posted on 17-Sep-2001 8:32:03 PM by majesty
*****PLEASE READ SUMMARY BEFORE CONTINUING TO PROLOGUE******


Title: Skies of Fire
Author: Majesty
Email: majesty0000⊕hotmail.com
Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell, and I don't want to upset anyone, so READ THE SUMMARY BEFORE CONTINUING TO PROLOGUE....
Rating:Possible NC-17
Summary: This is a catharsis of sorts for me. A/U Max and Liz. Aliens are aliens. Humans are humans. Alex isn?t dead. No Tess.

*****This may be politically incorrect for me to write at this time, and if people are upset by it, I will take it to a link on another website, but it's been eating at me, trying to find something productive I can do with all of these feelings I have been having over the past week. Due to the tragedy last week, this type of scenario has been playing in my head, and I seriously have to get it out now, as it's driving me crazy. Call it living in NY with a vivid imagination, whatever. If you don?t want to read about disasters, then don?t read this one. My dark side has come out and needs some healing. Don't worry, it will have a good ending, if I even decide to finish it, but there is mention of the WTC, and though it is not about the disaster, it does play a part in this story, sort of an homage, so to speak. So if this disturbs you, don't read it.*****


PROLOGUE

Max Evans stood over the arid desolate area that had once been a thriving city called Dallas. At least it was two months ago. Now all that remained were buildings that had once housed thriving businesses and happy homes, and the remnants of the lives that had once thrived here. Another large city. Another emptied out community. It was all the same, town after town. Place after place. Max and the others had seldom seen any survivors, and when they did, most were quite incoherent. But one man, a man in Philadelphia, had been able to speak. He had been left there, assumed to be dead. And for all intents and purposes, he was.

Max, Isabel and Michael had stayed with him for two days before they died, and they learned that much of what had happened to them had happened to him.

The last thing they all remembered was sitting down together for dinner in New York. They all shared an apartment, and kept their cover under the guise of being college students. Not really a guise, as Max himself actually enjoyed it. Michael however, hated it. Max excelled. It had been hard leaving Roswell to come out to New York City, a strange, dangerous and wonderful place. But Isabel entered into FIT, and did remarkably well as a designer, getting herself a job in the fashion district after graduating from the four-year school. Michael didn't find his footing right away, choosing to quit St. Joseph's, finding work until he discovered an art school that suited him. Isabel and Michael had been working for the past year while Max finished schooling.

Max's last year in medical school. He was supposed to graduate, with honors, in half the time of the other students, and the unthinkable happened.

Max sat across from Michael who was scowling at him. Nothing unusual for Michael.

"Max, what the hell are we gonna do once you graduate?" he said angrily.

"I don't know Michael, get a job, maybe a better apartment in the East Village?" he said.

"Maxwell, we have to move on. We've been here way too long as it is. We agreed to stay until you graduated. We can't stay here forever," he said.

Max knew he was talking about the skins. They had been protected by Nasedo for most of their time in NY. But Nasedo had gone away a few months back, trying to get a lock on the skins, and they had only heard from him once since then. Michael wanted to high-tail it out of New York, but Max refused. He balked at leaving, moving again. He was tired of constantly looking over his shoulder, keeping his distance from people. He wanted to be able to connect with people. Not in an alien way, but to heal in the most basic human ways possible, which is why he had wanted to become a doctor.

Michael thought it was a stupid idea, and accused Max of wanting to put them all in danger, because he thought that Max wouldn't be able to resist healing people the alien way. But Max knew in his heart Michael was wrong. He was not God, and never planned to walk in his footsteps. He knew he could not heal people the way he wanted to, so he would just have to do it the conventional way.

All his life, through school he hadn't made friends. The moment he had gotten off the school bus the first day he went to school with Isabel, he had seen a little dark-haired girl that had stolen his heart named Liz Parker. He had watched her from afar longingly all through his school years. He had kept his distance from his classmates, sticking with Isabel and Michael, watching others go to parties, on dates, to the proms.

He had watched beautiful Liz laugh with her friends Maria and Alex, enjoying their easy company. He wished to be part of that close-knit group. It was easier for Isabel. She was the popular ice-queen, and had hung around with all the other shallow elite, which afforded her social opportunities without emotional involvement. Michael had always been a loner. He was used to it, and most times enjoyed it, preferring only the company of Isabel and Max himself. But for Max it was hard. He knew that he caught the eyes of girls, but he only had eyes for one, and it killed him knowing that if he could just have the chance, he would talk to Liz, maybe get to know her?and maybe by some miracle she might even talk back to him. But he couldn't afford that chance, as Michael had so often told him. He knew Michael was looking out for all of them, but sometimes he resented the way he seemed to be ok with their situation. Max knew because of what he was, they could never have normal.

And so he watched Liz date Kyle Valenti, leave the Crashdown on his arm for Senior Prom, watched Kyle kiss her passionately afterwards before saying goodnight to her well into the morning hours. He could not explain the emptiness he had felt, though Isabel had tried to make things easier, telling him that humans were not good enough for them anyway.

He longed for that normalcy, and he still longed for it now. But that was his trade-off for being able to be in NYC getting his degree. He had promised Nasedo no emotional entanglements, and he had lived up to his promise, as lonely as it was. He didn't think much of dating, but at the least it might be nice to have friends outside their tight circle of three.

Max knew though, that getting close to anyone would put those people in danger, and so he remained distant from those in his study groups, never lingering after the studying was done. Most of the time he was ok with it, but sometimes...sometimes he found himself awakened in the morning hours before dawn, after dreaming of an angelic face, warm brown eyes, and chocolate silky hair.

"Maxwell!" Michael said snapping his fingers annoyed, drawing Max out of his reverie. "Are you listening to me?"

"Yeah I'm listening," Max said irritated. "Can we talk about this *after* I graduate?"

"You don't get it do you Max?" Michael growled. "We're like sitting ducks here right now. Nasedo..."

"Nasedo is fine," Max said angrily. "He was never one to check in with us all the time."

"Max, come on," Isabel said. "This isn't like him to be silent this long. Something's wrong."

"You don't know that," Max snapped.

"We don't know anything!" Isabel said worriedly. "Max, can't you see that this is bad?"

Max was about to answer her when the building shook fiercely, almost knocking them out of their chairs.

"What was that?" Isabel asked fearfully.

"I don't know," Max said as another violent quake shook the building with a continuous vibration.

"Stay where you are," Max shouted as he crawled over to the window.

The city streets were crowded with people running in panic, not knowing what exactly it was that was causing the quakes. Max opened the window and poked his head out, looking uptown. He could see a bright red haze above the midtown skyline, furiously making it's way toward this end of town. He could see fires in it's wake.

He quickly took his head in, slamming the window down.

"Get under the table now! Both of you!" he has said commandingly as they scrambled under the mammoth table.

"What is it Max?" Isabel had said fearfully, holding onto his arm.

"Whatever it is, it's coming this way," Max muttered, gazing at the window as Michael looked at him questioningly. Max remained silent as he watched the slight red glow burn brighter reflecting against the glass. They listened to the shouts and screams grow more frantic outside, and suddenly it was upon them, casting an angry beam into the apartment.

Instinctively, Max threw up his shield as the glass on the window shattered into a thousand pieces. He felt an amazing and horrible energy fill the room, literally enveloping the building, shaking its very foundation.

Dimly he heard Isabel scream as the ceiling fell around them and they were literally blinded by the energy bursting through the building.

There was a mighty roar that shook the building and Max felt it give out, floor by floor until it reached theirs, and they knew nothing but blackness.

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

Some time, perhaps hours later, Max stirred. All around him was surrounding blackness.

He tried to move, and winced when he felt a crushing weight on his waist. Smoke permeated the area, causing him to choke, and then cry out in pain, as he felt a sharp stab of something in his side.

"Isabel?" he cried in panic. "Michael?"

There was no answer.

He tried to move again, to no avail. He consciously controlled his breathing, knowing that giving in to panic was the sure way to his downfall.

Feeling around the rubble to either side of him, he tried to get his bearings, to find something that might aid his situation.

Just then, he caught site of a beam of light. About to call out, he remembered the inhuman energy that had torn the building apart and remained silent. He hoped his previous call to Isabel and Michael hadn't alerted whatever it was to his presence.

He lay completely motionless as he watched the beam travel above him. After a moment, he surmised it to be a flashlight, but his concern now was who was carrying it.

He tried to breathe as silently as possible, trying to stay still, but it was getting increasingly difficult to do that as whatever was stabling him in the side seemed to be working its way further into his body with the angle his side was at.

He grimaced in pain as the light came closer, and still closer. He was caught, he knew it. They should have left New York while they had the chance. Michael was right. It was all his fault.

He closed his eyes and prepared to meet his fate.

"Max?" a soft voice whispered, and Max?s eyes snapped open.

"Isabel!" he said. "Over here!"

Max heard scrambling for a short second, and then the light was in his eyes.

"Oh thank God Michael," she said gratefully.

Max squinted. "Can you get that light out of my eyes?" he said.

"Sorry," Michael grunted as he lay the flashlight down, pulling debris off of Max.

He felt Isabel's cool hand touch his cheek.

"Are you ok Max?" she asked, tearfully.

"I think so," Max said, as the heavy piece of wood was pulled off of him. He heard Isabel gasp.

"Max, you're bleeding!" she said worriedly.

Max put his hand to his side, and winced, sitting up.

"I'll be all right," he said.

"That looks pretty bad Maxwell," Michael said doubtfully.

"I'll be fine. Isabel, give me your scarf", he said, and she quickly took it off, handing it to him. At least there was some advantage to having a sister in the fashion industry, he thought wryly, as he carefully tied the long scarf around his waist tightly.

He tried to stand up, and fell heavily.

"Damn," he cursed. "Michael, help me up!" he said angrily.

"Max I think you should stay where you are until we get a look at you," he warned.

"Michael, I don't have time for that. I need to see if anyone needs help," he said, attempting to get up again, and falling to the floor once more.

He didn't miss the worried look that passed between Michael and Isabel, before Isabel lowered her head.

"What?" Max said, and they didn't reply.

"What?!" he asked again. "There have to be people out there that need medical assistance?"

Again his query was met with silence.


"Are you telling me that everyone is dead?" Max asked softly.

Michael looked at him silently for a moment, while Max looked at him questioningly.

"No Max," he said finally. "No one needs help. They've all gone."

"What do you mean they've all gone?" Max asked, confused.

"I mean, everyone's disappeared," he said.

"What do you mean disappeared?" Max asked.

"Just what I said, they've disappeared, vanished, gone," Michael muttered.

Max let out a harsh breath.

"I don't understand," he said.

"After it happened, we must have been separated with that blast of energy. When I woke up, I got up and called out to both of you. The building is barely holding. I walked outside and found Isabel sitting on the ground. We looked around for you and were calling you, but you didn't answer. I decided to take a scout around. Some buildings were destroyed, some weren't. But all I know is, I couldn't find a single soul out there, alive or dead," Michael said, looking at the ground.

"Help me up," Max said.

"Max I don't-" he started.

"I said...help me up,? Max said forcefully.

Michael sighed angrily, and grabbed his arm, helping him up.

?Max, I think we should take a look at you first,? Isabel argued.

"I need to see this Iz," Max said quietly, picking his way through the rubble to the opening in the front of the building.

Max didn't know what he expected, but he wasn't prepared for the sight that met his eyes.

Everywhere was destruction. Many of the buildings were damaged, or down altogether. Cars froze in the streets, their navigators gone.

Max listened to the eerie silence as he slowly walked up the street, Isabel and Michael in tow. He called out, hoping to hear an answering shout, any answering shout, but was met with only silence. He turned around, facing downtown and looked up at the sky. It glowed an eerie red. His gaze was drawn to the twin towers of the World Trade Center, where the red glow seemed to burn brighter. These two buildings remained untouched, seemingly the only ones unaffected by this strange energy that had invaded the city.

Max was unable to heal his wound completely. He had a strong feeling it was due to what had happened in NYC.

And so it was that they traversed the city for a week, looking for someone, anyone who might have been spared whatever had happened to the rest of the city's inhabitants, but found no one. During the day, the sky glowed an ominous orange, and at night was hazed with a deep red. Every night the same, never fading.

And then they had walked the George Washington Bridge, strewn with abandoned cars to New Jersey. Strangely, outside the city, it seemed all buildings and structures were unaffected, though they did not find a single soul along the way. They got to a rural enough area and were finally able to make use of a car. All phone lines were down. There was no way that they could get in touch with the Evans. They had made it to Philadelphia, taking side roads, and riding the shoulder most of the way to avoid the cars stopped in time on the roads. They made it as far as they could by car into the city, and then again were on foot.

And then they had found him, sitting on a bench near the Liberty Bell. He did not respond at first, seemingly unable to believe that he no longer was alone. He was obviously ill. Max did what he could to make the only living person they had seen so far as comfortable as he could until two days later, he was at peace.

His name was Jack Rogers. He had a family, a wife and two daughters that had vanished just as the rest of the population of Philadelphia had. During those two days, he talked of a red Armageddon that had plagued his city and had taken those that he loved. He didn?t know how he had survived it. Max gently pried him for information about where he was at the time, what he was wearing, who he was with. There seemed to be nothing remarkable about any of it. He was a steel worker, on his way home in his car, when all hell broke loose. He was in his work clothes, ordinary cotton, by himself. When it hit, he lost consciousness, much as they did. And he awoke to the same horror that they did. The complete disappearance of every person in the city.


They laid Jack to rest, and moved on to Columbus, Ohio, and Max suddenly turned mysteriously ill. Unable to move without writhing in pain, Isabel and Michael had feared he would meet the same fate as Jack.

It had to be his wound. It must have been infected by whatever energy was permeating the air since that fateful night.

Day after day Isabel sat at Max's side, nursing him and praying to a God she wasn?t even sure existed to spare her brother. She feared that a human God would not have mercy on those not of this earth, but she prayed anyway, for the first time in her life.

Michael made short excursions into the city, but turned up no further answers as to what exactly had happened. He had his suspicions that Khivar had something to do with this, but no way to prove it.

Max had few moments of lucidity, his body burning with an alien fever that no power of Michael's or Isabel's could take away. He tossed and turned, his body wracked with pain, unable to realize where he was, who he was with. For two weeks his body was ravaged by it, and then it broke, but he did not regain consciousness for another week. When he did, he could not speak, only staring almost unblinking at the wall in front of him. Isabel coaxed and cajoled him, trying to get a response, and received none.

For another two months Max lay bedridden, unresponsive. His only change in movements were when he closed his eyes to sleep. Isabel cried constantly, and Michael was starting to worry that Max would never come out of this coma-like state he was in.

Max had no conscious thought of where he was. He had no clear thoughts of self, only dim flashes of his surroundings.

And then one night that all changed.

Images of his home flashed in his mind. His home in Roswell. And then he was there, seeing the pod chamber, and an apparition of Nasedo, beckoning him, telling him where he had to be. He caught flashes of masses of people. It did not make sense to him. The people were screaming, being driven somewhere, but he could not tell where. And he felt a gentle presence, someone unknown to him, and then it was gone, replaced by a murderous apparition that overpowered everything around him.

Max sat up straight with a strangled scream in his throat, startling Isabel from her nightly watch over him.

"Max!" she screamed incredulously, throwing her arms around him. He tightened his arms around his sister, grateful to see her. Over her shoulder, Michael stood in the doorway, looking at him in disbelief.

Max looked at him intensely.

"We have to go home, to Roswell," he had said quietly, and Michael had nodded.

But it took weeks for Max to get his strength up. Michael refused to move from Columbus until he felt that Max was well enough, afraid that travelling would cause a relapse into whatever illness Max had been ravaged by.

And here he stood now, outside Dallas, hours away from the place he called home for so long, having no idea what he would find what he got there, but knowing somehow that home held the key to everything.

TBC....




[ edited 20time(s), last at 21-Jun-2002 7:04:00 PM ]
posted on 17-Sep-2001 10:32:32 PM by majesty
Thanks for the feedback guys. Sorry it *is* kinda dark right now, but I am in that kinda place. I'll find a way out of it, never fear, hehe. Writing has been helping me to do that.

Soypet, I corrected that sentence *happy* Only took me an hour to download another browser to do it! My IE finally crapped out on me, so it had to be done anyway. It wouldn't allow me to stay logged in, so I couldn't edit the post. Fixed now!

Wearydreams - a new part of Heart of the Phoenix was posted today. This is going to be weird working on two at once! I could barely keep up with just Senseless before! We'll see how it goes.....

Majesty



Edited by - majesty on 09/18/2001 22:34:57
posted on 19-Sep-2001 6:04:02 AM by majesty
Hi Guys, I'm baaaa-aaack. I am not exactly sure where I am going with this story yet, so please bear with me. I have some ideas, but am flying by the seat of my pants, just having the urge to write.

Hope somebody will get something out of this, as I am not even sure I should continue with it.

Majesty


PART ONE

Night was falling as they made their way slowly down 380, about 20 miles from Roswell. Even now, Max couldn't get used to the fluorescent crimson haze that dominated the night sky, dimming the stars and dulling the moon.

He sighed tiredly. Even after weeks of recovering, he still did not feel himself. He didn't know if it was the magnitude of the idea that they could very well be alone on this planet he had grown to love, or if it was the illness that had struck him so quickly and rabidly. He supposed it might be a little bit of both. He did not hold much hope that his parents were still in Roswell, or anyone else for that matter. But something was drawing him there, an unspeakable voice that told him that the small town that he grew up in held answers for him.

And he desperately needed answers. He needed to know if they had been somehow responsible for what had happened here. All communications had gone blank. They had no idea if it was just the United States that had been affected, or if it was the whole world. Max had a suspicion that it was worldwide, after all, wouldn't someone have ventured over here after all communications cut off?

"Max, are you ok?" Isabel asked worriedly looking back toward him in the back seat. She had noticed that most of the time he just stared out the window at the sheer stillness of everything. It was strange to see the animals about now. They seemed unafraid, the birds, the wild creatures, as if for now at least, they knew they had taken back control of the world that had been overrun with humans.

Michael gently maneuvered the car around the abandoned autos on the highway. The going had been slow, but Max had felt a growing urgency that they had little time now.

"Michael do you think you could hurry it up any?" Max asked quietly.

"I'm doing the best I can Maxwell," Michael said flatly. "What's the sudden rush? I mean, it's not like we are going to be late to any parties," Michael said dryly, glancing at Isabel, who gave him a warning look. She had been the brunt of too many party jokes in the past.

"I don't know," Max said. "I just have this feeling that we have to get there soon."

"Whatever," Michael said non-commitally. He didn't hold much faith in Max's sudden premonitions. But, he'd humor him. It's not like they had anything else to do in the near future.

Max turned back to the window. He looked at the landscape, so familiar and yet it seemed so long ago since he had seen it. And he guessed it had been. He had not been back for holidays or summer break, making every effort to finish school as soon as he could. Isabel had gone home with Michael a few times, and his parents had come out to NY to see him a couple of times, but he had been far too busy and had too much work to afford the luxury of an extended break.

Memories of the drive back from the orphanage, clutching Isabel's hand, both afraid of the unknown filled his head. They had no idea what to expect when they had been adopted by the Evans. But Isabel was quicker to accept their willing embrace then Max had been. Max felt lost, and had felt that way for as long as he could remember. But he loved his parents, and he knew he was fully loved by them as well. He knew that he and Isabel had brought joy into their lives, joy that only children could create.

But though he loved them, he somehow always felt a separateness with them. Isabel never felt it like he did, Max knew. Sure she knew she was different, but she loved being Diane and Phillip's daughter. It was the one close human contact they allowed themselves.

Max held a tiny hope that maybe his parents were here, that somehow maybe they had been spared whatever happened. But what if they had? Was that worse than being claimed by whatever evil force that had swallowed everyone up?

They had run into three other people in their travels, a woman and two men. None of them knew their names. None of them could understand what was asked of them. They mumbled incoherently and cowered in fear at the slightest shadow, the tiniest movement around them. Jack had been lucky. He hadn't lost his sanity. These others seemed to be in a state of dementia, unable to interact with the world around him. Max had no way of knowing whether it was the trauma of the disappearance of everyone, or something that had mutated in their bodies when they encountered the energy.

Max ran a shaky hand through his hair. It was the ultimate irony. He was on the verge of graduating medical school, finally able to help people as they wanted, and everyone had either disappeared, or was beyond help.

He didn't want to think of what would happen beyond Roswell. It was intimidating enough to think that they had travelled thousands of miles and had seen only a handful of human beings, only one of which had the capacity to speak to them..

There were no tell-tale lights ahead to tell them they were nearing town. Max had expected as much. The electricity was dead, much as the town probably was. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all, he thought to himself.

And then he caught a glimmering reflection in the distance to his left.

"Michael!" he said quickly. "Stop the car."

"What is it?" Michael said.

"I don't know," Max answered, as Michael killed the quiet engine of the Honda they were driving and switched off the lights. Max looked away for a second, and it was gone.

"I thought I saw something out there," he said, pointing to the arid desert area to his right.

"What was it?" Michael said.

"I can't tell," Max said, opening the door quietly.

"You two stay here," he whispered, as he quietly clicked the door shut.

"No way, Max," Michael said, "We're coming with you."

Max shook his head. "I'll call out if anything is up. Please," he said, "I need a minute out of the car anyway."

Michael sighed and leaned back in the seat.

"I don't see anything out there Max," he said. "I thought you were in such a big rush to get into Roswell."

"I was…I mean, I am. Just give me a minute to stretch my legs and check out whatever is out there. It's probably nothing."

"Be careful Max," Isabel said, touching his arm from the open window.

He looked at her reassuringly. "I'll be back in a few minutes."

Max started in the direction he thought he had seen the quick flash of light. Now it appeared dark. He didn't know how far he would have to walk to find whatever it was out there, but it felt good to stretch his legs. Suddenly the urgent feeling he had been carrying with him had left him as if it were never there.

He threaded his way between the small scrubby trees that dotted the landscape, as his eyes became used to the dim. A howl arose somewhere in the distance, and Max felt strangely comforted by it's high keen. It was familiar…home, something he and Michael had heard on many occasions at night camping near the pod chamber. He smiled slightly, the first time he had done that in a long time, and it felt good.

He breathed in the familiar scent of the desert and impulsively stopped in his tracks, looking back. He could not see the car in the darkness, but his sharp senses pointed his eyes in the correct direction. They could wait a few minutes.

He noticed the fairly large stump that rose to his waist next to him of a long dead tree. Five minutes. Five minutes was all he wanted to sit and take in the familiarity. He gently gripped his side out of habit, as it still twinged when he sat, and slid down the stump, his back resting against it, pulling his legs up.

A soft wind ruffled his hair and he shut his eyes, revelling in the momentary peace he felt being in this element.

And then he heard the first whimper, in the distance, and the shuffling of feet, and the broken gate of someone being shoved through the sand. His eyes snapped open in alarm, first to hear other voices besides Michael's and Isabel's and secondly because whoever one of them was, they were in pain. He could sense it.

"Shut up!" a voice said. "Are you going to tell me where the rest are, or am I going to have to kill you first and look for them later?" an angry voice said.

"I'm not telling you anything!" a soft voice said with quiet intensity. "So go ahead and kill me."

"With pleasure," the deeper voice answered, and Max heard a dull thump, and a shriek, followed by the heavy sound of something hitting the sand.

Max slowly rose, trying to get his bearings, his eyes searching wildly for the source of the voices in the dark.

Max heard a moan of pain, and his eye again caught the small flash of light as the attacker quickly switched a flashlight on, it's beam ricocheting off of a small metal object, before it was switched off again. His eyes did not have time to adjust, and as such, he couldn't make out much of either figure, one standing, the other on the ground.

Max knew he had to do something. Quietly he circled around toward the attacker's back, careful to remain silent.

The man was busy struggling with the other on the ground, and there was another cry of pain from the ground.

Max crept up quickly, and his eyes fell upon a man struggling to keep someone pinned to the ground. His clenched hand rose and fell, and there was a quick glint of metal, a knife in the darkness.

Max knew what he had to do. Rushing up behind the man, he delivered a swift kick to his side and knocked him off balance. The man quickly regained his composure, jumping to his feet with a menacing stance.

He rushed at Max and took him off guard, knocking him onto his bad side, and his breath hissed out of his body in pain. He rolled to his side, gripping it.

Breathing heavily, the man grabbed the flashlight from the ground, and quickly shined it on Max's face before snapping it off again.

"Well, if it isn't King Zan," he laughed softly. "Never thought I would meet you face to face. And now I get the honor of killing you."

Skin, Max thought quickly, and reacted as the man rushed at him on the ground with a knife. He quickly rolled as the man hit the sand plunging the knife into it, instead of it's intended target, Max's heart. Max quickly turned and was on his knees, and gave a good pound to the man's lower back, where he knew a plug-like growth would be. Nasedo had drilled it into them. Immediately, the body disintegrated into dust, mixing with the timeless sand that had blown across this plain for centuries.

Max winced as his side was gripped with biting pain, and struggled to his feet, turning to pick up the flashlight. He straightened up and grunted in pain as he felt another hot bolt of pain crease his side.

Stumbling slowly to the person on the ground, he fell to his knees beside them. He fumbled with the switch on the flashlight for a moment before getting it to work. When it's beam concentrated on the person lying next to him, his breath stilled in shock.

His eyes fell across the girl he had thought of so many times, the face that had haunted his dreams for years. Her skin was unusually pale, with the exception of the purple bruise quickly forming on her cheek.
Her sooty lashes fell on her cheek in unconsciousness.

Max swallowed hard. This just could not be possible. Of all the people in the world who had disappeared, how could she be here? And what did a skin want with her?

The rising moon's light caught the shiny surface of something around her neck, and Max's eyes widened when he caught sight of it.

My pendant! He thought. What is she doing with my pendant?

He had left it in the safety of the pod chamber, when he left for New York. Nasedo felt that someone, specifically a skin, might recognize the symbol, and would then know what Max was. Nasedo had given it to him in his tenth year, a year after he first approached he and Michael and Isabel for the first time. They sensed what he was, that he was not human. They also quickly learned of the protection he offered them, and as such followed his instructions and advice explicitly.

And now Liz Parker was wearing it. What the hell was going on?

"Liz," he said softly. "Liz, wake up!"

When she didn't respond, he laid his hand on her stomach to shake her, and immediately felt warm sticky liquid cover it. He raised his hand in front of him. Blood, inky black in the moonlight. And there was a lot of it, he noted frantically, as he watched it pooling, soaking through her clothes.

Panicking, he ripped her shirt open, exposing two knife wounds. He had to do something. He couldn't let her just die like this.

Again he laid his hand on the sticky blood that was covering her abdomen, closing his eyes, feeling the light and heat that spread from his hand.

"Get your hands off her!" an angry voice shouted, "I have a gun!"

Instinctively, protectively, Max's eyes flew open, and he threw his protective green shield around he and Liz, looking behind him for the intruder.

Intruders as it turned out, for as he turned around, he saw the last three faces he thought he would ever lay eyes on again. Maria Deluca, Alex Whitman, and Kyle Valenti.

He quickly dropped his shield, wanting to hope they hadn't seen it, but he knew they had.

Maria stood open-mouthed. "Max Evans?" she said incredulously.

"Great, now they're not only coming after us, their mutating people that used to live here," she said angrily to Alex.

"He's one of them," she said.

Then she noticed his hand still glowing on Liz's stomach. Angrily as she rushed him.

"What the fuck are you doing to her?" she screamed. "Get your hands off of her," she said, pushing him.

Max quickly removed his hand, and then held both of them up.

"I'm not going to hurt her," he said.

Maria's face turned to one of horror when she saw the blood dripping from his hand.

"You bastard!" Kyle said, as he promptly attacked Max, punching him in the jaw, knocking him to the ground.

"Maria, help her," Alex said, as he pointed the gun at Max.

Maria and Kyle knelt next to Liz.

"Oh Alex," Maria said, practically in tears, "this doesn't look good."

"Son of a bitch, I am going to kill him," Kyle said, rising quickly.

"I didn't do it!" Max said, preparing for another blow.

"I swear, I was trying to help her!" he said quickly.

"Bullshit," Alex said, cocking the gun.

"Please," he said. "I'm here with my sister Isabel and Michael Guerin. I came back to find out if my parents made it through whatever it is that happened. They're in the car waiting for me. We were on our way into town and I saw a flash out here. We stopped and I came to check it out. I saw him, the guy that was after her. He stabbed her. I tried to stop him, but I wasn't quick enough. I pulled the plug out of his back. He's dead. I was trying to help her," Max said, as he watched Maria try to stem the blood flow.

"And you just proved that you're one of them," Kyle said angrily. "How else would you know about the plug?"

Max just looked at him silently. Maria glanced over at him for a long moment silently, while she tried to dress Liz's wound.

"And that is aside from the fact that you have a radioactive hand and that you can make that fucked up green bubble," Kyle said menacingly.

"I say we do 'em," Kyle said staring at Max.

"No," Maria said suddenly.

Alex looked over at her. "What do you mean no Maria? The guy just tried to kill Liz," he said exasperated.

"I didn't…" Max started, and Alex turned back toward him aiming the firearm at him.

"Shut up," Alex said.

Max kept silent.

"Alex, if we take them with us as prisoners, we have some leverage. As long as we have their kind, maybe they'll leave us alone until we do what needs to be done," Maria said, tightening the makeshift bandage she had made by tying her sleeves together after ripping them off.

"But I'm not-" Max said.

"I said *shut up*," Alex growled.

"Alex just get rid of him," Kyle said. "I'll go up to the road and take care of the other two."

Max felt panic rise in his throat.

Alex was silent for a long moment.

"No, Maria is right," he said finally. "They have to know that they're out here. Sooner or later they'll come looking for them. They can't afford to lose any more of their own kind. They'll want them. We'll negotiate, buy time."

Kyle looked at Alex in disbelief, but already knew that if he had made up his mind in Maria's favor, there was nothing he could say about it. But that didn't stop him from having the final word.

"I think it's a mistake, but fine," he said. "But if anything happens to us because of this, don't say I didn't try to tell you," he said.

"Whatever," Alex said. He looked toward Maria.

"How bad is she?" Alex asked.

Maria looked up at him worriedly.

"I don't know. It looks like she's lost a lot of blood."

"We have to get her back into town right away," Alex said.

He handed the gun to Kyle.

"Go round the other two up," he said, "and be quick about it."

"My pleasure," Kyle said, glaring at Max as he took the gun.

TBC…





Edited by - majesty on 09/20/2001 06:27:42
posted on 22-Sep-2001 7:26:38 PM by majesty
Sugarplum,

Nope there is *no* Tess in this fic, and there will be no Tess in HOTP either hehe.

Ok I wrote alot this weekend, so I broke this up into two parts, 3 and 4. I still have no idea where I am going with this, it seems to come to me when I sit down to type, so if this turns out to be sucky, well that's what I get for winging it hehe.

Anyway, here goes...



PART 2

Max had not realized the extent of his weakened powers until he had set his mind to trying to move the gun out of Alex’s hand. It hadn’t worked. He had had no trouble using his shield for protection, and he could feel that his healing powers were still strong, but his other powers had receded dramatically, and it had to do with being here. He had not felt this the day before in Dallas.

Now he sat silently while Alex passed Maria the gun and picked Liz up gently off the ground. He knew time would soon run out for her if something wasn’t done for her soon, but he also knew that his offer of help would fall on deaf ears. They did not trust him, it was perfectly clear. And now he worried for Michael and Isabel. He prayed that Michael wouldn’t try something stupid when Kyle appeared. He silently prayed that Michael would realize his powers had diminished before things got out of hand.

Max sat in silence as he watched Maria fashion a temporary bandage by tying the sleeves of Liz’s shirt together after ripping them off at the seams.

“Alex, we have to go…now,” she said. Alex nodded, and walked over and handed the gun to Maria, which she promptly pointed at Max.

Alex gently picked Liz up off of the ground, holding her to his chest.

“Get up,” Maria commanded Max.

Max stumbled to his feet, clutching his side and wincing at the bright stabs of pain that emanated through his body.

Alex turned to the left and started walking. Maria waved the gun at him and Max followed. Maria fell in behind him, the gun trained at his back.

They walked for about ten minutes until they came upon a dark SUV, parked next to a dirt road that led up to the highway. Maria kept the gun on Max while Alex situated Liz in the back, and then she got in herself. Alex motioned Max into the front passenger seat, and walked around to the driver’s side.

“Alex, we have to hurry,” Maria said worriedly.

“I am going to drive by Kyle to make sure he’s ok, and they can follow us back to Roswell,” he said, turning starting the engine.

“Well, whatever you have to do Alex, do it fast. She isn’t looking good,” Maria said, taking in Liz’s pale and bruised form. Her breathing had become shallow.

“I can help,” Max said, turning in the seat to look at her.

“We don’t *need* your kind of help. Do you think we’re stupid? That we would let anyone like you near her? You’ve done enough already,” Maria said.

“You don’t understand, I didn’t-”he started.

“No, I don’t think *you* understand friend. Liz is my best friend and if she dies so help me God I will kill you myself. Now I suggest you turn around and keep your mouth shut before I get trigger happy,” she hissed, pushing the barrel of the gun within centimeters of his forehead.

Max turned forward again in his seat. These people were the first to know their secret, and that was bad enough, surely enough to freak anyone out. But they thought that he and Isabel and Michael were here to hurt them. Max had never hurt a living thing in his life, and he wanted more than anything to help the girl lying prone in the back seat. But he knew that if he spoke again, he’d only be making things worse.

Just then, the lights of the SUV came upon the Honda that they had been driving. Michael and Isabel stood against the car, Kyle pointing the gun at them. Alex slowed down.

“Kyle, you ok?” he asked.

“Fine,” he said, his eyes never leaving his two captives in front of him. “Fuckhead here tried to pull some crazy power shit on me, but it didn’t work. Sucks for him,” he laughed bitterly.

Michael immediately caught Max’s eye and Max shook his head, letting him know not to try anything further until they could figure out why they had lost some of their capabilities. Michael nodded imperceptibly as Isabel passed Max a confused and worried glance. He gave her a tight smile. It was going to be ok for the time being.

“Follow us back to town,” Alex said. “And you two,” he said, “don’t try anything funny, or your bud here is gonna get wasted.”

Michael’s lips tightened and Isabel nodded.

Alex pulled forward and waited for Michael to get behind the wheel, Isabel in the passenger seat and Kyle in the back, holding the gun on
them.

Alex gunned the truck riding the shoulder of the road toward Roswell, and the Honda kept up behind them.

Max looked out at the speeding terrain alongside the truck. Two minutes later, Max looked up and noted that there were no longer cars abandoned on the road. Someone had cleared them.

They raced toward Roswell and merely minutes later, Alex was parking the truck in front of the UFO Museum, Michael following suit in the Honda.

Alex jumped out of the truck and gently took Liz out of the back seat. He looked at Maria questioningly.

“Kyle and I can handle them,” she said to him, and he nodded, relieved, quickly taking Liz inside.

“Get out of the truck, and do it slowly Max. I have no reservations about killing your alien ass, nor your sister’s or Guerin’s,” Maria said to him, but now Max was able to see her eyes, and he knew by looking into them, her voice belied how she really felt about firing that gun.

Still, Max remembered Maria to be a drama queen. He didn’t want to chance throwing her into a panic, because he didn’t know how she would react, and so he got out of the truck, carefully favoring his side, as she stepped back to keep him in range of the gun.

Michael and Isabel got out of the Honda, and before Kyle could get the gun focused on her, Isabel rushed over to Max.

Kyle walked over and grabbed her arm roughly.

“You must be stupid,” he said, “do you see that I have a gun? Got a death wish?” he growled, as Michael readied himself to rush him.

Max’s hand shot out holding him back.

“Michael don’t!” Max said, and then glanced at Kyle.

“Look, we won’t pull anything else. She was just worried about me,” Max said.

“Whatever,” Kyle said angrily. “The next one who tries anything like that is getting a bullet. And I’ve had lots of practice with this at the range, courtesy of my Dad,” he said.

“Fine,” Michael said. “It’s over.”

“Let’s go. Inside,” he said shoving Max and Isabel toward the door, Michael behind them.

They went through the doors, and Isabel whispered to him.

“Are you ok?” she asked worriedly, noticing him holding his side.

“I’m fine,” he said quietly. "Can you use your powers?”

She shook her head. “Michael tried when Kyle came at us with the gun, but something’s wrong. What’s going on Max?”

“I don’t know yet, but go along with this for now until we figure it out. It’s going to be ok,” he said.

“I hope your right,” Isabel muttered, as she looked back at Michael.

Max felt a strange sense of déjà vu coming back into the museum he worked in through his junior and senior years of high school. Even Michael had to admit it was the perfect cover, and Nasedo loved it because there was always the off chance that some piece of real alien information would pass through the doors of the place. And once in a blue moon it did. Reports of a sighting in Frasier Woods led them to the discovery of the skins on Earth, sent by Khivar.

