|posted on 16-Sep-2001 3:35:35 PM by Chrystalkay|
Disclaimer: The usual, love the show and Melinda Metz’ characters, but don’t have any connection except wishful thinking. My utmost thanks to Melinda Metz for joining the writers of the show. It should really rock this season!
Summary: Post end of season 2. I’m going to find a way to bring Alex back!
Rating: I like to keep it clean. If you don’t mind a few “Oh God's" here and there, it should not offend.
"If I Could Save Time in a Bottle."
The Granolith had gone, leaving an empty trail in the sky. The group’s first reaction after running for cover was predictable.
Isabel, was hit by several things at once. The shocking truth that Tess had murdered Alex hit her the hardest. It brought back her loss with staggering brutality. That Tess was taking them to be killed… well she didn’t want to dwell on that right at the moment. Later she could take the time to be furious, after her stomach finished doing flip flops. Right now, she was hit by the realization that Jim might at any moment be handing over the tape she and Max had made for their parents. That immediate panic overrode everything else. “What are we going to do?”
Max’s most immediate thought had been on the last shock he had received. Tess had been taking them to their enemies. And his son would be in the hands of those who wanted them dead. His answer confused Isabel at first because her mind was running in other circles. “I have to save my son.” They were all safe but his unborn son was flying into danger.
He looked up, tracing the faint path of the Granolith with his eyes, and he was hit with the hopelessness of his position. How?
Liz came up behind him and gently took his arm. “Max?” She looked up into his face, reading shock, rage, and defeat. She wanted to hold him in her arms, and to be held by him. To feel his lips on hers and his love for her blasting through the infinite space of their souls. He looked down and the feeling of loss and pain she saw in his eyes was almost more than she could take. Oh God, she loved him so much and yet perhaps he would never be ready to go back. To try to reach for what they once had. He had been willing to leave her…maybe that said it all. Her heart skipped and stuttered, as if asking ‘how much more can I take’?
Then Max’s eyes focused on her. Really seeing the one person in his life that he had shared so much love and pain with. He wanted more than anything else to crush her to him, to tell her what she meant to him. How she was the anchor that he needed if he was to survive… But he hesitated. After all he had put her through, did he have any right to ask her to be his again? The uncertainty of this thing with Kyle, (what was that all about?) and his involvement with Tess, (God, he had slept with that witch!) and the fact that Liz knew he had been willing to leave her forever; were these barriers too big to cross? Could she ever forgive him? Would she even want to?
Did he even have the right to ask?
Liz saw the hesitation and doubt in his eyes, took it as a sign that he didn’t feel as she did. She released his arm and backed away, turning so he wouldn’t see the incredible pain that caused.
As Liz turned away, Max took her actions as his answer. She didn’t want to try it again. God how that hurt! He took a deep breath and let it out past an aching heart. Just as well. He never wanted to be the cause of pain in her life again. He owed her more than that. He turned away, rubbing at his temples. Just what he needed, a headache.
Maria didn’t even notice this poignant and tragic moment between Max and Liz. She was glued to Michael, hugging him so hard that he felt he might need Max to help him restore his circulation. Michael felt loved and at home for the first time in his life. And was proud of his decision to stay, before he even knew of the deception of that little witch Tess. The deception that left her winging away on her own, and the others here, where love had given them homes. Real homes. Not pie in the sky wishes.
Maria was overwhelmed that Michael had actually been on his way out. To her. He loved her, really loved her more than his dreamed of home. He had spent his whole life looking for a way home and when it came…he had chosen her. The front of his shirt was going to need some major drying when she got through. She had never been so happy in her life.
Kyle saw the exchange between Max and Liz, and wanted to go to her. Or pop Max in the jaw for being so obtuse. ‘Yeah, that would really help fix things between them, wouldn’t it?’ He could see and feel both their pain and knew what they needed. It was just that ‘they’ couldn’t see it.
There was someone else giving off vibes of pain. Isabel. He went over to her. It had been really hard on her to hear how Tess killed Alex. “I’m so sorry Isabel. Are you alright? I mean…If I can help any…”
“Thank you.” Was all she could say, before the tears started.
Kyle stepped closer and held her lightly, awkwardly, and patted her back. Isabel gripped his shirt with both hands and sobbed quietly. Kyle surreptitiously put one hand to his head. He had a little of his own pain to deal with.
Being the only one there with a cell phone, Maria called Jim Valenti once she came down from cloud nine, and gave him a brief update. In other words, that Max, Isabel and Michael were still here. And that some of them were going to need a ride.
Jim ran his hands through his hair and muttered something under his breath. “I’ll be right there.” He hung up the phone and looked at the tape he held in his other hand. ‘Just a few more minutes… Whew!’ He hadn’t realized until he thought they were gone, how much he was going to miss them…or how hard it was going to be to give the Evans that tape. He grinned and grabbed his keys. Now he wouldn’t have to!
When Jim arrived and faced the somber group, his grin of welcome faded. “What happened? Didn’t it work? Where is Tess?”
The answers were devastating. He felt a hurt deeper than he thought possible at the deceitfulness of Tess. How she had been using him and Kyle. Feigning feelings of warmth and affection, and raising those feelings in both of them.
He looked at Max, not even wanting to know how he was feeling about all of this. “Come on.” He finally said. “Let me get you two home.” Max, Isabel and Kyle climbed in, leaving Maria to take Liz, and Michael. Jim reached into the glove compartment and pulled out the tape they had given into his keeping. “At least you don’t have this to face. If there is any other way I could help...” Max murmured his thanks but didn’t say much more than that all the way home. None of them did.
As the two cars sped away, a watcher stepped out into the road. Disappointment, and anger were the greatest emotions felt by the watcher, but not only them. There was also sorrow, fear…and hate.
High above, on the peak of the granolith mountain, stood another, watching the watcher. This ones emotions and thoughts belong only to her.
