posted on 17-Sep-2001 10:37:07 AM by majesty
Title: Heart of the Phoenix

Rating: PG13/Eventual NC-17 (A/U)

Disclaimer: I own nothing Liz and Max, life just isn't fair!

Summary: A *very* loose adaptation of the movie Starman (No it's not going to play exactly the way the movie did). If someone has already done this, please let me know so I don't waste my time LOL. Liz Evans has been in a perpetual state of numbness since the death of her very human husband Max Evans in a terrible car crash. But something turns her life upside down, and she will never be the same.

Those of you who have seen the movie know the basic plot. Those of you that haven't, well you'll just have to wait and see! This will most likely be shorter than Senseless…I think, but then I didn't think Senseless was going to wind up as long as it did either LOL.

****One other note, I want to dedicate this to my friend Becca, who's been like a lifeline over the past 7 months. Thanks for all the laughs, for listening, and for being such a wonderful friend to me!****


Prologue


The large silver satellite made yet another trip around Earth as it blasted its message out toward the cosmos, amplified by specialized equipment.

A commentator-like male's voice droned on, repeating phrases over and over in a recorded loop. Images were transmitted at the speed of light. Rain forests, the oceans, fields, skyscrapers, automobiles, mountains, airplanes.

*static* Greetings from the planet Earth. We welcome you in peace to our world. Our world is one of great technological advances, as well as a world of compassion and peace…

Saludos de la tierra del planeta. Le damos la bienvenida en paz a nuestro mundo. Nuestro mundo es uno de grandes avances tecnológicos, asícomo un mundo de la compasión y de la paz…

Salutations de la terre de planète. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue dans la paix à notre monde. Notre monde est un de grands progrès technologiques, aussi bien qu'un monde de compassion et de paix…

Umprimentos da terra do planeta. Nós damos-lhe boas-vindas na paz a nosso mundo. Nosso mundo é um de avanços technological grandes, um mundo do compassion e da paz…

Grüße von der Planetenmasse. Wir begrüßen Sie im Frieden zu unserer Welt. Von unsere Welt ist einer von großen technologischen Fortschritten, sowie eine Welt Mitleid und Frieden…

Saluti dalla terra del pianeta. Li accogliamo favorevolmente nella pace al nostro mondo. Il nostro mondo è uno dei progressi tecnologici grandi, cosìcome un mondo della pietà e della pace…


Thousands and thousands of miles away, a large orb-like craft hurtled toward the solar system at breakneck speed.

************

Liz Evans stood with her family and friends and yet had never felt so utterly alone. The sky was gray but her heart was grayer. The priest droned on with precisely rehearsed words designed to soothe the hurt, give grief meaning, but she wasn't even listening. She stood motionless, staring at the garishly green astro-turf that covered the grim reality of what would happen here when the mourners departed. The sickly smell of the altar-pieces that had been set up alongside the mahogany casket was making her stomach lurch.

Morbidly she thought to herself that she would never again be able to enjoy the picture and scent of flora in her presence. Eyes bored into her sympathetically and she hated it. She hated the sympathy that seemed to permeate the air around her. She wanted to run away, she wanted to crawl inside the casket with her beloved. She wanted to die. She wanted the comfort of nothingness.

She wanted Max or she wanted nothing. He had been her life, her purpose, her everything. Without him she was nothing. Her high school sweetheart, her love her best friend. Not enough time. They didn't have enough time. Ten years was not *enough*. Twenty-six was too young to die. Their lives had just begun. And now hers was over.

The priest made the sign of the cross, and people started to file by the casket, laying roses on it. Still she did not move. She couldn't set her body in motion. The priest came over and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder, and more than anything she wanted to slap it away, to slap all these people away. She wanted to be alone in her grief.

Angrily she wondered who had thought of the tradition of people coming back to houses to commiserate over the deceased. She thought it to be a torturous ritual that some sadist had gleefully invented to further torture the bereaved. She didn't even want to think of all the people milling around in the house, *their* sanctuary, the place that still smelled of him, still vibrated with his gentle presence. She didn't want to think about them looking at his photographs, sitting in his chair, eating in his place at the kitchen table. She swallowed a surge of anger.

Her sister in-law touched her arm tearfully. Liz gave her a small tight smile, and a hug. She didn't begrudge Isabel her grief, but she couldn't let herself feel what she knew would come later when she was alone.

For two days she had stood in the funeral home in a perpetual state of shock, greeting and comforting people mechanically. Dimly, she wondered what Max's parents must be thinking. Were they thinking she was heartless? She hadn't cried, not once, since the policeman had come to her door that night to tell her that her life had been ripped away from her. She hadn't eaten or slept since that night. Yes, she supposed she was heartless, because her heart was sitting in that coffin with her beloved.

Most of the mourners had dispersed to their cars, ready to join the caravan back to her house.

Maria, her best friend, was standing alongside her, worriedly.

"Chica, are you ok?" she asked, her voice trembling.

Liz nodded, without turning to her. She caught her looking at her husband Michael, Max's best friend, concerned.

"I know you don't want me to say anything," she said, "and that's ok. But I'm here, you know that right?"

Liz turned and looked at her, nodding, rubbing her arm.

Maria smiled sadly at her.

"Michael and I are going to go back to the house before everyone gets there. We'll set everything up, ok?" she said.

Liz nodded gratefully. "Thanks Maria," she said dully. Her friend gave her a quick hug, knowing not to let it linger. She knew how Liz was feeling.

Maria pulled away and gave her a small smile and took Michael's hand, and he looked at her, and then his eyes moved down to the ground. Together they turned and started across the lawn toward their car. Liz felt a pang of unfair and insane jealousy looking at the two of them walking hand in hand. They had the rest of their lives together. She had nothing.

She saw Diane Evans, Max's mother being led away sobbing by her husband Philip, leaning alternately on Isabel and her husband. Strange though they had lost a son, she felt no kinship with their sorrow. She had lost the love of her life, and that left her bereft and completely alone. Her own sorrow was a different animal.

Her mother approached her and took her hand.

"It's time to go honey," she said softly.

"No," Liz said softly. "I can't go yet."

Diane looked at her painfully.

"Liz, you can't stay, they're going to…" she trailed off.

"I want to be here," she said fiercely, her head snapping toward her mother fiercely.

"Honey, I don't think that's such a good idea," she said.

"Well, what would be a good idea is you and Dad going to the car to wait for me. I have to say goodbye alone," she said shortly.

Her mother looked at her stunned, then decided it best not to argue with her daughter in the state she was in.

"Ok," she said. "We'll be at the car whenever you're ready," she said.

Liz nodded, her eyes going back to the coffin.

The priest said some drivel of comforting words that went in one of her ears and out the other and then she was alone. Alone with the box that contained the most precious thing in her life.

In her mind, she saw his gentle, sexy amber eyes in her mind so clearly. She saw the love that shone from them whenever he looked at her. It was his eyes that had first mesmerized her in high school at sixteen, when he was the new boy in school.

He had walked into her biology class and he caught her gaze as he came down the aisle, and she was gone in an instant. It had been the same for him. He had told her how he thought his heart has stopped when he saw her sitting there, her chin propped on her hand, just looking at him in wonder, the same way he looked at her, he knew.

He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, she thought. His angular cheekbones, his amazing eyes with preposterously long lashes that wouldn't have been pulled off by any other but somehow fit perfectly on him. The silky dark hair that fell over his forehead, his long graceful neck, powerful shoulders, muscled arms, strong yet gentle hands. His lean frame awakened feelings in her body that she had never felt before, even with the harmless crushes she had fostered for other boys in junior high. For the first time, she had felt her body respond as a woman, not as a girl.

He had taken the seat next to her at the lab table and smiled gently at her and she had blushed, her hand playing with her long hair nervously as she returned a shy grin.

Bonus. He was smart and into science as she was. They were lab partners, and Liz found it exhilarating not to have to explain what she was doing with the microscopes in lab. He knew a lot about biology, but he had another secret passion, which she discovered later. Two months after he started his first day at West Roswell, exams were upon them, and he had asked her to come and study with him at his house.

They studied in his room, plowing through the material quickly, and then they were left with nothing to do. And they talked. And Liz couldn't remember ever feeling as if the person she was talking to knew what she was going to say before she said it. She felt this affinity with him, as if they had known each other in another life or something. She blurted that out without thinking, feeling her face grow red as she realized what she had said. But he had smiled at her, and somehow she wasn't embarrassed anymore.

He looked at her uncertainly, sitting next to her on his bed, looking as if he wanted to say something, but afraid she would laugh at him.

"Can I show you something?" he had asked her, almost self-consciously.

"Sure," she said slowly, smiling at him, sensing that whatever it was had to be important to him.

He got up off the bed, walking over to the closet, pulling down a large book from the top shelf before coming back to sit next to her, nervously picking at the edge of the book.

She smiled at him again, patiently waiting for him to show her whatever it was that was so important to him.

He looked down at the book, lightly running his fingers over it.

"I've never shown this to anyone," he said shyly. "Not my parents, or my sister…no one," he said glancing at her before again looking down at the book.

"I never felt comfortable enough. But it's weird, for some reason, I want to share it with you. I feel like you'll know how special this is to me," he said softly, slowly handing it to her.

She took it and laid the large binder in her lap, smiling at him encouragingly, feeling honored that he wanted to share something that important with her.

She slowly opened it, revealing the first page, a black and white photo of a little blond girl, playing in a sandbox in a park. Her eyes roamed the photo, astounded at how he had managed to catch the pure joy on the little girl's face as she patted her pile of sand. He had snapped it from above, and caught her face right as she looked into the camera, and endearing smile brightening her face.

"This is amazing Max," she said, as she looked over at him. His hands lay nervously clasped together on his legs. She smiled at him and he blushed.

"The expression on her face, it's…like pure joy," she said.

"Yeah, I took that in the park near our old house in Colorado. Her name's Emily. She's the daughter of the people who lived next to us," he said. "I took her over to the park so she could play for awhile, and I couldn't resist taking that. It was just too perfect," he said smiling.

"It is perfect," Liz said, running her fingers over the little girl's face.

She turned the page, and the next photo was even more amazing than the first. He had captured his mother, unaware of his presence, gazing out over their deck toward the mountains, a wistful dreamy expression on her face. She looked as if she was there on the deck, yet her mind was somewhere completely different. The wind had caused her hair to lightly brush her face, and the photo was no natural, so real.

Every photo in the book managed to catch some expression of joy, sadness, nostalgia, anger, fear, peace. Liz was amazed that someone so young had such an eye for his subjects. As she flipped through the book, Max became more animated, pointing out little things in the pictures that had caught his eye.

She turned the last page, and her hand stilled, her eyes widening.

It was her. She thought back, trying to remember when he could have taken this. Last week. She had never even known he was there.

She sat in the quad at one of the concrete picnic tables next to Maria, her friend engrossed in an animated conversation with her new friend Isabel, Max's sister. Liz had not been paying attention to it, instead sitting on the bench facing away from the table, holding a small flower she had plucked from the bed outside the door of the school. She wore a white and blue flowered print dress that fell to her knees with a short cardigan in the palest blue. Her ankles were crossed demurely under the seat of the bench. She had worn her hair down that day, and it fell in shiny waves down her back, the sun glinting off of it. Her head was lowered, as she twirled the flower, with a secret smile on her face.

She had been thinking of him as she twirled the flower, she knew. She had been thinking of him constantly since he had walked into Biology for the first time.

Liz blushed as she looked at the photo, glancing at him, and then looking away.

"You don't like it?" he asked, troubled.

"No…no it's not that," she said, biting her lip self-consciously.

"Then what is it?" he asked.

"I don't know," she said shyly. "I just don't like the way I look in photos."

"I think you looked amazing," he said. "That's why I took the photo."

She looked at him unsure. She knew how she was feeling around him. Was it possible that he was feeling the same way?

A nervous smile flickered on his lips, and he leaned toward her, hesitating as his face came close to hers.

"Oh my God, he's going to kiss me!" she thought, as she felt his smooth lips touch hers lightly.

She shut her eyes, feeling the pounding of her heart in her chest at their first contact. His hand rested gently on her shoulder for a long moment, then slid down her arm to her waist, pulling her closer.

And from that moment, she was a goner.


And now she stood alone. The wind passed through her hair, assaulting the dry heat that had been resident around her eyes for the past three days.

A drunk driver named Dirk Dunleen had taken everything away from her. Max had gone to Albequerque, for a conference on photographic techniques he had been invited to speak at.

As usual, he ran late talking to those interested in his ideas and techniques, staying long after the conference was over. He was so passionate about it, Liz thought. She understood it. He had a gift that he had to share with the world.

He had left Albequerque at 10 p.m., with a four-hour drive back to Roswell ahead of him. Three hours later he was thrown through the windshield as Dunleen's car hit Max's truck head on.

Two hours after that, long after Liz had started to worry about Max, she heard the knock at the door, knowing something was wrong. And they had told her, and she sank to the floor in shock.

Now she was grappling with the fact that she would never see his gentle smile, his eyes heated in desire as they made love. She would never feel the safety of his arms wrapping around her, the security of just being next to each other, not needing to say a word. She would never again her him say "I love you", never smile at his bumbling attempts at jokes, never stand in the background, watching him fascinated as he worked in the dark room.

The grounds-keepers walked up, eager to finish their job here before lunch time. They glanced at her as she stood there, and then pulled the boards and the astro-turf away, revealing the harsh vision of the mounds of dirt that would soon be covering her husband. She walked up to the casket, lightly kissing her fingers and touching them to the casket before stepping back and letting the men do their job.

The casket was lowered into the ground, and as she heard the sick thump of the wood hitting the dirt at the bottom, she again walked forward, lightly dropping the small flower she had bee clutching all morning. It looked much the same as the one that she had been holding in that very first picture he had taken of her.

"Goodbye my love," she said softly. "I'll be seeing you soon."

She turned away from the site as the men started to fill in the hole, putting a barrier of earth between the world and the man who held her heart, now slumbering in death.

***********

The ride back home was unmercifully too short. Liz's mind balked at all the cars parked up and down the street, people milling in and out of the house, and on the lawn.

She sighed, trying to find the strength to have to deal with all of these people before she could finally be alone.

She got out of the car, flanked by her parents, who meant well, but couldn't reach her in the place that she was.

Walking up the lawn, people approached her hugging her. Friends and colleagues of Max's, distant family members, acquaintances. A lot of acquaintances. Max's work was very well known throughout the photography community, and he was respected in his craft, amazing for one so young.
She plastered the obligatory half-smile on her face, thanking them for coming, telling them to get something to eat. All of the customary things you say at gatherings like this. Max would have been proud of her.

She walked into the door, and took in the crowded house. As she walked through, she heard snippets of conversation in whispers.

"Such a shame. A waste of talent…"

"This will bring the price of his work through the roof…"

"What will Liz do? Will she take charge of the estate?"

"When do you think it would be a good time to talk to her?"

"Don't be morbid! I don't want to know if he was decapitated!"

"I heard he was run over after he was ejected from the car…"

"God his work was beautiful…"

"Did you know him very well?"

"I only met him once. He never did bother much with the publicity end of things…"


Liz quickened her pace to the bathroom, feeling her breathing quicken in panic. She moved in the doorway, shutting the door firmly behind her, leaning against it, trying to control the rage that bubbled up in her.

They didn't know him. They didn't know anything about him. They didn't know his gentle soul, his kind heart, his passion. They knew nothing, yet they stood in her house, eating their way through it, gawking at the photos on the walls, talking about him as if he were an object, not a human being.

She willed her breathing to slow, trying to regain her composure. An hour, two at most, and they'd be gone. She repeated this to herself and stepped back out into the house.

********

Eight hours later, long after sundown, the last of the mess had been cleaned up, and everyone had left. Her parents had wanted to stay. So did Isabel and Max's parents, but she told them to go home gently. How could she explain to them that she didn't want or need them here? That she wanted to be alone with her grief, finally.

She walked through the house shutting off the lights, pulling her hair out of the knot she had put it in at the back of her neck. She moved upstairs and down the hall to their bedroom. Without turning on the lights, she kicked off her shoes while walking to the closet. She couldn't bear to open it. She unbuttoned the black silk blouse and unhooked the long black skirt, letting them slide to the floor before removing her stockings.

She moved to Max's side of the bed, and turned down the covers, crawling under them in her bra and panties. She lay her head on his pillow, her eyes staring at the ceiling, and then turned her head, smelling his scent on the pillow, a mixture of cologne and a musky man smell that was all his. She put her hand under the pillow and pushed it closer to her face, breathing deeply, her breath exhaling in a shuddering flurry. That one reminder triggered everything to rush at her in a wave, and she felt the tears well in her eyes, and the sobs burst from her mouth with ferocious intensity. She pushed the pillow to her face to muffle the high keening wail that exploded from her lips.

TBC






Edited by - majesty on 09/30/2001 20:51:35

Edited by - majesty on 10/03/2001 17:39:58

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 3-Nov-2001 1:40:49 AM ]
posted on 17-Sep-2001 1:23:50 PM by majesty
Thank you to Amanda, who had saved Part One! You are a lifesaver!


PART ONE

EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER

The orb flashed past Venus in a monumental display of speed. From inside emanated sounds that echoed into the surrounding space.

“The United Nations welcomes you, representing all the countries of the planet Earth. Greetings!”



NORAD – Cheyenne Mountain, CO 17:00 hours

Airman First Class Gould sat in front of the radar, intently marking down various blips that ran across his screen. Today had been quiet, too quiet, and it was giving him the heebie-jeebies.

He glanced over at his commanding officer Sergeant Major Dennis, deep in conversation on the phone. He couldn’t shake the feeling that something big was going to happen. But all seemed calm on the home front, and he was off in an hour.

He inwardly chided himself for feeding into his superstitious feelings. Still, there was something to be said for them. He had felt the same feelings when his sister had been diagnosed with cancer.

An audible blip interrupted his thoughts. He looked at the radar screen and just stared for a moment, unable to believe what he was seeing.

“Sir,” he called, “I think you’d better come take a look at this.”

Dennis looked toward the screen and ended his call, coming to lean over Gould’s shoulder.

“Is that…”

“Yes, sir,” Gould said. “It appears to be heading toward Earth. At its current speed, it should reach the atmosphere in about 15 minutes.”


“Analysis,” Dennis barked, and Gould quickly typed commands into his keyboard.

“Composition unknown,” Gould answered.

Dennis straightened up.

“Move to Security Option One,” Dennis called loudly, and the room sprung to action.

“I want reconnaissance craft and jet interceptors on standby,” he said.

“Yes Sir!” a voice called out.

“What’s the size of this meteor?” Dennis asked.

Gould made some calculations.

“It looks to be about 50 feet in diameter,” Gould answered.

“We can’t have this thing hitting the ground whole. It will tear up a town if it hits a populated area. Send the craft up,” Dennis said, and the calls commenced.

“It hasn’t slowed Sir,” Gould replied.

“Damnit I didn’t need this tonight,” Dennis muttered under his breath, walking out of the room.

*****************

Four Stealth Bombers and five F-22’s were deployed into the night skies to monitor the unidentified object that entered the Earth’s atmosphere at approximately 17:28 hours.

Ten minutes later, the F-22’s had the object in their missile sites.

“Awaiting order to fire,” the airman said over the speaker.

“Fire when ready,” the Commander ordered.

*****************

Only The Lonely
I'm raising up my voice
To the walls and to the sky
It seeks no explanation
It waits for no reply
Really it is nothing
Just a cry to the wilds

I'm delirious with chaos
I'm wonder struck with awe
But in my soul I'm dreaming only
Of your velvet shore
When I'm walking there my face
Untangles like a child’s

And only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me

I've been talking all night long
There's nothing more to say
So I'm searching every mirror
For a trace of yesterday
But the air it holds no traces
Where the eagles were flying

I'm haunted by the skyline
The concrete and the rain
The window speaks of winter
So I'll set my heart again
And somewhere in the dusk,
A curlew is crying
And only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me

There's a copper moon that’s buried
Where solitude expands
And distant planets moving
They're weighing on my hands
They're darkening my pages

And there's daylight in my fingers
But it's snowing in my bones
Been sucking on the echo
Of a thousand telephones
And when we meet again
We will be strangers

And only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me
Only the lonely
Only the lonely
Lonely could know me


Liz sat heavily on the floor, a glass of wine in her hands. Today was the day, a year to the day, that she had lost Max. She stared unblinking at the screen in front of her, flashing images of the two of them. A scene from their backyard.

“Liz, would you quit it with the video camera?” he said good-naturedly.

“Oh come on, how can I resist such a gorgeous face?” she teased.

He smirked at her.


Liz smiled sadly to herself. Max was absolutely beautiful, but he didn’t know it.

“Come on!” she cried. “You’re always behind the lens, and everyone else has to do this, now it’s your turn.”

He walked toward the camera, and out of it’s range, and two seconds later, walked back in, dragging her behind him, laughing.

Taking her in his arms, he looked teasingly at the camera.

“Now come on, I think people would much rather see my beautiful wife,” he said.

She smacked him playfully.

“Stop Max,” she said, embarrassed, looking at the ground.

“Stop what? Describing what I see?” he said, lifting her chin with his fingers. “You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and even now I still can’t believe you are all mine.”

Liz smiled up at him.

“I love you,” he whispered, his hand cupping her neck, pulling her closer, tasting her lips, completely forgetting about the camera.

His hand slipped around her waist gently, and their kiss deepened.

Suddenly, Liz broke the kiss.

“Max,” she said exasperated, pointing to the camera.

“So what?” he shrugged. “Years from now when we are old and gray, we can watch it and will say ‘Remember when we made a soft-porn movie in the backyard?

"Ah, to be young,” he laughed.

She smacked him again laughing.

*Cut*

The camera jounced along through a dark room toward a lit doorway.

“I gotta get this on tape. She won’t sing when she knows I have the camera,” Max whispers as the gentle sound of Liz’s singing floated through the air.

He reached the doorway, and the camera focused on Liz at the sink, drying dishes.

Spring sweet rhythm dance in my head
Slip into my lover's hands
Kiss me oh won't you kiss me now
And sleep I would inside your mouth

Don't be us too shy
Knowing it's no big surprise
That I will wait for you
I will wait for no one but you

Look please lover lay down
Spend this time with me
Together share this smile
Lover lay down

Walk with me, walk with you
Hold my hand your hands
So much we have dreamed
And you were so much younger
Hard to explain that we are stronger

A million reasons life to deny
Let's toss them away
See you and me we
Lay down look see
She and he
By my lover's side
Together share this smile
Each other's tears to cry
Together share this smile
Lover lay down

Oh please
Look please lover lay down
Oh please lover lay down
And you weep
Lover lay down
Cause it's over
Lover lay down…

Liz turned around and screamed in exasperation.

“MAX!” she yelled, completely humiliated.

She came after him with the wet dishtowel, and he quickly laid it down on the counter, making a run for it.

“I can’t believe you did that!” she shouted, as footsteps pounded on the staircase.

“I’m going to get you for that!” she yelled.

“I was counting on it,” Max called.

The camera lay still filming the refrigerator door as laughter rang through the house.

*Cut*

The wavered as Max set it on the table. He sat down on the couch.

“Ok, so this is your anniversary present, well part of it anyway. It’s been eight years since we met, and four years we’ve been married, and they’ve been the most
wonderful eight years of my life,” he smiled into the camera.

“Ok, I admit I cursed the day when my parents told us that we were moving to Roswell. I hated the idea of it. I hated leaving everything I’d ever known. But the first day of class, when I walked into that Biology class, and your face was the first one I saw, and…well, you just took my breath away. And I think it was fate. I love you Liz Evans, my wife, my love, my friend. Happy Anniversary,” he smiled.


Liz swiped a shaky hand across her tear-filled eyes.

“Don’t do this to yourself Liz, just go to bed,” she said, hitting the stop button on the remote.

She rose up, taking the wineglass into the kitchen, and going to the guest room adjacent to the living room. The therapist Michael and Maria insisted she see had suggested it, since she hadn’t been able to sleep. Didn’t change a damned thing, she still had trouble sleeping.

She felt woozy with the wine she had consumed, and pulled her jeans off, plopping onto the bed. A few moment’s later, she was asleep.

*************

Airspace – Hondo NM

The missile hit the orb, causing it to plow off course, never changing speed, toward Roswell. A mile away, the orb collided with the desert floor, setting a great wave of sand afoot and an explosion set all dry brush alight in a fiery spectacle.

Out of the fire, a contained orb of light rose above the inferno.

*flash*

It moved away from the wreckage, moving toward the structures in it’s line of vision.

*flash*

It changed its course toward large structures spaced far apart. There it might be less likely to be discovered.

*flash*

It took in long black strips, with black strips leading to the structures.

*flash*

A big white structure caught it’s attention. It moved toward it.

*flash*

It moved alongside clear panes. It could see inside. Large square objects on the floor. A curious long plush object, a square flat object in front of it.

*flash*

It moved to the next pane, seeing an inert form on a large rectangle. It could hear its mournful respiration in the dark.

*flash*

It moved toward the back of the structure, looking for entrance, and found it in an opened pane.

Light filled the room, as it made its way into the structure.

*flash*

It moved to the square object spying a small rectangular device. Unseen hands hit the buttons, and Max again appeared on the screen. The buttons were hit again, and the television snapped off.

*flash*

It moved to the square object on the floor, and a large book was lifted from the box, resting on the table.

*flash*

The pages turned, a photo of Max is on the first page, sitting on a bench with Liz. The page flips again. A large recent photo of Max is pasted carefully on the page.

*flash*

A holographic three-dimensional image of Max appears above the photo, circling completely.

*flash*

The page turns, and there is a photo of Max as a young child, with a lock of his hair taped to the page. The light focuses on the hair, and is suddenly *inside* the hair, studying it’s composition and make-up, insinuating itself down to the molecular level.

************
A bright light floods the room, and Liz’s eyes flutter open. Nervously she sits up, trying to peer out into the living room. Something is out there.

Hands shaking, she opens the nightstand drawer, where she had been keeping a gun since one of Max’s *fans* had decided to make a pilgrimage to his house.

She felt around frantically. It wasn’t there.

“Dammit!” she hissed, getting up carefully off the bed.

Silently she made her way to the doorway. She peeked into the living room, terrified.

The light source seemed to be coming from the floor in back of the couch, out of her view.

