posted on 2-Mar-2002 3:45:34 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: This is a Liz centered story.
Rating: PG 13 to, oh, probably NC 17. I always end up in NC 17 territory.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Roswell. I'm just borrowing the characters and making up some of my own.

Just a little side note . . . You should all be proud of me. I was in the same elevator with Jason Katims the other day, and I didn't rip his head off!

Summary: This story is post Departure, except Max, Tess, Isabel and Michael did fly away home to Antar in the Granilith. Liz never found out who killed Alex. With high school behind her, Liz begins a new chapter in her life, but can she let go of the past? Can she open up her heart to someone new, or will Max forever haunt her?

Pieces of the Past
Part 1

August 16, 2002

This is my last journal entry. Tomorrow everything changes. Everything will be new and different and I’ll finally get my chance to start over. That’s what I want. Isn’t it? A chance to finally put the past behind me and open my eyes to the future instead of living only with my memories to keep me company. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. Isn’t that the old saying? Then why does letting go hurt so much?

I finished packing an hour ago. The bags are by the door. I should be happy about this new direction, this venture into independence, my walk into adulthood, so why can’t I stop crying? He’s been gone for so long now. Why can’t I get him out of my head?

I came across his picture when I was going through my dresser drawer. I had forgotten I put it there after he left. That’s a lie. I knew it was there. I’ve always known it was there. I just didn’t want to think about it so I tried to pretend, but that never works. I was only trying to fool myself. Time to face the truth, as ugly as it is. He left me. He left with her, and his son, and he’s never coming back.

I’m probably nothing more than a distant memory to him now. That is, if he even remembers me at all.

Tomorrow I head for Las Cruces and after Mom and Dad help me move into the dorm, after they kiss me goodbye and head back to Roswell, for the first time in my life I’ll be truly alone. I should be excited, living on my own and going to college, but I’m not. I guess a part of me always thought he’d come back, that his leaving was all just a bad dream, but I can’t keep living in the past.

It’s behind me now and I need to move forward. A new life awaits me, with new people to meet and new places to go. And if I can just get Max Evans out of my head, then maybe I can learn to live again.

“Hey Liz,” Maria said from inside the bedroom window. “Is this a bad time?”

“Maria,” Liz broke into a smile. She closed her journal and as she rose to her feet, she dropped the book onto the chair she just vacated. Hurrying across her balcony, she climbed back into the window and the two young women hugged. “I’m so glad you came by. I didn’t think I’d get to see you again before I left.”

“I couldn’t let you leave without saying goodbye,” Maria held her out at arms length and then they hugged again.

“I’m going to miss you so much!” Liz tried to hide the quiver in her voice but Maria knew her too well.

“Hey, no crying. Remember?” she said, wrapping her arm around Liz’s shoulder and leading her over to the bed. “Are you crying because you’re going off to college, or are you crying because you’re thinking of him?”

“Him?” Liz brushed her hair back from her face in a gesture Maria was very familiar with. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Liz,” Maria rolled her eyes. “You can’t fool me.”

“I don’t think about him anymore,” she said, and couldn’t quite look Maria in the eye. “He left a long time ago. I’m over it.”

“Yeah, sure you are,” Maria smirked. “Just like I’m over Michael.”

Liz drilled her with a look, but she knew she couldn’t fool Maria. They were closer than sisters. They never could keep secrets from each other. “They ruined us, didn’t they?”

Maria snorted and nodded her head. “Yeah, they did. But hey, at least Max didn’t take your virginity and five minutes later tell you, ‘So long, Babe. I’m leaving the planet. It’s been fun.’” Maria regretted saying it as soon as she saw Liz’s crestfallen face. “Liz, I’m-”

“I guess we’re lucky they left,” Liz interrupted. “It was never meant to be.”

“I guess you’re right,” Maria agreed. Of course she knew how Liz really felt. While Maria had tried to move on with her life, she knew that Liz never had. Max Evans was still haunting her.

“I didn’t think I’d see you today,” Liz changed the subject. “What time is your flight?”

Maria looked at her watch and said, “Three hours and thirty four minutes. I should go. Mom wants to get to the airport early.” She was headed to sunny California, and a meeting with the executives at Horizon Records. Fame was right around the corner. Maybe.

“Good luck, Maria,” Liz pulled her into her arms again and hugged her tightly. “I’m gonna miss you.”

“Me too, Liz,” Maria fought back the tears. “Me too.”

* * * * *

Liz trudged down the stairs with suitcase in hand, thanking the heavens above that this was the last trip. She hadn’t realized she was taking so much stuff with her. She probably wouldn’t even need half of it, but better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Besides, there were certain things that she couldn’t bear to part with.

Like the CD that Alex cut, just before he died. And her dog-eared copy of Lord of the Rings her mom and dad had given her for Christmas three years ago. And the pendant Max had given her on the last night she ever saw him.

She chastised herself, knowing she should get over him. God knows, he got over her without any problem. The fact that he’d screwed Tess and got her pregnant proved that. Why couldn’t she let go? After all this time, she still couldn’t let go.

“You ready, Lizzie?” Jeff Parker asked his daughter. It was breaking his heart to see her go, but she wasn’t a little girl anymore. She was going off to college, and no matter how much he still wanted her here at home, he knew it was time for her to spread her wings.

“I think so,” she answered his question, but she wasn’t so sure. She was about to leave Roswell, and all the hopes and the dreams she had once had here, before her world fell apart. For the last year she’d been without purpose, without direction. It was time to get her life back together.

* * * * *

The drive to Las Cruces was uneventful. Mercifully boring. She’d had enough excitement over the last few years to last her a lifetime. She just wanted a normal life. A quite life. Without conflict. No disputes. No accusations. She just wanted to quietly fade into the background.

“We’re here,” her father said from the front seat, breaking into her thoughts.

She looked from her father to her mother, imperceptibly shaking her head. Did they really think that this was what she wanted? Being alone. So very alone. A lifetime to be alone.

“Do you know your roommates name?” her mother asked innocently.

Looking from her father to her mother, it was so obvious that they really knew nothing about her life. They didn’t know that she’d been saved from a gunshot wound by Max Evans. They didn’t know that Max had healed a bullet hole in her stomach that would have proven fatal to anyone else. They didn’t know that he had gone on to break her heart when he told her he was leaving, with Tess.

They didn’t know that she had forced all of these things to happen, all because Max Evans asked her to change the future. They didn’t know Alex Whitman was dead because of what she’d done. They all thought it was suicide, but she knew better, even though she’d never been able to prove it. In the broken pieces of her heart, she knew Alex was dead and Max was gone because of what she’d done.

“Honey? Liz? Are you alright?” Nancy asked from the front seat.

“What?” Liz shook her head to chase away the past. “What did you say Mom?”

“I said, do you know your roommates name?”

“Um, Megan. Her name is Megan.”

“Well, Lizzie, let’s get your stuff inside,” Jeff smiled and climbed out of the car.

Liz opened the rear door and stepped out onto the curb. Looking up at the building she sighed inwardly. Her new home. Her new future. This was the first day of the rest of her life. Why wasn’t she more excited?

* * * * *

She finished stacking her CD’s next to the stereo, alphabetizing them from A to Z, and then just to prove to herself that she wasn’t entirely anal, she took the Sheryl Crow CD and put it down by the Z’s, right next to White Zombie. She didn’t really want to play that CD anymore anyway. She didn’t even know why she brought it.

Actually, half the CD’s weren’t even hers. Mr. Whitman had insisted that she and Maria take them. He had said that Alex would have wanted his friends to have his things. Maria had his guitar. Liz had his books. They both had a lifetime of memories.

Looking around the small room, Liz felt a little lost, a little frightened, a little overwhelmed. She was glad Megan hadn’t moved in yet. She needed this first night alone, so she could adjust to her new surroundings. Stifling a yawn, she crossed over to the dresser to get her pajamas. It’d been a long day, this first day of the rest of her life, and she was tired.

Opening the drawer, she removed a tank top and a pair of plaid pajama bottoms. She started to close it, and then pulled it open again, parting her clothes and reaching to the bottom of the drawer. She tossed her pajamas toward the bed, not even noticing that they didn’t quite reach and instead fell to the floor. She was looking at the photograph that her hand had pulled from the depths of the drawer, from its hiding place where she could try to pretend it didn’t exist.

His eyes looked up at her from the photograph, those golden brown eyes that had once made her heart sing. She’d never see those eyes again. She knew that now. She’d known that for a long time. Her fingers touched the full lips that smiled up at her. She’d never feel those lips again. She’d never taste his special taste again. She closed her eyes, remembering how it had once been, before it all fell apart.

The past was the past and she shoved the photograph back in the drawer, burying it in its hiding place where she could pretend it didn’t exist. Changing into her pajamas, she climbed into the unfamiliar bed. Tonight was the first night of the rest of her life. Everything around her was new. The room. The bed. The sheets. The phone on the nightstand. The clock on the wall. So why was she crying herself to sleep again, the way she had every night since Max Evans walked out of her life?

* * * * *

Max huddled in the cave, trying to keep warm in the meager heat radiating out from the small campfire. He was tired, bone weary, but he couldn’t sleep. But that was nothing new. He hadn’t slept well in months. Or maybe it was years. He didn’t know anymore. He’d lost track of time.

He stared into the fire, trying not to think, trying to let his mind blank out. He could feel her sometimes when he let his mind blank out. He knew it wasn’t really her, that it was only his imagination, but it was the only time he ever felt alive anymore. He could still hear the sound of her voice in his head, still feel how soft her skin was, still taste the sweetness of her lips. He’d lost just about everything that ever mattered to him, but he still had his memories.

He threw another log on the fire and sparks flew up around him. Feeling restless, he rose to his feet and made his way to the mouth of the cave. It was dark out, with only one moon shining its dim light down from the heavens. Heavens, Max shook his head in disgust. There was nothing heavenly about this place. He was living in hell.

Delos would be rising soon, close enough to fill a quarter of the sky, but for now it was still dark and the stars looked like sparkling diamonds. Earth was out there somewhere. One of those points of light maybe, but he didn’t know which one. He sighed, wishing for something he was never going to have.

“Can’t sleep?” a voice broke the silence of the night.

His eyes dropped to the ground and then he turned to look at Michael, standing just a few feet behind him. He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders defeatedly and answered, “No.”

“Me either.” He came up beside his friend, his brother, his King and the two of them silently stared out at the ravaged landscape. Their enemies had come close this time. Too close. Kivar’s men had nearly captured them.

Raising his eyes to the sky again, Max asked, “Do you ever think about it?”

Michael knew what he was talking about. Earth. The place he always thought he hated. The place he now yearned to return to. The place he dreamed about at night. Shaking his head, he said, “No.”

Max nodded his head and said nothing. They didn’t need to talk. They both knew the score. They couldn’t go back. They could never go back.

“We should try to get some sleep,” Michael suggested. “Tomorrow’s going to be a long day.”

“I know,” Max nodded. “You go ahead. I’ll be in in a minute.”

Michael lifted his hand and squeezed his friends shoulder. They’d made a lot of mistakes. Trusted the wrong people. Doubted the person they should have believed in. A lot of people had died because of it and the killing wasn’t over yet. Death was always waiting, just around the corner.

Max listened as Michael’s footsteps retreated back into the cave. Tomorrow they would have to leave this place. Always on the run, searching for a new hiding place. Kivar’s forces were strong, but the underground was growing. Someday, if he survived long enough, they wouldn’t have to run anymore. They could stand and fight.

He looked up at the stars again, sweeping his eyes across a million points of light, praying that someday his dream could come true. If he could survive long enough. If he could find a way to kill Kivar and gain access to the Granilith, maybe he could go home again.

To Earth.

[ edited 12time(s), last at 16-Mar-2002 3:33:03 AM ]
posted on 3-Mar-2002 7:42:06 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: This is a Liz fic. Boy it's weird to say that and not have Max included there. But you know me. I am a Dreamer, even though you might start wondering after this chapter is over. Can you trust me? My initials are not JK. I don't think that he bled over into me when we were in that elevator together! Why did I bite my tongue instead of his head when we were in that confined space? Well, let me see . . .

I was at Virgin Records to get an autographed Roswell CD. I didn't think it would be a good idea to get arrested for killing their boss before the cast arrived. Also, there was still the possibility that I could win an invite to the after hours cast party, and I didn't want to blow that! I figured reeming out Katims might put a damper on that, so I kept my mouth shut. Since I didn't win anything, now I wish I had given him a mouth full. Andrea would have been proud of her mother if I had, and she would have bailed me out! Oh well, a missed oportunity. All I can say is that when I realized who he was, I think I kind of glared at him and he looked down, like he was scared of me! He probably could tell I was a crazy, resistant to change Dreamer. Damn. Where's the Granilith when you need it? If I could go back in time, I'd tear him a new assho**

You get the picture. On with the story . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 2

Liz tossed her bookbag onto the end of her bed and hurried to her closet to change her clothes. If she changed quickly, maybe she wouldn’t be late for work again. She tore her sweater off and pulled on the red polo shirt, emblazoned with the words NMSU Food Service on the left chest. She didn’t have time to change her pants. It was a good thing black went with everything.

“Liz? Is that you?” Megan called from the bathroom.

They lived in a quad, two rooms that shared a bathroom. Four girls in all. It was much better than some of the other dorms, where the whole floor shared a bathroom.

“Yeah,” she answered and closed the closet door.

Poking her head out of the bathroom, Megan said, “There’s a party over at Delta House tonight. Everybody’s going. You want to come too? We’re leaving at 7:00.”

“Can’t,” Liz brushed her hair quickly and tied it back in a ponytail. “I have to study.”

“Liz,” Megan frowned. “It’s Friday night.”

“I know,” Liz met the other girls’ eyes briefly and then looked away.

“Liz, I’ve known you for what? Six months now? You get straight A’s. You’re on the Dean’s list for outstanding students. I think you can relax and have a little fun for one night. You’ve earned it.”

“I’ve got to go,” Liz grabbed her purse and headed toward the door. “If I’m late for work again, Steven is gonna fire me.”

Megan watched her roommate race for the door and leave without a backward glance. She liked Liz, a lot, but there were so many things she kept buried, hidden from everyone else. She never talked about high school, or her friends, and the only people she ever heard her talk to on the phone were her parents and someone named Maria.

Megan decided her goal before the semester ended was to make sure Liz Parker got out and had some fun. Maybe even went on a date. There was that cute guy in her Psych class that she’d seen giving Liz the eye. Kevin. Maybe she’d invite him over to study, and see if sparks would fly. Did Liz even like guys?

* * * * *

Liz punched her timecard just as the clock ticked over to noon. Right on time. She made her way quickly to the counter and then drew her breath in at the long line waiting to have their order taken. Lunchtime was always busy, but it looked like today was going to be one of those days.

“Thank God you’re here,” Shelly griped as Liz came up beside her. “Nick called in sick and I’ve been here all by myself and I’ve gotta pee.” She tossed down the pad onto the counter and made a beeline for the bathroom.

Liz took a deep breath, picked up the order pad and smiling politely, asked, “Can I take your order?”

* * * * *

Xan looked at his watch as he stepped into the cafeteria, noting that it was a quarter to one. He had time to get something quickly if he hurried. Maybe a cold sandwich. A nice hot burger would taste good right about now, but the line was too damn long and Coach would kill him if he were late for practice again.

The fat guy at the head of the line moved off with a tray of food, and that’s when he saw her. The dark haired girl. Liz. That’s what her name tag said. He didn’t know her last name. Every time he came in here, she was the first thing he looked for, and when he saw her he’d get that queasy feeling in his stomach and he wouldn’t be hungry anymore.

God, he was such an idiot. Why didn’t he just go up to her and say ‘Hi’? What could it hurt to say ‘Hi’? She’d either blow him off, or say ‘Hi’ back. What was so hard about that? Maybe it was the part about ‘blowing him off’. He’d be crushed if she blew him off. God, he was such an idiot, he reminded himself again. He didn’t even know her. How could he be so caught up in a girl he’d never even spoken to?

“Hey, Xander,” Mark came up from behind and clamped a hand on his friends shoulder. “Whatcha doin?”

“Hey Mark,” Xan gave him one of his half smiles. They’d been friends for years. Went to high school together in Albuquerque. Middle school and grade school, too.

“Let me guess. You came in here to get something to eat and got sidetracked by the scenery,” Mark smirked.

“Shut up,” Xan shrugged his friend’s hand off his shoulder, feeling his cheeks turning red. Mark just laughed.

“Why don’t you just go talk to her?” Mark asked. “It’d probably get ya farther than mooning at her from across the room.”

“Excuse me?” Xan raised his eyebrows.

“You know what I mean,” Mark drilled him a look. “You can’t keep your eyes off of her. Take the plunge!”

“I’ve gotta go to practice,” Xan changed the subject and headed toward the door. Mark couldn’t help but notice how he glanced back at the girl again.

“Hey,” he called out and Xan turned back to look at him. “We gonna go to that party tonight? The one over at Delta House?

“Sure. Why not.” He glanced once more at the girl behind the counter and then headed off to the gym.

* * * * *

Liz finished jotting down the order and glanced up to ask if she would like anything else. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw something familiar, someone familiar, and she looked out into the cafeteria feeling a stirring in the pit of her stomach. The dining hall was crowded, with students coming and going between classes and she frowned, wondering what it was she had thought she had seen.

Drawing her attention back to the girl standing in front of her, she asked, “Will that be everything?”

Finishing the order, she turned from the counter, feeling vaguely disquieted. She threw herself into her work, cleaning counters and scrubbing down the equipment after the crowd thinned out, counting the minutes until her shift ended at 4:00, and she could go back to her room and . . . and what? Hide? Close herself off from the thousands of students around her that were out there living, while she stayed in her room, not living at all?

She made her way from table to table, wiping the crumbs away, pushing chairs back in, picking up people’s leftover garbage. She tried to make her mind blank out, to think about nothing and no one, but that didn’t work. That only made her think about him more. She decided it would be better to think about her biology paper that was due on Monday. She could get lost in her thoughts if she concentrated on her studies.

Xan entered the cafeteria, drawing his hand through his damp hair. He’d showered after practice and then he’d come straight here. He hadn’t eaten earlier and he was starving, and he knew that she usually worked till 4:00 on Fridays. He’d noticed.

His eyes scanned the room but he didn’t see her and he felt a touch of disappointment. Relief too. If she wasn’t here, then maybe his stomach would calm down enough so that he could actually eat. He rounded a corner, headed toward the soda fountain to pour himself a drink, and he almost ran into her.

Liz was carrying the discarded drink in her hand, headed for the garbage can when a figure suddenly loomed in front of her. Her hand rose to her mouth, about to utter an apology, when she looked up and saw his face. His hair was different than she remembered it, shorter, and spiky in the front, but the rest of his face looked the same. The angular lines of his nose. The distinctive curve of his chin. The elegance of his long neck. And his eyes. She’d never forget his eyes.

“Max . . .” she whispered and her eyes began to fill with tears.

“Excuse me?” Xan asked, feeling stupid that he’d almost run her over, and confused that she’d called him someone else’s name and then shocked when it looked like she had tears in her eyes.

The voice. Oh God, his voice was still the same. The shock of hearing it made her loosen her grip on the cup and it slipped from her hand, crashing to the floor and spraying the contents over tiles and shoes and pant legs. The sound of the impact made her jump and she took a step back, looking down at what she had done.

“Oh God,” both hands covered her mouth now. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright,” Xan smiled nervously. He bent down to pick up the cup and as he straightened up he reached over to put it in the trash. “It was my fault. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

Liz tried to pull herself together, blinking back the tears that had clouded her vision. It wasn’t Max. He was taller than Max. An inch. Maybe two. And he looked like he weighed a little more. And he didn’t have that freckle on his upper lip, the one that Max had. The similarity was amazing, but it wasn’t Max.

“I . . . I’ll go get a mop.”

Xan watched her hurry off, as if she was running from a ghost, and he wondered what that was all about. She’d looked at him like she recognized him, like she knew him from somewhere, but he knew they’d never met before. He’d been watching her for weeks now, afraid to take that first step, to make that first move, and he’d known that she didn’t even know he existed.

Had he blown it without even opening his mouth? The only girl in this whole damn school he was interested in had just run away from him like he was some kind of freak. Great. This was just fucking great. Maybe when she came back with the mop, he could . . . could what? Apologize? Tell her he wasn’t a freak and ask her to go out with him?

Liz pushed through the swinging door into the kitchen and leaned her back against the wall, closing her eyes and taking deep breaths. It wasn’t Max. It wasn’t Max. She kept repeating it over and over in her head. It wasn’t Max. He might look shockingly like him, but he couldn’t be Max.

“Liz? Are you alright?” Shelly’s concerned voice broke through Liz’s churning thoughts.

“No,” her voice quivered and her hand pressed against her stomach as if she were about to be sick. “I . . . I have to go.”


She ran for the backroom, where her purse was kept in her locker and in a trembling voice said, “There’s a drink spilled on the floor. Someone needs to get a mop to clean it up.”

Standing by the mess on the floor to keep people from walking through it, Xan waited for Liz to come back with the mop. It was taking a long time and he was just about to go over to see if she needed any help when the door she’d disappeared through swung opened and a blonde came out pushing a bucket on wheels ahead of her.

She frowned when she saw the puddle on the floor at his feet and she headed in his direction. She wasn’t the only one frowning. Xan was too. He looked around, trying to see where Liz had gone to, and when the blonde was close enough, he asked, “What happened to Liz?”

“I don’t know,” Shelly grumbled, wringing out the mop and swiping it across the floor. “She said she was sick and ran out the back way.”

Xan felt the disappointment settle heavily in his stomach and he hoisted his backpack onto his shoulder. Turning away from the cafeteria, he headed back to his dorm. He’d lost his appetite again.

* * * * *

Liz lay on her bed staring up at the ceiling, telling herself she wasn’t going to cry any more. She was tired of being miserable all the time. Max had moved on, just like he was supposed to. He was back on his home world now, with a wife and a son.

What he once felt for her was over now. The choice he’d made had been quite clear. It was what had to be. What was meant to be. And no matter how much she wanted to deny it, the truth remained. He was gone, and she’d never see him again.

She heard the sound of the key in the lock and she sat up, pulling her biology book toward her and pretending to study, with her head down so that Megan couldn’t see her tear streaked face. The room filled with the sounds of music in the hallway and people talking, laughing, having fun, living, and then it quieted again when Megan closed the door.

“Hey Liz. Still studying?”

“Yeah,” she nodded and then looked up to see her roommate cross over to the small closet they shared.

Megan thumbed through hanger after hanger until she saw one that caught her eye and then pulled it out, draping it across her as she turned to look at Liz. “What do you think? Will it knock their socks off?”

Liz arched her eyebrows, wondering if Megan was really serious. “Is that a dress or a top?”

“It’s a dress, of course! If this doesn’t catch the eye of one of those Delta, Kappa, Rappa boys, then they all must be gay!”

“Delta, Kappa, Rappa?” Liz laughed.

“You know what I mean!” she laughed back. Hooking the hanger over the closet door, she crossed over to sit on the end of Liz’s bed. “Are you sure you don’t want to come tonight? Everybody’s going. It’s not like you wouldn’t have anyone to talk to. It’ll be fun.”

“I’m not the partying type,” Liz dropped her eyes and stared at the abstract designs on her bedspread.

“Well, maybe you should start! You need to get out. You can’t stay cooped up inside these four walls all the time. Live a little!”

Isn’t that what she’d been trying to convince herself lately? Stop dwelling on the past and start living again? Didn’t this afternoon prove that she had to make a change? She’d totally freaked out because a guy looked a little bit like Max. Okay, it wasn’t just a little bit. It was a lot. More than a lot. But it wasn’t Max, and it wasn’t ever going to be Max. And it was time to accept it, and move on. Maybe a party tonight was exactly what she needed to finally sever those ties to the past that still had her bound up in knots.

Softly, so quietly that Megan wasn’t sure she even heard it, Liz said, “Okay.”

“What was that?” Megan leaned closer.

Liz looked up and met her eyes, forcing a smile that she didn’t really feel. “Okay. I’ll go.”

“Woo hoo!” Megan shouted and jumped from the bed. ‘Let’s find you something to wear!”

* * * * *

“Are you going to quit moping around?” Mark frowned at Xan. “The party starts in twenty minutes. Are you coming or not?”

“Go without me,” Xan stared up at the ceiling. He was stretched out on his bed, where he’d been for the last two hours, feeling sorry for himself. He kept replaying what had happened in the cafeteria over and over in his mind. Who was Max and why was he so jealous of him? Maybe because he obviously meant something to Liz. He could tell by the way she’d said his name.

He couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to hear her say his name. Alexander Jonathan Hartman. Xander for short, until that Buffy show came along and everybody teased him about his name. Now he just went by Xan. His name was too damn long anyway.

“C’mon, let’s go!” Mark slapped him on the foot. “You can’t spend the whole night just staring at the fuckin ceiling.”