That night, the entire group met at the Crashdown. There was very little talking until the Crashdown closed. The only things they wanted to talk about were not for casual ears to hear. Jim was the last to arrive and Liz locked the door behind him.
Max and Liz were quietly avoiding looking at each other, each locked into their own thoughts. Kyle had a splitting headache and could think of nothing but a bottle of pain pills and bed. Isabel’s thoughts weren’t tracking well either, she had gotten over her emotional upset and was well on her way to total fury. Very frustrating when there is no one to take it out on. Michael and Maria had recovered from their euphoria enough to see the feelings and reactions of the others and were picking up the flow, or lack of it, between Max and Liz.
Jim didn’t know why he had come; perhaps it was just the opportunity to be with them without some catastrophe at hand. But as the minutes wore on and no one said anything, he was beginning to feel that he was keeping them from what they wanted to talk about. Finally, he cleared his throat and stood up, ready to say goodnight and go. Wanting to say more, and not knowing how.
Maria stopped him. “Hey where do you think you are going? You are not leaving without having a piece of Mom’s Alien Green apple-berry pie.” She jumped up and took his arm. Then to the others; “Hey guys, come on…we should all be happy. We have something to celebrate here, ya know?” Isabel, Liz and Max all looked at her like she was saying something absurd and she looked at Michael in desperation.
He got up and clapped Jim on the back. “Come on Jim, you can help me cut the pies. That way you can get the biggest piece.” Before dragging Jim into the kitchen, he turned to the others. “And you guys snap out of it. If we’d left, we three would have been good as dead soon. Liz and Maria would have been moping around hoping we could come back some day, and Jim and Kyle would have been mourning the loss of a witch who would be laughing up her sleeve at them from afar. It didn’t happen so lighten up, will ya?”
Maria cleared off the last of an earlier attempt at dinner, mostly uneaten, and brought fresh bottles of Tabasco over. “Move your elbow big boy or it may get thrown away with the garbage.” She quipped as she worked around Kyle and the chair he had scooted up to the booth. He sat, elbows on the table, with his hands clutching his head. Liz had glanced at him when Michael reminded her that Kyle and Jim were injured members too. Now she sat watching him with growing concern on her face. Max glanced at Liz out of the corner of his eye and followed her gaze to Kyle. He just had time to catch him as he fell limply to the floor.
Everyone gathered around Kyle while Max tried to find out what was wrong with him. “Maria, get me some cold water and a rag. I have to see if I can get him to come around enough to connect with him.”
Liz knelt beside him holding Kyle’s hand and rubbing it vigorously. She was painfully aware of rubbing shoulders with Max but she was too concerned about Kyle to make her move away. “Max do you think this has anything to do with Tess’s mind warping?” The fear in her voice reminded all of them that it had killed Alex.
Max didn’t make eye contact with her but murmured to all, “If it is, I don’t understand why it would affect him now. From what he told you, Alex died when Tess tried her tricks one time too many.”
Isabel put her hand on Max’s shoulder. “Max, maybe it could cause damage over time, but not kill him. After all, he wasn’t controlled the way Al...Alex was. At least not as bad or as long.”
By that time, Jim came catapulting out of the kitchen followed by Michael and Maria. Jim sat on the floor and pulled Kyle’s head into his lap, looking first at Kyle then at Max. “What’s wrong? What happened? Can’t you help him?”
Max ran his hand over Kyle for the third time. “His body is okay. I want to try and get him to wake up before I try any deeper probing into his mind.” He paused for a moment, “We think it might have something to do with what Tess did to him.”
Jim paled, having been filled in on how Tess had killed Alex. “What if he can’t wake up?”
“Then I go in anyway. I can…it’s just harder.” Max watched Jim holding Kyle in sympathy as Maria bathed his face and wrists in cold water.
Finally his eyes fluttered and he opened them. Confusion showed in his face for a moment to be quickly followed by pain. “God! My head!”
Max was on him immediately. “Kyle, Kyle…Look at me. Kyle you need to look at me. I can help you.”
Kyle found it hard to get his eyes tracking properly, but he finally found Max. “You’re going to do that alien shit again aren’t you?” He winced and closed his eyes again briefly. “Okay…okay, anything to get rid of this.”
Max went in to him, connecting with one spot after another. There was a short in two or three places that had to be causing the pain, but there was damage in several areas that would be serious enough to kill him if it got any worse. Max set to work, and Isabel offered him extra energy so he could concentrate without tiring.
After several tense moments, Max sighed and sat back. “That ought to do it, but you let me know if anything else feels funny in there.”
“Hey Dad, let me up. I’m fine, let me up!” Kyle got up off the floor red faced and not quite sure how to react to all the attention.
Maria tried to help the situation by asking Michael to bring out the pie. “You never would have gotten that headache if you had eaten your dinner!” She added with a smile.
Liz woke up thinking about Max. She had not enjoyed her sleep. Vague nightmares kept haunting her through the night leaving her with feelings of unrest in more ways than one. The gang had not talked last night as she had hoped to. No one could think of anything to say. Not about Max’s son, not about the Granolith.
Liz thought about it now, watching it go up leaving a faint trail like the faint hope Max had of helping his son. She sat with her journal in front of her. She hadn’t written anything down until now, and her fingers made a nervous tapping on her desk as she searched for the words to describe the last two days and nights.
She ran her hands through her hair and rubbed her temples. Maybe tonight, she thought and put it away. Maybe never.
Maria drew up in front of Michael’s and he came out to meet her. He came around to the drivers side and leaned in for a good morning kiss. “Let me drive?” She shook her head and her finger. “Oh no…I drive, you enjoy the scenery.” He climbed in and grinned at her. “What are you grinning at Spaceboy? My lipstick smeared or something?” She asked as she swung the rear view mirror towards her. She looked back at him. “What!”
“Just doing what I’m supposed to. Enjoying the scenery!” He said.
