|posted on 24-Feb-2002 9:51:13 PM by FieryDaisyChica|
|TITLE: The Breathing Trilogy: Fear 1|
SUMMARY: Max and the Pod Squad have to leave town for good. Guess who all has to come with them? They get ready to start their new lives.
DISCLAIMER: You know it, I don’t own it, they all belong to the Melinda Metz, WB or UPN, whoever, yada, yada, yada
DISTRIBUTION: if you want it, just tell me. I’m always willing.
FEEDBACK: I’d love some! Feedback always cures writer’s block. :-) Thanks
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Fear is the first story in The Breathing Trilogy.
I have already posted this on the old board, but I thought I should start posting on this board (finally!)
2:14 A.M. December 27, 2000
Max ran the thoughts through his head grimly. Again.
“They’ve found us. Not that it took much. We should have left sooner.”
”“What now, Max?”
“Yeah, please tell us, our fearless leader.”
“We have no other choice.”
What was Liz going to say? And Maria and Alex and Kyle? How were they going to react to this? Would they go along with the plan?
He parked his Jeep under a no parking sign underneath Liz’s ladder. He wouldn’t be up there long, anyway. Just enough to tell Liz.
Things had been going so well too. Well, not really. But after they got back from New York and the accident and the father haunting him, things had slowed down. School would be starting again soon, New Year’s Eve was coming up, and Max was slowly easing back into a relationship with Liz. A little more than just friends, but not what they had had. Yet.
He knew they would get back up to that point again, some day. It might take them a while, but Max was determined to get her back . . . and to get her to tell him the truth. And he wanted his New Year Eve's kiss from Liz.
He couldn’t chance it by calling up to her, to see if she was on her balcony. It was freezing, and no person in their right mind would be outside. He climbed her ladder, and looked around. No one was there. No surprise. But he was surprised when he walked over to her window, looked inside, and saw . . . no one.
Her light was on. Her bed was turned down, like she had started to go to sleep. But her pajamas were laid out on the bed still, untouched. Where was she? She wasn’t at Maria’s or Alex’s, they had already checked. She couldn’t be downstairs, it was two o’clock in the morning. So where was she?
Max got that chill. The chill that clearly said, something’s wrong. Something’s wrong with Liz. He leaned down to pull her window up. It wouldn’t move. It was locked.
First thing wrong: her window was locked. She never locked her window. She had told him herself that she never locked it, just in case someone- Max- had to come in.
He held his hand over the lock and unlocked it. He pushed it up slowly, and stepped in. Search her room first. He checked every nook and cranny of her room. Under her bed. In her closet. Behind her mirror. Every place. He was about to give up when he heard a slight noise coming from the bathroom. He ran over to it, and knocked softly.
No one answered.
He knocked again. He tried opening the door. It too was locked. No problem. Max just prayed that she wasn’t going to kill him if she was taking a bath or something like that.
He pushed the door open slowly, giving her plenty of time to yell. He peeked in. And he about had a heart attack. Because Liz was lying in her bathtub, her small body crumpled in a ball.
Max felt his heart drop to the ground. Liz was dead. Oh god. He threw open the door, and rushed over to her. She was just laying there, in a fetal position. Max couldn’t even tell if she was breathing. Her clothes were dirty, and wet, probably from the light snow still on the ground. Her shoes were muddy, small sticks and leaves stuck in her hair. She had definitely been outside.
“Liz. Liz! Are you okay? Oh god, please answer me!” He reached down and pushed her hair out of her face. He could see the red hand print on her face, each fingerprint. And her face was deathly pale. He picked her up gingerly, and lifted her out of the bathtub. Her head rolled back grotesquely, and Max felt the urge to throw up. He laid her on the cold bathroom floor.
“Liz! Liz!” Max gulped. Could he heal her? He hadn’t had enough of his powers back after healing the children. He wasn’t sure if he could heal her. And she looked awful. He didn’t care. He had to try. He put his hand on her head, his other on her stomach. He had to make her better.
“Max.” He didn’t move. Had he imagined it? Had Liz said his name?
“Max?” It was barely more than a whisper. But she was alive.
“Liz! I’m here, I'm here,” he told her, leaning down closer to her. She turned her head over to him, and opened her eyes slightly.
“Max,” she whimpered, obviously in pain. He kissed her forehead lightly.
“It’s going to be okay, Liz, I promise,” he told her urgently. She closed her eyes again. Max could see how swollen her cheek was, and the dark circles appearing around her eye. “Who did this to you?”