“Yes I can,” Xan assured him. He could easily spend the whole fuckin night staring at the fuckin ceiling. What else did he have to do? He’d finally spoken to the girl of his dreams and she’d run away from him like he was some kind of apparition.

“C’mon,” Mark insisted. “I’ll buy you all the beer you can drink.”

Thinking that over, he sat up and swung his legs over the side of his bed. Maybe that’s what he needed to do. Get rip roaring drunk. If coach found out he could get kicked off the team, but he didn’t give a shit right now.

“Let’s go,” Xan said, rising to his feet.

I'll update again on Monday or Tuesday

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 3-Mar-2002 8:07:04 AM ]
posted on 3-Mar-2002 8:36:39 AM by Breathless
Just a note:

No, Zan is definitely not in the mix. The Xan in this story is NOT Zan. Xan acts and looks nothing like Zan. The only simularity is that the name Xan sounds like Zan.

posted on 4-Mar-2002 11:40:26 PM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Liz
For all the rest of the disclaimers, see page 1

Author note: I'm trying to post this early so I can go watch Angel in a half hour. I think it's new tonight. I missed it last week. Grrr.

I don't like to give away TOO much (I like to slowly peel away the layers to reveal the heart at the center of the story) but the Xan in this story is in no way, shape or form connected to the dupe Zan. I thought the whole dupe storyline as pretty weak. In fact, the best dupe, Zan, they killed off in the first 5 minutes of the damn show. Now he might have been interesting to watch, but Rath and the rest of them didn't do anything for me.

I'll be quiet now and let the story unfold . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 3

Max lay back with his hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling of the cave. How come they all looked the same, he wondered? He’d been in hundred’s of caves, from one end of this planet to the other, and they all looked the same. He couldn’t tell one from the other. They were all dark, and dank, and unwelcoming.

Everyone was asleep, except him. It was hard for him to sleep. When the night came and everything fell silent, his memories would come flooding over him, reminding him of everything he had lost. Reminding him of how stupid he had been. If only he could talk to her once more, to tell her she had been right all along, to tell her he should have trusted her, and believed in her. His life would be so different now if he had.

He could see her dark eyes swimming before him, see her skin flickering in the firelight, and he wondered what she was doing now. Did she make it into Harvard like she wanted to? Was she living far away in the cold Cambridge winters? Was she living alone, or had she found someone to keep her warm at night?

“Do you ever think of me?” he whispered into the night.

Of course he had no right to even think that. He was living with the choices he had made. He hadn’t trusted the one person he should have, and now he was paying the price. They all were. It had already cost Isabel her life and he’d lost count of how many others had suffered because of his mistakes.

He’d learned the truth just moments after being sucked into the Granilith. That’s all the time it took to be transported from Earth to here. Antar. Also known as Hell.

It had all been a trap. Lies built on lies. They’d walked right into an ambush and Kivar’s forces were on them before they knew what had happened. Kivar had known they were coming. Tess had told him.

She’d been working for him all along. Her mission was to do whatever it took to get the Royal 3 back to Antar, so Kivar could eliminate their threat once and for all. A nice public execution of King Zan, Princess Vilandra, and her consort Rath.

Tess had stood on the other side of the bars while they rotted in their cells, waiting for the Day of Execution. She’d gloated about how easy it had been for her to manipulate him, to separate him from the others, to isolate him and convince him she was the only one who really cared. She laughed when he asked about his son and then the full truth hit him.

Lies. It had all been lies. There was nothing wrong with his child, because there was no child. The pregnancy had all been a ruse, a deception to get him to leave Earth. And it’d worked. He’d given up everything that he ever wanted, and for what?

How ironic that in his mistaken attempt to live up to his responsibilities, to live with the consequences of his actions, it was the very thing that was going to get them all killed. Kivar had called him the Idiot King. No truer words had ever been spoken.

He’d sat in his cell, wondering when he’d lost control of his life, but the answer to that was easy. It was when he stopped believing in Liz. She’d only lied to him once. And he knew she’d been lying, yet he still let it come between them. He hadn’t tried to find out the truth. If he had, he wouldn’t be in Hell now.

The Day of Execution dawned and they were led to the Square and put on public display. Their bodies were tortured throughout the day and as sunset approached he’d found himself welcoming death. Everything that mattered to him was gone. His home. His family.


That was the hardest. Knowing how much he’d hurt Liz. Knowing that he’d never be able to tell her how truly sorry he really was.

As the appointed time arrived and the Executioner mounted the platform, all hell broke loose in the Square and instead of death, they’d found escape. They’d been on the run ever since. There was a movement afoot, an underground resistance working to overthrow Kivar and as the word spread that King Zan had been saved, the resistance grew in strength.

They never stayed in one place for long. They constantly moved, trying to stay one step ahead of their enemies. They’d stayed too long in one place once, and Isabel had died because of it.

Max closed his eyes, praying for the oblivion of sleep. Dreamless sleep. For the dreams he had, of the life that he and Liz could have lived if only he had believed in her, were just too hard to bear.

* * * * *

“I think we’re getting close!” Megan exclaimed as they walked along the sidewalk.

Liz nodded, hearing the music too. They turned the corner and the bright lights of the fraternity house came into view. There were people everywhere, walking across the grass, hanging on the balcony, filling every window in sight.

“Is the whole campus here?” Liz asked, wide eyed.

Megan rolled her eyes and let out a little laugh. “You’ve got to get out more often, Liz.” She grabbed Liz’s hand and led her through the front doors, past the swarming throng of people, drinking, talking, laughing, dancing. So many people, all having fun.

“What do you want?” Megan shouted over the music.

“What?” Liz cupped her ear, trying to hear.



“WHAT?” Megan shouted.

“WHAT?” Liz shouted.

Giving up on the idea of speech, Megan led Liz in a search for the keg. They found it in the bathroom. “What do you want? Beer? Wine? What do you like?”

“We’re not old enough to drink,” Liz reminded her and then felt her cheeks turning red when everyone within hearing range turned to look at her.

“Here,” Megan shoved a cup into her hand and the foam spilled down over the side, dripping onto her fingers. “You have had beer before, haven’t you?”

Now it was Liz’s turn to roll her eyes. “Yes, I’ve had beer before. I’m not a total goody two shoes.”

“Well that’s good to know,” Megan laughed. They left the bathroom, headed back in the direction of the music.

* * * * *

“Lighten up,” Mark punched Xan lightly on the arm. He was still moping around like his dog had just gotten run over by a car. “You need another beer.”

Xan nodded and they headed off toward the keg. “This is going right to my head. I haven’t eaten all day.”

“Why not?” Mark asked.

“Nevermind,” Xan muttered.

“Hey, look at that babe,” Mark gave a nod toward the buxom blonde over by the fireplace. “Nice rack.”

“Yeah,” Xan nodded. “I guess.”

“What the hell happened to you today? You’re not usually this morose.”



“Whatever.” Xan didn’t want to talk about it.

They elbowed their way into the bathroom and Mark poured Xan another beer, and then one for himself. Pushing back out into the hallway, he cheerily said, “Let’s go find some pizza.”

* * * * *

Liz stepped out of the kitchen door into the backyard. It felt good to get some fresh air. Inside it smelled of booze and body odor and she even thought she got a whiff of pot drifting in the air. She’d gotten separated from Megan a few minutes ago, but that was okay. She needed a breather.

All in all, she was glad she came out tonight. It was good to do something, anything, to keep her mind off . . . stuff. Stuff she didn’t want to think about. Now she was thinking about it again. Damn. Maybe she should go back inside, so she wouldn’t think about stuff anymore. She opened the back door and stepped into the kitchen . . . and there he was. Taking a bite out of a pepperoni pizza.

Xan’s stomach was growling in anticipation as he took a big bite. He chewed like he was tasting a piece of heaven and just as he was about to swallow, he saw her, standing by the door. The pizza stuck in his throat. She was looking right at him. Holy shit. She was looking right at him.

His stomach groaned in protest as he forced the pizza down his throat and he was certain he was about to throw up. That’d be great. Throw up in front of the girl he’s in . . . in . . . the girl he liked. That’s it. The girl he liked. It wasn’t anything more than that. Hell, he didn’t even know her. Why was he breaking out in a sweat?

Oh God. She’s coming this way. Why had he decided a greasy old pizza would be a good thing to eat? It was sitting in his stomach like a piece of lead. Oh God, he thought again. She’s looking right at me and coming this way.

Liz felt her heart racing as she walked slowly across the kitchen and she willed herself to calm down. She could do this. She’d acted like a fool this afternoon, and she owed him an apology. But he looked so much like Max. His eyes. His eyes were exactly the same. God she missed those eyes.

“Hi,” she said as she stopped on the other side of the table.

“Hi,” he managed to get out without sounding like an idiot.

“I’m Liz,” and she held out her hand.

“Xan.” He started to reach out his hand and then he pulled it back to wipe his greasy fingers on his jeans. Well, his hand was sweaty too, and he didn’t want to gross her out. Thrusting his hand into hers he said, “My name’s Xan.”

“Zan?” she asked in a small voice.

“It’s short for Alexander,” his mouth curled in a nervous grin. “I went by Xander for awhile, but there’s that whole Buffy thing, so I just shortened it to Xan.” Oh God, he was babbling like an idiot. He suddenly realized he was still clutching her hand and he reluctantly let go. God, her hand was so small.

“Alex-” she said in a near whisper and she had to bite her lip to keep it from trembling.

“I never went by Alex,” Xan stumbled on. “I was named after my grandfather, and he went by Xander. So everyone called me Xander, until that whole . . . Buffy . . . thing.” God! He was rambling like a lunatic! Why couldn’t he just shut up!

“It’s nice to meet you Xan,” Liz swallowed hard past the lump that had formed in her throat. “I’ve never watched Buffy.”

“Oh,” he nodded, and then added, “I’ve got it on DVD. First season.” Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up!

She stared at him, lost in his eyes, and then she remembered why she’d come up to him in the first place. “Um, I wanted to apologize to you . . .”

“What? Apologize?” What did she want to apologize for?

“For this afternoon, when I spilled the drink . . . on your pants . . . your shoes,” and then she added, “in the cafeteria,” in case he’d forgotten.

“Oh, that,” and he smiled again. It was mostly his fault anyway, ‘cause he’d nearly run right over her . . . because she’s so small . . . and . . . petite . . . and . . . and . . . beautiful. “I should have been watching where I was going.”

“It was my fault.” Her hand waved nervously through the air and she inadvertently knocked over a plastic cup full of beer. Her eyes grew wide as it sprayed across the table and splashed onto his shirt and his jeans. Her hand flew to her mouth and she exclaimed, “Oh shit! Jesus, I’m sorry!”

Her cheeks were flaming with embarrassment as she raced over to the sink to get a towel. Xan looked down his front, seeing the splashes of beer on his team jacket and how it had speckled the front of his jeans. It could have been worse. At least it didn’t look like he had pissed his pants.

“I’m sorry,” she raced back to him, towel in hand. She hastened around the table and dabbed at his shirt and his jacket and then on down to his jeans and then she turned an even deeper shade of red when she realized what she was so close to touching. She shoved the towel into his stomach and said, “Here.”

Stepping back, she looked down at the puddle of beer on the table and then looked for another towel, or a napkin or a paper towel or somebody’s discarded shirt, anything that could keep her busy cleaning up the mess she had made so that she wouldn’t have to look at Xan’s face. She was such a klutz. He must think she was an idiot. First she spills a pop on him, and then a beer, all in the same day.

“It’s okay,” he said soothingly. When his hand touched hers she slowly looked up, almost afraid to see his face. “It’s okay,” he repeated. “Really.”

He reluctantly pulled his hand away from hers and then used the towel she’d shoved at him to mop up the spilled beer on the table. She watched him as he moved over to the sink to wring out the towel and then returned to the table to finish cleaning up the mess. When he was done he went into his stance and tossed the towel into the sink, as if he was making a basket. 2 points. Crowd roars.

“I should probably go,” Liz said, feeling stupid. It’d been a bad idea to come out tonight.

“Do you have to?” Xan blurted out before he knew what he was saying. He didn’t want her to go.

“Yeah,” her eyes dropped to the floor. It was so hard to look at him, seeing Max and knowing that it wasn’t Max.

“Can I walk you home?” he blurted out again, every bit as surprised by his outburst as she appeared to be. He usually played things closer to the vest, not wearing his heart on his sleeve like this. But there was just something about her . . .

She stared at him, her eyes locked onto his, telling herself, ‘No. No. No. No.’ She opened her mouth and said, “Yes.”

I'll post the next part on Wednesday night

posted on 7-Mar-2002 1:21:40 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Liz

Note: BelevnDreamsToo, you got me on your earlier post about Zan and the bits and pieces. I just meant that the Xan in this story is not a reprise of the dupe Zan.

I noticed that this story has elicited two distinctly different views. Half of you hate the thought of Liz being with anyone other than Max, even though you like Xan. The other half think Max deserves the hell he's living in, and want Liz to move forward with that likable guy Xan.

So does everybody like Xan?

And isn't it sad that Max has fallen so far in the eyes of the fans that they want him to suffer so?

I have a secret to share with you about this story, but you have to stick around and read the whole thing before I'll tell you what the secret is. You won't have to wait long though. We're not talking mega fic here.

Pieces of the Past
Part 4

Liz swept her eyes around the room, looking for Megan. She finally saw her against the far wall and she waved to get her attention. She couldn’t call out to her because the music was too loud and her voice would never carry. Just as she was ready to trudge across the room, Megan looked in her direction and their eyes met.

Liz pointed at her watch, covered her mouth with her hand in a mock gesture of a yawn and then held her hand out with two fingers pointing down, moving in the universal gesture that meant ‘walking’. Megan nodded her head in understanding and began to move in her direction.

Liz held her hand out and shook her head, surprising Megan greatly, but not nearly as much as when she next turned to the gorgeous hunk standing next to her and indicated he was going to be walking her home. You go girl! Megan gave her the thumbs up, wiggled her eyebrows in approval and laughed when Liz turned a thousand shades of red.

Wow. First night out and Liz hits the jackpot. What a lucky girl. Megan couldn’t seem to attract anyone better than the Drew Carey type. She waved to Liz, smiling her approval and then took a close look at the guy, memorizing his face. It was a handsome face indeed, with those bedroom eyes and those sexy lips, but he better be nice to Liz because if he wasn’t, he’d have one pissed off Megan to deal with.

Mark stopped right in the middle of a conversation with Miss Buxom Blonde, intrigued by the sight before him. Xan. Mr. Morose. Mr. My Puppy Dog Died and I’m Very Very Sad, was standing on the other side of the room with the biggest smile on his face that Mark had ever seen. Imagine that. Of course the fact that he was standing next to his Dreamgirl might have had something to do with it.

Xan had been smitten with her from the moment he saw her. Mark could remember it quite clearly. It’d been early in the fall and they’d come into the cafeteria together like they always did and there’d been a new girl behind the counter. Xan had taken one look at her and he’d been a goner. He’d stood frozen in place, just staring at her and Mark had had to literally shake him to get him to move again. He’d been acting crazy ever since, every time he was near her, but never getting up the nerve to go talk to her.

Which didn’t exactly make sense. Back in high school Xan had never had any problem putting the moves on the girls. He wasn’t a player, but he’d never lacked for female companionship either. With his good looks and high profile as Captain of the basketball team, the girls were always after him. Even so, none of them seemed to hold his attention for long. He’d date one, and then move on, never getting serious, never getting involved.

Their eyes met, friends since grade school, and they each knew what the other was thinking. Xan’s eyes were saying, ‘Look who I found!’ and Mark’s were saying ‘Good luck Buddy. I won’t wait up for you!’ There was one other thing. Mark had never seen Xan look happier in his life. Was she the one? The one that could fill that empty spot Xan always seemed to have inside him? Even when he was little, he always looked like he was missing something. Someone.

Mark noticed how Xan placed his hand against the girl’s back and led her to the door. The poor guy had it bad. Mark hoped she wasn’t going to end up breaking his heart.

Liz breathed deeply as they stepped out the door into the cool night air. It was February, after all, and the nights were still cold. Xan looked down at her exposed arms and thought he could see goosebumps forming. She was wearing a sleeveless black top with a high neckline and the air was quite chilly.

“Are you warm enough?” Xan asked. “Do you want to wear my jacket?”

“It is a little cold,” Liz looked up at him. He was taller than Max. 6’1”, maybe 6’2”. And fuller. Not surprising. He was older too than the Max she remembered. More time to fill out. Her Max had walked out on her back in high school. When he was just barely 18.

“Here, take my jacket,” Xan offered, shrugging it off. He draped it over her shoulders and he watched her slip her arms into the sleeves. He couldn’t help smiling at how big the jacket looked on her. She was swimming in it. Her hands didn’t even poke out the bottom of the sleeves. It was swallowing her up and he had a feeling he might never wash his jacket again.

“What’s this mean?” Liz asked innocently, pointing at the symbol on the left chest. There were so many things she just didn’t know.

“That’s the logo for the basketball team.” He stared at her and then added lamely, “I’m on the basketball team.”

“You are?” she raised her eyebrows.

“Yeah,” he nodded self-consciously. “I was supposed to be a redshirt freshman, but then Chase blew out his knee before the start of the season. They moved me into the lineup and I’ve been a starter since game 4. We’re trying to make a run at the Final Four.”

“The final four?” Liz asked with a frown.

“You don’t follow basketball,” Xan acknowledged.

“No,” she gave a self-deprecating laugh. “Sorry.”

“S’okay,” he shrugged. “I have a game tomorrow night. You want to come?” Oh fuck! What had he just said? She just told him that she didn’t follow basketball and here he goes, asking her if she wanted to go to one of his games. What the fuck was wrong with him?

“I’d love to go,” Liz answered, and then looked around to see who had taken over her body. She never did anything on the weekends. She never left her room. A basketball game was out of the question.

“We’re taking on Southern Alabama. We’re gonna stomp their asses.” Who said that? He couldn’t possibly be talking to her like that. ‘Stomp their asses’? Shut up. Just stop talking! “The game starts at 7:30.”

“Oh.” She was highly aware of the way he moved as they walked along the sidewalk. So graceful with his long legs and his regal bearing. She felt a shiver run through her as soon as the word regal entered her mind. She didn’t want to think about Max tonight.

Looking up at the sky, she thought he was probably out there, on one of those stars, bouncing his son on his knee or making love to his wife. To Tess. Why did he have to keep invading her thoughts? Day after day. Night after night. He’d made his choice, and it wasn’t her. He’d moved on. Why couldn’t she?

“You okay?” Xan asked, touching her gently on the shoulder. She’d faded away for a minute, staring up at the sky at something he couldn’t see.

“What?” she startled. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.”

They walked in an awkward silence for a minute while Liz tried to bury the memories of the past. Every few steps Xan could feel his arm brush against her and it would send a charge through his body. He’d never had this kind of reaction to a girl before. Not like this. Not this intense. She made his stomach grumble and his knees weak and he got all tongue-tied just being near her.

“Um,” he broke the silence. “I have to be there early.”

“Early?” Liz looked up at him with her eyes, big and round, showing him her confusion.

“The game,” Xan reminded her. “I have to suit-up . . . you know . . . for the game.”

“Right,” Liz stuttered. “Of course.” The game.

“I could pick you up at 6:00?”

“At 6:00?”

“At 6:00. There’s a special place you can sit. Right by the bench, you know . . . I mean . . . if you’re sure you want to go,” his voice trailed away.

“At 6:00,” a smile spread over her face. “I’ll be ready.”

“Great.” He couldn’t contain his own grin.

“So where are you from?” Liz changed the subject suddenly.

“Albuquerque,” Xan answered. “I was born in Alamogordo and we moved to Albuquerque when I was five. How ‘bout you?”

“Roswell,” Liz answered. “I was born and raised in Roswell.”

“Really,” Xan laughed. “Meet any aliens while you were there?”

Liz kept the smile plastered to her face but she dropped her eyes down to the sidewalk. She couldn’t let him see what was in her eyes.

“Sorry,” Xan chastised himself. “You probably get that a lot, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “That’s what Roswell’s known for. Little green men from outer space.”

“I thought they were gray, with big black eyes,” Xan played along.

“Only some of them.” Liz met his eyes again and the look on her face gave him pause. Her mouth was smiling, but her eyes weren’t. She probably was sick to death of lame Roswell jokes, like the stupid Buffy jokes his name used to elicit.

“Well, we’re here,” Liz said as she came to a stop. “Thanks for walking me home.”

“No problem.” Xan looked at the building she lived in and said, “Garcia Hall, huh? I live over in Rhodes.”

After a brief awkward silence, Liz said, “I’ll, um . . . I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I’ll walk you to your door.” He wasn’t ready for the night to end. Not yet. Just a few more minutes.

“Okay.” She led him into the building and they took the stairs to the second floor. Xan followed behind her, trying not to notice the way her body moved. It was a losing battle.

They reached the door to room 217 and she came to a stop and turned to look at him. “This is my room. 217.” Her hand waved at the numbers on her door and then she felt stupid for pointing out the obvious.

They stood awkwardly for a minute, Xan wanting to kiss her and then feeling his stomach twist in knots at the thought of actually doing it. She seemed kind of fragile, like maybe her heart had been broken before, and he didn’t want to jump the gun.

Liz didn’t know what she wanted. A part of her wanted this night to never end and another part wanted to go hide under her covers. Surprising herself, she asked, “Do you want to come in? For a minute?”

“Sure,” Xan felt his stomach grumble. He smiled watching her pull the sleeve of his jacket up her arm so she could stick her hand into her pocket and fish out her key. She inserted it into the lock and then she opened the door into a neatly arranged college dorm room, with two twin size beds and an assortment of personal mementos adorning the walls.

“Nice,” he said as his eyes scanned the room.

“It’s small, but I don’t need a lot of room.”

“Mine’s about the same, except a lot messier,” Xan admitted and smiled when he heard her laugh. She had the prettiest laugh.

“Do you want something to drink?” she asked. “I don’t have any beer.”

“That’s okay,” he laughed. “I’m not supposed to drink. I could get kicked off the team for underage drinking. Then I’d lose my scholarship and I’d probably have to drop out of school.”

“Oh, that’d be awful,” Liz turned serious.

“I shouldn’t have gone to the party tonight,” Xan leaned against one of the dressers, and then added softly, “but I’m awfully glad I did.”

“Me too,” Liz met his eyes and then looked quickly away. She opened the small refrigerator and looked inside. “I have Sprite and Mountain Dew . . .”

“Do you have any Cherry Coke?”

Liz closed her eyes for a moment, remembering who she used to pour Cherry Cokes for all the time. But that was a million years ago, in another lifetime. “Yes, there’s one left.”

She pulled the can out of the refrigerator and closed the door. She popped the top and crossed the room to hand it to him.

“Thanks,” Xan took the offered drink. His fingers touched hers briefly and he felt the rush go through his body. If he felt like this just touching her fingers, he wondered, how would it feel to actually kiss her?

“Your welcome,” she swallowed hard, pulling her hand away from the cold can.

He took a long drink, downing nearly a third of the can and then he set it on the dresser. He noticed a picture there, of Liz wearing a silly costume and a blonde dressed the same and a dark haired boy between them. “What’s this?” he grinned. “Halloween party?”

“No.” Liz shook her head and took the photograph from him, holding it reverently in her hand. “My parents have a restaurant in Roswell. Alien theme. I’m wearing my waitress uniform. That’s Maria, my best friend. She’s in California now, trying to make it in music.”

“Who’s he?” Xan asked, noticing how her fingers were touching his face. “Boyfriend?”

“No,” Liz answered, sounding far away.

Xan felt relieved. He was hoping she didn’t have a boyfriend. Someone back in Roswell she was pining for. He wondered who the guy was, a brother maybe? And then she told him.

“That’s Alex. He was one of my closest friends. We grew up together. Alex, Maria and I. We did everything together. Went everywhere together. Shared all our secrets. He died . . . in 11th grade.”

“Oh, God, Liz,” Xan was shocked. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up painful memories.” No wonder she’d had that strange reaction earlier when he told her his name was Alexander. It probably made her think of him.

“It was a long time ago,” she said and put the picture back on the dresser.

“How did he die?” Xan asked.

Murder. Murder. I changed the future and someone murdered him. “Car accident,” she answered.

“I’m sorry,” Xan gently laid his hand on her shoulder.

“Thank you.” She closed her eyes and leaned her cheek against the back of his hand, for just a moment forgetting where she was and who she was with, allowing herself some human comfort.

The look on her face, the feel of her cheek against his hand, brought out the protective side of his nature. He lifted his right hand and brushed her hair back behind her ear, but the movement broke the moment and she pulled away from him.

He picked up the can and took another long drink, trying to fill the awkward space that had suddenly sprung up between them. He could see that Alex’s death was an open wound for her, something she was still struggling to get over. He put the can back down, two thirds gone now, and watched a bead of condensation drip downwards, over the h in the word Cherry, and then further down to join the ring forming at the base of the can.