But what Max liked best about the job then was the opportunity it afforded him to quietly watch Liz across the street in the Crashdown. Of course his boss, Milton didn’t like that, and told him so on numerous occasions, but even Milton knew Max was the best worker he had, so he ignored it about 50% of the time. Max thought of all the times he had watched Kyle sit in the booth near the window, hanging around for Liz while she was at work. And he had wished that was him. So long ago it seemed, and yet it was as if it was yesterday.

Isabel used to call him pathetic when he used to suggest going to the Crashdown for something to eat. She knew what he was up to. He had put up with the comments from Michael and Isabel just to be there for a little while, and sometimes he was lucky and Liz had waited on them.

He remembered senior year, AP physics. He thought he had died and gone to heaven when he was paired with Liz for lab. They never said much more to each other than what was involved with their current projects, but he had thought it was better than nothing. Back then, just to be in sitting next to her was more than he could have hoped.

Max looked up to see Maria sweeping the *alien corpse* off of the surgical table used to portray one of the scenarios ufo-logists believed occurred in the big crash almost 50 years ago.

Alex laid Liz gently on the table. She didn’t stir.

Maria squeezed his arm.

“Alex, what do we do now?” she asked worriedly.

“Get Serena, she should be scouting at the end of Main Street,” Alex said, and Maria nodded, sprinting toward the entrance of the museum.

Alex checked the make-shift bandage, noting that blood was seeping through it fairly quickly.

Alex turned to Kyle.

“Tie them up,” he said.

Kyle nodded, and grabbed cable a bunch of cables that were lying on the floor. He handed it to Isabel.

“Do it,” he said, motioning to Michael. Isabel looked at Max, and he nodded, so she took the cable and started to tie Michael’s hands behind his back, as Michael glared at Kyle.

“Make it tight,” Kyle said. “I’m going to check it.”

Isabel finished, and Kyle threw the next one at Max.

“You know the drill,” he said, and Max carefully tied the cables around Isabel’s wrists.

Kyle kept the gun pointed at Max while he checked the security of Michael’s and Isabel’s bonds, and then commanded Max to turn around. He slashed the cable around Max’s wrists, making it painfully tight, and Max grimaced at the constriction.

“Sit down against the wall,” he said, and the three complied. Keeping an eye on them, Kyle walked over to where Alex was trying to stem the blood from Liz’s wounds.

“It slowed a little,” Alex said, as he went to the box on the wall and pulled heavy gauze and tape out of the first aid kit. He opened the package of gauze.

“Lift her upper body,” Alex said as he pulled the shirt sleeves off of her.

“Fucking bastard,” Alex said as he glared at Max.

Max’s jaw tightened.

“I told you I didn’t do it,” Max said angrily.

“I saw you doing something to her with your hand,” Alex said.

“I was trying to help her,” Max said.

“Max, don’t bother,” Michael said angrily. “It’s not like they’re going to believe anything you say.”

“Why should we?” Kyle asked. “The whole fucking world is wiped out and all of a sudden you are here for a homecoming? You’re one of them. I don’t know if they made you one, or if you were always an alien, but it doesn’t matter. I saw what Evans could do, and none of you are going to get the better of us. They’ll come for you, and when they do, we’ll have something to bargain with.”

“How the hell did you all survive?” Michael asked. We’ve been across the country, coming from New York, and the only people we saw were crazy. And the one normal person we ran into was dying. So what’s different about all of you? How are you still standing here? It isn’t the town, or everyone would still be here, but it looked pretty deserted to me. Are you working with someone? Did they protect you?”

Kyle’s face tightened. “That’s none of your business.”

Just then Maria came rushing in with a young woman dressed in fatigues. Her hair was jet black, cropped into a severe bob. On her feet were sturdy combat boots.

Max’s first impression was that this was someone that was a trained fighter. In her hands she held a semi-automatic rifle, and a large bowie knife was strapped to her leg over her pants.

But her aggressive appearance was belied by the look of concern, worry and kindness written on her face.

“Serena,” Alex said, “you have to help her.”

She hurried over to the table.
Noticing that their captors’ attention was diverted Michael whispered to Max.

“Max, what the hell is going on?” he hissed. “What if they’re working with the skins?”

“They aren’t,” Max said in a low voice. “One of them tried to kill Liz out in the desert. I was trying to help her when they found us,” he said, motioning his head toward the three humans.

“They think we’re skins,” Max said.

“WHAT?!?” Isabel said.

“Shhh,” Max said quietly.

“They think we’re skins, and that the rest of the skins are going to come and get us, because they need all their reinforcements. They must have lost a lot of their kind with whatever happened here,” he said.

“Oh they’re going to come for us all right,” Michael said. “And if they do, we’re as good as dead.”

“Michael, I know that,” Max said. “But at this point it’s not like we can walk out of here and leave town.”

“We have to do *something*!” Isabel whispered.

Max was quiet for a minute. “I think we should tell them the truth, the whole story.”

“Are you crazy Max?” Michael answered.

“Look, they already know we aren’t human. Our best chance at surviving this is to tell them everything,” Max said.

“Max, they are freaked out enough as it is,” Michael said, glancing over at the humans. “They may just kill us.”

“Michael if the skins get here and find out about us, we’ll have worse things to worry about than being killed. There’s nothing Khivar would like better than seeing our prolonged torture. I don’t think we have any other choice,” he said.

“Max, what if they don’t believe you? Or what if they see that we are more valuable as Khivar’s enemies than as skins? They could just hand us over to him!” Michael whispered.

“Michael, we don’t have any other options,” he said.

“I don’t like it either Max, it’s too risky,” Isabel said softly.

“I’m telling them,” Max said with finality, and Isabel’s face hardened.

“Don’t we have a say in this?” she asked.

“Isabel do you trust me?” Max asked, and after a moment, she nodded.
“Michael?” he asked looking at him. Michael looked at the ceiling and nodded.

“I promise, everything is going to be ok,” he said.

“I hope you’re right Max,” Isabel said forebodingly.

Alex watched Serena quickly evaluate Liz’s wounds, and then he noticed someone was missing.

“Serena, where’s Doug?” he asked.

“Disappeared,” Serena muttered. “Like Liz did.”

“What do you mean? I thought he was with you?” Alex asked.

“We split up. One of them tried to attack me, and Doug went after them. I’ve spent the last 3 hours looking for him. I found the one who tried to jump me. That’s how I was able to tell you Liz was in the desert,” she said. “I would have thought Doug would have gotten to him first, so I have to assume he’s been captured,” she said grimly.

“Then who is going to help Liz?” Maria said panicked.

Serena shook her head. “I can fix superficial wounds. These are deep. I don’t know.”

“What now?” Kyle asked.

“We wait a few minutes to see if Doug comes back. Keep pressure on the wounds,” she said.

“But that isn’t going to be enough soon,” Maria said desperately.

“It’s all we can do,” Serena said.

Max fought the urge to tell them again that he could help her. In their emotional state, he knew it might make things worse.

And then, Liz stirred.

Her hand went to her abdomen, and a pitiful moan of pain flew from her lips.

Serena and Maria flew to her side.

“Liz chica, we’re here,” Maria said, as Serena smoothed her long hair from her forehead.

“Can you talk?” Serena asked.

“Cold,” Liz said, “I’m so cold,” and she shut her eyes again.

Max couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

“She’s in shock,” he called out, and Serena’s head snapped toward him.

“Who are they?” she asked Alex.

“Old schoolmates, or so we thought. He tried to kill Liz,” Kyle said. “His hand was on her stomach, and it was glowing.”

“I told you, I was trying to help her,” Max said. “I’m not a skin.”

Serena stared at him for a moment, and walked slowly toward him, never breaking his gaze.

She stopped in front of him, and Isabel and Michael looked at him warily.

“Lean forward,” she said forcefully, and after a long pause Max leaned over. He felt her hand pull the back of his shirt up. She felt around at the small of his back, and then straightened up.

“He’s not a skin,” she said, turning to the others.

“Then what the fuck is he?” Kyle asked. “And why did he hurt Liz?”

“The question is Kyle, why didn’t you look to see what he was in the first place?” Serena answered, irritated.

“Maybe because at that point Liz was bleeding to death?” Kyle snapped back. We haven’t seen any humans in months. And whatever the hell he is, he isn’t human.”

“Let’s not panic,” Alex said, trying to cool tempers.

“Look I am trying to tell you that she is in shock,” Max said, exasperated. “She’s lost a lot of blood.”

“What the hell do you know about it?” Kyle said angrily.

“I was a month from graduating medical school when everything went down,” Max said.

“A doctor?” Kyle laughed. “Now that’s a kicker!”

“What’s so unbelievable about it?” Max said angrily.

Kyle stopped and stared at him. “Why the hell would you want to be a doctor, being what you are? Unless…oh I get it now. You guys want to find medical ways to fuck with us.”

Max struggled to his feet angrily, and Kyle strode over to stare into his face angrily.

“Who told you to get up?” he asked.

“You don’t know me at all, and you have no idea what you’re talking about,” Max retorted fiercely.

“I will tell you this, not even knowing if that knife hit any internal organs, she is losing a lot of blood, and if you don’t stop that soon, nothing is going to save her,” Max said quietly.

Serena pulled Kyle away.

“I can help her,” Max said.

“No,” Kyle answered. “We wait for Doug.”

Serena looked at him.

“We have to talk,” she said quietly, and they walked over toward Maria and Alex.

Max looked over at Michael.

“We may just have a chance yet,” Max said. “I don’t think this Doug guy is coming back. If he doesn’t, we may be the only ones who can help Liz,” he said.

“Max, you don’t actually think they are going to let you near her do you?” Michael said in disbelief.

“I don’t think they are going to have a choice,” Max answered quietly. “If I know anything at all about Maria and Alex, they aren’t going to let Liz die.”

“Max, who are you kidding, we don’t know anything about them at all!” Michael said.

“He’s right Max,” Isabel said. “We don’t know them. We never knew then in high school.”

“I knew Liz,” Max said softly, looking in the direction of the humans.

“Oh give it up Max!” Isabel said, irritated. “You talked to her like twice in Physics! And other than that, the only other words you ever spoke in her direction were, ‘I’d like an order of Saturn Rings and a Cherry Coke please,’ for God’s sake!”

“I know enough to know that Alex and Maria love her, and they aren’t going to let her die,” Max said strongly.

“Whatever Max,” Michael said. “While you’re waiting for them to suddenly realize we are the good guys, I am going to try to scope a way out of here before it’s too late,” Michael said disgustedly, studying every area of the museum.

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

“What are we going to do if Doug doesn’t come back?” Maria asked. “As much as hate to say it, Max is right. She has lost a lot of blood, and if we don’t do something soon, it’s going to be too late.”

“You can’t seriously be considering letting him look at her are you?” Kyle said incredulously.

Alex looked at Kyle and then glanced over at Serena. “No,” he said forcefully.

“No way!” Kyle said, to Serena. “Look I know she’s your friend, but she’s my girlfriend, and I don’t want some slimy alien getting his paws all over her!” he said.

If Kyle stopped and admitted it to himself, he would have realized his objections really had less to do with the fact that Max was an alien, but that it was the Max he remembered from school that would be helping Liz, not him. He remembered the way Max ogled Liz in school. Had he been stupid enough to think he hadn’t noticed it? He had let it go because Max never did anything other than gawk. But it still irked Kyle to look out the window of the Crashdown to see Max looking at Liz from the doorway of the UFO Museum.

Serena spoke up. “Kyle, we may have no other choice. We have the upper hand here. If he tries anything we’ll take care of him.”

“I don’t want him pulling any of his alien crap on her. What if he makes her like him? Then what?” he asked.

“If we let him look at her, it will be in a medical capacity, and that’s all. Look, we don’t know, Doug may still show up, but right now it isn’t looking good. I don’t know what I can do for her.”

Serena looked at Kyle closely. Why did he always have to argue with her?

“Fine, we’ll give Doug ten more minutes, and then you look at her,” he said decisively. Maria and Alex nodded.



posted on 22-Sep-2001 7:27:18 PM by majesty
PART 3

Ten minutes later, Serena approached Max.

“You want to help? Tell me what I have to do,” she said.

“I don’t know unless I look at her,” he said.

“Not possible,” she said.

Max knew that if he didn’t tell her what she needed to know, it was almost a certainty she would die.

Max told her what he thought she would need, knowing that asking for a trip for blood to the hospital was futile. Any blood that was stored there was useless. With no electricity in town any supply that might be around had surely gone bad, and she had no way of knowing Liz’s blood type.

Not for the first time he thought how much easier it would be if they just let him heal her. But he had no choice.

Serena moved over to the table Liz lay on. She looked at Liz’s wounds. Both were still bleeding, though very slowly, and judging from the flow of blood, and the length of time that had passed, she knew Liz had lost a dangerous amount of blood.

Gingerly she wondered if it was a possibility that her intestines had been nicked.

“I’ll do what I can,” she said to the others. We can’t risk any operations or anything like that. We don’t have a sterile area, and I am not trained in that,” she said.

They nodded, and Serena quietly went to work while Kyle watched her like a hawk.

After an hour of cleaning and dressing the wounds, she was finished. She hoped she had done enough. She was not happy with the fact that Liz had not re-gained consciousness through any of it. She would have though the pain of what she was doing would have roused her. This worried her, and she prayed that she was not too late.

When she was done she stepped back and covered her with a blanket, carefully laying across her stomach and pulling it up to her shoulders. A sweat had broken over her brow, a sign that her body was fighting infection already. She didn’t want to think of what had been on that knife, or where it had been. She had done all she humanly could.

“I did all I could,” Serena said, “but it doesn’t look good. She’s lost a lot of blood, and it looks like she’s fighting some sort of infection.

“I know if I…” Max said.

“No way,” Kyle said angrily.

“Enough Kyle,” Serena said.

Once more Serena felt a pang that Kyle cared so deeply for Liz. From the moment she met him, she had felt this strange attraction to him, but he had not returned it. Serena loved Liz like a sister, but she couldn’t help but feel jealous that Liz had Kyle’s attention. She covered those feelings by being curt with him, trying to convince herself that it didn’t matter. That is, until she stopped for more than two minutes to think about it. Stop it, she told herself. There are more important things to worry about other than your crush on Kyle. Like whether Liz was going to live. Like whether they were going to win over this crazy thing that had happened to their world.

Michael muttered “Nice, we all are still tied up here Max. ‘Oh they’ll let me help her’. Brilliant one Max,” he said, and Max glared at him.

Max could feel Isabel and Michael’s anger.

He didn’t look at them.

**********

Some time later Max was awakened by a shadow falling over him. Disoriented, he looked over at Isabel and Michael. Both had also dozed off. And then he noticed the person who had kneeled in front of him.

“Shh…” Serena said. “It’s just me.”

Max looked at her questioningly.

“We need to talk,” she said quietly, glancing over at the humans who had fallen asleep on the seats they had dragged out from the theater area. Maria lay slumped against Alex, while Kyle leaned back in his chair, arms folded across his chest.

“How is Liz?” Max asked quietly.

“She’s got a bad fever,” Serena told him.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Max Evans,” he answered.

“No, *who* are you?” she asked again.

Max looked at her confused.

“I can see something different about you. I don’t know what it is, but I can see it. You have this strange aura,” she said.

“Aura?” Max asked skeptically.

“Oh what, you don’t believe in auras?” she asked. “You are an alien, you of all people should be accepting of things that are different,” she said.

Max just looked at her.

“Let me help her,” he said quietly.

“I can’t do that,” she said. “I don’t get any menacing intentions from you, but I don’t know what you are capable of,” she said.

“I would never hurt her,” he said, looking at her intently, and her eyes widened.

“You have feelings for her?” she said incredulously.

“What?” Max asked in disbelief. “No! I don’t even know her really,” he said, flustered.

“I sense it,” she said. “Strong feelings, old feelings…childhood feelings.”

“No, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I wanted to be a doctor before all this happened. I wanted to help people,” he said.

“Max let me explain something to you. I am somewhat of a clairvoyant among other things. So I know you are lying through your teeth,” she said.

Suddenly, Liz’s body wrenched off the table, and Serena rushed over, as Kyle Maria and Alex woke up hearing the noise.

Max heard the labored breaths that she was trying to take, and he knew that she was going to choke to death on her own blood. And that same instant, an explosion outside rocked the building. Kyle and Alex ran to the front door, anticipating an attack.

Max looked desperately around for something that would cut the cable that was tied around his wrists while their attention was occupied, as Michael and Isabel stood.

“Get out of here now!” Max said. “The back door! Go, while they aren’t looking!”

“Max, we’re not going without you!” Isabel said.

“I’ll be out in two minutes, I promise. Go!” he said, pushing her toward the direction of the back entrance.

“Maxwell, if you aren’t out there in two minutes,” Michael said warningly.

“I’ll be there,” he said.

Michael urged Isabel on. Looking around as another thunderous explosion rocked the building, Max spotted a pair of scissors. He deftly turned and picked them up with his tied hands, working the blades between the cable and his wrist, trying to get the leverage to cut the thin wire. Maneuvering the scissors, he desperately tried to saw the wire with them as he watched Serena and Maria try to shield Liz from the debris falling from the ceiling.

A second later, the room went black. Max heard Maria scream, and Liz’s labored breathing. Continuing to saw at the wire, he frantically made his way in the direction he last saw Maria and Serena, listening intently, tripping and bumping into objects in his way.

Suddenly the cable gave and fell of his wrists. He clutched the scissors and made his way further toward the gasping raspy noise he knew was Liz. With one hand in front of him he continued on, until his hand on the table stopped him. His groping hand fell on Liz’s wrist and he felt her pulse racing through it, with the effort her body was using to try to get air into her lungs.

“Serena!” Maria shrieked a short distance away. Max took Liz’s hand in the dark, and pulled her close. Whatever happened he would do what he could for her. He felt the tickling softness of her long lashes on his cheek in the dark, fluttering against it, barely touching him. Oh God, she is awake, he thought desperately.

“It’s going to be ok Liz,” he said anguished. “You’re going to be ok.”

He could feel the wrenching of her chest as she tried to draw breath, and without even thinking, he placed his hand flat in the middle of it, closing his eyes, as the building shook again, eliciting another scream from Maria. He pulled her body flush against his, hiding his hand between their bodies, feeling his healing powers kick in, making a connection with her that he had never experienced with anyone before.

*flash*

Liz is standing on the playground, six years old. She is laughing with Maria as they play jump-rope.

*flash*

Eight years old. Alex is chasing her through the Crashdown, her long dark hair flowing behind her like silk. This elicits a yell from her father, but it doesn’t stop them from crashing through the doors of the kitchen, diving onto the couch in the breakroom, laughing hysterically.

*flash*

Thirteen. Liz sits with Maria in her bedroom, her arms wrapped around her while she cries inconsolably over her father’s departure. He hasn’t even left a note. Liz doesn’t know what to say, so she doesn’t say anything at all, just holding her friend.

*flash*

Fourteen, Liz and Maria sit watching Alex learning to play the bass guitar, while his band-mates struggle with their own instruments. They are struggling not to laugh, as Alex puts his intense rock star face on.

*flash*

Fifteen. Liz blushes as she stands at her locker on the last day of school and Kyle Valenti, wrestler and star basketball player for the Roswell Comets, asks her to a movie. Maria stands a short distance away, trying to hold back a laugh at the look on Liz’s face.

*flash*

Kyle leans in closer to her, gently touching his lips to hers. She thinks to herself that it is exciting, and definitely nice, but not the mind-blowing experience a first kiss is supposed to be. But maybe it was just that she was nervous.

*flash*

Sixteen. Liz is peering out of the doors of the kitchen in the Crashdown at Max Evans shyly. He doesn’t see her. Good thing. What would someone like Max Evans want with her anyway? He’s smart and utterly gorgeous. But no one could take away her daydreams. Neither could anyone take away the racing heartbeat of hers when he rarely came into the restaurant and she was lucky enough to wait on him, along with Michael Guerin and Isabel, his sister. She didn’t know exactly what it was Isabel had against her, but she never failed to shoot a nasty look in Liz’s direction as she came to take their order. Not that she actually *had* to take Max’s order. He always ordered the same thing on the rare instances he came in, and she had memorized it. She would ask though, because she was always rewarded with a polite smile from Max, one that she could almost imagine might be something more. But he never said anything further to her, and she kicked herself for her stupid daydreams. Besides, Kyle was so good to her, even if they didn’t have all the same interests. What couple ever does?

*flash*

She was supposed to watch movies with her grandmother, she kept telling herself. She was not supposed to be sitting in the waiting room of the hospital hearing that her beloved Grams had had a stroke.

Kyle sat rubbing her back, but she felt lost. And alone…so alone. Wishing there was someone she could talk to. Wishing that she could call Max Evans and just talk to him. Because she thought about him. A lot. Later, she would tell herself how crazy that was. But dreaming about Max Evans had become a pastime for her. And then her Grams died, and she was out of school for a few days. Kyle came to the funeral with her, and he was wonderful. Supportive, attentive, everything a good boyfriend should be. And she told herself to give up her little daydreams, because they weren’t harmless. She had made up this fictional Max Evans in her head, and was comparing Kyle to him. And he wasn’t even real. Kyle was tangible, Kyle was there…Kyle was her boyfriend. So she stopped her thoughts of fictional Max, and did very well at it, until she got back to school with puffy red eyes a few days later, and knew that everyone knew what happened. Even Isabel had given her a sympathetic smile. And when she walked into AP English, the real Max Evans turned around and gave her a sweet smile. It was quick, but enough to fuel her daydreams all over again.

*flash*

Senior year. AP Physics. She couldn’t believe it. She and Max were partners in lab. She would get to sit next to him every day for the whole year. It didn’t matter if they only spoke when they were working on their projects. It didn’t matter that they didn’t look each other in the eyes. It didn’t matter that he didn’t really know she existed. She got to sit elbow to elbow with him, and every once in a while their elbows would touch, and little shivers of electricity would shoot up her spine. Sometimes she would get the chance to look sideways, and she would catch a glimpse of his beautiful shiny hair. And always she could breathe in the scent that was Max. Clean and musky and totally exciting. And then she would leave class and scold herself for acting like an idiot girl with a junior high school crush on a boy. She was dating Kyle, and he was popular, and he was good to her, and he really *liked* her. But those little daydreams of Fictional Max, Prince Charming Max, continued, made all the more vivid with the little contact she had with him in class.

*flash*





Graduation day. The football field was resplendent with the bright blue and gold school colors proudly worn by the students. Liz is Valedictorian and she is a nervous wreck about giving her speech. She has practiced it endlessly on her balcony. Alex, Kyle and Maria all assure her that she is going to be fine, but she won’t be fine. She will be up in front of the whole school, what if she made a mistake? Ceremonies begin and finally it is her turn to step up to the podium, and she feels her heart beating ninety miles and hour, and her breath is coming quick, and she wants to turn around and run. And she lays her paper on the podium and looks out at the crowd and panics. And then her eyes light on Max Evans, who is looking at her intently, and she thinks of Fictional Max, her Romeo, and she looks away and begins talking in a self-assured voice. Five minutes later she is finished, and people are applauding, and she can step down.

She doesn’t remember much of the ceremony, only that she thinks she did ok. And all of the students including herself, receive their diplomas, and the hats are thrown and it is over. High school is over, time to start living in the real world.

Kyle wraps his arm around her and they walk through the throng, dazed, trying to find their parents. And then, Liz catches a final glimpse at Max Evans, and as she looks at him, he looks at her, and they both smile, and then the moment is gone, people blocking her line of vision. When they clear, he is gone.

*flash*

Liz’s father has passed away. She was supposed to start at MIT in the fall, but she foregoes and decides to go to school locally to help her mother with the restaurant. She and Kyle go to Las Cruces, and Kyle helps out with anything he can. She loves him for it. She realizes that the pipe-dream she has created for herself doesn’t exist. The real Max left Roswell years ago, and never looked back. Time to give it up, and so she does.


Max feels his heartbeat meld with hers, the thrumming of the blood running through her veins becoming one with his, and then the moment is gone, and the lights have snapped on, and Kyle is pulling him away from her, and he is screaming at him, but Max cannot hear him. Instead he still hears the heartbeat that for one moment in time merged with his, that whisper of her husky voice as she scolded herself, told herself to forget about him.

And he is overcome, and pushes past Kyle, into the heart of the night, the echo of Maria’s voice shouting Serena’s name ringing out of the building.


TBC…




Edited by - majesty on 09/23/2001 19:41:49
posted on 23-Sep-2001 10:01:49 AM by majesty
JO,

Writing fics when you have no clue where you are going with it is kinda fun, yet kinda stressful hehe. It will definitely be a challenge. This is only my second of three, one completed, that I have written, so I'll let you know what I think after I finish this LOL.

Thanks guys, for the feedback. The more the better!

I went for a little change in character with Kyle this time. More of a jerk, but you can *kinda* still forgive him, as he's like that because of what he feels for Liz.

Working on HOTP now, maybe have a part up tonight or tomorrow hopefully, depending on how much time I get today.

Majesty


posted on 27-Sep-2001 12:27:53 AM by majesty


Well people,

Here are parts 4 and 5 and I am seriously debating whether to continue with this because I am not really happy with either of them. I guess I'll have to think about it over the weekend.

Majesty


PART 4

Strange sensations. A comforting voice speaking. Something touched her mind. Something gentle. Something warm like sunlight on her face. Tingles. No more pain. She felt her mind flood with old memories. Was she dying? Was this what it was to die? This calm sense of feeling safe?

And then it was gone, and Kyle was yelling. Liz fell back to the table with a gasp. Chaos was erupting around her. She was being shaken. Voice so deep speaking in slow motion. Kyle. Why was he shaking her?

“Liz!” he shook her again. His face came into focus. She squinted at the light hitting her eyes.

“Liz, speak to me? What did he do to you?” he said frantically.

“What?” Liz said fuzzily.

“What did he do to you?” he repeated.

“I was stabbed,” Liz said. “One of the skins found me and he wanted to know where Serena was, and I wouldn’t tell him, so he…”

“No Liz, what did Max just do to you?” he asked.

“Max?” she asked confused.

“Max Evans,” he said. “He did something to you.”

“I don’t understand,” she said, feeling her stomach, expecting pain and finding…nothing. Nothing but a curious warmth radiating from her chest.

“What happened to me Kyle?” she asked, her voice cracking. Alex stood behind Kyle concerned.

He took her hand. “You were stabbed. I guess Evans wasn’t the one who did it after all…”

“Wait, Max Evans was here?” she asked in disbelief, sitting up slowly.

“Serena sensed you were in danger. We went out into the desert after you, and when we found you, he was doing some glowey thing to you with his hand,” he said. “Are you sure it wasn’t him that attacked you?”

Liz put her hand to her head. “Yeah, I’m positive…” she said, trying to recall the events in the desert.

The skin had come upon her while she was scouting. She didn’t see him approach, and he grabbed her, and she was hit over the head and she passed out. When she woke up, she was being dragged out of a car in the desert. The skin tried to get her to tell him where Serena and Doug were, but she wouldn’t cave. He hit her across the face, and bright pinpoints of pain blew up behind her eyes. She knew that it might come to her giving up her life, being associated with Serena, but it was an acceptable risk. Because life as it was now on Earth was not acceptable. She needed answers as to what had happened to her family, to the people in town, to her friends’ families.

The skin asked again, and again she remained stoically silent. And she knew her end was near. She saw it in her attacker’s face. He knocked her to the ground, and she fought him off with all she had, but he was stronger. And when she felt that white hot jab of pain in her stomach, she said a silent prayer that her friends would not meet the same fate. And it came again, and she felt herself losing consciousness. She struggled to maintain it, knowing if she blacked out she would never wake up.

And suddenly, her attacker’s weight was lifted off her legs, and she heard a struggle, and she blacked out for a few seconds. Then her eyes focused again, and she saw a silhouette leaning over her framed in the red glow of the sky, and moonlight. She thought hazily that maybe it was an angel, for surely angels glowed like this, and then her vision faded to black. Max Evans was her angel?

“Liz,” Alex said, putting his hand on her arm, concerned.

“I’m fine,” she said looking at him.

“But you were choking, and you were bleeding,” he said.

Liz again touched the shirt they had laid over her front. She looked up at him and then down again as she slowly lifted the shirt and gasped.

There was nothing there. No cuts, no blood, no scars, only a curious warmth in the center of her chest.

“What the fuck?” Kyle said in disbelief.

“Kyle…” she said in shock. “What happened to me here? Where is everyone, Serena, Maria?”

Kyle looked down.

“What?” she asked, alarmed.

“They took Serena. Maria ran outside to try to stop them.”

“No!” Liz said.

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

Maria came flying out the back door and saw Isabel and Michael standing outside.

“Which way did they go?” she shouted as she ran alongside the building.

Michael and Isabel didn’t answer, watching her sprint around the right corner of the building. Michael heard the roar of an engine, and a huge truck came around the corner, almost running he and Isabel down. Hands still tied, they pressed against the building, and Michael saw a quick flash of Serena’s face as the truck took off down the block behind the museum. Michael and Isabel looked at each other and ran around the left side of the building. They weren’t going to wait around for Maria to come back with a gun.

Maria came back around the building and saw that Michael and Isabel had disappeared.

“Shit!” she cursed, distraught.

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

Max ran, without any clear destination. He reached the end of the building, turning the corner, and ran straight into Michael.

“Max! What the hell is going on in there?!” Michael yelled.

“Two guys just took that girl Serena out of here,” Isabel said.

“We have to get out of here,” Michael said, and then he noticed that Max wasn’t even listening to him.

“Earth to Max!” Michael said loudly. “Did you hear what I said? We have to get out of here. Help us get out of these cables.”

Wordlessly Max stepped behind Michael first and removed the cable from his wrists and repeated the same with Isabel.

“Let’s get the car,” Michael said.

“No,” Max said. “We have to get to the pod chamber, but if we take the car, there is a chance that we’ll be spotted. We should go on foot,” he said.

“Max it’ll take hours to get there on foot!” Isabel said.

“We’ve walked further,” Michael said. “He’s right, we have to stay out of sight. Both of the humans and the skins.”

“We can’t take the chance that the skins have sentries posted on the road. We’ll go through the desert,” he said.

Isabel sighed. Even with probably a total of 20 people left on the planet, they still had to hide. She thought of her parents, the only people who had accepted her unconditionally. The only people she didn’t have to put on an act with. What had happened to them? She felt the ache in her heart that they might have suffered.

Max felt the adrenaline wearing off and was starting to feel the magnitude of the energy sapped from his body when he healed Liz.

Wearily, he set the pace down the side streets, heading toward the desert area outside of town.

Michael glanced over at him, and saw his pale countenance and scowled.

“Maxwell, what did you do?” he asked. Max didn’t answer, staring straight ahead of him.

“You healed her, didn’t you? They were going to kill us, and you healed her,” he said disgustedly.

Max’s jaw tightened.

“Drop it Michael,” he said warningly.

Max was still feeling the aftershocks of connecting with Liz. On one hand, his heart leapt that she had watched him as he had watched her. She had thought about him. She daydreamed about the same things he did.

But time had passed, and she had moved on with Kyle, as he too had convinced himself not to think about her anymore while in NY. Why pine after something that could never be? He thought to himself back then. But it could have been, had things been different.

Max was still reeling over the cruelty of fate. To find out now that Liz felt the way she did. To know that had he been a normal teenager, he might have had a chance with her. He felt what she felt. He dreamt her dreams about him. He saw how she felt when she looked at him, and for those few precious moments he forgot what he was, and he felt his heart lift that someone, Liz, could feel that way about him. And he never knew.

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

Maria came back into the museum to find Liz sitting up.

“Oh my God Liz! You’re…you’re…” she stuttered.

“I’m ok,” Liz said smiling wanly, her smile then fading quickly.

“Serena?” she asked, worried.

Maria’s face fell. “They’ve got her,” she said, looking at Alex.

Alex sighed heavily.

“What now?” he asked. “We have to get her back. Without her, we’re all screwed.”

“What about Doug?” Kyle asked. “We’d better see if we can find him.”

“He’s gone too?” Liz said dejectedly.

Alex nodded. “Serena got separated from him. He never came back.”

“What if they have him too?” Maria asked.

“We’ll figure it out,” Kyle said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“The first thing we have to do is scout around town, to make sure he isn’t here. I don’t know when we’ll be able to come back once we leave, and I don’t want to leave anyone behind. Alex and I will take a look around. You two stay here. We’ll come back to get you.”

Maria nodded. “Be careful,” she warned.

“We’ll be fine,” Alex said. “Be back soon.”

Kyle gave Liz a quick hug and he and Alex left out the front doors. Maria quickly walked the perimeter of the museum, making sure that no one was lurking in the offices or behind the displays.

Satisfied that there were no further intruders, she came and sat beside Liz, putting her gun on the table next to her.

Impulsively, she hugged Liz.

“Chica what happened?” she said, finally allowing tears to form in her eyes. “I thought we were going to lose you.”

Liz pulled back and looked at Maria seriously.

“I’m not really sure,” she admitted, pulling up her shirt again. Maria’s eyes widened.

“Crap!” she sputtered. “But you were…we thought…there was a lot of blood! How?”

“I was hoping you could tell me Maria,” Liz said, looking at her questioningly.

“Kyle said Max Evans…”

“Yeah,” Maria said slowly. “I guess he wasn’t lying. He *was* trying to help you.”

“What is he doing here Maria? How did he survive?” she asked.

“Well, that’s an obvious one. He’s an alien, and so is Isabel, and Michael Guerin,” she paused, her face scrunching up. “I always thought Guerin was out there, but I didn’t think, you know, *out there*,” she said, pointing up. “They must be here for some reason…maybe something to do with the skins?”

“Isabel and Michael are here too?” Liz asked.

“Yep,” Maria said. She turned to Liz and sighed. “Liz, I am not exactly sure what to think, but I’ve learned not to be surprised by anything anymore.”

Maria nodded. “They said they came back to see if their parents had somehow been missed by what happened. I was so freaked that he was doing something to you out in the desert, and then I started to think that we went to school with these people! But were they always aliens? Or did someone do this to them?” she asked. “Like a mutation or something…” she said, musing.

“Max Evans is an alien,” Liz repeated, still unable to resolve it in her mind. This boy she had daydreams about for years wasn’t even a boy. She didn’t know what he was. Was he a shape-shifter? Or something else?

He had saved her life. But in doing that, had he changed her, altered her in some way?

Why had he fought the skin? Why did he put himself in danger?

Liz didn’t understand it. She knew for sure that it wasn’t some Prince Valiant complex he was experiencing. Life and maturity taught her that things like that just didn’t happen to people like her.

She was perplexed, but she had no way to get any answers. Unbidden, her mind again went to that gentle touch she felt at the edge of her mind, the softest touch, tender, and the warmth that radiated through her whole body. It was the most amazing thing she had ever experienced she thought. But did she actually experience it, or was it some phantom imagery her mind created as it was shutting down in death?

As she thought of it, once more she felt the warmth course through her body, flooding her senses. It was a sensation almost erotic in its strength.

Maria was looking at her strangely, she noticed.

“What?” Liz said.

Maria pointed to her chest.

“Uh, Liz…what the hell is that?” she said, sounding spooked.

Liz looked down at her chest. Right in the center, just above the swell of her breasts, she saw the silver marking and she gasped, for a handprint was emerging through her skin…

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

A half-hour later, Liz was still shaken up by the mark left on her body by Max.

She took an old flannel off a mannequin and buttoned it up tight.

“Maria, you can’t tell Kyle about this,” she said.

Maria looked at her doubtfully.

“He should know Liz,” she said.

Liz knew she should probably tell him. After all, she didn’t know what was going to happen to her, what effects alien powers had on her body. But she also knew Kyle would lose his mind over this.

“Maria, we don’t know what’s going to go down from here on out. If I tell Kyle, this is going to freak him out, and none of us can afford to be distracted now. Please, if I feel anything is wrong at all, I’ll tell him, but for now, I want to keep this between us,” she said.

“Liz, you don’t know when that is going to go away, if ever. He’s going to find out sooner or later,” she said.

“I’ll deal with it when I have to ‘Ria,” she said. “Please, I need you to keep this to yourself.”

Maria studied her silently for a long moment.

“You promise me that if you feel anything, anything weird at all, you’ll tell me?” she asked.

“I promise,” Liz said.

“All right. I won’t say anything…for now,” she said.

“Thanks Maria,” Liz answered.

A moment later, Maria and Liz jumped up as they heard noises from the front of the building. Maria raised her gun in readiness.

Alex appeared first, an arm thrown around his shoulder, and then they caught sight of Doug, being held up by both Alex and Kyle. Maria lowered the gun and put it in the desk.

“Oh my God!” Maria said. “What happened to him?”

“Skins,” Alex muttered bitterly. Doug was barely conscious, his head lolling back and forth with each step Kyle and Alex took.