“Come here,” she mumbled. “Closer.” He was crouched over her, his face only inches from hers. She lifted her hand, with great effort he could tell, put her hand on the back of his neck, and pulled him down forcibly, crushing his mouth against hers.
Max was so shocked that he lost his balance and fell on top of her. He was afraid he had crushed her and hurt her even more, so he started to lean up, only to have her grab him by his shirt and pull him back down. Apparently she didn’t care that he was hurting her. All she seemed to want to do was to kiss him. Because she was sure trying to kiss him, no matter how hard he protested.
Suddenly Max knew what she was trying to do. She was trying to tell him- to show him what had happened. She was trying to make him have flashes.
Max lowered himself more gently on her, and rubbed his lips against hers, silently telling her to slow down. She knew that sign, he had given her that sign so many times before. And because she slowed down, Max knew that she knew.
Max was kissing Liz. He had waited how long for her? And now he was kissing her. This was kissing. He let his muscles relax against her, and stroked her face lightly with his hand. Kissing her was different now. It wasn’t how he wanted to kiss her. He wanted the kisses of the time he had all but attacked her in the back of the Crashdown that one time. The kisses of Michael’s apartment. The kisses in the desert. In his Jeep.
But these kisses. These kisses were not those kisses obviously, but definitely kisses he would take. Long, slow, sweet kisses. Scared, hesitant. Reminders of their first kiss. But with a long underline of pent up sexual frustration.
Just when he was about to give up on the flashes and analyzing these wonderful kisses and concentrate on kissing Liz, the flashes came.
Liz hiding her journal in a loose brick in the wall.
Michael and Isabel appearing on her balcony, calling her outside.
Not Michael and Isabel, now Rath and Lonnie, dragging her through some dark woods not far from there.
Nicholas standing over her, threatening her with promises of death and destruction on the “Royal Four” and the rest of her friends.
A cold hand on her head, a great pain ripping through her entire mind, memories come to earth that she had long buried. An empty, used feeling taking over.
A furious Nicholas yelling at Lonnie and Rath that she didn’t know where it was, and how they were stupid idiots.
Rath slapping her across the face, Lonnie kicking her legs and punching her arms, and Nicholas giving one hard blow to her face.
Nicholas writing- burning something on her bare back, his finger the pencil, ignoring Liz’s painful screams.
Lonnie and Rath literally dragging her back to the Crashdown, throwing her in the tub, and locking the door.
Max’s eyes flew open. He realized that he and Liz were still kissing. He pulled back from her, and laid her down gently on the floor, backing away from her. She opened her swollen eyes just enough to see him slump against the door.
“You saw it, didn’t you?” she muttered. He nodded.
“Shh, don’t talk. You’re hurt.”
“I know.” Liz closed her eyes again. She began to roll over.
“What are you doing? Liz, stop!” She ignored him, and turned all the way over, landing on her stomach.
“See what he wrote, Max. See what that bastard burned into me,” she told him harshly. Max blinked in surprise. He had never heard her swear.
“Max. It’s important. You need to see.”
“I don’t want to see, Liz,” he told her, angry with her, with Nicholas, himself, everyone.
“Then you don’t care about me. Me, or Michael, or Isabel, or Maria or any of us. Especially me. He burned me, burned my entire back, to give you a message, and you won’t even look at it. I guess I’m not important enough, I am?” she asked, her voice cold, harsh, and crying. Max locked his jaw. She knew what would piss him off. Of course she did. And this especially made him mad, with all that had happened. And he always blamed himself whenever he saw her cry. It was like she knew that her crying was heartbreaking enough for him.
Without saying anything, Max went over to her, and raised her shirt slowly. At the first sight of burnt flesh, he pulled it back down. Taking a deep breath, he raised the shirt all the way up, and nearly lost it right there.
He had seen Liz’s bare back before, during the summer, when she was in her bathing suit. He remembered how smooth and tan her back was, how beautiful she was. And now, staring at the crudely written words burned into her back was making his blood boil. Black letters, the skin around it red with irritation. He swallowed and quickly read the message.
“Oh my god,” he muttered, reading it for a second time.
“What does it say, Max? The bastard wouldn’t tell me.” Max glanced at her. She had turned her head towards him, and was staring up at him through slanted eyes.
“It says-“ He swallowed the lump in his throat. “It says, ‘We’ll take her again. And the others. We want the granilith. We will get it. Watch over your “queen” better next time.”
“Your queen?” she asked quietly.
“He means you. It’s underlined, like a joke or something.” Nobody’s laughing, Nicholas, he thought angrily.