He didn’t want to go, but he knew he should. He wasn’t looking for a brief encounter here. He wanted something more than that. “I should probably go. I need to get a good nights rest before the big game.” She was looking at him now, standing only a couple of feet away, and he added, “I’ll pick you up at 6:00.”

Her face clouded over and he could see her head begin to move back and forth and it looked like the word ‘No’ was forming on her lips. Was she changing her mind? Please don’t change your mind. What could he say that would keep her from changing her mind?

“Can I have your phone number?” he blurted out and then mentally slapped himself on the head. Was that the best he could come up with?

Liz stared at him, wondering if she would spend the rest of her life comparing everyone to Max. He’d spooked her a minute ago when he’d touched her hair. Max touched her hair like that, pushing it behind her ear. But Max was never going to touch her again, she reminded herself. Max was gone and he was never coming back. And she’d been dead inside for too long.

She moved over to her desk and wrote her phone number on a slip of paper. She added her email address and her screen name. Turning back to him, she took the paper and pressed it into his hand. She felt his fingers curl around hers and the moment stretched on as their eyes locked together and their hands continued to touch.

“I’ll be ready at 6:00,” she said finally and reluctantly pulled her hand away from his.

“6:00,” Xan beamed. After a minute of just staring at her like an imbecile, he shook himself and headed for the door. He opened it and stepped outside and she followed right behind him, hovering in her doorway.

“Goodnight,” he said with a happy smile.

“Goodnight,” she smiled back and watched him as he headed for the stairs.

He looked down at the slip of paper still clutched in his hand, memorizing the phone number. His smile widened when he saw what else she had included. Maybe it was time for him to take that computer class so he could figure out how to work those things.

“Xan!” Liz called out from her doorway.

He turned around, eyebrows arched questioningly and he walked back toward her, wondering what was wrong.

“You forgot your jacket,” she slipped it off her shoulders and held it out for him as she met him in the hallway.

“Thanks,” he took it and then she hurried back to her room. With a last look, she lifted her hand and gave him a hesitant wave and then she slipped inside and closed the door. He stood there for a moment, feeling a sense of elation suffuse his body.

What a day. What a wonderful, amazing day. Turning back toward the stairs, he began to slip his arm into his sleeve, and then he paused. He brought the jacket up to his nose and inhaled deeply, holding the breath in his lungs. It smelled like her. In the short time that she’d worn it, her scent had permeated the fabric and now it smelled like her.

He slipped on the jacket knowing her skin had touched the material only a minute ago and then he hurried down the stairs, taking them three at a time. His thoughts were filled with the events of this fantastic, wonderful, amazing day, certain that tomorrow was going to be even better.

Look for part 5 on Friday

posted on 9-Mar-2002 12:02:15 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Liz

Note: Well, I was trying to think of something neutral to say because I don't want to give away the secrets of the story, but I think I'll just keep my mouth shut. Your feedback has been great.

Oh! Oh! I remembered a comment I wanted to make. Rattlebox, you wanted Liz to snap out of it and look into Xan's past. Well, she really hasn't had time yet. She saw him in the cafeteria on Friday. Talked to him at the party later that night, and now it's Saturday night. She's only known him a little over 24 hours. Not enough time for her to really formulate a plan.

Okay, so let's get on with the story . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 5

Max was crouched in the ravine, listening to the crackle of the pulse rifles in the near distance. They’d come under attack a couple of hours ago and for once their forces were holding their own. Casualties were lower than usual, and with the added firepower of the laser pistols, Max was starting to think that they might actually win a battle.

He’d learned a lot about fighting since his escape from Kivar, and seen a lot of death. Too much death. It wasn’t just the perpetual red tint to the sky here than colored the ground. No, the reddish stain on the ground all around him was blood. Red blood.

There were many things that surprised him about this world, and the fact that the Antarian people had red blood was one of them. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise that they didn’t look human. Humanoid yes, but definitely not human. In the message that he’d heard in the cave back on Earth, so long ago now, his mother had said she took human form for their benefit. Meaning their natural state wasn’t human.

Things would have been so different if he’d only remembered that when he was back on Earth. All those times that Tess ‘helped’ him remember his past life, her ‘memory retrieval’ sessions with him, all of it was lies. The memories that he saw showed him and Tess, in their human form, not their Antarian form as it would have been if the memories had been real. He should have known that, but he’d been so young and naive and stupid. And without Liz in his life, he’d been lost.

He had opened his mind and let Tess walk right into it, planting anything she wanted to. And he’d believed her. Why hadn’t he listened? Why hadn’t he seen the truth? It was right there, if only he had opened his eyes and looked.

He heard the whispers in his mind, reports coming in from the front line. That’s how they communicated here. Thought transmission. Telepathy. He’d adapted to it quickly. A lot of Antarian skills rose to the surface once he arrived here, things that had been buried on Earth. It wasn’t until he was here that he’d learned his body was engineered to adapt to different atmospheres. Liz couldn’t have survived here.

All those dreams he’d had of returning to this world, and Liz choosing to coming with him, little had he known that would have been a death sentence for her. She wouldn’t be able to breathe the air here. His only consolation was knowing she was safe, and he couldn’t cause her any more harm than he already had.

A three fingered ‘hand’ touched his arm and drew his attention. Whispers filled his mind. It was time to move again. Forces were gathering in the south. Kivars men were in retreat. Their first battle had been won.

* * * * *

Liz lifted one hanger and then another, taking them both out and then turning to Megan. “Which one should I wear? The red one or the blue?”

“The red one,” Megan nodded. “Definitely the red one.”

“I don’t know,” Liz looked at it apprehensively.

“Red’s your best color. Definitely red.” Grinning from ear to ear, Megan said, “You’re gonna knock his socks off.”

Liz put the blue shirt back in the closet and took the red sweater off the hanger. She slipped it over her head and then pulled her hair free of the collar, letting it fan out over her shoulders. She looked at herself in the mirror, remembering how Max liked her in red. She shook her head, thinking this wasn’t going to work. She should wear the blue. She started to pull it off, when a knock sounded at the door.

Her eyes flew to the clock on the wall above her desk, shocked at how late it was. Last time she’d looked it was only 4:45. Now it was already 10 minutes to 6:00. Was he here already? Was that him knocking on the door? She wasn’t ready for this. She could feel the panic building inside her. She should never have agreed to this. She should cancel. She should tell him she had a headache and she couldn’t go.

“You gonna get that?” Megan smirked. As Liz turned to look at her she could see the panic in her eyes and she jumped to her feet. “Oh no,” she shook her head. “You are not backing out of this date! No way!” Taking Liz by the shoulders, she marched her over to the door. The knock came again and Megan gave her a stern look and then disappeared through the bathroom into the adjoining room.

On the other side of the door, Xan was shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other. He knew he was early but he hadn’t been able to wait. He’d been watching the clock for hours, willing it to move faster so that he could see her again. He knocked a second time, beginning to wonder if she was even here. What if she wasn’t? Where would she have gone?

His heart skipped a beat when the doorknob turned and then the door opened and then there she was. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t speak, all he could do was stare. She was so beautiful.

“Hi,” she said and then her eyes fell to what he was holding in his hand.

“Hi,” he forced the word out. He willed his hand not to shake as he held the rose out to her. “This is for you.”

“Thank you,” Liz said in a hushed tone as she took it from him. She swallowed past the lump that was threatening to form in her throat. “It’s my favorite.”

He’d passed by a flower shop on the way to pick her up and when he saw the white rose, he knew he had to get it for her. Just a feeling that she’d like it. But now he wasn’t so sure he’d done the right thing. The look on her face was almost as if the flower had made her sad. He didn’t want to make her sad. He wanted to make her happy. He wanted to hear her laugh again.

Liz took the rose, remembering the last time someone had given her flowers. It’d been the night of the prom, and Max had looked so handsome in his tux. But that was when things really started to fall apart. The night he kissed Tess. The night she knew she’d lost him.

“Are you ready to go?” Xan asked from just inside her door.

“Let me just get a vase to put this in,” she said, meeting his eyes.

He wasn’t sure how to read her expression. She disappeared into what looked like the bathroom and then he could hear the tap water running. She returned a moment later with the rose floating inside a drinking glass and she set it on her dresser. Next to the picture of her friends, Alex and Maria. She picked up her jacket off the chair in front of her computer and she walked back toward him.

“You look really nice,” he said smiling down at her. Red was her color. Sometimes she looked so pale and he suspected that she didn’t sleep well at night. He’d watched her from afar in the cafeteria and he’d seen the circles under her eyes sometimes. And the way she fought to keep from yawning. Maybe it was because of her friend Alex, and the way he had died. He’d seen last night how deeply she was still affected by that.

“Thank you,” she smiled up at him. “And thank you for the rose.”

“You’re welcome.” As they turned to walk down the hallway, those butterflies in his stomach were in full flight.

* * * * *

Xan led Liz into the gym, still relatively empty this early before the game. Liz looked around wide eyed, remembering the sights and sounds. It had been a long time since she’d been to a basketball game. Of course she’d attended all the Roswell games, to support Kyle. They’d nearly gone to state in their senior year. After everything that had happened in 11th grade, she and Maria and Kyle had become inseparable. They were all that were left. Their group had dwindled to three.

Xan placed his hand on the small of her back and lead Liz down near center court. “Here,” he pressed a badge into her hand. “This is a pass that lets you sit in the players area. No one will bother you as long as you wear that. You can just clip it on your . . . jacket . . . or . . . your sweater . . . or . . . I can get you a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck.”

“I don’t want you to go through any trouble,” Liz took the badge, pulling it slowly from his hand.

“It’s no trouble,” Xan assured her.

“I can just wear it on my jacket,” she decided.

“You sure?” he asked, unable to tear his eyes away from her.

She clipped the badge just below her collar and then looked back up at him. “Does that look okay?”

“Yeah,” he stared down into her dark eyes. He could get so lost in those eyes. She’d captivated him from the first moment that he saw her. It was like he’d waited his whole life for that moment, and he hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind since.

“Um, I think someone’s trying to get your attention.”

Xan raised his eyebrows and then looked over at where she was pointing. Coach Hennings was red faced and standing just outside the locker room doors, gesturing to him wildly. He glanced at his watched and swore, shocked at the time.

“Shit! I have to go suit-up! Are you going to be okay here by yourself?”

“I’ll be fine. Go! Before you get in trouble!” she urged, with her eyes big and wide.

“Okay. I’ll see you in a bit. Wish me luck,” he smiled self-consciously.

Liz stood on her tip toes and leaned into him, kissing him lightly on the cheek. “Good luck.”

Xan stood rooted to the spot. Her lips had been on his cheek for only a second. It had only been a friendly gesture. A good luck kiss. So why was his stomach on fire? Why was his blood rushing through his veins in a torrent? She pushed gently on his chest and said, “You better go.”

His hand covered hers, squeezing her fingers gently, and then he bent over to pick up his duffel bag. Using all of his willpower to release her hand, he ran across the court to his waiting coach. When he was gone, Liz sat down on the bench, leaning her head into her hands. She took deep breaths to try to calm down. He was making her feel things that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

And it scared her. It scared her badly. She didn’t want to get hurt again.

It was better to feel nothing at all than to feel that deep ache she’d lived with so long. She couldn’t survive another broken heart.

She felt the stands began to fill behind her and she pulled herself back together. She buried her emotions down where no one could see them, down in the hiding places where all the pieces of her past lived.

Xan carried the basketball under his arm as he headed out onto the court. He looked for her right away, and there she was, right where he’d left her. She looked so small and vulnerable sitting there and he wanted to go over to her and take her into his arms and tell her everything was fine and he’d protect her and take care of her. He’d never felt this way before, about anyone.

She saw him then. Her eyes lifted and met his and he stumbled over his big feet when he saw the way her face lit up. There was no mistaking it. Her expression had been serious, even sad as she stared off into space, and then when she’d focused on him, when their eyes had made contact, her whole face had changed. Had he caused that? Did he dare to believe that she might feel even a small portion of what he already felt for her?

He made his way over to the bench and sat down, turning to look at her and mouthing the word ‘Hi’. She mouthed ‘Hi’ back with a shy smile and he couldn’t stop grinning. Pulling off his warm-ups, he grabbed the ball and headed out onto the court to warm up for the game. He passed the ball back and forth to his teammates, taking shots left and right and missing every single one.

Shit! She was gonna think he was pathetic! He was high scorer on the team. He was voted MVP almost every single game! And now he couldn’t score a basket! He looked like a fuckin idiot!

“You okay Xan?” Rodney slapped him on the back.

“I’m fine,” Xan frowned.

“Good,” he punched his chest. “We need ya, man. This is the big one. We gotta win this game.”

“I know,” Xan raked his hand through his hair. “I know.”

The buzzer sounded, the tip off ensued, and within the first few minutes there was no doubt he was off his game. He ran up and down the court, sweating bullets, missing half his shots. He was mortified when half way through the first period, Coach yelled out, “Xan! Get your head in the game!”

He looked up at the scoreboard with five minutes to go in the game, and the score tied 58 – 58. Usually by this time they’d be miles ahead of their opponent. He dribbled the ball down the court and as he rose into the air, gracefully shooting a perfect 3 pointer, he got fouled. Fuck! The basket didn’t count.

He took up his position at the free throw line, bouncing the ball nervously in front of him, and then he looked over in the stands. He shouldn’t look. He knew he shouldn’t look. Every time he looked at her he got more nervous and he’d blow the shot. As their eyes met, she was smiling at him.

She stared at him unwaveringly and he saw her mouth the words, “You can do it.” He shrugged his shoulders and drew his hand through his short hair, not so sure she was right. He sucked tonight. He couldn’t hit a God damn thing.

Her eyes seemed to light from within and her face turned so serene and he could hear her voice in his head as her mouth moved. He was too far away to actually hear her, but he knew exactly what she said.

“I believe in you.”

Confidence swelled inside him and he took the shot. It sailed true and sank, all net, no rim. He took the next shot and his confidence soared as it too sailed through the basket. He was on a roll. Her words had lit a fire in him and he tore up the basketball court. Every basket he attempted sailed true and his defensive skills, non existent in the first half, reasserted themselves. No sooner did the opponent get possession of the ball, Xan stole it and dribbled it down the court.

Always a team player, Xan eagerly relinquished the ball to whoever could take the best shot. It was one of the reasons why he was so well liked by the other players. It wasn’t about ego with Xan. It was about winning the game. The other players respected that. It’s why he was the most popular player on the team.

The final buzzer sounded and the game ended, 74 – 62, another win for NMSU. As Xan felt his teammates slap his back and high-five him, his eyes turned toward the stands and the only praise he was really interested in. He found her easily and her smile said it all. She was proud of him, and that was the best feeling of all.

* * * * *

“That was such an exciting game!” Liz exclaimed as Xan came out of the locker room. She’d been waiting for him, unable to contain her enthusiasm. “You were on fire the last five minutes!”

Seeing the excitement on her face made him giddy. She really had no idea that his play at the end of the game was all inspired by her. When she’d said that she believed in him, it’d spurned him on to play to the best of his ability. And he had. He’d been a man on a mission, to show her how good he could really be.

“I’m glad you had a good time,” he beamed. Her enthusiasm was contagious. He would have liked nothing more than to take her into his arms and smother her with kisses and then to make it more than just that. But he didn’t want to rush it. He wanted to do this right. He’d never wanted anything more in his life.

“When’s your next game?” she asked as they headed for the door.

“Thursday.” He held his duffel bag in his left hand so it wouldn’t be between them. “Do you think you can come? Are you busy?”

“No,” she shook her head and his stomach fell with disappointment and then he soared with elation when she finished the sentence. “I’m not busy. I’d love to come to the game.”

“Great,” Xan beamed. “Maybe Thursday I won’t suck so bad. I don’t know what my problem was tonight.” Yes he did. He knew exactly what his problem was. He’d been trying too hard, to impress her, instead of just letting the game flow.

“Everybody has an off night,” Liz sympathized. “But you snapped out of it when it counted. You won the game.” Her hand had lifted to touch his arm, squeezing his bicep animatedly as she talked. He couldn’t keep the grin off his face. He listened to her talk about the game, thinking that her voice was almost musical. And then she laughed again. God, he loved to hear her laugh.

The night was still young and as they exited the building, Xan came to a stop, wondering if she wanted to do something else, or did she just want to go home.

“Great game, Xan!”

Liz watched another well-wisher slap him on the back. There’d been a steady stream of them ever since the game ended. Slapping his back. Squeezing his shoulder. Shouting out across the bleachers. He was very popular and he acknowledged them all with a genuine smile. He wasn’t boastful though. He was almost shy about it, pointing out that it was a team win. She liked that about him. She liked that he was obviously the star of the team, but he didn’t act like it.

“Are you hungry?” he asked. “There’s a burger joint not too far from here. Do you like burgers?” Maybe she was a vegetarian. There were so many things he didn’t know about her yet. So many things he wanted to know. What was she majoring in? Where did she want to live after college? What was her favorite color? Did she have any brothers or sisters? Was she allergic to cats?

“Or maybe ice cream?” he blurted out before she could answer about the burger. “Would you like to get some ice cream?”

“I’d love some ice cream,” Liz smiled.

Xan’s emotions soared. The evening wasn’t over yet. A part of him had been afraid she’d ask him to take her home, call it a night. But ice cream should be eaten slowly so you didn’t freeze your brain, and it’d give him a chance to get to know her.

“Ice cream it is.” They headed for his car and he threw his duffel bag in the trunk. As he opened the passenger door for her, he asked, “What’s your favorite flavor?”

She rolled her eyes and gave him an ‘I am so pathetic’ look and then admitted, “Vanilla.”

“Really?” Xan laughed. “Me too!”

I'm gonna try to post part 6 on Saturday night. If not Saturday, then look for it on Monday.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Mar-2002 12:43:11 AM ]
posted on 10-Mar-2002 1:21:21 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Liz and . . . Xan or Max? Xan or Max? Xan AND Max? No, I've never done a threesome. Hummm.

Note: Well, you've all been specking away about Xan's heritage. The answers will come soon. Until then, enjoy the next part . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 6

Xan entered the cafeteria and just like usual, the first thing he did was look for Liz. It was busy, the way it always was at lunch time and he craned his neck to see if she was behind the counter. His stomach growled when she came into view and then flipped over when she looked up and saw him and her face broke out in a wide smile. A hand slapped him on the back and he turned with a start, looking into his friend’s eyes.

“Hey Mark.”

“Hey. What’s up?”


“Besides that?”

“Nothin. What’s up with you?”

“Nothin.” Mark couldn’t help but notice how Xan’s eyes kept darting over to look at the girl. Having a conversation with the guy was probably going to be impossible. “So how are things between you and Liz?”

“Fine,” Xan couldn’t contain his smile.

He couldn’t keep his eyes off her. Mark noticed she couldn’t keep her eyes off him either. She’d just spilled a tray of food because she was watching Xan instead of what she was doing.

“Hey, what are you doing this afternoon?” Xan asked and Mark could tell there was some deeper meaning to the question.

“The usual,” Mark answered. “Go to Math. Go back to the dorm and study. Hang out.”

“Um . . . can you find somewhere else to study?” Xan asked, still with his eyes glued to Liz.

“Somewhere else . . .” and then Mark got it. “Oh! Making your move, huh?” and jabbed him with his elbow.

“No,” Xan blanched and shifted uncomfortably. “It’s not like that. I asked her to come over. When she gets off work. To study together. Or watch some TV.”

“Or . . .?” Mark raised his eyebrows.

“Shut up,” Xan blushed. His voice took on a wistful tone as he looked at Liz, “We’ve never really spent any time alone together. I mean . . . there was the party last week, and the game. We’ve gone out to eat, but we’ve never really been . . . alone.”

“No prob, bro. I’ll go hang with Brian after class. Catch ya later.”

“Thanks, Mark,” Xan said appreciatively and smiled. “Thanks a lot.”

* * * * *

Xan raced around the room, picking up dirty socks and underwear and throwing last night’s pizza into the trash. He made his bed so he wouldn’t look like a total pig and he was about to go into the bathroom to put the seat down when he heard the knock on the door.

Smoothing a hand through his short hair, he walked across the room. Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, he opened the door and there she was, wearing a black v-neck sweater, faded denim jeans, and the most beautiful smile he had ever seen.

“Hi,” he grinned down at her.

“Hi. I brought food,” Liz held up a bag for him to see. “Do you like Chinese?”

“Yeah!” He was starving, but he’d been too nervous to eat. He stepped back and she breezed into his room.

“Wow. Your room is bigger than mine. You have room for a couch and a TV.” Fixing him with a humorous stare, she said, “It’s not messy.”

“Don’t look under the bed,” he said and then felt the heat rising in his cheeks.

She laughed, a soft musical laugh and then he heard her ask, “Where should I put this?”

“Oh. Here. Let me clear the table.” He’d been trying to finish his English assignment so he wouldn’t have to worry about homework for the rest of the night, and his books were piled all over the table. He gathered them together and stacked them neatly on top of his dresser.

“Do you want a fork, or do you use chopsticks?” Liz asked as she lifted the small white boxes out of the bag.

“I’ve never really tried chopsticks,” Xan admitted as he moved to stand beside her. He didn’t know if she was wearing perfume, or if that was just her natural scent, but she smelled wonderful. He could just stand here breathing her in all night.

“It’s not as hard as it looks,” she smiled up at him.

“Excuse me?” Xan flushed.


“Oh!” he gulped. Gathering his whit’s he said, “Maybe you can show me.”

“Sure,” she nodded.

He pulled a chair out for her and then he sat down next to her. He fought the urge to move his chair closer and then he leaned over the table to see what she had brought. The tantalizing smells were making his stomach growl, but it wasn’t caused by just the food.

“Let’s see,” Liz opened the boxes. “There’s fried rice and Moo Goo Gai Pan, Cashew Chicken and Mo Su Pork. And Kung Pao Chicken. It’s really spicy.” She turned a mortified look in his direction and asked, “Do you like spicy?”

“Yes,” he nodded, surprised by her reaction. She was staring at him with a look he couldn’t read and then she shook herself and turned her attention back to the food.

“Do you want to eat from the cartons? Or do you have plates . . .?”

His eyes were staring at her lips. Those soft golden brown eyes, so expressive, so full of emotion, so full of depth, were just staring at her lips. Her eyebrows arched and she said, “Xan?”

“What?” he shook himself and his eyes rose up to hers. “Plates? I’ve got plates.” He stared at her for another moment and then he pushed his chair back and crossed over to the small kitchen area on the far wall. He grabbed a couple of plates and hastened back to the table.

“Plates,” he said, setting one in front of her and then the other on the table in front of him and then taking his seat again.

She served the food, putting a sampling of everything on both plates and then she picked up a pair of chopsticks. He watched her as she expertly speared a chunk of pork and dropped it into her open mouth.

“Ummmmm . . .” she nodded in approval. “Good.”

Xan picked up the second set of chopsticks and had no idea what to do with them. It looked so easy when she did it, but they might as well have been a couple of tree trunks to him. He blushed when he tried to pick up a piece of chicken and the chopsticks flew through the air, one of them plopping down in the middle of her plate.

“Sorry . . .”

“Why don’t you try that again,” she laughed, holding her hand in front of her mouth so she wouldn’t spray him with pieces of pork. “See, hold them like this,” she held out her hand to show him.

He looked at her hand and tried to do the same with his but when he tried to pick something up, they’d go every which way and he couldn’t hold anything. “I think I’m a lost cause.”

“Don’t give up.” She knew he wasn’t the quitting type. “Like this,” she reached for his hand, moving his fingers to position the chopsticks the right way. As soon as she touched him, he felt his skin come alive. His pulse rate quickened, his senses heightened and he couldn’t take his eyes off her delicate fingers. Her hand covered his with an encouraging squeeze and she said, “See how that feels?”

“It feels wonderful.”

“What?” Liz looked from his hand to his face. What did he just say?

“I said it feels good,” Xan tried to cover. His eyes rose to look into hers and his shoulders shrugged. “The question is, can I actually get them to work, or am I going to starve tonight?” He concentrated hard and picked up a piece of pork and got it almost to his mouth before he dropped it. He caught it with his left hand, rolled his eyes at his ineptness and then popped the meat into his mouth.

Liz laughed, with her eyes dancing in merriment, and Xan didn’t think he’d ever been happier in his life. As the meal progressed, she helped him with the vegetables and then the rice and then even the noodles. She laughed at him again when the noodles went everywhere except in his mouth. She plucked a noodle from his chin and then brushed an errant piece of rice from his upper lip. He had to fight the urge to grab her hand and kiss her fingertips.

“Fortune cookie?” she asked, holding out two in the palm of her hand.

His hand hovered above hers, moving back and forth, trying to decide which one, finally deciding on the one on the right. “What’s yours say,” he asked while he opened his.

She tore off the outer wrapper and then snapped the cookie in two, taking out the paper in the middle. As she read the words, her face clouded over.

“What’s it say?” he asked curiously, puzzled by her expression.