Alex and Kyle set him down on the couch. Liz fought the urge to wince as she got a closer look at him. Doug’s dark hair was matted with blood. She could barely see his hazel eyes through the contusions surrounding his eyes. Bruises covered most of his body. He had been slashed across the arms with some sharp object. Liz fought the urge to cry at the site of her friend in this state.

“It’s going to be ok Doug,” she said gently, once again struck by the similarities in looks between Serena and he. There was no avoiding that they were twins. She hoped that Serena wasn’t experiencing what he did at the hands of the skins. She smiled shakily at him. She could hear a wheeze to his breathing.

“Doug, I am just going to check you out,” she said. “I want to see if you have any broken bones. He just looked at her with severely swollen eyes, where they must have hit him. Gently, she started with his arms, gently squeezing. The left seemed to be ok, but the he gasped when she squeezed the middle of his right forearm.

“It’s broken,” she said, looking at Kyle.

She could see that his shoulder was dislocated too. He had a huge gash on his head that was bleeding down the back pretty heavily.

The wheezing she kept hearing was bothering her. She gently felt around his chest and rib area and he cried out.

“Ok, I am done,” she said gently. “I’m sorry Doug,” she said, feeling terrible that she had hurt him. His head fell back. He had lost consciousness.

“This doesn’t look good,” Liz said, looking at the others. “I think he’s broken a rib, and it’s pierced his lung. His shoulder is dislocated, and his arm is broken, and I don’t know if he might have a concussion. We have to try to keep him up.”

They tried to rouse him, but he remained unconscious.

“Liz, this isn’t good,” she said. “Do you think Serena can feel what happened to him?”

“I don’t know,” Liz admitted. “I hope not.”

“We can’t chance staying here any longer,” Kyle said. “The skins will be back. I think we should go to the cave.”

Liz nodded. It was the only place to be safe right now. The only place where they could plan on how to get Serena away from the skins. And she could do whatever she could to help Doug.

“Alex, can you put the seats down in the back of the truck? I think we can use that plywood as a makeshift stretcher to get him out of here,” she said.

“Maria, grab whatever you think we might need to take with us. I don’t think we’ll be coming back,” Liz said.

Maria stopped in her tracks the implications of the idea that they might never see home again hitting her. She took a deep breath and set about gathering the supplies, food and clothing they had stored her.

Carefully, Kyle and Liz struggled to position Doug on the thin board, trying not to hit his arm or shoulder. He moaned.

Alex came back in and he and Kyle lifted the board, taking it out to the truck and sliding it in the opened tailgate of the SUV. Maria and Liz brought out the supplies, loaded them and climbed in the back with Doug. Alex jumped into the driver’s seat and Kyle sat in front with him.

Alex started the truck, keeping the headlights off, and moved slowly through the moonlit town. Checking repeatedly to see if they were being followed, Liz took one last glimpse at it before turning her attention to cleaning Doug’s wounds. 15 minutes later, driving at a slow pace with the lights off, they turned off the highway onto a dirt road. Looming ahead, they saw the outcropping of rocks. Alex parked next to the rocks, jumping out to help Kyle again with the board. Liz walked up the short, steep path to the jutting rock and pulled the pendant around her neck away from her neck, waving it in front of the rock. An opening appeared in the rock and the four of them entered a chamber.

Though Liz had been here so many times in the past few months, she still was filled with a sense of awe every time she came in. To the left were three pods, broken open years ago. An alien King had been born here. A princess and the King’s right hand followed. Liz felt sad that they had died. She would have liked to have seen what they look like. Zan... A king had been born here, and now he was dead. She wondered what he was like. What kind of person he had been. She had thought of that often in the past few months.

Breaking her reverie, she concentrated on making Doug as comfortable as she could. His wheeze had gotten worse, and she feared that the damage to his lungs would only increase. She said a silent prayer for his safety.

“Liz, Kyle and I are going to go leave the truck somewhere away from here,” Alex said. “I don’t want to take the chance of being discovered. We’ll be back,” he said.

Liz nodded, taking the pendant from her neck and handing it to him.

Then she and Maria were alone again, and Maria worked to put the supplies in one spot. Liz sat next to Doug against the chamber wall.

Her thoughts again turned back to Serena and Max Evans. Was he like Serena and Doug? A half-breed? Was he one of the gifted? And if he was, why was he here?

She wistfully thought of his eyes. She used to dream of looking into those gorgeous amber eyes, with amazing lashes. Even now, it sent her heart racing thinking about his lips. She scolded herself. What the hell was she thinking? He’s an alien!

That feeling of someone, something touching her mind, touching her soul would not leave her. If he had been in her mind, what had he seen?

The sensation of warm hands touching her face, and a protective embrace enveloped her.

Distracted, she got up and went to help Maria. Quickly, she arranged the supplies, while Maria looked at her curiously.

“What’s up with you Chica?” she asked.

“Nothing why?” Liz asked, glancing over at her as she folded blankets.

Maria stood up and put her hands on her hips.

“Spill,” she said.

“What?” Liz asked again.

“I know something’s on your mind, I’m your best friend. Besides, you’ve folded and re-folded those blankets three times already,” she laughed.

“Maria, it’s nothing. I’m just worried about Doug,” she said.

“Fine, you don’t want to talk about it, then we don’t have to. But please don’t lie to me Chica, ‘cause I can see it on your face,” Maria said.

Liz sighed. “It’s Max Evans.”

“What, you’re freaked out that he helped you?” Maria asked, taking a blanket from her.

“Yes…and no,” Liz said sitting down, next to Doug, taking his hand and rubbing it gently. Maria sat down next to her wrapping half of the blanket around herself and throwing the other half around Liz. She looked at Liz expectantly.

“Ok…I never told you this,” she said. “I never told anyone this, but I used to have this sort of…crush on Max.”

Maria looked at her trying to suppress a grin. “And you didn’t tell *me*, your best friend?” she said.

“Maria it was just this harmless crush. Nothing could have ever come of it. Max would never have looked at me that way. I mean, I don’t even think he ever spoke my name, and we were lab partners for a year,” she said.

“And you were carrying this torch for Max while you were dating Kyle…” Maria said.

“Maria, it was an innocent crush. It had nothing to do with my reality,” she said.

“You could have acted on it. You should have, I mean you never know what could have happened. Wait, what am I saying? He’s an *alien*!” Maria said, smacking the side of her head.

“Liz, you know I always told you that I didn’t think you and Kyle were meant for each other. And I love Kyle to death, I really do, but I always thought you both were…settling I guess. But I have to say, thinking about it now, it’s better you wound up with Kyle than an alien. I mean, who knows what could have happened to you if you got involved with him?” she said.

“Maria, that’s not even the point I was trying to make. When he did whatever he did to me…I don’t know, I can’t explain it, it was like he touched my soul or something. I feel sort of like…he’s a part of me, like…I feel different,” she said.

“Different like what?” Maria asked, alarmed. “Do you think he pulled some mojo mutant shit on you? Like he changed you into one of them?”

“No, no,” Liz said. “I’m not an alien Maria. I can’t explain it,” she said.

Just then Kyle and Alex came back into the chamber.

“We’ll talk about this later,” Maria warned softly. “I suggest you refrain from doing anything with Kyle, you don’t know if what he did to you is contagious.”

Liz glared at her.

“Maria…” she hissed as Kyle came toward them. Alex sat down and threw his arm around his two best friends. He looked at them quizzically.

“I’m just saying…” she trailed off argumentatively.

“Shut up,” Liz whispered.

Kyle smiled down at her and gave her a quick peck on the lips.

“How’s he doing?” he asked, looking at Doug.

“Same,” she said. “He hasn’t regained consciousness. Kyle, I’m worried, what if the worst happens? What if he doesn’t wake up? There is no way we’ll ever find Serena unless he can at least try to connect to her. And we don’t even know if he’ll be able to. Their connections aren’t good over long distances. What if they took her out of the area? We need to get her back! She and Doug are the only ones who can make this right!” she said.

“I know,” Kyle said quietly, feeling bad that he had argued with her right before she was taken. There was something about her that challenged him, made him feel as if…no he didn’t want to think about that. She was irritating, a know-it-all, but she also held the key to their futures and the futures of their loved ones. Yes, they had to get her back.

“We’ll figure it out Liz, I promise,” he said, pulling her into a hug.

Kyle rubbed her back comfortingly, and Liz once again tried to smother the thought that that was exactly what they were…comfortable. Damn you Maria, she grumbled to herself, pushing to the back of her mind that it was something she hadn’t wanted to admit to herself for a long time.

Kyle pulled back, and his face hardened.

“Liz…” he said, looking at the V of skin her shirt now exposed. She winced inwardly, knowing the tope buttons must have come loose.

Kyle reached out and touched the silver marking splayed across her chest.

“That son of a bitch,” he said.

She sighed, and then stiffened as she saw the opening appear in the chamber wall to the outside world.

Her jaw dropped as she caught sight of Max Evans’ face for the first time in six years…




Edited by - majesty on 09/28/2001 00:41:28
posted on 27-Sep-2001 12:35:06 AM by majesty
PART 5

Max stopped, stunned as he looked straight into Liz’s eyes.

Michael walked in behind him, and his face hardened.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he asked angrily, looking at Kyle and Alex.

“We could ask the same question,” Alex said, staring him down.

“We don’t owe you any explanations,” Isabel said coldly, standing next to Michael.

“Oh this is great,” Maria muttered.

Kyle glared at Max, but Max hadn’t noticed. He was too caught up in Liz Parker’s eyes. The moment he looked into them, the flood of images from their connection flared to the surface of his mind.

Liz felt her breath quicken, and her heartbeat race at seeing Max. Looking into his eyes, she felt the blanketing warmth she had felt back at the UFO Museum.

Yelling erupted around them, but the two were deaf to it as time and space seemed to pause for an endless moment. Liz swallowed hard as she felt the intenseness of Max’s gaze.

Max felt as if someone had knocked the wind out of him. Even with the bruise still painfully colored on her cheek, she looked beautiful. He had almost forgotten how beautiful she was. Perfect…

A hideous wheezing erupted from behind her and she broke his gaze. Turning quickly, she looked at Doug and nearly panicked. His face was turning a sickly shade of blue as he tried desperately to take a breath.

“Maria!” she called out frantically.

Maria broke her diatribe at Isabel and Michael as soon as she heard the panic in Liz’s voice. She rushed over to where Liz was on the floor with Doug.

“Oh shit…oh shit,” Maria said on the verge of tears.

“I want to know what’s going on here, right now!” Michael yelled at Alex.

Max saw the panic in Liz’s face and made his way quickly to the person her body was shielding from his view.

Liz looked up at him, tears filling her eyes.

“He’s going to die,” she whispered shakily.

Max looked at the man’s face for a moment and then down to Maria, who moved out of his way. He knelt down, the outside of his thigh touching Liz’s arm. He looked at her.

“Can you help him?” she pleaded.

He looked at her for a long moment and moved to place his hand on the mans’ chest.

“Maxwell don’t you dare!” Michael grated. “Don’t you dare heal him! They tried to kill us, for crissakes! We don’t even know what’s going on here…”

“Max,” Isabel said warningly.

Liz turned to them. “Look, I promise, I’ll explain everything, why we’re in here, what happened, everything. Just please help him. He’s our only hope of finding Serena,” she said, her eyes pleading with him.

“And why should we care of you get this Serena back?” Michael retorted.

“Because she can save the world,” Liz answered.

Max looked up at Michael, giving him his answer, and Michael looked up at the ceiling in annoyance.

Max turned back to the man again and placed his hand on his chest, closing his eyes. Doug was wheezing laboriously, trying to get air into his lungs.

Liz watched in amazement as a slight glow appeared through the skin of his hand. This is what he did to me, she thought in wonder.

Max’s face twisted in an almost painful demeanor, as his energy was sucked out of him, rebuilding cells and tissue and bone. His breathing became labored as his energy was depleted. Liz watched him heal, watched him become weaker as his efforts doubled to heal the man.

Isabel watched horrified as Max slumped away from Doug, trying to catch his breath.

She kneeled next to him, a worried look on her face.

“Max! Are you ok?” she asked.

He smiled weakly at her. “Yeah, I’m fine. He was pretty bad. It’s harder to heal aliens,” he said, as she and Michael looked at him in shock. He looked at Liz. “He’ll be unconscious for awhile.”

“What do you mean aliens?” Michael asked.

“I’ll explain everything,” Liz said, catching Max’s eyes before looking up at Michael and Isabel.

Max used his feet to push himself back until his back hit the wall of the chamber, and then he slumped against it.

“Yes Serena and Doug are aliens, sort of…” she said.

“What do you mean sort of?” Michael asked. “And how did you know about this place?”

Let me start from the beginning,” she said, looking at Alex, Kyle and Maria.

“Serena brought me here. That’s how we knew about it. Serena and I met in a physics class at Las Cruces. We kind of bonded because she had lost her parents in a car crash right around the same time I lost my dad,” Liz said, looking over at Max.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly. She gave him a little smile.

“We were sort of drawn to each other, because we were kind of going through the same thing. Over two years we became really close. Everyone liked Serena and her twin brother, Doug. They were fun, assertive, and seemed to have this uncanny ability to know what you were thinking or feeling. I thought it was just one of those things with your friends knowing how you think. But one day, I got out of class late, and I was in a rush, and she came running after me. She told me to come back to class for a minute. I had to get to work at home, and I told her that. But she grabbed my arm at the parking lot. I was so mad at her, because I knew my mom was handling things alone at the Crashdown. So I yelled at her, and as I turned to the parking lot I saw a car come racing across it, full speed. A second later, it smashed into the driver’s side door of my car, head on. I would have been dead. A professor had had a heart attack and died behind the wheel. His foot was pressed down fully on the gas,” she paused, staring at her hands.

“I know I would have been dead if it weren’t for Serena. I had to talk to her about it. That night we sat down and talked, and she told me she had certain “gifts”, that she could sense peoples’ thoughts and feelings, and that sometimes she could predict future events. I was a little shocked, but she had saved my life. I promised I wouldn’t tell the others, and we grew even closer. A little too close I guess because I started to neglect my other friendships. Maria, Kyle and Alex were worried about me.

Almost three months ago, Serena was really troubled, and so was Doug. I was with them at the mall. I asked what was wrong, because I could tell something was off. Serena told me she was getting this strong sense of pain, of desperation, coming from somewhere close. She wanted to check it out alone, but Doug and I insisted that we go with her. We drove down 285, and she suddenly turned onto a dirt road. The feelings were growing stronger, almost unbearable. Then we wound up here, and Serena was walking around confused, because there was no one around, but the feelings were so powerful. Then the doorway appeared,” she said motioning to the entrance to the chamber.

“We came in, and we found a man in here. He called himself the protector. He kept whispering about his foolishness, his underestimation that had caused the death of the Royal Three,” she said.

Max looked at Isabel and Michael in alarm. Nasedo.

“He told us that the skins had captured him, after they had killed the Royal Three. I didn’t understand, and I asked him to explain. He said that the Royal Three had been killed back on Antar, Zan, the King, Vilandra, his sister, and Rath, his second in command. They were re-created with human DNA and brought here for protection. He had to hide them from the skins. He placed them in the desert, knowing they would be picked up. They were adopted. And now they were dead. He said that he had called out to Serena and Doug, half-breeds, in desperation. They had been good to his King on Antar, and he knew that at least through them, a species would carry on. He told Serena to bring her closest friends and family members here when it happened. He told us that when he brought the pods here, he modified the rock in this chamber, so it’s protected from any kind of radiational or biological energy. That’s why we’re still here,” she said slowly.

“He didn’t know where or when it would happen, but he sensed something terrible from the skin who had mortally wounded him. Whatever it was would be devastating, and they would know it when it came. There were others out there like Serena and Doug. They would sense each other after the skins attack, and they would know what to do. He gave her that pendant, and told her it would open the door to the chamber if passed over the mis-shapen stone, and then, he died. He literally disintegrated,” Liz said.

Isabel’s eyes pooled with tears that she fought to control. She could not let them know who they were. That they were the Royal Three. But Nasedo was gone. What were they going to do now?

“Serena didn’t know what to say to me. I knew now that she was an alien, or part alien. She told me that through her bloodline, a human had fallen in love with an Antarian. She was mostly human, but the gifts that she had were all Antarian abilities. Each Antarian has different ones. Like I told you she is sort of psychic and clairvoyant. Doug is as well, but he also has the ability to talk to people telepathically. I guess Antarians are kind of like the X-Men,” Liz said wryly.

“Serena didn’t know how Antarian blood came into her family. She and Doug didn’t find out until shortly before their parents were killed. They weren’t really sure of it either, as they all appear human, even down to the cellular level. The Antarian genes are so diluted, they only appear in a few cells,” she said.

“So the three of us started making trips out here at least two or three times a week, studying the pods here, some crystals we found in the back over there, just trying to prepare for the worst. Kyle, Maria and Alex knew something was going down, and so one day, they followed us out there. We never even knew it. When we opened the wall with the pendant, they sprinted up the hill into the chamber wanting to know what the hell we were up to. Serena had just picked up the crystals, and they were glowing. Kyle kind of freaked out,” she said, smiling at him.

“He was yelling at us, they all were, and then there was this huge rumble, and the whole chamber shook. Rocks were coming down from the ceiling. We took cover. It lasted for about 10 minutes and then everything fell dead silent. We opened the door to the chamber, and there was this red glow everywhere. We hurried to the car, wanting to get back to town as soon as possible. But as we got near town, we saw cars abandoned on the road, bikes dropped in their place. And there was no one in town. They were all gone. My mom was gone,” she said, her voice cracking. She looked over to see Max looking at her sympathetically, and she dropped her head.

She cleared her throat.

“Anyway, Serena started to get these wicked headaches that night. And then she saw that everybody that was here on Earth isn’t dead. They’re…somewhere else. She doesn’t know where, but she’s seen them, people as far as the eye can see. And there’s something…wrong. Something wrong about the whole vision, and it scared the hell out of her. She saw the skins, out of their husks, and they were horrible to look at. There was something wrong with them. All night she was up pacing. And then she had the final vision. There were others like her, out there that had survived. They were starting to gather in Washington D.C. They aren’t as powerful as she and Doug are. Some of them couldn’t survive what the skins brought upon us. They were not purely human, so they couldn’t be taken, but they weren’t alien enough to survive the energy burst’s effects. They were either driven insane, or died a slow death,” she said.

“We’ve seen them along the way,” Max said quietly, thinking of Jack Rogers.

Liz nodded.

“She and Doug supposed to go to D.C. They will lead these people in releasing the people that the skins have taken. She doesn’t know why they were taken, only that they will all die if something isn’t done soon,” she said.

“We need to get her back from the skins. The energy burst has affected their husks, and a lot of them are dying. But there are still a lot out there, and they know about Serena and what she is supposed to do. They know that together, she and Doug could defeat them, but apart, they arent’ strong enough,” Liz said.

“So you’re telling us that there is a chance that we can save our parents?” Isabel asked hopefully, looking at Max.

“If you want to join us…help us, I think there is a really good chance that we can do that. I want my mother back,” she said quietly.

Isabel looked at Max and at Michael, who was very quiet. He never worried about Hank. As a matter of fact, he’d be happy if he dropped off the face of the Earth, but he knew that Isabel was beside herself thinking about her Mom and Dad, and he knew Max was upset about it too. Eventually he knew they would have to face the skins, so it might as well be now. He nodded at Isabel and Max, and Isabel bit her lip.

Max turned to the others.

“We’ll help,” he said. “I don’t know what we can do, but we’ll help.”

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

Kyle volunteered to do first watch around the perimeter of the outcropping. The skins were still looking for them, and they had taken to each taking shifts scouting. It had become a routine.

Not that Kyle particularly like leaving Liz behind with that freak Evans. He didn’t really have anything against aliens persay, after all Serena was sort of one, but she didn’t do any weird things physically to them, and she sure as hell didn’t leave silver handprints behind.

In fact, Serena was one of the coolest people he knew, aside from the whole part alien thing of course. She knew how to fight with the best of them. She’d even taken him down a few times. She had said she had decided she had to be prepared to defend herself because sooner or later, she assumed something would arise out of her alien-ness. How right she was.

He looked back at the outcropping, scowling. He didn’t know what those freaks would be able to do to help them find Serena, but if it got her back, then he’d have to tolerate them for the time being. He wanted his Dad back here safe and sound, and…he wanted Serena back alive too. Quickly he pushed that thought out of his head. He was with Liz, and he had to be there for her. After all if he wasn’t, who would be?

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

Maria was passing out food to everyone, after they decided to let Doug sleep off his recovery. Tomorrow would come soon enough, and he needed all the energy he could muster. They had no idea what to expect. And that was if he could connect with Serena. In his weakened condition that was no guarantee.

She passed a plate to Alex, and he glanced at Isabel curiously, sitting alone near the pods, her food untouched.

She looked up and Michael was standing there with a scowl on his face.

“Don’t look so happy Guerin,” she said sarcastically. “I mean I know you aren’t exactly happy about being here, but damn the least you could do is try to be civil.”

“Oh please, you guys don’t like this any more than we do. Why the hell should we help you all anyway? You all were ready to kill us a couple of hours ago,” he said angrily. “If I had any of my abilities, you’d all be dead now,” he said.

“That’s comforting,” Maria said, irritated. “Now, the question you asked…why should you help us? Because we all have families that we want back alive. Even your friends want their families back,” she said.

“Did they get more human chromosomes than you? You should take some lessons from them Guerin,” she said sarcastically.

That hit too close to home. Michael glared at her, grabbed the plate of food from her hand and stalked off, leaving an open-mouthed Maria standing with empty hands.

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

Alex poured some tea out of the thermos, and looked over at Isabel again.

Slowly he walked over to her and knelt down next to her, holding the cup out to her. She takes it from him wordlessly, looking at the pods.
Alex cleared his throat.

“Hey, uh…I’m sorry for the bully treatment you guys got earlier,” he said, looking at her.

Isabel sighed, continuing to stare at the pods.

“Hey, I should have expected it. People just don’t understand,” she said bitterly. “We’re not so different than you, you know.”
Alex laughed mirthlessly.

“Well at least you know how it feels,” he said.

“What?” she said incredulously, her head snapping toward him.

“In high school, your crowd. They never gave any of us the time of day. You all thought you were better than anyone else,” he said.

“That’s not true!” she said indignantly.

“Oh come, it’s true and you know it. You never would have even acknowledged me in high school,” he said.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve no idea what I was going through,” she said.

“Yeah, actually that’s kind of freaky to know now that the most popular girl in school is an alien,” he said, looking across the room.

“Yes, well I guess that changes your whole outlook on things, doesn’t it?” she asked dryly. “Enough to turn you off?”

“Oddly enough, I sort of feel like we have something in common now,” he said. “You know, knowing that one of the most gorgeous girls I’ve ever seen was feeling the same things I was back then…I guess the world isn’t such a bad place after all,” he said grinning. He stood up and walked over to Maria and Max, leaving Isabel to stare after him with her mouth agape.

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

Liz took her plate of food outside to wait for the sun, which was just beginning to peek over the horizon. She was tired, but no more tired than she usually was. None of them had slept well in months, since everything had changed in Roswell. She listlessly picked her the food on the plate in front of her, not really wanting to eat anything.

Looking down, she caught a glimpse of silver fingers on her chest, and she pulled her shirt across her.

“Did I do that?” a voice asked softly.

Liz started, turning her head quickly. He stood quietly against the rock, afraid to approach her, afraid that he’d scare her.

“I…I guess so,” she said, looking down at the ground.

“I’m sorry,” he said, walking a little closer.

She looked up and caught his gaze, those mesmerizing brown eyes for a long moment, and then broke eye contact.

“Why would you apologize?” she said shyly. “You saved my life.”

He sat down next to her.

“I’ve never done that before…you know, with a person. I didn’t know that was going to happen,” he said apologetically.

Liz played with a pebble sitting near her shoe and smiled.

“I’m sorry about how everyone over-reacted,” she said. “They didn’t know…”

He smiled, looking up at the sky.

“It’s ok,” he said. “We’re still alive, so no harm done.”

“You’re Zan aren’t you? The King…” she said. “That’s how you were able to get into the chamber.”

For a fleeting moment, he considered giving her another answer, but he knew he couldn’t lie.

“Yes,” he said quietly.

She nodded silently, looking out at the arid landscape spread out before them.

“I wish he had known you weren’t dead. The skins told him you were murdered,” she said quietly.

He looked down at the ground and didn’t say anything.

She mustered the courage to look at his profile.

“Max, when you healed Doug, were you hurt?” she asked, concerned.

He lowered his head and looked at her.

“No, I just used a lot of energy,” he said. “It’s draining. My powers haven’t been the same since…”

He let a wry laugh.

“It feels so strange to be talking to someone about this other than Isabel and Michael, after all this time,” he said.

“I’m sorry,” Liz said quickly, starting to get up.

“No, it’s good, ” he said, catching her arm, and immediately her eyes were drawn to his hand, where she could immediately feel that welcoming warmth she had felt earlier.

She stared at his hand in wonder, with his wonderfully tapered fingers, so strong. Fingers that had the power to heal.

Max noticed her looking at his hand and he realized what he had done, quickly pulling away, knowing that the last thing she probably wanted was for him to be touching her again.

Liz felt a distinct disappointment at the absence of his touch.

They sat in uncomfortable silence for a long moment.

“Max, can I ask you something? You know, about when you healed me?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said, once again getting caught up in her liquid brown eyes before breaking the gaze, embarrassed.

“I don’t know if I can answer. I have never done anything like that before,” he admitted.

Liz paused a moment, trying to find the words to explain what she wanted to say.

“When you healed me I…I felt as if someone had touched my soul. I know that sounds crazy,” she said quickly, “but I felt it, and I had all of these memories in my head. I don’t know if it was a biological reaction from my brain, but I felt it, and I really need to know if it was real. Were you in my head Max?” she asked curiously.

Max blushed and looked down at the ground, embarrassed.

“Oh my God,” Liz said, mortified. “You were…”

She was so embarrassed, she felt like she wanted to crawl under a rock.

“Oh, I feel *so* stupid,” she said, moving to get up and away from him. He knew. He knew every thought she had ever had about him.

Impulsively, he grabbed her arm again, holding her there.

“No Liz, it’s ok,” he said quickly.

“No, it’s not ok,” she said, again trying to rise.

“Wait!” he said. “It *is* ok.” He looked at her intensely.

“Can I show you something?” he asked, unsure of himself, pulling his hand away.

Liz nodded.

“Can I touch you?” he asked. “I need to touch you if it’s going to work. I am not even sure it will. I’ve never tried this before,” he said quietly.

Again Liz nodded wordlessly.

Tentatively, he reached up and gently put a hand on each side of her face.

Her eyes met his and she felt her heartbeat quicken, and suddenly she was drawn into them. She was *inside* Max.


*flash*

He and Isabel are walking along the highway. It is night, and headlights blind them.

*flash*

The social services woman is telling both he and Isabel that they were going to have a real family. Isabel turns and beams at him, but even then the little boy feels a pervading sense of displacement, or loneliness.

*flash*

He lay on his bed, a little boy, and there is a soft knock on the door. It opens, and the lady who told him to call her Mom is standing there with a kind and sympathetic smile.

She asks him if he wants anything. He tells her he wants to go home. She leaves the room for a moment and comes back with a small model of a house.

“This is a magic house,” she says. Whenever you want to think about home, hold this and it will take you there.”

Max smiles sadly and takes the house from her. She kisses him goodnight and shuts the door. Max holds that house all night and many nights afterward, but the magic didn’t work. He never gets to go home.

*flash*

Max was holding Isabel’s hand as he got off the school bus. He was afraid. School was a terrifying prospect for him. He couldn’t even think about being around so many children, and he knew he would have to constantly watch himself to make sure that he didn’t use his powers. He and Isabel knew instinctively that they had to hide them from humans, but sometimes it was hard, and sometimes they forgot.

Glancing nervously around the playground, he caught sight of the most beautiful dark haired angel he had ever seen. She was laughing with a little blonde girl and a dark-haired boy. His eyes were drawn to her all day. He wished he had the nerve to go and play with them, but Isabel kept him at her side all day, and even if she hadn’t, he wouldn’t have had the courage. Never had he felt so alone.

*flash*

A sullen boy enters class and immediately draws Max’s attention. The familiarity was unnerving to him. There was something about this boy. He sat down next to Max without looking at him. Max looked over at him.

“I’m Max,” he said.

The boy turned toward him and recognition dawned in his eyes.

“I’m Michael Guerin…”


*flash*

He watches Liz at thirteen, swinging her tanned legs at her desk, deep into listening to what the teacher is saying. Max can’t concentrate. He is drawn to the silky smoothness of her hair, and imagines what it might be like to touch her skin. But he knows he shouldn’t wonder these things. He is different.

*flash*

He walks by Liz’s locker slowly, hearing Kyle ask her on a date. Inwardly, he feels like his heart is being ripped open, but he doesn’t let it show on his face. He can’t let any of it show. He stares almost unwillingly at her blushing face, and then feels a tug on his arm.

“Hey Max,” Jenny Werner says. “How’s it going?”

“Fine,” Max mumbles, trying to look back at Liz’s locker as he passed it.

“Um…I was wondering, do you maybe want to see a movie this weekend?” she asked hopefully.

Max looks at her and then looks quickly away.

“I can’t, sorry,” he says, imagining what it might be like if Liz ha asked him. But that would never happen.

“Oh,” she said disappointed. “Maybe another time?” she continued hopefully.

“Yeah maybe,” Max said, distracted. “See you,” he said, walking away, leaving Jenny standing in the middle of the hall.

*flash*

He is standing at the door of the UFO Museum, watching the Crashdown yet again. He sees Liz walk past the window and his heart is filled with longing for what seemed like the millionth time. He sees Kyle walk into the restaurant, catching Liz by surprise, spinning her around. He can see the bright smile that lights her face, and he sighs and turns back into the museum.

*flash*

Senior year. He is sitting at the lab table in AP Physics. He sees her walk into the room, and it as if everything has suddenly lit up. She goes to the teacher for her table assignment and then miraculously she is walking toward his table. She gives him a shy smile, and sits down next to him.

She leans over to grab a notebook, and her hair falls on his hand. It feels like spun silk. He wants to reach out to touch it in the worst way. He wonders what it would be like to kiss her, to touch her soft lips with his own. All year, he tried to convince himself that it would be ok to have a conversation with her about something other than physics, but he never gets the nerve. Still he felt lucky to have even this short time near her. She smelled so good, like strawberries and vanilla, and sometimes he finds it hard to concentrate. Before he knows it, the year is almost over.

*flash*

Max sits a short distance down the road from the Crashdown. He is far enough away to be unnoticed, but close enough that he can see the front and side of the building. It is late, and he has been here for hours. Prom night. He had sat in this same spot many nights during the year. Tonight was going to be different. Tonight he was going to get the courage to climb up to her balcony to say something to her, anything. He looked at the six-pack he had sitting on the seat. That would help, he thought, as he cracked one open.

Two beers later, he realizes that he has absolutely no tolerance for alcohol at all. He grinned drunkenly. This wasn’t going to be so hard after all. He saw Kyle’s mustang pull up, and Kyle got out and opened the passenger door for her. They went to the side door, and then he embraced her, their lips meeting in what looked to be a fiery kiss.

“He isn’t what she wants,” Max slurred. “He isn’t good enough for her,” he said as Liz went inside and Kyle got into his car and drove away.

Max opened the door to the jeep, determined. He took a few steps and a strong arm grabbed his, holding him back.

“Oh no you don’t,” Michael said warningly. “What the fuck Max? You’ve been drinking?”

“Leave me alone,” Max slurred, looking at her balcony.

“Nope,” Michael said, not gonna let you do it, physically lifting Max around the jeep and dropping him in the passenger seat, sealing the lock.

“You’ll thank me in the morning,” Michael said, as Max glared at him.

*flash*

Graduation day. His last day at school. His last day to see Liz. She was valedictorian.

He watched her go up to the podium. He thought the caps and gowns looked stupid, but on Liz, she never looked more beautiful.

At the podium she paused, looking at the crowd, and suddenly her eyes fell on him and she started to speak.

Max’s face burned and his whole body responded to her gaze.

When she talked about love and hope and the future, he felt like she was speaking to him.

And then it was over and she was gone from the stage.

Afterwards he stood with his parents and Isabel, scanning the crowd, and then he spotted her. And she smiled at him and his heart leapt. People walked in front of her and Isabel dragged him off. He kept looking behind him to try to find her again in the crowd, but he never saw her again.


Suddenly Liz was looking into Max’s eyes again and she was herself. Her heart was filled to bursting with all different conflicting emotions, as her eyes filled with unshed tears. She was so truly sad for his loneliness. Her heart leapt that he had felt the same pangs of longing she did. She was angry with herself for not having the courage enough to speak to him. And she was grateful that he had saved her life.

She was trying to hold back her emotions, but the look he was giving her caused all her reason to fly out the window. In his eyes she saw everything she had ever felt for her Fictional Max.

“Did it work?” he asked, self-conscious.

She nodded slowly, never taking her eyes from his, and then he looked down, embarrassed.

“Thank you for saving my life Max,” she said softly.

He looked up and met her eyes again, and felt her ragged breathing, and she saw his eyes fall to her lips, and then his hands were pulling her face closer to his. She shut her eyes, unable to stop what was happening any more than she could stop breathing. And then she felt the velvet softness of his lips on hers, and her whole body lit up, as if on fire. She felt his lips harden, as he gently pulled at her bottom lip with his teeth, and then she opened her mouth to his kiss, and thought she might explode with the feeling of his tongue exploring her mouth, as her own danced with his. This was what she had always dreamed a kiss should be like, burning, hot, all-consuming. This was the kiss she imagined her dream Max would give her. But sitting before her was no man she dreamed up. This was Max Evans, flash and blood and…alien. He was an alien.

Kyle. Her thoughts suddenly snapped to him. What was she thinking? He was out there protecting them and she was making out with someone she had never had more that twenty words with before tonight.

She ripped her mouth away from his with a strangled cry, and jumped up.

“Oh my God,” she said, running her hand through her hair. “I have to go inside,” she said, standing at the closed entrance with her head down. She pulled out her wireless handset. Maria, let me in,” she said quickly almost in a panic.

He put his hand on her arm.

“Liz, I’m sorry,” he said as the entrance opened and she entered quickly, leaving a bewildered Maria looking at Max.

TBC…




posted on 27-Sep-2001 1:08:19 AM by majesty
Angela,

Yep I was trying to incorporate some pieces of S2 into this.

I probably could have come up with something grander for the pendant, but considering it had such meaning in Senseless, I decided to go the ordinary key route *happy* Plus, someone should just slap me for reading specs and spoilers because there is one spec in particular that is disturbing, and it has gotten to the point where it is sapping my creativity.

I sat down and wrote a bare-bones plotline for this story, and there would be some interesting Antarian lore, and some other plot-line tie ins, but I am not sure I should continue it. I am of the feeling that if it isn't up to the standards of what is being written here on this board already, then maybe it shouldn't be published at all? I don't want to disappoint anyone. Anyway, I am going to try to plod on with HOTP this weekend. I am having trouble with that one too. Damned spoilers, I should just have someone put NetNanny on my pc...

Majesty




posted on 27-Sep-2001 8:18:25 AM by majesty
Angela,

You and I think so much alike hehe. I think its so cool that you pick up on the things I am trying to convey. Like the handprint and Kyle's reaction. I was going to bring up Liz's reaction to being "branded" or "marked" in a later chapter as well *happy*

Ok, I thought about it and I will go on with a few more chapters to see how this story plays out. What I need from you guys is to tell me if it is turning out crappy, and be honest because I am writing for you guys as well as this little crazy person in my head, and I don't want to put the time into something that is not worth the effort. I can always start another story.

Majesty


posted on 27-Sep-2001 10:04:25 AM by majesty
Hehe Becca,

You know why I did that whole Alex/Isabel scene *happy*

Max and Liz's relationship will be going at a slow pace in this story, but you all know I will find some way to throw you a bone, hehe *tongue*

Majesty


posted on 28-Sep-2001 1:17:01 PM by majesty
Hi everyone,

Well ok, since you guys like where this is going so far, I'll keep at it. Was stressing over this story a little, because as I said, I had no idea where I was going with it, but I sat down yesterday and wrote a tentative outline (damn, my english professors *were* right LOL). I am feeling a little bit better about it. I just started to write the next chapter of HOTP. Maybe up tonight or tomorrow (depending on whether my husband decides to send me to a reprogramming camp to rid me of my Roswell obsession LOL), but barring that, I would expect the next part of this early next week.

Majesty



Edited by - majesty on 09/29/2001 13:17:56
posted on 1-Oct-2001 10:58:55 PM by majesty
Hey everyone,

So this one is long, and may be a bit boring, but it is setting alot up, so I hope you plow through it. I might work on another chapter of this before I get back to HOTP cause I don't really think this chapter is that great. I just didn't have time to go any father with it tonight.