“Oh.” Max lowered her shirt back down. Now was the time. Especially after that threat.
“Liz. I have to tell you something. We’re leaving.” Liz let a quiet breath. “And I mean, we.”
“We?” Liz asked sarcastically. “I thought it just said, ‘watch over your “queen” better next time’. So now you’re just gonna leave me?” Max closed his eyes, and helped her get up.
“No. We’re leaving, Liz. All of us. All eight of us.” Liz could feel her breathing stop again.
“Yes, the eight of us. Me, you, Michael, Isabel, Tess, Alex, Maria, and Kyle.”
“Why?” she asked as he sat her down on her bed.
“Short version. Rath and Lonnie joined up with Nicholas and the rest of the skins because they want to go home. And they’re hunting us. And tonight just proved it to us that they’re willing to take anyone to get information about the granilith. So we’ve decided to leave. And you have to come with us.”
“We have to?” she asked slowly, trying to let all the information sink in. It wasn’t working. He kneeled down in front of her to look her straight in the eyes.
“If you want to live, yes.” Liz nodded slowly. She could move in slow motion only it seemed. “Our parents will think we just ran away or something bad happened to us. I don’t know what they’re going to think. We’ll come back one day, maybe someday soon.” She saw right through his words.
“What if we never come back?” Liz regretted the words instantly. Max’s face tightened, and his fear was showing clearly.
“Then we never come back,” he answered.
“Are they going to kill me next time?” she asked, her voice scared and almost childlike. She had to know. Max nodded slightly.
“We need to hurry. Are you all right with all of this?” he asked. She shook her head.
“Me neither. But we can’t come back, Liz. This,” he said, indicating to her burnt back and swollen skin. “This proves it.”
Liz wanted to move. Max had placed her in the jeep very carefully, but after an hour of sitting in the same position, she was more than ready to move. What she really wanted was to lie down in the back. But Max didn’t have time to slow down, and their stuff was in the backseat. At least he had put up the top, because it was freezing outside. They were on their way to . . . somewhere in Arizona, she couldn’t remember. Max hadn’t had much time to give her all the details. But they had two and a half more hours to go that night, so he had plenty of time.
“Explain it to me now, Max,” she asked him. He jumped at the sound of her voice. They hadn't said over ten words the past hour.
“Everything?” She nodded, trying to shift in her seat.
“Yes. I want to know.” Max sighed.
“Okay. Let’s stop at a gas station first and get something to eat.” Liz was surprised. He was stopping? Fine with her.
Max pulled over to the gas station and parked right next to the door. “You shouldn’t get out. They might think . . .”
“That you did this to me. The people in there might think that you beat me up,” she finished dully for him. He winced, and got out of the car. He walked over to her side, and opened the door.
“First of all,” he started, looking her straight in the eye. “I don’t care if they think if I did it, because I know that I would never do something like this. But they might call the cops and arrest me for abuse or something. Second, you’re hurt, you can't even move on your own. And I think you should lay down and try to sleep. I figured I could try to lean the seat back since the backseat is packed.” He helped her sit up while he leaned the seat back enough for her to halfway lay down.
“Anything in particular you want to eat?” he asked. Liz shook her head. “Okay, I’ll find something.” Liz hoped so. There wasn’t much open at three thirty in the morning.
She watched Max walk around the well-lit store, picking up things, occasionally looking out the window at the Jeep. She knew that he was checking to make sure she was still there. Like she could go anywhere on her own.
The silence gave her time to think about what she had been putting off for the past hour. To think about her home. Her packing, or rather watching Max pack her things. Saying good bye to her parents, who thought she was going to pick Maria up at a late party that had gotten out of hand. Kissing her mom and dad one last time. Taking one last look at her room, her balcony, the Crashdown. Grabbing her Emergency-Emergency-Emergency money, her college money, all her tips and paychecks saved over the past three years of waiting on tables and the years before of behind the counter work since she was eight. Her college money totaled over three thousand dollars, something that killed Liz to do, to take her life savings. But this was her life.
Because Liz knew that she was never going back. None of them were going back to Roswell. It was too dangerous. They might, one day. In like, ten years. She had a private bet with herself that they wouldn’t step into New Mexico for another six years, and then go to Roswell after another five.
She would never see her parents again. Never sit and wait for Max to come out of the UFO Center after work. Never kiss Max on her balcony again. Never serve another Alien Blast or Will Smith Burger. That was probably a plus though. But to leave her hometown, the place where she was born, was what hurt the most.