“Oh, it’s just your standard fortune cookie saying,” she said and dropped the slip of paper onto her plate.

“What is it?” he urged. He wanted to know.

After a brief hesitation, she said, “Time heals a broken heart.” She said it impassively but her eyes said something else. “What’s yours say?”

Xan wished he could take that hurt look out of her eyes. Obviously the saying had hit close to home. How could anyone have been so heartless as to break her heart? She was the sweetest person he had ever met and he couldn’t imagine what kind of asshole that other guy must have been, to leave her feeling this way.

She was looking at his cookie, waiting for him to open it. He broke it apart, pulled the paper out and then snorted a laugh. “I always get this one!”

Liz took it from his hand and read the black words printed on the white paper. ‘Love is sweeter the second time around’.

Xan watched her face as she read the words. He’d never been in love before. Before? Meaning he was now? But he barely knew her. He’d spoken to her for the first time less than a week ago. He couldn’t possibly be in love with her . . . could he?

But she did make his heart race every time he looked at her. And his stomach would fill with butterflies every time she was near. And the first time that he heard her voice, it was almost like he knew it already. And her eyes. He could get so lost in her eyes.

Liz turned quiet as they cleaned up the table, putting the leftovers in his small refrigerator. While he washed off the table, he suggested, “Do you want to watch a movie? I’ve got a stack of DVD’s right next to the TV.”

“I should probably go-”

“Don’t go yet,” he pleaded. He could tell that the fortune cookie was still bothering her and he didn’t want the night to end on that note. “I mean . . . it’s still early . . .”

She fingered the stack of DVD’s he had pointed out, not really looking at the titles, thinking she should really go. He was so nice and sweet and he really deserved someone that wasn’t walking around with the kind of baggage she had. She could feel him come up behind her as she ran her finger along the spines of the DVD’s. A title caught her eye and she pulled it from the stack. “Buffy?”

“You want to watch Buffy?” his face lit up. “She kicks ass.” Now his face was turning red. Why couldn’t he learn to shut up!

“She does?” Liz couldn’t help but laugh at the embarrassed grin on his face. “Okay, let’s watch Buffy.”

Three hours later, they’d been through one DVD and started on another. They were sitting side by side on the couch and Xan was trying to fill her in. “See Angel is a vampire, but he’s not a bad vampire, except if he has sex with Buffy, but that comes later.” Liz raised her eyebrows over that and Xan barreled on. “Willow and Xander are part of the Scooby Doo gang-”

Liz couldn’t let that one go. “Scooby Doo gang?”

“Yeah, that’s what they’re called. Anyway,” Xan had lost his train of thought, “Angel and Buffy are soulmates but they can’t be together . . .”

He saw her eyes cloud over and he wondered what he’d said. Sometimes she’d seem so happy and then it could change so fast and he’d see her eyes get that far away look. Whoever the bastard was that broke her heart, Xan hoped he rotted in Hell.

“Liz . . .?”

Looking up at him she tried to smile, but it was grimace filled with pain. “I don’t . . . I don’t believe in soulmates. It’s just a word invented to help sell candy for Valentines Day. It doesn’t really mean anything.”

“You’re probably right,” Xan nodded, but he didn’t believe it for a second. He’d lain awake night after night for weeks now. Months. Ever since that day last fall, the first time that he saw her and he’d known she was the one. There hadn’t been a doubt in his mind. It was like everything in his life had been leading up to that one moment, the moment when he found her. To think that someone had taken her love, and then broken her heart the way that creep obviously had, filled him with rage. The guy deserved to have his ass kicked big time.

“Wow,” Liz looked at her watch. “I didn’t know it was so late. I really should go.”

Knowing he shouldn’t press her to stay any longer, he asked, “Tomorrow. Should I pick you up at 6:00 again?”

“I have an appointment with my professor tomorrow at 5:00. I don’t know how long it’s going to last. Why don’t I just meet you at the game?”

“Okay,” he nodded. He didn’t like it, but he knew how important her studies were to her. “I’ve got a pass for you in my bag, so you can sit in the same place again.”

He rose from the couch and held his hand out for her, drawing her to her feet beside him. He wanted nothing more than to wrap his arms around her, to bury his hands in her hair, to smother her lips with his, but the time was just to soon. He could tell that she wasn’t ready for that, didn’t trust him enough with her damaged heart, but someday, maybe someday she would.

Look for part 7 on Monday night. Some of your questions about Xan might finally get some answers!

Just testing a pic here. My daughter Andrea drew this . . .

Oh good, it worked. Andrea drew this charcoal drawing which she named 'I Wish'. She showed it to Shiri when we were in LA and Shiri was quite taken with it. She said it was favorite scene.

[ edited 4 time(s), last at 10-Mar-2002 8:43:28 AM ]
posted on 12-Mar-2002 2:53:11 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Liz
Rating: PG 13 to NC 17, because my fics always end up there sooner or later.
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, yeah

Note: Well I said, we'll find some information out tonight about Xan. A lot of you can pat yourself on the back for being so smart .... maybe .... this fics not over yet.

So let me see if I've got this right . . .

Dreamer-healer wants that Xan dude to piss off

Lelea thinks Xan should kick Max's ass

And Puzzlechild is going to beat me to death with a rubber spoon if I kill off Xan so Liz can get back together with Max.

Hummmmmm . . . That last one kinda scares me! Should I go into hiding so nobody can find me? Is there anyway I can make everybody happy?

Let's just see where this takes us . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 7

Xan looked at his watch as he entered the cafeteria, checking the time. 3:30 on the dot. She still had another half hour to go on her shift. He looked around, glad that it wasn’t very crowded. It was too late for the lunch crowd and too soon for dinner. Since it wasn’t very busy, maybe she could take a break.

He stretched his neck to see behind the counter, but he couldn’t see her there. He let his eyes sweep over the tables but she wasn’t there either. He was starting to wonder if she had gotten off early and then he saw her dark hair in the window of the swinging door. She pushed through and just like always, she took his breath away.

She had her long hair piled high on her head today, with wispy strands falling around her neck. He wished he was one of those strands of hair, caressing her skin, touching her, laying lovingly against her flesh. She was holding a booklet in her hand and reading it and she hadn’t noticed him yet. She stepped through the door and her tongue darted out to moisten her lips. He longed to kiss those lips. To taste her. To be close to her. She glanced up and then his stomach did a somersault when she did a double take and her face lit up.

“Hi,” she smiled with only the counter between them.

“Hi,” Xan smiled bashfully back.

“I didn’t think I’d see you until the game.” She picked up a rag and headed out to the tables to clean them off. Xan followed along behind her with his backpack slung over one shoulder. She walked up to a table piled high with trays and wrappers and half eaten hamburger patties, and she put her hands on her hips and said in disgust, “Some people are just pigs.”

Xan almost laughed out loud. She was such a tiny little thing, but the way she was standing there, frowning like that, she looked like she could kick some serious butt. He had a feeling that underneath that vulnerability he could see in her, she also had amazing inner strength. She stood up for her convictions and wasn’t easily swayed. The more he learned about her, the more he liked.

She sighed deeply and began the task of cleaning up the garbage that other people had left behind. Xan gave her a hand. Following her to the trash can, he asked, “Do you want to get something to eat after the game tonight?”

“Tonight?” she looked up at him with her eyebrows arched. “I have an early class tomorrow.”

“Oh,” he tried not to sound disappointed and followed her back to the table. She picked up another tray piled with napkins and cups and discarded wrappers and Xan followed her back to the trash can.

She dropped a wrapper and she knelt down to pick it up and then she covered her mouth to contain a laugh and looked up at him with twinkling eyes. Pointing downward, she said, “I think you forgot something.”

He blanched as a horrible thought entered his mind. Was his zipper undone? Jesus Christ, don’t let his zipper be undone! He could feel his cheeks starting to burn as he looked down and then he sighed in relief when he saw her pointing at his shoes. He’d forgotten to tie them in his haste to get from the gym to the cafeteria before she got off work.

He stooped over and quickly tied his shoes, watching her as she once more headed to the tables to wipe them down. As she put some elbow grease into cleaning a particularly tough spot, her tush swayed back and forth and Xan couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She started to turn around and he had to force himself to look away quickly. He didn’t want her to think he was a lech, only out for one thing.

“I was in a hurry,” he said offhandedly as he rose to his feet, and then added, “the shoes,” as if she might have forgotten already, and then blushed again, feeling stupid.

“I had a grandfather that always forgot to tie his shoes,” Liz laughed. “Grandma said she just stopped buying him shoes with ties, cause he looked like a bum. I never saw him wear anything but slip-ons.”

“Well, if we’re going to let the skeletons out of the closet, my grandfather was crazy,” Xan laughed. She was filling the condiment tray now and she looked at him with a droll expression, eager to hear more. She wanted to know all about him. He leaned back against the counter and said, “I shouldn’t admit this, but my grandfather, Xander, the one my parents named me after, he said aliens got him.”

He laughed and shook his head as he remembered the story. He didn’t notice the way Liz’s hand froze in mid air. He didn’t notice her sudden inhalation of breath. He didn’t notice the way the color drained from her face.

“He disappeared for a week, back in, I don’t know, I think it was 1946 or ’47, and my grandmother almost divorced him because she thought he had run off with another woman. He showed back up saying that aliens had abducted him and experimented on him. Isn’t that just crazy?” he shook his head laughing. He turned serious all of a sudden and quickly added, “He’s the only crazy one in the family. Everybody else is normal!”

“Everybody has at least one relative they’d like to hide when company comes over,” Liz said lightheartedly, trying to hide the sudden dismay that had come over her. She looked at him, not wanting to believe the unbelievable. It wasn’t possible, was it? It couldn’t be . . .

“I guess you’re right,” Xan said.

Liz was reeling over his revelation. Even the phrase he had just used sounded like something she had heard Max say. The same inflection. The same tone. Is that why he looked so much like Max? Is that why some of his mannerism were so similar? Is that why his voice was almost the same, and his eyes, oh God, they were Max’s eyes. She closed her eyes for a moment, feeling dizzy.

Michael had found his donor that spring, before they went away. Max and Isabel never had. Was she standing right now not two feet away from the grandson of Max’s donor? Had Xan’s grandfather been whisked away on a spaceship, had a sample of his DNA removed and combined with Antarian essence to create Max? Was Xan in effect Max’s genetic grandson? She looked at Xan, just wanting to run. To run and never stop. To keep running until her legs couldn’t run anymore. To run away from the past that just wouldn’t leave her alone.

Max Evans had left her. He didn’t want her. So why wouldn’t he leave her alone? Why was there always something there to remind her of him?

“Liz?” Xan asked worriedly. “Is something wrong?”

“No,” she lied. “Nothing’s wrong. But . . . I, um . . . I have to go in the back and finish up. You can’t come back there. Employees only.”

“Okay,” he said uncertainly. “So I could wait here, I mean, until you get off at 4:00.”

“I have to do some inventory in the back that might take me longer,” she said, hating to lie to him. “Don’t wait for me.”

“Okay.” He couldn’t hide the disappointment. He really wore his heart on his sleeve where she was concerned. “So, I’ll see you at the game then.”

“Yes,” Liz nodded. “At the game.” Why did it have to be this way? He was such a wonderful person, but was she only attracted to him because he was so much like Max? Because he was a descendant of Max’s? She should have known. He looked too much like Max for it to just be a coincidence.

She wasn’t being fair to Xan. He was special. She could feel it in her bones. He deserved someone to love him for who he was, not because of a tie to his past. She tried not to let him see what she was feeling as she left him standing in the middle of the cafeteria. Maybe it would be for the best to sever ties with him now, before things got too deep.

* * * * *

Xan sat on the bench watching the main entrance way, but she was no where in sight. The game was about to start and he couldn’t imagine what could have caused her to be this late. She had the appointment with her professor at 5:00. Even if that had taken an hour, she should have been here no later than 6:30, and that was almost an hour ago.

The professor wasn’t a creep, was he? He hadn’t lured Liz to his office with something besides her grades on his mind, had he? He’d been replaying their conversation in the cafeteria over and over in his head, and he couldn’t figure out if he had said something wrong, or if something had caused her to change her mind, or if something had happened to her. The hardest part was not knowing.

The buzzer sounded to start the game and he rose to his feet, trying to concentrate solely on the game. Right. Like that was gonna happen.

* * * * *

Liz paced back and forth in front of the Pan American Center. She’d been doing it for over an hour. She kept telling herself she shouldn’t be here. She should just move on with her life and let him move on with his. He’d find a nice girl, someone who wouldn’t see Max every time she looked at him. It was the only fair thing to do. She was only thinking of him.

She wasn’t trying to hide from her own feelings. She wasn’t trying to run away. She wasn’t lying to herself. She was sure of it. Kind of sure of it. No, she admitted, she wasn’t sure of anything at all.

Liz folded her arms across her chest defensively, as if she was warding off a chill, but the cold was coming from inside. She looked up into the evening sky and the stars that were shining through the thin layer of clouds. “Why?” she asked plaintively. “I gave you up so you could fulfill your destiny, so why do you keep haunting me? When do I get to start living again? I like him. A lot. More than a lot. He’s the only person I’ve cared about in all this time, and now it seems wrong, because he’s related to what you were. To your human side.”

She stopped pacing and concentrated on a point of light that twinkled more than the others. “Am I sick?” she asked. “For liking him? Do I only want him because he’s the closest I can get to being with you? That’s not fair to him.”

The star wavered as her vision began to blur and her voice trembled as she fought back the tears. “Why is this happening?” she whispered into the quiet night. “Was it your destiny to live the life of a King with your Queen at your side, and for me to be miserable for the rest of my life? Didn’t I give up enough already? Do I have to give him up now too?”

* * * * *

Michael watched him from twenty feet away, giving him the space he needed while at the same time fulfilling his obligations to protect his King. His eyes were in constant motion, looking for a glint of a gun barrel, the rising hum of a laser pistol or the whirl of a hyper bomb flying in his direction. Zan was the King, a figurehead whose presence had renewed the faith of the people and spurred on a resurgence in the rebellion. It was imperative that he be protected, no matter what the cost.

The King had returned to bring them freedom. The people believed in him, even though his appearance was completely alien to them. It was ironic that on Earth, Max had looked human on the outside, but was alien on the inside. Here, on his home world, he was more alien than ever before.

Satisfied that they were safe for the moment, Michael crossed the distance between them. Max could hear his tread on the ground and then his friend’s hand was on his shoulder. They stood side by side, staring out over the rolling red water of the inland sea. The sand here was black and sparkling like millions of diamonds were sprinkled along the shore.

It was a beautiful sight, and completely alien. Even after all this time, Max couldn’t get used to it. He didn’t understand the science of it, why the sky was tinted red, instead of like the blue of Earth. Same for the water. He knew Liz would probably know. If she were here. If she were with him.

“You shouldn’t be here,” Michael reminded him. “Not alone.”

“I’m not alone,” Max continued to look out over the churning water. “You’re here.”

“You know what I mean,” Michael insisted. Max said nothing and Michael kicked his toe into the dirt. “What are you thinking about?”

Max dropped his eyes to the ground. They never talked about it. Michael never mentioned Maria’s name, but Max knew he thought about her all the time, especially during the quiet of the night when sleep wouldn’t come. Or times like these, when they could escape for a few minutes of solitude during the day.

“I wonder what she’s doing now,” Max said so softly Michael could barely hear. “She always wanted to get out of Roswell. Go to Harvard. I wonder if she did.”

“Yeah,” Michael nodded. “I wonder that too.” Maria wanted to sing. He hoped her dreams were coming true. He hoped that with all his heart.

“Maybe . . .” Max started to say, and then let the word trail off.

“Maybe,” Michael agreed. There was one small glimmer of hope. They’d won another battle. Their third in less than a week. Was it possible that the tide was starting to turn in their direction? Kivars forces still outnumbered them 2 to 1, but he’d lost a lot of men in these last three skirmishes and the Royal Forces had suffered minimal casualties. If they could find Kivar, infiltrate his inner circle and remove him from power, and then recover the Granilith, it would pave the way for what had once seemed the impossible. There was a way to go home.

“We need to get back,” Michael urged. It wasn’t safe for Max to be out here in the open like this.

“I know,” Max said, looking skyward with a deep longing in his heart. “I know.”

* * * * *

Xan sat on the sidelines dripping sweat. He was having another off night, missing the basket and he’d already committed 3 fouls and it wasn’t even the end of the first period yet. He was having a hard time concentrating, and he knew why. She wasn’t coming.

He couldn’t keep his eyes from darting to the bench behind him, hoping beyond hope that she’d suddenly be there, smiling at him and encouraging him on. His leg bounced up and down with nervous energy wondering if she was alright, had something happened to her, or had she simply decided not to come. She’d left him so abruptly in the cafeteria this afternoon, and he’d just stood there as she walked away, deep down knowing something was wrong but not having any idea what.

The buzzer sounded to end the first period and he rose to his feet while the players milled around before heading to the locker room for halftime. Head down, unhappy with his play and feeling disheartened, he dejectedly followed the team as they cleared the court. Feeling chilled by the sweat on his brow, he turned back for a towel and then his breath caught in his throat.

There she was.

It looked like she was out of breath, like she had been running. Her hair was windswept and her cheeks were rosy from the cool night air. She was standing on the bench, staring directly at him, and the look in her eyes made his heart skip wildly in his chest. It wasn’t the reserved look she usually had on her face, the one where he could tell she was holding back. Her face was so open and her eyes were shining like they were full of stars.

He took a step toward her and she climbed down from the bench, walking hurriedly in his direction. His stride quickened and then they were almost running toward each other. They stopped only a foot apart and she looked up into his eyes and said breathlessly, “I’m sorry I’m late.”

“Is everything alright?” he asked worriedly. He was staring down into her deep brown eyes and his right hand rose up to brush her hair back from her face. He couldn’t see the people in the stands all around him. He couldn’t hear the crowd noise. All he could see and hear was her. “I was worried that something happened to you.”

“I just got delayed.” His fingers were in her hair, and her hand rose to cover his, letting her fingers slip in between his. “I had some things to sort out, but I’m here now.”

He could see a different light in her eyes and he wasn’t sure what it meant but the way she was touching his hand was telling him all he needed to know. His left hand rose to cup her cheek because he just had to touch her, and then he leaned down, drawn to her lips. They touched, his lips to hers, as his most wished for dream came true. He was kissing the girl of his dreams, and she was kissing him back.

“HARTMAN!” his coach yelled from the sideline and Xan broke off the kiss with a start.

He took a quick glance at his coach, knowing he was in trouble, and then back to Liz. She thought his eyes looked so wide and innocent as he asked, “You can stay, right? For the rest of the game?” She nodded and he added, “And maybe we can get something afterwards? To eat? If it’s not too late?” She nodded again and he went on, “Cuz I know you have class in the morning and you can’t stay out late-”

“I can skip class,” she smiled.

“You? Skip class?” he said in surprise. He knew what kind of student she was. Straight A. Dean’s List.

“There’s a first time for everything.” Her wide eyes and serene smile hid the deeper meaning. She wasn’t just talking about skipping class.

“HARTMAN!” his coach yelled again.

“You better go,” she urged.

He wanted to kiss her again, but Coach would kill him and he didn’t want to get benched for the second half. His hand on her cheek lingered for just a moment more, and then he ran off in the direction of the locker room. Liz watched him go, still not sure if she had made the right decision. Her fingertips touched her lips, where his lips had been a few minutes before and she knew she wanted to feel that again.

If all goes well, I will post part 8 tomorrow night

'I Wish' fanart by Andrea

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Mar-2002 3:19:13 AM ]
posted on 13-Mar-2002 1:59:48 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Angst?
Rating: Who is going to cause the NC 17 rating? Liz and Xan? Liz and Max? Xan and Max? Huh? Forget about that last one. I'll leave the slash stuff to the pros. Anyway, there's no NC 17 in this part anyway.

Note: This story has certainly generated the feedback. Many of you are sure where you want this to go, but some of you seem very conflicted.

Let me just say that you all know me, and you know I'm a Dreamer. Even though Max destroyed the dream by what he did, I still love him. That said, there's just something about Xan . . .

Oh, I had mentioned earlier that is story was 11 parts long. Well, part 11 turned into a mega chapter, so I split into 2 parts. So now it's 12 parts long, and yes, we are over half way through. This is one of those fics that I believe needs to be read quickly, not drug out over days and weeks, so I'll be trying to post a new part every night until it's done.

Enough talking. On with the story . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 8

Xan lay on his bed with a towel around his hips, staring at the ceiling with his hands behind his head and a huge smile on his lips. He was remembering last night and how it had felt to finally kiss Liz. Her lips were so soft, so tender, so sweet tasting, everything he had dreamed it would be. He’d never had a doubt in his mind what she would taste like, but actually knowing it was so much better than just imagining it.

It was strange, the way he had know from the moment that he saw her that she would be perfect for him. There were hundreds of beautiful girls at this school, but none of them held a candle to Liz. He’d never given a single one of them a second glance after just one look at her.

After his coach had given him hell about his lousy play during the game last night, he’d escaped the locker room and Liz had been waiting for him. Her smile had made him weak in the knees, and made his stomach grumble so loud he was sure everyone in the arena could hear it. He’d stood in front of her like a love sick puppy and when she slipped her hand into his, when her fingers intertwined between his fingers, it felt like the pieces of his life were all coming together. He’d always felt like he was missing something, until now.

They’d gone out to eat and she had been more animated than he’d ever seen her before, more open, as if some weight had been lifted from her shoulders and she felt free. He’d just watched her as she ate her French fries and devoured a burger all the while he could hardly touch his own food because she made him so giddy.

He walked her home, taking slow steps to postpone the inevitable, the moment when he’d have to say goodnight and walk away and he’d be alone again. He’d walked her to her door, knowing that he couldn’t come inside, that her roommate would be sleeping, and he’d leaned against the wall just listening to Liz talk, listening to the sound of her voice as her words sang to him.

When their time was up, when he couldn’t delay their separation any longer, he’d moved closer to her, lifting his hand to brush her hair back from her face and then letting his thumb rub gently over her cheek. He had kissed her then, for the second time. And then again. And again. The memory of it was vivid in his mind, how she had felt, how she had leaned into him, how her arms had circled around his shoulders and she’d stood on her tip-toes because she was so much shorter than him.

He’d wanted to pick her up, to crush her against him, to press her into the wall, to feel her legs wrap around his hips, to –

Mark pushed open the door to the dorm room, returning from his afternoon class, and his first sight was of his best friend in the world, stretched out on his bed wearing nothing but a smile and a tented towel. Suppressing a laugh, he said, “Xander, are you really that happy to see me?”

“Mark!” Xan scrambled to a sitting position.

Mark tossed his backpack onto his bed and then crossed over to the refrigerator to get a drink. He popped the tab on a Cherry Coke and then reached into the cupboard looking for a snack. Pulling out a bag of cookies, he turned around to see Xan pulling on a pair of shorts and then reach for a pair of jeans. “You going somewhere?’

“Yeah,” Xan darted a look in his direction. He smiled widely as he zipped up his pants and said, “I’m going over to see Liz.” Turning his wrist to glance at his watch, he said, “She got off work a few minutes ago. I’m gonna head over to her place and then we’ll probably go to the movies or something.”

Mark watched Xan as he moved over to the dresser and selected a shirt out of one of the drawers, a black one with the NMSU logo on the left chest. He sat on the end of the bed and put on his shoes and his socks and then he rose to his feet and headed toward the door, grabbing his jacket from the back of a chair. As his hand closed around the doorknob, Mark said, “Hey . . .”

“Yeah?” Xan turned to look at him curiously.

“Is she . . .” Mark knew how smitten Xan had been with Liz from the moment that he saw her, and he hoped for Xan’s sake that she wasn’t going to hurt him. “Are things working out . . . ?”

“With Liz?” Xan raised his eyebrows and when Mark nodded, a smile spread over his face. “Yeah. Everything’s great.” He bit at his lower lip and his eyes softened as he thought of her. “She’s . . . she’s everything I thought she’d be.”

“You know . . .” Mark said hesitantly, “Xander, you only met her a week ago. You don’t even know her-”

“But that’s just it, Mark,” Xan broke in. “It feels like I’ve known her my whole life. When I kissed her last night . . . when I touch her . . . it’s like . . . it just feels right. I can’t explain it.”

Seeing the look on Xan’s face, Mark clamped his hand on his shoulder and asked, “You want me to clear out of here tonight? I can crash over at Brian’s.”

“No,” Xan said hastily and then thought about it. “Maybe . . . I don’t know.” He looked Mark in the eye, the friend he’d shared everything with his whole life. “I don’t want to rush things, you know? I don’t want to screw this up.” He paused, and then said what his heart was feeling. “She means everything to me.”

Mark nodded in understanding and said, “Well, just let me know.” Laughing softly he added, “Put a sock on the doorknob if you don’t want me to come in!”

“Okay,” Xan felt his cheeks blush and he pulled the door open.