Anyway, see the note at the bottom when you're done reading.


PART 6

“Liz, please wait!” Max called after her, but she didn’t look back. Maria gave him a glare and went to sit beside her where she had crouched near Doug. She put her hand on Liz’s arm.

“Chica, you ok?” she asked, concerned.

“Yeah…yeah I’m fine,” Liz answered.

“What did he do to you?” Maria asked impatiently. “Did he try some other weird alien crap on you?”

“No Maria,” she said, quickly defending him without realizing she was doing it. “He didn’t do anything. Nothing happened.”

“Then why are you so upset?” Maria asked skeptically. “You weren’t like this before you were out there alone with him,” she said softly, looking over at Max.

“It’s just that this whole Serena thing is hitting me,” Liz lied. Well it was the truth sort of, but she didn’t feel any worse about that situation than she did before she went outside. But she couldn’t tell Maria what happened. She wouldn’t understand.

“Liz, I know there’s something you’re not telling me,” she said. “And if you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking well…don’t think it! I know you think he’s hot, but he’s also from another planet! God, you don’t know what they could do to you!”

“Maria, I’m not thinking anything!” Liz hissed, glancing at Max, who was sitting with Isabel. Her eyes caught his for a split second and she felt her face flame. She looked away. “He would never hurt us,” she said quietly.

“How do you know that?” Maria asked in disbelief.

“I just do,” Liz said, pushing her hair behind her hair.

“Look, you can rest easy. I have no plans to start anything with Max Evans. Not now, not ever. I’m with Kyle, and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said, trying to convince herself of that by saying it out loud.

But if that were true, her mind argued, then why was it that just the slightest touch of Max’s lips against her own started a fire in her body that she had never felt with Kyle? As if her thinking of him had called him, she heard his voice on Alex’s short-wave. Alex grabbed the pendant and opened the chamber.

“Good Liz,” Maria answered after a moment.

“’Cause I can tell, they’re just trouble,” she said, staring at Michael. He caught her looking and glared at her until she looked away, scrunching her nose in a scowl.

“Yep, more trouble than they are worth,” Maria grumbled, not wanting to think about the fact that Michael Guerin had become amazingly hot himself in the time he had been away. Was it the alien genes that made them all beautiful? Still it did nothing for his attitude.

Doug stirred and Liz jumped.

“Maria!” she said, grabbing his hand.

“Doug,” Liz said softly, as his brow furrowed.

“Doug, are you awake?” she said, and he opened his eyes. Amazing green eyes, just like Serena’s. She smiled down at him.

“Where’s Serena?” he croaked, trying to get up. She helped him sit up. The others gathered around them.

“She’s been captured,” Liz said gently.

“Damn,” Doug cursed. “What happened?”

Liz sighed. “They found us at the museum. They killed the lights, and took her before we knew what happened.” She didn’t mention that Max was healing her. She could feel Max’s gaze on her, and just that thought alone was making her pulse race. Let it go Liz, she thought to herself.

“What do you remember?” Liz asked abruptly, trying to get Max out of her mind.

“Just…I was in the alley behind the Crashdown and I had split up from Serena. A skin jumped me from one of the roofs. I never saw it coming. Then two more showed up. They used some sort of weapon on me. I couldn’t move. They were demanding I tell them where she was, and when I didn’t they beat me. The last thing I remember was them telling me I was going to die,” he said.

“And then I remember dreams, strange ones. Like I was dead, but something was pulling me back,” he said.

“Someone did pull you back,” Liz said. “Max, he healed you,” she said, glancing over at him. He looked down.

“Healed me?” Doug questioned. “How?”

“I…I’m like you, only more,” Max said quietly. “I am half Antarian.”

“You’re Antarian?” Doug said, in disbelief.

“Doug, Max is Zan,” Liz said, and Doug’s eyes widened.

“You told them?” Isabel said, angrily to Max.

“No, I guessed,” Liz said. “I saw the look Max gave you when I mentioned the protector. You all had a way to get into the chamber without the pendant. It wasn’t hard to figure out,” she said.

“Great,” Michael muttered.

Max shot him a look, and he fell silent. Doug looked up at Max. “You are the King,” he said. “Serena and I had hoped you were still alive, but then we had heard you were killed.”

“It wasn’t true,” Max said. “We’re still here.”

“Does Serena know?” he asked Liz.

“No, she was taken before I guessed,” she said.

“We have to find her,” Doug said. “There’s no telling what they’ll do to her to find out the rendezvous point.”

Liz nodded. “Do you think you feel strong enough to try to connect with her?” Liz asked.

“I don’t know,” Doug said. “Usually our connection is never really turned off. It’s like a buzz in the back of my head. But I don’t feel it now.”

“Could that mean she’s…” Kyle said, with a look of horror on his face.

I don’t know,” Doug said miserably.

“Do you want to try?” Liz asked.

He nodded. He shut his eyes for a long moment while they all watched.

His breathing became erratic for a moment, and Liz glanced at Maria with worry.

His lips tightened and he opened his eyes.

“I can’t feel her,” he said. Our connection is cut. I don’t know if it’s because I am still weak, or if something happened to her, but I can’t feel her at all,” he said dejectedly.

Kyle sighed. “Now what?”

“We wait until you are strong enough to try again,” Alex said.

“But that could be days!” Kyle said. “We can’t wait that long. She’ll be dead.”

“What other choice do we have?” Alex said, rubbing his eyes tiredly. “Doug is our only connection to Serena.”

“Maybe I can help,” Isabel said, and Alex turned to look at her. She looked at him uncertainly, afraid of all of their reactions. She also felt bad for the way she had treated Alex earlier. He was a nice guy. She never took the time to notice in high school.

“How are you going to help?” Maria asked, irritated.

“Hey, I think you should cut the attitude,” Michael said to Maria. “Isabel may be your only hope.”

“Whatever,” she muttered, walking away from the group. These aliens and aliens in general had turned her world upside down, and she was at the end of her rope.

Michael glared in her direction.

“How do you think you can help?” Alex said gently, hoping to diffuse Maria’s little tirade.

She looked at him and saw reassurance in his eyes. “Well, I…I can sort of get into people’s dreams. We call it dreamwalking. Sometimes I can see where they are. Maybe I can get her to tell us where she is.”

“It’s worth a try,” Alex said, looking at Liz, who nodded and gave a small smile to Isabel. She still couldn’t look at Max, especially with Kyle standing next to her. She felt so guilty.

“Do you have something of hers, a photo or something?” Isabel asked.

“Yeah,” Liz said, pulling her wallet out of her pocket. She took a photo out of Serena and herself on the quad. She looked at it quickly, and handed it to Isabel.

Isabel took it and walked a short distance away from the others, and sat cross-legged on the floor of the chamber. She traced a finger over the photo for a moment before closing her eyes.

The group watched as her breathing seemed to deepen, become more even.

Isabel found herself in the back of a van. Trying to get her bearings, she felt the metal wall of the van under her fingers. She looked around quickly, and spotted a huddled figure in the corner.

“Serena?” she asked softly. There was no response. She crawled carefully toward the figure, mindful of the movements of the truck.

Yes it was her, she could see. Her lip was split where someone had hit her, hard. Her left eye was swollen over. Isabel could see bruising beginning on her arms. A trickle of blood was drying near her hairline.

She gently touched the girl’s arm.

“Serena?” she said quietly again and the girl jerked and cowered.

“It’s ok, I’m not going to hurt you,” she said gently.

Serena peered at her through a blood red eye where blood vessels had burst in it.

“You…oh My God I should have known when I saw you. I should have seen it,” she said, her eyes filling with tears. “I thought you were dead.”

Isabel was momentarily stunned. How did she know who she was? Granted, she obviously knew about Zan and Vilandra, but she had never met this girl in her life. But there was no time to ask her about this.
“I see it now. Vilandra…” she said tearfully. “Why didn’t I see it?”

Isabel was confused. She’d have to ask Doug about this later.

“It’s ok, I am alive,” she said. “I’m here because of Liz and Doug. He can’t connect with you,” she said.

“He’s alive?” Serena said tearfully. “I couldn’t feel him anymore and I thought, oh God I thought he was dead.”

“No, he’s weak, but he’s not dead,” she said, noticing a strange mark on Serena’s wrist. She gently took her hand and looked at it closely.

It was a chip of some sort. She looked up quickly at Serena.

“This may be why you can’t connect with Doug,” she said, showing it to her.

Serena looked dismayed. “I don’t know when they did this,” she said. “It must have been while I was unconscious. Shit. I bet I can’t do anything to get it out of me. They probably have it rigged to do something if I try to remove it.”

“It’s ok, we can connect this way,” she said.

“What are you doing here?” Serena asked.

“I need you to tell me anything you can about where they are taking you,” Isabel said. “They need to know, so they can help.”

Serena shook her head wearily. “I don’t know…”

“There has to be something, anything!” Isabel said. “Think hard.”

Serena winced as she tried to recall anything her captors may have said, anything she might have seen before she lost consciousness.

“There had to be something,” Isabel said.

Suddenly, Serena’s eyes snapped open.

“Wait, they talked about a house. Horton House,” she said.

“Where is that?” Isabel asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “But that’s where they are taking me. I can’t remember anything else,” she said, distraught.

“It’s ok, we’ll find it,” Isabel said, putting her hand on her shoulder.

Serena felt her touch and her gaze snapped to her face in alarm.

“What?” Isabel said. “What’s wrong?”

“You are in danger,” she said.

“What do you mean? We’re *all* in danger,” Isabel said confused.

“No, you. I mean you. Something is going to happen. Someone you will come or have come to trust is going to betray you to meet their own ends,” she said.

“I don’t understand…” she said, as the van stopped.

“Know your heart Vilandra,” she said, as the back door to the van opened, and sunlight poured in on Serena.

A large burly skin climbed in the back, yanking Serena out of the van.

“No!!!” Isabel shouted, as the man shook Serena.

“Tell me where they are, the half-breeds!” he said.

“I don’t know,” Serena answered defiantly, and the man slapped her across her cheek. Serena fell to the ground and the man kicked her, and kept kicking her…


“NOOO!!!” Isabel screamed as she felt an arm come around her. She opened her eyes unaware of where she was for a moment, the vision of Serena being beaten still floating in her head.

And then a cheek pressed close to hers. “It’s ok,” a soft voice said as she sobbed. Liz.

“They’re hurting her because she won’t tell them where the others are,” Isabel cried.

Liz squeezed her comfortingly. Max watched in wonder at this girl who had put aside what they were. She didn’t seem to care. All she saw was Isabel upset. She wasn’t afraid of them. She wasn’t afraid to touch them. He had thought that when he kissed her she had been repulsed. And maybe she was, but seeing the way she was with Isabel now, her instinct to comfort her, even knowing what she was…but then again, she had been friends with Serena for awhile, and Serena was a half-breed. That didn’t mean that she had been ok with him kissing her. Being friends with aliens and being involved with one were to completely different animals.

“It’s ok,” Liz said soothingly. “Serena will be ok. They aren’t going to kill her until they get what they want out of her.”

“But they were so vicious,” Isabel said shakily.

“She’ll handle herself,” Liz said. “Did she tell you anything? Did you learn anything?”

Isabel nodded her head vigorously. “She said she heard something about a place named Horton House. I don’t know where it is. She didn’t either, but she said that’s where they’re taking her,” she said, trying to get control of her emotions.

“Ok, ok,” Liz said. There was something familiar about that name.

“That’s good. That’s a start. We can go to the library and look it up.”

Isabel nodded tearfully.

Doug touched her hand. “Thank you,” he said. “I’m sorry for what you had to see. If only I could have…”

“No, it’s not you. They have implanted a blocking device in her wrist. It must be blocking your connection. It’s not your fault,” she said quickly.

He smiled sadly at her. “Thank you for giving me the peace that my sister is still alive,” he said.

“I think any of you would have done the same for us if it was Max,” she said.

“No, you’re wrong,” a voice said, and Isabel turned to face Maria.

“We wouldn’t have helped you,” she said slowly, tears forming in her eyes. “We were ready to kill you all last night. And if we had…I don’t even want to think about it,” she said looking at Isabel. “Even just now, I was a bitch…”

“It’s ok,” Isabel said.

“No, it’s not,” Maria answered. “Please, at least let me apologize,” she said, looking at her, and then at Michael. “I’m sorry, but the truth of the matter is, you guys freak me out a little. I know Doug and Serena are kind of like you, but they don’t have these crazy powers that…do things to people, and it’s easier for me to sort of forget it with them, you know, what they are…”

“Maria!” Liz said sharply.

“No, let her finish what she was going to say,” Isabel said quietly.

“Ok, what I wanted to say is that I am going to try to overlook it. I can’t promise anything, but I am going to try. I know you guys aren’t going to hurt us, just give me time to let all of this sink in,” she said.

Isabel nodded.

“You know Maria, we’re still the same people we were before you found out what we are,” Isabel said.

“Yeah, I think I see that now,” Maria said.

“Enough of this bonding crap,” Michael said, annoyed. “Are we going to get to the library or what?”

Maria glared at him, but said nothing. How can one person be *so* irritating?

Liz stood up. “Lets go,” she said.

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

The library was dim in the afternoon light. A thin haze of dust had settled over everything, a sure sign of the barrenness of the town. Even now, Liz couldn’t get used to it.

There wasn’t any way to use the microfiche. That area of the library had been ransacked, probably by the Skins. And even if they were still usable, there was no power. They had rigged up a generator in the UFO Museum while they had hid there, but there was no use in doing that here until they had exhausted all other avenues.

She wandered the aisles filled with geography books. Her thoughts were on Max and their stolen kiss. Her body still tingled whenever she thought about it. His lips were like magic, stoking a fire in her soul she had never felt before. She had completely lost her reason after he had made that connection with her. His feelings had overwhelmed her, and brought her own lost schoolgirl desires for him to the surface.

But where did that leave them? She felt badly about running away, but it was the only thing that she could do, because the power of the emotions she was feeling was so strong, it scared her.

For one short moment, she felt like she had become part of Max, like she had never thought she could be a part of anyone. That feeling of being a part of him was something she never could have dreamed, and she had a suspicion that that feeling had nothing to do with him being human, and everything to do with his alien side.

Stop thinking about this! She scolded herself.

Where to start? She didn’t know where Horton House was. But something was bothering her about the name. She had heard it before. It made her think of monsters. Why was that? She had looked through the card catalog aimlessly. There were no books on it. Now she paced to get her concentration, to find some inspiration as to how to find the place. It was like finding a needle in a haystack.

Up one aisle, down the other. Up the next aisle, then down the following, chewing her lip, she stopped and leaned against the shelves in frustration. The others were pulling books from the shelves aimlessly.

She moved on, again pacing the aisles. Monsters…what does a house have to do with monsters?

So caught up in her thoughts, she didn’t hear Max come up behind her. He tentatively touched her shoulder.

“Hey,” he said softly, causing her to jump reflexively, moving away from him. His heart fell at her response.

“Sorry,” he said, stepping back.

“No, it’s ok,” Liz said, stepping closer.

“You just startled me,” she said with an uncomfortable smile.

He looked at the floor uncomfortably. He had been wanting to talk to her about the kiss, and felt himself almost physically pulled to her here in the aisle, but now that he was here, he didn’t know what to say.

“Um, Liz…about earlier,” he started.

“Oh…” Liz said, looking down.

This is going great, he thought.

“I’m sorry for what happened,” he said. “I didn’t mean to, I mean I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what I was thinking,” he mumbled.

“Probably the same thing I was Max, that you were overwhelmed with whatever passed between us. I *felt* how you felt Max. Did you, when you healed me? Did you feel what I felt?” she asked, almost embarrassed to look at him. He nodded.

“Max, those emotions were very powerful. I can’t even begin to explain it, and God, if it were back in high school, I would be on cloud nine, I swear. But what’s happened here, and the circumstances right now, I don’t think it’s a good idea if we pursue this any further,” she said.

He nodded silently.

“I mean, I’m with Kyle,” she tried to justify. And Max felt his jaw tighten. Kyle. He would have given anything to have been Kyle back then. And even now, he could feel his heart thawing more each time he looked at her. But he was something altogether different. He could never give her a normal human relationship. He wasn’t completely human. There was that whole other side to him that couldn’t be ignored. The Zan side, the Antarian side.

And that side of him was rearing its head. Monogamous wasn’t a word for Antarians, it was a lifestyle. Antarians chose one they would give their heart to, and regardless of whether they wound up with their chosen, there was never another that could replace that one first chosen in their hearts. Many Antarians never bonded because their chosen did not reciprocate. Nasedo had told Max this. Zan was relatively young when he had been killed. His parents were taken first. Zan, Vilandra and Rath were killed later, in a public display. Khivar had ruthlessly murdered them all, and murdered them before any of them had found their chosen.

And now it seemed Max had chosen his mate. If he was honest with himself, he had chosen her a long time ago, that first moment he got off the bus and spotted a beautiful little brunette girl whose eyes called out to his soul.

Foolish, he thought to himself, that he would choose Liz, a human, someone who by all rights he could never be with. But that was the reasonable part of him that was rationalizing it. His heart told a whole different story.

And there was something different, more intense about the way he felt when he was around her. It was different that the mooning that he did back in high school. It was like he was *drawn* to her now. Even watching her with Doug, it took every ounce of control he had not to go to her. He didn’t know what was happening to him, but it scared him a little.

“I just think it would be too complicated Max, I mean you’re…and I’m, I don’t know what to say,” she said as he moved closer to her. She backed against the shelves as he planted his hands on either side of her head. She felt her body heat rise as she looked into his smouldering eyes.

“Max…?” she said softly as she felt his warm breath on her cheek.

“I know you’re with Kyle Liz,” he said. His fingers stroked her cheek as he spoke softly to her.

“I know we can’t be together. There’s a thousand reasons why we can’t be together, every one of them valid,” he said, his index finger touching her lips, running down her lower lip to her chin.

“I can’t get involved with anyone. I’ve always known that, but seeing you again, healing you, knowing the way you felt about me, its taken over my mind. It’s all I’ve been thinking about. Tell me you don’t feel the same way,” he said, his face so close to hers as his nose brushed hers.

She was feeling the same way. She was ok as long as he wasn’t in her vicinity. The pull was bearable. But with him this close, she was feeling a loss of control, of how she felt, about how her body was reacting to him. She could consciously feel her skin grow hot, her stomach tighten in sexual anticipation, she felt her heart rate increase, her breathing quicken.

She pressed herself against the shelves praying he would stop, yet praying that he wouldn’t move away.

“Max, please…we can’t,” and then her reply was smothered by his lips on hers. A little whimper came from her mouth as his left hand remained against the shelves while the other dropped to the small of her back, pulling her against him sharply, and she felt the raw need he was experiencing in her presence. His leg moved between hers and she felt the hot stiffness of his erection on her tummy.

Without thought she opened herself to him, feeling the silkiness of his tongue meet her own. He groaned lustily as her tongue slid into his mouth and automatically her fingers threaded through her hair, as his hands wound through hers, pulling her head back to taste the softness of her neck.

“Oh, this is crazy,” she half whispered, half-gasped. She could feel the hardness of his chest pressed against the softness of her own, and she felt a hunger grow in her soul, Made for each other, she thought hazily, and then all sorts of crazy non-sensical images were rushing through her head. Images of her brushing her teeth, taking an order at the Crashdown, standing at her locker, eating ice cream with Maria, watching a movie with Alex, sitting writing calculus notes in class, sitting next to Max in Physics.

“William Horton…Oh my God!” she said. Max froze at her neck. “What?” he said confused.

“How did I remember that?” Liz said, confused.

“Remember what?” Max said, still holding her, trying to catch his breath.

“Major William Horton…the monsters…!” she laughed.

“Liz, what exactly are you talking about?” he said shaking his head.

“Horton House is on Jekyll Island, near Savannah. Georgia, why would they choose Georgia?” she asked confused.

“You lost me,” Max said.

“Horton was an officer under General Ogelthorpe, who founded Fort Frederica and the colony of Georgia. He had a plantation on Jekyll Island. It was called Horton House. Max, how did I remember that? When I was kissing you, it was if I was being pulled toward that memory. I kept thinking monsters, Jekyll obviously, but I wouldn’t have remembered that…”

“You think our…connection had something to do with it?” Max asked, his hand running through her hair.

“I don’t know. It was almost like you did something to me so I was able to focus, to sift through my memories to find that information. It was like that particular memory from History class was reeling me in. I can’t explain it,” she said. “I’ve never felt anything like it.”

His hand touched her neck and she felt a little shot of electricity run through her body. She shook her head.

“Max, we can’t *do* anything about this…about, you know,” she paused.

“I don’t know why I am feeling like I am, maybe because you saved my life, but it can’t be. We’re too different,” she said.

“I know,” he said gently. “If things were different-”

“But they aren’t Max,” she said, looking down.

“Liz!” a voice called out.

Liz tried to move away from Max before Kyle turned the corner but she wasn’t quick enough.

“What’s going on?” Kyle said, slightly suspicious.

“Nothing,” Liz said, smiling a little too brightly, moving toward Kyle and taking his arm.

“I think I know where Serena is,” she said, leading him out of the aisle, leaving Max standing in the middle of it.

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

“What you said about Horton House,” Liz said to Isabel as they all were seated at one of the tables, “I knew I remembered the name,” she said, but I couldn’t figure out where I’d heard it from. Max came and silently pulled out a chair and sat down.

“For some reason I kept thinking monsters. And then I remembered,” she said, unable not to look at Max, her cheeks burning. She quickly looked away.

“Horton House is on Jekyll Island. It’s an island that a bunch of millionaires bought in the 1800’s. People like the Vanderbilts’, Pulitzer, The Rockerfellers, JP Morgan built this club with cottages and this huge mansion-like building. It was really exclusive. But Horton House was a plantation that was owned by William Horton, one of the officers of General Ogelthorpe, who founded Fort Frederica and Georgia. I still don’t understand why the skins picked Georgia,” she said.

“What I want to know is how the fuck do you remember all that?” Kyle said curiously.

Liz’s face reddened again. She couldn’t say that her research including making out with Max Evans between a bunch of books.

“I don’t know, my mind holds on to useless trivia,” she said lamely.

“I think I know why they picked Georgia,” Michael said. Everyone turned to look at him.

“Do you guys remember Nasedo saying that Khivar had a penchant for the dramatic?” he asked Max and Isabel. They nodded.

“Well we know the humans that were here aren’t dead. They’re in holding somewhere right?” he asked.

“Slavery *people*, don’t you get it? Georgia is known for it’s plantations, and for slavery. It’s symbolism, and as good of a place for a headquarters as any. They’ve been rounding up the half-breeds I think. I’d bet that’s their holding camp,” he said.

“Well they obviously didn’t look up their history very well,” Liz said. “Ogelthorpe founded Fort Frederica for debtors. He abhorred slavery, and wouldn’t allow it in his Fort. People had to work for their living, but no one was enslaved. I am thinking that an officer of his would be of the same mind, hence I don’t think Horton was a slave master,” she said.

“Well, who ever said the skins were bright?” Michael said patiently. “I doubt they took the time to fully research it. Georgia = 1700’s = plantations = slavery. They want to enslave the humans for some reason.”

“And I wouldn’t doubt that while the half-breeds are holed up at Horton House, the Skins are living it up in that Clubhouse you are talking about,” he said. “Get me a map.”

They quickly got an atlas and looked through it.

“Yep, see? The island is surrounded by water, there is a Fort a fairly short distance away, it’s perfect,” he said.

Maria admired his intuition, and now understood why he was Max’s second in command. A soldier’s ways ingrained in his DNA.

“So what do we do now?” Alex asked.

“We have to get there, and soon. I figure they have a day’s head start over us. I don’t think they’ll let her live more than two or three days whether she tells them what they want to know or not,” Michael said. Michael was a little alarmed at how easily this was coming to him, like second nature. Before he went into things rashly, without thinking, but now a strange calm had settled over him. He’d been feeling it grow the longer he was in Roswell.

Max on the other hand, felt his powers had diminished greatly, and he had a suspicion it wasn’t all because of the healings.

“Max, you haven’t listened to a damn thing I said since this whole thing happened back in New York, but I need you to listen to me now. We need to split up. Half of us go ahead, half follow a few hours behind,” Michael said.

Immediately Max rose to object.

“Look Max, it’s common sense. We have a better chance of meeting up there and travelling separate. If one group gets captured, there’s still a chance that the other group will still be able to do something,” he argued.

“He’s right Max,” Isabel said quietly.

“Yeah I think so too,” Kyle said.

“I don’t like it,” Max said. “What if something happens to one of us?” he said.

“If something happens, at least it won’t happen to all of us,” Michael said forcefully.

“We need to split the groups up equally. Which of you can fight?” Michael asked.

“I can,” Kyle said.

“I can,” Liz said.

“No way Liz, you aren’t going first. I’m going. I don’t want you hurt,” Kyle said.

“I can take care of myself,” Liz argued.

“I don’t care, you can take care of the others,” Kyle said, looking at her.

She glared at him.

Alex raised his hand. “I am not really that great with a gun,” he said sheepishly.

“Yeah had I only known that yesterday,” Michael said, half sarcastically and Alex shot him a look.

“Just kidding,” Michael said shrugging his shoulders.

“This is the way it’s going to go. First group, me, Kyle, Maria and Doug,” Michael said.

Maria’s head snapped toward him. What?

He continued on without looking at her.

“If we get there first, he might be a help to find Serena. Second group, Iz, Max, Liz and Alex,” he said.

“Michael, I think I should be in the first group,” Max said.

“Me too,” Liz said, glaring at Kyle. She was more than capable of taking care of herself. She had gotten his ass out of a jam more than once.

Everyone ignored her.

“Khivar will be interested to know that I’m still alive. It might distract him,” Max said.

“Which is exactly why you shouldn’t be there first Maxwell. You’re not right. Your powers are weak. You know it and I know it. You’ll probably be more of a problem than doing any good,” Michael said.

“You keep Isabel safe. Let me worry about Khivar,” he said, as Max’s jaw tightened angrily.

We’ll map out the route. We’ll get bikes from the cycle shop in town. We’ll leave markers on the road. You see the markers, you know everything is ok. If you don’t see one, be on your toes,” he said. Max was staring angrily out the window.

“Max, are you listening to me?” he asked.
Max nodded stiffly.

“Is everyone in agreement?” Michael said. He took their silence as a yes.

Right, then let’s get moving,” he said.

TBC…

Ok, a little note on Jekyll Island. It is a real place in Georgia that I just started reading about when I stumbled on a site about it. I tried to get more background info on Horton House and William Horton, but there isn't much out there, unless of course you buy books, which I haven't gotten around to doing yet. The part about Ogelthorpe banning slavery at Fort Frederica is true though.

Hope you enjoy....



Edited by - majesty on 10/03/2001 00:52:12

Edited by - majesty on 10/03/2001 01:02:14
posted on 2-Oct-2001 12:38:30 AM by majesty
Thanks Angela :-)

I was going to use 1700's as an example, but I thought that slavery was more prevalent in the 1800's? That was what I was trying to get at, the plantations and the slavery that was prevalent in the 1800s, not so much when Ogelthorpe founded the colony.

**Edited agian, because I saw where it got confusing. I am going to change it to 1700's. I was working on the assumption that anyone who bought the plantation wouldn't have used slaves either, but that probably isn't the case. So yep, you're right, 1700's would be clearer for anyone who is up on the history.**

I wish I could find more on the Horton House ruins. I saw some awesome photos, and they talked a little about how it is an excellent example of tabby structures that were built back then with shells pressed into stone. I may have to make a run for the *Borders* soon hehe.

I am probably going to slip up on alot of Georgian history as I am just starting to read up on some of it. I jst re-read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil again after reading it a few years ago, and it really peaked my interest.

I am going to elaborate on the whole bonding issue later, but it has alot to do with connections, especially reverse ones :-)

Yes, the pairings were intentional, and I kind of set that up with Alex and Maria not being as adept at training as Liz and Kyle and Serena were. But you know me, it's never a smooth ride hehe.

*edited because I forgot to add that Serena saw something in Isabel's future that didn't bode well. I'll explain more later.*

Thanks for the feedback, and if I slip up on any historical stuff please let me know!

Majesty



Edited by - majesty on 10/03/2001 00:41:18

Edited by - majesty on 10/03/2001 00:50:56
posted on 14-Oct-2001 7:31:21 PM by majesty
Sarah,

Sorry, no dice on the new chapters for either of the stories yet. :( I am going to try to work on one of them later tonight, but right now I have company over (I just sneaked in here to post about the stories and found this on the first page LOL). I'll try , but can't promise anything...

Majesty
posted on 14-Oct-2001 7:33:53 PM by majesty
double post

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Oct-2001 7:38:10 PM ]
posted on 17-Oct-2001 1:28:23 PM by majesty
Ok,

I give up. I have been trying for a week to improve these chapters and they still suck. I can't look at them anymore, so I am just going to post them. Sorry guys, they aren't the greatest.

Majesty

PART 7

Two hours later, the first group was ready to hit the open road. Packs had been filled with food supplies, flashlights, and various firearms and knives.

Liz was pacing angrily near the motorcycles. She hadn't said a word to Kyle since he had *told* her she was to be in the second group. A macho jerk had reared it's ugly head, and she didn't like it one bit.

She glanced over at Max, who looked to be feeling the same way she was, with arms crossed against his chest, leaning against the wall.

"Ready?" Michael called out.

"Yeah," Kyle said, and Maria and Doug stepped up.

"We'd better get a move on," he said, grabbing his helmet.

"Maxwell, we'll leave yellow marker lines across the road every fifty miles or so. If you don't see one, you'll know something's up. You've got the map I wrote out, right?" he asked.

Max nodded.

Isabel walked up to Michael and put her arms around him. "Good luck," she said softly.

"Yeah, I'll see you in Georgia I guess," Michael said.

Maria gave Liz a big hug.

Liz spoke up. "Maria, are you sure you don't want to stay behind with us?" she asked.

"Uh…yeah. Someone has to keep an eye on Kyle," she said, fidgeting.

It still irked Liz that Kyle was letting Maria go with him, but at the back of her mind she knew it was logical. They had to split their abilities evenly, for better protection. But why was she getting this feeling that Kyle wasn't the only reason Maria didn't have a problem with going along with the first group.

She looked at Maria suspiciously.

"Maria, couldn't you come up with a better excuse?" she asked. "I mean, I would have believed you wanted to keep an eye on Doug, but Kyle?" she half-laughed.

"What do you mean?" Maria said defensively. "You know how hot-tempered Kyle can be," she stuttered, her face turning red.

"Yeah…uh huh. Maria I thought you said we shouldn't get involved with them?" she asked.

"We shouldn't!" she said defensively. "I am *not* going because of Michael!"

"Ok Maria, keep telling yourself that," she smiled indulgently.

Maria let out a harsh breath.

"I am not even going to dignify that with an answer," she said huffily. "Now give me a hug."

Liz squeezed her tightly.

"Be careful," Liz said to her.

"You too," Maria said.

"And keep *away* from Max Evans," she whispered. "Don't make me bitch-slap you when we get to Georgia," she warned.

"Maria!" Liz said exasperated. "I am with Kyle!" she said.

"Yeah, keep telling yourself that," Maria repeated dramatically.

"Seriously Liz, he a friggin' King on some other planet. You don't want to get involved with that, do you?" she asked.

"No," Liz said, trying to push all the conflicting things she was feeling out of her head.

"Promise me," Maria said.

"I promise! Geez!" she said smiling. "Now get out of here!"

Maria smiled at her and went to say goodbye to Alex.

Kyle approached Liz cautiously.

"Hey," he said softly.

"Hey," Liz answered back.

He rocked from one foot to the other.

"Liz, I don't want you to be angry with me, especially now," he said. "Believe me, there's nothing I want more than for you to be with me," he said, glancing over at Max, noting that he was watching them intently.

"But I'd rather know you're safe," he said, giving Max a hard look.

Liz sighed. She didn't want to admit to herself that she wanted to be in that first group so she could be away from Max. Being with Kyle was where she should be, under normal circumstances. Kyle grounded her, made her feel safe. He was safe. And when she was with him, it was easier to drown Max out of her head.

"It's ok Kyle. I understand I guess. I just, I guess I don't want to be away from you," she said.

He took her gently into his arms, rubbing his cheek against hers.

"Everything is going to be ok," he said, never taking his eyes off Max as he rested his chin on her shoulder. Max looked away.

"I'll see you in a few days," he said.

She nodded, and he kissed her, pulling her as close to him as he could.

Max watched out of the corner of his eye and bit back a strong wave of jealousy that rose in his throat. He had no right to feel this way. Liz didn't belong to him. She never had. Michael walked up and stood in front of him.

"I guess I'll see you in a few days," Michael said, knowing that Max was still angry with him.

"Yeah," Max said with a tight smile. "Take care of them," he said.

"I will," Michael answered. "You too," he said as he caught Max looking over at Kyle and Isabel.

"Max, don't start something you know can never be finished," he warned.

Max looked at him.

"I don't know what you're talking about Michael," he said.

"Please, do you think I have selective memory or something? Do you think I forgot that you had the hots for her all those years? Don't do it Maxwell. Not only will you get hurt, but you'll hurt her too," he said.

"Don't worry about me Michael," Max said flatly. "I've never been anything but the good boy, nothing's going to change," he muttered.

Michael nodded. "I'll see you around," he said.

Max nodded, again looking at Kyle and Liz.

Kyle reluctantly broke the kiss.

"I'm going to go before this gets too mushy," he said, and Liz nodded tearfully. She hated herself. She wasn't crying because he was leaving, she was crying because she didn't know how to handle herself in Max's presence, and it would be all the more difficult without Kyle as a buffer, a tangible reason for her to stay away from him. She cursed herself. She had to get some backbone. She wasn't a stupid schoolgirl. She had to get a handle on herself. This was ridiculous. She could do this.

Kyle walked toward Max who was standing near his bike.

He glared at him as he approached, and deliberately shouldered Max roughly as he passed him.

"Keep your hands off of her Evans," he growled, and kept walking.

She felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned to find Doug standing behind her. She smiled and gave him a strong hug.

"Be careful. Don't do anything rash," she said.

He smiled. "I won't. I am not going to do anything to put Serena in any further danger."

"Yes, I know you won't," Liz said. "I'll see you in Georgia," she said.

He smiled and turned toward his bike.

Liz walked over to Alex, and he put her arm comfortingly around her. She smiled wanly at him as she watched them don their helmets. Kyle and Michael got on their bikes, and Maria got on behind Doug. None of the girls had learned to proficiently control motor bikes. Not that Liz hadn't wanted to learn, it just made her nervous. Maria didn't want to be bothered, preferring to ride with Alex in the days after everyone disappeared. She wondered if Isabel knew how to ride one.

Engines flared up with a mighty roar. Liz looked at Michael, only his eyes visible through the visor of the helmet.

"Take care," she said. He nodded slowly.

A cloud of dust kicked up as the rode out on to the road. They watched silently as their friends disappeared down Main Street.

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

Liz finished packing Alex's bike. Now all there was to do is to wait. They had agreed to wait eight hours. Liz had wandered around Roswell for a bit, just to get away from everyone for awhile. Oh who was she kidding? She wanted to stay away from Max.

She had come back and started filling packs with supplies, checking and re-checking. Alex looked at her with raised brows.

"Uh Liz?" he said curiously. "I think we have everything. I mean you checked the bags like 5 times already."

"Yeah well, you never can be too careful," she said hastily.

She had felt Max's eyes on her for the past hour. Physically felt them, and it was making her jumpy. Alex was strapping the bags onto the bike, so turning, she decided to occupy Isabel in a conversation.

"So, you don't ride either?" she asked.

"Do you remember me at all in high school Liz?" she asked smiling. "Me and motorcycles…nope, just didn't mesh. Now a Miata maybe, or a BMW, that I could get used to…"

Liz let out a small laugh.

"Yeah I haven't ridden much either. Kyle usually carts me around."

Isabel looked at her speculatively.

"So, you and Kyle," she started. "The two of you have been together all this time?"

"Yep," Liz replied, a little too brightly. "He's a great guy," she said.

"Uh huh," Isabel said, putting some more water into her bag.

"What?" Liz asked.

"No, it's nothing," Isabel said. "I just thought, well…you guys were very different people."

"Well opposites attract don't they?" Liz questioned.

"I guess so," Isabel said.

"What about you?" Liz asked, trying to change the subject. Alex's head turned imperceptibly as he focused his attention on the conversation.

"Mmm, nope. You know me, I don't want to be tied down," she said, trying to sound cavalier.

Liz wasn't having any of it.

"Is it because of who you are?" she asked.

Isabel looked at her stunned that she would ask so bold a question. Max had walked up behind Liz. She hadn't seen him.