Slowly, she stepped into the living room, afraid to see what it was, but afraid to stay where she was.

Step by step, she moved toward the side of the couch and whatever lay behind it.

The refracted light glittered against her eyes, as she came upon it’s source, and she gasped. It was a baby on the floor, facing away from her. She gasped.

As she took another step, the figure turned toward her, and it was like no baby she had ever seen. Within a matter of seconds it was transforming before her eyes.

It’s face stretched, it’s legs and arms grew longer, and suddenly it was a young boy. The being sat up, and turned from her again, and she could see his back grow wider, his shoulders broadening. He stood up, and he was the height of a normal man.

Liz’s eyes widened in terror and she backed against the hutch, her hands touching the drawer, and she remembered where she had hidden the gun. With trembling hands she opened the drawer, and her fingers fell on the cold steel of the firearm. She grasped it and pulled it out.

The figure stood facing away from her, looking around, and she held the gun up with badly shaking hands.

The figure turned his head, and she could barely make out the profile in the dim light of the room.

Her breaths were coming in gasps of terror as he slowly turned. Her finger tightened on the trigger.

And the face that was revealed to her, stopped her breath completely.

Amber eyes looked at her inquisitively from beneath tousled dark hair that fell across his forehead.

“Max?” Liz said weakly, the gun falling from her hands to the floor.

The man who looked like her husband shakily walked toward her, naked and trying to find his footing.

“It can’t be,” Liz said, backing away. This couldn’t be happening. It had to be some sort of strange dream. It was the wine, she thought frantically. It had to be the wine.

The figure continued to stumble toward her, and Liz felt the wall hit her back.

The man stopped, as his foot hit the gun, and he bent over and picked it up by the handle, holding it with two fingers, coming toward her again.

Liz’s breathing grew more distressed as he came to stand before her with the gun.

“Please, please, leave me alone. This can’t be real,” she cried.

And he spoke with Max’s voice.

Saludos de la tierra del planeta. Le damos la bienvenida en paz a nuestro mundo. Nuestro mundo es uno de grandes avances tecnológicos, asícomo un mundo de la compasión y de la paz…

Salutations de la terre de planète. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue dans la paix à notre monde. Notre monde est un de grands progrès technologiques, aussi bien qu'un monde de compassion et de paix…

Greetings from the planet Earth. We welcome you in peace to our world. Our world is one of great technological advances, as well as a world of compassion and peace...

He flipped the gun into firing position, and Liz lost consciousness, sliding down the wall.


TBC…



Edited by - majesty on 09/18/2001 13:24:28
posted on 17-Sep-2001 1:33:03 PM by majesty
With a wave of the hand, the television again switched on. A light blinked on the front of the VCR, and a picture appeared on the screen and sound poured from the speakers.

The angle of the camera wavered slightly as Liz focused the camera on Max.

Max sat quietly looking at negatives through a magnifying glass at his drafting table.

"Ready for a break?" Liz teased from behind the camera.

Max looked up surprised. He smirked at the camera.

"What are you up to?" he asked suspiciously.

"Nothing, just recording you for posterity," she giggled.

"Posterity?" he asked jokingly.

"Uh huh," she said.

Max made a face at the camera, pursing his lips, his eyes widening.


His doppleganger mimicked his expression.

"Max, don't ruin this!" Liz laughed. The camera moved closer to him as she walked closer. "Didn't your mother ever tell you that your face will freeze like that?"

He smiled at her behind the camera.


Again the being mocked the smile, his grin too wide, mirth not reaching his eyes, instead studious, noting every nuance of the expression.

"Um…does that mean your face should have frozen the way it was last night? Not that I would mind," he joked, pulling her toward him as she set the camera down on the table.

His face grew suddenly serious.

"I like to see you all flushed and beautiful. I love that I can make you look like that. I love that I am the only one that has ever seen you like that, and that I will be the only one that ever will," he said breathily, rubbing his hands across her hips as she moved to stand between his legs.

She smiled down at him.


The being cocked his head curiously. He sensed something between the two humans on the screen, but his mind did not know how to define it. He could not understand all of what they were saying, though he had a basic grasp of the human language.

He looked over at the prone human propped motionless against the wall.

Such strange creatures, he thought.

He looked down at the appendages he held before his eyes. He flexed the digits tentatively, and looked to the floor, seeing the small silver orbs that lay on the floor.

Important, he thought to himself, as he walked over and bent down to retrieve them.

His ears were sensitive, and the auditory stimulation confused him momentarily. He walked back to stare at the screen again.

"Max," Liz protested, giggling.

"What?" he said, pulling her even closer, "I'm only telling the truth," he said softly.

Liz ran her fingers through his hair, gazing down at him.

"I love you," she said softly.

"I love *you*," he answered as she bent and met his lips.

A short moment later, she realized she had left the camera running. She walked toward the camera, and the screen went black.
.

The being looked over at the unconscious woman again and pursed his lips. What was the purposed of the two touching their lips?

Suddenly a deafening roar rose above the house as a huge machine flew over the house.

The being ducked behind the couch fearfully. A moment later the machine passed further away.

He moved to stand in front of the window, carefully laying all but one of the silver orbs on the desk.

He held one in his hands and closed his eyes, concentrating.

Momentarily, his hand started to glow and he opened it, and the glowing orb rose out of his hand.

Eyes still closed, he telepathically relayed his SOS.

"Inhabitants hostile. Mission aborted. Rendezvous at agreed upon time in Quadrant 3. End transmission…"

Another loud machine roared over the dwelling causing him to duck in alarm. His race's machines did not make deafening noises like these primitive ones did.

He could not remain here much longer, of that he was sure. He was sure to be discovered if he lingered. He looked over to the creature stirring against the wall. Curious, he walked toward it. We would have to take her along with him. He would need her help to find the meeting point as well as to remain undetected. He was not familiar enough with human customs to remain inconspicuous.

He came to a stop before her, stepping one foot over her splayed legs. She moaned softly, and her head moved.

Slowly her eyes opened and she put her hand to her head. He stood in silence above her, studying her intently.

Her eyes drifted upward, and she realized that the vision in front of her had not gone away. It was not a hallucination, or a bad dream.

Her eyes widened and she struggled to her feet, pressing her back up against the wall, letting out a stifled scream.

*******

This had to be a bad dream, she kept telling herself. Yes, only a bad dream.

But in her heart she knew it wasn't. The image of her dead husband was standing before her, only she knew damned well it wasn't Max.

The person standing before her was not her husband, but someone, or something else.

"Please," she said. "Please don't hurt me," she whispered fearfully.

The man continued looking at her quizzically, but did not answer her.

From the open window came the distant sound of barking dogs. Distracted, he moved toward the window. Liz's eyes followed him, confused.

She did not linger long, however, in her confusion. Realizing her small window of opportunity, she edged toward the door of her bedroom, her eyes never leaving him. He seemed unaware of her now, his attention fully focused on the new sounds.

Quietly, she stepped into the bedroom, running to the other side of the bed, where she had gotten into the habit of leaving her clothes she wore during the day. She quickly grabbed her jeans and boots, grabbing her bag and keys off of the bureau. Again she cautiously left the room, keeping her eyes on the naked man standing in the front window. She swallowed hard, looking at his well-muscled back and rear. She noted the way his jet hair curled at the nape of his long, graceful neck.

That is *not* Max, she reminded herself sharply, backing into the kitchen. She hurried to the door that led to the garage, opening it noiselessly. The garage door itself was still open, she saw with relief as she slipped into the murk. She quickly pulled on her jeans and boots. As she looked across the street beyond the trees, she stopped. She saw a red glow burning faintly in the distance. What the hell was going on? She thought to herself.

She quietly moved around the Jeep to the driver's side door and was about to open it, when she heard a noise in the front yard.

God, was it their dog, Lucky?

Max had found Lucky with a small boy outside a grocery store.

Liz had put up a fight when he had brought him home. She didn't want animals. Max had argued that the little boy couldn't bring the dog home. His parents had told him not to come home with the puppy.

Max had held Lucky up in front of Liz, and the young dog looked at her with baleful eyes.

"Nuh, uh," Liz had said, shaking her head resolutely. Her heart had been broken with the death of her family dog years back, and she had vowed never to have another pet.

"Those sad eyes are not going to work on me pal, sorry," she had said. She looked at Max.

"Tomorrow he goes to the shelter," she had said.

"Fine," Max had said grumpily.

"Hey," he had whispered to the dog, thinking she hadn't heard, "you'd better get to work convincing her."

Liz had smirked as she walked away.

"Not gonna happen Max," Liz thought to herself.

Max had painstakingly set up a box in the kitchen, lined with a blanket for the dog.

"I don't know why you're bothering," Liz had said. "He's not staying."

"Well he should have at least one night in a comfortable bed before they lock him up in a little cell," he grumbled, looking at her accusingly.

"You're not going to make me feel bad Max," she had said exasperated.

"All right, all right!" he said, pulling her into an embrace.

"I'm sorry," he said softly into her hair. "I just thought you would like him."

"It's not that I don't like him Max. I just can't get attached to anything right now. I am feeling too vulnerable," she said.

"Ok, I understand," he said gently. "But sooner or later Liz, you are going to have to open your heart to someone or something other than me. What happened isn't your fault," he said.

"Don't try to tell me it isn't my fault Max," she flashed in a rare display of anger. "You have no idea what it's like for me. No idea at all."

A glimmer of hurt passed across his eyes.

"I'm sorry Max. I didn't mean that," she said, touching his cheek. He kept his eyes to the floor, moving away from her.

"It's ok," he said. "I'll bring the dog to the shelter tomorrow."

He had left her standing in the kitchen alone.

"Dammit," she thought to herself. She and Max rarely fought, and she hated it when they did. What was wrong with her? She knew that the situation had caused Max as much pain as she was in. Why had she snapped at him like that?

That night, they had eaten dinner in uncomfortable silence. As soon as they finished, Max again retreated to his office to work on his photos, taking the dog with him.

Liz had tried to keep herself occupied with reading she needed to keep up with for work, as she was giving a speech on molecular manipulation the following week. Though she retained some of the reading, her heart wasn't in it.

Much later, she sighed and closed the latest scientific journal she was trying to get through. She decided it was probably best to just go to bed. She was half-hoping that Max would already be in bed, but as she passed his office, she saw that the light was still on from the sliver of light coming from underneath the door. She lightly put her hand on the door for a moment, debating whether to go in, and decided against it.

She went to the bedroom, dejectedly undressing and sliding between the sheets, turning off the light.

It seemed like hours had passed before Max finally came to bed, quietly moving around the room, not turning the light on. She felt his on the mattress as he settled in on the other side of the bed, turned away from her.

A lone tear slid down her cheek as she felt his hurt. She listened to his quiet breathing. Quite awhile later, his breathing deepened and evened in sleep. She lay looking at the window, wondering what she had done to deserve Max's love. She had been so horrible lately. She knew it. And yet, he did not snap at her. He did not get angry with her. But his hurt silence was more unbearable than if he had shouted at her.

Liz heard a low whimpering coming down that hall. The puppy. She lay there listening to its cries for a few minutes, before finally getting up and padding to the kitchen.

A night-light cast a dim glow in the kitchen, and she leaned over the box to see the pup gazing up at her with such sad eyes that she felt her heart constrict.

"Your eyes look just like Max's did tonight," she whispered.

The pup let out another whimper.

"Shh, you'll wake Max up," she scolded gently, lifting the dog from the box.

For the first time, Liz really looked at the dog. He seemed to be a mix of labrador and Great Dane, or some other very large dog. His paws were huge, even for a puppy.

"You're going to be a big fella, aren't you?" she asked him quietly.

The dog looked at her with his world-weary eyes, and gave her a sound lick on the cheek. In that moment, her heart melted.

She smiled at the puppy.

"You're a heartbreaker aren't you?" she asked, holding him up in front of her.

"You can stay with us tonight," she said finally. "But only tonight."

She carried the puppy quietly down the hall to the bedroom, gently sitting on the bed and putting the dog in the middle of the bed, before lying down. The dog immediately curled into her stomach, again licking her face. She smiled at the dog.

Max turned over in his sleep, facing her. She reached over and touched his cheek softly. He stirred and his eyes opened slowly. His eyes moved to the puppy between them, and then back to her eyes questioningly.

"Yes, we're keeping him," she said, leaning over to touch her lips gently to his.

"Liz…" he had said.

Liz shook her head. "You were right Max. And I'm sorry for what I said earlier, it's just…"

"I know," he said simply, his hand moving to her neck, stroking it softly under the long silky hair that had fallen over it.

She felt her eyes tear over, and she stroked his hair gently.

"Have I told you how much I love you?" she asked.

"Not tonight," he said, smiling softly.

"I love you Max Evans," she said, with conviction.

"I love you too," he replied.

The puppy squirmed between them, causing their attention to be drawn to it.

"So what do we name him?" Max asked.

Liz was silent for a moment.

"Lucky," she finally said, "because he was lucky that you found him."

"And because he's lucky to be a part of your life now Liz. He *will* be the luckiest dog around," Max said laughing softly.

"How is it you always know just what I need Max, even before I know it myself?" she asked him.

He looked at her from under his lashes.

"Because, we're connected. We'll always be connected. You felt it too, when we met, didn't you? It was as if we were meant to meet. As if…we're two halves, only whole when we're together," he said.

She nodded.

"Nothing will ever take that away from us Liz, I promise. Nothing will ever make me stop loving you," he said fiercely.

They were up long into the night petting Lucky, who revelled in the attention.


She had believed Max. She had believed what he had said, and then he was ripped away from her forever.

Every day Lucky reminded her of the life they had together. He had become her constant companion for the first six months after Max's death. And then a little girl moved in to the house next door with her mother. A little girl named Jenny who was painfully shy, who lost her father in a senseless construction accident. And Lucky seemed to know where he was needed. He took to staying with Jenny during the day, and in fact would stay at the house until Jenny fell asleep, then coming home to spend his time with Liz. Jenny's mother Mary apologized profusely for her daughter's monopolization of her dog, but Liz didn't mind. Lucky loved to play, and Jenny was good for him. And he still came home every night to lie next to Liz on the bed, in the spot that Max used to occupy. It was late for Lucky to be out tonight, and Liz wondered if something had happened with Jenny.

She cautiously peered out of the garage, looking for any sign of the dog, but there was none.

"Lucky?" she whispered quietly. Silence greeted her. He would just have to stay next door overnight, she thought. It was more important now for her to get as much distance between herself and the man in her living room as possible.

She quietly backed into the darkness of the garage. It was too quiet now.

She turned and simultaneously bumped into her dead husband's duplicate.

TBC...



posted on 20-Sep-2001 5:48:01 AM by majesty
FROM PART TWO

She cautiously peered out of the garage, looking for any sign of the dog, but there was none.

"Lucky?" she whispered quietly. Silence greeted her. He would just have to stay next door overnight, she thought. It was more important now for her to get as much distance between herself and the man in her living room as possible.

She quietly backed into the darkness of the garage. It was too quiet now.

She turned and simultaneously bumped into her dead husband's duplicate. She screamed shrilly.


PART THREE

He continued to stare at her for a second and then put one hand on her arm and a finger on her lip.

Furious flashes radiated through his consciousness filled with static, confusing him. All were of the human standing before him.

Smiles, laughs, and tears. Silky hair, velvet skin and chocolate eyes. Gentle touches, warm embraces, quieting tiny hands.

Confusing?all of it. He stepped back.

"You must?help," he said, hesitantly, as if unsure of the words, looking at her imploringly. "Must leave."

The girl in front of him stared at him momentarily, and stepped closer.

"Max?" she whispered, looking into his eyes.

He looked back at her, unmoved, and the moment was gone. She turned her eyes away painfully.

"We take that," he said, pointing to the jeep, moving to the door and opening it.

"No," she said to him, keeping her eyes averted. "You can't go like that."

He looked down at the body he now occupied, confused, and then looked at her again, still grasping the gun he had picked up off the floor in the living room.

She pulled at her shirt with tiny fingers.

"Inside," she said, walking toward the door that led into the house.

He followed her, thinking she was trying to escape, but she went into a room and pulled down a box, rummaging through it. He watched curiously, gun in hand.

He had no understanding of the fleeting visions that had flitted through his mind moments before. He mind felt strange, cluttered. His chest felt strangely tight. Though this body was different than the corporeal form he took on his own planet, there were many similarities to the basic shapes of the human form, and those of his race. But he did not understand the reactions this body was having.

The woman dropped the box to the floor and pulled out something similar to what draped her own body. She held the strange items out to him, and he looked at her blankly.

She paused. Suddenly comprehension dawned across her face. She looked at the gun still in his hand and held her hand out.

The being took a step back. He did not trust the creature in front of him, and held it at her again. She stiffened. Yes, this object, whatever it was, intimidated her. Best to keep it close at hand.

"He..here, watch," she said, her voice shaking. She took one of the items she held out to him a moment ago, and threaded her arms through it, and pushed her head through a small hole. Then she extricated herself from it and held it out to him again.

Tentatively he took the garment, his eyes never leaving her, and he repeated what she had shown him before. Next she held out something smaller and very soft. He tried to thread his arms through this with difficulty.

"No, no?" she said, pointing at his legs. She mimicked what he was supposed to do with them by lifting her legs. He pulled the soft item around his legs, and she handed him a final garment, heavier and longer. She again pointed to his legs and he managed to pull this blue garment over them, and stood looking at her expectantly.

She put her hands to a silver strand on her own garment and pulled up, then pushing a small round metal object through a hole in the garment. He followed her instructions.

Then she laid two objects in front of him for his feet. He stuck his feet into them, and she tentatively leaned down and did something to the strings on them, as he continued to point the metal weapon at her distrustfully.

She stood up, looking at him with a mixture of fear and recognition.

He motioned the gun at her and she moved out of the room toward the kitchen and the door to the garage.

Liz stepped into the darkened garage, still not wanting to believe what was happening.

From behind her, the dark silhouette of the stranger cast a deeper shadow in front of her caused by the light streaming from the kitchen. The door shut quietly, throwing the area into darkness.

Liz turned quickly, seeing this man's familiar eyes glittering in the darkness. Her breath quickened, and suddenly she felt cold wetness against her nose. Her gaze snapped down, not knowing what to expect, and Lucky's warm breath snuffled quietly as he sniffed her hand and looked at the man behind her curiously. The large dog whined softly, in confusion.

The Max-a-like swung the gun toward the dog instinctively, and Liz stepped in front of the dog protectively.

"Shh, Lucky, it's all right boy," she said, patting his head comfortingly.

"What is that?" the stranger asked.

"It's a dog," Liz said, after stopping herself from asking why he didn't remember. She was now continuously reminding herself that this was not her Max.

"Explain dog," he said threateningly.

"This is my dog?my pet," she struggled trying to find the words to explain. "An animal that lives in there with me. Please, don't hurt him," Liz pleaded, pulling the dog close to her side, who had by now caught the scent of Max, and was confused.

Liz felt the wag of his tail against her leg, and he whined in again. This man smelled like his master, but something was different. Liz grabbed his collar instinctively.

"He is?good," Liz said.

"Good?" he repeated, and seemed satisfied.

"We must go now," he said.

"Fine," Liz answered. "Lucky is coming too. I don't want to leave him here."

She saw the stranger shake his head.

"If he doesn't come along, then I won't go with you," she said, suddenly sure that wherever she might be going, she didn't want to go without a familiar presence with her, and Lucky was it.

There was a moment of silence as he pondered this, and seemed to realize she meant business.

"We go," he said finally.

Liz walked around to the driver's side of the Jeep, one just like Max's that she had bought because it reminded her of him. She got rid of her convertible right after she bought the Jeep, and driving it comforted her, made her in some small way retain the memory of Max. Maria thought it was morbid, but Liz didn't care. When she got into it and drove it, she almost always remembered the long drives they used to take with the top off. She loved those times.

She let Lucky jump into the back and then hopped in the seat, shutting the door, staring straight ahead. She felt him get into the seat next to her, and heard the decisive thump of the door shutting.

Putting the keys in the ignition, she turned it once. The starter cranked and then died. She cursed and tried again. The starter cranked repeatedly and finally she let it release, banging the wheel the wheel with her other hand, cursing. She laid her head against the wheel in frustration. She was sure if the Jeep didn't start, sooner or later he would get impatient, and she had no idea of what he was capable of. She felt her breathing grow heavy with fear and frustration.

Suddenly she felt a warm touch of fingers on hers and she jerked her hand away from the keys reflexively.

She watched incredulously as a long shapely finger touched the keys, and the engine immediately sprang to life.

Almost involuntarily, her eyes went to his face, not quite believing what she had just seen.

He watched her look at him with a mix of disbelief and fear, a touch of revulsion and he felt a pang of?what? What exactly was it he was experiencing? He could not describe it in words of his people, for there was no word for feelings such as this. His people were not bogged down with these sensations that clouded thinking and action. He found it completely disconcerting. When he touched her hand he had the vaguest sense of familiarity, though he could not figure out why. Perhaps a side effect of taking on this form. Never had he incorporated himself into a being quite like this. Never had the sensations of another being invaded his consciousness before. It scared him a little.

The woman put the car into drive and slowly pulled out of the garage, as the creature in the seat behind him huffed hot air onto his neck. Yes, completely and utterly disturbing, this planet.

Liz turned onto the street and sped the vehicle up quickly down the road, as a flash of lights from Federal vehicles sped by them. Maneuvering the curves of the road agilely, she felt near panic rising in her throat. She was taking some crazy road trip with a psycho version of her husband, and she had no idea what was going to become of her.

Seeing a stop sign ahead, something snapped in her and she slammed on the brakes, throwing her passenger forward, and he banged his head against the dash.

She tried to calm her breathing, her knuckles white against the steering wheel. He rubbed his forehead, squinting painfully.

She turned to him quickly, angrily.

"Ok, I am in the damned Jeep, you have me where you want me!" she shouted. "But I have no idea where the hell I am supposed to be going! Tell me where I am supposed to take you, because I want to get as far away from you as possible as soon as possible!"

Her chest rose and fell angrily, and the mere sight of that stilled the man's hand on his forehead.

He slowly reached into his pocket, and Liz prepared herself for the worst.

He withdrew a closed palm, and her eyes widened.

He held his hand out in front of her and opened his fingers, exposing a small metal orb.

Closing his eyes, the orb began to glow and Liz panicked.

"What the hell is that?" she yelled. "What are you doing?"

Lucky barked from the backseat, and put his head on her shoulder protectively, eyeing the orb that suddenly was glowing almost blindingly bright.

Her shouts did not faze him, as he concentrated on his effort.

A moment later, the small orb rose from his hand, and Liz shielded her eyes as it moved toward the windshield, spreading its glow out and becoming part of it.

A map of the United States appeared glowing green across the windshield.

He pointed toward the upper left corner of the map.

"What Washington?" Liz asked shortly.

He nodded.

"Where in Washington?" she asked. "What's there?Seattle, Spokane, Olympia, the Cascade Mountains?"

He nodded vigorously.

"The mountains?" she asked. "Near Mount St. Helen?"

He pointed to the Cascades on the windshield.

"We go," he said, waving the gun at her.

Liz turned her eyes back to the road, turning her car toward the nearest western route, Rt 380.

*****************

The further she drove away from Roswell, the greater her fear grew. What would happen to her? Maria would be worried sick she knew, once she realized she was gone.

She had thought long and hard through the long hours driving into the night, and she realized that this thing, this being next to her had to be an alien. There was no question about it. His transformation into Max was definitely not of this earth. How ironic that whatever it was landed in Roswell. Who would believe it? The people who lived there surely wouldn't, and considering the way the government cars were rushing into the area as they left, they probably cleaned and covered the whole thing up by dawn.

Traffic had been light on the interstate. She had driven a long time without even seeing a car.

She felt his gaze on her again, and it unsettled her. She tried to keep her eyes on the road as much as she could because looking to her right and seeing her husband's face still freaked her out.

But periodically, she felt his eyes on her, studying her. She remained silent, not wanting to antagonize him, not knowing what he would do to her, and so she drove in silence.

Lucky had settled down in the backseat after realizing they were not on a jaunt to the market, but on a real road trip. He was in doggy heaven, completely ignorant of the fact that his mistress was probably driving herself closer to her own demise.

After all, this creature most certainly wasn't going to let her go once he got to where he needed to go. But maybe there would be opportunities to get help along the way. She needed to have that hope, or she would go mad. Lucky was no help. After a perfunctory sniff at the man sitting in the passenger seat, he seemed satisfied and promptly collapsed onto the back seat, quickly falling asleep. Liz silently cursed him. Some watchdog you are, she grumbled to herself.

Yet again, she felt his eyes on her, and suddenly she snapped. She couldn't take it any more.

Her head snapped toward him, glaring at him.

"What?" she said angrily. "What are you staring at?"

He looked at her for a long moment in silence, and then picked up her wallet out of her bag, opening it, thumbing through the photos. Annoyed, she turned her eyes back to the road.

"What called you?" he asked curiously.

"What?" she said, glancing at him.

"You," he said, pointing to her in the photo.

"Do you mean my name?" she asked.

"Yes?name," he answered.

"Liz Evans," she said, "my name is Liz Evans."

She watched him as he looked at she and Max in their wedding photo. For a split second she could have sworn she saw Max in his expression, and just as quickly, it was gone.

"God, you look just like him," she muttered, turning back to the road.

"Him?" he asked.

"Max," she said, looking at him. "You look just like Max. He was my husband."

"Max," he said, letting the word roll off his tongue.

Suddenly the radio station was changing by itself. Liz was startled, and she looked over to see her passenger with a satisfied expression on his face.

Her eyes widened as he concentrated on the radio, and the stations changed by themselves.

Ok, ok, just when I start to think this guy is going to be ok, he freaks me out again, she thought, panicked.

Her breathing quickened. Ahead she saw a pickup truck coming toward them, and she decided this was her chance.

She swerved across the middle of the road suddenly, hoping to God that the pickup saw it in time before hitting the car.

She saw that the driver had thrown the brakes on, and she fumbled with the door frantically.

The truck swung it's bed across the road, skidding sideways, and slid toward the jeep, coming to a stop about 50 feet away, just as Liz got the door opened. She scrambled out of the car, waving her hands frantically.

The driver jumped out of the truck holding a metal jack.

"What the fuck?" he screamed. "Are you crazy lady?"