Mark watched him slip his jacket on and then he said, “Hey, I’m happy for ya, Xander.”

“Thanks, Mark,” Xan smiled. “Thanks.”

* * * * *

Liz pawed through the hangers in her closet, looking for the right outfit to wear. She’d raced home after she got off work and jumped in the shower to wash off the smell of onions and hamburgers. Xan would be here soon, and she wanted to be ready. She lifted a black lace top from its hanger and she wondered if she dared. Would it send him the wrong message? Or was that the message she wanted to send?

She wiggled into a snug pair of jeans and then selected a black tank top out of her dresser drawer. It fit her like a second skin, and when she pulled the stretchy lace top over it and looked in the mirror, she had to admit it looked rather alluring. Would Xan think so? Would he like it?

Leaning into the mirror, she opened her lips gloss and began to apply it just as the phone rang. She hurried across the room and picked it up on the second ring, smiling broadly when she heard who it was. “Maria! How are you!”

“Hey Babe! I’m great! How are you?”

“I’m wonderful.” Liz could hear the smile in Maria’s voice and she knew something was up. Grinning widely, she asked, “How’s California?”

“I don’t know. I’m not there right now,” Maria deadpanned.

“What?” Liz sounded confused. “Where are you?”

“Roswell,” Maria said without elaboration.

“Roswell?” Liz frowned. Didn’t things work out in California? Poor Maria. “Why are you in Roswell?”

“I had to see Philip Evans.”

“Philip Evans . . .” Liz whispered. Max’s father. She pictured the house that Max lived in. In Roswell. Before he left her. Before he went away. She closed her eyes, wishing there was a way to escape all the memories.

“Liz?” Maria said with concern.

“Yeah, um, why did you go to Roswell to see Mr. Evans?” Liz sputtered out.

Maria paused before she answered, feeling the excitement bubble up inside her. Liz was gonna die when she heard this! “Well . . . he’s my lawyer. I hired him to represent my interests. He’s looking at my recording contract right now!”

“WHAT!” Liz jumped to her feet and she could hear Maria laughing into the phone. “YOU GOT A CONTRACT?”

“YES!” Maria shouted back.

“With who?” Liz sat back down on her bed. She’d always known Maria could do it, but she was still stunned.

“Horizon Records. I cut a demo a few weeks ago and they liked it! They wrote up a contract and since Philip Evans is the only lawyer I know, I came back here to have him look at it. He says it’s a good contract. I’m gonna be famous! she squealed into the phone.

“I always knew you could do it!” Liz said excitedly. “Will you still love me when you’re rich and living in Beverly Hills?”

“Of course!” Maria sobered a little and after clearing her throat, she said, “Philip asked how you were doing. I told him you were fine. Are you fine, Liz? Are you doing okay?” Maria heard silence on the line and she started to get worried. Was Liz ever going to let the past go?

“I met someone . . .” Liz said hesitantly.

“You did!” Maria exclaimed.

“But it’s . . . complicated.”

“When is your love life not complicated Liz?” Maria laughed. “Remember what Grandma Claudia said? ‘If it isn’t complicated, he wouldn’t be your . . .’” and she let the word hang unspoken. Soulmate. Liz didn’t believe in soulmates anymore. Maria scolded herself for opening her big fat mouth. The silence stretched on until Maria broke it. “What’s his name?”

“Alexander Hartman.”

“Alex?” Maria still felt the tug on her heart every time she heard the name.

“No. He goes by Xan, with an X. Short for Xander.”

“Xan? That’s kinda weird.” Xan sounded exactly like Zan. “So what’s the complicated part?” she asked.

“He’s kind of . . . he’s . . . Maria, he’s kind of Max’s . . . grandson.” Liz held the phone out, knowing what was coming.

“WHAT? HE’S WHAT? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?” Maria was hyperventilating.

“Maria. Calm down.”

“Do you want to explain that Liz? How in the world could you be dating Max’s grandson? How . . .?”

“Maria, he looks just like Max. A little taller, a little bigger. I mean, he doesn’t look exactly like Max, but close. Very close. I think his grandfather was Max’s donor.” She rushed on to tell Maria the rest of the story. “His grandfather disappeared in 1946 or ’47, Xan said he wasn’t sure which year it was. Anyway, when he showed back up a week later, he said he had been abducted by aliens. They experimented on him. Xan just thinks his grandfather was crazy, but I think we know different. I think that’s why he looks so much like Max. Genetically speaking, at least on his human side, Max and Xan’s grandfather had the same DNA.”

“My head is spinning,” Maria admitted.

“Try being me,” Liz sighed. In a small voice, she asked, “Maria, do you think it’s wrong?”

“What? That you’d be attracted to someone that looks like Max? Or that he’d turn out to be related to Max?”

“All of it,” Liz pushed her hair back from her face. “Is it wrong to have feelings for him, you know, after all that’s happened. After everything we’ve been through? Am I just trying to hold on to some part of Max, because I know I’ll never have him?”

“Does he make you happy Liz?” Maria asked.

“Yes,” Liz breathed out. “I come alive when I’m with him, Maria. All the things I loved about Max, I see in Xan.”

“Then I think that’s all that matters,” Maria said firmly.

* * * * *

Their footfalls echoed through the abandoned building as they moved swiftly along the corridor. They could hear gunfire in the distance and the ground would occasionally rumble from the impact of explosions. A battle was currently raging, but that was nothing new. That was what their lives were now, one battle leading into another and then another. Fight or flight, either on the run from one confrontation or running headlong into another.

“Wait,” Michael hissed and closed his hand around Max’s arm. “I go first, remember?” It was his job to protect his King. It had always been that way, even when he didn’t know it. He inched in front of Max and looked around the corner, scanning the empty hallways. “It’s clear.”

They spilled into the corridor, Max, Michael, and 10 hand picked members of the Royal Guard. Larek had intercepted an encrypted message from Kivar’s headquarters disclosing his possible location and relayed it to the Royal Forces. This hand picked team was on an infiltration mission to get in and assassinate Kivar. Max wasn’t supposed to be here.

The Royal Council had given strict orders that King Zan was to remain safely behind the front lines, but Max couldn’t sit by and watch the fighting. He needed to be actively involved. Sitting in protective custody was slowly driving him mad, and it wasn’t getting him any closer to his goal of returning to Liz. He needed to be actively involved to keep his dream of going home alive.

In their flight down the corridor, Max could hear D’Mar’s thoughts whispering in his mind, urging the King to stay back, let the troops lead the way. The Captain knew this was a dangerous mission, and the Council would have his head if Zan were to come to any harm. His name was the rallying cry for the troops, the oppressed masses, the King had returned to reclaim his throne and avenge his murder. The people were rising in support of their beloved King, chanting his name in the streets, while cursing the name of Kivar.

Max projected his thoughts to the Captain of the Special Forces Unit, acquiescing to D’Mar’s pleaded demands to stay back, out of the line of fire, but he wasn’t going to hide. Only two things mattered to Max. One was defeating Kivar and returning Antar to the just rule of the Royal Council. The other was finding the Granilith, so he could go back home.

Michael held Max back while the troops fanned out in front of them, pulse rifles on full power as they moved deeper into the building, and the sounds of gunfire outside diminished. Soon the only sounds were Max and Michael’s heavy tread on the stone floor, and the raspy movement of the Antarian troops. Their elongated digits made only scratching sounds as they scurried along the corridor.

A distant hum drew Michael’s attention, coming from behind and he turned, seeing nothing at first. He frowned, staring down the corridor and then felt Max’s hand on his shoulder.

“What’s wrong?” Max asked in a hushed tone.

Michael didn’t answer at first, and then shrugged and said, “Nothing . . . I guess.”

They continued on in silence, rounding another corner and then Michael paused again, with the hair on the back of his head rising. The humming was growing louder. Getting closer. A buzzing sound accompanied it and Michael’s eyes grew wide, recognizing the sound now, and he shouted, “RUN!”


“RUN!” he shouted again and pushed Max in front of him. “HYPER BOMB!”

Max’s eyes widened in understanding and he turned to run, pushed from behind by Michael. The Antarians circled around the King but they offered little protection. Moving at full speed, they ran headlong into the unknown depths of the building, with death chasing them.

A Hyper Bomb was made to target a specific biological organism, in this case, human. It would home in, searching for a human biological signature until it found it, and then destroy it. It could burrow through walls, floors, concrete and steel without impairment. Pulse rifles and laser pistols had no effect on its impenetrable exterior shell. In the open air they could be outmaneuvered, but in enclosed spaces, like corridors inside buildings, they were nearly unstoppable.

The buzz grew louder and Michael looked backwards, feeling his blood turn to ice at the sight of the silver ball speeding through the air, directly at them. With its limited range, their only chance was to outrun it, but as Michael looked over his shoulder once more, he knew that wasn’t going to happen. Not this time. It was too close. Max was the target, and if Michael didn’t do something quickly, his King was going to die.

As the corridor came to a crossroads, Max, surrounded by the Royal Guard took the corridor on the right and Michael slowed. Looking behind him at the silver ball flying through the air, he calculated the distance. On this entire wretched planet there were only three targets that fit the biological criteria that this weapon was programmed for. But Tess wasn’t here, she was in hiding somewhere with Kivar’s forces, so that left only two. When he was certain the weapon had targeted him, he took off running up the left corridor. There was still a chance, if he could outrun it.

Max looked behind him and his steps faltered and his eyes flew wide with shock. “Michael!” he shouted and stumbled to a stop. “What are you doing?”

“Go, Max!” Michael hissed. “Get out of here!” The bomb slowed at the crossroad and sensing the closer target, it acquired Michael’s biological signature and flew in his direction.

“Michael! NO!” Max tried to run back toward his friend. He wouldn’t let Michael do this, couldn’t let Michael sacrifice himself this way. Three fingered hands pulled at him, desperate to save their King. Voices in his head screamed at him to run. “NO!” Max screamed out again. “MICHAEL-”

Max watched in horror as Michael ran down the opposite corridor in an impossible attempt to out run the bomb. He shook off the hands holding him back and chased after his lifelong friend. In a burst of energy, Max closed the distance between them, throwing out his hand to create a protective shield as he neared the deadly weapon.

“Project your shield Michael!” Max shouted. “We can trap it between us.”

“D’Mar,” Michael shouted. “Get him the hell out of here!”

“NO!” Max shook off the smaller Antarians. “Michael! Your shield!”

Michael could feel the hair rising on the back of his head as the bomb neared. Behind him, he could see Max getting closer, his hair flying around his face as the shield he projected disrupted the air currents. Tripping on his own feet, he went down hard, with the silver ball barreling down on him.

“MICHAEL!” Max cried out again.

Michael threw his hand up defensively with not a second to spare. The bomb slammed into his shield and Michael staggered to his feet under the onslaught. The weapon was relentless, sensing its target beyond the shield but Michael stood his ground. The air pulsated in colors of blue and green with the wind buffeting his clothing and his long blonde hair.

The bomb sensed a second biological signature now and turned, striking against the barrier that separated it from Max. He stumbled backwards, feeling the mounting strain as it attacked his shield. Michael was the strong of the two, and he watched in alarm as the silver surface of the bomb fluctuated in an attempted to pierce through Max’s shield, reaching within inches of his face as the shield began to buckle. The panicked cries of the Antarians screamed inside his head as they tried to save their King.

From the moment they set foot on this planet, Michael had known it might come to this. He had accepted it. At first, he was sure they would all die as they rotted in their prison cells while Tess and Kivar watched from inside the opulent Palace walls. When the underground staged their rescue on the Day of Execution, for a while he thought there might be a chance, but then Isabel had died and his hope had been diminished. Michael knew why he was here, and for the first time in his life, he had a clear purpose. A noble one.

Max was fulfilling his duty, his destiny, of freeing his people from Kivar’s oppressive rule. It was what he was created for. Michael now knew what he had to do to fulfill his own destiny. He was the Royal Protector. He had been at his King’s side his entire life, created for the purpose of ensuring Max’s survival. Michael could see the strain on Max’s face as his shield began to weaken, and he knew what he had to do. He was expendable, his King was not.

Michael’s hand trembled slightly as he lowered it. Maria’s face flashed before his eyes, the way she’d look on the last night that he saw her. He’d known then that he’d probably never see her again, but he’d still had hope. Now with that gone, he was ready to accept his fate, his destiny. He retracted his shield and lowered his hand to his side.

“Michael! NO!” Max cried out in horror.

The bomb shifted direction again and flew at a defenseless Michael, striking him in the chest and detonating on impact. He flew backwards through the air, shuddering violently as he impacted the far wall with a sickening thud.

“NOOOOO,” Max screamed and broke free of the hands that were holding him. He ran to Michael, falling to his knees as he reached his crumpled body. “Michael,” he cried with tears streaming down his face. “Why? Why did you do it? Why?”

“I had to protect you . . .” Michael slurred.

Max pulled Michael into his arms, trying to assess his injuries and his face filled with horror again when his hand came away from Michael’s chest covered with blood. So much blood. His hand was dripping with blood.

“Michael! I’m not going to let you die. Do you hear me? You are not dying!” He tore open Michael’s shirt and stared appalled at the ravaged flesh there. Just like Isabel. A Hyper Bomb had killed Isabel too. NO, NO, NO, Max screamed silently. He pressed his hand into the oozing wound and it glowed as he tried to repair damage that was simply too severe to fix. All the healing powers in the world couldn’t save Michael. Michael knew it. Max knew it, even though he refused to believe it.

“Max . . .” Michael wheezed as his lungs filled with blood.

“I’m not going to let you die, Michael.” Max concentrated on the healing, barely able to see through his tears. “Not you too. You can’t leave me alone here! I’m your King. I forbid it. Michael . . . Michael . . .” Devastated by his failure to heal him, Max held him in his arms whispering, “Why did you do it, Michael?”

“You have to live, Max,” Michael looked up at him with eyes that were no longer focused. A trickle of blood flowed from his mouth as he said, “I’m expendable. You’re not.”

“You are NOT expendable Michael!” Max cried. “I can’t go on living this way, losing everybody I love. Michael . . . you can’t die . . . please . . .”

Michael clutched at Max’s blood splattered shirt, knowing that his time was short. “When you go back home, tell Maria how much I loved her. Tell her that for me, Max.”

“Home?” Max whispered. They didn’t have a home. They lived in Hell and Heaven was light years away.

“Earth,” Michael exhaled as the pain intensified. “It was home all along. I just never knew it. We should have never left.”

“I know,” Max whispered, admitting what he’d known since the moment they got here.

“Tell Maria,” Michael clutched at his hand. “Tell her.”

“You tell her yourself,” Max’s voice broke as the tears fell unchecked down his face.

“You can’t control this one Max,” Michael felt his energy draining away. “I’m sorry.” Michael squeezed Max’s blood soaked hand and then the light went out of his eyes and his hand fell to the floor, its dead weight impacting the cold stone and lying still. Max closed his eyes and gathered his brother into his arms, rocking his lifeless body back and forth.

He was alone now. An alien in an alien world, and so very alone.

I'll be back tomorrow night . . .

'I Wish' fanart by Andrea

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 13-Mar-2002 2:35:23 AM ]
posted on 14-Mar-2002 12:54:38 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: I said this was a Liz fic. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. At least for now. After part 10, I may change my mind.
Rating: Safe for virgin eyes. For now.

Author Note: Time permitting, I will post part 10 later tonight. Yes, that's 2 parts in one night. Why? Read part 9 and find out . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 9

Xan sat at the table in the cafeteria sipping a Cherry Coke and watching Liz as she finished her shift. He could watch her like this all day long and never get tired of it. It was his favorite pastime. At least now he could do it in the open, he smiled contentedly, remembering how just a few weeks ago he would come in here and hover in the shadows, not letting her see him.

The thought that she might rebuff him had filled him with apprehension, preventing him from taking that first step. It was better to watch her from afar and dream about her, than to live with the nightmare that her rejecting him would have caused. Thank God it hadn’t turned out that way.

As far back as he could remember, his dreams had been filled with the image of a dark haired girl, but she never had a face. They’d laugh together and the sweet sound of it would linger over into his waking hours. They’d cried as well in the dreams and occasionally a portion of her face would come into focus and he’d see a tear on pale ivory skin, or her brow would knit together in some painful pose. Her image had always hovered on the periphery of his vision, and it wasn’t until he saw her face last fall that he knew it was her.

He didn’t want to tell her though. She’d think he was crazy if he told her he’d dreamt about her before he ever met her. She was a practical person with a scientific mind, not one prone to flights of fancy. Besides, he’d already told her that his grandfather was crazy. He didn’t want her to think it ran in the family.

She came around the counter and he watched her head his way. The smile on her face lit her eyes and his stomach grumbled in response. In the weeks that had passed since the day he literally ran into her and she spilled a drink on his pants, his life had changed so much. She’d filled the hollow ache he’d always kept hidden inside, and he thought he’d filled a hole in her life too.

She used to look so sad all the time and he knew someone had hurt her deeply. He hoped that someday when he looked into her eyes he wouldn’t see that hurt anymore. He hoped to be able to take her hurt away, to make her forget about the parts of her past that had caused her so much pain. He could sense that she was still holding on, that she wasn’t ready to let it go yet, but he was a patient man, and she was worth waiting for. He’d wait a lifetime for her, if he had to.

“Hi,” Liz smiled as she slid into the chair across from Xan.

Her hand reached across the table and he covered it with his, letting his love for her flood his senses. He couldn’t help it. Every time he touched her was like the first time, sparks and fire igniting inside him. He could spend a lifetime just holding her hand, even though he wanted so much more.

“Hi,” he answered back.

“It’s so slow, I think I’ll be able to get off early.”

He looks incredibly good today, she thought as she stared into his soft brown eyes. Not that he didn’t look good every day, which he did, but when he looked at her the way he was looking at her right now, it made her feel warm all over. He’d gotten his hair cut this afternoon, which was good. He liked it short because he didn’t like long hair when he played basketball. Besides, with his hair short he didn’t remind her of Max quite as much.

“What time do you leave?” she asked. He was going to New Orleans, to play in the Sun Belt Conference Basketball Tournament.

“Couple hours,” Xan answered. His fingers twined between hers, missing her already and he wasn’t even gone yet.

“And you get back when?” She already knew the answer, but she could always hope it would be different this time.

“Not ‘til Wednesday night.” Almost a whole week apart from her. He didn’t know if he could stand it, but as much as he hated being away from her, it felt good to know that she was as upset about their separation as he was. “I’ll call you every night.”

“You promise?” she asked.

“I promise,” Xan smiled. He reached inside his jacket and removed 10 phone cards, grinning at her with that little boy look of his. “You think that will be enough?”

“Yes,” Liz laughed. “Are you planning on playing basketball at all, or just talking to me on the phone the whole time?”

“I’m gonna suck at basketball without you there to encourage me,” he sighed feeling dispirited. He wished she could go with him. He’d asked her to come, but she couldn’t get excused from her classes.

“You’ll be great,” she squeezed his hand. “I know you will be. And I’ll be thinking about you the whole time you’re gone.”

“You promise?” he echoed her earlier words.

“I promise,” she assured him with a smile, knowing that it would be an easy promise to keep. She’d made promises in the past, and sometimes they’d been so difficult they’d nearly torn her apart. But this one, promising to think about the man she was falling in love with, would be the easiest to keep of all.

* * * * *

Max stared into the fire, watching the flames dance around the wood, licking at the bark in hues of yellow and orange and blue. He knew the blue flames close down near the coals were the hottest. He’d learned that in school one day, sitting behind Liz and watching the way her hair shimmered in the fluorescent lights. Miss Farmin had called on him to answer a question and he’d had to fake an answer because he hadn’t been listening. Liz had turned back to look at him and mouthed the word blue, saving his butt from Miss Farmin’s sharp tongue, and then later told him what the question had been.

She’d always been saving his butt one way or another, and if he’d believed in her enough, if he’d listened when she was trying to tell him that someone had killed Alex, maybe the death toll would have stopped there. But he hadn’t, and now Isabel was gone. And Michael was gone. And all his dreams were gone.

He could see her face in the flames, hear her sigh in the sizzle of the wood, everything around him reminded him of her. He was consumed by her memory for it was the only thing that gave him peace. Memories of the way she looked when she smiled. The sound of her laughter. The feel of her hand in his. The way her fingers had molded perfectly around his. Their hands had been like two interlocking pieces of a puzzle, only whole when they were touching.

And he’d let her slip away.

He’d spent his whole life wanting only her, loving only her, and he’d let her slip away without fighting for her. He closed his eyes and dropped his head into his hands, longing to hear the sweet timber of her voice again, to touch the silky skin of her cheek, to stroke his fingers through the soft strands of her hair.

He longed to feel the warmth of human contact, to hear human voices floating in the air, to see blue skies and to feel the cool rain on his face. He dreamed of waking in the morning to the sounds of birds singing in the trees and children laughing as they played. The silence of this world he lived in could be so deafening.

Your Majesty . . .

The voice intruded into his thoughts and he reluctantly muted his memories, burying them down in the corner of his mind. He kept them safe there, for he couldn’t survive without them.

“Yes D’Mar?” Max spoke, breaking the endless silence. He didn’t have to speak. He could have sent his thoughts back, the same way he had received D’Mar’s, but he was desperately trying to hold on to what he coveted. His humanity.

We have received word. Larek has called a meeting of the Royal Council. Your presence is requested.

“For?” Max asked dully.

Your Highness . . . Kivar has been captured, in the outskirts of the Capital City . . .

Max slowly raised his head from his hands feeling his back stiffen with sudden tension. Kivar had been captured? When? Was the –

Yes, your Highness. The Granilith was recovered.

Max could hear the smile in D’Mar’s thought transmission, even though his facial features were incapable of moving that way. He rose to his full height, towering over the Captain of the Guard, and his face showed both his excitement and his fear. Was it . . .?

Fully functional, Sir. The Granilith was recovered intact.

Home, Max thought as his heart nearly burst with emotion. His duty here was almost over, and there was a way for him to return home . . .

* * * * *

Liz moved around her quiet dorm room, enjoying an evening of solitude. Megan had gone home to Santa Fe for the weekend and wasn’t expected back until late. Moments like this were few and far between and she decided a nice hot bubble bath would be just the thing to pamper herself. She reached into the top drawer of her dresser, digging down for her favorite pajama top when her hand touched his picture.

Max. Gone nearly two years now. She pulled it up from the depths of her drawer and she felt that familiar pain deep in her soul when she looked into his eyes. She wondered what his life was like now, what his son looked like, if he was happy with Tess.

She looked down into his smiling eyes and touched her fingers to his lips, remembering how soft and warm they had once felt against hers. He was cold now, just his image on paper under her fingertips, nothing more than memories. She’d never feel his warm breath on her face again or hear his heart beating in her ear when he held her in his arms.

“You’ll always be the love of my life,” she said softly with a note of melancholy in her voice. It was so hard letting go.

She walked the short distance to her bed and sat down slowly, holding his photograph close to her heart. Looking toward her window she could see that it was dark out now, and the stars were starting to shine through. He was out there. Somewhere. Among the stars.

“I lied to you,” she focused on the night sky, choosing a random star to talk to. It was the closest she could come to talking to him. “I lied to you that night I came to your room.”

She remembered it clearly, climbing through his window and seeing the surprised look on his face. And then she’d said the things she’d had to say, and his smile disappeared as his eyes filled with tears.

“I did die for you, Max. I died the night you climbed onto my balcony and you saw me with Kyle. It was the look on your face that killed me.” She looked from the twinkling star down to the photograph in her hand, feeling the familiar pain in her heart. “I did everything you asked of me. Everything you wanted. Everything you needed. And now . . . now there’s something I need.”

She rose from her bed and walked the short distance to her desk, taking out her journal from the bottom drawer. She turned the pages, finding her final journal entry, made the day before she came to Las Cruces to start her new life. She hadn’t written in it since then. It was part of her past. Turning to the next page, she inserted his picture between the blank sheets. Her fingers hovered over his image for a minute longer, and then she slowly closed the cover on the book.

“I’ll always love you, Max,” her voice quivered, “but I need to let you go.” She swallowed hard past the lump in her throat she'd grown used to living with and then returned the journal to its resting place.

Her hand brushed at a tear that had fallen down her cheek and then the phone rang, breaking into her thoughts. She slid the desk drawer closed and crossed back to her bed, sitting on the edge and reaching toward the phone on her nightstand as it rang a second time.

The gloom lifted from her face as soon as she heard his voice. Her lips curved into a radiant smile, listening to how excited he sounded as he related the day’s events. They’d won their first 3 games so far and he’d scored 31 points in today’s win, a season high. By now she was use to the fact that Xan sounded just like Max and she twisted the phone cord in her hand, hanging on his every word.

She was finally putting the pieces of her past behind her and she could thank Xan for that. He’d brought her back from that dead place she’d been in and he was helping her learn to live again.

* * * * *

The drone of the hovercraft’s engines lulled Max into a light sleep. Memories drifted across his mind, memories of when life was good and for a little while he actually had everything he wanted. He could still feel the softness of her hair between his fingers and when he closed his eyes, like they were closed right now, he could still smell her sweet scent. The sights and sounds of his memories of Liz felt more real than anything on this world.