"Partly. But I hadn't found a human yet that I would have honestly looked twice at. But yeah, we can't get involved, any of us," she said, looking at Max pointedly.

"Yeah, I guess you couldn't," Liz said slowly. "I mean, you guys could have to leave at a moments notice right? Isn't that what you've been waiting for? To go home?" she asked.

Isabel didn't answer her.

"We should go," a voice said behind Liz, and she turned to find Max standing behind her.

"It's a little early, isn't it?" Isabel said.

"I don't know about any of you, but I can't stand another minute of waiting around here. So we leave an hour early? It's not that big of a deal," he said.

"Yeah," Isabel said. "I don't want to hang around any more either."

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

Ten minutes later they were on the road, Liz on the back of Alex's bike, Isabel behind Max on his.

Liz's hands drooped loosely around Alex's waist as they sped on Highway 380. They made good time as night fell and had gone a few hundred miles before they stopped late that night at an abandoned hotel off the highway.

Max helped Isabel off the bike and watched surreptitiously as Liz climbed off of Alex's and laid her helmet on the seat. Her hands went to the small of her back as she stretched like a cat after the long ride. He thought about what it would be like to smooth the stiffness out of her muscles, gently rubbing her back, her legs…

"Max!" Isabel snapped, annoyed. "Could you *get* any more obvious?" she asked.

He scowled at her.

Her jaw stuck out angrily. "I thought we all agreed…"

"Yeah, we did Isabel," Max said in a low angry voice. "Back off."

She gave him a look and grabbed her things, moving ahead of him and shoving past Liz, her shoulder hitting her roughly as she went to the door.

Liz looked after her in consternation.

Max walked over and stood next to her.

"Sorry about that," he said softly.

"What's her problem?" she asked, irritated.

"Nothing…she uh, she just gets cranky when she's tired," Max answered, lying outright.

Liz knew there was more to Isabel's attitude, but decided against saying anything further.

Alex unloaded the gear from the bike, and Liz walked over to help him with it. She picked up a heavy pack and slung it over her shoulder, her hand lying on its strap. She turned around to find Max standing behind her.

"Let me," he said, reaching to take the bag from her, inadvertently brushing her fingers with his own.

Liz felt heat rush through her body as Max's skin made contact with hers. She yanked her hand away, looking at the ground.

"Sorry," Max mumbled.

"No, it's ok," she said, grabbing the strap again and taking the bag off her shoulder, holding it out to him.

"Thanks," she said, as he took it. He nodded uncomfortably.

She picked up two more of the bags and followed Alex into the motel. Isabel had already dropped her things in the sitting area of the lobby, and had plunked herself down into a big easy chair.

"You ok?" Alex asked, as he put the supplies down on the floor next to her things.

She opened one eye to look at him.

"My ass is not used to a motorcycle seat," she groaned, and he laughed.

"Well, your ass probably shouldn't be," he said, and she opened her other eye looking at him quizzically.

He turned red at the words he's spoken.

"Uh…I meant that you look more like the luxury sports car type," he said.

"Exactly!" she said. "That's what I was telling Liz before."

He smiled at her. "Feel like something to eat?" he asked.

"Oh, you don't want me to cook," she said. "I got my mom's skills in that department, and believe me, that's not a good thing."

Her voice trailed off as she thought of her mother. Max looked at her sympathetically. Alex could see that she was upset.

"No worries," he said cheerily. "I can make a mean Pasta al Alex."

"Pasta al Alex?" she asked doubtfully.

"It's actually pretty good," Liz said. "He's the best cook out of all of us. We got lucky having him with us."

"I am kind of hungry," Isabel said.

"Poor Michael, getting stuck with Maria's cooking," Liz laughed, and Alex joined in.

"I didn't even think about that," he said, chuckling. "If I know Maria, I'd bet they're eating cold canned vegetables right now."

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

Michael, Maria, Kyle and Doug sat in a deserted home a few hundred miles away.

Maria shoved a can in front of Michael.

"What the hell is this?" he asked angrily, as he saw Kyle dig into his own can.

"Dinner," she said, pushing it into his hands.

"Corn? You are eating corn for dinner?" he asked.

"Don't like it, go find something else," Maria said testily.

"Can't you cook us something? You're a girl, that's what girls do," he said.

Her mouth dropped open in indignation.

"Uh," she said. "I didn't just hear you say that. Nuh uh, I didn't just hear you say that it's a girl's job to cook dinner."

"Um, yeah you *did*," Michael said. He didn't get what she was so angry about, but her tone had set him on the defensive.

Maria stared at him for a long moment wide-eyed, and then walked off, muttering something about chauvinist pigs.

"What?" he called after her, shaking his head.

"Man, not smart," Kyle replied as he ate his corn.

"I'd say you're the one that's not too bright eating cold canned corn," Michael said, dropping his own to the floor.

"Yeah well, you don't want to get on her bad side, believe me," Kyle answered.

Michael smirked. "I'll take my chances. I'm taking a walk. Maybe I can dig up something edible," he said.

Kyle shrugged and picked up his can again.

Michael walked out of the house and down the road to a main strip of stores. He spotted a small hotel earlier and decided to check it out. Entering the lobby, he walked down the hall to the hotel's restaurant and through the dining area to the kitchen.

Shining his flashlight around, he noticed with a smile that the burners on the stove were gas burners. Of course nothing in the freezers or anything perishable would be edible, but at least he could heat up something canned. He moved the beam of his flashlight to the shelves and started to check their contents.

He was in luck. There were stashes of jarred fruit, tinned meats, boxed pasta, sauce, gravies, vacuum packed bags of crackers, flour, and coffee.

"Yes!" he whispered as he started pulling items off the shelf. Maybe Doug and Kyle were ok with eating crap, but that didn't mean he had to. He had become the expert in making edible meals out of whatever was lying around living with Hank. He never knew from day to day what they were going to have around to eat, so he made the best out of whatever was there.

He grabbed some pots and a baking dish and started throwing crumbled crackers on the bottom, pouring gravy over it.

"What, you weren't thinking of sharing?" a sarcastic voice said behind him and he whirled to face the voice.

Maria.

"What the hell?" he said annoyed. "Do you make a habit of sneaking up on people, or does it just come natural?" he asked.

She leaned against the counter, arms across her chest.

"Get over yourself," she said irritated.

"I was merely checking on what you were doing because I don't trust you," she said frankly.

"Yeah well that makes two of us," Michael muttered, turning back to his task.

"What's your problem?" she ground out.

"Hmm…I don't know, you were all set to kill me and my friends, and now I'm stuck with you, how's that for a start?" he said sarcastically.

Maria moved to stand next to him.

"I already apologized for that," she said, exasperated.

"Doesn't make me trust you any more than I did back in Roswell," Michael replied, without looking up.

"Then what the hell are you doing here?" she asked.

"Look the only reason I'm here is to help my friends get their parents back, and to get rid of the skins. Having to hang with you losers is just an unpleasant consequence," he answered, looking at her.

He watched with an almost unwilling fascination as her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed in anger.

"You are such an arrogant asshole!" Maria said. "Did you ever think to put yourself in our shoes? Our whole planet was attacked by aliens, and then you guys show up and we find out…guess what? You're all aliens too! How the hell did you expect us to react?"

Michael was silent for a moment. She had a point.

"Max was only trying to help," he pointed out.

"How were we supposed to know that?" she asked. "Liz was unconscious and bleeding and there was Max hovering over her," she said.

He had no answer to that. It didn't help that he couldn't think straight looking at her fiery eyes and her mouth, that was holding him captivated for some ungodly reason.

"Whatever," he said. "I don't really care what you thought. The sooner we get to Georgia the better, as far as I'm concerned."

"You are so arrogant!" Maria said, half-laughing in disbelief. "You just can't be wrong, can you?"

He turned to her on impulse, moving toward her, causing her to back up.

"So what?" he said threateningly. "I can't afford to be wrong."

She looked up at him towering over her with wide eyes and felt heat spreading through her body. His fiery brown eyes bored into hers, and her legs felt weak. A battle was going on in her head. On one hand, she couldn't believe that she had never seen anything more than the class derelict him, because right now he was the sexiest thing she had ever seen, but on the other hand, he was an alien. ALIEN! her mind screamed at her. She felt her chest rise and fall in agitation. What was he going to do to her? He was an ALIEN. So she did the only thing she could, she opened her mouth again in defense.

"Who do you think you are, Superman or something? I-" and that thought was cut off as his hands gripped her forearms with lightning speed and his lips closed over hers.

Omigod, omigod, omigod, I am being kissed by an ALIEN, she thought as her arms wrapped around his neck and she moved up against his broad chest. His tongue forced her lips open and plundered her mouth with a savage intensity and Maria literally felt like her thighs were on fire. She felt his hand press strongly against the small of her back, and she moaned.

Then just as suddenly, she was pushed away, left standing there open-mouthed as he turned back to the counter.

What the hell did he just do? He thought to himself as he fought to steady his breathing. I mean, Maria Deluca of all people. He couldn't stand her. She was a drama queen, an over-dramatic pain in the ass! Nevermind she was cute. She was trouble, with a capital "T". And she was human. Big, big "no way" on that one.

"You talk too damned much," he growled.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 17-Oct-2001 2:52:58 PM ]
posted on 17-Oct-2001 1:29:07 PM by majesty
PART 8

Max, Liz, Isabel and Alex finished dinner, and even Isabel had to admit that "Pasta Al Alex" was pretty decent. Liz had gone to wash up after dinner and Alex had gone to get bedding for the night, leaving Max and Isabel in the lobby area. They sat on the couch in tense silence for a long moment, Isabel looking at him accusingly.

"What?" Max said finally, a touch annoyed.

"Max I know something happened back in Roswell between you and Liz. What exactly do you think you're doing?" she asked.

"I don't know what your talking about," Max said in a low voice.

"Give it up Max," Isabel snapped.

"Isabel, what I do is none of your business," he said angrily.

"Max, it is our business. What you do affects all of us. What are you thinking? You know as well as I do that getting involved with a human is a *big* mistake!" she said.

"Why?" Max said. "Why is it such a mistake? Serena and Doug are living proof that somewhere along the line it was ok. Why not now? What is so wrong with wanting something for myself, someone who *I* can care about?"

"Because you aren't just an Antarian Max. You're an Antarian *King*. Things have to be different for you, whether you like it or not. Besides, she's with Kyle," she said.

"Is, we don't know what's going to happen. We could be dead tomorrow. I don't want to die never having loved someone, never having been loved. For the first time in my life I want to be selfish. I want something for me," he said.

"Max, you don't even know if she feels the same way. You aren't even the same species for God's sake!" she answered.

"I want the chance to find out. I did a lot of thinking on our way out here. I felt something between us. I don't think she loves Kyle. I can't explain it, its just something I can sense," he said.

"Do what you want then Max. It's obvious you aren't going to listen to me. But I can see heartbreak heading this way, not only for you, but for her too. And when everything is falling apart around you because you couldn't protect a *human* girl, who can't even protect herself, don't come crying to me. She's a *liability* Max, if you give her your heart. You know it and I know it," she said.

"When did you become so heartless?" he said in disbelief.

She cringed at his biting remark and tears appeared at the corners of her eyes.

"I can't believe you just said that," she said shakily, standing up. "Maybe I became heartless when you became self-centered!" she said, turning and running down the hall.

"Is!" he called after her as she bumped into Liz, and kept going. Liz walked into the lobby area, looking at him confused.
*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Isabel angrily slammed the door open that led to the courtyard in the center of the hotel.

She burst into tears as she sat at one of the small tables that were scattered throughout the foliage in the courtyard.

Alex heard the soft crying through the open door as he walked by the open entrance with the blankets and pillows he had managed to dig up. He spotted Isabel by herself through the murky darkness of the night, her head resting on her hands.

He walked quietly over to her, unsure of why she was upset, unsure of what to say to her.

"Are you ok?" he asked, quietly, and her head shot up, seeing him standing next to her.

"I'm fine," she said angrily, wiping the tears from her face.

He sat down next to her.

"Want to talk about it?" he asked.

"Not really," she said dismissively.

"Ok," he said. "Mind if I sit for a minute?"

She shook her head. They sat in silence for long moments.

"You know, sometimes I used to sit like this with Liz, you know before all of this stuff happened. It's nice sometimes just to have company, you know, like not really having to say much, but knowing somebody's there," he said.

"We don't have that luxury," Isabel said.

"What do you mean?" he asked, looking at her.

"Max and I…we're close, but he's my brother," she said. "And Michael, well, you know how Michael is, either he's got something to say, or he'd rather be doing something else. He doesn't sit still for long," she said in a low voice.

"What about your other friends?" he asked.

"Don't really have any," she said. "I can't talk about what I am, for obvious reasons. We can't get close to people. It's dangerous. So I can't really connect with people. My situation is different, I am different," she finished.

"I don't think you're so different," Alex said, and she looked at him like he had three heads.

"What?" he asked her.

"How can you say that?" she asked him.

"Because it's true," he said. "Look I know what you are, and yeah so it's not every day that you meet someone who is from another planet, but so what? We look the same, we have a lot of the same feelings, insecurities. So, since I know what you are, maybe you can talk to me. I don't bite, and I don't freak out easily," he said.

"I can't tell you what's bothering me," she said. "You wouldn't understand. You'll be angry."

"Try me," he fired back.

Isabel turned and faced him.

"Ok, fine," she said. "I am angry at Max. He's had this crush on Liz for as long as I can remember. Since he healed her, he thinks he has thee feelings for her, but he *can't*," she said.

Alex winced. "I think Kyle was catching on to that," he said. "So not that I am saying its right or anything, I mean Kyle is my friend, but why can't any of you have feelings for, uh, humans?" he asked. "I mean, Serena is proof that it's happened before."

"Before it was for our own safety," she said. "Now, it's because its too dangerous. It will make us weak," she said. "We can't have any attachments that will make us vulnerable. But Max said some terrible things to me," she said softly, her eyes filling with tears.

"What did he say?" Alex asked.

"He asked me when I had become so heartless," she said, clearly hurt. "I'm not heartless! Does he think that I don't wish for things too? That I would want someone to love me, someone I can love back?"

Alex looked down at his hands.

"Isabel, I know he's your brother and all, but whatever is going on between Liz and Max, well as much as you and I may not like it, or think it's wrong, there isn't anything you can do about it. You can't force him to turn away from his feelings. He'll resent you. But he owes you an apology for what he said to you. That wasn't right," he said.

She nodded. "I can't talk to him anymore. Since everything happened in NY, he's shut himself off from us. I don't know what's going on with him, but something's wrong."

"Listen, you are going to have to let the two of them figure out what's between them. I am sure they'll come around. I'll have a talk with Liz," he said.

"Thank you," she said, looking at him gratefully.

"In the meantime, how about taking a walk?" he asked.

"That would be nice," she replied, smiling softly.
She stood up, and he linked his arm through hers, as they walked through the courtyard.

"I have a feeling this is the beginning of a great friendship," he bantered, and she chuckled softly.

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

"Is everything ok?" Liz asked Max.

"I don't know," he said forlornly. He felt bad for what he had said to Isabel. It sprang from his mouth before he thought about it, and now he regretted it. He knew she was always the one that was looking out for all of them.

Liz sat tentatively next to him. "Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.

"Not really," he said, staring at the painting on the wall across the room.

Liz looked at him for a long moment. He looked so lost. Timidly, she put her hand on his arm.

"Max, are you ok?" she asked quietly.

He gave her a sad smile and nodded.

"I will be," he said.

She looked at him searchingly, feeling the tingling beginning again being in his presence.

He felt the hum in his body again as well.

"Isabel seemed upset," she said.

"Yeah, she's mad at me," he said.

"What for?" she asked, finding herself desperately trying not to get mesmerized by his amber eyes.

"She's just being Isabel," he said. "These past few months have been hard."

Liz nodded, looking down at her hands.

"I can imagine," she said in a low voice.

"Max, what have you been doing with yourself since you left Roswell?" she asked.

"Mostly studying," he admitted, embarrassed.

"Did you like New York?" she asked.

"It was different," he said. "Different than Roswell, but I didn't mind it. There was nothing really keeping us back in Roswell anyway," he said.

"Oh," Liz said, feeling oddly disappointed.

Max looked at her quickly, hearing the tone of her voice.

"It was just…because of what we are, we were always, I don't know, on guard. So we couldn't get close to anyone. So, leaving and heading to a bigger city felt somehow right. I always thought that people in New York were somehow more like us, disconnected from other people. I thought it would be a lot easier to do that in the city than in a small town like Roswell. It was almost like I thought we would feel more normal being there. Like we would have something in common with the people there. I can't explain it," he said.

"I understand," Liz said. "There are so many people there that it was more likely people would be less likely to try to dig too deep, right?" she asked.

"Well, that's what I thought. But I found out that people there aren't much different than the people in Roswell. They take care of their own there. There is this sense of community that I never would have imagined before I lived there. It's almost like New York is a bunch of neighborhoods like Roswell, all in one area. People know each other. They remember each other," he said.

"I would have liked to visit New York one day," Liz said. "It's just that with everything that happened, with my dad and all, lots of things took the back burner," she said, not quite understanding why she was telling him this.

"I'm sorry about your Dad Liz," he said sincerely.

"Thanks," she said quietly.

"Things must have been hard for you," he said.

"No harder than things must have been for you in high school," she said.

They sat in silence for a moment.

"Do your parents know…you know, what you are?" she asked.

Max shook his head.

"No one knew until I told you," he said.

"Did you want to tell them?" she asked curiously.

"I think Isabel did more than I did. She always hated them not knowing. But I don't know how they would have reacted. Who knows what they would have thought?" he said, shrugging his shoulders.

Liz's heart went out to him. How awful that must have been to be afraid to show people who you really were, afraid that they would think you were a monster.

"Maybe they would have been fine with it," she said.

"It doesn't matter anyway," he said. "If we had told them, we would have only put them in danger. We put you in danger now that you know," he said, regretfully. "I'm sorry about that."

Liz shook her head. "Max, you saved my life. How can I ever regret knowing what you are now?" she asked. "After everything that's happened, I don't think we are in any more danger than we were yesterday," she said.

He gave her a sad smile.

"For now. But if the skins find out we're alive, then it will be a different story," he said.

"Max, you're helping us to get Serena back. If I am in any danger, I'm willing to take my chances," she said, meeting his eyes.

She was quiet for a moment, knowing there was something she had to ask him, but unsure of how to begin.

"Max, why did you do what you did, you know, for me? Why did you risk everything? You could have just left, but you didn't," she said.

"I think you know why Liz," he said quietly, looking at the floor.

"But you don't even know me," she said.

"I think I might know you more than you think I do," he said.

"Especially after I healed you," he faltered.

"Oh," Liz said, embarrassed.

"Liz," he began, and she looked up at him quickly.

"Do I scare you?" he asked uncertainly.

She was silent for a moment, and he cringed inwardly. He couldn't look at her, afraid of what he would see in her eyes. He knew she had felt something for him once, from a distance, and he knew now that there was some attraction between them, but was it something he was causing? Was it something she had no will or control over? Maybe she was horrified by the way she was feeling. Maybe…maybe she did think of him as a monster.

"No," she said finally. "No you don't scare me. How can I be frightened of the person who is the main reason I am sitting here right now?" she asked.

"But what I am…" he paused.

"Max, you know as well as I do from growing up in Roswell that things may not always be what they seem. I am not going to tell you that it didn't freak me out at first, but I have to be logical about it, and when I think about it logically, it becomes a lot less daunting. You're still the same person you were, my old lab partner who I never had the guts to talk to, the one person whose face somehow managed to give me the courage to finish that speech at graduation, even when I thought I was going to pass out," she smiled.

He smiled, embarrassed, and then grew serious.

"Liz, about what happened between us. I've never felt anything like that before," he said.

"I haven't either," she admitted quietly.

"Don't you want to know where it could go?" he asked.

Liz's eyes snapped to his, startled. She hadn't expected him to say that.

She thought for a moment before answering.

"Max, I *know* that despite everything, the situation we're in, what happened here, all of it, that whatever it is that's between us would be amazing. But it's not just about us, is it?" she asked.

"No," he said.

"Maybe at a different time this could have happened, but I have Kyle, and you have this whole other planet that you're supposed to be ruling. And it's not that I don't want to continue this because of what you are, it's because of *who* you are. You're Zan, this ruler…this King. You have all these responsibilities. There are people waiting for you, waiting for you to come and set them free," she said.

"I know that," Max said, frustrated. "Liz, that has been the main thought in my mind for as long as I can remember. That my life is not my own, and it never was. Michael, Isabel, neither of them ever had to worry about this. Its all been on me, the "King", he said.

"I have been trying to be ok with that. I have never let anything get in the way of that thought. Anything except you," he said softly, his eyes searching hers.

Then he looked down. "I think I might have been able to turn that off again, but then I saw you, how you felt about me when I healed you. And I can't stop thinking about it. Maybe if you had always thought I was a jerk, or maybe if you never knew I existed, I could go back to the way I was. But you didn't, and I can't," he said. "Not unless you tell me that you aren't feeling the same thing."

Liz sighed.

"Max, it's not just that. There's Kyle," she started.

He looked up angrily, staring into the space in front of him.

"Yeah, Kyle," he said derisively.

"He's been good to me Max, and he's been good *for* me," she said. "I can't go off into the unknown in my heart on a whim because I am attracted to you. I can't do that to him," she said, and he turned to her quickly, his eyes flashing.

"I don't want to hear about Kyle," he said fiercely. "He's always had the only thing I ever wanted."

He moved toward her and she backed away from him on the couch. His arm snaked around her waist to her back, pulling her to his chest roughly and she gasped, unable to move, unable to look away from the golden flames blazing in his eyes.

"Does he make your heart pound like I can feel it pounding right now?" he asked, tearing his eyes away from hers, his lips brushing her neck, his warm breath causing her pulse to race, as his hand threaded through her hair, his thumbs caressing her cheeks.

"Max," she whispered, trying to find the will power to tell him to stop.

He placed a long, lingering kiss on her cheek, and his eyes fell to her lips. His head tilted as his lips found hers, gently tugging on her lower lip, daring her to tell him to stop. When he heard no protest, he deepened the kiss, feeling her press closer toward him.

Liz felt his tongue meet hers and a rush of desire shot through her entire body. She met each of his advances stroke for stroke, unable to control herself. Her hands moved to his chest, feeling his heartbeat pounding against her palm, a powerful steady thrum that only served to excite her more. She was torn by this rush of new feelings, thinking of her betrayal of Kyle. But she was powerless to stop it. She couldn't stop kissing Max and more than she could stop breathing, and she hated herself for it. He broke the kiss raggedly.

She tried to catch her breath, trying to gain some semblance of control. Now there was no avoiding it, no way around it, no way to excuse the powerful pull between Max and herself. She couldn't deny it any longer, but she had to talk to Kyle first, and until then nothing could go any further between the two of them. Max would just have to understand that she owed Kyle at least that.

"Tell me!" he whispered, searching her eyes. "Tell me he makes you feel like this!" His eyes were glued to hers and he felt a sense of despair as he watched her eyes fill with tears.

"Please Max, don't do this to me. I can't live with myself. I don't like myself for what I am doing with you, to Kyle. It's not fair," she said.

Max felt self-loathing rise in his throat. He had been so sure that she had wanted this, that he could make her forget Kyle. But it was completely selfish of him to be doing this.

"I'm sorry," he said roughly, standing up quickly. "I didn't mean…" he started to say and then turned and strode out of the room, past Isabel and Alex, who had been standing in the doorway in shock.

"Max, wait!" Liz said. He had completely misunderstood where she was coming from. Now she'd made a mess of things. She got up to follow him, and Isabel stopped her.

"Let him go," she said roughly.

"I need to talk to him," Liz said, and Alex interrupted.

"It can wait Liz. Let him cool down. Besides, I think we need to talk as well…" Alex said, his eyebrow raised.

Liz cringed inwardly.

What now? She thought.

TBC…


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 17-Oct-2001 1:35:56 PM ]
posted on 30-Oct-2001 10:17:24 AM by majesty
Ok guys,

Just smack me, cause I am still trying to work on the next part of this. My heart just hasn't been in it, but I am going to try again today. I keep telling myself to stop reading spoilers, but do I? Nope, I can't stop myself. Anyway, I've been in a rut. I did however, write a short story that I posted at the Boardello of FanFiction. It's called Arms Wide Open, under the hmmm....smut section LOL. It's not *too* smutty tho, lol. I did figure it is R-NC/17. Maybe it will tide you over until I finally get my ass in gear and finish the next chapter of this...maybe today, if all goes well. Anyway, here's the link.

http://pub44.ezboard.com/bthespoilerslutsfanficwhorehouse

Note: It isn't a nice tidy story by any means. I am mad at Max...tho I still think he's redeemable, hehe. It isn't one of my better stories, I warn you.

Majesty
posted on 31-Oct-2001 12:16:38 AM by majesty
NOTE: 2nd part of Part 9 on the following page.

Well,

It's been long enough. I am posting what I wrote, though I am not liking it much. Couldn't get it right. But there's still a story to tell, so I am going to post it and move on.

majesty


PART 9

Kyle watched interestedly as Maria stomped furiously past him and Michael came in not far behind her.

“Here,” he said dryly, shoving a wrapped paper bowl in front of him, and then handed one to Doug.

“What’s this?” Kyle asked.

“A helluva sight better than canned corn,” Michael answered, as he dropped a bag on the table.

Kyle opened it and saw some sort of casserole in the bowl.

“What’s in it?” he asked suspiciously, as he watched Michael dig into his own.

“What do you care? It’s hot, and it’s pretty damned good if I say so myself,” he said.

Kyle watched him for a moment and then saw Doug tentatively take a bite. He chewed thoughtfully for a moment.

“Yeah, it is pretty good,” Doug said.

“Stupid, why are you eating that? How do you know he didn’t throw some rat poison in there?” Kyle said to Doug.

“Give me a break! What would I do that for? You people are losers, but even that wouldn’t cause me to kill you,” he said disgustedly.

“Besides, Maria was there. She saw me make it. Don’t you think she would have said something?” Michael asked.

Kyle paused to see if Doug was going to suddenly start choking and drop dead on the floor. Surprisingly, he didn’t.

Couldn’t hurt to try it. And he *was* hungry. Hesitantly, he tried it. And to his surprise it was pretty good.

“Where’d you learn to make something like this?” he asked Michael as he ate with more fervor.

“Let’s just say I made do with what was around,” Michael answered, and Kyle nodded, not feeling the need to press it any further.

“Did Maria eat?” Kyle asked.

Michael shrugged.

“There’s some there if she wants it,” he said indifferently.

“It looked like she was pissed off when she came in. What did you do to her?” he asked, as Doug looked up, suddenly interested.

Michael looked at Kyle defensively.

“Nothing,” he said.

“Didn’t look like nothing to me,” Doug said.

“Oh please!” Michael said. “I don’t even know her that well, and *I* know that she is over-dramatic! I can’t believe you would even be asking me that.”

“Michael, let me give you a little wisdom here. Whatever you think Maria is, you’re probably wrong. She’s been through a lot, and I don’t think you should upset her,” Kyle said.

“What do you mean she’s been through a lot?” Michael asked.

Kyle looked down at the floor and didn’t answer him. He looked over to find Doug staring at him.

“What?” he said, looking at Doug.

Doug sighed.

“I know what happened while you were gone just now,” Doug said, and Kyle looked questioningly at him. “I find it completely amazing that she has this attraction to you after what happened to her, but then again, it’s Maria we’re talking about so…” he trailed off.

“What the hell are you babbling about?” Michael said, annoyed.

“Maria…Maria was attacked by a skin,” Doug said.

“What do you mean, attacked?” Michael asked.

“I mean, *attacked* as in the worst way someone *can* be attacked by a skin,” Doug answered softly.

Michael’s eyes widened.

“Do you mean she was…?” he asked.

“That would have been bad enough,” Doug said. “She was mind-raped, to get information about Serena and me. Thank God he didn’t get too far before Liz and Kyle found them,” he said. “Still the physical damage was bad enough.”

“Is this true?” Michael asked Kyle.

“Yeah,” Kyle answered quietly.

“It happened about a month after everyone disappeared. A band of skins had come into town, a big group of them, looking for us. We hid during the day, taking the streets at night, picking them off in small groups. She was with Kyle one night, tailing two skins. They were in the park. Kyle had Maria stayed behind while he followed them across the park. Maria was behind a utility shed, and one of them came up behind her. She wasn’t any match for the guy. He played around with her for a little while, taunting her, making her think she might get away. He beat her up. And when she didn’t talk, he made her do it by force, through her mind,” Doug said.

“We had to move camp after that. We left everything we had, and set up in the UFO Museum. It was pointless to try to go back to the old building. We would have been outnumbered,” Kyle said.

Michael had heard of this ability the skins had. Nasedo had told them. He didn’t explain much about mind rapes, other than it was probably the most horrific experience a person could go through.

“How bad was it?” Michael asked.

Kyle shrugged. “She doesn’t talk about it. She made us promise not to tell Liz. Liz thinks she was just beat up. Maria didn’t want her to know. She was afraid to tell her, because she thought Liz would do something impulsive, like go after the guy, and if anything had happened to her…

“She didn’t speak for days afterwards, and when she did, and we tried to ask her about it, she just got really upset. We let it go until she was ready to talk about it. But that hasn’t happened yet.”

Michael felt really badly for the way he had treated her after hearing this. No wonder she was afraid of them, didn’t trust them. Whatever the skin had done to her was probably horrible, and not knowing that he and Max and Isabel were any different, she had every right to feel the way she did.

“What’s the matter with you?” Kyle asked. “You look like you just ate shit.”

Michael scowled at him.

“Nothing,” he said, acting indifferent. He stood up and picked up the bag with the remainder of the food.

“Where ya going Marvin?” Kyle asked dryly, knowingly.

“Marvin?” Michael said, glaring at him.

“Yeah, you know, Looney Tunes. Marvin the Martian? It fits you,” he said, chuckling at his joke.

“Piss off,” Michael said, as he walked out of the room.

“Touchy,” Kyle said to Doug, with a mock look of horror on his face before laughing.

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

Maria held her head in her hands, sitting in the darkness of the hotel room. What was she thinking, letting Michael kiss her?

What was wrong with her? After what the skin had done to her, how could she even look at him, another alien?

Trust. She didn’t trust him, she couldn’t. But something had drawn her to him. Was it the sparring? The challenge? She was half-horrified that she was attracted to him.

And why was she? He was rude, arrogant and obnoxious. Why was it then that she avoided meeting his eyes until tonight? Why did she goad him? Why did she give a rat’s ass what he thought?

She felt another wave of emotions well in her heart, bringing back that night that she didn’t want to think about. She couldn’t talk to anyone about it. She knew they wouldn’t understand. What the skin had done to her had scarred her, changed her forever. She had nightmares about it, waking up in a sweat, stifling her screams, so as not to wake the others.

She couldn’t tell Liz about it, because she knew she wouldn’t understand, and she would have gotten angry, and she would have wanted to do something, and no one would have been able to stop her. She couldn’t have lived with herself if anything had happened to her. This skin was particularly strong, and though Liz had taken some of them out, Maria feared that Liz and Kyle would have met their match with this one.

No, it was her burden to bear, and they didn’t press it.

She wiped the newly formed tears in her eyes with her wrists. She had to get ahold of herself. She was allowing a stupid confrontation with Michael Guerin to upset her. Now she was mad, and that was a good thing. Because if she stayed mad at him, she didn’t have to think about how his eyes had mesmerized her for that moment. He was a jerk, and an *alien* jerk.

Still, why did his disdain hurt her heart? Why did she care?

She let out an exasperated growl as the tears continued to stream down her face.

“DeLuca, you in here?” a voice asked.

No, not now, she thought, quickly swiping her face to try to rid it of incriminating wetness. She would not let him see her cry.

“What,” she growled shakily.

“You left your food,” he said, from the darkness behind her.

“I’m not hungry,” she said flatly.

“You have to eat,” he said.

“I said I’m not hungry,” she said forcefully.

She felt the bed move as he sat down next to her and the bag was dropped into her lap.

“Are you deaf?” she asked, incredulously.

“You don’t want to insult me. I went to a lot of trouble to make that,” he said, vainly trying to make a joke.

“I’m not exactly concerned about your ego at this point,” she said dryly, staring straight ahead.

Michael looked over at her, and saw the tear tracks she had tried to hide. He winced.

He didn’t exactly know what he was doing here. He didn’t really think about what he was going to say to her when he found her. He didn’t really think about anything other than being here.

He coughed uncomfortably. He had probably scared the crap out of her, kissing her like that. She had already been assaulted by an alien once. He might not like her, but he had no right to take liberties with her. Oh hell, who did he think he was kidding? The kiss was great. But she was probably repulsed by the whole thing. And who could blame her? He was an alien. He couldn’t bring himself to mention what Kyle and Doug had told him. It wasn’t his place.

“Look, I’m sorry for before,” he said. “That never should have happened. I just…you just…I don’t know, I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing,” he finished lamely. “Humans and people like me shouldn’t mix. I guess you were thinking the same thing?”

Maria bit her lip. Well that settled that.

“Yeah,” she said. “You’re right.”

“Look,” he said quietly. “I don’t mean any of you any harm. I’m just trying to do the best that I can. I think we all got off on the wrong foot. Things…just went the worst way that they could have. We’re all stuck in this together, so the least we can so is to be civil to each other. It will make it easier on all of us. So, let’s start again. Remember me? Michael Guerin, from high school?” he asked, holding out his hand.

Maria’s full lips curled into a smile as she continued to stare ahead of her. Her head turned quickly toward him as she studied him for a moment.

“How would I remember you when you were never there?” she said with a smirk, and Michael sighed in exasperation.

“Damn I knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” he said. “Just shake my hand would you?”

Maria was still for a moment, and then tentatively reached for his hand, her eyes meeting his as his fingers gently clasped hers.

Michael has to suppress a small gasp as the touch of her skin sent little thrills through his body.

“Right,” he said, quickly letting go of her hand. “Now that that’s over with, can we eat? I’m starving.”

Maria suppressed a small smile as she handed him the bag.

Sure,” she said.

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

“Alex, can we please talk about this later?” Liz asked, looking over his shoulder. She had to talk to Max, she had to straighten this out.

“No Liz, this can’t wait,” he said, looking at Isabel.

“I’m going to go for a walk,” Isabel said, looking at him knowingly, and let the room.

“Sit down,” Alex said.

“What is it, Alex?” she asked impatiently.

“You know what this is about,” he said. “How can you do this to Kyle?” he asked. “After all you’ve been through together?”

Liz sighed, looking at her hands. “It’s not that simple Alex.”

He looked at her with raised eyebrows, that classic “Alex” look that she’d come to know so well.

“Liz,” he said slowly. “I know we’ve never talked about this, but I know what you and Kyle have is…well, it’s not exactly like the great romance of the century,” he said, as Liz’s eyes widened in surprise at his admission.

“And I know it’s not my place to say anything,” he continued. “But just really *think* about what you’re doing. You don’t really know anything about this guy. And he’s not even,” he paused, trying to say it nicely, “well human. You know what you have with Kyle. You know he is always going to be there for you, no matter what. You don’t know Max. You don’t know where he’s going, or what he has to do.”



“Alex, did Isabel put you up to this?” she asked.

“No,” he protested, and Liz gave him a look, and he winced.

“Well, maybe she did say *something*, but I agree with her! I just don’t want to see you get your heart broken,” he said. “You’re my best friend, and I love you. I don’t want to see you get hurt,” he said.

“I know that Alex,” she said. “I can’t explain this to you, I really can’t. I don’t even understand it myself. Believe me, I know things would be so much easier if I just let this go. I just…can’t,” she said.

“I know you don’t like this, and I *know* Isabel doesn’t, she’s made that perfectly clear, but I can’t help what I am feeling, I just can’t,” she said tearfully. “I know this can probably only turn out bad. I know that…”

Alex put his arm around her. “Look, I didn’t mean to upset you,” he said. “I just don’t want to see you set yourself up for your heat to be broken.”

Liz sniffed. “Alex, I think I may have messed things up anyway. I know I have to talk to Kyle, I owe that to him, but I tried to tell Max and it came out the wrong way, and I need to talk to him.”

Alex nodded reluctantly. She looked at him imploringly.

“Alex, please try to make her understand that I would never hurt Max either. I know she doesn’t trust us, and I know that she thinks that keeping distance from us is better. But I can’t, and I don’t think Max wants to either. How can she deny him this? The chance to be happy, to follow his heart? I don’t understand it.”

“In her defense Liz, she’s not asking anything of Max that she isn’t doing herself,” Alex said a little defensively. “Don’t you think she’d like the chance to be happy too? I mean, isn’t that what anyone would want?” he asked.