"Help me!" she screamed.

Her passenger got out of the car, grabbing her by the arm as she struggled.

"Please I need help," she pleaded, as she struggled to get away from him. "He's going to kill me!"

The driver looked toward the man holding her captive, and he was smiling at him.

"Greetings," he said pleasantly to the driver. This confused the driver for a moment, until he saw the pleading look on the young woman's face. He was betting this guy was one of those wife-beaters.

"Hey man, let her go," the driver said, and the man looked at him blankly.

"I said, let her go," the burly man repeated forcefully. The man continued to smile at him, as he held the woman seemingly effortlessly by her arm.

"You asked for it," the driver said, and raised the jack bar over his head, intending to bring it down on the guys' shoulder. He swung, and incredibly, the man caught the end of the bar with his other hand and held it there.

The driver struggled to get the bar loose from his hands, and he watched the man staring at him as he attempted to do so, a warm heat emanated from the metal he was holding, and then it immediately got hotter. A second later, the bar was glowing with a red hot temperature, and the driver screamed in pain and the bar was wrenched out of his hand by some unseen force and careened through the air back toward the pickup.

The driver backed away quickly, never taking his eyes off the stranger. He then turned and ran back to his truck, jumping in and taking off at top speed.

The stranger pushed Liz back toward the driver's side door, pulling the gun out of his back pocket.

His quickened agility was stupefying. His coordination had improved drastically in the hours since they had left the house.

He pushed her into the seat, and shut the door, working his magic on the lock so she couldn't try to escape again.

He got in the other door and flopped into the seat.

"We must go," he said.

Liz bit back tears as she put the Jeep into drive and continued down the road. Lucky poked his head out from the back seat, and gave her face a tender lick.

She made a turn onto another road heading west, and bit her lip as they again drove in silence.

The stranger lay the gun in his lap and leaned back into the seat, again concentrating on changing the radio stations with his mind.

"Don't do that!" Liz said, pushing the buttons on the radio, showing him how to work it. "Use the buttons. I am freaked out enough as it is."

"Define freaked out," he said, looking at her.

Liz half-laughed in disbelief.

"Define freaked out?" she asked, and noticed they were coming upon a traffic light, and as she approached, she saw it turn yellow. In her frustration, she put her foot to the floor and the jeep lurched and quickly gained speed, racing under the light as it turned red.

Suddenly, she slammed her foot on the brake and turned to him.

"You want to know what freaked out is? Freaked out is seeing some *thing* turn into my dead husband in my own living room! Freaked out is looking at a map that's glowing on my windshield! Freaked out is being taken out of my home with no idea where I am going or what is going to happen to me! And I can't take this any more, so do what you have to do to me, but I don't want to see you use your crazy powers anymore. Go on, dump me out of the car or kill me! I dare you! It's better than being this scared! It's better than having to look at my husband's face knowing it isn't him! Just do it! Get it over with!" she shouted.

She watched as he picked the gun up from his lap with lightening speed and held it to her head. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard, preparing for the worst as she felt the cold metal of the muzzle against her temple.

And then she heard dull clinks and opened her eyes to see the barrel open and the bullets dropping to the floor of the jeep.

He took the gun and opened the glove compartment laying it in there before shutting it.

"I mean you no harm, Liz Evans," he said quietly, looking at her earnestly.

"I need help. I must be at the mountains before the setting of four suns."

"Where are you from?" she asked.

She watched as his index finger pointed upward. She nodded.

"Why are you here?" she asked.

"I am an intermediary. I was sent to meet with the people of earth, to learn from you. To learn of your ways."

"I guess you got some lesson, didn't you?" she asked.

He just looked at her.

"Do you understand English well?" she asked.

"I know some. I am learning much from that," he said, pointing to the radio.

She nodded.

"Use the buttons from now on," she said.

He grinned at her, and again, she was struck at how much he looked like her Max when he smiled at her.

"Why do you have to look like him?" Liz said, shakily.

"I look like Max?so I am not *freaking you out*," he said gently.

Liz turned her eyes back to the road. Somehow, now she knew he wasn't going to hurt her, but she had to take her first opportunity to get away from him.

She had no idea what would happen to her if the government caught up with them, or what they would do to her.

************

Alex Whitman grabbed his beer and sandwich off the counter before going into the living room and settling in to work on his astronomy web site. Finally, some time to himself, he thought.

He had just started to work on the code for the Andromeda page, when the phone rang.

"Dammit!" he said, completely annoyed before picking up the phone.

"What?!?" he said irritated into the mouthpiece.

His eyes widened.

"Oh Sir, sorry Sir, I didn't know it was you," he said apologetically.

"What can I do for you?" he asked.

He was silent for a moment, and then smirked.

"Are they sure it wasn't a meteor Sir? Those boys sometimes jump the gun?"

Alex listened to the explanation on the other end, his eyes growing wider.

"You're kidding me?" he said, and got a further explanation.

"Roswell New Mexico? Isn't that irony for you?" he said.

He got further instructions from the General.

"I'm on my way Sir. I'll be there as soon as I can!" he said, and hung up the phone.

He jumped out of the chair, more excited than he had felt in a long time, and grabbed his keys and jacket, before shutting off the lights. This was sounding like the real thing, and he was going to be a part of history.

TBC?





Edited by - majesty on 09/21/2001 14:58:30
posted on 20-Sep-2001 10:16:54 AM by majesty
quote:


I'm not exactly clear on this...does Alex know Liz or not?




Etoile,

Nope, Alex doesn't know Liz in this one *happy* Glad you guys are liking this so far. I am working on the next chapter of Skies of Fire, hopefully will be out tonight or tomorrow.

Majesty


posted on 20-Sep-2001 2:51:48 PM by majesty
Hipntrendy,

You caught me on that one LOL. Major CHAD. Chalk that one up to the fact that I haven't been myself this past week. Living in the NY area is like living in the Twilight Zone lately. I can't even put it into words. It's like a bad dream you want to wake up from. But anyway, I didn't catch that I put Parker in there. Guess I'd better get me a beta!

Thanks guys for the welcome back, and welcome to all the people new to reading my stuff. Some of you know Senseless was my first fic, and now I am getting a little ambitious here working on two at once, not even being sure where I am going with Skies of Fire. But as Becca will tell you, I rush headlong into things, and scramble to keep my head afloat. Nothing new in that:-)

Anyway thanks for all the feedback guys, and I hope to have another part of Skies of Fire up sometime this weekend.

Majesty


posted on 23-Sep-2001 12:55:29 PM by majesty
Hi all,

Here is the next part, since I was a little slow at work :-)

Enjoy!

Majesty




PART 4

Liz looked at the fuel gauge, and it was reading less than an eighth of a tank. They were going to have to stop soon, or they would be stranded on the side of the road. This might be her opportunity to get help.

"We need to stop for gas," she said to him.

He looked at her quizzically.

"Explain," he said.

"Do you see that pin on the gauge here?" she said pointing to it. "When it's all the way to the right, the car is full. When it's all the way to the left, it's empty. When it's empty the car stops. It won't go any further," she said.

"Then we will stop for gas," he said with conviction.

She nodded, seeing a rest stop up ahead. Pulling in next to a pump, she left the keys in the car, waiting for the attendant to finish with a customer.

"I'll be seeing you," the attendant said smiling to the person ahead of her. "You got it!" the man replied. Alien Max stood watching intently, noting every inflection and nuance of the attendant's conversation. That must be an earth salutation, he thought to himself.

The attendant turned to Liz and she told the attendant to fill it up. She let Lucky out and took him for a quick walk to the side of the building, scouting for a bathroom for herself.

She returned to the jeep and let Lucky back in. She turned to Alien Max. "I have to use the rest room," she said.

He looked at her, confused.

"The rest room? It's when…oh forget it, I'm not explaining it. Do what you have to, I'm going," she said, walking toward the side of the building.

He paused for a moment and then rushed to catch up with her. He rounded the corner of the building to see her slip into a doorway.

Curious, he walked to the door, and paused before opening it. He opened the door to find Liz standing in front of the sink. She looked up, startled.

"No, no!" she said, shooing him out of the bathroom, he backed out of the doorway back into the bright sunshine. She came out after him. The door clicked shut behind her.

She pointed to a sign on the door.

"Women," she said pointing to the sign. "That's me," she said, pointing to herself. She walked over to the adjacent door.

"Men," she said, pointing to the sign on that door, and then pointed to him. "That's you."

She walked back over to the other door and went inside.

He looked at the door she disappeared in to for a moment, and then opened the door marked "Men".

******************

Liz frantically pulled a pen and a piece of paper out of her bag, and wrote quickly.

HELP!!!! I HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED!!!! HEADING WEST ON US666! PLEASE CALL POLICE!! DRIVING RED JEEP, NM PLATES

******************

Alien Max looked around the room marked "Men". It had a strange odor, quite unpleasant. He walked over to a bowl attached to the wall, and noticed two handles. He turned one of them and water came out of a spigot. Then he turned the other, and a lot of water started to pour out of the spigot. He turned them both off.

He heard the door open, and a large furry man came into the room.

"Greetings," Alien Max said cheerfully.

The man nodded and passed into the room standing in front of a long bowl much like the round bowl bolted to the wall. A moment later, he heard the sound of running water, but the man had not touched the handle! Curious, he stared at the man.

The guy noticed that he was staring. "What the hell? Can't a guy even take a piss in peace?" he thought in annoyance.

He shook his head irritated, and muttered, "God dammit, this happens every time," and zipped up.

Alien Max smiled at him as he turned around, and decided to try to utilize his social skills. He had heard the attendant exchange a pleasantry with a customer. What was it he said?

The man glared at Alien Max. Alien Max smiled at him.

"I'll see you around," he said, as the man went to leave.

The man stopped right next to him, and lifted his middle finger right near his nose.

"Fuck you!" he said, and pushed past him.

Max took note. So many confusing human pleasantries.

Quietly, he repeated it.

"I'll see you around," he said, and then lifted his middle finger.

"Fuck you," he answered himself softly, smiling that he was picking this up so quickly.

*************

Liz tried to calm her frayed nerves as she took deep breaths at the sink, looking at herself in the mirror. What the hell was happening to her? Why had she of all people wound up in this mess? Hadn't she gone through enough already?

She took a deep breath, and heard the door open. She saw Alien Max's reflection in the mirror and whipped around.

"Well, we'd better get going," she said cheerfully, trying to hide the message taped to the mirror.

He saw the paper, and stared at it for a moment, as she felt the fear rise in her throat.

Hoping to divert him out of the bathroom, she went to the door and opened it.

"We really should go," she said hurriedly, and walked out. She knew that if he could read it, it was all over for her, and so she went to the car.

A moment later, he came out of the bathroom, looking around smiling, and Liz breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't know what the message was, and had left it there.

"I will drive," he said, and she looked at him warily.

"I don't think that's a good idea, you've never been behind the wheel before," she said.

"I will drive," he said commandingly.

Liz let her breath out harshly.

"Fine, if you want to kill the two of us, go ahead," she said, irritated. She got into the passenger seat, and reached behind her seat to pat Lucky.

"Say your prayers pooch," she said. "We may not belong for this earth," she muttered as he got into the driver's seat.

She belted up and took a deep breath. Alien Max started the engine. Good sign, she thought warily.

He had watched her carefully as she drove, watching her reactions to different road situations. He tentatively put his foot on the brake, and pulled the gearshift into drive, and then let off on the brake. The jeep started to roll, and he momentarily panicked, slamming his foot on the brake, causing the tires to squeal. The attendant looked at him strangely, but he paid no attention. Liz closed her eyes as he again let his foot off the brake, and the jeep rolled forward again. After multiple times of being thrown forward in the seat as he hit the brake, they approached the exit to the rest stop. He came to a stop, looking for oncoming traffic, and then nailed his foot on the gas, leaving a trail of gravel behind him as he turned onto the highway.

"Slow down!" Liz shouted, and he let off the gas a little. Smiling to himself, he chose a lane, and they were cruising.

He liked the feel of being behind the wheel. It was much more exciting that manning his ship. The consisted of hitting coordinates and letting it do the work. This took skill and awareness of your environment and reflex.

He looked over at Liz smiling, but her face was clenched and her eyes were closed. What was wrong with her?

"Liz Evans?" he called curiously.

"What," she ground out, her eyes still closed.

"I like driving," he said.

"Yeah, figures," she said. "You drive a lot like Max did."

He smiled to himself. He didn't know why, but this last comment from her pleased him. Perhaps because he thought the familiarity would make her less frightened, or at least frightened in a normal way. He wouldn't hurt her. He didn't want to hurt anyone.

"Liz Evans? What is 'kidnap…ped?'" he asked.

Liz's eyes snapped open.

"What?" she asked, alarmed.

"What is kidnap-ped?" he asked, pulling a sheet of paper from his pocket and showing it to her.

She felt her heart sink as she saw the note she had left in the bathroom at the gas station.

Tears slid down her cheeks as she took in a few angry breaths.

"Give…me…that!" she said, trying to grab it from him, but he wouldn't let go of the paper. He guided the jeep to the side of the road with one had, hitting the brakes a little too hard again. Lucky barked from the back seat as he watched Liz fight with him.

He put the jeep into park and grabbed her wrist.

Suddenly his brow furrowed and his eyes tightened shut.

"What's wrong?" she said, alarmed, trying to pry her wrist away.

He was rushed from the jeep to someplace within his body. Flashes of things that he couldn't name were hitting his mind with full force.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

He felt the swell of his heart as Liz Parker approached him on her…father's, yes that was her father's, arm. She would soon be Liz Evans, came a lone thought straying through his head.

She smiled at him beautifully, and he felt as if his chest were going to explode. The emotions experienced were almost painful in intensity. Music played in the background, but he barely heard it. He did not notice his best friend standing next to him. He did not notice his family. His complete attention was drawn to her beauty like a moth to a flame.

She wore a beautiful white garment. It fit her perfectly. Her eyes shimmered and he sensed that she was having the same feelings as he, feeling body and mind overwhelmed with this sensation of wanting to be in her presence, wanting to be close to her…wanting to be…a part of her.

For she was his friend, his companion, his mate. The one person who he could be himself with. The one person who understood him. The one person who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

Her father kissed her, and shook his hand, and stepped away, and he took her hand gently, feeling the softness of her skin beneath his thumb. The sheer material covering her face gave her a misty complexion, and she beamed at him, as a tear ran down her face.

And they both turned to the man standing before them. He said many things, some of it he heard, and some of it he didn't, distracted as he was with her beauty. 'Even after all this time,' he thought.

And then it was time. He looked into her eyes, loving the fact that she was finally going to be all his.

"Liz, I promise to guard your heart with mine, to cherish you as you deserve to be cherished, and to always love you the way you deserve to be loved. You are my heart, my soul-mate, my dearest friend, my constant companion. I promise to spend my life making you happy, to make the best life that I can for us, and most of all…I promise we will always be together. Nothing will separate us. The way I love you will never be changed. It will grow as we grow old together. I love you," he said softly, slipping a simple band on her finger.

She smiled at him through her tears.

"Max, from the moment I saw you, I knew I was in love. Your kind and gentle heart has given me strength when I needed it, courage when I asked for it, love when everything around me seemed to fall apart. I want to return that gift you have given me. I want to tell the world that I am the luckiest girl alive. I want to be your strength, your encouragement, your friend, your wife, your soul-mate. I want to grow old with you. I want to sit on some big porch fifty years from now looking at all the photos you have taken with that amazing talent you have, and I want us to smile at each other, and know that our life together is wonderful. We'll have happy times and sad times, but no matter what, we will have each other. And to have you is the greatest gift I could ever wish for. I love you," she said, slipping his matching band on his finger. He heard applause as he raised the material from her face and felt a rush of…something that was causing a tightening in his stomach and lower regions as she stood on her toes and touched her lips to his, and his arms went around her, and the world exploded…


And suddenly he was sitting in the jeep again, holding Liz Evan's wrists, pulling her closer, and she was crying, and he pulled her into his arms, utterly confused at his reaction, but somehow knowing that it was what she needed. Hot tears seeped through his shirt as she fought for a moment, and then went slack against his chest, her cheek pressed against his racing heart, and she was whispering his name…

"Max…"

And he pulled away from her quickly, shoving her to the other side of the jeep. What was happening to him?


*******************


Alex presented his ID to the guards posted on the road near the crash and drove on. Military vehicles were everywhere and FBI agents milled about like worker ants. He parked the car and got out, seeing an approaching familiar face.

He saluted quickly.

"Afternoon Sergeant Major Dennis," he said.

"Good to see you Whitman," Dennis responded. "You got her just in time."

"What do you mean?" he asked, falling into step alongside Dennis, as they walked toward the enclosure that housed the crash site. It served two purposes, both to protect the humans living in the area from any disease of viruses that my be carried along with the object, and to keep their find from the prying eyes of other countries with satellite technology. It was a fully enclosed work-space, environmentally protected with a sealed tent drilled into the ground creating an untainted area. They entered the enclosure, and Alex noted the smoking hole a short distance away.

A very big hole, Alex noted.

Men in radiation suits were down in the earth, using specialized saws, trying to break through the object that lay embedded in the earth.

"It seems this is a true-blue unidentified flying object," Dennis said.

"Well I wouldn't jump to any conclusions Sir," Alex said. "It could well be a meteorite," he continued, noting the large orbs smooth surface.

"Stranger things have happened. It isn't unheard of for a meteorite's surface to be polished smooth by the friction caused entering the atmosphere," he said.

"No, this one is different," Dennis said. "It's hollow."

Alex laughed. "That can't be. It never would have survived entry into the earth's atmosphere."

"Oh it can be. My boys have been rapping on that thing for the past few hours, and all indications from the sounds coming from it are that that puppy is hollow," Dennis said, watching his men working to crack the object like a nut.

"But that would mean…" Alex said.

"Exactly," Dennis said. "It is may still be in there."

Suddenly a great bang echoed from the pit, and a rush of steam erupted from the object.

Without even thinking, Alex jumped into the pit, where the workers had moved away from the escaping steam. The hatch to the object lay on the ground.

Alex approached the entrance as Dennis yelled at him to get back, something about viruses and contaminated air. He didn't hear a word of it as he peered into the opening of the orb.

"Holy Shit!" he gasped.

TBC....



posted on 23-Sep-2001 8:19:34 PM by majesty
Angela,

Yep, thatis exactly what I am thinking hehe (memories are stored organically throughout the organism). I am modelling Alex after the scientist in the movie, and he had no real ulterior motives in finding Starman other than to learn from him.

I watched the promo of How Far, from the UPN site. As much as I was pissed off at the way S2 went, I got this huge rush from seeing Max and Liz together once more (sigh). Let's hope they have a plausible explanation as to how they came together again. I am spoiled rotten, and first indications to me are that the explanation isn't going to be enough for me. Still, Max still sets my heart aflutter, even after S2. Can't help it...

Majesty


posted on 24-Sep-2001 1:15:51 PM by majesty
Scottie,

Nope, Alien Max remembering Human Max's memories is a twist I am putting on the original story from the movie. There will be some similarities, but there will be a departure from the script of Starman :-) I hope people aren't disappointed.

Majesty


posted on 29-Sep-2001 8:37:56 PM by majesty
Well, here it is and it is what it is. It's a long part, not that sure I am at all thrilled with it, but excuse it as I have had a crappy weekend. Not gonna hold this up any longer, so here goes....

Feedback...please! Good, bad, you suck, this story sucks, anything!

**edited to add, is this board reallllly slow for anyone else, or is it just me?**

Majesty


PART 5

Driving at a quick pace, he tried to keep his thoughts on track, but this traitorous body was preventing him from doing that. It responded to Liz Evans in an elemental way he couldn’t control. And the scary part was that he wasn’t sure he wanted to. For a small moment he ceased to be a separate entity, merging with the memories of this body, almost as if Max’s soul had been momentarily called back to it’s corporeal home. And just as quickly it was gone, and he was left to concentrate on the responses of this human body he had merged with. Disconnected, yet tied. When he pushed her away, Liz did not say anything. He saw moisture at the corner of her eyes, and she looked out the window, and after a long period of driving in silence, her eyes grew heavy and she fell asleep.

He didn’t know the word for what he had done to her lips with his lips, but he had to stop himself from doing it again, but it didn’t feel like his response, like he was feeling it, but something else was controlling it.

He glanced over at her, her face troubled in sleep. It bothered him to see this. He had to distract himself.

Again he turned on the radio.


I was gonna clean my room until I got high
I gonna get up and find the broom but then I got high
my room is still messed up and I know why (why man?) yea heyy,
- cause I got high
- cause I got high
- cause I got high
(La da da da da da da da da)


He cocked his head curiously, listening intently.

I was gonna go to class before I got high
I coulda cheated and I coulda passed but I got high
(La da da da da da da da da)
I am taking it next semester and I know why, (why man?) yea heyy,
- cause I got high
- cause I got high
- cause I got high
(La da da da da da da da da)


Hmm…he thought, his head bobbing to the music. His hand tapped the steering wheel.

I was gonna go to work but then I got high
I just got a new promotion but I got high
now I'm selling dope and I know why (why man?) yea heayy,
- cause I got high
“Because I got high” he sang loudly,
- cause I got high “Because I got high”, he continued
- cause I got high “Because I got High-iy” he finished, throwing the la da da da, in for good measure. He smiled, pleased at himself, and then he realized Liz was awake and watching him, bemused.

“Sorry Liz Evans,” he mumbled, turning the radio off. Liz tried to suppress a giggle unsuccessfully.

She broke out into laughter, which caused him to laugh raucously. It was an unbidden human reflex reaction, and he cut it off quickly.

“It’s ok to laugh,” Liz said.

“What is a laugh?” he asked.

She tried to think of a way to explain it.

“A laugh is something that makes you feel good. When people share or do something amusing, people laugh. It’s a good thing. Laughter is something that everyone should do everyday. It’s something I haven’t done in a long time,” she said quietly.

“I used to laugh with Max a lot, and you…your expressions remind me so much of him…” she trailed off.

He glanced away from the road to see her face wistful in lost memories, and remained silent.

“Do you want me to drive for awhile?” she asked.

He shook his head. He enjoyed driving the jeep.

She put her hand on her stomach.

“I’m starving,” she said. “Are you hungry?”

He glanced at her confused.

“Explain hungry,” he asked.

“Um…empty here,” she said, patting her stomach. “You stomach is like the gas gauge. It tells you when it is empty.”

“Yes, I feel empty,” he said, understanding.

“We need gas then?” he asked.

“No, no,” she said.

“We need food. Food is like gas for people,” she said.

He nodded, as he turned off the highway onto the service road. Ahead he saw a traffic light, and as they approached it, it turned yellow. Remembering Liz’s response, he slammed his foot on the gas as the light turned red.

Liz’s eyes widened in terror as she saw a car coming from the left with a green light. She screamed as the jeep flew through the intersection, narrowly missing the sports car, whose driver had laid his hand on the road.

“What are you doing?” she shouted at him. “Do you know what a red light means?” she asked.

“I know all colors,” he said indignantly. “Green means go, yellow means go faster, and red means to make the car go as fast as it can.”

“No! that’s not right!” she said angrily. “Who told you that!”

“I watched you,” he said to her, crushed.

And then Liz remembered she had run the red light earlier. She felt her anger leave her body.

“That wasn’t right of me to do that,” she said. “That isn’t the correct way to handle it. I…oh, forget it,” she said. “Pull into the rest stop up here.”

He was confused at her anger, and was sorry that he had scared her, so he silently pulled into the rest stop turning the engine off.

Lucky whined from the backseat.

“Ok boy, we’re going,” she said. She turned to him.

“I am going to take Lucky for a walk. Stay here. Don’t move until I get back,” she said. He nodded, and she let Lucky out of the back seat, shutting the door to the jeep.

He watched her walk to the side of the restaurant with the dog at her side. Humans were so amazingly complex. Contradictory. Completely maddening.

He looked at the car next to him. Tied to it was a large animal. Why was it lashed to the hood? Liz did not tie Lucky to the jeep. Curious, he got out of the jeep and walked over to it.

He stared at it for a moment. It had beautiful eyes, not unlike Liz Evans’. Large and soft. But its eyes had glazed over in death. He touched its fur, and shuddered. What had happened to it.

“Hey,” a soft voice said behind him said. He turned, looking at Liz Evans for answers. She moved to stand beside him as Lucky sniffed he air and whined. She patted his head comfortingly.

“That is a deer,” she said, looking at the roped holding it to the car disgustedly. “I hate to see things like this,” she said, fighting tears.

“What happened to the deer?” he asked curiously.

“A hunter killed it,” she said.

“Why do hunters kill?” he asked.

“It used to be for food, but now…it’s for fun,” she said angrily. “It’s cowardly if you ask me, going after a defenseless animal with a gun.”

“She’s a beaut, isn’t she?” a harsh voice said next to her, and she turned quickly, looking at the owner of the car.

“She gave me quite a chase,” he said with admiration, looking at the doe.

“Yes, most cowardly to go after something that can’t defend itself,” Alien Max said.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” the man said, getting in his face. “What are you, one of them self-righteous tree-huggers? Seems y’all need a lesson or two in manners.”

Liz stood in between them. “He’s not from around here, he doesn’t understand,” she said.

“Oh a damned foreigner,” he laughed. “Well that explains it.”

“Come on,” she said to Alien Max. “Let’s go inside.”

He followed her, turning back periodically to look at the deer.

Once they were seated, Liz pulled out a map and started to look at it.

The waitress comes to take their order. She orders a burger for herself and the same for him.

“Any dessert?” The waitress asked.

“Do you want dessert?” she asked him.

He looked at her blankly.

She sighed. “What do you recommend?”

The apple pie and vanilla ice cream is good,” she said.

“That’s fine,” Liz says, and goes back to looking at the map.

Alien Max sees her wallet on the table and a photo is sticking out. Liz is talking about their route to Washington, but he isn’t listening. He is studying the photo.

“What is this?” he asks, looking at the snap of Liz and Max in each other’s arms in front of a waterfall. Liz gets a pained look n her face and picks up the photo.

“That was taken on our honeymoon,” she said.

“What is a honeymoon?” he asks.

She looked at him sadly, sure she didn’t want to talk about this, but he seemed to really want to know.

“When people fall in love, they get married, a ceremony where you promise to love only one person. After the ceremony, they go away together, to celebrate their love. That’s a honeymoon.”