She’d forgiven him for taking a step back, and gave him a second chance. A second chance to let him prove to her how much he loved her. If only he had used his second chance wisely. Professing his love for her, that night at the Crashdown, and then not five minutes later having her see him kissing Tess outside in the rain, she’d never really been able to trust him after that. It was his own fault for not being smart enough and strong enough to see what was happening. And for not listening to his heart.

He felt the shift of the engines as they slowed and it roused him from his slumber. He looked over at the empty seat across from him, the one that Michael should be sitting in, and he felt the dull ache inside again. Still. It never went away. Everyone he loved was gone.

He was alone here, the only one of his kind. Isabel was dead. Michael. Even the traitorous Tess. All dead. Her execution had at least given him some satisfaction. She’d begged for her life, trying to convince him she had been manipulated by Kivar, brainwashed by Nasedo, not responsible for her actions. She’d cursed him at the end, showing her true colors one final time.

In the weeks since Michael’s death, much had changed. As Kivar weakened under the onslaught of the Royal Forces, the people took to the streets in active revolt. Kivar’s troops, or anyone wearing the red and black of his oppressive regime, were hunted down and killed. Kivar was captured and Antar was freed from his tyrannical rule once and for all. Power had been returned to King Zan, and he promptly signed a declaration ending Monarchial Rule and shifting power to the democratic Royal Council. No one man, either alien or human, should have the unlimited power of a King.

The day of a ruling Monarchy was over. They didn’t need a King anymore. They didn’t need him. They sang praises to his name for freeing his world from Kivar, but now that the threat was over, they didn’t need Max anymore. That made him pleased beyond words.

He looked out one of the side portals at the city below, seeing the devastation brought by a war that had raged for nearly two years. Fires still dotted the landscape with columns of smoke rising up into the red sky. He could see an occasional explosion below, pockets of fighting as the Royal Forces hunted down the last of Kivar’s men, still trying to hold on even though their leader was gone.

In the distance he could see what remained of the Palace walls, lying in crumbling ruins. Kivar had exacted his revenge. If he couldn’t reside within the majestic walls, then no one could. He’d laid waste to it before his departure. It didn’t matter to Max. He never intended to live there anyway.

A presence entered his consciousness and Max continued to stare out the window as he asked, “What is it D’Mar?”

We will be arriving shortly. Larek is waiting for you.

“Thank you,” Max acknowledged with a controlled voice, while inside he leapt for joy. Larek was meeting him and together they would petition the Royal Council for access to the Granilith. Its use was controlled now by the Council and even the King had to go through proper channels. This would only be a formality though. He’d already been given assurance the Council would honor his last request. Tomorrow at the Antarian equivalent of noon, Max would abdicate the Throne, turn over ruling authority to the Council, step into the Granilith and depart Antar forever, to return to his true home. To Earth. To the place where his heart belonged.

The hovercraft set down smoothly and D’Mar exited first, with Max following close behind. A crowd of well wishers had assembled, cheering on the strange looking King who had returned to free them from their bondage. Max self-consciously raised his hand and waved and the crowd roared in approval. If Antar hadn’t exacted such a high price from him, he might have grown fond of the place. But it had taken his sister from him, and his brother, and he still didn’t know if the last person he held dear could find it in her heart to forgive him, and give him another chance. Tomorrow he’d know the answer. Tomorrow he was going home.

But not everyone was happy that the King had returned, or with the changes he had made. A hooded figure stood in the crowd and the cold steel of the weapon glinted in the noonday sun as he raised it and took aim.

Max never saw it coming.

* * * * *

Humming softly, Liz entered the bathroom and turned on the water and the room soon filled with steam. She lit an assortment of candles and their soft flickering light sparkled on the bubbles. Sliding into the water, she closed her eyes and let the warmth suffuse her body. She floated there, relaxing and letting her mind just drift with a contented smile on her lips.

An immense weight suddenly slammed into her chest and she bolted upright, sloshing water over the side of the tub. She struggled to breath as a panic attack seized her and her knuckles turned white as she squeezed the porcelain side of the tub. Her hand pressed against the sudden ache in her heart and she whispered, “Max . . .”

If I have the time, I'll post part 10 in an hour or two. It is the pivotal chapter, where the story all comes together. . .

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Mar-2002 1:23:23 AM ]
posted on 14-Mar-2002 2:54:54 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Rating: Virgin eyes beware

Is everyone still with me?

Dreamers, you can make it through this part. Remember, I'm a Dreamer too.

This will be posted in 2 parts due to length.

Enough talk. Let's get to it . . .

Pieces of the Past
Part 10

Xan moved down the hallway clutching his duffel bag in one hand and reaching into his front pocket to get his keys with the other. He’d stopped by Liz’s dorm as soon as he got back from New Orleans, but she hadn’t been there. Her roommate wasn’t there either, and there was no one for him to ask where Liz might have gone. He’d tried her cell phone but it must have been turned off. The call wouldn’t go through.

The whole flight home he’d been looking forward to seeing Liz and now he was deeply disappointed that he couldn’t find her. She knew he was coming home tonight and he couldn’t help wondering where she could be. A disturbing thought suddenly struck him and he tried to shake it off, but the last couple of days she’d sounded so stressed on the phone, it made him wonder. Maybe she didn’t want to see him as much as he wanted to see her.

His uneasiness had started Sunday evening. He’d talked to Liz before he went to bed and everything had been fine, but then the phone rang a couple of hours later and she’d sounded nearly frantic on the other end. She’d said that she was worried that something had happened to him, that he’d been hurt, or worse. He’d told her she must have just been dreaming but she’d said she hadn’t been asleep. He tried to calm her as best he could, but the tension in her voice had remained.

The fact that he couldn’t find her now had him worried deeply. He’d been so excited to see her again, and his disappoint weighed heavily on him. In these last few weeks since he’d known her, she’d become his whole world. He didn’t know what he’d do without her.

He inserted his key in the lock and then stepped into his darkened room. Switching on a light, he tossed his bag into a corner and was just starting to shrug off his jacket when movement caught his eye. His head whipped to the left, in the direction of the couch and his eyes widened in surprise.

“Liz!” It looked like she might have been sleeping there before he came in, or maybe it was just the sudden light that made her eyes look different. Her hair was slightly tousled and she looked so vulnerable, all he wanted to do was sweep her into his arms. Being away from her for nearly a week had been pure torture.

“Mark let me in,” Liz said, rising to her feet. Staring into his eyes, she asked, “Did the tournament go well?” She really didn’t want to talk about basketball.

“Yes,” he nodded. “We took second place.” He didn’t want to talk about basketball either.

She stared at the lines of his face, his nose, his chin, his full lips. His eyes. Those deep soulful amber colored eyes. Staring into those eyes, she said, “I missed you.”

“I missed you too, Liz,” Xan emphatically replied.

Her feet, rooted to the floor a moment ago, now flew in his direction and she launched herself into his arms. He staggered back under the impact, her intensity taking him completely by surprise. He held her tightly in his arms, closing his eyes as he drank in the scent of her and he sighed, “I missed you so much.”

She’d walked around under a black cloud for the last few days, certain that something had happened to him. She couldn’t put her finger on it, much less explain it. Just a feeling that something terrible had befallen him. It didn’t make sense, since he called her every day and she knew he was fine, but she still hadn’t been able to shake it. Holding him tightly in her arms she finally was able to relax. He was home now. Safe and sound.

“What’s the matter Liz?” he asked, holding her out at arms length. She felt so tense.

“Nothing.” She didn’t want to think about the other possibility. Max was light years away. What she’d felt Sunday night couldn’t have had anything to do with him.

Looking up at Xan, she lifted a hand to smooth away the worry lines on his brow and then her fingers brushed back through his hair, pulling him down to her for a heated kiss. Xan eagerly responded, bending her backwards as he crushed his lips to hers. What a welcome home. Coming up for air, he smiled against her lips and said, “I should go away more often.”

“No!” she cried out in a near panic. “Don’t leave me again.”

She buried her face against his chest and Xan’s smile disappeared. He hadn’t realized how upset she was. His fingers threaded through her hair and his lips pressed softly against the top of her head. “I’ll never leave you Liz.”

She lifted her face to his and her eyes were full of need. A need to know that what he said was true. A need to feel the things she’d kept buried inside for so long. A need to have what she never had before.

“Liz . . .” his breath hitched in his throat as he looked down at her. It had been killing him, wanting her from the first moment that he saw her, but telling himself to be patient. He had fantasized about being with her every day since he met her, but he hadn’t pushed it. Instead, he’d waited for her to show him the signs that she was ready. He thought he was seeing those signs now and his own need for her soared. Their lips crashed together, hers subconsciously seeking a connection to the past, his forging into a future he longed to have.

Their searing kiss was making his pulse pound and then he felt her hands tugging at his jacket, pushing it off his shoulders. It fell to the floor forgotten and then she was pulling at his shirt. He had to break off the kiss so she could lift it over his head and then he chased after her lips again, needing to kiss her more than he needed to breathe. His hand moved under the hem of her shirt, spanning the small of her back and the feel of her warm skin fanned the flames of his desire. He lifted the shirt from her body, needing to feel that warm skin against his.

Her hands roamed over his bare back, tracing a finger from the top of his spine to the small of his back, stopping when it hit the waistband of his pants. His fingers fumbled with the clasp of her bra and just as it released, he felt her hands on the button of his jeans. It came undone easily and the sound of his zipper lowering echoed in the room.

Their lips parted and they moved slightly apart. Things were moving so fast but it was beyond his control to fight it. Xan’s fingers hooked under the straps of her bra and moved them slowly from her shoulders. It fell away from her body and his eyes drank in the delicate beauty of her. His hand nearly trembled as he cupped one perfectly formed breast, letting his thumb lightly stroke her erect nipple.

She closed her eyes and let the sensations of his touch wash over her. His hand was soft, yet filled with strength and as he touched her, her skin quivered with desire. She wanted him so much. She’d always wanted him.

His lips moved down her throat, kissing a heated trail down her chest and she drew in a sharp breath when his mouth covered her nipple. She’d always wanted him to touch her this way. In the desert. In Michael’s apartment. She’d never stopped wanting him. Not even when she was pushing him toward Tess. Her hand pressed against the back of his head, pushing him harder against her breast. Her palm felt Xan’s close cropped hair, but in her mind it felt much longer. Soft and silky and curling around the nape of his neck. She moaned as he pulled on her nipple and then he moved to the other side.

His fingers went to the waistband of her jeans and he tore at the button and lowered the zipper. The sounds she was making were the same as he remembered from his dreams and his need for her was evident in the way he trembled. He released her breast and tugged at her jeans until they fell to the floor. Her panties soon followed and Xan pulled her naked body tightly against him. His hands roamed over the silky skin of her back and her narrow waist and then her hips, and then on down to cup her soft bottom. The feel of her breasts against his bare chest was making him nearly crazy with desire.

He was kissing her again now, searing kisses that showed her the depths of his passion. Her hands pushed at his jeans and he stripped them off, along with his shorts and his shoes and his socks. Never taking his lips from hers, he picked her up, with one arm around her upper back and the other supporting her bottom as her legs wrapped around him, just the way he’d dreamed so many times. Her wet heat came into contact with his incredibly hard erection and she clung to him as he carried her across the room and they fell upon the bed.

He was surprised by this sudden escalation of their physical relationship, but Xan was helpless to slow it down. His body pressed Liz down into the soft mattress of his bed, feeling her hard nipples move against his chest as she drew deep breaths into her lungs. The ridged muscles of his stomach pressed against her softness. His erection parted her feminine folds and he hovered at her entrance. Looking into her face, he was certain she wanted this as much as he did. Her eyes said it. Her body said it. Only her voice was silent.

“Liz”, he whispered against her skin as he kissed a trail down her throat and along her collarbone. He could feel her fingers in the hair at the back of his head and then moving over his neck and his back, causing his skin, his nerve endings to come alive with sensation everywhere she touched. He made his way back to her mouth kissing along her smooth skin and Xan sighed, “I love you, Liz.”

He smothered her mouth with his, cutting off her reply as he kissed her deeply and passionately. He moved against her, wanting her so much and then he felt her hands pushing against his shoulders and her mouth struggling to break free of his. He lifted up in confusion and breathing heavily he said, “Liz?”

“Wait,” she pleaded and pushed on his chest. “Wait.”

“Liz? What’s wrong?” Xan tried to calm his uneven breaths.

“I . . . I . . .” She looked into his distressed eyes feeling so guilty, the weight of it was nearly crushing her. She’d almost told him that she loved him, but the name that had hovered on her lips hadn’t been his. He was all mixed up in her mind. Max . . . Xan . . . Xan . . . Max. Was it Xan that she wanted, or was he just a substitute for who she really wanted? For Max.

She thought she had gotten over the past, but it was still there. She had wanted Max to be her first, to be her only, but fate had walked her down a different path. He was gone from her life, so why couldn’t she get over it? Xan was everything she wanted. He filled the emptiness she’d carried around her inside her and she knew that he loved her. If she could just let go, she could love him with all her heart. She wanted to love him, she did love him, but her heart was still frozen in time.

“I . . .” she looked up into his eyes, trying to find the words to explain something she didn’t understand herself. Max was gone from her life, so why was he still here, a presence in her mind that wouldn’t let her move on? Why was she rejecting Xan, when he was here, and he wanted her, and he loved her? Was it because loving Xan would be a betrayal of Max, even though he’d left her a long time ago?

“Liz?” he said with a catch in his voice.

“I’m sorry,” her eyes began to fill with tears. “I’m . . . I’m just not ready. I thought I was, but . . . but I’m not. I-”

“It’s okay, Liz,” Xan tried to hide his crushing disappointment. She didn’t want him. He didn’t know what had made her change her mind so suddenly. He could have sworn she wanted this as much as he did, but he must have been wrong.

“It’s just . . . I’ve never . . .” she couldn’t look him in the eye, seeing the hurt that had flashed there when she pushed him away.

“You’ve never . . .?” he looked at her in surprise. There was such passion in her, he thought sure she . . .

“No,” she whispered. It’d all gone so wrong.

He shifted his weight off her, stretching out beside her and drawing her into his arms. He cradled her head against his chest, stroking his fingers through her soft hair as he willed his body to calm down. He kissed the top of her head lightly while his fingers gently caressed her cheek. “I’m sorry, Liz. I didn’t mean to push you. I’ll wait, until you’re ready.” No matter how long it takes.

His voice was so soft and gentle, it made her feel even worse. She should never have become involved with him. He deserved someone that didn’t come with all the baggage she carried around with her. He was the most wonderful person she had ever met, and he deserved someone that would only think of him. The thought that she’d almost called him Max was paralyzing her. Xan loved her, she could see it in his eyes, and to hear another man’s name on her lips at the moment of their deepest intimacy would have crushed him.

She should leave. She should walk away from him so that she wouldn’t hurt him. She knew what it was like to love someone who was tied to a past, and she couldn’t bear to hurt him that way. He should find someone that could love him, for who he was, not for who he reminded her of. She rolled away from him, certain she should go, but wanting to stay.

“Liz . . .?” he said softly and his unsteady hand touched her trembling shoulder.

“Just hold me,” she whispered. His arms wrapped around her and he pressed up close to her. His soft voice spoke soothingly to her while her silent tears soaked into the pillow. His gentle nature just reinforced her belief that he deserved someone better than her. Someone that could make him happy. Someone who dreamt only of him.

Back in a second with the rest . . .

posted on 14-Mar-2002 2:56:54 AM by Breathless
Pieces of the Past
Part 10 con't

* * * * *

The soft rhythmic sound of his breathing told her he was asleep and Liz contemplated what she should do. It would be better if she weren’t here when he woke up in the morning. It wasn’t that late and her dorm wasn’t that far away. She could use the night air to clear her mind and think things through.

She could feel the warmth of his arms around her, his body pressing so comfortingly against her. He had held her close, seemingly content with nothing more than that, willing to give her whatever she needed. She felt so safe in his arms, so secure in how he felt about her, and at the same time so unworthy of the love that he showed her.

She slipped out from under his arm and tried not to disturb him as she rose from the bed. She felt for her clothes and pulled them on hastily, her pants and then her top and then she searched and searched for her socks. Unable to find them in the dark, she slipped on her shoes without them and was startled when she heard the click and the room filled with light.

Xan was lying on the bed with his arm stretched out and his fingers on the lamp switch. He was squinting in the sudden light and then his eyes widened when he saw that she was fully dressed with her jacket in her hand. Lying there with only the sheet pulled up to his waist to cover his nudity, he looked vulnerable and exposed.

“Liz?” he spoke. He sounded so hurt.

“Shhh,” she said in a near whisper. “Go back to sleep.”

“Where are you going?” he asked weakly.

“I’m just going to go back to my dorm,” trying to keep her voice from trembling.

“I’ll walk you,” he started to pull the sheet aside.

“No,” she shook her head. “Go back to sleep.” She cupped his cheek with her hand and looked down at him with an expression he couldn’t read and then she leaned down and kissed him, a soft, lingering, sad kiss, and then she was gone.

“Liz-” he called out but the door was already closing behind her. He fell back against the bed with his hand pressing against his forehead. Shit. The kiss had felt like she was saying goodbye. What had he done wrong? And could he fix it?

He pulled the sheet aside and hurriedly dressed and then followed after her. He’d give her all the space that she needed, but he wasn’t going to let her walk home alone in the middle of the night. He ran down the hallway and took the stairs three at a time. He burst through the doors out into the night and in the glow of the streetlight in the distance he could see her figure. He followed after her.

He kept plenty of space between them so that she wouldn’t see him, but stayed close enough in case someone tried to bother her. She arrived safely back at Garcia Hall and once he had made sure she was in her room, he turned and headed back to his own dorm. He walked slowly, knowing he wasn’t going to feel like sleeping anytime soon.

* * * * *

Liz climbed under her sheets, still fully dressed, not even bothering to remove her shoes. She pulled the blankets up to her chin, huddling under the warmth that couldn’t quite reach inside her. She closed her eyes, trying to make her mind blank out, knowing that she’d made a mess of things. She’d wanted to be with Xan, needed to be with him, had waited all day for his safe return from New Orleans knowing she wouldn’t relax until she saw him again, but what should have been their special time together had been invaded by her never ending thoughts of Max. She thought she’d done a pretty good job lately of burying his memory in the recesses of her mind, but ever since Sunday night she couldn’t seem to stop thinking about him.

A noise penetrated her thoughts, a low level hum, and Liz opened her eyes. The room was brighter than a few minutes ago and as she lifted her head to look around, she felt the hair rise on the back of her head. A pinpoint of light was floating above the foot of her bed and she watched spellbound as it expanded in front of her. Within moments the room was glowing brightly, and Liz drew in a sharp breath as a figure began to take form.

She’d seen this image before, on a day in May when her world was first beginning to fall apart. Liz drew her legs up toward her chest, trying to make herself invisible, trying to deny what she was seeing, but as the figure became more distinct, there was no doubting who it was.

“I take this form because it is familiar to you,” the female voice floated to Liz. It was a voice she’d heard before, one that first told her that Max would never be hers. She shuddered, remembering the last time she’d seen that face. In the cave where Max was born, when she first learned of his destiny. “Do not be afraid.”

“What do you want from me?” Liz uttered fearfully, not expecting to hear an answer. When she’d seen the image of Max’s mother before, it was a message that had been stored in the orbs. She had no idea how she could be seeing this now. She hadn’t laid eyes on the orbs in years. Where was this vision coming from?

“There are things you must know.”

The figure floated in the air with fluctuating colors of white and blue all around her and Liz’s mouth dropped open in surprise. “Can . . . can you hear me?”

“Yes, child.”

“Why are you here?” Liz leaned forward, trying to fight off her fear. “Where’s Max? Can I see him?”

“Liz Parker, you have sacrificed much for a race of people you did not know. Your actions led to the return of our King, the one you knew as Max Evans. His presence here led to the restoration of our way of life and freed our people from oppression and tyranny. King Zan fulfilled his destiny, what he was created to do.”

Liz swallowed hard, wanting to know what his life was like now, but afraid to ask. If he was happy there with Tess, it would kill her. If he wasn’t happy, that would kill her too.

“I have come to you to show you that your sacrifice had true meaning. Zan’s return to Antar saved our world and at the same time prevented the destruction of yours. By stopping his enemies, here on Antar, the invasion of your planet has also been averted.”

“So my world is safe now?” Liz asked.


“And Max? Where is Max now?”

The figure held her hand out in a sweeping gesture and to Liz’s left a series of images began to unfold, like a movie in 3D. Her breath hitched in her throat when she saw Max’s face, strained and rough, and as the image expanded Liz could see the cell he paced back and forth in. His clothes were dirty and torn, his face tired and worn, and as she watched he sat heavily on a rickety cot, dropping his head into his hands.

“No,” Liz whispered and her eyes began to fill with tears. This wasn’t what his life had become, was it? Living in a cell? In prison?

“There’s more . . .” the figure announced. “Watch, and you shall see . . .”

The image changed, and Liz looked on in horror as Max, shackled in chains, was led through the streets with Isabel and Michael behind him. Hate filled her eyes at the sight of Tess watching from the side with a gloating look on her face. She’d never trusted Tess. The proof that she’d been right after all gave her no satisfaction.

The image changed again, showing her his escape, his flight through the streets and the countryside. Tears spilled from her eyes at how stark his life had become, living on the run, finding shelter in caves, hiding from those who wanted him dead. Dear God, had she done this to him? All this time she thought he was living the life of a King when he’d really just been struggling to survive.

The image shifted again, showing his face staring skyward and she heard his desolate voice asking, “Do you ever think of me?” Without a shadow of a doubt, she knew he was thinking of her at that moment. All this time she thought he had forgotten her, that she was no more than a distant memory to him. She’d been so wrong.

Weeks and months flashed by in the images and Liz saw the horror of Isabel’s death and then Michael’s and the lonely despair Max lived with, alone in an alien world. Her chest became constricted and she could hardly breathe. She’d caused all this. Dear God, she’d changed the future and not only had Alex paid for it with his life, but Isabel and Michael too. But what of Max? What had become of Max?

Turning from the horrific images, she said to the spectral image, “I have to know. Where is Max? What happened to him?”

The figure held out her hand and Liz watched the pictures unfold, dreading what she knew was coming. She’d known it since Sunday night, but she hadn’t wanted to believe it. She watched in dread as Max climbed down the steps of a strange vehicle with a hesitant smile on his face. His image was shockingly familiar, with his long hair and his battle worn face. His leather vest couldn’t hide the scars that were prominent on his arms.

He waved to an adoring crowd, and the look on his face told her he was having a hard time believing they were actually cheering him. He stepped down to the ground, walking with regal grace, headed to what appeared to be an official welcoming committee, when he stumbled and went to his knees.

His eyes were wide with surprise and then he looked down at the red stain that was spreading across his chest. He jerked a second time and then a third and the red stain turned into a river. His blood was flowing freely as he sprawled across the ground.

“No . . . Oh God, no . . .” Liz cried.

He lay on the ground surrounded by shadowy figures. He clutched at a thin arm and Liz could see the blood that soaked through his shirt and flowed from his mouth. A part of Liz died inside as she heard him choke out his last words.

“Larek . . . I’m not going to get that second chance. I’ll never get to see her again.” He coughed, choking on his own blood. “I hope . . . I want . . .” Max rasped out. “. . . I want to be buried on Earth. I want to go home . . .” and then his eyes closed and the image faded away.

Liz sobbed on the bed, rocking back and forth in agony. Max was dead. Oh God, Max was dead. She’d felt him die the other night. When she’d changed the future, she never thought it would come to this.

“Child, listen. There’s more for you to know,” the specter said.

“No,” Liz cried with her hands over her face. “I don’t want to see anymore.” She’d seen all that mattered. Max was dead. Choking out the words, she asked, “Is that why you’re here? To grant his last request? To . . . bury him?”

“Zan returned to Antar and freed his people. It was what he was created for, what he was meant to do. It was his destiny and he fulfilled his obligation. It cost him his life, and in death, we granted him his deepest wish. The Max you knew longed to be human, to be normal, to fit into the world that he lived in. His thoughts were easy for us to see. His love for you was a constant throughout his life, both on Earth, and here on Antar. He never stopped loving you.”

She felt the knife twist in her heart. She had accepted a life where Max was a husband and a father and she had no part in it. She had accepted a life where she knew she’d never see him again, or touch him, or hold him. But she couldn’t accept that he was gone, dead, and soon to be buried. The pain was just too great.

“What Max wished for most of all was a life with you, a normal, human life,” the figure continued. “We granted his wish to the best of our ability.”

“What?” Liz whispered and raised her head from her hands. She didn’t understand.