Liz backed off a bit.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think about it that way,” she said. “I…I guess you’re right. But Alex, what happens between Max and I is exactly that, between Max and I. They don’t have to hide who they are anymore. There’s no one around to hide it from. They’re all gone. All of them. Maybe we have a chance to get them back, to save them, but there’s also a chance that we’ll fail. If these are going to be the last few days I know, I want to be happy for that time. I don’t think it’s being selfish, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Do you?”

Alex just looked at her and shook his head.

“I have to go to him Alex,” she said.

He nodded. “Go.”

He watched her as she left the room quickly. She never noticed Isabel pressed up against the wall in the darkness next to the entryway. Tears glistened in her eyes.

She quietly peered around the corner into the room, seeing Alex sitting alone on the couch, staring into space, deep in thought.

He had defended her. He had defended her against his best friend. How many guys would do that when they barely even knew a person?

Maybe Liz was right. Maybe they would fail in Georgia. Maybe all they would have left were these few days. Did she have a right to keep Max from what he so obviously wanted?

She didn’t know, but what she did know was that looking at the man sitting on the couch, alone with his thoughts, had caused a lump to rise in her throat. He was so nice to her, even after everything, even after their mistrust.

His head turned suddenly, and he saw her in the doorway. Her face flushed with embarrassment as she was caught.

He patted the cushion next him.

“Come sit,” he said.

Reluctantly, tears still shining in her eyes, she sat quietly next to him.

They were silent for a moment, and then she spoke.

“You stuck up for me, why?” she asked.

“You heard?” he asked, surprised.

She nodded. “Sorry,” she said, a little sheepishly.

“Ok…,” he said.

“Why?” she asked. “Why did you stick up for me? She’s your best friend. You don’t really know me at all.”

He bit his lip thoughtfully before answering.

“I guess I did it because I think you get a bad rap. You know, people always said you were like, an ice queen or something,” he said, as she looked at him.

“Uh, yeah sorry,” he laughed sheepishly. “But the point is, when I got to talk to you, I saw why you have to be that way, and I guess I understand it. I don’t think it’s fair, for any of you, but I understand it.”

She was quiet for a moment, stunned by his words.

“Thank you,” she said simply.



“For what?” he asked curiously.

“I guess for taking the time to try to understand me. Not many people do you know. Not that I made it easy for them,” she admitted. “But you’re right, it’s not fair, and maybe Liz is right. Maybe we don’t have much time left. I am not going to say anything else to Max. He’s got to do what he’s got to do. I’m tired of trying to make sense to him.”

“Maybe you should just concentrate on yourself and what *you* want,” Alex said. “Make *your* time count.”

She nodded and gave him a small smile, and he put his arm around her.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Oct-2001 12:22:27 AM ]
posted on 31-Oct-2001 12:17:20 AM by majesty

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

Liz hurried through the darkened hallways of the hotel, looking for any sign of Max. She didn’t know where he’d gone, but she knew she had to find him.

She was starting to feel almost desperate, that he had left the hotel altogether, when she saw his silhouette shadowing the window of the sun-room in the back of the hotel.

She stopped, watching him as he stared out the window at the moon that had risen high in the sky, casting it’s soft white glow through the red clouds that had been a part of the sky since the terrible incident that had changed all of their lives forever.

What had he been through to get here? What dangers had they faced? She wondered what it must have been like to have been in a big city when it happened. It was frightening enough to have been in Roswell.

She saw the pained look he had on his face, as if he were fighting some internal battle, and she imagined her face looked much the same way. He looked as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, and for all intents and purposes, they all did. If they didn’t get to Serena, it was all over.

But she couldn’t help but think of the possibility that they might get out of this alive. That things might someday return to some semblance of normal. That maybe…just maybe they might have a chance to live their lives freely, and that maybe she and Max *could* find out what was between them.

These feelings she had when she was around him were overwhelming. As she stood here, she wanted more than anything for him to put his arms around her again, to kiss her again, to touch her.

Max stared at the moon, silently asking for the strength to stay away from Liz. His heart literally ached that she had pushed him away. He knew now for certain, beyond a doubt that she was his chosen. Being around her, touching her, talking to her made it painfully obvious. If it hurt this much now, what would happen later when she walked away? Perhaps it was for the best that it happened now. He imagined the pain of the Antarians, having to live their lives yearning for a chosen one that did not return their affection. It was an awful feeling, this ache. Finding your chosen, and fully realizing it made your whole body ache, he thought to himself. It was physical, as well as mental. It made everything else dull when that person was not around. He felt dimmer. Even the moon seemed dimmer tonight.

He knew full well that nothing had changed in this world, the moon was certainly not dimmer. The red haze was still up there too. But he seemed to become more alive when he was around Liz. It was as if he ha woken up to a whole other side of himself now that he had touched her, kissed her. And he wanted that to stay. It was not like him to disregard Isabel like that. He always went along with the wishes of the group. They all did. None of them thought this was a good idea, even Liz obviously. He was pushing for something that shouldn’t be.

Liz silently walked into the room, approaching him from behind.

“Max,” she said softly as she touched his shoulder. He didn’t turn around.

“What is it Liz?” he said in a low voice.

“I wanted to talk to you about…”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” he said dismissively. “I’m sorry that I pushed this. I know it’s not making you feel very good about yourself. I know you think you should be with Kyle. Everyone thinks you should be with Kyle, and they’ve been pretty vocal about it. So let’s just leave it at that, because there really isn’t anything to discuss,” he said, turning and walking toward the doorway.

“Max, wait!” she said fiercely. He stopped, still facing the door, unable to face her, his back stiff.

“I don’t care what anyone else thinks,” she said, almost desperately. She walked over to him quickly, standing behind him, putting her hand on his arm.

“Max, I don’t care,” she said. “Talking to Alex, well it just made me realize a lot of things. Like I’ve been taking the safe route for as long as I can remember, doing what’s best for everyone but myself,” she said.

“Me too,” he said, shakily.

“I started to think, what if this is all the time we have left Max? What if this is it, all there is? If something’s going to happen, I don’t want to have any regrets. I don’t want to look back and agonize over what I should have done, but didn’t, because I was afraid of how everyone else is going to feel,” she said, and she watched him lower, his head, not turning toward her, unable to look at her.

She walked around to stand in front of him, her words failing her, trying to figure out a way to tell him what she wanted.

“I want to be selfish Max,” she blurted out. “I want to see where this is going between us. I want you to hold me. I…I want you to touch me, to kiss me. Because I can’t stand to be around you without it,” she said breathlessly, embarrassed.

He raised his head to look into her eyes, and she saw uncertainty there, and something else, something she couldn’t quite place. Was it fear?

“Liz, I think maybe you were right the first time. Maybe this shouldn’t be,” he said.

“No Max, no I wasn’t right. I was ignoring what I was really feeling,” she said. “I don’t want to do that anymore.” She looked up into his golden-flecked eyes, looking for reassurance.

He smiled at her tightly. “Liz, I can’t really explain this to you, but something, something has happened to me since I healed you, since…I kissed you that first time.”

He couldn’t tell her about her being the chosen, about what it has done to him.

“I have never given my heart to anyone before. At first because I was afraid to, and then because I just couldn’t, for our safety. And even though I’ve had these…feelings for a long time for you, actually touching you, kissing you makes it all different. I’ve never…I’ve never felt like this for anyone before, and I don’t think I can take this ending up badly, for either one of us.”

“I don’t want that either Max,” she said. “You misunderstood me before. I have this…like this guilty conscience. I’ve always been this way,” she said, trying to explain.

“I know,” he said. “I have the same guilty conscience. If I wasn’t worried about Isabel and Michael, I would have talked to you in high school, I would have done a lot of things differently,” he said.

She was quiet for a moment.

“Max, don’t you think it’s time that we stopped living our lives for everyone else and start living them for ourselves?” she asked quietly. “I thought that was what you were trying to tell me when I tried to push you away. But now something tells me that’s changed, and I don’t know why.”

“I can’t explain that to you Liz. Not now. I just can’t,” he said softly.

How could he burden her with the knowledge that his both his human and alien side had chosen her? That she would be the only one for him for the rest of his life? He couldn’t tell her that. They hadn’t even been on a date!

She’d had to live with the death of her father, helping her mother, a love life with Kyle that was obviously less than earth-shattering. How could he put this on her? He couldn’t do that to her. Here she was thinking the two of them should be impulsive, and then she would feel tied to him out of some sense of obligation? He didn’t want that.

“Then don’t tell me Max. Just give me these few days. Give *us* these few days. Either way it’s over with Kyle. I see that now. I have to tell him when I see him. You’ve…I don’t know, woken me up. I’m feeling all these new things I’ve never felt before. And I like these feelings. I felt guilty about them, but I like them. I know you do too. So can you do that Max? Can you give me this time?” she asked.

Even with the premonition of the pain he might experience later by saying yes, how could he say no? How could he turn her away when he looked into the liquid mocha depths of her eyes, pleading with his to give her a second chance?

“Please Max,” she whispered, her hand reaching up to his neck, lowering his lips to hers. He was powerless to stop her. He couldn’t even say that this isn’t what he wanted, because it was, it was what he had desperately wanted all these years. A chance, a free chance to know Liz Parker, to love her.

“Yes,” he whispered softly, as his lips captured hers gently, urgently as his hands unconsciously, possessively rose to her waist, drawing her closer. He literally felt his heart calm as he touched her.

Liz felt her breath taken away as Max’s lips met hers. His scent filled her senses, excited her, and she felt her heart start to beat erratically as she felt his tongue gently touch hers in a tender gesture. Though both felt the pull of their attraction to each other, for the moment their ministrations were slow, reverent, thorough. Liz's arms slipped around his graceful neck, as she rose on her toes to meet his ardent lips.

Max gently slipped his hand through her hair, that hair he had always wanted to touch but didn’t dare. It always looked like spun silk to him, and now he knew it felt like just like it.

Liz broke this kiss to look up at him breathlessly and smiled.

A wistful smile appeared on his face in return.

“Are you afraid Max? Of these feelings?” she asked, shyly.

“A little,” he admitted, in his mind the enormity of this decision to get close to his chosen threatening to overwhelm him. He knew the consequences if it didn’t work out, but he couldn’t stop himself from taking this one wild chance, acting without analyzing it. For once, he wanted to just live in the moment, even if it broke his heart in the end.

Silently looking at him for a long moment, her hands moved from his neck, sliding to his chest, taking the lapels of his leather jacket and pulling them to his arms, pulling it down, letting it drop to the floor.

He looked at her curiously as her hands roamed the thin material that separated her fingers from his skin, feeling the thrill of the muscles at play beneath her hands. Then gently she moved them to his ribcage, sliding down his side to his narrow waist, as his own hand gently stroked her hair, his breath now coming rapidly at her touch.

“Is this thing between us…is it dangerous Max?” she asked, as her hands gently ran up his arms. “I mean, I don’t know that much about alien and human relationships, other than it’s happened before because of Serena and Doug.”

“I don’t know,” he admitted huskily. “I’m not exactly the expert.”

“The weird thing is,” she said, her eyes roaming his physique travelling up to meet his eyes, which smoldered with restrained desire, “is that even if it is, I don’t care,” she ended in a whisper, moving closer to him, her body pressing against his, feeling the evidence of his desire for her.

He smiled at her, his thumb caressing her cheek.

“You say that now, but…”

“No, I mean it. I don’t care,” she said, her eyes reinforcing the words she had just spoken. “I used to dream about you, about what it would be like to do this,” she said, her lips gently brushing over his.

Immediately, the kiss took on a life of it’s own as it deepened, Max’s tongue creating a heat in her body as it slid into her mouth. The taste of him awoke a need in her body that she had never experienced before. Her fingers clenched the material of his t-shirt as his hands cupped her rear, pulling her against him roughly. All rational thought flew out the window as they were both overwhelmed by a staggering wave of desire. His hand slid under her shirt to her back, her skin hot and soft to his touch.

Uncharacteristically, she pushed him back until he hit the wall, eliciting a soft grunt as his back came up against it. She pressed her whole body against him, feeling every muscle every inch of him against her own body. His lips slid to her neck, and she let out a small moan as he gently nipped her. Yanking his shirt a bit, her hands slid beneath it. Her mind raced as her fingers came into contact with soft skin, sheathing powerful muscle. He groaned lightly at her touch, feeling he was going to lose any little bit of control he had left.

“Liz,” he breathed and his hand tentatively cupped her breast through her shirt, and she let out a harsh breath, as his fingers lightly brushed over her nipple. Her hips moved instinctively against him, and she felt his erection pressed tightly against her intimate area, blocked only by the material of their jeans.

“You feel so good,” she groaned, moving her hands under his shirt to his back.

Max had never experienced anything like this before. The feel of her breast responding to his touch left him breathless. But things were moving way too fast.

“Liz, we have to stop,” he groaned.

“I know,” she said as she pressed her breast into his waiting fingers.

“No really,” he said, as his lips caught hers again, “If we don’t stop now, I don’t know what will happen,” he said pulling away slightly, his breathing ragged.

Liz knew he was right. It was one thing to explore what was between them, but this was moving way too fast. Unfortunately, her body didn’t understand what her head was trying to tell it.

She moved away quickly, trying to get control of the raging emotions that were coursing through her body.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I should go…away. I can only imagine what you’re thinking of me,” she said, trying to get past him through the doorway, embarrassed.

“No wait!” he said urgently, catching her arm. “Liz, whatever you’re feeling right now, it’s no different than what I’m feeling. I just…I just want it to be right between us. Like we should get to know each other better,” he said.

“Me too,” she said, looking at the floor.

“It’s just so hard to not…touch you when I’m around you,” he said.

“I know,” she said, feeling the same way.

“Stay here, with me tonight?” he asked.

“Just to sleep,” he said quickly, not wanting her to think that he was suddenly changing his mind. “It’s probably better to stay in here, a bed would be too tempting,” he finished, embarrassed.

“I want to be near you Max,” she said, looking up at him. “I’ll stay.”

He smiled at her, and they took a blanket from the hallway, and brought it back into the sun-room. Max lied on the couch first, holding his hand out to her. She gently settled herself next to him, his arm coming around her waist in an unconscious gesture.

“You know I used to imagine what it would feel like to be held by you,” she said, as his arms tightened around her.

“I thought I didn’t exist where you were concerned,” she said, her cheek rubbing against his.

His breath was unsteady.

“God Liz, how could you think I didn’t notice you? From the moment I saw you, I thought you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” he said, and she smiled. He reddened slightly at his last outburst.

“Max, do you know how many girls had the hots for you? I mean you were the guy that every girl wanted to…well, they wanted you,” she said lamely, and his face colored again.

“You didn’t know?” she asked, surprised.

“No,” he said, embarrassed, looking down.

“How can you not see what you are Max?” she asked, looking at him.

“With all those other girls I never thought I would have had a chance with you anyway. I mean I never saw you with other girls in school, but I just assumed,” she faltered.

Max shook his head. “Like I said, we didn’t get involved. But if we could have, it would have been you Liz,” he said, his eyes darkening with emotion.

“That must have been hard for all of you, you know, not getting involved,” she said, as she watched his jaw tighten.

He nodded. “It was what we had to do,” he said.

Her heart ached for all that he never had.

“I’m glad that fate brought you back to Roswell,” she said softly, “even under these circumstances.”

He smiled softly in the darkness, his cheek resting on the top of her head.

“Me too,” he said quietly. “Me too.”

TBC....
posted on 12-Nov-2001 4:28:52 PM by majesty
Guys,

I am sorry for the delay on this. My head just hasn't been in writing this one lately. I have started Part 10, and I will try to get to the rest of it and post it by tomorrow night, but I can't promise anything.

Again, I apologize. Other Roswell stuff has made my life hell for the past week, and I didn't want to attempt writing the next part of this in the state I was in.

Thanks for asking after this fic. Though this one has been hard to write for some reason, your feedback has kept me on track. If you guys didn't like this one so much I would have given up on it a long time ago.

Thanks again, and I'll try to get the next part out tomorrow,

majesty

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 12-Nov-2001 4:33:13 PM ]
posted on 12-Nov-2001 8:50:44 PM by majesty
Alien614,

Thanks about Flagellation! I am itching to get at that one again, but I promised I would write another chapter of SOF first.

Just so y'all know, if the board goes down, all of my work-in-progress fics are posted at the Boardello. The link is in my sig.

majesty
posted on 29-Nov-2001 9:01:40 PM by majesty
Hey Everybody,

***Here's some blah blah blah that you can skip if you just want to get on with the reading.

I know it's been forever since I updated this, but I suddenly got inspired last week, after seeing Queensryche, of all bands, in NYC. I've been a fan for a long time, but I went back and re-read alot of their lyrics over the weekend, and some of them so fit this story, I decided to include them.

I added lyrics at the beginning of Parts 1 and 4, if anyone feels like going back to read them, and I also am naming the second book of this story after one of their songs (the acoustic version is so much better than the original).

Nope I am not a head-banger chick (if you ever knew the diversity of my taste in music, you'd really think I was crazy), and it was kind of funny to see some of the 80's hair and leather that was rampant at the concert, but Geoff Tate rocked, as usual (seen them multiple times, and found it kind of sad that they were playing a smaller venue this time). The man's vocal range is amazing. I like some of their newer stuff (early 90's on), more than their older material, but some of the older stuff I thought applied here.

I am thinking right now that this story will be told in three "books", or sections, and I hope to be more frequent in the updates. Sorry for the delay. Also, the NC-17 is going to be a little more "eventual" than I had originally planned, but there is a reason.***

Though I am really, really not sure I am liking this chapter, it's on with the show....

SKIES OF FIRE
BOOK TWO
DREAMING IN INFRARED

I Dream In Infrared – Queensryche
Lyrics by Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton

As you awoke this morning
and opened up your eyes
Did you notice the tear-stains
lining your face were mine

Don't you wonder, can't you see
what's happening to our lives
I can't keep living this masquerade
When my lonely eyes see only your face at night

I only see in infrared
I can't dream anymore
Can't you see I need, too
I can't stand the pain

You've gathered all my secrets
and I don't know who I am
I even feel alone when you're near
'cause you'll never understand

When we first met I must have seemed
a million miles away
It's strange how our lives have touched
But the time is right
I'll leave tonight
Don't look in my eyes
'Cause you've never seen them so black

I only see in infrared
I can't dream anymore
Can't you see I need to
I can't stand the pain


PART 10

Everyone had fallen asleep in the lounge area of the hotel, so no one heard Kyle tossing and muttering in his sleep.

It was dark, too dark and he was lost. Stumbling aimlessly through a murk that he could not penetrate with his eyes he felt a sense of urgency, of fear, and didn’t know where it was coming from, but it made the hair on his head alive with little bolts of electric panic.

Futilely, he waved his hands in front of him, searching for something tangible to give him a sense of spatial orientation.

Another bolt of terror ran through his body, and he realized it wasn’t his own. It was coming from somewhere else, someone else. And it was all encompassing, smothering.

He gasped at the enormity of it, needing to find the source of it, to make it stop.

He yelled for someone, anyone to answer him, and received no reply.

There was an acrid scent to the air, as if something was burnt, as if destruction had occurred and wreaked havoc on this place. And there was a stale scent, the scent of dead leaves, of old soil, stale sweat and rotten wood. The scent of death, the scent of old fear, of desperation.

He felt his breath leaving his lungs in harsh gasps, and he tried to get control over the insistent feeling that there was terrible danger near.

He heard a low grinding noise behind him, and he rushed forward blindly, forgetting the care he had taken only seconds ago in trying to get his bearings.

The floor seemed to disappear from under him, as though it just dropped off, and he felt himself falling down a steep incline, rolling and turning forever it seemed, until he hit rock hard ground with a bone-jarring thud.

For a moment, the wind was knocked out of him and he couldn’t breathe. And then he heard a sound in the darkness to the right. A low moan, one that radiated pain and hopelessness. But he knew the timbre of that voice. He knew.

“Serena?” he said in a low voice.

“Kyle,” a shaky voice answered.

He crawled in the direction of her voice, and shortly felt the cold skin of her forearm.

“Serena,” he said almost frantically. “Are you all right?”

He tentatively felt her arms, her face, which was sticky, though he couldn’t see it. Blood.

“God, Serena,” he said shakily, carefully taking her into his arms.

“What did they do to you?” he said, as he felt her shoulders shake, and she grabbed his shirt in her fists, and he knew she was desperately trying to maintain her control. She was always so strong, never letting anyone know she wasn’t invincible.

“Why are you here Kyle?” she asked, her voice muffled against his shirt.

“You shouldn’t be here. They might find out. I can’t keep them out of my head forever. I’m getting weak,” she said.

“We’re coming,” he said quickly. “We’re on our way.”

“It’s too late,” she said dejectedly. “It’s too late for all of us. They’ll win.”

“No,” he said angrily. “You hold on. You hold on till we get there. I promise you will get you out.”

“Kyle,” she sighed. “I’m tired. I thought that I could be strong enough, but I don’t think I am. I just want this over with. They won’t get anything from me. I’ll kill myself first, I swear. But I can’t keep doing this. Maybe you’ll all have a chance. Maybe Doug can lead them. Maybe…” she faltered, leaning her head wearily against his chest.

Tentatively, tenderly, he stroked her hair, alternately wishing he could see her face to look into her eyes to give her courage, and yet afraid of what they had done to her to make her this resigned.

“Listen to me,” he said fiercely. “You hold on for another night. Wait for us. After tomorrow night we’ll be there, I promise. We’ll get you out.”

“No,” she said. “You’ll only be caught. I don’t want that. Not when it’s pointless to come here to begin with.”

“What do you mean pointless?” Kyle said angrily. “You’re just as important as the rest of them.”

“No, Zan is the important one. And…you, you’re important, to me,” she said. “You and Liz,” she added quickly.

Kyle felt his heart twist at her words. She couldn’t possibly mean what he thought she meant? Because then that would mean…

“Kyle, there are so many things that I wish that I could say to you, but it isn’t the time or place,” she said. “Maybe I could have, in another lifetime, but you’ve got to protect them, Max, Isabel and Michael. Maybe you’ll have a chance,” she faltered.


And it hit him, all of the things he had kept buried, all of the feelings he wouldn’t admit he had for her. Maybe she was saying what he thought she was. Maybe there was something there that he’d never seen before.

“Serena, please,” he said. “Just promise me you’ll try to hold out for a little longer. Promise me, because I-”

And suddenly, out of the darkness, she was ripped from his arms by some powerful unseen force.

“Serena!” he yelled frantically, reaching for her, but she was gone.


A tormented gasp flew from his lips, as he sat up, his breathing erratic, covered in sweat.

It was too real. It was no dream. Serena had found a way to talk to him, and lord knew what she was going through at this very moment.

He glanced around and met Doug’s eyes. He knew.

“She’s in trouble,” Kyle said shakily. “Bad trouble.”

Doug nodded.

“I sensed her. Something isn’t right. It isn’t like her to just give up. It isn’t like her at all,” Doug said in a low voice.

Kyle nodded.

“I don’t know how long she’ll hang in,” he answered. “I’ve never seen her like that before.”

“We need to everyone up…now,” Doug said. “I don’t think we have much more time.”

*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%
Deliverance – Queensryche
Lyrics by Michael Wilton

Ride swift across the plain
Don't you turn back, keep heed in your flame
Kings with no mercy, this planet at war
Torn from enchantment, this land forevermore

Born from obsession, you cried death for light
You saw things before and after you died
Back from beyond to rule again
But this life denies you its fight to the end

Back from the dawn
Deliver us right from wrong
Kings forge the way
For your last day

You search the eyes of those
Who fear the law
Dark and light we all must keep the balance strong
One day a king will rise with the sun
The moon, and the stars
And you are he and you must die, to be
Born again, come again, once more be again the king

Back from the dawn
Deliver us right from wrong
Kings forge the way
For your last day


A soft warm thrum danced in Liz’s head, gently waking her. Eyes still closed she slowly became aware of the gentle protective cocoon that surrounded her. A sense of peace had enveloped her, and the contentment she experienced made her reluctant to open her eyes.

Slowly she opened them and her gaze met a soft olive green wall, to which her cheek was pressed. And then she realized that the cocoon she imagined was Max’s gentle embrace. And the gentle beat in her ear was his heartbeat, steady and strong. Smiling softly to herself, she breathed in his scent, a mix of soap and a soft indefinable smell that was his alone. She was afraid to move, that she would wake him, but she couldn’t resist lifting her head to study his sleeping face. He had always had a gentle but serious expression, but in sleep it had relaxed into the face of a little boy, sweet and untroubled.

Not wanting to ruin the moment, she snuggled carefully back into his chest and sighed.

She felt his embrace tighten softly, and he took a deep breath. His lips brushed softly against her forehead, and her eyes closed at the softness of his touch. She felt his hand reach up to thread softly through her hair, and she remained still, wanting to remember this moment forever. It was a girlhood dream come true, one that she had long ago given up hope on.

She looked up and met his eyes, and he smiled softly at her.

“Hey,” he said softly.

“Hey,” she answered with a smile.

She reached up and grasped his hand, entwining her fingers with his, loving the way that her small hand seemed to fit perfectly within his.

They lay in silence for long moments, not wanting to break the peaceful spell that had befallen them.

Soon they started to hear movement down the hall, signifying that Alex and Isabel were awake. Isabel screamed Max’s name from somewhere in the hotel.

“Max, we’re out of here in twenty minutes!” she called. He sighed.

“We should get moving,” he said regretfully.

Liz let out a small sound of protest and rolled onto her back.

“I think Isabel hates me,” she said.

“She doesn’t hate you,” Max said. “Isabel is just…well, she’s a little overprotective. She’s a good person, I swear,” he said.

“It’s just that we’ve been through so much together, and she’s stuck by Michael and I, and we’ve kind of stuck by her too. But I never doubt that even if it seems she is cold to others, she’d do anything for us. And we’d do anything for her. She’s not just my sister. She and Michael are my best friends. But I don’t think she hates you. I think she secretly likes you,” he said smiling.

“I’d hate to see what happens when people give her a real reason to be pissed off,” Liz muttered. She sighed and closed her eyes for a few seconds.

Her head turned after a short moment, and her eyes met his.

“This is one of those mornings, you know?” she said.

His brow furrowed, perplexed.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

She lifted her hand to his face, allowing her fingers to trace his jaw.

“It’s one of those mornings where everything is like…perfect, when you are so comfortable and everything is just right, and you’d do just about anything not to have to get up,” she said.

He nodded, understanding. Tentatively, he turned to her, his leg slipping between hers, his chest weighing lightly on her own, supporting the majority of weight on his arms.

His eyes roamed her face tenderly, studying every nuance of it, before locking his eyes with her own.

Slowly his head lowered, as his lips parted to capture hers in a tender embrace. She sighed lightly, and he felt his heart leap in his throat as he gently probed her lips with his tongue. She relented and opened up to him fully, wanting him to explore every recess of her waiting mouth.

His tongue playfully teased hers and she met his every movement with a languid move of her own.

The world might literally fall apart around them soon, but those thoughts were far away as they held each other in this one stolen moment.

Max felt the sharp intake of Liz’s breath as his fingers grazed the soft skin exposed at her waistline. The mere slide of his warm fingers on her skin sent little pulses of longing through her body.

Max was reeling from the way Liz made his body react. It was one thing to long for her from a distance, but quite another to feel her pressed against him, soft and beautiful, wanting him as much as he wanted her. He had long ago squelched his human desires, knowing that he could never realize any day-dreams he had of Liz Parker, but there would never be another who could compare in his eyes. Deep in his heart, he had known that many years ago.

Now and then his head was turned by a pretty girl in New York, but he had come to realize that there was always something about them, some characteristic, some physical similarity to Liz. But they never compared. And so he concentrated on his studying, on realizing his dream to be a doctor, pushing down all thoughts of the girl he had watched from afar for so many years in Roswell.

He gently caught her lower lip, feeling her breath quicken as he turned his attention to it. She tasted so good it was intoxicating. A soft moan escaped her lips as his hand tightened at her waist.

A succession of images passed through Liz’s head, pausing long enough for her to grasp them before another appeared.

Lush vegetation surrounded her, but it was no flora she had ever seen before. She tentatively reached out to the nearest branch, and touched the leaves. They were a brilliant green, intermingled with red veins. As se touched it, the red glowed slightly. She pulled her hand back and smiled and walked on. The grass that sprung beneath her feet felt like a gloriously soft carpet, and she looked up to see two suns shining brightly through the overhead branches.

Where was she?

Ahead, she heard voices, many voices, but didn’t see any people. Curious, she made her way to the source of the sound, the din growing ever louder as she came closer. She saw a clearing up ahead, and heard the voices raised into shouts. She could see an outcropping of rock towering above the trees.

Suddenly, an angry cacophony of voices became deafening.

Mil norna nier tarbosos Zan!

A voice cried, and the voices rose in a vulgar cheer. Liz’s breath caught in her throat. Max.

Non dnainin chi sal tindranen Rath!

Again the crowd roared.

Liz made her way around the crowd, keeping cover behind the dense foliage until she was close to the raised flat outcropping of rocks. Her vantage point on the lip of the small valley gave her a close view of the natural stage.

Afraid of being spotted, she ducked behind a thick growth of flower bushes she could not name. Ahead of her a small valley lay spread, filled with all types of beings, some of the like of which she had never seen. Some were humanoid, yet not human. They were much taller than an average human, their limbs graceful and muscular. In fact, they might have passed for humans if not for their stature and a particular unexplainable graceful elegance in their movements. There were others who seemed to be similar in stature to humans, but there the similarity ended. Their robe-clad gray bodies were much thinner, their skin hairless. Their heads seemed almost oblong, similar to the drawings many people made of aliens that “abducted” them. Others were quite obviously human. She looked to the raised outcropping that had caught the attention of this interstellar crowd. On the flat platform stood a small minion of what looked to be soldiers, holding weapons that she could not name. They kept a watchful eye on the two beings pushed to the forefront of the platform under the angry gaze of the crowd. They looked like the humanoids intermixed through the crowd. They stood, their heads high, dressed one in a robe of metallic blue. Liz held her breath as she recognized the symbol from the pendant emblazoned on the front of it. And as she gazed at the face of the owner of the robe, she knew. Though he looked much different, she’d know his eyes anywhere. Zan…Max.

Next to him, in a similar robe, though red, was Michael. Though she didn’t understand the language, she knew from the tone that the crowd was shouting angrily at them.

The sensed a great sadness, a hopelessness emanating from Max as a voice shouted from the right of the stage.

Dok sini todram Perno Zan fon Rath!

Liz glanced at the being who spoke with such venom. He stood tall and was terrible in his beauty. A mane of long blond hair fell down his back, his face framed by a strong neck and powerful shoulders. Khivar. He appeared human. But he was a skin, his body dressed in a human husk.

And next to him stood the third of the royal three, Isabel, also resplendent in a beautiful blue robe emblazoned like Max’s. Her features were distinctly feminine, and extremely venomous as she looked at her brother and his best friend, cousin and protector, Rath.

Tal dranan sin torna Zan fon Rath! Khivar shouted, and a cry of rage ran through the crowd.

Zan and Rath were roughly shoved to their knees by two shoulders, and Liz realized with horror that she was watching the past, their execution.

“No!” Liz shouted, but her cry was lost amid the din of the bloodthirsty crowd. A chant rang out from the hundreds of witnesses, and Vilandra joined in with them.

Tal dranan sin torna Zan fon Rath!

Tal dranan sin torna Zan fon Rath!

Tal dranan sin torna Zan fon Rath!


Their chant took on an ominous ring as the soldiers placed their weapons against the backs of Zan and Rath.

Tal dranan sin torna Zan fon Rath!

Tal dranan sin torna Zan fon Rath!

Tal dranan sin torna Zan fon Rath!

As tears streamed down Liz’s face, she watched the soldiers await Khivar’s signal as Isabel looked on.

Khivar raised his hand, and she watched Zan raise his head one final time to look out over the crowd, proud, yet resigned. And then Khivar’s hand came down, and swiftly Zan and Rath were run through, impaled upon the weapons of the soldiers.

Liz’s and went to her mouth and she sobbed as she watched their bodies fall lifelessly to the rock before them, and a great cheer rose from the crowd. And then all hell broke loose.

The crowd, lusting for blood, overtook the soldiers standing around the stage, rushing the platform.

Tal dranan sin torna Vilandra! they cried.

Liz watched in horror as the crowd overtook Khivar, who halfheartedly tried to keep them away from her. Quickly he was pushed away and the crowd overwhelmed her.

After what seemed like a lifetime, the soldiers finally got control of the crowd, and they started to disperse. When the stage cleared, she saw that Vilandra too had suffered the same fate as Zan and Rath.

Khivar stood over her a moment, looking angry, and then stepped over her, leaving her sprawled on the rock, flanked by two soldiers. Moments later, the bodies were picked up roughly and thrown together. Liz turned her head away from the horror of seeing them strung from the rocks, a grisly display of what had taken place here only moments ago. Her hands covered her face, and she sobbed for the death of these people she saw day in and day out in her teen years, murdered senselessly in another life.


She tore her lips away from his, her breath a ragged sob.

Immediately, she felt his fingers caressing her face.

“Liz,” he whispered frantically.

“Liz, what’s wrong?” he said.

She looked into his eyes, her own eyes welling with tears. How could she tell him she had just seen his death? That his sister had obviously betrayed him, and still suffered the same fate as he and Michael. How could she tell him that his sister had hated him in another life after he had just told her that Isabel was his best friend?

She couldn’t, and she didn’t see what purpose it would serve to explain what she had seen. She knew that Isabel loved her brother and Michael here and now. Telling him could cause a rift that could be devastating to all of them, especially now. She didn’t even know if he would believe her. And if he did it would kill him to know of Vilandra’s betrayal.

“I’m sorry,” she sobbed, hating that she was lying, but knowing it was for the best.

“I think everything has just hit me. Everything that’s happened over the past few months, and now with Serena…”

She felt his arms wrap around her protectively, and she clung to him almost desperately, her heart breaking still at what she had witnessed.

How could things have gone so wrong on their planet? How could so many wish the death of such a gentle soul? She knew with every cell in her body that Max would never intentionally hurt anyone. He was a healer, not a killer.

She pressed her cheek against his chest, needing to hear his strong heartbeat, needing reassurance that he was here with her.

“Everything is going to be ok,” he whispered, gently kissing her forehead.

Liz wasn’t sure anything was going to be ok anymore. Khivar had Serena, and if he realized that Max was still alive…she didn’t want to think about what could happen to all of them. He had been merciless toward them. She had witnessed it.

What if they weren’t strong enough to face him? What if history was going to repeat itself? She couldn’t bring herself to say that to him. That flash, that dream she had was obviously from some residual memory buried deep in his mind.

But why had she seen it? Why had it been so real?

She shuddered, trying to shake the horror of it away.

“MAX!” Isabel shouted. “We’re leaving, now!”

Liz quickly swiped at her eyes, pulling away from him.

“I’m fine,” she said, “really. We should pack up.”

Max wasn’t convinced. There was something more to Liz’s tears. He sensed it. She’d been so strong all along. Something else was bothering her, but he decided against pressing her to tell him, for now at least. He put a comforting arm around her.

“We’ll talk about it later?” he asked, meeting her eyes. She held his gaze for a moment, and looked away and nodded.

He sighed, not knowing what to do.

“Max, I’m fine, I swear. I’ll just feel a lot better once we have Serena back,” she said. She stood up, holding out her hand to him.

“Come on, let’s go,” she said, giving him a shaky smile.

He took her hand, and immediately sensed a quick burst of…sadness? Fear…before it was quickly suppressed from him.

He looked at her concerned, but she just squeezed his hand, urging him toward the door.

As they entered the hallway, he couldn’t shake the feeling that she was hiding something, and hiding it for his own safety.

TBC....

posted on 29-Nov-2001 9:02:43 PM by majesty
Hey Everyone,

This part will be posted in two parts. This went in a little bit of a different direction than I originally intended, but who am I to argue with myself? LOL

majesty

PART ELEVEN

An unseen force was driving Kyle to pick up speed. He had this terrible feeling all day that they were going to be too late. They’d just crossed the border into Georgia, and the going was slow. A big storm had come through at some point, and downed trees fell across the road intermittently, hindering their progress.

He promised her. He promised her not another night. He wasn’t going to let her down. He’d do everything he humanly could to keep his promise.

He barely heard Maria what Maria was shouting in his ear. They had to stop, to leave another marker for Max and the others. Impatiently he slowed and stopped while Michael created a zig-zagging yellow line with his powers. Convenient, he thought.

Maria turned her head to look behind her at Michael. Her brow furrowed in concern. He looked…tired. They were all tired. Kyle and Doug had woke them in the early hours and told them they had to keep moving, and so they had set out on the road again. Kyle was keeping something from them. She could see it in the tightness of his face. She tried to ask him about it, but he wouldn’t talk. She could feel the tension in his body as she rode behind him on the bike. She wondered if it had anything to do with Liz. She knew that he assumed she would tell Liz anything Kyle might have told her, and the truth was, he was probably right. Doug kept a watchful eye on Kyle, and she had a sneaking suspicion he knew what was going on with Kyle. She narrowed her eyes. He wasn’t going to spill either. Doug was like a black hole. If you told him something that you didn’t want anyone else to know, it disappeared into nothingness once it hit his ears.