But she would be with Max. Max who hadn't even really forgiven her for “sleeping” with Kyle. They had started a sort of a friendship, a little more than just friends, like holding hands every once in a while, like at Midnight Mass. He had started coming to Crashdown more and more by himself, like he used to. Usually Isabel would join him, Tess too sometimes, but they seemed to realize that he would just try to talk Liz as much as possible, and leave him alone.
Now that Liz thought about it, the past two days, Max had been acting more friendlier than usual. Standing closer to her when they talked, always trying to be around her. Maria had mentioned-more than once-how Max was staring at her again while she worked. And the things he’d said- maybe she was reading into this too much. Max didn’t want to get into a serious relationship. She personally didn’t think he would ever trust her like he did before.
“Here you go, Liz.” She jumped. Max didn’t see, he was trying to balance the drinks and food in his arms. He handed her a drink and a packet of crackers. “Sorry, it’s not much, but it’s all I could get. We really need to get going.” She waited until they were back on the road to say anything.
“Max, tell me, please. I need to know what’s going on,” Liz insisted quietly. Max sighed.
“It’s a long story,” he warned her.
“We have plenty of time.”
“You should get some sleep. You need to rest.”
“So do you. And we can rest tomorrow.” Liz was not going to let him off. He sighed, and started the long story.
“Two days ago, Isabel, Michael, Tess, and I all had a dream about Rath and Lonnie. They were standing next to the granolith, talking to Nicholas. They were talking about how it felt to kill their duplicates, the real royal four. Rath and Lonnie kept saying that they were the original, and Nicholas would just laugh. Rath-“ Liz noticed how Max’s knuckles were turning white from clutching the steering wheel so hard. “Rath said that at least he got to do that chick before she died. Nicholas asked which one, and he said-“ Max took a deep breath. “He said the strong one. The one they brought to Nicholas, the one he tortured.” Liz was dumbfounded, and scared to death.
“You mean . . . me?” she asked shakily. Max nodded grimly.
“Lonnie was even a little shocked. Imagine that. Nicholas almost didn’t believe him, because even he knew you would never- Rath actually said that he forced you, with threats of killing you, killing Maria and Alex, even me. You didn’t know we were already dead. They laughed about it. How Nicholas raped your mind and Rath- Oh God, Liz. I wish I could have stopped the dream there.” His voice was rough and scratchy. “It was killing me to hear him talk about you like that. And when he said that he showed you our bodies right before you died-“
“I don’t want to hear it, Max!” she cried, putting her hands over her ears, ignoring the pain running through her sore arms. “Please stop!” she begged. Max reached over and lightly touched her arm.
“I’m sorry. It’s important, though.” Liz lowered her hands.
“Anyway, the purpose of the conversation was talking about how they got to us. Their entire plan. We saw the future, Liz, in our dreams. Isabel said that it’s happened to her a few times before, randomly. It’s not something you plan on doing. But we knew it was true when we found out we all had had the same dream. And after we heard the plan, we knew we had no choice. We all went out to the granolith, and covered the pods. Only the four of us can get to it, no one else, not even Nicholas if he tried. And we talked. We came up with our plan. We would leave. Just the four of us.”
“But why am I here, then? You said it was the eight of us, Michael, Isabel, Tess, Kyle, Maria, Alex, me and you!” Liz was so confused, and slightly angry.
“Would you please just listen for a moment?” Liz shut up. He wasn’t angry, just frustrated, wanting to tell the entire story she had begged him to tell.
“Last night we had another dream, just a few hours before I came to get you. Another dream that told us our future. We had left town, just like we were going to do. Rath, Lonnie, and Nicholas were still standing next to the granolith. Talking about how they had killed the four of you. Maria, apparently, knows where the granolith is. Michael took her once to see it. Nicholas had gone into your minds, all four of you, to find out where it was. Maria had known, and she was last. Then Rath gave his same speech about you. Once we woke up, we all decided that the plan was still the same, it just included the four of you now.”
“So, where are going now?” Max sighed again, and pointed towards distant mountains.
“Northwest, to Flagstaff, Arizona. We have a winter cabin up there. It’s nice and secluded. We should be the last ones to get there. We’re all taking separate routes, and ours is the longest.”
“We’re running for our lives again, Max. I thought it was over now,” Liz said softly, tears coming to her eyes. Max didn’t have to look to know she was crying. He reached over and took her hand.
“It wasn’t over, Liz. It’s not starting over, it’s continuing. The real fear is starting now.”
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 3-Mar-2002 3:52:09 PM ]