He paused for a moment, looking at her curiously.

“What is love?” he asked.

She bit her lip. How could she explain it without crying?

“Love is…and she paused and looked at the photo. “Love is when you care about someone, when you feel it here,” she said, holding her hand to her heart. Love is when you care about someone more than you care about yourself. When a person becomes part of your heart, part of your life that you never want to be without once you have found it,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.

Just then the waitress brought their dinner. Liz quickly wiped her eyes as the food was set in front of them.

He looked at her as she picked up her fork and speared a french fry on it, taking a bite.

He picked up his fork tentatively, taking a piece of pie with it.

“No that’s dessert,” Liz said.

He looked at her confused.

“You eat that last,” she said.

“Why?” he asked.

“Just because…” she said. “Forget it,” she answered, watching him as he put a bite of apple pie into his mouth.

His mouth immediately stilled and his eyes squeezed shut as his lips poked out on almost a pucker.

Liz looked at him concerned. Would he not be able to eat food?

“Are you ok?” she asked quietly.

He nodded vigorously.

“Good…” he said through his mouthful, and Liz smiled.

“That’s good,” she said, looking at his comical faces as he continued to take bites of the pie. She rested her hand on her wrist and looked out the window again at the deer wistfully. His chewing slowed as he watched her.

“I have to use the bathroom,” she said suddenly. He nodded between vigorous bites of his pie.

She got up from the table, grabbing her wallet and map. She spots her waitress behind the counter.

“When does the next bus leave out of here?” Liz asked. The waitress looked at her knowingly. She had seen many women have the same idea in her day.

“’Bout fifteen minutes,” she said.

“Can you do me a favor?” she asked.

“Sure,” she replied.

Liz handed her the keys to the jeep, the map and credit card.

“Can you give him these?” she said.

“You sure you want to do that?” the waitress asked.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” she said.

“Ok honey,” the waitress said shaking her head.

Liz thanked her and walked over to the phones. She quickly dialed Maria.

“Hello?” a voice said worriedly.

“’Ria, it me,” Liz said softly, looking to make sure he wasn’t around.

“Lizzie?!?! Oh my God, where are you?” she asked. “I’ve been trying to call you. Have you heard what happened out here?”

“Yeah,” she answered. “Listen Maria, I’m not in New Mexico, but I’m on my way home. I’ll call you when I get back.”

“What do you mean you’re not in New Mexico? Where are you Liz?” she asked worried.

“I can’t talk about it now. I’m ok, but something weird has happened. I’ll tell you about it when I get back,” she said.

“And when is that?” Maria asked.

“Soon, I have to go. I’ll talk to you soon,” Liz said.

“Ok chica, but call me as soon as you walk in the door,” she said.

“I will,” Liz answered and said goodbye and hung up. She knew she couldn’t stay any longer with the stranger, but she also knew that he didn’t mean anyone any harm. At least he would have a fighting chance at getting where he needed to go with the jeep and credit card. Looking over at the ticket window, she went to get her ticket out of there.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

Alex stood in the Evans’ living room with Dennis. A man had called in an incident to local police about a strange incident. He had seen a woman who had appeared to have been kidnapped. When he tried to help her, he had a jack in his hand. He swore the man with him had somehow heated up that jack enough to give him third degree burns on his palm. He had gotten the license plates and when they were traced an immediate red flag went up seeing they were in the area of the crash site.

The man had described the man very distinctly, and when Alex and Dennis had gotten here, they faxed a photo of Max Evans to the police station. The kidnapper looked like Max Evans, but Max Evans had been dead for a year. Now he stood looking at a photo album, opened to baby pictures with a lock of Max Evan’s hair on it.

“Maybe Evans faked his death,” Dennis said.

“Or maybe the visitor is somehow able to take on human form, you know to avoid detection,” Alex contemplated.

“That’s ridiculous,” Dennis said.

“Is it?” Alex said. “I called the Medical Examiner. He remembers Evans, because he was almost mutilated in the car crash. His face was unmarked, but his body…anyway, he has photos.”

“Are you telling me this thing is a body snatcher?” Dennis said.

“Not exactly. He might just able to manipulate DNA, to recreate something that had been once,” Alex said. “Would explain the heating of the jack. Their technology has to be far more advanced than ours in order to get here to Earth from somewhere we aren’t able to detect with our own technology.”

“Then if that’s the case, where is it going? Where is it headed?” Dennis asked.

I don’t know…” Alex admitted.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

Liz came back from the ticket counter, and was stopped by the waitress.

“Hon, I tried to give him these things, but he was gone,” she said to Liz.

“What do you mean gone?” she asked, alarmed.

She rushed back into the restaurant to their table, seeing him gone and stopped short.

She looked out the window, and her mouth dropped open.

He was at the hunter’s car, with his hands outstretched. Within his left palm a bluish-white light emanated a beautiful glow. He reached over with his right hand and put his palm on the deer’s side. As she watched, the deer’s leg twitched once. Then it’s back legs kicked out, and it’s head and graceful neck rose once from the hood, and then fell again. His left hand stroked the deer’s side, and again it’s head rose. The glow faded from his left hand, and he carefully place his hands around the front and rear of the deer, sliding it off the hood. For a long moment, he held her there still, and then he let her go, and she bounded into the woods behind the restaurant as he stood and watched her go.

Liz felt tears rise in her eyes as she watched this beautiful thing he had done. He knew how much seeing this had upset her.

“WHAT THE FUCK?” a furious voice said behind her, and the hunter rushed out the door, seeing Alien Max standing next to his now empty car hood.

Liz rushed out after him. The enraged hunter came at him at a full run while he stood there smiling at him, unaware he was in any danger. The hunter shoves him back into the hood as his hunting buddies join him.

“Where the fuck is my deer?” he screamed at him.

“She ran away,” Alien Max responded matter-of-factly.

“Oh a smart-ass,” the hunter grated. “What the fuck did you do with it?”

Alien Max just smiled at him.

“You son of a bitch!” the hunter screamed and hauled off and punched him to the ground. He jumped on him holding him down, and beat him mercilessly as his friends cheered him on.

“Stop it!” Liz screams as the waitress runs out with her keys.

“Here honey,” she said breathlessly. Liz took them and ran to the jeep. She opened the door and grabbed the gun out of the glove compartment and grabbed four bullets off the floor where he had dropped them earlier.

Lucky barked from the back seat as Liz jumped out and he rushed out of the back seat before she could stop him.

She watched in horror as he grabbed the hunter’s sleeve, growling menacingly, pulling at it, tearing it.

In a panic, Liz held the gun up and fired one shot into the air.

The men steped back quickly, and Liz hurried over still flashing the gun around, and helped Alien Max up. His face was bloodied and he held his stomach.

“Leave us alone,” she grated, pointing the gun at the hunter. He held his hands up and stepped back.

“I think you’d better leave honey,” the waitress said, putting the map and card into Liz’s shirt pocket. Liz nodded, bringing him over to the jeep. Lucky jumps into the back, and helps Alien Max into the passenger seat. She shuts the door, and still pointing the gun, she gets into the driver’s seat.

“I’ll be seeing you around buddy, you can count on it,” he growled at him through the closed window. Remembering the man’s response those similar words in the bathroom of the gas station, and hoping to smooth this over, Alien Max lifted his middle finger and said “Fuck you.”

Even though muffled through the closed window, the hunter saw hi lips move and knew what he said.

“THAT’S IT!!” he yelled, running for the bed of his friend’s pickup truck. While Liz frantically tried to start the jeep. Alien Max looked at the man with curiosity. What was he doing now?

The hunter grabbed a bat and ran toward the jeep. He hit the hood of the jeep with it and Liz screamed. Lucky was growling ferociously as Liz tried to start the jeep again. He finally realized that Liz was scared and that they were in danger and he touched his finger to the ignition, starting the jeep. And then a strange sensation came over him again. His face blanked.

The man ran for his car while his buddies blocked the jeep, standing in front of it, preventing her from going forward. She heard the hunter’s car start and she threw the jeep into reverse, backing up at full speed. The hunter pulled up behind her and she slammed on the brakes, turning the wheel quickly and heading for the exit.

The bus she ironically was going to take was starting out of the parking lot. Shutting her eyes and gunning the engine, she prayed that the jeep would make the entrance before the bus did. By some miracle, it squeezed out, and when she opened her eyes, they were on the service road. Behind her she heard a tremendous crash as the hunter’s car hit the bus.

She turned to her passenger, not noting the blank look on his face.
“Are you crazy?” she shouted at him. A devastated look appeared on his face, and she sighed.

“I’m sorry,” she said, turning her attention back to the road, “but you have to be careful doing things like you did with the deer. People won’t understand,” she said.

“Do you understand Liz?” he asked, and the inflection in his voice snapped her head toward him. Again the uncanny mannerisms of Max. But it wasn’t Max.

“Yes, I understand,” she said quietly.

“I knew you would,” he said, and put his hand on her arm.

“I knew you would understand my beautiful Liz. I love you…” he said, and then she was hit.

There were candles everywhere. Their warm glow sent a shiver down her spine as she entered her bedroom. Her parents were gone for the weekend. It was perfect.

He stood at the window overlooking the balcony, patiently waiting for her to finish her shift. They had planned to sleep out under the stars just to be in each other’s arms, but Liz had other plans for Max. Only he didn’t know it yet.

The candles. A ritual between the two. Max always lit candles up here for her. He told her that her face bathed in candlelight was an image from his dreams. She loved the way he looked bathed in candlelight as well. His hair shone silkily. His skin had a warm glow of health, and the glow lit his eyes like two deep pools of amber, sparkling just for her.

Seventeen. About to begin a whole new part of their lives, but there was something she wanted to take with her. Something she wanted to have of Max that no one else could. They had waited long enough. He had held himself back, telling her that it should be special, that they should be ready. And now she was.

She had changed quickly out of her uniform downstairs into capris and a tank, and padded barefoot across the room. Max was lost in the stars and didn’t hear her until she put her arms around his waist from behind. He smiled without turning around.

“What are you doing?” she asked softly.

“Just looking at the sky. It reminds me of you, so perfect…” he said.

Liz felt a thrill race up her spine at his words. She sometimes wondered where he came from. What seventeen year old guy says these things? Still, she wasn’t complaining. He always had something beautiful to say, something that made her feel beautiful.

Her hands trailed up the ridges of his abdomen, loving the feel of its contours.

“You’re perfect to me,” Liz whispered, moving to stand in front of him. He smiled down at her and kissed her forehead gently.

“What are we going to do when we graduate?” he asked.

“We’ll work it out,” Liz said. “I won’t be apart from you.”

“Liz, I want…I need you to do what you have to do for you. I don’t want to be the one that held you back ten years from now,” he said.

She shook her head and smiled. “We will find some compromise Max. I can’t be without you. I just can’t.”

“I’ll always be here,” he said, putting his hand on her heart. “Always.”

“I know, but I’ve looked into schools. Where we can both go and do what we need to do, but still be together. I think it can work Max,” she said.

He looked doubtful. “We’ll see,” he said.

“I won’t let it be any other way,” she said, leaning up and taking his lips with hers. She felt the familiar intake of breath from him at her touch and she reveled in it, smiling against his lips. Never breaking the kiss, she pushed him step by step back toward the bed, pushing him down on it.

“Liz what are you doing?” he asked, looking at her curiously.

She sat down next to him.

“It’s time Max,” she said, touching his cheek.

He shook his head. “Liz, we shouldn’t. I mean, what if…”

“What if what? My parents are away. The restaurant is closed. No one is going to bother us. And I’m ready Max. I want to. I want us to be as close as we can be. I need that right now,” she said.

He searched her eyes, unsure, and he leaned over and softly touched her lips to his, gently sucking on his lower lip.

“There will never be anyone else for me Max. You hold my heart, you are my heart, and I need to be close to you. Please, don’t try to rationalize why we should wait. I don’t want to wait. I have been thinking about this for awhile. I have been taking birth control for over a month. I have had plenty of time to think about it. I am done thinking,” she said.

“You…what?” he said, looking at her.

“Do you think I haven’t been thinking about it too Max? God, just looking at you drives me crazy! Sometimes I can’t even get a coherent thought going when I am around you. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” Liz said, moving into his lap.

Max looked down, a little embarrassed by her words. And then he looked up and caught her eyes and lost all reason seeing the desire there.

Hungrily, he took her mouth as she straddled his lap, feeling his erection pressing insistently against her pants. She moaned and moved against it, causing him to break the kiss, breathing erratically.

Reaching down to his sides, she gently took his shirt in her hands and lifted it up over his head, tossing it on the floor. Her little hands ran softly down his chest to his stomach. She could feel the rapid in and out movement of his abs as he tried to control himself.

“I’m not afraid Max,” she said gently. “With you, I’ll never be afraid.”

She felt his lips caress her neck as she tilted it back, feeling his tongue along the racing pulse in her neck. She threaded her hands through his incredibly soft hair.

“Do you know what you are doing to me?” he said raspily against her neck.

“Mmm, no more than you are doing to me,” Liz gasped.

His hands fell to her hips as his powerful hands closed on them, pulling her closer, tighter against him.

“Max, she gasped as a bolt of desire ran through her body at the feel of his hardness pressed between her legs.

His hands slid around to her back, his hands moving her shirt up as he repeated her gesture, throwing her shirt to the floor. His hands spanned her ribcage, almost seeming to overpower her tiny form, and then rose to cup her breasts through her bra, brushing her nipples.

She gasped, and he quickly turned her lying her on the bed, settling next to her. He propped himself up on his elbow, running a long finger from her neck down the center of her chest, to her stomach.

“I think this is the most beautiful I have ever seen you,” he said softly.

She smiled at him. “I want us to remember this forever Max,” she said, looking into his eyes.

As if I could ever forget,” he smiled, gently kissing her nose.

“Can I touch you Max?” she asked.

“Yes,” he whispered. Her hand slid down his stomach, feeling it’s smoothness, broken only by the thin silky line of hair below his navel, barely visible.

He closed his eyes, and she slowly unclasped his jeans, pulling the zipper down that was straining against his erection.

Gently her hand slid behind the elastic of his boxers, feeling the rock hard silky smoothness that was all Max.

Her hand closed around him and he gasped softly, as her lips met his once again, her tongue swirling with his, as she felt him press against her hand. Her breasts pressed erotically against his hard chest and she moaned, feeling her own excitement growing knowing that she could do this to him. She felt his hand squeeze her hip lightly, and it sent thrill up her spine. Her leg tangled momentarily with his, pulling them closer as she continued to stroke him.

He broke their kiss, breathing raggedly, and sat up, looking down at her lying before him.

Wordlessly he knew what to do. He gently reached over and unbuttoned her capris, sliding them gently down her legs. He stopped for a moment, looking down at her with a hunger she had never seen before and it brought her to new levels of desire for him. Slowly, he lifted her leg, pressing a kiss on her calf. The kisses continued all the way up her leg, causing her to gasp when he reached her thigh. Carefully, he pulled her panties down, tossing them on the floor.

She sat up and got to her knees on the bed, pulling him up on his. Her hands again slipped into his boxers, palm to his skin. They slid over her hip bones and she gently pulled them down to his knees and pulled him on top of her. He kicked his remaining clothes off as his lips found the soft material of her bra, teasing her breasts until they rose in hard peaks and she was gasping his name. Slowly he undid the clasp in the front of her bra, and it fell away, leaving her open to his hungry gaze. His jaw tightened in his effort to keep control of himself as his love lay before him in all her beauty. She beckoned him to lay beside her and he moved next to her, both on their sides, wondering at all the sensations they were feeling. But the most powerful was this all consuming love that radiated out of each heart, meant only for the other. Max pulled her close, and she was again hit with desire at the feel of his silky skin against hers, his erection pressed insistently to her core. He gasped as the evidence of her desire for him rubbed smoothly against him. Pushing her back to the bed, he took first one breast into his mouth, and then the other, as Liz’s leg entangled with his, pulling him closer to her.

He groaned against her breast, the rush of hot air on her skin causing her to buck her hips against him in need.

He raised his head and placed gentle kisses on her shoulder and down her arm. He took her hand and pressed a kiss to her palm as he looked at her with an undeniable mix of lust, love, and a touch of nervousness, and she thought to herself that this would be the most beautiful moment of her life. And when he softly placed a vulnerable kiss on her hip, tears sprang to her eyes at the wonder that was Max. She loved him at that moment more than she had ever loved anyone.

She smiled down at him through her tears and put her hand under his chin, drawing him up to her. She slowly turned them, feeling Max’s weight on her as he gently kissed her, and for a moment, she pressed her cheek into his neck under his chin, and he gently stroked her hair.

“I don’t want to hurt you Liz,” he admitted in a shaky voice.

“You’ll never hurt me Max. I trust you with all that I am. I need you to be with me, to be part of me, to be inside me. I need you to know me like no one ever has. I want to give that to you Max. It’s my gift to you, because I love you with all my heart,” she said, pulling away to look at him.

He smiled at her as tears welled in his eyes.

“You make me so happy Liz. I only hope that I can make you half as happy as you make me,” he said.

“Max, the moment I met you, my life has been you. I love you,” she said, kissing him softly.

Her legs moved to accommodate him and he settled there, and it felt perfect, as if they were made for each other. He held himself up on his elbows.

“Love me Max,” she said quietly, looking into his eyes, and he smiled at her as he slid inside her silky walls slowly, allowing her to adjust.

His lips tightened as he fought for desperately needed control. Slowly he slid out again and then in, his erection gathering moisture from her.

“You feel so good Liz,” he said in a shaky voice, as he felt her tightness around him again. And then he pressed against her membrane and stopped.

He rested head on her chest, breathing raggedly. “I can’t Liz. I can’t hurt you,” he said.

“Max, look at me,” she said, and his tortured eyes looked into hers for a moment.

“I want this,” she said with absolute certainty.

He bit his lower lip, his brows lowered in worry.

She gently cupped her hands on his buttocks as he stared into her eyes, and pulled him into her, feeling herself tear as she let out a small cry.

His head dropped to her shoulder and he lay still for a moment. The feeling of him throbbing inside her soon made her want more, and she moved her hips against him, as her legs wrapped around him.

“Max,” she said breathily. “Please…”

He looked up at her as he felt her walls tighten around him once again and almost against his will he moved slowly within her, taking her mouth plundering it with his tongue. She felt him move deeply into her and then pulled back almost leaving her body in long smooth strokes that threatened to drive her mad.
“Oh Max,” she said, gasping as he drove into her slowly, the feel of the silky skin of his hips brushing against her thighs making her arch her back, pushing her breasts up into his chest as his arm came around her back holding her off the bed. His tongue stroked the pulse on her neck as her hands clenched his back and then his buttocks driving him deeper and deeper into her core.

She heard him groan throatily and she lifted her head to meet his hungry lips, their breath hot on each other’s throats as they drove themselves to the pinnacle.

Both cried out in mutual passion and frustration as the tension built in both of their bodies, skin sliding against skin. Liz could feel the muscles in his biceps contracting against her arm as she moved to match him stroke for stroke.

“Ah God Liz,” Max cried as he felt her contract around his erection, and they exploded together with broken cries of relief and words of love…


And she was back in the jeep, looking at her passenger. Her passenger with that achingly familiar look of total love. That look…and then he spoke. His hand was still on her arm.

“Remember what I told you Liz? I told you that we’ll always be connected. It was as if we were meant to meet. As if…we’re two halves, only whole when we’re together…Nothing will ever take that away from us Liz, I promise. Nothing will ever make me stop loving you…”

“Max?” she whispered. “Max is that you?” she said, puling the jeep over, taking her arm from his hand to put the jeep in park.

A blank look again appeared on his face.

“Max?” she asked again.

“Why do you call me Max?” he asked, confused.

Her heart fell.

“What you said to me…” she faltered.

“What did I say?” he asked, troubled.

She bit her lip to stop the tears from flowing.

“Nothing,” nevermind,” she said, putting the jeep into drive again and getting back out on the road. What the hell was going on? Was she hallucinating? She *had* heard it, hadn’t she? Maybe she was just going crazy. OR maybe…

“I’m just getting tired,” she said. “We should stop and sleep for a few hours, once we get some distance between us and that rest stop,” she said wearily.

TBC…





Edited by - majesty on 09/30/2001 21:08:49
posted on 1-Oct-2001 1:37:16 AM by majesty
Wow Sarah,

Thank you! Can I tell you that reading your feedback made my day? Thank you so much! That is so sweet!

And thank you all for the feedback. I am really enjoying writing the two stories, even though I get sidetracked by other things Roswell that tick me off. I have found that the weirdest things drain my creativity. Please don't mind my weird-ass funks. This is a strange time for me, and though I am not always happy with the end result, I am always happy when I finish a chapter. Glad you all liked it..

Majesty


posted on 2-Oct-2001 4:44:29 PM by majesty
Thank you Chrissy! I am reading Running Deep and can't wait for the next part *happy*

Well, on with the show. I know I know, I said another part of SoF was next, but this was calling to me last night.

Feedback...Please!

Majesty

PART 6

It was 3 am, but the parking lot of the hotel was hopping as Liz pulled in. A bunch of college kids were partying inside the rooms and in the lot, waving banners and celebrating the win of some team or another.

Liz hadn't been able to look at her passenger. Her mind screamed that what she saw was *her* Max. But her logic defied that idea. It was impossible. She couldn't even begin to think of the ramifications of coming back from the dead if a body was recreated. She was a scientist after all and that theory defied all logic. Reanimation with resident memory was an inconceivable idea. There had to be some other explanation for it. But for the life of her, she couldn't think of one.

Wearily, she pulled into a spot and turned the ignition off, sighing and closing her eyes for a moment.

Alien Max sat in silence, contemplating. What he had tried to ignore was now impossible to push away any longer. Something was changing in this body. Before, when he felt traces of Max Evan's entity enter his consciousness, he was aware of it, experienced the memories. This last time he ceased conscious thought. And it happened when they touched. He didn't know what had happened, but it had seriously spooked Liz Evans, and it seemed what he feared was coming to pass.

Steeling herself to go inside to get a room, she opened her eyes.

"Do you want to wait here?" she asked.

"No, I'll come with you," he said.

She nodded and they got out of the jeep, walking through the revelers to the lobby.

There was a small line of people waiting to check in, motorists stopping enroute to some destination or other.

Alien Max noticed Liz looking wistfully at a woman with a bundle in her arms. The woman turned slightly and he saw that it was a baby. It was as if Liz couldn't take her eyes off it. The woman noticed her looking and smiled at her. Liz gave her a small smile and sighed softly.

Then the clerk asked her if she needed help. Liz paid for the room with her credit card, and took the key.

They went back out into the parking lot, and Liz went to a vending machine and bought a bottle of water. She went to the jeep and pulled a small container out of the back, filling it with water for Lucky and opening the windows for ventilation before she locked the jeep and they walked to the room.

She opened the door turning on the light and throwing her bag on the small table before shutting the door.

"I'm going to get a shower," she said, walking to the bathroom and shutting the door.

Outside, two local police officers, Kane and Rollson, pulled into the parking lot of the hotel to monitor the college kids celebration. Too many times they had seen them get wild. Then they started to destroy property. This time of year was the worst of it.

As the pulled further into the lot, Rollson in the passenger seat sat up straighter looking at a jeep parked in the corner. Quickly he picked up his book, checking the plates of the jeep that was the hot item for the last twelve hours. A match.

"Hey," he said gleefully, "looks like we might make the evening news tonight!" He picked up his radio.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Alex was interviewing an irate redneck hunter, trying to get any information of use.

The guy had obviously had a few too many, and was feeling aggressive.

"Who the hell is going to pay for my car?" he asked angrily. "I already lost my kill, and now I'm going to have to pay for this?"

"That's what insurance is for," Alex replied dryly.

"This is bullshit! I shouldn't have to go through my insurance company for this!" he answered, irate.

"Well, maybe if you hadn't been going top speed chasing them you would have avoided the bus," Alex answered.

"Oh you're taking their side?" the hunter growled. "That bitch pointed a gun at me!"

"I'm not taking any sides," Alex said matter-of-factly. "But it is a fact that you attacked the man first. I don't know what else you would expect…"

"Hey, who do you think you…"

The phone rang and mercifully gave Alex an excuse to walk away.

"Excuse me a moment," he said, walking away and answering his cell.

"Whitman," he said shortly.

He listened for a moment.

"We're on our way," he said. "Tell them not to do *anything*. Just keep an eye out."

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

Alien Max turned the TV on, hearing the water running in the bathroom.

The national news channel flipped on, and he was greeted with the site of riots in the Middle East. He watched for a moment, and flipped the channel. Another news segment about a woman that was raped in Chicago. He flipped it again. Another crime story.

Why were humans so cruel to each other? He thought. His own kind lived in peace. There was no crime. There was no war.

Disgusted, he turned off the television. He walked over to Liz's bag, curious.

Carefully, he looked inside. His eyes fell across the gun lying to the side. Then there was her wallet. A dog-eared book. A small bag with cosmetics. Then he spied a second set of keys. It had a curious looking metal tag on it. It looked to be like a sideways "8". Curious, he picked the key chain up, and felt a strange buzzing in his head, and blanked out.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Steam filled the bathroom as Liz shut the faucet off. The hot water had relaxed her muscles, aching from driving. She leaned her head against the shower door for a moment reluctant to leave the warm cocoon she had created, to face the reality of the sheer madness that had become her life.

Well, it wasn't doing her any good standing here. She needed to get some rest. Her bones ached and her mind was muddled.

She pulled the shower door open, still surrounded by steam and grabbed a towel off the rack.

And then she yelped, for leaning against the counter was her kidnapper.

She struggled to cover her front with the towel.

"What are you doing in here?" she yelled, and then looked at his face and froze.

He took two purposeful steps toward her and his hands gently grasped her hips, pulling her toward him.

She couldn't react. All she could see was that look, that all familiar soul searching, sexy, loving look that used to be all for her.

Staring at him wide-eyed, her lips parted as tiny droplets of water dripped from her soaking hair onto her shoulders.

His eyes followed the drops, running in little rivulets to her chest, little rivers running down between the cleft of her breasts.

His breathing was ragged, so familiar to her. They both used to get that way around each other. Her own respiration responded in synchronicity.

Another drop rolled from her brow down her forehead to her cheek, and he reached up with deliberate slowness and wiped it away.