Maria threw the Jetta into gear and took off, grinning sideways at Michael. ‘I think I’m liking the new Michael!’
The Jetta sped down the highway towards the quarry and Maria made the turn that would take them to the Granolith mount. She pulled to a stop in front of it and turned off the engine. “I think this will be my favorite spot for the rest of my life.” She sighed.
They sat for a while looking at the high spire of stone before Michael started really remembering what they had seen that morning. The metal spewing, the ground trembling, and all of them stumbling for cover. His hand started tapping a staccato rhythm on the glove compartment. He was looking at the mount and something wasn’t right.
Maria wasn’t thinking about the Granolith, she was thinking about Michael. She watched him looking at the mount and the tapping annoyed her. It didn’t match the romantic mood she was trying to develop here. “Michael…Michael? Hello? Spaceboy! What’s up?”
“Oh uh…come here with me for a minute. There is something off here.” He led her over to the base of the jagged sky reaching rock and looked at the ground. He even knelt down and ran his hand over the ground.
“What is it? What do you see?” Maria felt the ground too but had no clue what he was getting at.
“It’s just dirt.”
“Where did we see the metal spewing out of the rock?” He asked, and Maria put her hand over her mouth and looked around. “Oh my God.”
Someone was banging the door down and Kyle went to answer it, ready to blast whoever it was. The blast died when he saw who it was. “Liz! Come in. What’s wrong?”
Liz was wringing her hands and looked scared, and not a little out of breath. “Kyle, you have to help me. You have to take me somewhere. Now!”
Kyle looked out the door and around the front before answering her. “How did you get here? Did Maria bring you or what?”
“I ran. Will you help me or what?”
“Okay, okay! You know I will. Let me get my keys.” He ran back to the front room and grabbed his jacket and keys. “Dad, there’s something wrong.” He murmured. “I don’t know what it is yet, but I’ll call you. Liz is here and she is in a hell of a state, wants me to take her somewhere. Call around and see if you can find out what’s what? Huh?”
“I will son. Call me soonest.” Jim returned, and went to the window and watched them drive away. He went straight to the phone.
Isabel answered the phone on the first ring. “Evans residence. Oh hi Jim. Max isn’t home yet. No I haven’t heard anything. Sure as soon as he comes in. Okay, by.”
Liz kept looking over at the booth, wondering for the thousandth time what Max was doing there. She hated the feeling of hope he gave her whenever he came in. It seemed almost as if he wanted to be with her, but every time she went over to talk to him he just answered in monotone monosyllables and looked at her. Those eyes of his always talked louder than words. But the signals were crossed today. His manner said he wanted to be somewhere else, but those eyes…those eyes said all the things she wanted to hear.
Liz walked into the kitchen and took off her apron. “Joey, I’m off. Do you think you could ask Gail to get my last order for me?”
“Sure, what’s up?” The clock said she still had ten minutes left on her shift. He peered out at Max. “You and lover boy going to patch it up?”
“I don’t think that will happen.” Liz shook her head and the tears threatened to flow again. “I…I’m going for a walk…Or something. Thanks.” Then she slipped out the back door, and down the alley.
Max made up his mind to talk to Liz. He had a feeling that the old situation of not talking to each other was making this worse. He wanted to hear from her own lips that she wasn’t interested any more. Max watched the back door, waiting for Liz to emerge. Finally he went to the counter and peered into the kitchen. “Is Liz back there, Joey?”
“Flew the coop. That way.”
“Th…thanks.” Max’s shoulders slumped as he turned away. Maybe he was wrong. But the way she had been looking at him….
Maria had never driven so fast in her life. Michael was holding on with white knuckled determination. This was one time when he didn’t want to slow her down.
She had to slow down in town but not by much. They slewed to a stop at the Crashdown and ran in. There were only a couple of customers and Gail was leaning against the counter reading a magazine. Maria started talking before she was even through the door. “Gail where is Liz? Have you seen Isabel or Max?”
Gail shrugged her shoulder and nodded her head towards the back. “Liz took off early and left me with the crowd. Max was here, isn’t now. Ain’t seen his sister.” She reluctantly put down the magazine and moved off to a table where a girl was waving a menu at her.
“Oh this is soo not kool. You go try to find Max or Iz. I’ll try to find Liz.”
Michael nodded. “Meet here or at my place?” “Your place.” “Got it!”
Isabel met Max at the door when he came home. “Max. Jim called. There is something up with Liz. She showed up at Jim’s and seemed upset. She wanted Kyle to take her someplace.”
“Jim! Iz said you called. What’s this about Liz?” Max was wondering how she could have gotten there so fast.
“Max, thank God. I didn’t think you were ever coming home. Yeah, Liz came by about a half hour ago and told Kyle she needed him to take her somewhere. She was really upset. Do you have any idea what it could have been? I thought it might have been you…Maria! Have you seen Maria?……..Max?……..Max are you still there?”
“It is so like you to hide out here.” Maria sat down next to Liz and reached for her popcorn. “You owe me for a ticket Chicka. Mmmm, I love this part!”
“Shhh, Maria what are you doing here? I thought you and Michael had something on for today. And give me some of that!” Maria passed back the box.
“Oh! We’ve got to go! Come on, you are ‘not’ going to believe what Michael and I found!” Maria started telling her on the way out and Liz dragged her into the bathroom when they solicited a couple of weird looks.
“How is that possible Maria. We all saw it.” Liz walked around in a tight circle thinking, while Maria leaned against a wash bowl. “You know what this means? What it could mean? We have to find Max! Come on!”
In the desert a few miles out of town, Kyle spit dirt out of his mouth and tried to lift his head up. He was tied hand and foot face down in sand. That’s all he knew. Why, where or who, was a total mystery to him. The last thing he remembered was sitting on his couch watching TV with his dad. “Something tells me there is more alien crap behind this.” He said as he tried to wriggle some play into his bindings.