Sitting her deliberating on what was up with Kyle was doing her no good.

She took another look behind her at Michael, and lifted her leg over the bike.

“Pee break,” she said to Kyle. “I’ll be right back.”

He nodded without turning his head, and she sighed impatiently. Men.

Michael sighed as he finished the marker. Using his powers to move the tree trunks and limbs out of the road every few miles had sapped his energy. It also set them back a few hours. At this point, he was just using them to hold the limbs aloft while they passed under it, allowing it to drop back down once they were through. He found that trying to move them off the road to the left or right was even more draining then just raising them. Max and Isabel would have to move them again when they got here. They could combine their powers to move them out of the way.

He felt a light touch on his arm and he jumped, turning around. Maria stood holding her helmet, looking at him quizzically.

“You ok Rembrandt?” she asked, half amused, half concerned.

“Rembrandt?” he asked with a smirk.

“Well those markers are pretty artistic,” she said, putting her hand on her hip.

“Whatever,” Michael said, embarrassed. He squinted, scanning the road ahead that was bathed in the rays of the setting sun.

“You didn’t answer my question,” she said, looking up at him.

“What question?” he asked as he took a map out of his pocket.

“Are you ok?” she said with quiet emphasis, her tone causing him to look up from the map.

Michael was unaccustomed to concern from anyone but Max and Isabel, and he didn’t know how to handle it.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” he asked dismissively.

“I don’t know, you just look a little tired, that’s all,” Maria said.

“I’m fine,” he snapped.

“O…kay,” Maria said, bristling. She gritted her teeth. Served her right for trying to have a conversation with an alien. She turned on her heel and walked into the trees surrounding the road. She really did need a pee-break, but now she felt like throwing a rock at Michael’s head. Why did he have to be so damned rude? She thought as she squatted behind a bush.

She should have ripped his head off. And here she thought they had come to an understanding last night. Yeah right.

She finished and yanked her pants up, angrily, coming face to face with Michael. He looked at startled as she did, and they both yet out a yell at the same time.

“Dammit DeLuca, what the hell are you doing?” he yelled.

“Me? Me? What am *I* doing? I’m not the one following you through the woods!” she yelled back.

“Well I didn’t know where you were going, and it’s not safe to go anywhere alone, especially now, when we’re near Khivar,” he said angrily.

Maria’s face suddenly flamed in embarrassment. If he had walked up a few seconds sooner…

“For your information, I was on a pee-break,” she said angrily, “and I don’t need an escort for that thanks!”

“You should have told someone,” Michael argued.

“I did! I told Kyle!” she retorted.

“I asked him where you went off to, and he said he didn’t know,” Michael countered.

Maria’s lips tightened. “Well, then we wasn’t listening, because I told him when I got off the bike,” she said angrily.

“He was barely listening to me too,” Michael said.

“Something’s up with him. He’s not telling us everything,” she said, almost to herself.

“Yeah, I’m getting the same feeling,” Michael said.

“No wait. No changing the subject. I can take care of myself! I don’t need you following me around like some misguided bodyguard,” she said, jabbing a finger into his chest.

“I’m not following you around like a bodyguard!” he yelled. “I just saw you going into the woods by yourself and I was…” he trailed off, realizing what he was going to say.

“You were what?” she prompted, and he stood there agitated, getting red in the face.

“Say it Guerin, you were worried about me,” she said.

“No I wasn’t!” he retorted.

She crossed her arms over her chest and tried to hide a smile, staring at him.

“Fine, yeah I thought there might be skins in the woods. But I would have come in looking for any of you,” he said quickly, the redness in his face betraying his intention.

“Mmm…hmm,” she said, a small smile on her lips.

He stiffened when she reached up and put a hand on his cheek and softly touched her lips to his. She stilled for a moment and then pulled away, while he stood there motionless.

“Thank you Michael,” she said, her hand gliding to his shoulder and down his arm as she stepped around him and walked away.

“Oh, and don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone that you actually have a heart. Just don’t follow me on pee-breaks anymore,” she called back to him as she left him standing in the clearing.

He let out a harsh breath, looking up at the sky and shaking his head. Humans, he thought, exasperated.

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

Max felt his stomach tighten yet again with the feel of Liz’s tiny hands around his waist. He gunned the bike a little faster, hearing the motor on Alex’s rev, keeping up with him.

He felt the warm softness of Liz pressed up against his back, her thighs pressed against his outer thighs. Whoever designed these things knew nothing about sexual tension, he thought wryly as his mind went once more where he knew it shouldn’t. He felt his pants get uncomfortably tight, and he shifted slightly on the seat. He snapped those thoughts out of his mind quickly, concentrating on the road. He was glad for the helmet, so Liz couldn’t glance around to see him blushing furiously.

What was wrong with him? He thought. You’re just having a normal male human reaction, the voice of reason in his head said wryly. But it was more than that, he thought. There was something further, almost as if he had no control of himself when he was with Liz. It took almost every ounce of will he had not to have his way with her this morning. Last night he was the one who said they had to slow down, and now he felt like he had no control over his desires.

He didn’t know if this loss of control was due to the new connection he formed with her when he healed her, or if it was because of the discovery that she had feelings for him too. Or maybe it was just normal male human hormones, but something was telling him that it had a lot to do with the realization that she was his chosen.

As frustrating as the physical contact against his body was, being away from her was even more unbearable. He found himself trying to keep her in his sight even as they were packing up, the mere vision of her calming him.

She was unusually quiet this morning, and he felt the quiet hum of sadness and worry around him through the contact of her chest against his. He wished more than anything she would tell him what was wrong, but he didn’t want to push it. Things were so new between them, and he had no confidence that she had completely earned his trust.

He felt that small wave of melancholy wash over him again from her, and he took one hand off the handlebar and gently took one of her hands that was pressed against his stomach, squeezing it gently, trying to will her some comfort.

He felt her rest her chin against his back and he smiled softly inside his helmet.

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

Isabel sat stiffly behind Alex yet again. He shook his head. He didn’t understand what was wrong with her. Ever since she had gotten on the back of his bike this morning after Liz said she was riding with Max, she’d been clearly uncomfortable.

It was bad enough that she was making him uncomfortable, but her stiff as a board demeanor was making turns on the bike difficult.

“Isabel!” he shouted, and he felt her jump a bit.

“Loosen up! I don’t bite!” he said loudly, as he took one hand off the handlebars and shook her arm lightly, loosening it up. He felt her relax, a little.

The glare of the setting sun was in his eyes, and he was having trouble seeing the road ahead. He kept his eyes trained on Liz’s back instead of the road.

Suddenly the brake light on Max’s bike flashed on. He slowed.

“What’s going on?” Isabel asked, and then he saw it. A tree had fallen across the road. All along, he had seen fallen trees along the side of the road and when they passed Michael’s markers, he assumed Michael had moved them. But this one hadn’t been moved. Alex shut the bike off as he saw Max and Liz get off theirs.

They walked to the large obstacle and glanced at the road ahead.

“Do you think something happened?” Alex said, concerned, glancing at Max. Max pulled his helmet off.

“I don’t know,” he conceded. “It looks like Michael moved all of them up to this point. Maybe we took a wrong turn,” he said, pulling his map out.

“I don’t think so,” Alex said, as Liz walked around the fallen tree.

Max frowned as he looked at the map. His eyes were bleary with the long day of travel and the lack of sleep from the night before.

“Guys, it’s ok,” Liz called from the other side of the huge tree.

They followed Liz’s path around the tree and saw Michael’s marker on the ground.

“I don’t get it,” Alex said. “Do you think somebody moved this back into the road?”

“No,” Isabel said quietly. “Michael’s probably getting tired,” she said. “He’s been doing this all day, lifting the blockades to the side of the road for us.”

“We’re all tired,” Max said, glancing around. “We aren’t going to get much further tonight if we have to move more trees. I think we should stop and camp.”

They all nodded in agreement. Max pointed to a clearing on the side of the road.

“Why don’t we set up over there?” he asked. “We can build a fire and get a good night’s rest. We’re going to need it I think,” he said.

Alex and Max started to push the bikes toward the clearing. Liz stood with Isabel. She’d thought about it all day, and she had come to the decision that she had to tell someone what she’d seen. She realized that Isabel would probably be the best person to tell. Someone had to know about it, and she didn’t have the heart to tell Max. Maybe if she told Isabel, it would give them something in common, the need to protect Max.

Isabel stood with her arms crossed, and Liz glanced over at her nervously.

“Isabel?” she said timidly.

“Yeah,” Isabel answered disinterestedly, looking down the road.

“Can we take a walk later? I really need to talk to you about something,” Liz said.

Isabel snapped her head toward Liz.

“Look Liz, if this is about what’s going on between you and Max, then save it. He obviously doesn’t care what I think and is going to do what he wants anyway,” she said, disgusted.

“No, it isn’t that,” Liz said. “I mean, it has something to do with Max and I, but it isn’t what you think it is. It’s important.”

“Fine, let’s talk now then,” Isabel said.

“Maybe we should help them unpack everything first,” Liz said, suddenly forgetting the rehearsed speech she had thought she would tell Isabel.

Isabel sighed.

“Max!” she yelled, and he turned around. “Liz and I are going to look for some wood!”

He nodded and went back to taking the packs off the bike.

She turned to Liz expectantly.

“Let’s go,” she said, and started to walk to the trees on the other side of the road.

Liz followed, unsure of how Isabel was going to take what she had to say.

They wandered into the woods, picking up dry kindling in silence for a while. Liz struggled with how to tell her that in another life, Isabel had hated her brother. How would she take it? Would she believe her?

She bent over and picked up another piece of wood, following Isabel a short distance behind.

Twenty minutes later, her arms were full of wood, and she was no closer to saying what had to be said.

Suddenly, Isabel turned around.

“So, are you going to tell me this monumentous thing you’ve been talking about, or am I out here with the bugs and nature for nothing?” Isabel asked, irritated. She too had her arms full of wood.

“It’s hard to know where to begin,” Liz stammered.

“Spit it out Liz. I’m losing the little patience I have left,” Isabel retorted.

Liz’s arms closed around the wood in a defensive posture.

“Ok…ok…I saw something, and I had to tell someone about it,” she said.

“You and Max are so close, why didn’t you tell *him* about it?” Isabel said sarcastically.

“Because I don’t know what it would do to him,” Liz said, looking at the ground.

“What do you mean, ‘do to him’?” Isabel said, stepping closer.

“Look, I don’t know the right way to tell you this, so I am just going to say it. Max and I were…we were,” she stammered.

“What? Making out?” Isabel said impatiently. “Yeah, so I saw on the couch last night. And I need to know this *why*?” Isabel asked.

“Because when I was kissing Max, I saw something. Something I don’t think he consciously knows, even though it was in his head. It’s like it was an ingrained memory or something, from some other time and place,” Liz said, and Isabel’s brows raised.

“Are you trying to tell me you saw something from our planet?” she asked in disbelief.

“Yes,” Liz whispered.

“What was it, and again, why didn’t you tell Max?” Isabel asked curiously.

“Because I don’t think he’d like what I would have to tell him,” Liz said quietly. “Can you connect with people, you know, like Max can?” she asked.

Isabel nodded. I’ve only done it once, with my mother,” she said wistfully.

“She never knew I was doing it. But I wanted to know what her life was like, what her human life was like. I was young…little, and… I told her that I was going to read her mind, and she thought I was playing. But I connected, and I saw her memories, and her childhood. She felt the connection, but she thought it was a dizzy spell because it was so hot that week in Roswell. It was one of those heat-waves, when it was way over one hundred degrees and…God, why am I telling *you* this?” she said irritated.

“Isabel, I want you to connect with me. I want you to see what I saw. You need to see it. One of you needs to see it, to know what happened. I’ve thought a long time about it, and I think it should be you,” she said.

Isabel shrugged, thinking whatever it was couldn’t be that significant. After all, what did Liz Parker know of their alien-ness and their Antarian ancestry? Most likely she completely misunderstood what she saw.

Isabel dropped her wood and stepped up to Liz, a good head taller than she was.

She put her hands on Liz’s temples and closed her eyes, and Liz followed suit.

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

Bright flashes of light filled Isabel’s mind as Liz’s memories streaked by in a haze.

Impatiently she worked through all the longing looks at Max throughout high school, her dates with Kyle, college. Ok, this was getting nowhere, she thought, and the flashes slowed.

She saw Max, looking down at Liz with…oh god, was that love? He didn’t…no, there’s no way…he didn’t.

And then the memory passed on and it was morning, and Liz was kissing Max, and suddenly, she wasn’t there with Max anymore. She was in a forest, but it wasn’t any forest on Earth.

She stood hidden in the woods, with Liz. And then there was a crowd, and people above, standing on a platform, and there were…no it couldn’t be, but it was…Max and Michael. And she stood with what looked like a human, and yet was not. And she knew…Khivar. It was Khivar. Everyone was shouting. She saw the hatred radiating from the Antarian version of herself for Max and Michael. Why? Why?

Max and Michael were brought forward, and she was shouting angrily at them along with the crowd, and they were…

NOOOOO!!!! They were brought down, and they were dead. And then she was overwhelmed by the crowd and she watched herself fall to the rock, dead as well.

This was all a lie. She loved Max and Michael. She couldn’t ever hate them. Liz was trying to mess with her, and she didn’t think it was funny. How could she have seen this in Max’s head? How could she have actually been there? It was Max’s memory, not a dream of hers. Unless he’d changed her…no she didn’t even want to go there. It wasn’t possible.

Her eyes snapped open and she glared at Liz.

“I don’t know what you’re trying to pull Liz, but if you think that your little game is going to push me away from Max so that you can have him to yourself, well you’re very sadly mistaken. I *love* my brother, and I am not going to believe I wanted him killed back on Antar. Michael either,” she said angrily.

“You think that that’s what this is about?” Liz said incredulously. “You think that I am trying to pull Max away? That is *so* not it!”

“I don’t know what any of that dream, or memory, or whatever the hell it was, means. I don’t know why I saw it, but it may have some bearing on what’s going to happen in the next few days. I thought you should know so that you could protect yourself if we happen to run in to Khivar. I was trying to help, and believe me, I couldn’t tell Max this. If I really wanted to pull him away from you, wouldn’t telling him accomplish just that? But I didn’t. Believe what you want Isabel, but I saw what I saw. I’m not going to tell Max, but I thought *somebody* should know about it,” Liz finished.

“I can’t talk to you right now,” Isabel said irritated, not wanting to admit that was Liz said was true. She could have told Max and she didn’t.

She gave Liz a dismissive look and picked up her wood.

“Just for the record, I don’t believe it,” Isabel said. “And I suggest you keep it to yourself, if you care anything for Max. He’s been through enough. That could have been some dream Max had for all we know, and if it was, I doubt he’d want to remember it,” she said, as she started back toward camp.

“Yeah, but people don’t actually die in their dreams Isabel,” Liz answered softly, but Isabel was already out of earshot.

posted on 29-Nov-2001 9:03:20 PM by majesty
When Liz got back to camp, Isabel had already stacked her wood and was helping Alex unpack. As Liz entered the clearing, Isabel gave her a warning glare.

Max caught it and looked at Liz questioningly as she walked up to him.

“What was that about?” he asked.

“Nothing,” Liz said quietly.

“Liz,” he started, putting his hand on her arm, and she felt the wondrous tingling his touch evoked.

“Really Max, it’s nothing. We’re fine,” she said, giving him a small smile.

He frowned, looking at Isabel. She glanced at him and continued taking things out of her pack.

“I’m sorry Liz,” he said. “I wish she wouldn’t act like this.”

“It’s ok Max. You’re her brother, and she loves you,” she said. She knew that despite whatever had happened back on Antar, Isabel was no longer that person, Vilandra. She was beginning to wonder if maybe Isabel was right, that it was some long-forgotten dream that Max had that resided in the recesses of his memory.

“That’s not an excuse,” he said angrily. “I want nothing more for her than to be happy. Why can’t she be the same way?”

“Max, she’s afraid. You have to understand. All your lives, it’s been the three of you…you, Isabel and Michael. So much has happened to all of us in the past few months, and things are even more dangerous for you than they were before. I understand why she feels the way she does. But that doesn’t change what I’m feeling for you. I hope that she’ll come around, but if she doesn’t, then that’s ok too,” she said.

He sighed and took her hand, and she stepped closer and put her arms around him. She felt him stiffen slightly, as if surprised, and then relaxed, his arms folding around her.

Every time Liz had touched him these past two days, it was as if it was the first time. He still couldn’t get used to it, it was too new, and his breath hitched every time she did it.

“Let it go Max, please. We’re going to be in Georgia tomorrow, and who knows what’s going to happen? I don’t think you should be arguing with her,” Liz said.

He nodded.

He looked down into her liquid brown eyes, and pulled her toward the road under Isabel’s watchful eyes.

“Max, where are we going? It’s getting dark,” Liz said, glancing at the sky as Alex started the fire.

“Ah, but that’s where being an alien comes in handy,” he said smiling, cupping his hands, and a weak blue light shone from them.

His smile dropped from his face as the light flickered and dimmed further, and he felt the sharp resurgence of pain in the area where he was wounded in New York. He felt a slight oozing, and quickly pulled his jacket closed.

Damn, it’s bleeding again, he thought.

This had happened twice on their way out to Roswell when he tried to heal the incoherent people they met en-route. It hadn’t happened when he healed Liz or Doug, so it must have had to do with the fact that those people he tried to heal were infected with something.

He hadn’t used his powers much after he tried to heal them, until Liz and Doug and the encounter with the skin. Since then, he’d felt weaker, noticeably weaker.

Liz looked at him concerned.

“Max, what is it?” she asked.

He shook his head.

“Nothing,” he said quietly.

“What’s going on with you?” she asked, trying to catch his eye.

“I don’t know. My abilities seem to be getting weaker,” he said, looking at his hands.

“I was sick a few months back, which was weird, because we don’t get sick. I got hurt in New York when everything went down there. Something sliced my side. I couldn’t heal it completely, and then I got sick, really sick…for two months. I had this dream, vision, or whatever, and I knew I had to come back to Roswell,” he said.

“Healing us made you weaker, didn’t it?” Liz asked with an anguished look.

“Liz, I wouldn’t have changed any of it,” he said, locking her eyes with his own.

“But Max, how are you going to face Khivar like this?” she asked, frightened. “You can’t, it’s dangerous.”

“Michael and Isabel still have their abilities. I’ll figure something out,” he said, looking away from her.

“Max, have you told Isabel about this?” she asked.

“Not what I’ve been feeling the past few days, no,” he said.

“You have to tell her,” she said.

“She’s not exactly thrilled with me right now Liz,” he said wryly.

“That’s beside the point Max,” Liz said.

“Look, I want to spend some time with you, and I’ll talk to her later, I promise,” he said, sighing.

“Max, I’m just worried about you,” Liz said, tears forming in her eyes. “You saved my life, and I can’t…I won’t let something, *anything*, especially me, be the cause of you putting yourself in danger. This isn’t the time to be at odds with Isabel.”

He desperately wanted to tell her that healing her was the best thing he’d ever done. It had brought them together. He had given her his heart a long time ago, and his alien half had chosen her, tying his feelings and his soul to her forever, even if she had never returned those feelings. The healing had given him the discovery of her feelings for him, and he wouldn’t take that moment back for anything. It had stunned him, moved him, and turned his world upside down.

But, this was all too new, and though they both acknowledged their attraction to each other, he was afraid that though she’d seen how he’d felt all these years, that it would be overwhelming for her if he told her the truth about his alien half.

“Don’t worry about Isabel and I,” Max said, his hand cupping her cheek. “I’ll tell her what’s going on with me, I promise.”

Liz sighed, and pulled his hand, turning it palm up. She reached into her jacket, and slapped a cold metal object into it.

He looked down at it.

“Flashlight,” she said dryly. “It works just as well as the super alien night-light trick.”

He smiled at her, and gently pulled her head into the crook of his elbow, shaking her gently. A quick wave of dizziness ran through his head, and he shook it off quickly, a little alarmed.

It had to be the lack of sleep. He didn’t want to think that it had something to do with his weakening powers. Perhaps that was the whole reason that he was feeling weak. These last few weeks had been hard, with the travelling and the lack of sleep, and he’d been ill.

He realized Liz was looking up at him questioningly. He hadn’t said anything.

“Yeah, but the alien night-light trick is so much cooler,” he answered, letting his arm drop to her waist, guiding her to the trees across the street.

“I’ll give you that,” Liz admitted, leaning her head against his chest as they walked into the trees.

Max winced as he again felt the burn of pain in his side. He wasn’t feeling right. He could feel his shirt sticking to his skin, his drying blood the glue.

They walked in silence, not really needing the flashlight after all. The moon’s rays shone through the trees where there were breaks in the overlapping leaves.

The closeness of his body and the sound of the leather of his jacket sliding against her own were the only noise as they walked across the carpet of grass interspersed between the trees. Liz felt his warm hand slide up under the waistband of her jacket and his fingers slid under her shirt, touching the gentle curve of her waist.

Suddenly, she stopped, turning to him.

“Kiss me,” she said breathily, looking up at him, flushed.

His eyes darkened, and his eyes roamed over her face for a long moment. Again, another wave of dizziness passed through him, and swayed almost imperceptibly.

His eyes blurred as he tried to focus on her face, and he raised his hand to her cheek, stilling for a short moment, and then her face became clear again.

He lowered his head slowly, prolonging the moment, and his lips touched hers softly.

*SNAP!*

Liz’s head whipped away from his.

“What was that?” she asked, nervously.

“I don’t know,” he said, breathing raggedly.

He led her to the nearest tree.

“Stay here, I’m going to check it out,” he said softly.

“Max, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Let me go with you,” she whispered, and he put his finger to her lips.

He held his hands out, motioning for her to stay put, and was gone.

Liz stood completely still, listening for any other sound. Crickets chirped softly, but there was no other noise.

For long moments, she stood frozen, her ears tuned for the slightest movement.

Suddenly, another small crack sounded to her right, and her head snapped frantically toward the noise. Her breathing grew erratic, and she was listening to the harsh sound of it, trying to control it.

“Max?” she whispered frantically, and received no answer.

Another crack, louder this time, rang out.

She felt her heart beating wildly in her chest, fear rising in her throat.

“Max, if that’s you, please come out,” she said in a small voice.

A small movement behind the underbrush caught her gaze, and she trained her eyes on it, expecting the worst.

A pair of glittering eyes peered out of the brush, and there was another movement, and the creature jumped through the leaves. Liz stifled a scream and then she saw what it was.

She let her breath out in relief as she watched the doe cautiously make her way through the trees.

Liz let out a silent laugh and shut her eyes in relief. And suddenly, she was pushed back against the tree, strong hands lifting her legs, holding her up, and her eyes snapped open, as she was lifted up against the trunk.

“Max?” she whispered as she looked into his eyes that had darkened to a midnight hue as he looked at her, his breath coming in unsteady gasps. His lips descended on hers fiercely, claiming them as his own, as his hands tightened roughly on her rear.

A small cry of desire escaped her throat, muffled by his lips as she felt herself pressed against the hardness stiffening his jeans. His tongue delved assuredly into her mouth, roughly tangling with her own. She felt the rush of lust tightening his body, playing in his muscles. She felt them shifting powerfully against the inside of her thighs on his legs, and the outside of them where his inner arms were pressed against her waist. Her body responded violently, and she let out a throaty gasp as his lips tore from hers, attacking her assaulting her neck with his tongue and his breath.

She felt every sensation magnified, the rough bark of the tree behind her scraping her jacket, the cool air hitting the moist spots Max had created on her throat. She felt his heart pumping wildly against her breast, and the strong throb of his erection between her legs. She felt his fingers tighten and then loosen on her rear, and the hot slide of his tongue on the racing pulse on her neck. Her head fell back against the tree as he continued his rough assault on her senses, so unlike Max, yet somehow it was.

“Ah…God, Max,” she groaned as she felt her stomach constrict with desire, and a racing heat, unlike anything she’d ever felt before consumed her body. The burning coursed through her veins, consuming her, making her incoherent. She felt her core grow wet pressed against his member.

She heard a low growl erupt from his throat, and her jacket was ripped from her body by some unseen force. She gasped as his body pinned hers against the tree allowing him to roughly pull her shirt apart, exposing her bra. Looking into her eyes hungrily, he roughly ripped the bra at the center, and it fell to either side, hanging from her elbows.

Her hand rested on the soft leather of his jacket at his shoulder as she literally panted, almost overcome with desire, and then Max lowered his lips to her breast, nipping her and roughly suckling her. A great flash lit behind her eyes and she saw the two of them, Max holding her up against a tree, but it was a tree like she’d never seen, and where the sky should have been the midnight blue of evening, it was darkly opalescent, fiery clouds dotting the sky, hiding and then displaying two moons and the multitude of stars. She cried out as Max’s hand glided up her neck and a myriad of colors filled her head and swirled around her in tendrils of mist-like lines. Pale blues, pinks, lavenders, corals gently kissed her body, surrounding her. And Max’s colors were so vibrant, bright blue, red, deep purple, rich gold. Her colors spiraled upwards and his rose to meet hers, entwining and intermingling, becoming one. And as they became one, the colors brightened into a blinding glow above them, rolling into a ball of energy.

Simultaneously, she saw this, and dimly felt herself reach into his jacket, pulling it down to his elbows, reaching for the hem of his shirt, needing to feel his skin as the erotic colors took over her senses. Her hands felt the waistband of his jeans and moved upward into…

The vision snapped as she felt a thick stickiness on her hands. Quickly she pulled her hands up, breathing raggedly.

“Oh Max,” she breathed as she looked at the blood smeared all over them.

“Max, what is this?” she said alarmed, and pulled her upper body away from him.

He looked up at her, his eyes burning with an intense fire, and then clouded over for a second.

“Max?” she said, feeling frightened, and awareness flooded back into his eyes. He gasped and let her down, stumbling backward, weakened even further than he was earlier.

“No,” he asked, with real fear in his eyes, uncomprehending.

“There’s blood,” she said.

His breathing was still uneven, as he looked around in confusion.

“I went to check out that noise…and things are fuzzy after that,” he said confused, noticing Liz’s state of dishevelment.

“Liz?” he said afraid.

His eyes were a mask of anguish, noting the red marks on her neck, her swollen lips, small marks on her breasts.

His eyes welled with moisture.

“I did that,” he whispered, backing away. “I did that. I couldn’t control it.”

“Oh God, I’m sorry,” he said, his voice trembling.

“No Max, you don’t understand,” she said, taking a step toward him.

“Look at you,” he said, his lower lip trembling. His blood was everywhere on her. She looked as if she’d been in a massacre.

She looked down and noted blood. Blood smeared everywhere, on her shirt, her stomach, the legs of her jeans.

She looked back up at him, her eyes trying to assuage his fear.

“No Max, you know this is your blood, not mine. What happened between us just now, it was…intense. You didn’t hurt me,” she said fiercely, taking another step toward him.

He lowered his head, unable to look at her.

“I *am* a monster,” he said in a low voice.

“No you’re not Max!” Liz said angrily.

“There’s something wrong with me Liz!” he said angrily, trying to stay on his feet.

“That wasn’t me. That wasn’t the way *I’d* treat you!” he said fiercely.

“Max,” she said gently, to reassure him she was ok, and that she wasn’t afraid of what had just happened. It was one of the most intense and exciting things she’d ever experienced.

She raised her lips to meet his, and he turned his head abruptly.

“Don’t,” he said harshly. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Liz felt hurt prick her heart and she sighed.

“Let me see your side,” she said quietly.

“Liz, I told you,” he started.

“I don’t care what you told me. Your blood is all over my body, if something is going to happen, it’s too late to do anything about it,” she said. “Let me see.”

He hesitantly pulled his jacket away, and she pulled his shirt up. She saw the gouge in his skin where he’d been hurt and it was still bleeding, but that isn’t what made her gasp.

The wound was glowing faintly of the colors she had seen swirling around him only moments before.

“What is this Max?” she asked, looking up at him.

His eyes widened as he looked at her neck and saw the marks he had made glowing with the same iridescent colors that had enveloped her on that dream plane.

“I don’t know,” he said in a strangled whisper.

TBC…


posted on 30-Nov-2001 8:15:20 PM by majesty
Jane,

Yeah Isabel is being a b*tch, hehe, and she's gonna get worse before it gets better if this story plays out like I have it planned right now.

I don't want to explain the strange flash/vision Max and Liz just had, but it isn't what most of you are thinking. I hope the explanation that will come later will make sense and will be plausible.

I am working on Flagellation again right now, but when I finish the next part of that, I'll start on the next installment of this.

Thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming! You guys keep me inspired, especially on this story in particular, for reasons I've mentioned before *happy*

majesty

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-Nov-2001 8:16:13 PM ]
posted on 3-Dec-2001 5:29:22 PM by majesty
Hey everyone,

This is a little shorter than the other parts, but I thought I'd post it. They aren't that exciting. The gang is going to get to Georgia soon, I promise! Possibly next chapter, depending on the flow.

majesty

From Part Eleven:

“Let me see your side,” she said quietly.

“Liz, I told you,” he started.

“I don’t care what you told me. Your blood is all over my body, if something is going to happen, it’s too late to do anything about it,” she said. “Let me see.”

He hesitantly pulled his jacket away, and she pulled his shirt up. She saw the gouge in his skin where he’d been hurt and it was still bleeding, but that isn’t what made her gasp.

The wound was glowing faintly of the colors she had seen swirling around him only moments before.

“What is this Max?” she asked, looking up at him.

His eyes widened as he looked at her neck and saw the marks he had made glowing with the same iridescent colors that had enveloped her on that dream plane.

“I don’t know,” he said in a strangled whisper.

PART TWELVE

“Liz, this isn’t good,” Max says, stepping away from her.

Liz looks into his eyes and sees fear in them. He looked away from her.

“Max,” she said haltingly, trying to catch his gaze, but he wouldn’t look at her.

“Max, whatever this is, it’s happening to both of us. Don’t shut me out.

Max swung toward her.

“Don’t you get it Liz? Something is wrong with me! I could have hurt you just now and I *did* do that to you!” he said angrily.

“Max, you didn’t hurt me,” she answered.

“But I could have,” he countered. “I couldn’t control myself.”

Liz’s eyes filled with tears.

“Max, I know you would never hurt me,” she said.

“There’s a lot you don’t know Liz,” he said darkly. Never had he felt the full power of his alien side, and it scared him.

“What do you want me to do Max? Walk away from you? I can’t do that,” she said bitterly.

Max sat heavily on the ground, wincing as bright pain bolted through his side. His head dropped into his hands.

“Why aren’t you afraid?” he asked wearily.

She smiled, even though he didn’t see it.

“Because I saw you Max. I saw who you are, and you are even more beautiful than I imagined,” she said softly.

“You saw the human side of me. Tonight was something else. You’ve no idea what the other side of me is capable of. I don’t even know,” he said miserably.

“No I don’t,” she admitted. She’d seen what his former alien body had looked like in that memory of his, but she had no idea what kind of person he might have been.

“Max, I may not know what that other part of you is like exactly, but that other half is a part of you. When I accepted what you are, I accepted all of you,” she said.

Max shook his head.

“Liz, I don’t know what I just did to you, but it scared me. I can’t live with the possibility of hurting you. You’re in enough danger as it is” he said.

“Max-” she began.

“No,” he said forcefully. “Until I figure this out, things can’t go any further. We can’t go any further. We need to back off for awhile,” he said.

Liz felt her heart drop.

“If that’s what you want Max,” she said quietly.

“It’s not what I want, but we don’t have a choice,” he said dully.

They walked back to the campsite in silence.

Liz didn’t have to look up to know that Isabel saw their appearance. She heard her gasp.

“Max?!?” Isabel said, fairly panicked. “What happened?”

She rushed over to Max.

“My side is bleeding again,” he said.

“But Liz has blood on her,” Isabel said, looking at her. Her comment was met with silence.

Liz wordlessly moved over the other side of the fire to sit with Alex.

“I’m fine Isabel…we’re fine,” he said.

“Let me see it Max,” Isabel said.

I said I’m fine!” he said sharply. “I’m going to sleep.”

Isabel watched him walk to his sleeping bag, his hand clutching his side, and then looked over at Liz, who sat quietly staring at the fire.

What on earth was going on?

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

Maria plopped herself down next to a brooding Kyle.

“Girlfriend, what’s going on with you?” she asked curiously.

“What do you mean?” he asked dully, throwing a piece of bark into the fire.

“Well, for starters I had Michael follow me to the bathroom because you told him you didn’t know where I was going,” she said.

“Sorry, I forgot, he muttered, rubbing his eyes.

“Come on Kyle, tell me what’s going on. We rushed out of the hotel this morning and you haven’t been yourself all day. I know something’s wrong,” she said, putting her hand on his arm.

“Fine,” he said. “I was contacted by Serena,” he said.

“Oh my God,” she said. “How?”

“Through a dream. Doug felt her too,” he said.

“Is she all right?” Maria asked, concerned.

“No,” he said distractedly.

“What…” Maria said, alarmed.

“She’s pretty bad Maria. I asked her to hold on one more day. I told her we’d be there. I didn’t keep my promise,” he said angrily. “We were supposed to be there now.”

“Kyle, it’s not your fault,” Maria said. “You couldn’t have known about the storm that came through here, or the trees. None of us could have known.”

His head turned toward her quickly.

“I promised her Maria! I promised her and I let her down,” he said angrily.

“Kyle,” she said, feeling terrible that he was taking the blame all on himself.

“I don’t want to talk about it. We can’t go anywhere in the dark. It’s impossible now, with all the trees that have been in the road,” he said.

“I’m sorry Kyle,” she said, realizing that there was more to Kyle’s emotions than he was saying. He…felt something for Serena. She could see the misery in his eyes. What was Liz going to say? She decided to keep her comments to herself. Kyle certainly wouldn’t appreciate them, especially now.

“Go get some sleep Maria. We’re leaving early again. I just hope she’s alive when we get there,” he muttered.

That thought left Maria stricken. No matter how bad off Kyle thought Serena was, Maria couldn’t imagine her not being around. Strong and brave Serena has kept them all together after the apocalypse a few months back, when they were all panicking, when everything seemed hopeless. No, she had to be ok. She couldn’t think of her not coming out of this. It’s why they were all going to Georgia of all places to begin with. But what if…

No, Maria said to herself, strangling a sob. Don’t even think it.

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

Some time later, Michael stirred as he heard a quiet sob coming from a sleeping bag near the fire.

He sat up and rubbed his eyes, looking around. Kyle and Doug lay on the other side, asleep.

Maria was turned away from him in her sleeping bag and he saw her exposed shoulders shaking, half-covered by the blanket.

“Maria, what’s the matter?” he said blearily.

“Nothing,” came the muffled mutter from the sleeping bag.

He heard a harsh hiss of breath and the bag was thrown open and she got up to walk into the trees.

He quickly was beside her, halting her by gripping her arm.

“What?” he said, concerned.

She swiped at her eyes, sniffling.

“Serena,” she said, glancing over to make sure that Kyle was asleep.

“What about her?” Michael asked, half-irritated.

“She contacted Kyle, through a dream. He says she’s hurt pretty bad. He told me he promised her we’d be there tonight, made her promise to hold on…” she said, her voice hitching with a sob.

“I’m worried Michael,” she said tearfully. “I’m worried that we’re too late, and that this is what our lives are going to be like, for whatever time we have left. Running and hiding until we get captured, or we die.”

He sighed and pulled her into his arms. He didn’t know what to say, so he didn’t say anything. He could feel her hot tears on his neck, could sense her distress, and he wished he had all the answers, but he didn’t. He didn’t know what was going to happen to them. He didn’t know how much time they all had left. But he did know that together, all of them were strong. The friendships these humans had made them strong. Much like the closeness he had with Max and Isabel was powerful. Together, perhaps the two groups could change things, with a little skill, a little surprise and a lot of luck.

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

Kyle had slipped into a troubled sleep. Thoughts of Serena had plagued him all day, and he worried that she hadn’t held out, hadn’t waited for him.

He felt a tickling at the back of his brain as again he was in the darkness. Again he felt her presence, faint but becoming stronger.

He waited patiently in the dark, knowing she would come.

“Kyle,” a voice whispered wearily in his ear, and his hand reached out to touch her arm, where he knew it would be.

“I’m sorry we didn’t get there today,” he said.

“It’s ok Kyle,” she said. “I’m still here.”

“You’re deliberately not letting me see you, aren’t you?” he asked.

“There’s no need,” Serena said.

“Serena, I’m not stupid. There’s a reason for everything you do,” he said harshly. “What have they done to you? What don’t you want me to see?”