She was afraid to say anything. Afraid that if she did, he'd go away, for this was her Max. She felt it in her soul.

"So beautiful, my Liz," he whispered, as his face drew closer to hers.

She could hear the audible sound of her breathing, quickening in anticipation.

His hand went to her jaw, and his lashes lowered as his lips brushed hers and she felt her whole body tense with the intenseness of feeling him again. It was real.

His hand moved to her waist and both hands slid to her back, gently kneading for a few seconds as he deepened his kiss and his tongue slid erotically into her mouth. Her hands tightened in front of her on the towel that she was holding up in front of her body.

His palms flattened on her bare back for a split second and slid down to her rear, gently cupping her bare wet buttocks, pulling her closer.

She felt as if her legs were going to collapse, as if she were going to faint; or maybe she was going to explode. She felt tears in her eyes and sweat on her brow.

She felt herself literally panting in desire for him as she let the towel drop to the floor, pressing her still-wet body up against his. His shirt scraped deliciously across her breasts, the bulge in his jeans jutting into her stomach.

He lifted her easily, setting her on the counter. Moving between her legs, he grabbed her mouth again in a ferocious kiss. His hand moved to her breast, teasing it before moving up to her shoulder, sliding up to her neck as his other hand gripped her waist. He held her head still and ripped his lips from hers, tears in his eyes. She remained completely motionless, her eyes locked on his, seeing everything he was feeling.

"I'm afraid to say too much," he said raggedly. "I'm afraid if I do, I'll disappear," he said.

"Me too," Liz said tearfully, trying to stop a sob from forming in her throat.

"Then let me show you," he whispered. His hands moved under her arms, brushing the swell of her breasts, running down her ribcage, grazing her waist and hips, smoothing the top of her thighs, moving to the inside of her thighs, spreading them wider.

"I need to touch you," he whispered. Her harsh outlet of breath was her only answer.

She shut her eyes and she felt his fingers lightly brush her most intimate spot and she bit her lower lip, feeling a wave of emotions rush over her. She needed to feel his skin. With shaky fingers, she unbuttoned the front of his shirt, the shirt she had buttoned on the hanger a year ago, and had not touched again until she showed Alien Max how to put it over his head.

She noted the distressed rise and fall of his chest as he continued to stroke her gently.

She got to the last button and gently moved the shirt aside with her hands, palms flat to his strong chest. She winced as she recalled all the nightmares she had had after having to identify his body. He was so pale, so very pale that day. Terrible wounds had crossed his chest and neck. The top of his head had been so grievously damaged. The whole experience sent her into a numbed state that lasted for days.

But her in front of her, he was whole. His skin had a healthy glow. He was…alive. She felt the strong cadence of his heart beneath her fingers and she smiled and shed tears at the same time as he pleasured her, knowing how she liked to be touched, knowing exactly what to do.

Her head fell back and her knees lifted, tightening around his waist as the fire built inside her, taking her higher, consuming her. And she cried out in release and her head slumped against his chest as broken sobs fell from her lips.

His chin rested on her head gently as sobs wracked her body and her arms circled his chest, pulling him tighter to her.

"Shh.." he said.

He held her silently for a long time, gently running his fingers through her hair.

"I love you," he whispered.

"What's happening Max? I don't understand," she said shakily.

He didn't answer, just continued to stroke her hair.

"Is he…he here with us too? Is he seeing this? Is he feeling what you're doing?" she asked.

His body stiffened, and he stepped away from her, his hands going to his head. He stumbled back against the wall and slid down to the floor, dazed.

"Max!" she said, jumping off the counter. "Max! What's wrong?"

She grabbed his hands. He his eyes rose to hers with a brief flash of lucidity.

"I'll find my way back to you," he said in a shaky voice, and then his gaze went completely blank.

"Max!" she sobbed. "Please, don't go again. Don't leave me. I can't bear it! Not again! I'm just existing," she said tearfully. "Please…"

But the Max she knew was again gone, and for long moments that blank stare remained.

Liz slid her naked body back to the wall opposite him and burst into tears, pulling her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them, rocking herself. This was too much to bear. She couldn't take this. She's lost him. Again. She dropped her head to her knees letting out an agonized wail.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Slowly Alien Max became aware of his surroundings. His back was pressed against a cold wall. His clothes were wet, and his shirt was open. He was in the bathroom. How did he get here?

And then he heard anguished sounds such as he had never heard before. He turned his head to see Liz Evans, soaking wet, without clothes, huddled in the corner on the floor.

"Liz Evans!" he said alarmed. "Liz Evan's, what's wrong?"

She did not answer, but continued to make the noises that hurt his ears, hurt this body's heart.

Slowly he stood up, disoriented, but now fully convinced his hunch had been right. He would have to tell her. He had a feeling she already knew.

"Liz Evans," he said gently, picking up the towel on the floor and grabbing another off the rack. He knelt before her on the floor and saw she was shivering. Gently, he covered her with the two towels and picked her up effortlessly off the floor, bringing her into the room. He didn't know how long she had been sitting there like that. He didn't remember anything.

Gently he sat her on the edge of the bed, wrapping the towels snugly around her. For a long time she said nothing, just sobbing. Finally she looked at him.

"I need to know what's going on," she said. "That wasn't you in there. That was Max. I could feel it. I don't know how, but I know it was him."

He nodded silently.

"I don't understand…" she said, tears spilling down her cheeks.

"I wasn't sure of anything myself Liz Evans. In the beginning, I shared flashes with the consciousness of this body. In the beginning it was confusing images. But then I saw your marriage when I touched you. I didn't know that is what it was, but I saw it. And in the car, after we left the rest stop, I don't remember any of that. I know something happened, but I ceased consciousness for a time. The same happened now. He was with you, was he not?" he asked.

"Yes," she whispered.

"Then it is as I thought. His consciousness will overtake mine. We will merge. I will cease conscious thought," he said sadly.

"But…" she started.

"My species has the ability to absorb different characteristics of the hosts we inhabit. We do not do this often, only in cases for protection. And then we can revert to our former forms when needed. I feel my consciousness has embedded itself in this body. I cannot and will not be able to revert to my original form. Normally there is an equal balance between our entities and the hosts' entity. Your Max's human essence is very strong, and it is tied to this body. I have never felt such a strong connection. It will eventually overpower my own, will absorb my essence. I feel him growing stronger," he said.

"But that means that we don't need to go to Washington then?" Liz said, hope rising in her heart.

He looked at the floor.

"No," he said quietly. "We must go, or he will die. My cells are merging with his. I cannot survive for long on this planet in my native form. This is why I took your Max's form, along with the anonymity it offered. But though his consciousness will overpower mine, my biological cell make-up will be dominant. Though he will remain human, he will be susceptible to my frailties here on this planet. He will slowly die," he said.

"No," Liz whispered. "I can't go through that again. Not again."

"He is becoming more and more powerful as we speak," he said softly, "and it won't be long before I will no longer be a separate consciousness."

"So you're saying that I have to help you to get him to your meeting point before he takes over, or he will die?" she said miserably.

"I think you know the feelings he has for you Liz Evans. He will not readily leave this planet, leave you," he said.

She nodded. She knew her Max.

"We have time, but not much. I will need your help," he said.

Liz felt her heart ripped apart once again. She would have to say goodbye to her love all over again. But he would be alive, somewhere out there in the universe. She couldn't live with the burden of being the reason his second chance was taken away. Not for anything in the world.

"Ok," she said resolutely. "I'll help."

She wiped her tears from her cheeks and sighed heavily.

"I'm sorry Liz Evans," he said. "I wish that it could be different."

She nodded wordlessly.

A knock on the door interrupted them, and he rose to open it.
One of the students stood at the door.

"Hey buddy, uh…don't mean to bother you, but I thought you'd like to know that there are some cops down there checking out your jeep."

He turned quickly to Liz and she pulled the towel tighter around her.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Kane sat behind the wheel of the cruiser impatiently.

"I just know we're going to be screwed out of this somehow," he muttered, looking at the jeep.

"What are you worried about?" Rollson said. "When the TV crews get here, we'll be the first ones to talk to them," he said smugly.

Suddenly a loud crash startled both of them, and they saw a vending machine tipping head over foot down the staricase going to the second floor. One of the students laughed and took off around the corner upstairs as the bulky machine banged down each step.

"Shit!" Kane said jumping out of the cruiser. Rollson followed. They ran over to the machine, Rollson taking the steps to run after the perp. Kane stood next to the wreckage of the soda machine.

"Damned kids," he muttered, as he heard an engine fire to life.

Turning, he swore as he saw the jeep back out and take off out of the parking lot full speed.

He ran to the cruiser to call it in. There was going to be hell to pay for this.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Liz put the pedal to the floor. They were in serious trouble now. Yesterday she had hoped that they would be captured, and now she knew that if they were, Max would be tortured and would die a slow death.

She wasn't going to allow that to happen.

She smiled reassuringly at Alien Max, as she urged the jeep to a breakneck speed.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Alex stepped out of the helicopter that had landed on the side of the road about a mile ahead of where Liz was racing down the interstate. A roadblock had been set up with cruisers and a fuel truck. There was no way anyone was getting through. He walked over to Dennis to wait for the inevitable.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Up ahead, Liz saw the flashing lights. Road block. She checked in the rearview mirror and saw lights behind her.

No no no, she thought frantically.

She heard the first shots fired at the tires and swerved. Lucky dropped to the floor with a yelp.

"Hold on!" she said to Alien Max, and in the next instant there was a thunderous crash as the windshield shattered.

Alien Max flinched and then looked over at Liz. "Liz Evans!" he cried.

She was motionless. Blood was seeping through her shirt, and her foot was still pressed to the floor. His hand went to her chest. In his ears, her heartbeat thundered, slower, slower, and then it stopped.

About a quarter of a mile ahead a fuel truck loomed.

Quickly he reached into his pocket for an orb. Shutting his eyes quickly, he concentrated as the fuel truck approached quickly. 100 feet. 50 feet. 25 feet.

A huge explosion rocked the cruisers and threw everyone in the area tot the ground as the jeep hit the huge fuel tank full force. A fireball erupted into the night sky that was blinding.

But on the other side of the truck, surrounded by a beautiful blue light, a man emerged, carrying a lifeless body, a dog at his side. Tears fell freely from his face as he walked to the trees surrounding the road.

TBC…




Edited by - majesty on 10/03/2001 19:27:24
posted on 3-Oct-2001 8:43:12 AM by majesty
Alien614,

Nope, I don't write professionally, but I do read alot, lately mostly here LOL *happy* I have a boring technical job, so this is my creative outlet. I just started writing in May actually, and have only attempted M/L fics. Something about them that calls to me.

Boobear, sorry I meant to write you to tell you I put the next part up. I've been a space cadet lately, but you know the deal LOL.

Thanks guys for all the feedback. Y'all inspire me to write more!

Majesty


posted on 12-Oct-2001 10:54:18 AM by majesty
Mitra,

Thank you for bumping the stories, I really appreciate it. Will save me some time when I post the next parts for both.

Angela - I have been dead in the water with writing since last weekend. It's funny how the littlest things can totally knock me off course. I am trying to finish the next installment of SOF. I hope to write the next chapter of this (HOTP) sometime this weekend, but I am really struggling with SOF. I can see the big picture, but not the little details, know what I mean?

Sorry for the delay, I just haven't been feeling very inspired.

Majesty
posted on 12-Oct-2001 7:50:02 PM by majesty
Nope, no new part yet, sorry guys. Just dropping by to let you know I set up a website for my fics in case the boards happen to go down again.

http://majestysfanfic.tripod.com/default.html

Senseless and what I have so far for HOTP and SOF are there. Note I still have some formatting work to do on the site, so some of you may have to scroll to the right at the end of a chapter to access the link for the next part. Also, there is a link for part 7 of SOF there, but no chapter yet. hope to have it up this weekend. Will also be posting all parts here as well. If you encounter any bugs or anything, feel free to email me and let me know.

Majesty
posted on 18-Oct-2001 10:55:32 PM by majesty
Allrighty then,

Two new chapters coming up. Considering the length of the chapters, there probably will only be three or four more before the end of this tale, hehe.

Hope you enjoy them, and just so you know, I love all the feedback, so please leave some *happy*

Majesty


PART 7

Alex stood with Dennis watching the firemen try to get the blaze under control an hour later. He was disappointed that it had ended like this, after everything. Their chance was lost, the chance of a lifetime to interact with someone from another planet.

“Well I guess that’s it then,” Dennis said irritated. “The only thing we may get out of this is a study of DNA, if there’s any left once the fire’s out.”

Alex sighed.

A trooper walked up to Alex suddenly.

“Excuse me, but I think there’s an officer over there you should talk to,” he said to Alex.

“What for?” Dennis said, disgusted.

“I don’t know if the guy’s on drugs or what, but he swears he saw somebody walk out of that explosion, carrying a woman, and there was a dog with them. Maybe I should have them run a drug-test or something, cause the guy’s obviously wacked in the head,” the trooper said, shaking his head.

“No! Where is he?” Alex said quickly.

The trooper pointed to a figure sitting in one of the squad cars.

Alex walked quickly to the car, Dennis in tow.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

He stumbled through the woods, her limp body lying in his arms. Lucky seemed to sense something was wrong, and led the way through the woods, stopping every so often to make sure he was following, before continuing on some path that only he knew.

He was content to follow the dog, his heart to heavy to concentrate on the direction he was heading in. Periodically, he looked down at the face of the beautiful human girl who had captured the heart of the man who had occupied this body before him. The more time he spent in this form, the less confusing human emotions became. Suddenly he understood the meaning of what it was to truly care for someone. Suddenly he understood why it was so upsetting to Liz Evans seeing this form. And now she lay lifeless in his arms.

It seemed like hours before the trees thinned out. Somehow they had been walking parallel to the main highway, though deeper in the woods he realized, as a clearing opened to a large truck stop. Dozens and dozens of 18-wheelers were parked in rows outside the large restaurant.

Checking carefully to make sure there was no one in the vicinity, he carefully made his way out of the trees, Lucky at his side. He made his way up the long row of trucks, looking for a place to hide.

Ahead, he spotted what he was looking for, a modular home jacked up on a flat-bed. He cautiously walked toward it, his eyes scanning the area, ready to run if needed. Thankfully the row remained deserted, and he surreptitiously made his way to the door of the home. He tried the handle of the door, maneuvering carefully to avoid letting go of Liz.

Locked. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the knob and heard a stealthy click as the lock disengaged.

He motioned for Lucky to climb into the trailer-like structure and then carefully laid Liz inside the door, and climbed in, shutting the door.

He could feel his consciousness slipping again, and he struggled against it. This was no time for Max to make an appearance. But it was a losing battle at the moment, and he felt the wave of Max’s consciousness overcome him.

“Liz?” he heard Max say, and everything faded.


*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Max’s hand trembled as he touched Liz’s face.

Liz,” he said again, confused. Something was wrong, brutally wrong.

Max’s eyes moved to her chest, seeing the blood. His breathing became ragged, as he lowered himself to the carpeted floor and lay his head on her chest. He heard nothing; no steady heartbeat that used to lull him to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, no light breaths causing her chest to rise and fall softly.

A sob escaped his throat as his eyes blurred with tears.

“No,” he whispered, shakily. He gently lifted her upper body behind her shoulders and her head drooped lifelessly behind her. Her eyes were opened slightly, dull and blank. He pulled her tightly to his chest rocking her gently, feeling the anguish permeate his body.

“It’s going to be ok Liz. I love you; everything is going to be ok,” he said, cradling her head to his chest, whispering into her hair, willing her to open her eyes fully, to tell him he was right, that it was going to be ok. Tears slid down his cheeks, dropping silently into her hair. But she did not speak, she did not return his embrace.

“no no no no no…No NOOOOOO!!” his words sprung forth in an anguished howl.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Alex sat in the makeshift control room across from Dennis, topographical and geographical maps spread before them.

Ok, so say he lived by some miracle. We have no idea where he was going,” Dennis said.

Alex studied their route so far silently. It seemed as if they were heading in a straight line north and west. Ignoring Dennis’s musings, he picked up a pencil and straight edge, continuing a line along their current course.

His eyes widened.

“Washington,” he said.

“Why the hell would they be going to Washington?” Dennis asked irritated.

Alex pointed to the topographical map, to the large section that was Mt. St. Helens.

“Why there?” Dennis asked.

“Look at the top,” Alex answered, and Dennis’s eyes widened.

“Well, now that we know where their going, we can head them off,” he said.

Alex nodded.

“I want all units posted along that route, now!” Dennis shouted.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Sometime later, the visitor slowly became aware of his surroundings. A palpable sense of unbearable pain still resided in this body, and he recoiled from it. Flashes lit his closed eyelids in a rhythmic intermission. The floor rumbled softly, rocking gently back and forth. Slowly he opened his eyes, and found himself looking into Liz’s face. His arm was wrapped around her protectively. Her half-closed eyes were level with his, but they seemed to look right through him. Her skin had taken on a gray pallor, and her body felt unyielding.

Slowly, he pushed himself into a sitting position. He sat and looked down at Liz for a long time, feeling all of the pain that Max felt ingrained into every cell of the body he was occupying. It was smothering, all encompassing, and incomprehensible. It must have been so overwhelming for Max, that it pushed him back into the void.

He closed his eyes, regulating his breathing, trying to calm the agitated state of this body. He did not know how long he had been gone, but the truck was moving, so some time had passed, and he was running out of time if he was to do what he planned on doing.


He sat that way for long moments, completely silent, completely still. Finally, he pulled another of the small metallic orbs out of his pocket. Holding it in his left hand, he gently placed his right hand on Liz’s chest, where she had been hit by the bullet. His left hand began t glow blue, the light seeming to travel up his arm and down his right arm to his right hand as his eyes closed in concentration. Lucky whined softly and dropped his head on his paws, watching with his keen eyes.

What did you do to her?

The visitor ignored the voice in his head.

WHAT did you DO to her? Max’s voice said louder.

Silence, he answered. I am trying to help her.


His full concentration turned toward his task. As his skin glowed a brighter blue against her Liz’s chest, molecules moved, cells came to life, skin knitted together, metal dissolved.

Energy poured from his essence to her body, and he felt his life force dimming significantly. He struggled against it, determined to finish what he started, and then the light dimmed out and he slumped against her chest.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

She felt warm light enveloping her body, and she was loathe to leave that comfort. Warm air flitted across her cheek and a soft keening noise brought her fully to consciousness.

Slowly she opened her eyes, blurry blobs becoming focused. Lucky was panting near her cheek, and let out another soft whine.

She’d been shot. She remembered the fiery blast in her chest as she was driving, and then knew nothing more. Slowly she raised her hand to her chest, afraid of what she might feel, but there was no pain, no wound, only the hole where the bullet had gone through her shirt.

“You did this,” she said softly, slowly sitting up, looking around for him.

Where was she? She was lying on a carpeted floor, and the room was bare. Lucky gently nudged her hand, as she realized he wasn’t here.

“Where did he go boy?” she asked.

The door to the modular home opened slowly as she stepped out and tried to get her bearings. She was at a truck stop, the one trailing the modular home she had been in, only one of close to 50 or 60. She scanned the parking lot for him and saw no sign of him.

Lucky walked alongside her as she walked to the restaurant, still seeing no sign of him and now getting worried.

“Stay,” she said softly to Lucky, and he sat at the entrance to the restaurant obediently.

Liz went in and looked around quickly, still not seeing him. She walked over to the counter and the waitress came over.

“Can I get you anything?” the woman asked.

“Yeah, a cup of coffee and an egg sandwich would be great. Make that to go,” she said.

“You wouldn’t have happened to have seen a guy, dark hair, good-looking, in a blue shirt and jeans would you?” Liz asked.

“No hun, sorry, but I can ask the other girls if you like,” she said.

“That would be great, thanks,” Liz said, looking worried.

“No problem,” the woman smiled and walked off to take place her order.

Liz’s attention turned to the TV. A young man was talking about an APB on the news. A picture of Max flashed across the screen and Liz’s eyes widened in alarm.

“We’re setting up road blocks looking for him,” the man said.

“Mr. Whitman, is this man a danger to the general public?” the reporter asked.

“No, I don’t think so, but if anyone should happen to see him, please give us a call at this number,” he said. A number quickly flashed across the screen and Liz mentally memorized it quickly.

“It seems he has kidnapped this woman,” he said and Liz saw a photo of herself flash on the screen. She looked around in panic, but it seemed no one was paying attention to the television, miraculously.

She ran to the pay phone and dialed the number.

“Yes, I have information on the man on TV,” she said quickly.

The phone was silent for a moment.

“Alex Whitman,” a voice said suddenly.

“Mr. Whitman, this is Liz Parker,” she said.

“Ms. Parker, are you all right?” he asked quickly.

“Yes, I’m fine,” she said.

“Has he done anything to hurt you? I know that isn’t your husband. I know what he is,” he said.

“Please, just leave it alone. He hasn’t kidnapped me. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. He just wants to get home,” she said.

“Ms. Parker, I don’t think you understand, the government is involved, and it can’t be called off. Now if you just tell us where you are…”

“No! Please just leave us alone! Why can’t you leave us alone?” she cried.

“Ms. Parker, I don’t think you understand…” he said, and heard an audible click as the line went dead.

“Dammit!” he cursed.


*%*%*%*%*%*%*

“Hon, you were looking for the handsome guy in the blue shirt, right?” the waitress asked Liz, as she handed her the bag of food.

“Someone’s seen him?” Liz asked urgently.

“Yep, Marcy over there saw him leave with a trucker about an hour ago. Shouldn’t be too hard to catch up to him. One of the other truckers said that there’s a road block about 20 minutes up the highway. Military’s looking for something. You can probably catch him there if you need to,” she said.

Liz looked around frantically. Oh God, if they caught him there, it was all over.

“Hey!” she shouted. “Can anyone give me a ride up the road? It’s gotta be fast!”

A young man of about eighteen stood up, smiling at the attractive woman standing at the counter.

“I’ll take you,” he said.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

The visitor stared out the window as the truck made it’s way down the highway. It was best he left her there. It was the right thing to do. She would only be put in further danger if he allowed her to continue on with him to Washington, and he didn’t think he could bear to feel that pain of Max’s one more time if anything else happened. He just had to hope that he could hold Max at bay until he got to the rendezvous point. He knew now that Max would not leave Earth willingly. Not with Liz here.

He sighed.

“So buddy, where you from?” the driver said in a twangy voice.

“Not from around here,” the visitor said, mimicking the driver’s accent.

“What do you do?” the driver asked.

“Do?” the visitor asked.

“For a living?” the driver prompted.

“I git by,” the visitor answered.

“Don’t we all?” the driver laughed. He pulled a small package out of his pocket and shook a long white stick out of it and put it into his mouth. The visitor looked at him curiously.

The driver glanced at him.

“Want one?” he asked, and the visitor nodded. The man shook another stick out of the package and the visitor put it in his lips as he watched the man do.

The driver took out a small object and clicked it, and fire shot out of the top of it. The driver inhaled on the stick deeply and smiled, turning to put the fire to his stick.

He saw the fire light the end of the stick and he let it sit between his lips for a moment and remembered what he saw the driver do, and he breathed in deeply.

The driver glanced at him again as his face first froze and then he doubled over coughing madly. The driver looked at him strangely.

“You all right buddy?” he asked.

He nodded still coughing vigorously as he held threw the stick out the window.

The driver shook his head. How did he always manage to pick up the freaks? He thought to himself.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Liz fed Lucky the egg sandwich as the boy maneuvered his car out onto the highway. Luck would have it he had a souped up Camaro, and he let it loose leaving a trail of rubber as they tore out of the parking lot.

“Go as fast as you can,” Liz said to him. If I don’t get there in time, there’s going to be trouble.”

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

The driver cursed as he saw the traffic jam ahead.

“What the fuck?” he said annoyed as he slowed the truck to a stop. He turned the engine off, and opened the door, seeing people milling about their cars.

“What now?” the driver muttered, and the visitor opened his door, also curious as to what the hold up was. The driver started to walk up the line of cars, intending to find out why they were all stopped. The visitor trailed behind, looking at all the people standing alongside their cars, complaining.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%


Ten minutes later, Liz spotted the traffic stopped. As the Camaro slowed up, she opened the door, leaving lucky in the car with the kid.

“I’ll be right back!’ she said frantically, as she started quickly up the line, scanning the crowd for that familiar face that had haunted her dreams.

“Line up!” a metallic voice amplified through a megaphone screamed. “Please, line up on the side of the road! The quicker you do this, the quicker you’ll be on your way!”

Liz hurried faster.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

The visitor stopped next to the driver, who stood in the line with the other people. He did not know why they had to do this, but if the driver was doing it, he thought it best he follow suit. He looked down the line, seeing men in green suits stopping and peering at people.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Liz began to panic. They were going to find him before she did. Suddenly she spotted him on the line. He had no idea what was coming, or what trouble he would be in when they reconciled his face with the photos they were holding. He was a sitting duck. She had to do something.

She ran back to the kid’s car.

“I need you to do something that’s probably illegal,” she said.
The kid grinned at her.

“Hell yeah! What is it?”

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

The military men were about two persons away from him when the explosion rocked the air, and everyone dove for cover. A huge fireball burst from the ground. He heard a loud peeling noise as a red car spun its wheels before speeding away. The men in the green suits went running down toward their vehicles, and he meant to follow them, curious about what happened, but a hand gripped his shirt and dragged him behind a nearby semi.

He turned to see Liz Evans, Lucky at her side. He woofed softly in greeting, and Liz gave the dog a look that immediately caused the dog to be silent.

“Why did you leave me there?” she hissed.

“Hello Liz Evans,” he said, smiling at her.

She dragged him down the hill on the side of the road that led to an underpass.

“Don’t ever leave me behind again,” she said to him. “You have my husband in there.”

“I did not want to put you in any further danger Liz Evans,” he said.
“I am sorry for what happened.”

She looked at him out of breath. “Look, you brought me back to life, or saved me, or whatever the hell you did. I want to make sure that Max is saved too. And if you leave me behind and go to your meeting place on your own, I’ll never know for sure. So no more going on your own, you got me?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Good. Let’s get out of here,” she said, seeing a beat up pickup truck heading their way. She frantically waved her hands at it, and the truck slowed. Taking his hand, she climbed into the back where four migrant workers sat in the bed. He followed her and Lucky jumped in back as well. As the truck began to move, Liz looked back in at the pandemonium that had erupted up on the highway. They hadn’t even noticed the pickup, and slowly the highway faded and became smaller as they moved further away. She breathed a sigh of relief.