Max jetted out of the house, not for the first time regretting the wrecking of his Jeep. The loaner he had sweet talked out of Charley at the gas station worked, but that was all you could say for it. On top of that it had to stay at the gas station, in case one of Charley’s customers needed it.
He grabbed the key off the board and yelled that he was taking it.
“Hey! I got a customer that’s going to need that later! Get it back here in a few. And I mean a few!”
Max waved and gunned the car out of the station. His heart was beating a hundred miles an hour, as his head spun through endless questions. His first concern was Liz, and Kyle, in that order. Kyle had evidently been taken or ‘taken in’ by a shape shifter. Yes, he was in danger, but whoever was using Liz’s form, would have to get rid of Liz to keep it up. He had to find Liz!
“Well…you seem to have gotten yourself in a little trouble there.”
Kyle looked up and around, and saw a perky redhead sitting on a boulder about ten feet from him. He worked his tongue, trying to moisten his mouth. “Yeah, you wouldn’t happen to have time to untie me would you? If your schedule is not too tight that is.”
“Hmm. Yep, I think I can manage that.” She smiled at his light approach to his situation, as she jumped down from her perch.
The ropes were off him in a minute and he gratefully accepted a jug of water. He bent over to splash some of the dirt off his face. “I sure would like to know how you happened to be out here. Did you see who brought me, by any chance?” When silence met his question, he looked up and around. “Well I’ll be a….Shit!” There was no one there. “Well if she was a figment of my imagination, she sure was a handy one!” He patted the jug of water and climbed up on the rock to get his bearings. He hadn’t lived here all his life for nothing. ‘Yep, the highway is that-a-way!’
The Jetta came screeching up to the Evans house. Maria was up the front walk and at the door before Isabel could get the door open. “Maria, please tell me that you know something, because I am going crazy waiting around for a call!”
Maria clung to the door jamb, “Max, where’s Max?”
“He’s out there somewhere looking for anybody! Liz, Kyle, Michael or you! What’s going on?!”
“Okay, tag, you are it. The one who has to help us. Come on!”
“Wait! Maria!” Isabel followed her down the walk without even closing her door. “Tell me what is going on! Who is ‘us’? Where are we going?”
“The Granolith! You would not believe what Michael and I found out there! But he’s stuck and we have to help him!” Maria jumped into the Jetta, reached across and flung open the other door. “’Come’ ‘On’!”
Maria spoke hardly a word on the way to the Granolith mount. All Isabel got for her efforts to pry information out of her was a terse “just wait!” Once they got there Maria was out like a shot and running for the entrance to the cave. Now the words came tumbling out of her mouth. Isabel was hard pressed to do more than keep up and try to assimilate what she was saying.
“Michael said he had an idea something was not right with the whole Granolith thing! We came up here and it was really weird. The place didn’t look like we remembered. Michael got this really freaky idea that the whole Granolith taking off thing was a hoax. So we sent inside. And you’ll never believe what we found!” Just as they rounded the corner to the Granolith chamber.
“Oh my God!” There was the chamber as they had last left it. Whole…and there. Isabel walked into the chamber, the inverted cone of the Granolith standing like a giant bottle of darkness. She looked frantically around. “Where is Michael?” It was the last thing she said as darkness came up and hit her with the floor.
If there was an answer…she never heard it.
Liz ran through the hot dusty streets of Roswell. She and Maria had split up, both frantically looking for Max. Liz’s heart was in her throat. If the Granolith was still there, if Tess didn’t leave, then Max, Isabel and Michael were in a world of danger. ‘Oh God Max! If that bitch Tess hurts one hair of your head!…..What can I do? No, what will she do?’ Street after street passed under Liz’s feet as she scanned for Max. ‘Damn that Jeep! It was so much easier when I just had to look for it to find you. Now….Think!.…She won’t hurt Max…not any of them. She needs them…she needs to take them …home!’ Like a bolt of lightening seeking its natural ground, Liz knew just what to do and where to go.
Maria finally found Max, checking the Crashdown for the fourth time. “Oh damn it Max, you are soo hard to find! Liz and I have been everywhere, and I don’t suppose Michael has found you yet either! Do you realize….” Max focused on to one word…Liz.
He grabbed Maria by the shoulders and shook her to silence. “Where did you last see Liz? Are you sure it was Liz?” If he was too late…if anything had happened to her…’God, Liz…Liz…’ His thoughts were able to go no further than that.
Maria’s mouth was open and her eyes wide. “I thought I was the one with the bad news, but you are scaring the crap out of me! What do you know that I wish I didn’t have to find out?”
Max let go of her shoulders and started dragging her towards his car. “We talk, but we look for Liz while we do it. Liz is in great danger and Kyle is missing. Maybe a shape shifter. It was using Liz’s face!”
“Whoa back up! A shape shifter? What does that have to do with the Granolith?”
Michael’s run up the front walk of Max’s house stumbled to a halt when he spotted the front door open. Flashes went through his mind of police films, where they approach the door from the side, gun clasped in both hands, swinging it in as they look in all directions. Michael gave a mirthless grin. Okay, well he didn’t have a gun, but he had something better. Michael held his hand out in front of him, palm forward. Just let anyone be in there messing with Isabel or Max….
A cautious, make that very cautious, search of the house found him once more at the front of the house, chewing his lip and wondering what to do next. He jumped to the phone. Isabel wouldn’t even go into the ‘garage’ without her cell phone.
Two rings…three…”Come on!”…four. “Help me!” Came the faint voice.
“Izzy is the that you? Where are you, what happened?”
“Michael!” A small sob. “Thank God! I’m at the Grano…click..bzzzzzzzzz.”
Fingers falling all over themselves, he dialed back. “Ring…..click..bzzzzzzz”
Again. “We are sorry, the party you are calling may be out of dialing range. Please try again later.”
“God Damn It!!” Michael slammed the phone back down. Then grabbed it up again and called Jim. No answer.
Called the Crashdown. “Crashdown, home of out of this world dinning!”
