, thanks for reading and a special thank you to everyone that took a minute to say they enjoyed it.

LivE