They spent the better part of the day in the back of the bed of the truck, Liz making friends with the woman across from her. She had a newborn child. Liz asked her in spanish what the child’s name was.

“Que es el nombre de nino?” she asked the woman.

The woman smiled.

“Su nombre es Carolina,” the woman smiled.

“Eso es un nombre muy bonito,” Liz said.

“Gracias,” The woman answered.

“Puedo yo?” Liz asked, motioning to the baby.

“Si, si,” the woman answered, handing the little girl over to Liz.

Liz smiled as she took the child, gently touching the little baby’s cheek, as the visitor watched her intently.

“Why is this person so small?” he asked her.

She looked at him and smiled before turning her attention to the child that was gripping her finger with its tiny hand.

“This is a baby, a very young human,” she said.

“Where do these young humans come from?” he asked. “Are they from pods?”

“No,” Liz said, looking at him funnily. How to explain this? He was like a child himself.

“When two people love each other, they create a child in the female’s body. The child stays in here,” she said, motioning to her stomach, “until it is old enough to breathe on it’s own and is fully developed. People have children so that their love lives on forever, through the child, and then that child has children, and so on…” she said, smiling at the baby.

“Why do you not have children. Did you or Max not want them?” he asked, as he watched her smile fade.

“No, I wanted a child,” she said. “Max and I wanted a child very much.”

“Then why did you not have one?” he asked, genuinely confused.

She felt the fresh pain of the loss of her unborn child, as if it had just happened yesterday. As painful as it was to talk about, she knew he didn’t understand.

“I physically couldn’t carry a child,” she said. “There was something wrong with me, with my body, and I couldn’t carry the child as long as it needed to be carried. My body was damaged on the inside, and it was a danger to my health, and they had to fix it, but when they did, that made it impossible for me to have any more children,” she said, biting back the tears that threatened to fall as she looked at the small life she held in her arms.

“You should have been able to have a child if you wanted one Liz Evans,” he said sincerely, and she glanced at him and smiled sadly.

“Well, as you are learning, life isn’t always fair,” she said softly, cooing at the child in her arms.

*%*%*%*%*%*%

Two hours later they were huddled under a tarp in the bed to shield them from the teeming rain. Liz had asked the driver to stop at the nearest railway, but it didn’t seem like they were ever going to pass one.

Finally, the truck stopped and the woman who had let her hold the child gave her a hand-woven blanket. Liz shoved it in her shirt, and thanked her.

“Este tren lo tamara Washington,” she smiled, pointing to a freight train.

“Gracias,” Liz said, smiling at her.

She shouted her thanks to the driver, and he waved at her through the window.

The truck pulled away as they hurried to the trains, climbing underneath one of the cars to get to the train the woman had pointed to. Just as they were about to climb out from underneath, Liz saw the beam of a flashlight and grabbed Lucky’s collar, looking at the visitor, putting her finger to his lips. They lay silent as the man passed slowly, waving the flashlight back and forth.

As soon as he was past where they were hiding they quickly and silently moved across the path to the train. Lucky jumped in first, and he followed, pulling Liz in.

The quickly shut the sliding door and huddled in the corner.

After a few moments, almost against her will, exhaustion overcame Liz and she felt her eyes grow heavy, and she struggled vainly to keep them open. A few short minutes later, she lost the battle, and he looked over to find her asleep.

Shortly after that, the car jerked as the train slowly began its exit from the yard.

He studied her for a long moment, this person who was helping him to go home, though he knew it would no longer be him. He had great admiration for the sacrifice she was making, because she loved Max so much. Humans continually amazed him. He sat contemplatively for a long moment, and took one of the two remaining orbs out of his pocket, fingering it thoughtfully as he looked at her sleeping form.

posted on 18-Oct-2001 10:56:25 PM by majesty
PART 8

She didn’t know how long she had been asleep, but she woke slumped against the wall. She looked toward the door of the compartment and saw him looking out at the murky landscape flashing by.

Liz saw him shiver as the cold air hit his still wet body. She got up stiffly and pulled him back further into the compartment, shutting the door.

He stood in front of her unmoving as she eyed his soaked shirt.

“You’re going to get sick,” she said finally. “I probably will too. Come here,” she said, motioning him to the floor. He sat down, and she lowered herself to the floor, sitting across from him cross-legged. She efficiently reached over and unbuttoned the wet shirt, and pushed it down around his arms, careful not to pay attention to the muscular chest, or powerful arms now bared to her gaze. This was not Max, she told herself. She paused a moment and made a decision. She took the blanket, barely damp from the protection of her shirt, out from beneath it, and quickly unbuttoned her shirt, taking it off. She moved to sit next to him, putting her arm around his waist and throwing one side of the blanket over his shoulders, wrapping the other half around herself. Cold skin immediately warmed under the blanket and she sighed wearily.

“Liz Evans,” he said. “I feel him again. He’s very strong.”

She looked up at him in worry.

“Can you stop it?” she said.

“I don’t think so,” he answered, as he started to shiver again. “If he is coming, I don’t know if I can overpower him again. I am becoming weaker, I can feel it.”

“You have to. If you have to let him come, than do it. Rest. Get your strength. We’ll be in Washington tomorrow. You just need to gain control of him one more time, and then you will be on your way home,” she said sadly.

“I am so sorry for this Liz Evans. I did not know this would happen,” he said.

“I know,” she said softly, looking up at him. “You have to come back, gain control again,” she said. “Promise me! I can’t watch him die. I just can’t.”

He nodded. “I will promise you.”

His head tilted toward the ceiling and his eyes rolled back as he shut them. Liz waited, her heart aching, knowing that the appearance of Max would be the last she would see him ever again.

His head dropped forward and his eyes snapped open. He raised his head quickly and that all-familiar gaze that had held her enraptured for years met her own yearning eyes, and she smiled as tears filled her own eyes. In his gaze she saw pain, and wonder, and a love so great it could not be defined.

His arms quickly wrapped around her waist as he drew her cheek to his neck.

“You’re alive!” he said raggedly, pulling her even closer, into his lap.

“Oh God Liz,” he said frantically. “When I saw you like that, I thought I was going to go crazy. I saw the bullet hole, your chest…” he said, taking her by the forearms and pulling her slightly away from him, his fingers touching her chest, seeing it unmarked.

“He did this? He healed you?” he asked, and she nodded.

“I would have done anything to be able to do that,” he said, his voice shaking.

“I couldn’t stand it, I thought I’d lost you forever,” he said, his hand moving to her cheek. “I can’t lose you again. I don’t ever want us to be apart,” he said, looking into her eyes.

“I’m getting stronger,” he said, smiling at her, tears in his eyes.

“Soon I think he’ll be gone, and it will only be you and I, for the rest of our lives,” he said softly.

These words sliced Liz’s heart, as she valiantly tried to smile at him. He had no idea what she and the visitor were planning, and he could never know. He wouldn’t stand for it.

“I love you Max,” she said softly.

“I love you,” he said, his chest constricted with all the emotion he was feeling at seeing her alive before him, every bit of love she had for him shining in her eyes.

“Hold me,” she said softly, needing to feel him close to her just one more time. This time it would have to be good enough to last the rest of her life.

His arms closed around her again, and her fingers reached up lightly, tracing the steely muscles of his biceps gently.

His hand slid to the back of her neck, pulling her face closer to his, and her eyelids lowered in anticipation at what was to come as she opened her lips, inviting him to lose himself in her kiss.

His nose rubbed gently against hers as his palms moved behind her ears, his thumbs gently rubbing her temples.

“I love you Liz. I’m so sorry for staying late that night at the conference. If I hadn’t…” he faltered, blinking back tears.

“Max, you’re here now, and that’s all that matters,” she said sadly.

“Kiss me,” she whispered, and he smiled shakily at her, overcome by the image of his wife sitting in front of him. Gently he tilted her head back and met her eager lips softly. Her lips trembled as she fought the overpowering urge to cry.

He sensed her emotions, thinking she was feeling the same way he was, not knowing that after tonight he would never see her again.

“I love you,” he said again between kisses, and she moaned softly.

“I feel like I can’t say it enough, now that it has been so long since I’ve said it,” he whispered.

“I love you too…always,” she said, as his tongue slipped hungrily into her mouth, lighting a fire in her body only he could ignite.

“You feel so good,” he said softly, as he kissed her chin, down her neck, as she arched back to accept his ministrations. “It doesn’t matter how many times I held you. It was never enough.”

One arm supported her body, as he gently unsnapped her bra, allowing it to fall loose. He pushed it up, exposing her heard peaks to his hungry mouth. Immediately he began teasing them with his tongue, eliciting a lusty groan from her lips.

She straightened up, her lips seeking the sensitive pulse on his neck, her tongue tracing the throbbing pulse, and she felt a low rumble in his throat and she smiled as she pushed further into his lap, feeling his arousal against her wet heat. She moved against him, causing him to call her name out softly. Her bare skin was touching the warm, hard silkiness of his chest, and she felt like she had come home, if only for a few moments.

She gently pushed him back to the floor, her fingers entwining with his, holding his hands above his head as she straddled him, feeling his need pressing persistently at her core, and she stilled for a moment, looking into his eyes, trying to will him to see how much his love meant to her, how he would always be her solace, her love, her soul-mate.

She felt the rise and fall of his chest against hers, his heart matching hers beat for beat.

“No matter what happens Max, you were always the one. You’ll always be the one,” she said softly, and he smiled at her.

“We have the rest of our lives to make up for lost time,” he said happily, and Liz nodded, stifling the sob that wanted to rise in her throat.

“Yes, we do,” she lied. Lowering her lips to his, teasing his lower lip with her teeth. She lovingly removed one of her hands from his and placed it on his cheek.

“You are my heart,” she whispered as she slowly kissed him, feeling him open himself to her, trusting her, with complete love, and she felt a wave of shame that she was deceiving him. But she would not let that ruin these last bittersweet moments she had with him.

“You hold mine,” he said softly, “you always did.”

She smiled at him, and he gently turned her, laying her gently on the blanket, moving on top of her. Tenderly he brushed the errant strands of hair away that had fallen in front of her face.

“How is it possible that you are even more beautiful than I remembered?” he asked softly.

“Max,” she protested, blushing, and he chuckled softly.

“That’s my Liz,” he said. “You never saw how beautiful you really are. You never knew that you lit up a room whenever you walked into it.”

“Max, stop it,” she said, embarrassed.

“It’s true!” he said, lowering his head to gently nibble on her ear, sending shivers down her spine.

“I used to love taking pictures of you,” he whispered near her ear. “Every time I did, there was always something new and beautiful that the camera managed to capture.”

Her eyes closed as his lips traced her cheek, and he kissed the tip of her nose gently.

“Every day was a gift to be with you. I know that now more than ever,” he said, his mouth closing over hers.

Her hands gently trailed up his bare back, loving the play of his muscles beneath her fingers. It had been too long.

His tongue entwined with hers lovingly, and she felt a fresh rush of desire for this man who held her heart in the palm of his hands. This sweet and gentle man who had always loved her, had always been patient with her, who had accepted her unconditionally, who had loved her even with her imperfections.

Her fingers slid up his neck and buried themselves in his silky raven hair, pulling him closer. He couldn’t be close enough.

The feel of her insistent breasts pressed against his chest made Max almost incoherent. His hands went to her waist, gripping her convulsively at the waistband of her jeans and she cried out softly.

“Wait,” he said suddenly, and rose to his feet. He held his hand out to her and she took it, getting up to stand before him.

He smiled at her sweetly.

“I think you need to get rid of these,” he said, hooking his finger through one of the belt loops on her jeans and tugging lightly.

She smiled softly at him and ran her hands up the front of his jeans, causing him to let out a harsh breath as her hand pressed lightly against his arousal.

“I could say the same for you,” she said, looking into his eyes.

He smiled devilishly at her as he slowly unclasped the button on her jeans and took an excruciatingly long time in pulling down the zipper.
Her stomach contracted in desire as she felt his warm hands slide into her jeans and onto her belly, before sliding under the waistband of her panties to her hips and then around to her buttocks, squeezing gently before pushing them down with his hands. He fell to his knees as he pulled them still lower, the feel of his fingers gently smoothing her legs made them weak.

She looked into his upturned face, and gently took it into her hands, wanting to memorize the love there for eternity. He turned his head, resting his cheek against her tummy for a long moment, eyes closed, hands at the back of her knees, as she gently stroked his hair.

“I missed that,” he sighed softly, thinking of the countless nights she would do the very same thing, lightly brushing his hair with her fingers in the dark.

“Me too,” she said emotion ringing in her voice.

“Stand up Max,” she said, and he looked at her questioningly as he rose to his feet.

“Tonight is all about you,” she said, looking up at him intensely, as her hands moved to the button on his jeans, letting it fall loose as she unzippered the jeans, then letting her hands rest on the ridges of his abdomen for a long moment, letting the feel of him sink into her mind and soul. She let her hand trail across his stomach and waist as she moved to stand behind him, her arms encircling his waist. She rested her cheek on his back, closing her eyes as her fingers explored his chest, palms splayed flat as they ran over his ribcage, down his stomach, and slowly lower. She smiled as she felt his lands lay on top of hers as her fingers slipped under his boxers and enticingly scraped his hipbone, travelling to his upper thighs, avoiding his erection deliberately. She could feel his breath coming in short gasps of anticipation as she gently touched him for the first time in over a year. He groaned softly as her fingers worked their magic on him.

“Liz,” he gasped in protest, but she continued to touch him, loving the feel of the steely silkiness of him. His hand tightened around hers, signaling the pleasure she was giving him, and this only made her want him more.

Again her hands slid to the front of his thighs pushing the clothing down, and he stepped out of them, turning to face her with lightning speed. He lifted her fiercely, effortlessly, and she instinctively wrapped her legs around his hips as he moved quickly to the wall, his mouth assaulting hers, and she matched his ferocity with her own. She could feel his hardness pressing against her intimately, and she wanted him now more than she had ever wanted anything in her life. She pressed her back against the wall as his mouth closed over her breast and she cried out in desire. She felt his tongue teasing first one breast and then the other, and her hips moved unconsciously against his, in a silent plea for fulfillment.

Her wetness touched his arousal and he let out a low groan as he raised his head, his amber eyes blazing with his desire for her. It took her breath away.

Her hands reached above her gripping the wood that held the wall of the car together and she gripped it tightly.

“Now,” she breathed, and she felt his hips shift, and he entered her forcefully, crying out as he felt himself slide into her wet heat. Liz’s head fell back against the wall as she reeled from the sheer pleasure of Max inside her, and her legs gripped his hips tighter. His hand moved to her hip, pushing her further, impaling her deeper and she cried out as she lifted her head away from the wall and his mouth covered hers, his tongue sliding in and out of her mouth erotically. He braced himself against the wall, hand on the same piece of wood that Liz was holding on to, as his other hand held her buttocks, binding her to him, as they became one, skin against skin, heartbeat to heartbeat. Their cries of pleasure were drowned out by the trains horn as it passed a crossing, and Liz arched against him, feeling him sliding in and out of her harder and deeper, driving both of them over the edge.

“I love you,” he said, as their eyes met and Liz tightened convulsively around his member. With one last hard thrust, Max brought them both to the pinnacle, tears forming and streaming down their cheeks as they crashed together.

Liz slumped against him, completely spent, and his arms tightened around her protectively as he gently lowered her to the floor, lying beside her, covering the both of them with the blanket. For a long time, they just gazed at each other, completely silent, needing no words to convey all that they saw in each other’s eyes. His fingers gently stroked her cheek, as her own hand lay softly over his heart that beat so strong and true.

“You look tired,” he said softly.

“Come here,” he said, pulling her closer, and she lay her cheek on his chest. The rhythmic rise and fall of his chest, the steady beating of his heart was like music to her ears, and she smiled gently, closing her eyes.

“I wish I could thank him,” he said suddenly, and Liz opened her eyes.

“I mean, he’s the whole reason I have a second chance. A second chance to be with you. And he saved your life,” he added, gently stroking her hair.

“I think he knows,” she said softly, sadly.

“I love you,” she said quietly, and he smiled.

“I love you too,” he answered, as he felt her breathing even out in sleep.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

It was late, and Alex was bleary-eyes after the helicopter ride, but he couldn’t sleep. The guard had shown him to his quarters on the base once they got to Washington, but he couldn’t sleep. Soon he might possibly have the answers to some of the great mysteries if the universe. If they could only convince the visitor that they meant him no harm. He had so many questions.

Pacing his room, he decided to take a walk to work off some of this nervous energy. Quietly, he slipped on his military badge and left the room. He made his way past barracks, feeling the cool night air refresh his senses. Walking across the common, he saw Dennis enter a doorway to a large airplane hanger. Excited and wanting to talk to someone about the possibilities of newfound knowledge, he decided to follow him in.

Momentarily, he reached the door and showed the guard his badge, allowing him entrance. He asked the guard where Dennis had gone, and the guard pointed him to a door at the end of the hall.

Eagerly he made his way down the hall, stepping into the room with a smile on his face.

The first thing he saw was Dennis talking to a high official behind glass at the other end of the room, and then he turned his attention to the room itself, and his eyes widened in shock.

In the middle of the room, an autopsy table was set up, instruments sterilized and ready for use. Along the walls, environmental suits ere lined up on hooks, ready to be grabbed by technicians if needed. A morgue freezer stood against the other wall, humming quietly in the dead silence of the room.

No. No, they couldn’t be thinking…

Just then Dennis looked up and noticed Alex and quickly excused himself, stepping into the room.

Alex looked at him in disbelief.

“This isn’t what I think it is, is it?” he asked incredulously.

“Now Whitman, don’t go getting your panties in a wad,” Dennis said, putting his hand on Alex’s shoulder.

Alex shrugged it off.

“Is *this* why we’re chasing him? To kill him, and dissect him?” he asked angrily.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dennis said dismissively.

“Oh I don’t? Come on, I’m not that stupid. What the hell are we doing? We send messages out to invite other life forms here, telling them we are peaceful, and then when they get here, what do we do? Kill them to study them?” he said angrily. “How hypocritical are we?”

“Cut that bleeding heart shit with me Whitman. What did you really expect? To sit down and interview whatever the fuck that thing is? He’s caused more damage here than anything. I consider him a public menace, a danger to society at large, and the quicker we off the fucker, the better off the world will be. Your job is to study what’s left,” Dennis said angrily.

“I won’t have any part of this,” Alex said, backing toward the door.

“Don’t pull your shit on me Whitman. Now you are going to go with us tomorrow, and you are going to do exactly as I fucking say, or I will make sure you can’t even get a job flipping burgers in Alaska, you got me?” Dennis shouted, pushing Alex up against the wall.

Alex glared at him for a long moment, before wrenching himself out of Dennis’s grasp.

“Yes *Sir*,” he grated, as he opened the door, and left the room, letting it slam behind him, leaving a furious Dennis standing next to the gruesome metal table.

TBC…

posted on 19-Oct-2001 8:30:08 AM by majesty
Juliet,

Yes, I am having the same problems with the board, even having set the user options to "board default". I had a bitch of a time posting these parts last night :-)

Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I already have the ending of this mapped out, and I am hoping it will be satisfactory to you all. I am back on Skies of Fire at the moment, and parts for that seem to take me alot longer to write. We'll see how it goes....

Majesty
posted on 25-Oct-2001 8:46:16 AM by majesty
Aw Sarah,

I feel so loved *happy* I am working on SOF, and having a hard time with it as usual. It's getting to the point where I am thinking I should drop it. I have a basic outline, it's just that trying to make the story what I want it to be has been really hard lately. Plus I've been so busy. But I will keep at SOF unless I totally feel it's dead. Not a quitter, LOL. I am hoping to finish that today and whip out a part of HOTP by this weekend! HOTP is so much easier to write, but I am stubborn, and I am going to finish the more challenging SOF part before I move on.

Sorry 'bout the delay,

Majesty
posted on 1-Nov-2001 3:03:14 PM by majesty
Well here we go, the ride's almost over. I have a final chapter that I have to write and that's it. Hope you all enjoy this,

majesty

PART 9

The gentle sway of the train car and the absence of Max's warmth woke Liz. Slowly, she sat up, looking around for him. She saw him at the doorway to the car, watching the landscape rush by, absently stroking Lucky's fur.

"Max?" she said groggily, and he turned to her. His gaze told her that this was not her Max.

"Oh," she said disappointed.

"He's gone Liz Evans," he said softly. "But it won't be for much longer."

"I know," she said tears springing to her eyes. "We'll be in Washington tomorrow morning. It's almost over," she said, not wanting to think about what was going to happen, not wanting to think about never being able to touch Max again, talk to him, hold him.

"Are you angry with me Liz Evans, because I brought him back, and now he is going to be taken away from you again?"

She was quiet for a long moment before she answered him.

"No, I'm not angry," she said in a low voice. "Max was taken away from this world too early. And I've gotten to see him again, even if it was only for a short time. You gave him a second chance to live. I can't be angry with you for that."

He looked back out at the landscape again.

"Yes I did give him a second chance, but will it be worth it to him without you? Will it be worth it to you?" he said sadly.

She got up and moved to sit next to him, looking at him closely.

"You don't look so good," she said, concerned at the tiredness in his eyes, the pallor of his skin.

"I will be fine," he said reassuringly.

She sighed. "You know, when you came here, you thought this planet would be happy to see you. You thought that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to learn about us, and for us to learn about you. But when you got here, they tried to kill you. I can't blame you for doing what you did, taking on Max's form. You didn't know the consequences," she said softly.

He smiled sadly as he stared out into the night.

"This is a very strange and wondrous planet. Your species is such a contradiction. I am still amazed at the diversity. You're all so *different*," he said. "It is very hard to tell how I am supposed to react. There are so many customs, idiosyncrasies, it would take years to figure them all out," he said.

She put her hand on his arm.

"I wish I could have taught you more, that we had more time. I think that you have seen a lot of the bad side to our humanity. You haven't seen much of the good," she said wistfully.

"Oh but I have," he said softly. "I've known *you* Liz Evans," he said. "You've taught me that love is the most powerful thing there is on this planet. It can span time and space, it is unselfish, it is sacrificing, if need be. Your Max found a way back to you through me, because his love for you is that powerful. You helped me, even before you knew that Max was somewhere inside of me. You trusted me, though you do not know me. I thank you for that Liz Evans, because you helped me to do what I set out to accomplish. You have showed me the best side of your species."

Liz was humbled by his admission. She hadn't thought about how he had thought of this whole mess.

"You know what? You don't have to call me Liz Evans," she said smiling. "Just Liz will be fine," she said, laying her head on his shoulder.

"Liz," he said, smiling.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

The abrupt lurch as the train stopped woke the two of them. Finally, Washington. Dawn had just barely arrived, and the morning was that pale gray that covered everything before the sun rises to chase it away. The quietly left the train-yard with Lucky.

Ten minutes they were in Leavenworth, near the train yard. All was quiet at the early hour, peacefully still.

"How do we get up to the park?" she asked him, troubled. Her jeep had been incinerated in the fire.

He smiled at her as he approached a car parked alongside the road.

He carefully laid his fingers on the keyhole of the driver's side door. Liz heard the audible click of the lock popping by the mere force of his will.

He opened the door for her and after letting Lucky climb in the back, she got in herself, reaching over to open the lock on the driver's side.

He got in and shut the door, settling himself behind the wheel. His fingers went to the starter and made it mid-way before becoming completely still. He stared intently out the windshield for a long moment.

"What's wrong?" she said, concerned.

"Nothing," he said. "We don't have much time. I feel the transformation will be complete by the end of the day. I can feel him, and he's growing lucid very rapidly."

"Let's go then," she said.

He nodded and touched his fingers to the starter, and the engine immediately fired to life.

Neither one of them noticed the twitch of the curtain as the car owner saw his vehicle being stolen. Immediately he picked up the phone.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

They weren't too far from the park now, and Liz could feel her emotions welling as she thought of Max leaving her forever again. She stared out the window, trying every excuse in the book, telling herself that this was for the best. But her heart broke when she thought of her Max, the man she loved more than her own life. How she wished she could go with him.

"Are you…ok, Liz?" the being asked quietly.

"I'll be fine," she said, wiping her eyes. She looked over at the dashboard.

"We'd better stop to get gas just in case," she said, and he nodded.

60 miles away, military helicopters roared toward Leavenworth.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*


They pulled in to a rest-stop that had a small gift shop and food counter attached. Letting the attendant fill the tank, they went inside to get something to eat for themselves and Lucky.

"I'm starving," she said to him as they went inside.

"Yes, I feel empty as well," he said.

Liz smiled to herself. For all his strange habits, she would sort of miss the alien being around. He made her look at things from a whole new perspective, realizing the beauty in simplicity, the horror in things she had come to know in her everyday life, and the very strangeness of her world when seeing it through the eyes of one who is from somewhere else. She knew that she would never look at things the same after he, after they were gone, and she knew that the stars would have a whole new meaning for her, knowing that Max would be out there somewhere, probably millions of miles away.

She sighed sadly.

"Can I get you folks something?" the elderly man behind the counter asked genially.

She turned to him.

"What would you like to eat?" she asked.

He thought a moment, and then a grin spread over his face.

"Apple pie," he said.

"No, people don't have apple pie for breakfast," she said, and saw the look of disappointment on his face.

She sighed. "Ok, ok," she said exasperated, turning to the man behind the counter.

"Do you have apple pie?" she asked.

"Well no, sorry miss we don't. But my wife made a wonderful cherry cobbler this morning. I had some, and its mighty good," he offered.

She looked at him, and after a moment of thought, he nodded.

"Two pieces of the cobbler and two cups of coffee will be fine," she said.

"Why don't you two go sit down over there, and I'll bring it to you," the man said.

"Thanks," Liz said with a small smile and they sat at the small table in the corner.

A moment later the older gentleman brought their pie and coffee.

"Let me know what you think of it," the older man smiled, as he walked away.

Immediately, he dug into his pie with relish. His chewing slowed and then stopped as he looked thoughtful.

"How is it?" Liz asked.