“Max, Liz or Maria, are they there?”
“Yeah Max and Maria are out front. Want to talk to them?”
“Just tell them to stay there and wait for me!” He hung up and threw himself out the door. Behind him the phone rang and the answering machine picked it up.
“Max! Isabel! It’s Liz! If you are there pick up the phone! Look I don’t have time to explain, but someone we thought had left town, may still be here. Jim is going to take me to the last place we saw her and see if she shows up. Come if you can! Click”
Just on the click a hand reached for the phone. “Damn.” A short minute later, a small black car sped from the house out towards the Quarry road.
At the Crashdown, Michael banged his way through the door, looked wildly around and rushed to the back. The door to the upstairs was locked, he opened it anyway and ran upstairs looking from room to room. Back down again and into the café, he grabbed Gail’s arms, nearly shaking her in his frustration. “Where are they?”
“Gads Mikkie, they left before I could tell them!”
“Argh!” He let her go and headed for the door calling back over his shoulder, “Don’t call me Mikkie!”
Outside he paused looking at the Jetta. “Maria will be so pissed!” He said, shaking his head. Then he jumped in, no keys. He shrugged and started it anyway. “So who needs keys?”
Shortly he was burning up the road for the Granolith mount.
Recap: Kyle is out in the desert, Michael is headed out to the Granolith in Maria’s Jetta, someone in a black car is likewise racing there, Liz and Jim are following, and Max and Maria are together in Charley’s loan car. Did I leave anyone out? J
Jim and Liz were about two miles from the Granolith when they spotted a girl standing beside the road trying to wave them down. Jim slowed and stopped a short ways away from her. “If it is Tess, why wouldn’t she use Maria’s or Isabel’s shape? Why a stranger’s? If she has Kyle…”
Liz bit her lip. “I don’t know, why not a stranger? Maybe this way is safer for her. I mean, if we had just come from one of our friends, and she picked the wrong one, we would know who she was.”
Suddenly the girl was standing just in front of the car, on Jim’s side. “You have to go back. It’s too dangerous here for you.”
Liz opened her door and stood up, talking across the car. “I don’t know who you are, but if you are who we think you are, we already know about you. You can’t get away with it any more! And what did you do with Kyle?”
The girl smiled and it was a real smile. A warm smile that Liz didn’t think Tess could fake on her best days. “Your friends will be alright. I’m here to see to that. What I don’t need is two more bodies to rescue. Will you wait here…please? You can stop anyone else that comes along, and I’m sure they will soon. Or you can go out the road north of Roswell about fifteen miles and pick up Kyle. Tess left him there. I only had time to help him a little but not to bring him back.”
Jim latched onto the first thing he wanted to know. “Kyle? He’s alright?”
“He’s fine, just mighty tired of walking about now. Look. I’ll be back here when I’m through. But if I don’t go now, there will be lives to pay. Stay here!”
“Wait! Who are you? Give us something that will let us believe you!” Liz asked.
The perky red head smiled. “You have never heard of me before. My name is Serena. Just know that I am a friend.” And with that, she disappeared as if she never was.
Jim gazed in amazement at the spot where she had been standing. “What was that! Some sort of astral projection? Do you think that was Tess?”
Liz shook her head, a little stunned herself. It was her. It had to be. How many alien type ‘Serenas’ could there be? ( Future Max had said that Serena would be a great friend someday.) “No, I think she is exactly who she said she is.”
“Then that means Kyle really ‘is’ out there somewhere.” Oh how he wanted to go after him. But he didn’t want anyone else running into a Serena/Tess showdown. Not if it meant lives at stake. What could he do except wait?
Liz paced back and forth as did Jim. Him from impatience, wanting to get out and find Kyle. Liz was upset because Jim would not let her go the rest of the way to the Granolith. She was willing to run if she had to, but he wouldn’t let her go. ‘Max!!! Oh God, if she has you…’
Maria had finally gotten out what she and Michael had found and what Liz thought was happening. If it was true, they had to get out to the Granolith. She had Kyle and maybe others by now. “Oh God, maybe that’s why we haven’t found Michael or Liz! Max!…”
Max slewed the car around and headed out toward the Granolith at the best speed the loaner would go. ‘Liz, Liz…Please let me be in time!’
Michael was there already, peering at the cave opening from behind a rock. He jumped and turned at the sound of slithering rocks behind him, ready to blast anyone or anything. “Damn it Isabel! Don’t sneak up on me like that! What are you doing out here. Are you alright? I thought…”
Isabel slumped against the rock, relief plain on her face. “Oh Michael, I am so glad you came when you did. Tess is in there; she has Kyle and Liz! She had me too, but Liz snuck in and untied me before she got caught herself!” Isabel stood there wringing her hands. “ Now that you’re here, we can go get them both out before she traps Max!”
Michael looked around one last time before slipping up to the cave. “Are you sure she is still in there?” He asked over his shoulder.
“I don’t know, but I think so.”
“You stay here, if Max shows up, you head him off. I’ll go see.”
“No Michael, if we go, we both go.”
He looked back at a very determined Isabel. “Alright, but you stay behind me.”
“No problem there! I’m right behind you.”
If he had looked back just then, he would have caught a very nasty and self-satisfied grin on ‘Isabel’s’ face.
A faint trail of dust down the road announced the approach of a car. Liz stood behind Jim’s jeep and shielded her eyes, straining to see who it was.
Maria saw the jeep first but Max recognized the small form standing behind it. ‘Thank God!’ “It’s Liz! Maria it’s Liz!”
Max slewed the car to a stop and was out and in Liz’s arms before Maria could get the door open. He looked deep into her eyes, seeking to know for sure that she was alright. She was trying to see him through tears of relief and longing. If only she could hold him forever! But he was safe. That was all that really mattered.
The opening dialogue between Max and Liz may have left a lot to be desired, but there was no doubt of the depth of feeling between them.