“Zan was our savior. We couldn’t let his glorious achievement go unrewarded. His essence, his soul if you will, was preserved when his body died. We traced his human bloodline to 1983 and found a set of viable candidates. His Antarian essence and human DNA were combined with genetic material from the humans chosen from his bloodline, so that biologically they would match. After insertion in the female human host, Zan was reborn in the normal human way.”

“What are you saying?” Liz felt the first stirrings of hope.

“We used the Granilith to go back in time so that your Max could live again. We wanted to give him the chance to live that life he so coveted. Medically, he will appear completely human. He won’t remember his past. He won’t remember the lives he lived before. His Antarian side is still there, but buried deep beneath the surface. You hold the key to unlocking those secrets. It is up to you to find him. Because his DNA was combined with that of his chosen parents, his appearance may be somewhat altered, but inside, he is the same Max Evans that you knew. He will know you when he sees you, but he won’t know why. It is up to you to decide if his memories and his special skills should be released. That ability resides in you.”

“In me?” Liz was shocked. Her head was spinning. As impossible as it all sounded, the truth rang loud and clear. Xan didn’t just look like Max and sound like Max. Xan was Max. She had seen it in his eyes the first day that she saw him in the cafeteria. She had heard it in the sound of his voice when he said her name. She had felt it in the way he touched her hand, as if touching somehow made them complete. She just hadn’t allowed herself to believe . . . until now.

“Max Evans changed you, Liz, when he healed you. Aren’t you aware of that?”

“Yes, but . . .” She couldn’t think. Her mind was filled with his image. Xan. Max. The way he’d looked when she left him a short time ago. The crushed look in his eyes when he’d turned on the light and saw that she was leaving. She had to go to him. She had to see him. She had to be with him. Now.

“When you find the one you’re looking for, the answers will come.”

“I’ve already found him,” Liz smiled.

“Go to him, and live in peace. He is free to live the life he always wanted, with the gratitude of an entire world.” Before the image had even faded, Liz was racing for the door headed for the only place she wanted to be.

I'll be back tomorrow night with part 11

posted on 15-Mar-2002 2:47:05 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Dreamer, of course
Rating: Send the children off to bed! Don't let them read over your shoulder!

Author Note: I can't even begin to comment on all the wonderful feedback you have given me. I am amazed by it, and humbled by it. There is so much I want to say I don't even know where to start! Maybe the best thing I can do right now is give you the next part and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Pieces of the Past
Part 11

Xan sat on the couch in the dark in the same position he’d been in since he returned from following Liz to her dorm. Once back in his own empty room, he’d stripped off his shirt and his shoes and socks and got as far as unfastening the button on his jeans when he gave up the idea of going back to bed. He knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep the rest of the night. He’d been sitting on the couch staring at nothing for quite awhile now, while memories of this evening played over and over in his mind.

Liz, rising from the couch when he first noticed she was in the room. Later, looking at the way her cheeks flushed as her bra fell away to expose her perfect breasts. Touching her, feeling her soft skin against his. Her lips on his showing him how much she missed him. Her body moving beneath him with such passion.

And then she suddenly closed down and pulled away from him. She was everything he ever wanted and he sat in the dark wondering if the dream was over. He’d dreamt about finding that special girl his whole life. He’d looked for her in every dark haired girl that he saw. He’d dated throughout high school, but with just one kiss he had known they weren’t the one he was looking for. He’d searched and searched, and now that he’d found her, the girl he’d fallen in love with the instant he laid his eyes on her, she didn’t want him. He’d waited his whole life to find her, and she didn’t want him.

What was he supposed to do now? Give her up and move on, knowing no one else could ever hold a candle to her? Settle for just being friends while he quietly died from wanting her so? When she’d been in his arms he had felt the passion in her and for a few minutes he was certain she was his. When she had pulled back, he thought she just needed more time, but when she kissed him goodbye, it felt like goodbye. How was he supposed to live without her? How was he supposed to get up tomorrow, or the next morning or the morning after that? If only she could learn to love him the way that he loved her, but he was afraid her heart belonged to someone else, and always would.

A knock sounded on his door, intruding on his thoughts and at first he tried to ignore it. He didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. He wanted to sit here in the dark and pretend tonight had never happened. The insistent knock came again and deciding whoever it was wasn’t going to go away, he rose to his feet unenthusiastically. It was probably one of the guys down the hall wanting to borrow something and Xan would be more than happy to tell him where to shove it. He wasn’t in the mood for company.

Pulling open the door, the harsh ‘Wha da ya want?’ he’d been about to say froze on his lips. Instead, taken by surprise, all he could get out was, “Liz?”

Liz watched the door swinging open to reveal Xan standing on the other side. Xan. Max. It didn’t matter what she called him. On the inside, he was one and the same. She didn’t know why it had taken her so long to see the obvious. He was standing there with the room dark behind him and his eyes squinting from the light in the hallway. He must have been sleeping she decided after letting her eyes fall to take in the sight of his naked chest and his bulging biceps and his bare feet and the button on his pants that wasn’t buttoned and the zipper that wasn’t completely zipped.

She remembered what it was like to touch the bare skin of his chest, that night in Michael’s apartment. He wasn’t so different now. A little bigger, a little older, but his skin was still just as smooth. The rich golden shade was still just as breathtaking as it had been before. His muscles were just as hard and well defined as she remembered them.

Forcing her gaze back up to his face, she focused on his eyes. Those golden brown eyes that hadn’t changed at all. This was no mere family resemblance. His eyes were exactly the same. The same depth. The same emotion. The same intensity. She could see everything reflected in his eyes.

She knew that she could say it now and mean it with all her heart. No divided loyalty. Nothing to hold back. No reason to feel guilty. Looking into his eyes, she said what her heart was feeling.

“I love you Alexander Hartman,” her soft voice filled the air around them.

Xan’s heart slammed in his chest and his eyes opened even wider, forgetting all about the harsh light spilling in from the hallway. Did Liz just say what he thought he heard her say? Was she really standing there on the other side of his door telling him that she loved him or was this just a really vivid dream? Maybe he should pinch himself just to make sure. Liz lifted her hand and touched him on the chest, which was much better than a pinch. His skin always tingled when she touched him, just like it was doing now, and he knew this wasn’t a dream.

“Liz . . .” he sighed, not coherent enough to say anything else.

“I love you Xan,” she said and moved forward into his room. He stepped back to allow her entry, letting the door swing closed behind her. He flipped the light switch and they stood staring at each other, Xan wondering what had brought her back, Liz wondering how she could have left him in the first place.

“Liz, about before-”

“I was scared,” Liz cut him off. Her fingers spread out covering his chest right above his heart and even though he was trying to hide it, she could see how much her leaving earlier had hurt him. His eyes couldn’t hide it from her. “Everything was moving so fast,” she tried to explain. “I’m sorry.”

“Why did you come back? I mean, tonight? What made you come back tonight?” He wanted to take her into his arms and do all the things he craved to do, but he was afraid to even move.

“I want to finish what we started,” Liz said softly as she stared up into his eyes. Under her palm, she could feel his pulse rate climbing.

“Liz,” he lifted his hand and placed it over hers, squeezing her fingers in a light caress. With a nervous smile, he said, “You don’t know how much I want that too. But . . .”

She noticed how his smile disappeared and his eyes became so serious. “But what?”

His eyes darted away from hers, unable to hold her gaze as he said, “I . . . I won’t be able to stop this time, Liz. I want you so much, but . . . you have to be completely sure about this.” He finally met her eyes again and through lowered lashes he continued, “I can’t start something that you’re not ready to finish.”

“I am ready, Xan,” Liz vowed. “I know I said I wasn’t earlier, but I am. You have no idea how ready I am for this.”

Xan froze, watching spellbound as her hands lifted the hem of her shirt up and over her head. Her hair slowly pulled free of the collar and it fanned out over her bare shoulders. She reached for the clasp of her bra and Xan swallowed hard as she expertly released it and it fell away from her body to expose her beautiful breasts for the second time that night. He stood rooted to the spot, just staring at her, unable to move a muscle.

“I want you to touch me, Xan.” Liz lifted her hands to touch her throat and said, “Here, where your kisses make me shiver, and here,” she touched an area in the valley between her breasts, “where your lips make me weak in the knees, and here . . .” She reached for his hands and took one in each of hers, lifting them to cup her breasts. “I want you to touch the places no one else ever has.”

“Are you sure Liz?” Xan had to ask again. “Are you positive this is what you want?” He could feel her nipples turning hard against his palms and his self-restraint was almost gone.

“I’ve been waiting for you, Xan,” Liz let her hands glide up his arms and across his strong shoulders and along the tight muscles at the back of his neck. “I’ve been waiting for you for so long. I just didn’t understand it until now.”

“And now you think you’re ready?” Xan moistened his lips with his tongue and his eyes roamed over her face and then dropped down to where his hands cupped her breasts. His heart was racing as his eyes lifted back up to look in hers. He wanted her so much, but only if she wanted him too.

“Now I know I’m ready,” Liz said without a trace of doubt. “I’ve never been more ready for anything in my life.” Her hands moved forward and gently caressed the sides of his face, drawing him down to kiss his sensual lips. His hands moved around to her back, pulling her close as he deepened the kiss and one hand rose up to bury his fingers in her hair. This was what he wanted most of all. To feel Liz in his arms. To taste her on his lips. To have a chance just to love her.

When they broke apart to take a breath, Xan rested his forehead against hers. His face had softened as the worry lines disappeared and a smile played at the corner of his lips. “Your hair,” he said, caressing a strand between his finger and his thumb, “it’s so soft.”

“You told me that once before, the night you kissed me for the first time,” Liz smiled up at him.

“I don’t remember that,” Xan’s smile wavered.

“I do,” Liz said dreamily. Her hands lowered from his face, distracting his thoughts as her palms slid down to touch the skin of his chest. His nipples were standing erect and she grazed them with her fingernails, causing a shiver of excitement to course through him. Her eyes dropped down to those dark circles and she leaned forward, and Xan drew in a deep breath as her lips touched him.

While her mouth toyed with his hard nipples, her hands dropped lower. He shuddered with growing desire when her fingertips traveled down the ridges of his stomach and he inhaled sharply when she brushed against the front of his jeans. Looking up at him again, she watched his eyes darken as she unfastened the button on her pants and lowered the zipper. She eased the garment down her hips and it fell to the floor and she was left wearing only a see-through pair of panties.

With his hands on her hips now, he pulled her tightly against his body, feeling the hard peaks of her breasts pressing into his skin. She raised her lips to his and they kissed again, lip to lip, chest to bare chest, and his fingers slid beneath the silky material of her panties. At the same time, her hand worked its way to the front of his jeans and she slid her fingers inside. The zipper, already partially lowered, had barely contained his growing erection and as her hand touched him, the space became so tight he was sure the zipper was about to burst open.

He moaned against her lips and then moaned even louder when her hand moved away. Needing to be free of any separation between them, Liz pulled at his zipper and then his pants dropped to the floor. Reaching for him again, she was surprised and highly aroused that he wasn’t wearing any underwear. He’d been in such a haste to dress when she left earlier that he hadn’t bothered putting his shorts on.

She mumbled something against his lips that he couldn’t quite make out but it didn’t matter. His blood was racing through his ears so loudly he couldn’t hear a thing. Her hand closed around his erection again and all he could do was feel that she was doing to him. He tugged at her panties and they fell to the floor to join the rest of their discarded clothing.

She pulled away from his lips and took a step back from him with Xan chasing after her. He needed to touch her, needed to feel her and he followed her as she led him over to the bed. Xan stared at her as she sat down and scooted into the center of his mattress. Her hair flowed all around her, her eyes stared up at him almost black with desire and her cheeks glowed pink with the heat that was building inside her. Her head lay back against his pillow and he watched spellbound as her chest rose and fell with her labored breaths. Her legs parted slowly and his erection turned almost painfully hard as she opened up to him. Her arms rose, asking him to join her.

She watched his face as he looked down at her, feeling incredibly wanted, and needed, and loved. Lowering her eyes, she took in the sight of his erection standing at full attention, and she wanted to feel him inside her. She raised her arms to him and he joined her quickly. He hovered over her with his knees between her legs and his hands on either sides of her shoulders and he looked down into her face like nothing else existed in the world. Only the two of them, here in his room, ready to cement their relationship.

He lowered his face to hers and he kissed her. A soft yet passionate kiss, full of the love he felt for her, and when her arms went around him and she pulled him down to her, he let his weight settle on top of her. His erection pressed between her legs, sliding easily between the folds of her sex until he reached her coveted entrance and he paused there in sweet anticipation of what was to come.

So caught up in the moment, he’d almost forgotten what he needed to do before they could finally be together. He lifted off of her and he fumbled in his nightstand drawer until he found a condom. It’d been gathering dust there since last fall, when he’d first arrived at college and his father had pressed it into his hand telling him to be careful, when his mother wasn’t looking. Opening the package quickly, he rolled it down the length of his engorged member. He saw the way she watched him, the way her eyes were riveted to the hard shaft he held in his hand and he could tell this time she wouldn’t be changing her mind. She wanted him every bit as much as he wanted her. He could see it in her eyes.

He stretched out over her again, both of them ready now. He settled his weight down onto her, feeling her legs part to accept him. He could feel her chest expand and contract as she breathed and his hand gently caressed the side of her face. Her cheeks were flushed with desire and her eyes looked up at him with such love that he thought his heart was sure to burst.

“Liz . . .” her name caught in his throat. He slowly lowered his lips to hers and just before they touched, he said softly, “I love you Liz.” He kissed her slowly and tenderly, closing his eyes as he silently thanked the heavens that she’d come back to him.

Liz felt his weight pressing down on her and she thought this must be the most wonderful feeling in the world. And then he kissed her and she thought that was even better. His love for her was evident in the way he touched her as if she were something precious. He made her feel so special. Her hand rose to the back of his head, showing him that she wasn’t going anywhere this time.

He lifted from her lips, looking into her face once more, needing the reassurance that she was ready for this. Her first time. His first time. Their first time. Seeing the light shining in her eyes, he guided his manhood along her folds letting her silken juice coat him. Poised at her entrance once more, he eased inside of her, watching her face closely as he penetrated her. Her walls stretched around him as he inched into her depths, and then he pulled back, nearly dripping with her nectar. He trembled as he rocked forward again, an inch, then two, then deeper, seeing only wonder and desire reflected on her face. They pulled apart and then flowed together again, this time Xan stopping as he reached the membrane that barred further penetration.

He moved his hand out from between them allowing more of his weight to settle onto her. He covered her mouth with his, kissing her tenderly as he pulled back once again. Her lips were so sweet, her body so small and delicate beneath him, he was afraid of hurting her. He couldn’t stand the thought of hurting her. But he wanted her so much, and he needed her, and he was so empty inside without her. He felt her fingernails scrape across the skin on his back, and he knew she needed him as well.

His large hand gently caressed her cheek as they kissed, a kiss that quickly turned intense and passionate. Moving his hand through her hair, he cupped the back of her head, lifting her up to his craving mouth. A moan rumbled deep in her throat, the same moan he’d heard in his dreams so many times, and his body surged forward. He felt the tug as her hymen gave way and then she arched up against him in passionate response. He sank into her deeply with her hips rising up to take him in and her mouth eagerly kissing him. He pulled back to her entrance and with her hands on his butt urging him on, he sank into her again, swiftly and deeply.

She’d always thought losing her virginity would be painful, but he’d moved inside her so gently, so lovingly, that there’d only been a moment of discomfort which was soon forgotten as the sensation of his body filling hers took over. She moaned as he pulled back, leaving her empty inside, and then she moaned again when he surged forward, filling her once more. His movements were slow and gentle, taking his time while she adjusted to the feel of him inside of her.

“Liz,” he mumbled heatedly against her lips. He’d wanted her for so long, loved her from the moment he saw her, dreamed of her before he ever met her, and to have her now, to hold her in his arms, to sense the passion for him in her kisses, to feel her body wrapped tightly around him was the fulfillment of all his hopes and desires. He plunged into her deeply with his breath rushing from his lungs with each forward surge.

His love for her was unconditional, wishing only to have her love back in return. He kissed her with his lips, caressed her with his hands, loved her with his body and as their lips parted for a moment, she rested her cheek against his and whispered to him, with her words fulfilling his deepest desire.

“I love you,” she said heatedly next to his ear. “I’ll always love you.”

She felt the tremor pass through his body when she said it and then his lips were seeking hers again. The air was filling with the sounds of their love, the moans escaping from her throat as her body came alive, the creaking of the bed as their bodies moved together, their skin moist with passion and burning with desire.

His movements were changing now, becoming more intense as he increased the tempo, with her hips moving with his in an intimate rhythm. She rose up to meet his downward thrusts and their bodies met somewhere in the middle. Soon they were nearly crashing together, Xan burying his sex inside her and Liz racing up to take him in. Her body trembled with growing passion as he moved inside her, causing sensations she’d never felt before.

“Liz . . .” Xan breathed out between passionate kisses. Moving his lips to her throat, he pressed his face against her tender skin. “I . . . I can’t . . . wait . . .”

He kissed her hard again, trying to wait for her but knowing he was about to explode at any moment. Feeling her tight walls around him and hearing the moans escaping from her throat was making him lose all sense of control.

His voice had always sent shivers of excitement through her, and now, to hear him in the throes of passion, to hear the need imbedded in the tone, was all it took to send her to that special place. She arched up under him, slamming her hips up to meet his as she cried out, quivering with released passion. Her fingers dug into the muscles of his butt as their bodies crashed together.

Loud and clear, her voice rang out, “Max . . . oh God Max!”

Xan felt her convulse beneath him, felt her silken walls constrict around him, and he joined her in climatic bliss. His orgasm exploded with an intensity beyond anything he’d ever felt before, while wave after wave of pleasure coursed through him. His body slammed into hers, pressing her down into the sheets while his climax raged. He was highly aware that the name she cried out at the height of her passion hadn’t been his, but somehow it felt right to him.

It felt . . . familiar.

He shuddered with his final release and with his eyes falling closed, a series of images flashed over him . . .

A young girl on a school playground and a dark haired boy climbing from a yellow school bus and seeing her for the first time . . .

Xan walking into the cafeteria and stopping dead in his tracks at the sight of a dark hair girl with the biggest brown eyes he’d ever seen, working behind the lunch counter . . .

A different looking him standing next to a younger Liz in a school classroom, watching her out of the corner of his eye and then turning away before she could notice . . .

Xan, standing in the shadows and watching Liz as she worked behind the counter, wishing she would look up and see him, afraid of what would happen if she did . . .

That younger version of Liz, wearing an alien themed uniform with what looked like a younger version of himself watching her from a booth . . .

Xan, with damp hair and untied shoes, hurrying from the gym just to get a glimpse of her before she got off work . . .

That younger Liz, smiling as she poured a cherry coke into a cup and then walking across the restaurant to give it to the boy that looked so much like him . . .

Liz popping open the top of a cherry coke and crossing her dorm room to hand it to him, feeling the fire in his fingertips when they touched . . .

Liz, standing on a balcony in the arms if his look-alike, sharing what he somehow knew was their first kiss . . .

Xan, seeing Liz across the basketball court and running to her, kissing her for the first time . . .

His other self, in a voice thick with emotion, telling a heart broken Liz ‘But you mean everything to me’ . . .

Xan, standing in his dorm room sharing his innermost feelings with his life long friend, saying ‘She means everything to me’ . . .

The blonde haired girl he saw in the photograph on Liz’s dresser telling her ‘Max Evans is staring at you again’ . . .

Xan turning the corner in the cafeteria and almost bumping into Liz, hearing her call him ‘Max’ . . .

A shot . . . blood . . . a glowing hand . . .

The images rushed at Xan, one after another, and as they began to fade his eyes opened wide. Looking down at Liz’s face, he raised up on his elbows and in hushed surprise he said, “What was that?”

“What was what?” Liz asked breathlessly. Had he seen the same thing she had? Had the images that flashed through her mind come from her, or from him? Had their act of intimacy unlocked his memories, or was she just sharing hers?

“Liz . . .” Xan looked and sounded confused. “I saw . . . I don’t know what I saw. What just happened, it wasn’t exactly . . . normal.”

She looked up into his incredibly handsome face and a hesitant smile began to play at her lips. She could still feel him inside her, growing softer now, but the sensation was still amazing. Her eyes shining up at him, she just had to ask, “What’s so great about normal?”

Why did that sound so familiar, he wondered? Just like the name Max did. And those visions, were those real, or was he losing it? Was he going nuts, just like his –

“Xan, your Grandfather . . .” Liz said as if she was reading his thoughts. “He wasn’t crazy.”

“Of course he was,” Xan insisted. “He thought he saw aliens. He had to be crazy.”

“He wasn’t,” Liz shook her head.

“Are you trying to tell me that you think aliens actually exist?” Xan asked incredulously. He couldn’t believe they were lying naked in his bed, joined in the most intimate way, and talking about aliens.

“Think Xan,” Liz cupped his cheeks between her hands. “Put it all together.”

“Are you trying to tell me that . . . that . . . that you’re an alien?”

“No,” Liz almost laughed at the shocked look on his face and then she turned serious and added, “Not me.”

“Then who?” he asked. They weren’t really having this conversation, were they?

She stared up at him, wondering if it would be the jolt he needed and she said softly, “You.”

He pushed away from her like she was on fire. Was she crazy? Had the whole world gone nuts? Without conscious thought, he waved his hand over his softening member and the condom disappeared. His mouth dropped open and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw what he had just done and he bolted from the bed.

“What the hell was that?” he shouted with his eyes riveted to his lower anatomy.

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion!

'I Wish' fanart by Andrea

posted on 16-Mar-2002 3:17:23 AM by Breathless
Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Dreamer
Rating: Once Max and Liz start, they just don't stop!

Author Note: So now we're down to the final chapter. Part 12 will be posted in 2 parts due to length. Afterwards, I have a little note I'll share with you to kind of tell you how this story came about if you're interested.

Let me just say once again that your feedback has left me speechless and amazed. After I posted part 10, I meant to suggest that everyone re-read the story, so you could see it in a new light, and not feel the conflict between needing to choose Xan or Max.

This final chapter might not give you all the answers to your many questions, but I hope it will suffice.

Pieces of the Past
Part 12

Liz sat on the bed, staring at the shocked look on Xan’s face. She hadn’t intended to release his memories. It just . . . happened. They had touched on a level deeper than just the physical, but that shouldn’t have been a surprise to her. It had always been that way between them. She covered her mouth with her hand, holding her breath while he struggled with what had just seen.

She imagined her face had looked similar to his when she first learned aliens existed and one had actually saved her life. His mouth was open, his eyes were wide as he stared at his lower body and his cheeks and ears were burning red. His head didn’t move but his eyes slowly lifted until he was looking at her through hooded lids.

“What was that, Liz?” he asked, trying to remain calm. How could a condom just . . . disappear?

“That would be one of those . . . alien . . . things . . . you can do,” Liz stuttered, not knowing how to explain it to him. She saw the blood drain out of his face and she leaned forward, wishing there was a way to make this easier. “Xan-”

“No,” he shook his head, refusing to believe it. “No. No, that’s just . . .” crazy! Too fucking crazy! What the hell was going on?

Liz clutched at the sheet, holding it in front of her as Xan began to pace back and forth next to the bed. He turned away from her, lifting his hand to run it through his hair as he walked toward the door. Her eyes were riveted to his back, watching his muscles ripple as he moved. His shoulders were broad, his waist and hips narrow and the skin of his incredibly sexy butt was lighter than the tan skin that surrounded it. His thighs were powerfully muscled and there was just something about the slight bow to his long legs that made the heat between her own legs intensify. He turned around, walking back in her direction and she thought she was going to burst into flame.

“Liz, I don’t understand . . .”

His arm was still raised, rubbing at his head in confusion and her eyes were drawn to the tuff of dark hair under his arm. Just below it was a mole, a familiar mole, one she’d seen in another time and place. An image flashed across her mind, of a night a long time ago, when she’d seen that mole for the first time. That same incredibly sexy mole.

His chest was hard, chiseled, more developed than that night she’d seen Max in Michael’s apartment. His stomach was amazingly flat and rippled, no mere six-pack for Xan. He had ridges over ridges, evidence of the many hours he spent working out in the gym. God, his body was sculptured! He was lean and tight and muscled with his lower abdomen forming a V, drawing her attention lower still. His male splendor was on full display, and she swallowed hard as he moved back in her direction.

“Liz . . . this can’t be right,” he muttered. The things he’d seen . . . the flashes. They were flashes . . . of . . . No! It couldn’t be. It wasn’t possible . . .

Liz couldn’t take her eyes off him. He was a fine specimen, very fine indeed, and she chewed absently at her lower lip as she studied him closely. A line of dark hair began well below the dimple in his stomach that passed for his navel. The hair fanned out as it neared the junction of his legs, dark tight curls that framed his male glory. He was soft now as he hung below that patch of dark kinky hair. Soft yet enticingly alluring. Just looking at him was fanning the fire that was building inside her.

“It’s the truth,” Liz said, tearing her eyes away from his male beauty. She could see the dazed look on his face as he fought against it. “You know it’s true.”