"Very good," he said, while the man was still in earshot, and then he leaned forward.
"But not as good as apple pie," he whispered to Liz conspiratorially.

She gave him a small smile.

She studied him as he took everything in with fresh eyes. How wondrous it must be for everything to be so new. She supposed Max would feel the same way when he reached his new world. She worried about that. And he looked so pale this morning, drawn. He looked as if he was getting sick.

"Are you feeling ok?" she asked.

He put his fork down and sighed. My resistance to the atmosphere is getting weak. I won't be able to survive it much longer."

He saw the worried frown on her face.

"What is it Liz?" he asked concerned.

"What will it be like for Max, in your world?" she asked.

"Our world is definitely not like this one. It is not as diverse. Not as…confusing," he said.

"How will they treat him?" she asked.

"You need not worry about that Liz. My people have no intentions of inhibiting humans in any way. He will be free to come and go as he wishes. It's not a bad place, I promise you," he said.

"I didn't think it would be," she said sadly. "I worry though that he will feel lost, you know, like you feel lost here."

He shook his head.

"He will never be lost. My race are a kind species. They will provide him with everything he needs. He will learn from them, and they will learn from us," he said.

She nodded, still unable to shake the feeling that something vital would be missing for Max without his own kind there with him. She knew something vital would be missing for her for the rest of her life.

Tears filled her eyes at the thought.

"Do not be sad Liz. Max will be ok," he said softly.

"I know," she said softly. "I know."

Just then the bell on the door to the shop tinkled as it opened.

Liz's eyes widened as she saw a trooper walk in. She slouched in her seat, fearing the worst.

The trooper approached them slowly.

"Mornin'," he said in a friendly voice.

"That your car out there folks?" he asked.

Liz nodded.

"Mind if I see some ID?" he asked, as Liz looked fearfully at the being sitting across from her.

"Uh sure Officer," she said, pulling out her wallet and removing her license, handing it to him.

"My uh, husband left his wallet at home. We just had a big argument because I wound up having to pay for our pie," she said, trying to sound light.

The officer looked at her license and then at her.

"I see," he said. "I'm going to have to ask you to remain seated," he said, as he pulled out his radio.

Liz laid her head on her hands in defeat.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

The deafening thump of the helicopter's rotors rang in Alex's ears as it prepared to land near the rest stop.

His heart was beating wildly. Finally, after all this time, a chance to see what an extraterrestrial was like. When he head the trooper's call over the radio, he immediately commandeered a pilot to take him to the rest stop. Dennis was on his way by automobile.

The helicopter touched the ground, spraying dust in its' wake, and Alex jumped out hunched over, running toward the shop as the helicopter lifted off again.

He flashed his ID at the trooper waiting near the door and took a deep breath in preparation for the meeting he had been waiting for all of his life.

And there they sat at the small table, the tiny woman eyeing him warily, defeated, and the being who looked just like her dead husband he had seen in the photos, and yet was not.

He slowly walked to the table as the trooper went to stand guard outside the door.

He pulled up a chair and sat down.

"Hello Ms. Evans," he said softly. "I'm Alex Whitman."

"I spoke to you on the phone the other day," she said flatly.

He nodded.

He glanced over at the man to his right again. Unbelievable that he was sitting here, possibly holding the secrets to the universe.

"Please Mr. Whitman, let him go," she whispered. "He doesn't mean anyone any harm. He just wants to go home." She didn't dare tell him about Max.

"I can't do that," Alex said, shaking his head. "You don't understand, even if I wanted to, the people who are looking for him will find him. There's nothing I can do."

He turned to his right to look at the being again.

"I'm honored to meet you," he said sincerely, holding out his hand.

After a moment of uncertainty the man took his hand.

Alex laughed nervously. "I can't believe I am sitting here with you."

The man looked at him confused.

"You must know so much. There is so much we could learn from you. So much you could learn from us," he said.

"I am dying Mr. Whitman," he said matter-of-factly. "I cannot survive here on your planet."

Alex blanched. Even if he could somehow convince Dennis to let this being live, he would still die.

"I…I don't know what to say," he said. "I can't help."

The being studied him for a long moment in silence.

Finally he spoke.

"Do you know what I find beautiful about your species?" he asked.

Alex just looked at him.

"You are at your best, when things are worst," he said.

Alex looked down at the table.

posted on 1-Nov-2001 3:04:03 PM by majesty
*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%%*%*

A line of military vehicles raced down the road leading to the rest-stop, Dennis's car in the lead. Finally, after all this, it would be over.

As his car pulled into the parking lot, a car pulled out heading in the opposite direction.

Dennis opened the door to the car before the driver had fully stopped the car and stepped out, seeing the trooper standing outside.

He pulled out his ID as he hurried toward him.

"Where are they?" he barked.

"Sir, there's been a mistake. Those weren't the people you were looking for," the trooper said. "Sorry to make you come all the way out here-"

"What do you mean?" Dennis yelled. "How could you let them go before I got here? I specifically told you to detain them!"

"Sir, I was told by one of your team-" the trooper started.

"Who? Who told you?" Dennis raged, as the door to the store opened, and Alex stepped out.

"Whitman! What the hell do you think you were doing?" Dennis grated.

"I'm done," Alex said to him. "I'm not going to be a part of this."

"G*d dammit Whitman! You're finished, do you understand me? You will never work again, I'll make sure of it!" he raged.

Alex smiled smugly at him.

"Yes *Sir*," he said.

%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Liz was behind the wheel racing toward the park. Only a few more minutes, she thought, as she glanced over at her passenger. He was rapidly getting a ghostly-pale tinge to his skin.

"Just hold on," she said softly.

"We're almost there," she said, as the gates to the park loomed in front of her.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%%*%

All military resources in the area were commandeered to be of assistance. Helicopters searched the ground roads, looking for any sign of the stolen car.

Suddenly one of the pilots came over the Dennis's radio.

"I found them Sir," he said. "They are entering the state park."

"We're on our way," Dennis barked into the radio.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

As soon as Dennis was out of sight, Alex commandeered a vehicle from one of the agents. Well, not exactly by the agent's choice. He pointed a gun at him and asked for the keys.

Two minutes later he was roaring down the road looking at a map. He had to find an alternate entrance to the park if he was going to be any help to Liz Evans and her travelling companion. He only hoped he wasn't going to be too late.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Liz raced along the wooded road, swerving as it curved toward the huge mountain before them.

Turning her head, she saw that soon they were going to be in trouble.

His skin had gone a pasty white, and his head was lolling back and forth as she steered the car.

"Hold on, you have to hold on!" she said urgently, as she touched his hand. It was cold, clammy.

His head snapped up.

"We will make it Liz," he said, straightening up, calling on the last reserves of his energy.

Suddenly the trees thinned and she knew they had reached their destination. In front of them was a large valley, the lowest point of it invisible to them at the moment.

"There," he said softly. "We must go down there."

"Let's go," Liz said, as she opened the door and got out of the car. He slowly followed, rising out of the passenger seat wearily.

"We have to hurry," she said, worry filling her head at his weakened condition. Any pipe dreams she might have had about the possibility of Max surviving here flew out the window as she realized that he wouldn't make the end of the day.

She took his hand and they started down the steep incline of the wall of the valley, gingerly stepping to avoid the rocks that sprung out of the ground.

He stumbled behind her, and she kept him from falling to the ground with her grip on his hand.

Suddenly, a helicopter roared over their heads, very close. Too close. Liz screamed and pulled him along down the hill at a faster pace.

"Attention Ms. Evans!" a voice over a loudspeaker yelled as more helicopters appeared and circled overhead. "Stop where you are! We are armed and able to fire. If you do not stop where you are, you will force us to fire on you. Don't be foolish!"

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%%*

Alex roared toward the helicopters in the souped-up car he had stolen from the agent. A service entrance had cut his time in half, and he might just make it. The trees cleared and he roared to a stop, jumping out of the car to look over the edge. There he saw Liz and the being trying to make it to the bottom, as an amplified voice screamed at them to stop.

"Shit!" he cursed and started down the incline after them.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%%*%

The wind created by the low flying helicopters was hindering their pace to the valley floor.

Liz feared they wouldn't make it. But they were so close…so close.

A mighty gust suddenly hit them, and the hand she was holding slipped from her grasp as he fell to the ground.

She turned to him frantically.

"You have to get up!" she screamed into the wind.

But his head raised and he stared at the sky. The wind quickened even further, blowing in mighty gusts, hurricane force above them. The helicopters were pushed away from the mouth of the valley and a great fog rolled in around them, obliterating the view of the lip of the valley above them.

Liz looked up as the sky suddenly darkened, making everything black as night. For a moment, she was blind, unable to see inches in front of her, and then a large oval blue beam of light lit up the floor of the valley, and miraculously, snow began to fall as she looked upon his ship in amazement. It was beautiful in it's enormity, being the size of the entire valley, it's bottom reflecting the ground beneath it like a mirror. Above the underside, she saw beautiful lights of every imaginable color, and her mouth dropped open in awe.

Amazed she looked down at him, wonder in her eyes, and she saw how very tired he looked.

"It's almost complete Liz," he said wearily. "I can feel myself fading."

Tears sprang to her eyes as she knelt before him.

"I'm sorry for all of this," she said.

"Don't be," he said.

"I have experienced such wonders here. I have known you and your kindness," he smiled weakly.

"But there is something I must tell you. Something I have done, and now that I think on it, I think maybe I should have asked you first," he said, looking up at her.

"What is it?" she asked, confused.

"You have been so kind to me. You helped me when no one else might have. And I wanted to thank you, because I am sad that Max will be taken from you again," he faltered.

She shook her head. "No, don't thank me," she said. "I learned from you too. I have seen so many things in new ways in the past few days. But you have to go. You don't have much time," she said, taking his hand, trying to pull him to his feet.

"Wait!" he said. "I have to tell you this. It's important."

She let her hand go slack as she saw the seriousness of his face.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I gave you a baby Liz. You and Max," he said. Her eyes widened in shock.

"No, you didn't," she said. "I can't have babies, I told you that."

He shook his head.

"I gave you both a baby last night, with one of these," he said, pulling one of the silver out of his pocket. "But it is a small part me as well. Your child will live on this planet. It's human genetics far outweigh my own species. He will be mostly human, but not all human."

Liz felt like she couldn't breathe and she stumbled back. It was impossible. As much as she and Max had wanted a child, it was physically impossible. She let out a choked sob as tears started to stream down her face.

"You aren't happy," he said sadly. He raised his hand with the orb.

"I will stop it," he said quietly.

"No! No I am happy," Liz smiled. A child. A child who would be a part of her and Max, and their love, even if he couldn't be here.

He smiled weakly.

"Good," he said.

She knelt before him again, taking his hands in hers.

"Thank you," she said tearfully. "I am honored to have known you," she said, kissing him softly on the cheek.

"No the honor is mine, Liz. You are a good and kind woman. If there are many people like you on this planet, the world will be a better place for it," he said. He handed her the orb.

"Keep this. It's for you, for someday," he said. She took it and looked at it wonderingly and then put it into her pocket.

"Come on," she said to him. "It's time for you to go."

He nodded, and rose from the ground. She walked ahead of him, leading him by the hand to the ship that would take him home.

Suddenly, her hand jerked, pulling her to a stop.

"Liz?" a voice said, confused.

"No, not now," she thought agonized, as she slowly turned to the man behind her, her husband. The blue light from the ship emphasized the pallor of his skin, the circles that appeared under his eyes during the drive to the park.

"Max," she choked.

"What is this?" he said looking up, confused.

"Max, I don't have time to explain, but you have to get on that ship," she said.

"What?" he asked. "No."

"Max, you have to," Liz protested tearfully. "Trust me, please. You're in trouble and you have to go."

He looked at her confused.

"Is that what I think it is?" he asked, looking at the ship.

She nodded.

"I trust you," he said, and took her hand. "Let's go."

She pulled her hand from his.

"No, I can't go with you," she said.

"What do you mean?" he asked, and stepped toward her, raising his hand to stroke her cheek.

Her heart broke as she looked into the dark pools of his eyes and saw the love that she had always known since she met him pouring out of his eyes.

"I can't go with you Max," she sobbed.

"Then I'm not going anywhere," he said. "Liz, I found a way for us to be together. If I'm in trouble with the law because of something the other did, then we'll run, we'll hide, but we'll be together," he said fiercely.

"Don't do this Max," she cried.

"Liz, I don't understand," he said, squeezing her hand.

"Max if you stay, you'll die!" she cried. "I can't, I can't go through that again. I just can't! The one, the one that recreated your body, he can't survive here. He's still part of you, he'll always be a part of you, and if he dies, you die."

"Liz, I can't leave you," he said desperately.

"Then do it for our son," she said tearfully, and he froze.

"What?" he said.

"Our son. The other gave us a son. I'm pregnant," she said.

"But how?" he asked.

"Max, it's true. We're going to have a son," she said softly.

The joy that lit his face broke her heart, because she knew she would have to make him leave.

"How can you ask me to leave after telling me that?" he asked, taking her face in his hands. "I love you Liz, and I am in love with our son already, and he hasn't even really grown in you yet. How can I leave?" he said.

"Max, you have to go. I can't tell my son that I let his father die because I was selfish and wanted him here with me," she said.

"Please," she said softly. "At least I can tell him that his daddy is out there somewhere thinking of him. And that he loves him," she said, her voice cracking. "Don't do this to me Max. Don't make me watch you die. Because you *are* dying right now. You won't last the day. Don't you feel it?" she asked.

His head lowered, and he squinted his eyes against the tears that had flooded his eyes. He did feel it. He felt weak. He felt sick.

"Please Max," she whispered, and he raised his head, and the pain she saw in his eyes ripped into her heart, making it hard for her to breathe.

"I love you too, and that's why I'm asking you to go, for me. I want you to have a chance, at least a chance! I want to know that you are somewhere out there, and when I think of you, I know you'll be thinking of me too. Always," she said.

He pulled her closer, taking her into his arms, his lips capturing hers in a bittersweet embrace. Their salty tears mingled together as they both tried to pour every ounce of love they had for each other into this last breathtaking kiss.

His lips tore from hers as his forehead touched her own.

"I can't," he sobbed, and he looked up at her. Her eyes pleaded with his to do what he knew he must.

She wrapped her arms around him one final time drinking in his smell, his spirit, his love.

"Go Max," she said, squeezing his hands.

He reluctantly stepped back, still holding her hand tightly, not wanting to let go.

An anguished sob escaped from her lips as he moved away slowly, his fingers sliding against hers, and then his touch was gone.

He walked slowly toward the ship, toward the unknown, an end and yet a beginning.

A hatch opened above the ship and a bright light shone down on Max as he stood completely still, meeting her eyes, tears streaming down his face.

Her hand flew to her mouth as she let out a mournful cry, and her other hand reached out toward him.

And then the wind roared again and the phantom snow obliterated her view of her beloved husband.

"Noooo!" she cried, and a hand pressed on her shoulder and she turned.

It was Alex Whitman.

"Come on, we have to get out of here…now," he said, and he took her hand, leading her quickly away from the place she had last seen the man who held her heart, who always would…

TBC…



posted on 2-Nov-2001 5:15:25 PM by majesty
Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the feedback. I am hoping to have the conclusion up sometime tonight. I decided not to drag this out since I was originally going to write another part of SOF, but that one seems to take me forever to get the new parts out. So, I guess look for the end to this one at the latest, tomorrow.

Majesty



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Nov-2001 5:16:09 PM ]
posted on 3-Nov-2001 1:38:38 AM by majesty
Evenin' All,

I decided to make the last part one long part. It isn't an epilogue. Kinda sorry that this one is finished, cause it was alot of fun to write. Hope you all enjoy it, and please leave me feedback. I'd love to know your parting thoughts. Thanks again everyone for reading this. I still find it amazing that people have read it at all....

majesty

PART 10

NINE MONTHS LATER

Liz sat rocking in the huge wooden chair in silence, looking out over the vast expanse of pastures that spread before her. Absently, she fingered the silver orb in her palm that she kept with her always, once again taken aback at how much her life had changed in such a short period of time.

Alex had dragged her out of the valley to her car, all the while hearing the voices of the soldiers around them in the fog. Somehow he was guided by a force he couldn’t explain to the car. Even today he couldn’t rationalize what had guided him in the fog and snow. He just *knew*, he said.

The ship continued to hover over the valley, as they reached the car, and Alex pushed a sobbing Liz into the passenger seat. Lucky leaned over the seat licking her tears as she looked out the window into the valley.

Alex went to start the engine. No keys. Dammit!

“How did you start this?” he asked her urgently.

She just sat silently, her shoulders shaking as she felt her heart ripped apart.

“Look, I know you’re upset Ms. Evans,” he said, “but the fact remains that if we don’t get out of here *now*, Dennis is going to find us, and if he does that, you are going to become the next human pin-cushion for the government because you were with him willingly the past few days. Am I making myself clear?” he asked.

My baby, she thought to herself, panicked.

“He…he did it, with his fingers,” she said shakily.

“Well that’s great,” he said, sitting back in the seat. “Now what?”

She sat for a moment and then her eyes widened slightly as she opened the dash compartment.

She rummaged quickly through it, and produced a screw driver.

She handed it to him. “It might work,” she said. “It used to work on Max’s old jeep.”

Hoping for the best and fearing the worst Alex took the tool from her and jammed it into the starter, turning it with all his might, and the engine sprang into life.

He heard the shouts of the soldiers in the mist, as he threw the car into drive and gunned it away from the valley. The mist appeared to clear a path only for them and they quickly found the road out of the park, never stopping. Liz took a longing glance back a few miles away as the ship finally rose higher and higher, disappearing into the sky.

They had hidden for weeks, taking hotel rooms under assumed names, paying cash for them. Liz didn’t dare call Maria. She didn’t dare call anyone.

She knew that they would be watching her loved ones, waiting for her to break down and contact them.

She told Alex everything, because if he was on the run with her, he had a right to know what he was getting into. He accepted her account of her days with the visitor without judgment.

She wouldn’t do it. She had resigned herself to the fact that it was now just her and her son.

Alex was now a wanted man too. Dennis had seen him at the site and he was quite certain that he had something to do with the disappearance of Elizabeth Evans. Unless of course she was taken by the alien to another planet. Dennis kept up the search for weeks, unable to admit defeat, until he was *told* to call the search off. They had officially disappeared.

Alex contacted a wealthy family friend named Don Waters. Don was a rancher in Nevada, and a good friend of Alex’s father before he passed away. Science was in the Whitman blood, a passion, a life’s work. Waters and Alex’s father met in college, and remained good friends long after they had left their dorms to start their careers. The senior Whitman worked for a large pharmaceutical company and Don took over the large ranching business his father had started years before. His college education in business and agricultural management built his cattle business into a profitable enterprise.

Waters married a local rancher’s daughter, and they had two children. When she suddenly came down with a rare form of cancer, and conventional doctors could not help, the first person he thought to call was Alex’s father.

Though it is not well-known, there are effective treatments tested and approved for the most aggressive cancers. But the pharmaceutical companies profit more on the ongoing chemo treatments, antibiotics, and other medications than they would administering the cure, so they were never brought to light. Alex’s father created one of these little known medicinal cures, though it was never made public.

As soon as he heard of Water’s plight, he knew what he had to do. Taking a three-week vacation, he treated Waters’ wife at the ranch, monitoring her closely, under the agreement that they never breathe a word of it to anyone. If the government got wind, Alex’s father’s very life would be in danger. The Waters’ kept their promise, and his wife recovered, and they promised Mr. Whitman that if he or his family ever needed anything, they need not hesitate to ask. Alex had never had to contact him, until then.

Waters asked no questions, just took them in with open arms. When they arrived, there were rooms prepared for them in the massive ranch house. After weeks on the road, and the trauma of losing Max again, Liz was exhausted. Alex picked her up out of the passenger seat of the car, and carried her in, without introduction to his friends. He set her down on her feet in the room they had prepared for her, and she fell into the warm bed, and quickly passed into sleep. She slept for two days straight.

When she had awakened, she was disoriented for a few moments. After a hot shower, she carefully dressed and opened the door to her room and was greeted with the enticing smell of a home-cooked breakfast.

She entered the kitchen shyly, not knowing what to say to the rancher’s wife who had so graciously taken them in. She stood in the doorway in silence as she watched the woman bustle around busily at the counter preparing the meal.

A moment later, the woman turned and noticed her.

“Well hello Liz!” she smiled. “I’m so glad you are awake!”

The woman rushed over with a big smile and gave Liz a warm hug.

Liz stood absolutely still, in shock.

“Th-thank you for letting us stay here for a bit,” Liz said. “I hope it’s not going to be too much trouble for you.”

“Not at all! Any friend of Alex’s is welcome here always. Oh where are my manners?” she cried.

“I’m Terrie,” she said, and I am so glad to have another woman here,” she laughed. “I had two boys and they’re all grown and living on their own now. I’d always wanted a daughter, so maybe I can pretend for just a little while with you,” she said.

Liz smiled at her.

“Are you hungry dear?” she asked. “You look so thin.”

“I’m starving,” Liz admitted. The fast food they had eaten while on the road held no appeal for her, and the rich smells of home-made biscuits and frying bacon was making her mouth water.

“Good, then sit down and I’ll fix you a plate, and you can tell me all about yourself,” she said, shooing her to the table.

Liz sat quietly at the table as the Terrie fixed her a heaping plate full of eggs, bacon, toast and biscuits.

“Where is Alex?” Liz asked, as Terrie sat down next to her, pushing the plate in front of her.

“Oh he was out with Don early this morning on a cattle drive. He won’t be back before dark I’m sure,” she said. “They took your dog with them. I must say, that pooch loves having full roaming privileges,” she laughed.

Liz nodded, looking at the plate longingly.

“Go ahead, eat,” Terrie urged, and Liz picked up her fork, tentatively trying her eggs. They were delicious, and soon she was digging into it with gusto.

Terrie chattered on while she ate, and finally Liz couldn’t fit another bite into her stomach. She sat back and smiled.

“That was wonderful,” she said.

“Now you must answer some questions for me,” Terrie said. “I hope you don’t think I am prying, but I am thinking you and Alex…well, you aren’t *together*?” she asked.

Liz shook her head.

“I thought not. But you’re both in trouble. Alex told me that you both were in trouble with the government,” he said.

Liz sat completely still, not knowing how to answer her.

“Don’t worry honey, I have no love lost for the government. If it was up to them, I’d be dead right now. Alex told you didn’t he? What his father did for us?” she asked.

“Yes,” Liz said quietly.

“So then I will just tell you, you can tell us as much or as little as you want to. We won’t ask questions, and you needn’t worry about us asking you to leave, or feeling that you have to. You are welcome here as long as you want to be here,” she said kindly.

“Thank you,” Liz said, tears forming in her eyes.

“Never mind dear,” she said, patting her hand. “It’s a terrible thing to feel that each day may be your last. I don’t want you to feel that way here. No one can harm you, Don won’t allow it,” she said.

Liz could not get over the kindness of this woman, who had taken them in no questions asked. Someone must be watching over me, Liz thought.

Impulsively, she reached out and hugged Terrie.

“I don’t know what to say,” Liz choked out.

“Don’t say anything dear,” Terrie said quietly, gently rubbing Liz’s back.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Time passed quickly, and there wasn’t an hour that passed that Liz didn’t think about Max, up there somewhere in the cosmos. Every night she would spend hours at the window, gently rubbing her belly, gazing at the sky, talking to her son, their son, telling him all about his father. And then she would talk to Max, somehow hoping that he would hear her, hear her words of love, and would know that she still thought of him.

Don and Terrie were wonderful to her and Alex, treating them as if they were their own children. Liz helped Terrie where she could around the house, and Alex frequently worked with Don out in the pastures.

Liz took many long walks during her time there, trying to come to terms with all that had happened to her. When her belly started to swell slightly, she knew that she couldn’t keep the secret of her pregnancy from her hosts much longer. She had to tell them something, but she didn’t want to tell them everything. It was bad enough that Alex was involved with this whole mess. She decided she would have to talk to Alex about it.

One night as he sat on the swing on the porch, thoughtfully looking out into the deep night, Liz quietly sat beside him.

“Hey,” she said quietly, and he smiled at her.

“Hey,” he answered.

After a period of comfortable silence, she spoke.

“Alex, are you ever sorry that you didn’t follow Dennis’ orders? Your life would be so much different now,” she said.

He was thoughtful for a moment.

“No,” he said finally. “I think I knew deep down all along what they were about, but I didn’t want to see it. I don’t think I could have lived with myself if I had sold out. All my life, I dreamed of meeting someone like the visitor, having the opportunity to talk to someone not of this planet, hear the secrets of the universe. And maybe I didn’t get to do all of that, but I did get to meet him, I did get to help him, and that makes me feel like I can live with myself for living a lie with the government for so long. I should have known better, seeing what happened with my Dad,” he said.

Liz nodded.

“I’m glad you were there,” she said.

“I don’t know where I would be right now if you weren’t,” she said. “Probably locked up in some lab I suppose.”

“Yeah, it’s not so bad here is it?” he sighed. “I’ve gotten used to it, and I actually kind of like it here.”

“Me too,” Liz said, and he put his arm around her companionably, as she stared up at the sky.

“Thinking about him?” he asked.

“Always,” Liz answered, and he smiled.

“I bet he’s thinking about you too,” Alex said.

“I like to think so,” she said wistfully.

“I know so,” he said, knowing the impossible feat Max had accomplished in coming back to her, even for that short time. Only someone who loved deeply and wholeheartedly would have the will to do it.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

Liz unconsciously rubbed her belly.

“Good,” she said. “Normal morning sickness, nothing unusual.”

“Are you worried about when he comes? I mean, he’s a special baby. There’s so much we don’t know,” he said.

“A little,” she admitted. “I can’t go to a hospital. That’s an impossibility. I can only pray that everything will go well, but I can’t help being a bit scared,” she sighed. “I’m going to have to tell Terrie and Don something soon. I am not going to be able to hide my secret much longer.”

He nodded silently.
“Alex, I don’t think I should tell them what happened. I don’t want to put them in any further danger by telling them. It’s not fair,” she said.

“I was hoping you would say that,” Alex said. “I mean, I wouldn’t have stopped you if you wanted to tell them, but I don’t want them to be in any danger either.”