“Liz! Liz, oh darling I thought I’d lost you!”
“Oh God Max, If anything had happened to you…”
“Are you alright? Why are you here? Oh Liz! I wanted to tell you how I felt, but I…” He left off talking and held her in a tender kiss that spoke of the hell he had been through. There could be no lies in their kisses, no misunderstandings. Max could see no desire to hold back or avoid, only the aching longing and overflowing love she felt for him. Liz found what she had given up hope of ever seeing again, the depths of an incredible love.
“Max? Do you really….?”
“Liz I swear it. For the rest of my life, if you’ll take me back, after…”
Liz put a finger to his lips. “There is no after or before. Only now and forever, if you want it that way.”
Max looked into the face of the one person in the world that made him complete, and the first genuine smile he had smiled in a long time lit his eyes. “Liz, my Lizzie, ‘There is no after or before. Only now and forever! Amen.”
And as if that was a solemn pledge, as binding as marriage, they kissed once more, each feeling healed and whole fore the first time in a long time.
Maria had spent this re-uniting time running from them to Jim and back again. “Guys….Guys…Aren’t you forgetting something? Liz! Make goo goo eyes later! Max! Michael is up there, and Isabel too! If you two don’t stop that right now, I’m going alone!”
Jim jumped in at this point and reminded them that this Serena girl said she didn’t want anyone else in danger. “She told us to wait right here. For some reason Liz said to trust her, that she knows who she is. If she is right then I can’t let you go.” He turned to Max specifically. “Max, I need your co-operation on this. I need to go look for Kyle and I can’t have you three going up there like a tardy rescue brigade.”
Max felt some tension go out of him, as he heard that Kyle was alright and Jim wanted to go after him. “You go get Kyle Jim, I’ll make sure these two little hell cats stay with me. I promise!”
Jim clapped Max on the shoulder, “Thank you Max, I knew I could count on you. “ Jim ran back to the Jeep, Jumped in and turned it back towards town, waving as he passed them.
Maria looked like a dangerous storm ready to happen and Liz just looked shocked. As soon as Jim was out of sight, Max leapt for the car. “Well come on! I promised Jim I would keep you two with me. And there is no way I’m waiting here with Michael and Isabel in danger!”
“All..right..Max!! Way to go!” Maria yelled as she dived for the back seat. Liz paused to kiss Max through the window before skipping around to the passenger side. The car took off like someone’s life was at stake, as well they feared.
Isabel felt a soothing sensation through her poor abused head. “Wow, what hit me?” She murmured, coming to. The where and the why came to the surface with a rush. “Michael!”
“ He isn’t here…yet.” Came a soft voice behind her. “And I wish you would keep your voice down, or she will hear you.”
Isabel’s head was perfectly clear now and the sensations of returning circulation in her wrists and feet made her bite her lip. “Who are you, and who is ‘she’?” She whispered back. “Where are Maria and Michael?” Finally able to turn around, Isabel found the soft voice belonged to a small very pretty red head.
Michael crept into the cave, followed closely by his companion. He whispered softly, while trying to look in every direction at once. “Iz, stay close behind me. If I have to blast someone, I don’t want you between me and them! Okay?” At a murmured consent, he asked exactly where she had left Liz and Kyle.
A hand reached over his shoulder, pointing toward the entrance to the Granolith chamber. “Right in the chamber. Hurry Michael!”
But Michael wasn’t ready to hurry anywhere right then. The hand he saw, looking like Isabel’s hand, had a friendship ring on it….One he remembered Isabel placing into Alex’s coffin.
Inside the Granolith chamber, Serena had helped Isabel around to the backside of the chamber, out of sight of the approach to the Granolith. “Stay here and don’t make any sound.” Serena cautioned. “I have to get behind Tess before she knows you are gone. And I don’t want Michael or you getting between her and me.”
Isabel nodded her head still recovering her shock at what had happened.
Michael was, at that moment, trying to figure out what to do at warp speed. If Isabel was not behind him, then who was? Tess was the first choice, but it was not beyond the limits of possibility that it was an enemy shape shifter in cahoots with her. One enemy or two? Was Isabel in there or was he moving into a trap meant for him?
Back at the Evans’ house, Diane, on one of her rare days off, was collecting for the laundry. She hummed lightly as she went from room to room cleaning out the laundry baskets. In Max’s room, she stopped on her way out and snagged a less than fresh looking sweater off the dresser. Something fell and she bent to retrieve it. It was a video camera case. The name on the front caught her attention just as she placed it back. “To Mom and Dad with Love”
A half hour later, a nearly incoherent Diane was calling her husband.
Max brought the car to a stop out of sight of the cave or the approach to it. “All right girls, stay here and don’t make any noise. I just want to see what is going on first.”
“Uh huh, uh uh. We go too or you stay. Remember your promise!” Maria wasn’t about to allow him to get away with this little trick.
As far as Liz was concerned, it wasn’t about to happen. “Max, Tess is up there.”
“I know, that’s why I don’t want you to go with me.”
“So we just sit here until one of you comes back…you or Tess looking like you. Right? Or you come back and find only one of still here. Or is it one of us?”
Max scowled, digesting this for a minute before sighing in defeat. “Right, like I said, you two stay right behind me, and no one gets out of sight of the others.”
They crept up on the cave just in time to see Michael and Isabel starting to go within. “Michael! And Isabel is okay!” Maria said breathlessly, then yelled. “Michael!”
Michael stopped and turned, and Isabel was into the cave like a shot. “Stay back! It’s Tess!” He yelled before diving in after her. Maria of course sped up the hill after him, gone before Max could grab a piece of her. Cursing under his breath he charged in hot pursuit.
At the entrance, the sound of a small blast made them hesitate, followed by two more. Max was ready to go in swinging, but who would he be swinging ‘at’?
Isabel came pelting back out of the cave and Max grabbed her firmly but gently…‘just in case’. “You are either Isabel or Tess and I’m not letting you go until I know which!”