“What are you trying to say, Liz?” he still looked confused. “You think I’m an . . . you think . . .”

He couldn’t bring himself to say it. Alien. She thought he was an alien? He couldn’t deal with the thought of the girl he loved being insane, and he didn’t want to think about whatever might have happened to the condom he was wearing, and then suddenly wasn’t wearing, so he did the only thing he could think of to do. He focused on something else. “Why did you call me Max?”

She was relieved that he didn’t sound hurt by it. Calling out another man’s name in the heat of passion was a relationship killer, but Xan didn’t appear upset by it. Was that because a part of him was already accepting it? There was no use hiding it from him. His memories were there, pushing their way toward the surface. Looking him steadily in the eyes, she said, “It’s your name.”

“No,” he shook his head. “My name is Xan. Alexander Hartman. I was born in Alamogordo and went to school in Albuquerque. My name was never Max.”

“Your name was Max Evans and you went to school at West Roswell High, but you never got a chance to graduate." She moved to the edge of the bed with the sheet absently falling around her waist, watching him closely as he struggled, fighting against the truth.

“Max Evans . . .” he stopped his pacing and turned to stare at her. The name was familiar. Too familiar. Another image flashed over him and his breath was knocked from his lungs. A van. Dark. Wet. Cold. So cold. His pain as he looked up at Liz. And then the words. He heard the familiar words coming out of his own mouth . . .

‘Whether I die tomorrow or fifty years from now, my destiny is the same. It's you. I want to be with you, Liz. I love you.’

His lungs drew in a ragged breath, recognizing the images for what they really were. Not random thoughts. Not pieces of dreams. But –

Memories. His own memories.

“That was me, on your balcony?” he looked at her with questioning eyes, struggling to believe what he was saying.

“It was our first kiss,” she nodded.

“The restaurant you worked in, the Crashdown. I used to hang out there all the time.” It wasn’t a question. He could hear the sound of the bell when he pushed through the restaurant doors, ringing inside his head.

She nodded again.

“You got shot in that restaurant,” his eyes dropped to look at her stomach, remembering a glowing handprint.

“Yes,” she watched his face as the memories flooded over him.

“Liz . . .” his head shook back and forth, denying it but the truth was in his eyes. “I . . . I healed you. Jesus Christ, you were dying and I healed you.” He dropped his eyes to stare at his hands now, as if they were some foreign entity that he had never seen before.

“Those alien powers of yours sure come in handy sometimes,” Liz said offhandedly, trying to lighten the tension in the room.

“I left you,” he said as the horror of what he’d done flooded his senses. He’d known that someone in her past had hurt her deeply, he just hadn’t known until now that the son of a bitch that broke her heart had been himself. He crossed over to the bed, dropping to his knees in front of her. His hand was trembling as he lifted it to her face. “Oh God, Liz! I never should have left you.”

“You did what had to be done,” she rested her hand on his hard chest. “It was what was meant to be. What had to be.” His world was free now, and hers was safe from invasion. She didn’t have to worry about the future anymore, or the end of the world.

“God, Liz. The way I treated you. Acted toward you. How . . .” his voice cracked. He remembered driving across the center line in the road, pulling the jeep up beside her and ordering her inside. How could he have done such a thing to her? He should have supported her quest to find Alex’s murderer. Instead, he fought her every step of the way. “God Liz. How can you even look at me?”

“Max, it was a long time ago-”

“I’m so sorry,” his stricken eyes looked into hers. “Oh God, Liz. I’m so sorry,” his voice trembled. Xan was appalled by the memories that swept over him. How could he have been so stupid? How could he have taken her love and then thrown it away? That wasn’t him. That could never have been him. That day in the pod chamber when he told her she meant everything to him, how could he have forgotten the truth of those words? How could he have ever let her go?

“It wasn’t just you, Max,” Liz dropped her eyes from his. She had her own guilt to bear. “I wasn’t there for you when you needed me. I pushed you away just when you needed me the most.”

“I should have trusted you.” He climbed on to the bed next to her and they sat face to face, remembering the past. Taking her hands in his, he squeezed them gently. “You were the one person I never should have doubted.”

“Maybe it was fated that you go away,” she said softly with her eyes downcast. His world was free now. So was hers. They’d paid a high price, but not as high as it might have been. The war on his planet was over. The war on hers would never begin.

“I tried, Liz,” he pleaded with her to understand. “For nearly two years I tried to find a way back to you. I never gave up, Liz.”

“I know you tried, Max,” she lifted her chin and their pain filled eyes looked at each other.

“I was so close,” he cupped her chin. “We found the Granilith and I was coming home, but . . .”

“But you died, Max,” Liz blinked back the tears. “You died, but they gave you a second chance. They gave us a second chance.”

Maybe he’d been right all those years ago, Liz thought as she looked into his eyes. Maybe Max Evan and Liz Parker were never meant to be together, just as he’d said that day in a classroom back in West Roswell High. But Xan Hartman was a different matter. Xan Hartman had no destiny to fulfill. Max had been reborn with no past to haunt him, no destiny to claim him, no future that hung in the balance. The future was theirs.

“How long have you known?” he asked softly with his fingers gently touching her face.

“Who you really were?” she asked and he nodded. “Not until tonight.”

“So when you left here earlier,” he rubbed his hand up and down her arm. “You didn’t know it then?”

“No,” she shook her head. “When I went back to my room, I had a vision.”

“A vision?” he raised his eyebrows questioningly.

“Like that day in the cave, when you first found out who you were,” Liz let her hand rest comfortingly on his warm thigh. “I saw a vision of your mother, like what we saw before. She told me what happened. She showed me how you lived, how you died, and then she told me how they let you live again. She said it was what you always wanted. To live a normal life.”

“It was. It is. A normal, human life. With you.” He had always wondered what it would be like to never have to look over his shoulder, to not have to stay in the shadows, to live life in the open without hiding behind the trees. Now he knew. He’d been given that gift. But even a normal life was hollow and empty, until he found her to make it whole.

“I was so confused earlier,” her hand moved from his thigh up to his bare hip, just needing to touch him. “I wanted to be with you, Xan, but I also felt guilty for wanting you. I was falling in love with you, but fighting it because . . . because . . . I was still waiting for you, Max, to come back to me. Because I never stopped loving you.”

“After everything I did to you, after how much I hurt you, you were still waiting for me,” he said with his eyes filling with unshed tears. He brushed her hair back from her face, saying, “I prayed everyday that you’d somehow find it in your heart to forgive me. Liz, I-”

“Max,” she pressed her fingers to his lips. “We have a second chance. Let’s make it work this time.”

His hand closed around hers, kissing her delicate fingers before pulling them away from his lips. “I dreamt about you all the time,” he said, easily slipping into his Xan memories. “Even when I was little. I could never see your face, but during the day I’d look for you everywhere. I’d get a glimpse of someone on the street and then I’d look again but I didn’t know what I was looking for. And then I saw you in the cafeteria, and I just knew.” His fingers threaded through her hair caressing her tenderly while his eyes took in the beauty of her face. “ I knew . . . it was you.”

Back in a second with the rest . . .

posted on 16-Mar-2002 3:19:42 AM by Breathless
Pieces of the Past
Part 12 con't

Her hand moved to touch his chest as they sat face to face on his bed. Her fingers touched his skin tenderly and she asked, “Do you remember when I tried to make your skin glow?”

“Yes,” he said huskily. He remembered everything now. Every touch. Every kiss. Every time he was near her. She was the love of his life, in this one and the one he lived before.

His skin tingled where her hand touched him on the chest. He was living out a dream now, a dream he’d had for so long of loving her, and having her love him back. His own fingers mirrored hers, trailing down her skin, lightly brushing over her supple breast.

“Look at that . . .” a wondrous smile spread over his face. Her skin was glowing where his hand was touching her. A soft yellow light lit her skin and radiated out from the palm of his hand. “Liz . . .” he said in amazement.

Liz moved her hand along the muscles of his chest, and then disappointedly said, “I still can’t do it to you.”

“I’m glowing on the inside,” his husky tone returned. “Just like before.”

“So am I,” Liz sighed and then her hand dropped from his chest to inch along the ridges of his stomach. “I want to touch you.”

“I want to touch you too, Liz,” he cupped her breasts with both his hands. On a far off world, he thought he’d never get a chance to make things right with her again. Now, he wasn’t going to let anything stand in their way. With his voice thick with emotion, he said, “I love you, Liz. I loved you before. I loved you the moment I saw you again. I’ll always love you, Liz.”

“And I love you. Max. Xan. The name doesn’t matter. It’s you. Inside, it’s still you. I don’t want to ever be apart from you again.” They leaned forward in unison, seeking the others lips and they touched tenderly. For Max, tonight was the culmination of a lifetime of loving her. For Xan, it was the realization of all of his dreams coming true. Their kiss was long and intimate with Max circling his arms around her and his fingers pressing into her back. Liz dug her fingers into the skin below his shoulder blades while she tasted the sweet essence of his lips.

Her hands slowly moved over his broad back, dropping lower and lower until they rested on the warm skin of his hips. Her right hand moved forward and he drew in a sharp breath when her fingers brushed over him intimately. Their kiss broke apart and they both dropped their eyes down to the place she was touching.

“Liz,” he murmured with his forehead resting against hers. He’d spent so many nights lying on his bed in Roswell, wondering what it would be like to feel her touching him like this. What her skin would feel like next to his. What it would be like to just love her.

It was strange for him to have two sets of memories now of growing up, but Liz lived in each one. His Roswell memories all revolved around her, from the moment he stepped off a yellow school bus and he saw her for the first time. His Xan memories had Liz too, except in that life he’d known her mostly as a dream. He’d dreamt about her night after night, never knowing who she was or where she was or even if she really existed, until that day he walked into the cafeteria and saw her standing there. Now, all the pieces of his past, the pieces of Max Evans and the pieces of Alexander Hartman were all converging together and blending into one.

“Liz,” he murmured again, feeling his body react to the way she was touching him. He lifted her up and pulled her onto his lap with her legs straddling his thighs.

“Max,” she sighed, draping her arms around his shoulders. Their lips met in a kiss that quickly turned heated, locked together in a passionate embrace, chest to chest, stomach to stomach, with his erection the only thing separating them. His lips moved from her mouth down to her throat, kissing her tender skin and then down along her collarbone.

“Max . . . Xan,” she murmured against his ear. “I don’t know what to call you now. I know you as both, but the world knows you only as Xan-”

She sucked in her breath as his mouth closed over her breast and further speech became nearly impossible. His tongue flicked at her firm peak, teasing it and toying with it and smiling when he heard the moans coming from deep in her throat. He always wanted to touch her this way, dreamed of her wanting him as much as he wanted her. To be with her, to touch her, to taste her, to smell her passion, made him joyous beyond words.

“Maybe,” he said distractedly as he kissed his way across her chest. Nibbling at her right breast, he tried to finish his thought. “Maybe you could call me . . . Xan in public . . . and Max in private,” he suggested and then sucked hard at her nipple.

“Won’t that be confusing?” she breathed out and pressed her hand against the back of his head. She moaned in mounting pleasure as he tugged at her and he could feel the moisture pooling between her legs.

“I got used to being called Zan before,” he mumbled against her flesh, “and I’ve always been called Xan or Xander in this life, but . . .” He sucked her into his mouth again because she tasted so incredibly good.

“But what?” she rocked her hips against him trying to relieve the ache that was building between her legs.

He felt her wet center rubbing against him and it was his turn to groan. His hands moved down her back until he reached the sensual curve of her butt. His fingers kneaded that soft flesh and then he pulled her even tighter against him. They rocked together with her heat coating the outer edge of his erection with her slick juices.

“I . . . ” he tried to say but it was becoming more and more difficult to speak. Trying again, he groaned, “I don’t care what you call me. I just want us to be together.”

“Me too,” she moaned and reached her hand between their bodies. Her fingers curled around his swollen member and she felt him shudder the way he always seemed to do anytime she touched him.

She lifted up from his lap and guided the tip of his sex along her glistening folds. When his head reached the opening to her passage, she paused for a moment with their eyes locked together, and then she plunged down onto him. They both groaned audibly as her slick walls surrounded him and then they slowly began to move together. He raised his lips up to meet hers and they kissed passionately while their bodies rocked together at a slow and steady pace. They both wanted to savor every touch, every movement, every sensation they were feeling.

His hands moved to her hips, gently lifting her and then driving her back down on top of him. He could hear the labored sound of her breathing, feel the hot air rushing from her lungs, taste the desire seeping from her pores as his lips moved down her throat. She moaned in mounting pleasure, arching her back, opening her body to him.

Her hard nipples swayed in front of his face and he sucked one into his mouth again while her fingers dug into the hard muscles of his biceps. The thrill of him touching her and loving her swept through her body and she was surprised by the speed of it as she felt her orgasm building rapidly to a peak.

It crashed over her in a violent spasm and she threw her head back, crying out “Xan . . . Max . . . Oh God!”

She rode the waves of pleasure he drove her to while he fought off his own climax. He didn’t want this to end yet. He’d waited too long and it felt too good for it to be over so soon. She collapsed against him feeling spent and immensely satisfied, but it didn’t take him long to cause the fire to grow in her again. Shifting position, he picked her up and turned her over in one swift movement, without ever breaking contact with her.

On her back now, he thrust into her with deep strokes, grinding his body into hers in his quest to be close to her, to be a part of her. His arm was around the small of her back, pinning her to him as his body filled hers. Her legs lifted and wrapped around his hips, drawing him deeper into the heart of her. His mouth ravaged hers, deep passionate kisses that mirrored the depth of their emotions and then he felt the tensing in his body, the tightening in his thighs and his stomach and his lower back as he neared completion.

Coming to his senses, he began to pull out of her, straining to say, “Liz, we need-”

“No, we don’t,” she cut him off. She’d gone on the pill before he went to New Orleans, when she first thought their relationship was headed in this direction. “Don’t stop,” she moaned loudly. “Don’t stop.”

Spurred on by these wondrous sensations he was arousing in her, Liz slammed her hips up to meet his impassioned downward thrusts. Their pace was no longer slow and leisurely, but almost frantic in their need for one another. His sex, throbbing on the verge of climax, sank into her repeatedly, driving her to a second shattering climax and when it hit, the room filled with the sound of his names spilling from her lips. Her fingers dug into the hard muscles of his butt while her inner walls clenched around him and the sensation of her muscles contracting tightly sent him over the precipice.

His seed shot from him in pulsating waves and he thrust erratically into her as his climax surged on and on, spreading out from the center of his body to engulf him. With a cry torn from deep in his throat, he shuddered with sexual release until his climax waned, and then he collapsed onto her hardly able to move.

“God, Liz,” he mumbled with his face buried against her throat. The sensations he’d experienced with her were indescribable and left him gasping for breath. His lips found hers again and he kissed her hard and passionately, knowing he would never get tired of the taste of her. Soon, he would have to taste all of her, every square inch of her delicious flesh, but they had all the time in the world now to live out their fantasies and their dreams.

He rolled over onto his back taking Liz with him in one seamless, fluid motion. She lay upon his chest with their bodies still joined intimately and Liz smiled down into his gold flecked eyes, eyes that glowed from within. They kissed again as their bodies cooled and then they cuddled close, Liz with her cheek resting on his chiseled chest and Max stroking his fingers through her soft hair.

The quiet was comfortable and relaxing, and he was starting to wonder if she had fallen asleep, when her voice broke the silence.

“What was it like there?” she asked quietly.

He knew what she was talking about. Antar. He place he had left her for. He closed his eyes briefly, knowing he would carry those mental scars with him for the rest of his life. He’d made so many mistakes, and hurt the one person in his life that meant the most to him.

“It was both beautiful, and ugly,” he said softly. “Harsh and yet . . . serenely calm sometimes. I hated it there, but under different circumstances, I might have been able to love it too.” If you could have been there to share it with me, he thought silently.

“Do you wish that there was a way for you to go back home?” she said in a small voice.

“Liz,” he said softly and his fingers gently lifted her chin until she was looking at him. “I am home, Liz. This was always my home. It took me a lifetime to find my way back to you, to the one place my heart belongs.”

“Really?” she smiled uncertainly.

“Really,” he said without a doubt. He would spend the rest of his life making sure she never had a reason to doubt him again. Liz Parker was all that mattered to him, even though he was starting to think Liz Hartman had a certain ring to it. He could never be Max Evans to the outside world again, but the name didn’t matter, as long as he had Liz.

“Do you want to see your parents again?” she lifted her head and asked. “I mean, the Evans. They were heartbroken when you and Isabel . . .”

Her voice trailed off and he could see how difficult it was for her to even say it. ‘When he and Isabel left.’ When the world thought four teenagers had perished in a fiery crash down a steep ravine. “I’d like to see them again, but I don’t know how to make it work.”

She was quiet for a minute and then he saw her eyes light up. “Roll with me here,” she said lifting up from his chest. He stroked his hand up and down the curve of her back, enjoying the feel of her body stretched out on top of his. He watched her face intently, listening to every word she said. “I don’t know if this will work but . . . what if I tell your parents that I was working on a genetic mapping experiment for my Bio class. Extra credit, you know?”

Intrigued as he was, he still laughed at that. Liz and her extra credit. Thank God some things never changed.

“Stop that,” she scolded him for laughing at her and then couldn’t help her own smile. “Anyway, I could tell them I kept a sample of your hair, and I used it in my experiment, comparing it to random samples taken from members of the student body. You volunteered, and I found a genetic match, linking you as a relative to Max. A cousin maybe. They always wondered where you came from, if you had any family. It’s been really hard on them. It might be tricky, but . . .”

“It might work,” Max finished for her. He’d love to see his parents again, even if they could never know it was really him. He hated the way they’d stolen away in the dead of night, leaving nothing but that taped message as their final goodbye. They might believe he was a relative of Max’s but somehow they’d have to keep the Hartman’s separate from the Evans. He saw her face clouded over and when she didn’t say anything, he asked, “What?”

Meeting his eyes he could see the pain etched on her face and then she said, “I’m sorry. About Michael and Isabel. I can’t believe they’re . . .”

“I know,” he felt their loss just as strongly as the day it happened. Michael and Isabel, both dead now and buried on a far off planet, light years away.

His eyes flew open wide and Liz gaped at him. “What? What’s the matter?”

“Nothing,” he felt the smile spreading over his face. Could it be? Was it possible? “It’s just that Mark has been my closest friend since I was five years old. I mean, we’ve always been inseparable, ever since the day we met, in kindergarten.”

“What about Mark?” she frowned down at him.

“Well, it didn’t mean anything to me before, but Mark’s mother’s maiden name was Dupree,” Max was putting together the possibilities.

“That was the name of Michael’s donor,” Liz said wide eyed.

“I remember that now,” he nodded. “What if it’s not just a coincidence? What if they did for Michael what they did for me?”

“But Mark,” Liz shook her head. “Mark doesn’t look anything like Michael.”

“You didn’t know him in high school,” he laughed. “He had that God awful spiky hair in 10th and 11th grade and he was constantly walking around with a James Dean attitude.”

“Maybe I should introduce him to Maria,” Liz smiled with a mischievous glint in her eyes. “If sparks fly, that might give us the answer!”

They laughed at that and then he sobered a little, and with a pensive look he said, “If they gave Michael a second chance, maybe they did for Isabel too.”

“We might not ever know,” Liz said cautiously.

“That’s okay,” he reassured her. “Just knowing that it’s possible is enough for me right now. It’s been a hard burden to bear, knowing that my sister and my brother died because of my mistakes. Knowing that they might be alive, living a normal life, well, it somehow makes it easier.”

“I’m sorry, Max.” Liz felt the guilt for the chain of events her actions had set in motion. Isabel and Michael would be alive and living in Roswell if she hadn’t changed the future on one fateful October night.

“Everything that happened was my fault,” he said with conviction. “If I’d only believed in you when you were trying to make me see the truth about Alex. If I’d only trusted you instead of turning away from you. I’ll never make that mistake again, Liz. I promise you that!”

“I know,” Liz smiled at him. Xan always kept his promises. He had never lied to her and she knew he never would. It had been Tess who had manipulated Max and turned him into something that was unrecognizable, but that was in the past now and couldn’t hurt them anymore. Their lives could be taken back, and started anew. They were free now, to live the life they always wanted.

Staring down at him, she was amazed by all that she saw. His face was Xan’s but his eyes were Max’s. His eyes were the windows to his soul and she could see his love for her burning brightly there.

Looking up into her face, he felt his life had finally come full circle. After searching for a lifetime, he’d finally found what he’d lost and contentment filled him. They were whole now, both of them as they basked in the warmth of their love. Soulmates always found a way back to each other.

“Liz . . .” he began, uncertain how to express in words how he really felt.

“Yes?” she asked as she searched out his hand, entwining their fingers together.

“You stole my heart the first time that I saw you,” he said, knowing that it was true in two lifetimes. “You captured my mind the first time that I spoke to you. You possessed my body the first time we ever touched. You own me Liz. Heart, mind, body and soul. You own me. I don’t know how things went so wrong before, but I swear I’ll never let anything come between us again.”

“I believe you,” Liz felt her eyes filling with tears.

“You’re my everything, Liz,” his voice was thick with emotion.

“And you’re mine,” she smiled as her heart swelled with happiness.

Feeling desire rush through them again, their lips drew together like magnets. They had a chance for a new start now, without all the baggage of the past. Pulling her lips down to his, Xan rolled them over again. Tonight was their first night together and tomorrow would be soon enough for sleep.

Tonight there were more important things to do, and a lot of lost time to make up for . . .

The End is a new Beginning
posted on 16-Mar-2002 3:31:49 AM by Breathless
And so the story ends. Take a deep breath. I’m always both elated and depressed when a story comes to a close. I tend to get so wrapped up in the characters, I hate to say goodbye.

I said early on that I had a secret about this story to share. I don’t usually talk about the inner ramblings of my mind, but with this story I feel the need to share. I originally came up with an idea about Max, Tess, Isabel and Michael returning to Antar at the end of Departure, and Liz trying to move on without Max. I thought of the concept of her going to school and meeting a descendent of Max’s donor, with a similar look and with Max’s gentle human ways. We all know it was that alien crap that Tess put him through that made him into Season 2 Max. After a suitable penance on Antar, Max would come home, just as Liz was losing her heart to Xan, and he would have to win her back.

So I started writing away with a pretty good idea of what I wanted. I wrote chapter one. No problem. Then I started writing chapter 2. Xan is introduced in chapter 2. A problem developed. From the moment I started writing him, he got under my skin and wormed his way into my heart. Just the way Max has always done.

When Liz spills the drink on his pants in the cafeteria and then goes to get the mop, Xan is crushed when Shelly comes back with the mop instead of Liz and he hoists his backpack onto his shoulder and depressed, he leaves the cafeteria. At that point, my heart is going, ‘Oh, that poor guy. He’s so sweet.’

So by the end of part 2, Xan is tugging on my heart strings, and I’m thinking ‘Ut Oh’. I start part 3, and Max is doing his penance, trying to redeem himself in my eyes for the crap he pulled, living through a little bit of hell so he’ll pay his dues and deserve Liz again.

So then I’m back to writing Xan, and I knew the precise moment when I knew I couldn’t break Xan’s heart. This is when it happened:

She opened the back door and stepped into the kitchen . . . and there he was. Taking a bite out of a pepperoni pizza.

Xan’s stomach was growling in anticipation as he took a big bite. He chewed like he was tasting a piece of heaven and just as he was about to swallow, he saw her, standing by the door. The pizza stuck in his throat.

As soon as that pizza stuck in his throat, I knew that my original idea wasn’t going to work. Not for me. There was no way I could end up breaking Xan’s heart. But as a dreamer, I couldn’t keep Max and Liz apart either. And I already said I don’t write slash or three-ways, so I had a dilemma. How do I not break one of these guys hearts? There was only one Liz.

The idea of Max being reborn as Xan, wiping the slate clean so to speak and giving Max a second chance, came easily then and the whole story fell into place. I wrote it in about a week and then fine tuned the last part, which became parts 11 and 12 because it got so long, while I was in California.

Many of you figured out early on that Xan had some connection to Max’s donor, but I was happy that the deeper connection stayed a mystery to most of you until it was revealed in part 10. I knew that Max’s death at the end of part 9 would come as a shock to all of you. ‘Breathless’ killing off Max? Say it isn’t so! That is why I posted part 10 the same night, so you would see the truth. That Max had been reborn as Xan, and Liz could have ‘her Max’ back. The Max that thought only of her. The Max so many of us call Season 1 Max.

Michael usually always gives me fits when I write him, but he was good and noble in his devotion to Max and he deserved to be reborn as well.

I don’t usually blather on like this after a story is done, but there was just something about this one that kinda touched me. Maybe it was Xan’s innocence. Or maybe his unwavering love for Liz. Or maybe because by giving Max a chance to start over as Xan, I got my Season 1 Max back.

I hope you all enjoyed it. I know I did. *big*