“I was thinking of telling them about Max, you know, that he’s my husband, and that he got into some trouble with the government. That he had to go away, and I don’t know if he’s going to be back, but that the government is looking for me too, because he’s my husband, and they think I might know where he is. But I don’t, and I am not going to see him again, because he went underground, for my safety, and left me in your care. And that I found out after he was gone that I was pregnant,” she finished.

“Sounds reasonable,” he said.

“I would think so, as opposed to the truth, which is basically that my husband came back from the dead, was merged with an alien, and left on a spaceship never to return, but not before I got pregnant,” she laughed.

He chuckled. “Well, when you put it that way…”

She laid her head on his shoulder.

“Thank you for this Alex,” she said, looking up at the stars.

“For what?” he asked.

“For giving me a safe place. For being my friend. For helping us,” she said softly.

He smiled at her and looked up at the deepening sky.

“Don’t worry about the birthing,” he said. “Terrie used to be a mid-wife. She’ll know what to do. And if anything weird happens when it’s time for you to deliver, we’ll deal with it then. They’ll understand, I know they will.”

“Ok,” she said softly.



*%*%*%*%*%*%%*%*%*%*%*%

Now as she sat in the rocker, as she had so many nights before, she felt somehow blessed. Blessed that she was carrying their son, blessed at the beautiful place in which she now lived, and blessed that she had seen her husband that one last time, even though it broke her heart every day to think about it.

She shifted uncomfortably in the chair. Her body had become so cumbersome. She felt the gentle kicking in her womb and smiled.

“Settle down Matthew,” she said gently. She had chosen his name months ago. She knew Max had liked it, he had mentioned it as a boy’s name when they talked of having children.

A twinge caused her to sit straighter in the chair. And a sharper twinge pierced her back as she felt a warm rush on her thighs.

It was time, her water had broke. Carefully, nervously, she got up from the chair and padded into the hallway, making her way to Don and Terrie’s room. She knocked quietly on the door, and a moment later, Terrie opened it, bright-eyed and awake.

“I’m sorry I knocked so late,” Liz started.

“I know dear, it’s time,” Terrie said. “I’ve been feeling it was going to happen all night. Mid-wives intuition,” she said.

“Come on, lets go get your room prepared,” she said, starting to walk past her. Liz grabbed her arm and stopped her.

“Terrie, I’m scared,” Liz said in a small voice. Terrie patted her hand comfortingly.

“It’s going to be ok honey,” she said. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of everything. It’s going to be just fine.”

Liz nodded, slightly comforted by Terrie’s confidence. She was right, this was going to be just fine.

Terrie took her arm and led her to her room.

“Sit down and just relax,” Terrie said. “I’m going to get my things, I’ll be right back.”

Liz sat on the bed, nervously toying with the small silver orb still in her hand. What if something went wrong? They didn’t know anything about this child, what it needed, what they needed to do for it.

She wished with all of her heart Max was here. His absence was even more poignant now that her labor had started. She was scared and he would have comforted her. He would have surrounded her with his love and reassurances. But she would have to do this alone. And she would be fine, she told herself.

She went to the window and looked up at the stars.

“Max my love, he’s coming. Our son, he’s ready to be born. I wish you could be here to see it, to see him come into the world. But I promise you Max, I’ll love him with all my heart, and I’ll tell him about you, about how wonderful you are, and how much you love him. I miss you Max,” she said tearfully.

Then Terrie was back in the room.

“You’d be best just lying down dear,” she said. “It’s going to be a long night.”

Liz squeezed the silver orb gently in her palm and went to lie down.
Throughout the night, the contractions came and went at a steady pace, becoming deeper and closer as dawn’s light shone through the window.

Liz was quiet throughout the night, even when the ever-increasing pain wracked her body, straight down her back.

Alex sat out in the hall, waiting to hear word.

There would be no pain-killers, the birth would be completely natural. Liz had insisted, not knowing how any drugs would affect the baby’s physiology.

By mid-morning, she was in agony. She cried out as another white-hot contraction ripped through her body, panting as it passed.

“Terrie,” she panted. “I need Max.” Tears poured out of her eyes. “Ah God, I want Max,” she sobbed.

“I know honey,” Terrie said comfortingly. “I know.”

“I wish we could somehow have him here, but you know that’s not a possibility,” she said gently.

“I know,” Liz said tearfully. “I know.”

Terrie checked her once again.

“Hun, he’s crowning. It won’t be long now. Are you ready?” she asked.

Liz nodded wearily.

“When I tell you to push, give it all you’ve got. Ok?” she said.

Liz nodded panting with the pain.

“Ok hun, *now*,” she said, and Liz bore down with all of the strength she had.

She let out an agonized wail as she felt a terrible tearing in her body. She slumped back, letting out little gasps.

“Again hun,” Terrie said.

Again Liz pushed with all her might, feeling as if her body was ripping in two.

“Ok Hun, his head’s out. One more,” she said.

“I can’t,” Liz panted.

“Yes you can Dear, just one more,” Terrie coaxed.

“I can’t, I can’t,” Liz said, her hand still gripping the orb hidden in her palm.

“Yes, you can Liz,” Terrie said. “You’ve got the will to do it. Just find that place inside you. You can do it!”

Liz shook her head. Though neither noticed, hidden in Liz’s palm, the little orb started to glow a beautiful indigo blue.

With one final deep breath, Liz bore down with all her might, and her son was completely in the world.

He let out a feisty yell as Terrie cleaned out his mouth and nose, and cut the umbilical cord, wrapping him in a soft blanket. Liz cried as she watched Terrie finish her duties.

Terrie brought the baby to the side of the bed.

“Say hello to Matthew,” Terrie said with tears in her eyes as she handed the tiny bundle to Liz.

“Oh,” Liz sobbed as she looked upon her son for the first time, as he quieted in his mother’s arms. He looked up into her eyes, and she looked into the amber eyes of his father, and felt such love well in her heart for this tiny being she held in her arms.

Tears streamed down her face, as she smiled at him.

“Hello Matthew,” she said softly, touching his tiny fingers, his tiny toes.

“You’re so beautiful! You look just like your Daddy,” she said, as she saw the dark shiny hair on his head.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%


posted on 3-Nov-2001 1:39:21 AM by majesty
THREE YEARS LATER

A warm breeze blew across the high grass of the pasture as Liz sat near a tree, watching Matthew toddle after a lizard in fascination. She smiled as he shouted in delight.

“Momma, gon’ catch it ta show Unca Alex!” he giggled as he chased after the reptile.

Liz laughed softly as she marvelled at his development. He had spoken his first word at eight months, and was walking at 15 months. Very progressive for a child, and he was a constant source of joy to her.

“Fweeze!” he shouted at the lizard as he held his hand out, and the lizard struggled against what seemed to be thin air.

“Matthew honey,” she scolded gently. “What did Momma tell you about that?”

“Sowwy Momma,” he said shame-faced, and Liz couldn’t help but grin.

“C’mere,” she said, holding out her arms, and the little boy ran into them.

“You know why I told you not to do that right?” she said gently.

He nodded. “Cause if people see they might tell the bad people,” he answered solemnly.

“You’re so smart sweetie,” she said, giving him a quick hug. “Momma loves you, you know that right?”

He nodded, throwing his arms around her neck.

He remained there for a minute and then pulled away.

“Can I still chase the lizard?” he asked hopefully.

She laughed. “Go ahead,” she said.

He went to the edge of the grass again, looking for the elusive lizard.

Liz sighed as she looked at him.

She reached into her pocket for the silver orb. It had become a habit, holding it, playing with it in her palm. It calmed her.

She stretched out on the ground lying on her side so she could still keep an eye on Matthew, and propped head up on her elbow as she again studied the small silver orb. It was completely smooth, and slightly heavy for such a small object. It was a metal that didn’t exist on this earth, she knew that. She didn’t know what it could do, but she kept it with her always, just in case. She knew it had a purpose, and she never knew when it might come to light.

Pursing her lips, she laid it carefully on the ground next to her, as her attention again turned to her son. She watched him jump through the grass after the lizard. He looked so much like his father, with that dark shiny hair, strong jaw-line, and those impossibly beautiful eyes of amber.

She heard him giggle again, and she shut her eyes against the bright rays of the sun. It was a beautiful warm day in late spring, after a hard winter, and she was just thankful to be able to sit in this peaceful field while her son played to his heart’s content. Her life was so different now, empty again without Max, but filled with her son.

On the ground, a slight blue glow emanated from the silver orb, pulsing, first slow, and then faster until it let off a continuous light.

She heard Matthew giggle again, and she half opened her eyes, seeing him standing still looking off across the pasture. She couldn’t see above the grass what he was looking at, and so she slowly sat up.

Across the field, a figure slowly made it’s way toward them. It must be Alex, she thought, as she squinted and put her hand to her brow to shield her eyes from the sun’s strong rays.

Funny…he almost looked like Max from a distance, she thought to herself mildly as she stood up slowly.

“Daddy!” Matthew shouted as he started to run toward him.

“Matthew wait!” she said. “That’s not…” and her voice trailed off as the figure became clearer to her, that familiar dark hair, that strong physique, that wondrous smile.

“Max?” she whispered, as the little boy launched himself into his father’s arms, and was promptly swung around.

“MAX??” she shouted, and ran toward him, as his long strides quickly covered the ground between them.

She stopped before she reached him, her hand at her mouth, taking in the wondrous sight of him standing before her.

Tears pricked his eyes as he smiled at her, shifting the eager little boy who had his arms wrapped around his neck.

“Hello love,” he said softly.

“Is it really you?” she asked softly, moving forward to touch his cheek, trying to convince herself that this wasn’t a dream.

“C’mere,” he said softly, and she put her arms around him, enfolded by his free arm, her ear pressed to his strong heartbeat once again.

“I don’t understand…how?” she sobbed.

“Shhh…” he said comfortingly. “You didn’t think I could stay away forever, did you?” he whispered.

She lifted her head from his chest, to look into his golden eyes, and his head lowered, his lips brushing hers gently, tenderly, longingly.

She couldn’t stop touching him, his arms, his chest, his face, as she couldn’t believe he was standing there in front of her.

“Max, I’ve missed you,” she said tearfully. “I talked to you every night.”

“I talked to you too,” he said kissing the top of her head. “There wasn’t a minute that went by that I wasn’t thinking of you and Matthew.”

“I told him all about you Max,” she said. “I told him so that he would never forget, so that I’d never forget…” she trailed off.

He pulled her tightly to him with one arm, as their little family was together for the first time.

“He’s beautiful,” he said softly near her ear. “But then I knew he would be.”

“Daddy,” Matthew whispered against his shoulder.

“He knows you,” Liz said incredulously.
“It’s one of those alien perks,” Max said, laughing softly. “I knew him too.”

“I have so many questions Max. How did you find us?” she asked.

“The orb. The orb called to me,” he said. “I knew if I found that, I’d find you.”

“Max, I’m so happy you’re here!” she said. “I…I still can’t believe it.”

“I’ll explain everything later,” he said, motioning to Matthew.

He carefully put the child down and knelt in front of him. The little boy smiled shyly at him.

“Matthew,” he said softly. “I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. If I could have been here, I would have, I promise you.”

“S’ok,” Matthew replied. “You cam from far away. It takes a long time,” he said matter of fact, and Max looked up at Liz with tears in his eyes. She smiled emotionally at him.

“That’s right Matthew, I was very far away, but I’m home now, and I’ll never leave you again, I promise.”

“Good,” Matthew said resolutely, and Liz let out a small chuckle at their son’s frankness.

He stood and took the little boy’s hand, with his left hand, and Liz’s hand with his right.

“This is all I ever wanted,” he said looking at her. “I’m sorry you were both so alone.”

“Not alone,” the child replied. “I felt you Daddy. Sometimes I felt you.”

Liz looked at him shocked. “Matthew, why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want to make you sad,” he said.

She smiled tearfully at her little boy.

“Come on, I think it’s time you had a shoulder ride,” Max said.

The little boy giggled as Max lifted him onto his shoulders.

“I love shoulder rides,” Matthew crowed. “Unca Alex gives me shoulder rides all the time!”

A small flash of pain flitted across Max’s face.

“Alex saved our lives,” Liz said. “I want you to meet him. He’s been so good to us.”

“If he’s been good to you, then I’ll be happy to meet him,” Max said solemnly.

“I’ve missed so much, haven’t I?” he said wistfully, as he looked up at his son, as they started back toward the house.

“We have our whole lives now Max. We can’t dwell on what we can’t change,” she said, threading her arm through his, pressing her side against his as they walked.

She couldn’t help the smile that broke out on her face as she kept glancing at the image of father and son together for the first time.

“I have so much to tell you Liz,” he said to her quietly, but I want to tell you when we can sit quietly,” he said.

“Later,” Liz agreed softly, just glad to be living in this joyous moment.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Their arrival back at the house caused bedlam when Alex saw Max walking from the fields with Liz and Matthew. He leaned heavily against the fence-post in shock as they approached.

“Who is that with Liz?” Don asked curiously.

“That’s Max,” Alex choked.

“Oh…” Don said in a lilting voice.

On the way back to the house, Liz had told Max all about Alex and the way that he had helped her, found this lovely place for her to live, with people that became like her own parents. He had sacrificed his career, and put his own life in danger to help Max and the other to escape, and to help Liz *disappear*.

Max knew he owed this man a lot, and somehow he would find a way to repay him.

Max stopped a short distance away, and Liz came and took Alex’s hand, bringing him over to Max.

“Alex, you remember Max,” she said softly, careful in her wording, so as not to arouse Don’s suspicions, because as far as he knew, Max had left Liz in Alex’s care.

“Hello again,” Alex said, smiling at him.

Max shook his hand. “Thank you for everything you’ve done, for Liz, for us,” he said with quiet meaning, and Alex nodded wordlessly, overcome with the intensity behind those words.

“If I can ever repay you…” Max said.

Alex shook his head. “It’s been an honor to know her, and your son,” he said.
Max smiled at him, and Terrie came out onto the porch noticing their new visitor.

“Hello,” she smiled curiously.

“Max,” Liz said, taking his hand, “I’d like you to meet Terrie and Don Waters. They’ve taken us in and been so kind to us.”

Max handed Matthew to Liz and walked over to Terrie.

“I don’t know how to thank you,” he said, and Terrie impulsively threw her arms around him.

“So this is Max!” she cried, as Max looked over her shoulder at Liz, puzzled. Liz smiled at him.

“I’m so glad you’ve come. Liz talks about you all the time,” she said, pulling away, getting a good look at her beloved girl’s beau.

“Oh Liz, you weren’t lying, he’s devastating,” she said, and Max colored with embarrassment as Liz chuckled.

“Hello Max,” Don said, shaking his hand. Max smiled and nodded at him.

Suddenly a mad barking came from the nearby barn and Lucky came bounding from behind it. Max knelt and the dog rushed up, knocking him over, planting his paws on Max’s chest, before giving him some sound licks on his face.

“Lucky!” Max sputtered, and Matthew giggled.

“Guess everyone’s glad your home,” Don laughed.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Later, over dinner, there was much discussion and laughter, before talk turned to what Liz and Max would do now.

“If you were in trouble with the government, it’s probably not safe for you to go home,” Don said, and Max nodded silently. There was an even more valid reason than that one, he thought, since technically he was dead to his family.

“Why not stay here? Max, you can help us out on the ranch here in return for a place to live,” Don said.

“We couldn’t do that,” Max said quietly. “You’ve already done enough for us.”

“Nonsense,” Terrie said. “You’d be doing us a favor. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get good help these days?”

“She’s right,” Don said. After much discussion, it was decided that Max, Liz and Matthew would stay for the time being.

After dinner, Max, Liz Alex and Matthew retired to the front porch to enjoy the warm breeze rolling over the pastures.

Mathew chattered for quite awhile to Max, about the ranch, Lucky, Liz, Alex, Don and Terrie, the ponies, and a host of other things while sitting in his lap.

Max listened attentively, enraptured by his son. He couldn’t take his eyes off of him except of course when he had his eyes on Liz.

Finally Matthew yawned and curled up in Max’s lap, soon fast asleep. Max smiled contentedly as he looked at his son. Liz took Max’s hand gently squeezing it, throwing him a warm smile which he quickly returned. Max’s attention turned to Alex, who rocked quietly as he looked out at the sky.

“Alex,” he said, and Alex turned his attention to Max.

“I’ve been thinking about a way to repay you for all you’ve done for us,” he started, and Alex put his hand up.

“I told you, I don’t want or need any repayment,” he said.

“Hear me out,” Max said. “Liz told me you have an interest in the extra-terrestrial world. Well, I’m part alien, and I’ve been out there so I thought maybe we could sit down soon and have a chat. I could tell you anything you wanted to know.”

Alex sat with his mouth open for a moment, as that opportunity he thought he had lost had suddenly presented itself.

“I…yeah, I’d really like that,” he said. “I’d like that a lot.”

“Good,” Max said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Alex smiled his thanks.

“We should probably take Matthew into bed,” Liz said, looking down at their sleeping son.

Max nodded, picking the slumbering little boy up in his arms.

“We’ll talk soon,” he said to Alex, and Alex nodded.

Liz walked over and planted a small kiss on Alex’s cheek.

“Goodnight Alex,” she said quietly, and he grinned at her as they quietly entered the house.

Max carried Matthew to his room and gently laid him on the bed while Liz put his pajamas on. Together, they covered him up and kissed him goodnight. Max lingered a moment just taking in the sight of his son.

“I can’t believe he’s ours, part of you and me,” he said.

“And the other,” Liz said quietly.

“Yeah,” he said, kissing her cheek. They quietly closed the door and went to Liz’s room.
As he stood looking around the room, Liz suddenly felt overwhelmed again that he was here. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked at her husband, so handsome, so powerful, and now so tangible.

“Max, how did you get here? Are you going to get sick?” she said worriedly.

He smiled and shook his head.

“We’ll talk about that later,” he said huskily. “Right now I have more important things to attend to.”

His arms wrapped around her protectively as his lips captured hers in a passionate kiss, his tongue entering her mouth lovingly, hungrily.

She sighed audibly as her body pressed against his, loving the powerful hardness of his chest pressed against hers. His lips moved to caress her neck and she moaned hungrily.

“God how I’ve missed this, and you,” she said, as her heart pounded excitedly in her chest at his touch, his warmth, the fire of desire in his eyes.

He gently tugged the straps of her tank down, nibbling on her shoulder, sending shivers of anticipation through her body.

Her hand stroked his cheek as he threaded his fingers through her hair.

“I’ve waited so long to do that again,” he smiled, his eyes filled with tears. “I’ve waited so long to touch you, to hold you, to tell you I love you again.”

She smiled at him softly.

“I thought you were gone forever Max,” she said tearfully. “I thought I’d never see you again. Every time I thought about it…I felt like I was going to suffocate. Matthews been a joy to me, but these past few years have been so hard,” she said, touching her forehead to his chest, as he gently stroked her hair.

“I wish I could have been here with you Liz. I wish that we hadn’t lost this time,” he said sadly.

“You’re here now, and that’s all that matters,” she said lifting her head. I love you Max Evans. You are my soul-mate, the love of my life, and I never want to be without you again,” she said.

“I’m here for good this time,” he breathed, as he gently laid her down on the bed, moving to lie beside her. For long moments, he gently stroked her belly as they looked into each other’s eyes, just content to be…

Slowly, tenderly he leaned over and brushed his lips against hers, and that very simple act brought all of the emotions Liz was feeling boiling to the surface, and she cried for all that they had been through, all that they had lost, and this chance they had been given to be together again.

Max held her as she let it out, whispering words of comfort and love in her ear as his hands gently soothed her.

She tearfully kissed him, moving closer to him, needing to feel him against her, to make this real.

Her finger gently played over the well-defined muscles in his arms, and then he gently pushed her back to the bed, moving to lie on top of her, propped up on his elbows.

“This feels like a dream, being here,” he said shakily.

“I know,” Liz said. “I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up and you’ll be gone.”

He shook his head. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said gently, as his nose rubbed against hers, and his lips found the velvety softness of hers.

Tentatively, Liz’s hands reached around his back, pulling the hem of his t-shirt up. He carefully maneuvered so that she could pull it over his head.

Liz smiled at the magnificent physique that was revealed to her waiting eyes. He was perfect. His golden skin fairly glowed, and the mere sight of it caused her breath to catch in her throat. Max had always been completely sexy to her, but at this moment, he took her breath away.

She lovingly ran her hands down his chest, feeling the supple silkiness of it.

“My turn,” he whispered, as he gently pulled her tank off, revealing the silky lace of her bra. Tenderly his lips grazed the fabric, teasing the sensitive nerve endings, and she gasped at his touch.

His lips moved to kiss the swell of creamy skin at the edges of the top of her bra, and she moaned softly as his tongue gently caressed her skin.

“Max,” she gasped softly, and he moved up to gently touch his lips to hers.

Shortly, they both were rid of the annoyance of their clothes, and Max lay on his back on the bed. Liz kneeled above him, marveling at the sheer perfection of his body, fully aroused for her. Slowly, she moved on top of him, carefully stretching herself out fully over his body, every inch of her skin touching his, her face inches from his own.

His fingers gently traced feather light caresses up and down her back to her rear as they lay still, just feeling the sensation of skin on skin, heartbeat matching heartbeat.

Slowly, his tongue entered her mouth, savoring the sweetness, and moaning when her own tongue swirled against his. His hands gripped her waist as her moist heat pushed up against his erection, enticing him, creating a tight spiral of desire in the pit of his stomach for this vision that lay atop of him.

She moved instinctively against him, feeling his need surge with her own, and the two gasped in unison as white-hot bolts of desire rocketed through their bodies.

Max felt the tension quickly building in his body.

“Liz, I can’t wait any longer,” he said, but he needn’t have spoken, because she was already rising, guiding him to her most intimate spot, sliding him gently between her walls.

They both cried out at the furious rush of pleasure that rocked the two of them as Liz rose slowly, creating friction, heat.

She placed her hands on his chest as she moved her hips seductively, provocatively, rising off of his hips, and taking him in again and again.

Max’s eyes were darkened with the overpowering love he felt for his wife as she moved over him, looking down at him with such love in her own eyes, that he felt as if he was going to lose complete control. His own hips rose to meet hers as her rhythm became faster, more urgent, their breathing more ragged, their moans audible in the silent room. They whispered the endearments they had repeated so many times during their marriage, and it finally felt like Max had come home.

He felt his control slipping and he knew any moment he was going to go over the edge, and he sat up, and her legs wrapped around his back as her breasts pressed so enticingly against the hardness of his own chest, and he took her mouth in a fierce and furious kiss as he felt her start to tighten around him.

“Liz,” he breathed. “Liz, I love you” he cried as she drove him over the edge, and she tenderly cradled his head to her chest as he pulled her hips down, spilling into her, and she cried out in release.

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*

Later as they lay in each other’s arms, Max spoke quietly.

“Liz, I have so much to tell you, the other’s world, it was so beautiful,” he said.

“What was it like?” she asked.

“Like nothing I’d ever seen. Their lakes and oceans were this beautiful deep red, and the landscape was just filled with every color imaginable,” he said. “When I looked at the sky at night, there were four moons in the sky. And I looked at the sky every night, talking to you, hoping you would hear me.”

“I did too,” Liz said, gently placing a soft kiss on his neck.

“What were they like, his people?” she asked curiously.

“They were a very gentle race,” he said. “Unlike ours. They only wanted to learn from me, from us,” he said. “They don’t have war, or murder, or violence of any kind. When I explained these things to them, I was ashamed,” he said. “It was hard to communicate with them at first, but it came to me, from the other, their native language.”

“They knew that the other had…melded with me. And they knew I was unhappy. They had never seen this happen before. They re-create themselves in the image of other species all the time, and had never seen an absorption like mine.”

“They observed me for a month. It took eight months to get to their planet. Their ship was something I can’t even describe. Their technology was unimaginable. I don’t know how fast we were going, but I do know that the system their planet is in is light years away,” he said.

“Then, one day, I felt strange. I could feel something was going to happen. I didn’t know what at the time, and then suddenly, I got an image, a flash in my mind of Matthew being born. It was the orb. I saw it Liz. For the briefest moment I saw it, and I can’t even tell you the joy and the heartache I was feeling at the same time. I saw my son being born, but I couldn’t be there with you, and I heard you call out for me. I heard it and I couldn’t answer,” he said raggedly, and Liz could feel the emotion welling in his heart. She put her hand on his chest comfortingly.

“I knew then. I had to convince them to help me find a way to get back, to be able to survive here. I think they didn’t quite understand the concept of love, but they weren’t going to hold me there against my will. But they would not kill one of their own, the other that was merged in my body, in order to change my genetics so I could go hime. They had a meeting of their council, and they decided to put their best scientists on figuring out how to change my physiology,” he said.

“I went through a lot of tests. *Alot*. And a year later, they figured out how to modify my DNA without destroying the other. And still I had to wait. There was the other problem of modifying a ship so that I could survive the trip back here after the modifications. I could fly the ship with the knowledge of the other, and then the ship could be modified to return without a pilot. They also added extra cloaking to avoid detection. They learned their lesson after the last time. The ship was a lot smaller than the one that met us in Washington,” he said.

The trip was longer with the smaller ship, and the only thing that kept me going was the thought of you and Matthew,” he said. “And now I’m here, finally,” he said, kissing the top of her head, and squeezing her tighter.

“Do you still feel him Max? The other?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “He’s like a part of my consciousness I guess. I became even more aware of it after Matthew was born, with the connection to him. But it’s not like there is two people living in my body. I can’t explain it, but he really is a part of me now.”

“I’m sorry for all that you went through alone Liz,” he said quietly. “I would have given anything to take some of it away.”

“Max, I would have done every single thing the same way. I have you back, and we have a son. I know it will be hard not to see our families again, but you get used to it, I promise. We have each other, and Matthew, and the rest of our lives, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I love you Max,” she said softly.

“I love you,” he answered quietly. Liz settled into the warm comfort of his embrace, and a short while later, he heard her breath even out in sleep.

But sleep did not come for Max just then. He didn’t want it to. As he lay there gazing at the peaceful sleeping face of his wife, he thought of all the tomorrows he would have. And he smiled, knowing that whatever tomorrow held, it would greet him with his wife in his arms, and his son, his beautiful son who would have so much to offer the world. Perhaps someday humans would be ready to learn from the others.

But for now this was enough.

THE END