Shortly after, Michael came out looking dazed, then he shook himself off and started running down the hill yelling…”She’s getting away!” Tess was next and Max dropped Isabel and tackled her, surprised at her lack of resistance, but expecting some sort of a trick.
Maria and Liz stared in open mouthed surprise as Max grabbed and talked to empty air. Then Tess came out and ran around the side of the Rock, and Michael went running down the hill chasing no one. To top it off, when Isabel came out, Max knocked her down and held her to the ground, while she kept trying to tell him who she was.
“This is just too weird! Lets go get her!” Maria said as she ran off after Tess, with Liz on her heels.
Tess was still in sight and they chased her down the other side and around a large rock only to come up short with a gasp. Tess was waiting for them with a very real looking gun pointed right at them, and a very satisfied smirk on her face. “So kind of you to come after me. I hate to leave unfinished business.”
Liz bit her lip and looked down the barrel of the gun. “It’s a trick. You don’t really have a gun!”
“Want to try me and find out?” Tess teased.
“Well I sure do! You little bitch!” Maria yelled as she launched herself at Tess.
At the cave, Serena emerged holding a hand to her head, staunching the flow of blood from a wound. Max was before her holding Isabel down and she could see Michael stumbling around down the hill looking confused. A quick touch on Max’s head cleared his sight and he sat staring at his sister for a full moment before letting her go and helping her to her feet. “God, Isabel, I’m so sorry. I thought…”
Isabel sighed and clung to Max for a moment. “I know…Tess.”
Max called Michael and Michael called back. “Get down here and help me find her! She can’t be far!”
“Michael, it was a trick! She would be in any other direction than the one you saw her go. Now get up her, we have to spread out.” Then he turned to Serena. “Now. Who’s this?”
Isabel took Serena’s hand and pulled her closer. “This is Serena. She saved my life. I think she was after Tess.”
“I don’t know who you really are, but I want to thank you for helping my sister and me.” Max reached out and laid his hand on Serena’s head wound and healed it. “Liz said you were to be trusted.” Max turned to Liz and only then realized she and Maria were gone. “’Liz!’” He yelled at the top of his lungs. ‘Oh God! They must have seen Tess and gone after her’ “Serena, did you see which way Tess, the real Tess, went?”
Then they heard the shot.
Edited by - Chrystalkay on 09/17/2001 20:39:18
Edited by - Chrystalkay on 09/21/2001 20:31:50
[ edited 4 time(s), last at 18-Dec-2001 11:38:08 PM ]
|posted on 6-Dec-2001 2:08:52 AM by Chrystalkay|
The gang finally and reluctantly broke up. Serena's answers had only led to more questions. (If answering questions made Serena happy, then they ought to keep her ecstatic.) Michael was the one who wanted to stay and talk. 'I have family!' sang through him like a song. Promises from Serena that she would talk to him to his heart's content the next day, finally got him moving in the direction of the door.
It was Maria that gave Isabel and Max a ride home. They were surprised to see Jim's car parked outside their house. Maria was all for panicking. "This can't be good. Do you think something happened to one of them? Oh! What if one of the aliens found you! What do we do?"
Max smiled and opened the car door. "Well to start off, we can ask Jim. Here he comes."
Jim glanced over his shoulder at the front door before coming to Maria's car. "Max, Isabel…your mom found the tape. For the love of God, why didn't you destroy it? They think you are planning to run away. I told them you, Maria, Liz, Kyle and Michael were up at the quarry today. That I knew you were because Kyle ran out of gas and I brought him some. That I have gotten to be pretty good friends with you all and if there was some kind of trouble you were in, that I would have heard about it. I don't know if they believed me. You better come up with a good excuse for that tape! Lots a luck!" Jim stalked off to his jeep, less than happy at the panic Diane and Phil had been put through.
After Diane called Phil, he had rushed home to see the tape for himself. Then they had called The Crashdown, to try and get Liz. Failing that, they called Amy to find Maria and Amy had called Michael's and Kyle's and gotten Jim. Jim had rushed right over.
Now he was gone and Isabel was shaking. Max gathered her into his arms and gently rubbed his hand up and down her back. He, trying to get his thoughts together, and Isabel, falling apart. "Max, what are we going to do? What do we say about making a tape like that that won't sound totally fake? Oh God, I'm such a terrible liar. Whatever we say you will have to do the talking. But what are we going to say?"
"Well, it has always been your wish that they knew about us. Do you want to tell them now? At least it would show them that we weren't trying to play some kind of sick joke on them…or running away."
He could feel her terror at the thought of what he had suggested. "Oh Max, you know I've always longed to tell them, I can't bear not telling them. But…what if they couldn't love us any more? What if we had to leave because they….hated us…for what we are?" She broke down and wept against his chest. She always cried when she contemplated the dread day that her parents should find out. "No Max, think of something, anything I…I couldn't bear it!"
During this time, Maria had stood speechless and direly wishing she was somewhere else. Diane and Phil, seeing Max and Isabel outside, had come up quietly and heard nearly everything said between them.
Now when Max turned Isabel toward the house to take her in, they both discovered their parents not six feet in front of them. Max's face drained of color and Isabel did what she never thought she would do in a thousand years…she fainted.
Phil jumped to help Max catch Isabel and effortlessly lifted her up in his arms. He looked across her to Max. "Come on son. I think it is time you and Isabel talked to us." Then he turned to Maria. "I suppose you know what this is all about, so you might as well join us." Then he turned and led Max and his wife into the house.
There was damned well no way Maria was going to say no to that. "I…thank you I'll be right there." Then she dove head first into the Jetta, grabbing her purse, the keys and her phone. As she backed out, she hit Liz's button and had her on line before she got halfway across the lawn. "Get Michael and get over here as fast as you can. Diane found the tape. Max and Isabel are going to have to tell their parents!" It was time for some serious peer support.
Liz and Serena had only just gotten ready for bed, now Liz started jumping around throwing her clothes on. "Serena, Max's mom found the tape they made when they were leaving. They're going to tell them and I've got to be there."
Liz kited out of the room and Serena started throwing her own clothes on. Liz knocked on her parent's bedroom door. "Dad I need to use your car. Max and Isabel, need me and Michael. I've got to get him and get over there."
Her dad opened his mouth as if to ask questions but merely walked over and got his keys off the dresser. "Come back as soon as you can. And call if you need us."
"Thanks Dad. I will explain what I can later." A quick kiss on his cheek and she was running down the stairs and out the back door. She was in the car and had it going in a second. Serena hit the seat beside her as she was taking off.
Liz flipped open her own phone and had Michael on before she was halfway down the block. "Michael…" He was waiting out front when she got there. He called Jim and Kyle. Jim, at least, deserved to know. Liz drew up in front of Max's less that five minutes later.
Back in the house, Phil had laid Isabel on the couch and her mom sat next to her patting her hands and trying to get her to stop crying. "Honey, no matter what your secret is it can't make us not love you. You and Max are our babies, our children, you are part of us."
Phil looked from Isabel to Max. "You might as well tell us what this is all about. The truth can't be worse than what our imaginations would make of all this if you don't. Please. Trust us son."
Isabel finally quit crying and sat up. Max sat next to her and put his arm around her. Diane got something cool to drink for everyone and she and Philip sat down and waited.
It was Maria that heard the car drive up and opened the door for Michael, Serena and Liz. "not yet" she whispered as they moved past. Liz went to perch on the arm of the couch by Max and Michael sat down next to Isabel. Maria perched on the other end by Michael and Serena stood in back. United, they faced Diane and Phil.
Phil gazed at all of them with a twinkle in his eye. The first sign of relaxing that any of them had been able to show. "Okay, the support group is assembled. I'm assuming all of you know the big secret, and came running to your friend's rescue. Well, if there are no more coming, then I propose that we get on with it." He reached over to his wife and took her hand. "I got the impression from what we heard outside, that this is bigger than the tape, has been going on for some time, and that you and Isabel think it will make your Mom and me not love you. I know you both, I know the rest of you pretty well too. I can say with complete honesty that there is nothing I know you capable of doing that could make a difference in how Diane and I feel. Now…does that make it easier to start?"
At that point there was a knock at the door and Serena let Jim and Kyle in, who immediately came up and stood behind Max and Isabel. "Are we too late?" Jim asked.
Philip put his hands over his face for a moment and shook his head. "That does it! Half the town knows and is on your side, so how bad can it be? Now spill!"
If Diane and Phil thought the truth was going to be an anticlimax, they were shockingly mistaken. Privately, they thought the kids had discovered who their parents were and found out that their father was an ax murderer or something equally gruesome, and for some reason thought that would make a difference. They were not at all ready for what the kids told them.
Max had to clear his throat twice before he could begin. "We…Isabel and I, found out early that we were different and that being different made other people act funny around us…mostly kids at school…and learned not to show it. Except to each other. That's how we met Michael. We were in class and I commented on the beautiful purple aura of the teacher. He realized we were like him and he didn't have to feel alone anymore. It wasn't until a few years ago that we found out just how different we were and a few months ago we found out where we came from"
Diane was slowly nodding her head. "The bird and the kitchen fire."
Max nodded. "With the bird I was too young and didn't even know I could heal. With the fire, I acted first and tried to cover it up after. I'm sorry."
Phil leaned forward watching Max intently. "Son, when you said you found out where you came from…what exactly do you mean?"
For a moment Max felt panic grip his throat. The moment of truth and he couldn't say anything. Then he felt a warm hand clasping his and he felt calm. Max and Liz looked at each other and a smile twitched at her mouth. Max looked back at his father and put up his finger, pointing at the ceiling.
At his parent's puzzled looks, Liz burst out with a giggle. "I'm sorry. But that's how Max told me." She looked at him. "Can I?" At his nod…" After he saved my life…I was shot at the Crashdown and was dying… Anyway, I knew he was way different and I asked him how he did that. He said he was not from around here and when I asked where he pointed up. 'North?' I asked, and he pointed higher. 'You mean you're an…alien?' 'We prefer not of this earth' he replied and I freaked. But I also fell in love with him. Oh Mr. and Mrs. Evans, Max and Isabel have been terrified of you not loving them or maybe even hating them if you found out. So say something. Anything?"
Michael was wishing they would say something soon, because the suspense in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife…and the way Isabel was clutching his hand, he wouldn't be able to use it at all if this went on much longer.
Now Serena stepped forward and held up her hands. One she placed level over the couch, and one she pointed at the air before them. The air started to swirl with a misty light and then pictures began to form.
There for all to see (and Feel!!) was the day Isabel, Max and Michael came out of their pods. How they stumbled out side and onto the road, how Michael was too scared to join them when the car came. They all saw Diane and Phil pick Max and Isabel up and take them to the home. They saw flashes of how they both felt about their new parents when they came to take them home. Their awe and then fear when they found out how different they were. Then felt the longing and fears of both Isabel and Max. How much they wanted the acceptance and approval of Phil and Diane, how much they dreaded the thought that they might not be able to love them as they were. There was the longing Michael had always felt, the aloneness as he was bounced from home to home, until he had found Max and Isabel.
As the scenes and feelings faded, Diane looked at the stricken, pale, face of Isabel and rushed forward. "Oh darling, both my darlings, It doesn't matter. None of it does. You are ours and we love you. Everything about you." Isabel and her mom fell into each others arms and cried.
Michael and Max looked at each other and at Phil then all three of them said in unison…"Women!"
In the next couple of parts we are going to explore the possibilities of using the granolith to undo Alex's death. This will have to be done carefully or more of them might end up dead!
Let me know how you think it should happen and who should go back!