“Kyle, don’t waste time on things that can’t be changed,” she said. “Every second I’m here is draining my energy.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, feeling badly for being so harsh with her.

“No. Don’t be sorry. I know if you could have possibly been here, you all would be,” she said.

“Are you all right?” he asked, fearful of what she would say.

“As well as can be expected,” she said wearily.

“Are they still hurting you?” he asked.

“Kyle, this is a pointless conversation,” she said.

“Well you’re still here,” he pointed out.

“That I am,” she said tiredly.

“Serena,” he said quietly.

“I’ll see you tomorrow Kyle,” she said, and he felt her move away.

No, he wasn’t going to let her. He reached out and caught her arm, pulling her to his chest, his hands resting at the small of her back. She stiffened for a moment and then relaxed against him in fatigue.

“I’ll see you tomorrow Serena,” he said, gently placing a slow kiss on her forehead, his hand moving up to gently tangle in her hair.

“Tomorrow,” she whispered, and she was gone.

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

The fire had died down. Max could tell even with his back turned to it, to them. The light that had bathed the nearby trees had dimmed.

Their voices had quieted to complete silence and he knew they’d gone to sleep. He hadn’t been able to, lying facing away from them so they wouldn’t know. He’d heard Alex question Liz, but she remained silent, telling him she didn’t want to talk about it, as he lay there listening earlier, he thought about what happened.

It had scared him more than anything had in a long time. It scared him because he had no control, because it was the alien part of him that had taken the reins. He had a terrible feeling that this had everything to do with Liz being his chosen. Nasedo had never told him of the dark devouring lust that he had experienced. It was primal, and it and it scared him. It scared him that he had been that forceful with Liz. What had Serena’s ancestors experienced? Was it that hungry, that desperate? Because that is what he felt, desperation and a consuming need.

Slowly he sat up, careful to make sure they were all asleep. No one was moving. Quietly, he walked over to Liz’s sleeping form, cuddled in her sleeping bag, her brow furrowed, troubled in sleep.

Even now he felt traces of that otherworldly desire that had possessed him earlier. But it was controllable now. Silently he knelt next to her and studied her face. She was so beautiful, even more beautiful than she was the day of graduation, the day he faced that he’d probably never see her again.

A lock of hair had fallen across her face, and he couldn’t resist reaching out a gentle finger to brush it behind her ear.

He started when she stirred, opening her eyes.

“Max?” she said, her voice cracking huskily.

“I’m sorry I woke you,” he said regretfully.

“No, it’s ok,” she answered, raising herself up on one elbow.

“Are you all right?” she asked, rubbing her eyes.

He looked at the ground.

“I’m sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean to get so angry. It’s just that…I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what’s happening to me,” he said.

She reached up and touched his cheek lightly.

“I know,” she said.

He raised his eyes to meet hers.

“I still don’t understand why you aren’t afraid. How can you not be afraid of me, after what I did to you?” he asked miserably.

“I told you Max, because I know you’d never hurt me, your human side, or your alien side. Whatever that was between us was…intense. But not for one second did I not feel how much you care about me. Yes it was rough, and God it was…exciting, but it *was* you Max. I felt *you*,” she said, trying to make him believe.

“Liz, something is happening to me, and I think what happened a few months ago is starting to affect me physically. I want…I *want* to explore what’s between us, but I’m afraid of what’s happening to me,” he said in a shaky voice.

“I don’t know, I may be sick. Do you understand what I’m saying?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said sighing. “You want to take a step back,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice trembling.

Liz lifted the top of her sleeping bag, patting the area next to her.

“Liz…” he said, shaking his head.

“I’m not asking you to *sleep* with me, I just want you to sleep here with me. Just lie down Max,” she said, giving him a don’t-argue-with-me look.

Hesitantly, he settled in next to her, and she covered him with the top of the sleeping bag, pulling herself up against his back, putting her arm around him, careful to avoid his wound.

She leaned over his shoulder and kissed his cheek.

“We’ll take a step back Max, but I’m not going to walk away from you. Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it, you and I together,” she said quietly.

“I’m not giving up on you Max,” she said as she felt him take her hand. She rested her head lightly against the side of his. After a few moments, she felt his breathing slow and even out in relaxation.

“Liz?” he said quietly.

“Hmmm?” she said.

“If we ever get out of this mess, I want to take you out on a date. A real date,” he said tiredly, her warmth and embrace making him drowsy.

“I’m going to hold you to that Max,” she said softly, as she felt him drop off to sleep.

TBC....

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 3-Dec-2001 9:40:16 PM ]
posted on 4-Dec-2001 10:10:02 AM by majesty
Thank you all for the wonderful feedback. I am being completely honest when I tell you that you guys and your encouragement are the only things that are keeping me writing this fic at times. It's been difficult, but I think I am on track now..(hehe, *think* being the operative word).

Your comments and support have been wonderful, and if I haven't said it enough, I really do appreciate it!

majesty
posted on 28-Jan-2002 8:36:29 AM by majesty
Hey Norma :-)

I am working on the next part of this right now. I hope to have it up this week *happy* I've been putting this one aside to work on Flagellation and the short story I finished last week called "Pulse". But I am back on the case, so keep an eye out for a new part of this within the next few days :-)

majesty
posted on 28-Jan-2002 2:45:17 PM by majesty
PART 13

Kyle knew that today was going to be a long day, and so he let them sleep, when all he wanted to do was to keep on the move. But they needed rest. When they got to Jekyll Island, they would need every ounce of strength to get Serena out of there alive.

Serena. She'd been in his thoughts, keeping him awake when he knew he should be sleeping. Would they be in time to get her out? Would he ever see her face again?

Since they'd left Roswell, and he'd been away from Liz, he'd had to confront what he'd known in the back of his mind all along. He had feelings for Serena, feelings that went much deeper than being just sparring partners. Feelings that made his heart race at the thought of seeing her again safe.

Her smiles when he cracked the stupid jokes that had always somehow flew from his mouth when she was around had been burned into his mind, without him even being aware of it. She'd sneaked into his heart and made a home there, and he hadn't even realized it until she was gone, until it might be too late.

He had been so stupid, not seeing what was right in front of his face.

His thoughts suddenly went to Liz, and he shook his head. She'd been kidding herself as much as he had. As pleasant as their relationship had been, that's exactly what it had been. Pleasant. Safe. For both of them.

He tried to tell himself that he didn't know why he'd been irrationally jealous of Evans obvious interest in her, but now he had to admit it. He'd seen the way Liz looked at Evans, and he was jealous. He was afraid that she was going to leave him alone, and without the safety net of their relationship, he would have to face his feelings for Serena. And he'd been scared of them. He'd been afraid to leave the safe relationship he and Liz had to take a chance on the unknown, his feelings for Serena.

For years, he'd been there for Liz, and she'd been there for him, and there was a certain amount of guilt there at not being there for her anymore as well.

But he knew now that he couldn't ignore his heart any longer. What had happened to Serena had made him realize how short and precious life could be, and he may have already lost his chance at something soul-shattering, something that dreams were made of. And that was what Serena was, something out of a dream for him.

He would have to talk to Liz, tell her the truth. He owed her that. And he hoped that she would follow her heart too. Even if it meant Evans. He didn't like Evans, because his life was even more dangerous than their own were. For Liz, being with him meant a guaranteed life of danger. But he realized now that he couldn't make her decisions for her. She would have to choose her own path, just as he had.

He looked over at Michael and Maria. Maria was curled into his embrace, Michael's arm protectively around her.

Who would have thought that this disaster would turn into a bad version of "The Love Connection"?

He chuckled to himself. Now those two were the most unlikely couple he'd ever seen. Funny how the end of the world could change everyone's perspective on things.

Clapping his hands, he yelled loud enough for them and Doug to hear.

"Lets get a move on people! We don't have all day!"

After much mumbling and grumbling, the three rose, ready for the final day before they hit their destination, Jekyll Island.

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

Max slowly became aware of the light of the sun through the trees as he opened his eyes. A contented sigh and a warm body snuggling closer to him reminded him that he had spent the night in Liz's sleeping bag. Her body was molded and entwined with his, and it brought him peace.

Reluctantly, he untangled himself from her sleeping form. He needed to speak to Isabel before they left this morning, and now was as good a time as any, while Liz and Alex were still asleep.

He walked around the smoldering remains of the fire to where Isabel lay sleeping.

"Iz," he said quietly, and she stirred squinting up at him.

"What's the matter Max?" she said, concerned.

"Nothing, I just need to talk to you," he said, sitting down next to her.

"Is this about Liz again?" she said sitting up.

"Because I get it. The two of you want to see what happens between you," she said, annoyed.

"Liz and I decided to cool it a little," Max said quietly, and suddenly Isabel was interested.

"What brought that about?" she asked, curious.

"That's what I want to talk to you about. I think I'm sick," he said.

"Sick? Again?" she asked, a little fearfully.

"Not like last time," Max said, "Though I think that has something to do with it."

"What do you mean?" Isabel asked.

"I'm losing my powers Iz," he said.

"What?!?" she said loudly, and Max put his finger to his lips.

"I've been feeling weaker, but these past few days it's gotten really bad. I tried to use them last night, and I couldn't even make a light for us to see in the woods. And then something weird happened…"

"What?" she asked.

"This started bleeding," he said, pointing to his side, "And I don't know, something strange happened."

"Max, I'm not understanding you," Isabel said, a little frustrated.

"Something took over, my alien side…I was there, but it wasn't me, not really…I mean it wasn't the human me," he said.

"Still not getting you Max," Isabel said, looking at him impatiently.

"I did something to Liz, and I'm not sure exactly what it was. And whatever it was, it happened to me too," he said, lifting his shirt, revealing his wound, which still glowed faintly.

"It was glowing all different colors and Liz, she was glowing too, where I…" he broke off, unable to finish.

"That's why she was covered in your blood," Isabel said, understanding.

He looked down at his hands.

"Do you remember what Nasedo said about Antarians choosing a mate?" he asked.

"Yeah," Isabel said, "but I didn't really believe it, I mean we're part human too. Wait, Max you don't think Liz is…," she said.

He nodded.

"Max how stupid *could* you be?" she said angrily. "I thought you said you and Liz were taking a step back."

"We are," he snapped. "If I chose her, I did it a long time ago. But when I healed her, and being near her, it makes everything different. And I think that had something to do with what's happening to me, only I can't figure out what. All I know is something's changing inside me now."

"And it's affecting your powers," Isabel said.

"I don't know, but for some reason, I think this all stems from what happened in New York. It's all confusing, but I think they are linked in some way. If I could only figure out how," he said.

"Max, this is only another good reason to stay away from her. She could be dangerous to you. She may be the reason you're growing weaker," she said.

"She isn't dangerous to me!" Max said angrily. "I'm afraid I'm dangerous to *her*. But it's like I can't stay away from her. Everything's changed since I healed her. I'm different."

How could he explain to his sister so that she could understand? How could he tell her that Liz could easily become his world? With each passing hour, he felt his feelings growing stronger, and the fact that she accepted that they couldn't be together for now only made him feel more strongly about her. He'd loved her for as long as he could remember, and the thought of her maybe someday feeling the same way about him made it even more difficult not to throw caution to the wind, and damn the consequences.

But he couldn't do that now. Too much was at stake. People's lives were at stake.

"So what exactly is it you're trying to tell me Max?" she said.

"That I'm not going to be much help to you. My powers are practically useless now, and I think there are going to be more trees in the road ahead."

"I'll handle it Max," Isabel said dismissively, irritated with him.

"We never should have come with them," she said. "Maybe if she wasn't here, you wouldn't be in the state you're in."

"Isabel, that's not fair, and you know it," he said. "I'm sorry, I wish there was something I could do to fix this, but I don't know how."

"Stay away from her Max, that's how," Isabel said flatly.

"Ok Isabel. I get your point, loud and clear," he said. "I'll stay away from Liz. But I need you to promise me something."

"What?" she asked, sighing.

"If something should happen to me, I want you to protect Liz," he said.

"Max, nothing is going to happen to you," Isabel said, a little frightened.

"Just…humor me," he said.

"Fine Max. Whatever you want," she said.

He stood slowly.

"We should probably wake them," he said, glancing at Alex.

"Yeah," Isabel said, troubled by Max's request.

"So what about you and Alex?" Max asked, smiling.

"I'm not a hypocrite Max," she snapped. "I'm not going to tell you to lay off with Liz if I was going to go after a human myself," she huffed, getting up. She didn't want anything to happen between Alex and herself. How could she? Because then she would have to admit that she and Max had more in common than he thought.

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

Silence hung over the group as they packed up their belongings for the final leg of their journey.

Liz watched Max quietly gather his things, careful not to catch Isabel's eye.

Something had happened before she woke up this morning. She was sure of it. Alex looked at Isabel, then Max, and then at her, his brows raised pointedly. She shrugged her shoulders at him and slung her pack over her shoulder.

Max looked at her as he got on the bike, and she gave him a small reassuring smile as she climbed on the bike behind him.

Isabel got on Alex's bike, carefully avoiding looking in their direction. This troubled Liz, because she knew that they were riding into certain danger, and she didn't want Max and his sister to be at odds over the situation between herself and Max.

Max revved the engine and her arm tightened instinctively around his waist as the bike jumped underneath them.

Max unexpectedly reached up and squeezed her hand, and she laid her cheek against his back, trying to squelch the unease that had been growing with each mile that took them closer to Jekyll Island.

The thought of Max facing Khivar in his current state scared her to death. He was in no shape to take anyone on, never-mind the leader of the skins.

What would happen to him if he were face to face with Khivar?

Liz tried to block that unpleasant thought out of her mind as she shut her eyes. The bike picked up speed, the wind whistling past her helmet.

The day was beautiful when her eyes were shut. The wind was warm, the sun wonderful as it caressed her face. With her eyes closed, she could pretend that she was just on a ride with Max, that there was no ugly red tinge to the sky, and that they weren't en-route to confront the being who had effectively brought about the end of their world as they knew it.

The sweet scent of azaleas permeated the air as she sighed quietly, the sound lost in the loud rush of the bike's engine and the wind. She never imagined that her first trip to the East Coast would be under these circumstances. Then again, she never thought it would be with Max Evans either.

She thought it ironic that the most wonderful thing had happened amongst the most terrible. Because despite all of this, she was with Max, the boy of her dreams, the secret love she'd thought would never be a reality.

The night before was intense and like nothing she'd ever experienced before. What she'd had with Kyle had not even come close, she had to admit.

She didn't know if what happened was because of what Max was, and maybe that was why it happened, but the feelings that had welled deep in her soul when he had touched her were something she could not put into words. She'd tried to explain it to Max, that she hadn't been afraid. She'd felt a connection, and the birth of a hunger that she couldn't describe. Even now, she felt its ache. She'd felt a connection to him, as if his very essence had melded with hers for those few seconds, and it was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to her. The marks he'd left on her body didn't frighten her. To her, they were a promise of what was to come. She'd felt something primal when she'd seen them, that he'd marked her.

She knew Max had to pull away from her. But she would wait for him. She had given him her heart a long time ago, never thinking her dreams would be realized. Knowing that he felt the same way made her more determined to see it through.

*%*%*%*%*%

It wasn't long before they hit the first tree in the road. Isabel got off Alex's bike, using all of her concentration to move it out of the way.

Progress was slow as it seemed at least once an hour, they ran into an obstacle. By mid-afternoon, Isabel was pale and drawn with her efforts.

Liz saw the worry etched in Max's face as he watched his sister grow progressively more tired as the day wore on.

As the sun started to set, they came across yet another fallen tree, and Isabel wearily walked slowly to it, near the base of the trunk. She raised her hand, shutting her eyes, not realizing Alex had walked up behind her in concern.

Liz saw Max's jaw tighten as he watched her struggle to move the enormous tree.

Isabel took a deep breath, trying to gather the strength to move it.

Her face twisted in a grimace as she tried to make it rise. The tree lifted slightly as her breath puffed out of her mouth in great gasps.

She let out a little cry as the tree rose another further, and a second later it crashed to the ground with a thundering snap of limbs as her knees buckled, Alex catching her before she hit the pavement.

"Let…me…go," she grated, struggling in Alex's arms as Max rushed over to them.

"Enough Isabel," he said angrily.

"I can do it Max," she spat back at him.

"You're killing yourself!" he said, exasperated. "Let me try."

"No!" Isabel said, breaking away from Alex.

"You said yourself that your powers are weak Max. You saw what this is doing to me. What do you think it will do to you?" she said, angry tears rising in her eyes.

"I don't care," Max said in quiet anger. "I'm not going to just stand back and watch you do this to yourself."

"It's not fair," he said, raising his hand toward the tree.

"Max, stop it!" Liz shouted as she grabbed his arm.

"Step away Liz," he said in a warning voice.

"No," she said forcefully.

"Max, cut this macho big brother bullshit out," Alex said, standing in front of Isabel, who had started to cry.

"Do you think you're helping anyone by doing this?" Alex asked.

"We don't have a choice," Max said.

"There's always another choice," Alex answered. "There's another road three miles back. It will take us a few hours out of the way, but no one is going to kill themselves using it. Hopefully there are no downed trees on that one."

"We can't do that," Max said. "Michael and the others-"

"Michael and the others are almost there by now. We already know where they're going. We'll pick up the trail when we get to the island," Alex said.

"I think he's right Max," Isabel said shakily. "We're going to need any strength we have left, or we won't be of any use to anyone. A couple of hours setback is worth it."

"I think so too Max," Liz said quietly.

Max's lips tightened in anger.

"Fine," he said, stalking off to his bike.

Liz looked at Isabel.

"Don't take it personally Liz," she said in a dull voice. "He's angry at himself."

Liz nodded silently.

"Let's go," Max barked. "We've wasted enough time."

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

At the same time the second group turned onto the alternate road, Kyle and the others approached the bridge to Jekyll Island. The sun was low in the sky, casting a golden glow over the water and the dense foliage that covered part of the island.

They stopped a half a mile away, cutting off the engines of the bikes. Maria got off of Michael's bike and looked at the bridge apprehensively.

"Their gonna have guards…sentries," she said. "What are we going to do?" she asked.

Kyle answered immediately.

"Two of us will stay back here to wait for the other, and two of us will scout out the island," Kyle said. "Maria, I want you to stay here with Doug. Michael and I will go."

"I really think we should wait for the others," she said nervously.

"Maria, we don't have time for that. Serena is weak, and I don't know what they're going to do to her. We're just going to check it out. We'll probably be back by the time they get here," Kyle said.

Maria was about to object again when Michael put an uncharacteristically gentle hand on her arm.

"Everything will be ok," he said quietly, knowing she was thinking of what she'd voiced to him the night before. Something in the quiet assurance of his voice made Maria believe him.

"Ok," she sighed softly, as she watched them take their flashlights.

"We'll be back in a few hours," Kyle said. "By then the others should be here."

Maria nodded.

"Don't worry Deluca," Kyle said. "We'll be back to bug you another day."

She smirked at him and slapped his arm.

"We'll be out of here before you know it," he said seriously.

She wrapped her arms around him.

"You'd better be right," she said fiercely.

He pulled away from her, going to check his pack one more time to make sure he had what he needed.

She looked over at Michael, who had just finished.

His eyes caught hers, unblinking.

Slowly, purposefully, she walked over to him, her eyes never leaving his.

She halted inches in front of him. For a moment, they both stood motionless, and abruptly, she reached up, her hands on either side of his face, and rose onto her toes, placing a slow, lingering kiss on his cheek before pulling away.

"Be careful Guerin," she whispered, looking up at him, her eyes shining with tears.

For a moment, his face reddened, unused to a public display of affection toward him, and then he nodded.

"I will," he said, backing away.

Doug put his arm around Maria's shoulder and they watched them move further away until they completely disappeared from their sight.

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

"So what's your plan to get over the bridge?" Michael asked Kyle.

"I don't know yet," Kyle said.

"This is going to be great," Michael muttered, as they cautiously approached the road.

"Well I don't hear you coming up with any brilliant ideas Guerin," Kyle shot back.

Michael just shook his head.

"Leave it to a human," he said.

Kyle stopped and swung around.

"Look, it wasn't my idea for you to tag along to begin with. We would have been fine without you," Kyle said.

"Believe me, this isn't my idea of a picnic either," Michael yelled.

Kyle was about to have a smart comment, when headlights appeared around the bend. They had nowhere to go.

"Shit," Kyle cursed under his breath as the SUV swerved toward them and came to a stop.

They stood unmoving in the headlights as the doors opened and two burly men stepped out, holding guns.

"Don't move," the driver said, coming around to the front.

Kyle looked at Michael, who stood with his head held high, un-intimidated.

"Well, looky here," the passenger said. "Two humans, and they ain't shittin' their pants or talking to their imaginary friends," he laughed mirthlessly.

"Boss-man will be surprised about this," the other answered.

"Yeah well, I'm sure he'll find some use for 'em," the other said.

"What are you two pieces of shit doin' out here?" the driver asked.

"Looking for other people," Michael said challengingly.

"Ain't nobody out here but us," the man answered.

"You just said you had a boss, so that isn't exactly true," Michael said.

"You getting' smart with me friend? 'Cause you ain't got no idea who you're dealing with," the driver said threateningly.

"Looks like just a plain old pair of dumb-ass rednecks to me," Michael said derisively, as Kyle looked at him as if he were crazy.

"Guerin…" he said in disbelief.

"Oh give it up Valenti. You're thinking the same thing
I am, only you don't have the balls to say it," Michael said flatly. "What are you just going to let them step all over you?"

Kyle's face reddened in anger.

"Guerin, you're pushing your luck," he said.

"Oh please, who's gonna stop me? You? And what army I might add? You've been a wuss since we left. I've just about had it with your little machismo act. Without me here, you'd be toast," Michael said.

"What?!?!" Kyle said, any semblance of a controlled temper now gone.

"Who the hell do you think you are?" Kyle said, momentarily forgetting the two men, shoving Michael.

The men moved to stop Kyle, and as they grabbed him, turning him around, Michael aimed two energy bursts with his hands at the small of the men's backs.

A second later the disappeared in a cloud of dust, which surrounded Kyle.

"Someone who's saving your ass," Michael answered Kyle, wiping his hands on his jeans.

Kyle coughed as the dust rose around his face.

"Uh, this is disgusting," he said. "I don't even want to think about what I'm breathing in.

"Best you don't," Michael said, going around to the driver's side and jumping into the truck.

Kyle stood there grimacing, wiping his face.

"Get in," Michael said through the open window. "We just found our way across the bridge."

posted on 28-Jan-2002 2:45:57 PM by majesty
PART 14

Liz felt the tension in Max's body as they sped along, trying to make up the time they had lost taking the alternate route.

She knew he was frustrated, and this was the reason for his silence, but she couldn't help feeling a little hurt that he'd fairly shut her out since they turned onto the road three hours ago.

She'd tried to call to him as they rode, but he never acknowledged her.
After that, she'd not said another word. She didn't want to think that this would be the way things would be from here on out.

What if he got weaker? What if he couldn't stand up to the Skins? She was afraid that frustration would lead to isolation and she couldn't take that now, not when they were so close to danger, not when so much was at risk.

She needed him to know that she understood.

It had long since gotten dark, but Alex had been right. So far, the road had been clear and there had been no further incidents.

They flew past another road sign.

Jekyll Island 10 miles

They'd made better time than she thought they would. Soon enough, they'd be meeting up with the others, and would begin Serena's rescue.

But what would it cost all of them?

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

Michael drove cautiously over the bridge, looking for anything suspicious. He noticed a photo taped to the dash. Looking closer, he realized it was the driver, or the person that they modeled the driver's husk after.

He had a sudden inspiration. He'd never tried it before, but it might work. He slowed and stopped the truck. Reaching over with one hand he touched the photo, concentrating with all he had.

"Guerin, what are you doing?" Kyle asked at him frowning.

"Shut up," Michael said, his brow knitting in concentration.

Kyle sighed annoyed, that was until he watched Michael's face growing insubstantial, remolding itself.

"Guerin what the hell! Cut that shit out!" Kyle said, alarmed, but the metamorphosis continued.

Kyle's eyes grew wider as he watched Michael's face transform into the driver's.

"Fuck *me*!" Kyle said in amazement. Michael looked at himself in the rearview mirror, touching the skin, making faces, admiring his handiwork.

"No thanks," Michael said, imitating the driver's drawl. "I go for the wimmin, if ya know what I mean."

He snickered lightly.

"Oh so you think this is humorous?" Kyle said, irritated. Michael shrugged, a little grin on his new face.

"Glad somebody does," Kyle muttered. "Please tell me, what did I do to deserve getting Mission Impossible with an asshole that can make his head look like fricken Silly Putty?"

"You wish you could do it," Michael retorted.

"Uh…that'd be a *NO*," Kyle said, looking out the window.

"Whatever. It's gonna get us past their guards, so shut up," Michael answered.

He put the truck into gear again and hit the gas, taking a deep breath as he saw a truck parked at the side of the road right off the bridge.

"Here goes nothing," he said quietly, tossing Kyle a baseball hat that was lying on the seat. Put that on and make like your sleeping. Face the window," he said.

Kyle took the hat and pulled it over his eyes, slouching down against the window.

Michael slowed the truck as his headlight revealed a man hopping out of the truck.

Michael stopped and rolled down his window as the man came over.

"Evenin' Earle," the man said.

"Hey," Michael answered.

"Find anything out there?" he asked.

"What do you think?" Michael asked wryly, improvising.

"What's up with Jimmy?" the man asked, motioning with his head to Kyle in the passenger seat.

"Dumbass went and hit his head on a branch when he was taking a piss in the woods," Michael answered dryly.

"How the hell did he do that?" the guy asked.

"Dunno. Said something came out of the bushes and it scared the crap outta him," Michael said.

The guy shook his head.

"Just bringing him back," Michael said.

The guy waved them through, and as soon as Michael moved past the man, Kyle shot him an annoyed look.

"What the hell do you always have to make me out to be the idiot for?" he asked.

"Hey. When you can change your face, then talk to me. It's all I could think of," Michael said, irritated.

Kyle sighed, annoyed. "Whatever. Just drive."

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

Michael drove down the dark road leading toward the Clubhouse, the huge mansion-like building that was once the playground of the rich and famous years ago. It had since been turned into a hotel, Liz had told them.

He saw the lights of the main building behind an expanse of trees.

"So where the hell is this Horton House?" Michael asked.

"A little further," Kyle answered. "I don't even think much of it's standing anymore. That's what Liz said anyway. I don't even know if that's where they're actually keeping Serena. We only know what she told Isabel," Kyle said.

"We'll find her," Michael said, glancing at him.

"I just hope it's not too late," Kyle muttered.

Kyle checked the map again.

"We should stop here and go on foot," he said.

"Wait, we should just wait for the others," Michael said.

"No I want to see what we're dealing with. We should check it out first, so we know what we're getting into," Kyle said.

Michael nodded, pulling the truck over and turning it off.

They quietly got out and moved away from the road, travelling parallel with it.

Kyle moved ahead quickly, putting distance between himself and Michael. He couldn't help but worry about this sudden feeling of nervousness that had invaded his mind. Was she ok?

Michael kept his distance behind Kyle, keeping him in site, carefully noting the terrain around him so that they would be able to find their way back when the time came.

His thoughts drifted to Maria. He felt a little thrill race through his body at the small kiss she had placed on his cheek.

He chided himself at it. It was just a small kiss. But it had taken him aback. Just as the soft kiss she'd given him in the woods had stunned him.

He didn't know why it was affecting him. She was over-dramatic. She was a pain in the ass. She was a smart ass. She was…God, she was so cute.

He growled at himself softly.

What the hell was wrong with him? He was letting her get to him. The little slip of a girl that had the nerve to straighten herself as much as her diminutive height would allow to get in his face to tell him he was being an ass. She was a wise-ass just like he was.


He couldn't help but admire it, especially after what she'd been through, after what that skin had done to her. Again, he wondered what horror lingered after it had happened. Kyle had said she never talked about it. He felt a sudden irrational anger at what had happened to her. How did she feel being here now, in "Skin Central"? She had o be scared. He found himself wishing that that he, Max and Isabel had found them earlier. He would have made sure that that skin never touched anyone again.

But why was he letting anyone get to him? He'd promised himself a long time ago that he'd never get that close to anyone, never allow himself to care about anyone other than Max and Isabel. He couldn't afford it. Living with Hank had taught him that. Hank had taught him that feeling anything was a weakness. He'd taught him that having feelings, showing any feelings would only get you hurt. And so he shut himself off from everyone, even Isabel and Max. They never knew half of what went on in that trailer, and he didn't want them to know. They'd helped him emancipate himself after Max found him skipping school one day with a bruise that he couldn't heal. They could guess, but that was all they knew for sure. And he kept it that way. He didn't want anyone, most of all Max and, feeling sorry for him, or doing something to Hank that would bring attention to him. He knew Isabel too well.

With that thought, he realized that he and Maria had yet something else in common. Keeping things from the people they cared about to save them from trouble.

He wished he'd handled her last kiss, her last words to him better than he had, but he knew himself well enough to know that had he a chance to do it all over again, it would have went down the same way. He just wasn't a verbal guy, or a guy who was used to, or even liked people being concerned for him.

But this time, somewhere inside of him, he was glad that Maria was worried. Maybe it was because no one really knew what was going to happen tonight, as much as they all put the front up that they were going to be in and out of here, no sweat. The truth was, no one knew what was going to happen, or who was going to come out of this alive. And maybe he liked the fact that there was someone left out there, someone outside of Max and Isabel, the people he considered his family.

He shouldn't even be thinking about this. The world was a mess, and only getting Serena out of here alive would give them any hope of fixing it.

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

After a good twenty minutes of walking, Kyle saw a flash of light through the trees. Quietly, he approached it, knowing that they were close.

The sense of nervousness had spiked to a fever pitch as he began to see the outline of the ruined estate ahead of him. Makeshift spotlights running on gasoline generators were posted around the perimeter. He could hear the cranky sound of the motors giving them power. That was an advantage. They were loud, and the skins would be less likely to hear anything in the woods, namely them.

He saw a sentry walk past, half-heartedly eyeing the surrounding brush. Maybe they would get lucky after all.

A small crack next to him caused him to turn his head. He started for a moment, seeing an unfamiliar face, and then remembered it was Michael.

"Can't you get rid of that mug?" he whispered. "It's making me jumpy."

"Might need to use it again," Michael whispered back. "You never know who we're going to run into."

Kyle nodded.

"So, what do you think? How do we get in there?" he asked, seeing ruined steps leading down into the foundation. IT was probably what used to be a cellar.

"We wait, for now," Michael said.

"Guerin, we don't have time…" Kyle started.

"Look, if we get caught, it's all over. We need to know exactly what we're dealing with before we do anything," Michael answered in a low voice.

Kyle knew he was right, but it didn't ease the nervousness any. All he could think of was Serena, in some cold, dark and dank place. She was probably hurt and terrified, and he had promised her. He had promised her. He wasn't going to let her down.

A half-hour later, they had seen another sentry, and one other skin that had come up from the cellar.

The sense of foreboding pushed Kyle into action. He couldn't wait any longer.

"I'm going in," he whispered.

"Are you crazy?" Michael spat back. "I thought we were going to wait for Max."

"We don't have time for that Michael. You can stay here if you want, but I'm going," he said, getting up.

Michael shook his head angrily, but wasn't going to let him go alone.

Silently, they made their way around the perimeter until they had a clear view of the stairwell.

"How do we know who's down there?" Michael asked quietly.

"We don't," Kyle answered.

"So how do we know exactly what we're walking into?" Michael said.

"We don't. But we don't have a choice," Kyle said.

"Yeah, we do. We can wait for the others," Michael argued.

"Guerin, I told you, wait if you want, but I'm going in," Kyle answered stubbornly.

Michael's lips tightened.

"Fine, I'll go first. You follow, and keep that hat over your eyes," he said. "This face might just get us out alive."

He took a final look to make sure that the sentries weren't in sight, and stepped out into the clearing cautiously, Kyle right behind him.

They walked quickly to the stairs. The spotlights that lit the clearing didn't reach the stairwell, and all that could be seen below was an inky blackness.

Michael glanced back at Kyle, and took the first step.

They moved quickly and quietly down into the darkness and turned left. Michael held his hand out palm up and the corridor was lit with an eerie green glow. The corridor seemed to go on forever into nothingness.

They moved slowly, listening for any sound ahead that might alert them to someone waiting.

Only silence met their ears.

For what seemed like an eternity, they walked cautiously.

Kyle saw that as they moved on, the rock walls became damp, covered in the green slime of moss that signaled the humidity that prevailed.

To their left, they spotted a door. Moving quickly, they approached it. Kyle let out a disappointed breath. The door had rotted with age, mold making the wood soft to the touch. The small barred window at eye level revealed a long empty cell, the floor dirt, the smell of decay faint.

"How far do you think this thing goes?" Kyle asked Michael.

"Who knows?" Michael said. "This could be a whole underground labyrinth for all we know."

"That's comforting thought," Kyle muttered, receiving no response from Michael.

As they moved on intermittent doors became more frequent, though none of them led to Serena. The corridor twisted and turned, making sense of direction virtually impossible.

Suddenly, Michael stopped, dismayed.

"Now what?" he asked. In front of them, the corridor branched in into two paths, both leading in opposite directions.

"Shit," Kyle breathed.

After a moment's silence, Kyle spoke.

"We each take one of them I guess," he said.

"I'm not so sure that's a good plan," Michael answered. "Maybe we should turn back and wait for the others."

Kyle's look silenced Michael.

"Look, I'll meet you back here in ten minutes," Kyle said. "Just check it out."

Michael again shook his head as he watched Kyle head off to the left.
He had a really bad feeling about this.

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


Maria saw the lights of the bikes in the distance before they blinked out.

"They're here," she said to Doug, crossing her arms worriedly over her chest.

"Let's go meet them," Doug replied, putting a comforting hand on Maria's shoulder.

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

Liz felt a small pang of sadness that they had reached their destination. Max hadn't said anything to her since they'd turned off the main road, and she couldn't help but be hurt.

She knew that he was frustrated with his weakness, and she understood that. But it didn't change the fact that he'd been angry with all of them for changing the plans and not letting him use his powers.

He slowed the bike. Ahead they could see Doug and Maria waiting on the side of the road. Alex passed them with Isabel, and engine idling, Max watched Maria jump on Alex as he got off the bike.

He felt the hurt rolling of off Liz as she remained silent behind him.

Switching the engine off, he popped the stand for the bike and got off. He waited as she got off the back, and felt a pang of dismay as she continued walking past him.

He grabbed her arm gently.

"Liz, wait…" he said.

She halted, not turning toward him.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly.

She turned slowly to face him.

She stood completely still, just looking at him.

Max ran a hand through his hair, frustrated. He knew she had every right to feel the way that she did.

He stepped closer to her, taking her hand.

"I know I'm not being fair," he said, looking into her eyes. "It's just…frustrating. I shouldn't have snapped at you."

She nodded, looking at the ground.

Sighing, he pulled her gently to his chest, wrapping his arms around her. Over her shoulder, he saw Isabel turn and give him a pointed look. He looked away. He wasn't going to feel guilty. He wasn't doing anything wrong.

His fingers lost themselves in her hair as he gently touched her forehead with his lips.

Her voice was muffled against his jacket.

"Max, I can accept that things can't go any further between us for now. I understand that. But I don't think I can take you shutting me out, and that's what I felt like you've been doing since we last stopped. she said.

"I know," he said quietly. "I'm sorry."

She felt her arms trail around his waist lightly, and he felt that now altogether familiar pang of desire run through his veins. He shut his eyes, trying to get control of it.

"Don't do it again Max," she said in a rough voice, and he smiled softly.

"Lizzie!" Maria called out, and Max reluctantly let Liz go.

Together, they walked the short distance.

Liz caught the worry in Maria's eyes as she embraced her friend.

"Are you ok?" Liz asked her.

Maria pulled back.

"I'm fine," she said. "But I'm worried about Kyle and Michael."

"What do you mean?" Max said, glancing over at Isabel.

"They left like almost three hours ago. They said that they were just going to check things out, but they never came back," she said.

"Why didn't they wait?" Max asked, half-concerned, half-angry.

"Kyle's been having these dreams…about Serena. He said that she was in danger. I hope they didn't do anything rash," he said, troubled.

"What do you mean?" Isabel asked, concerned.

"I don't know," Doug said.

"You don't think they tried to go in by themselves do you?" Alex said.

No one said anything, as the obvious hung over them.

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

Michael turned back in the direction he had come when he hit a dead end. All of the doors down this corridor led into empty cells.

A sense of unease was growing in his gut as he made his way back to the junction. Something wasn't right, he could feel it in his bones.

As he reached the juncture, he stopped, looking around for Kyle. He checked his watch. It had been fifteen minutes. Where the hell was he?

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

Kyle heard muffled voices as he continued down the murky passageway. He was getting close. He could feel it.

A dim light grew ahead of him, and he pressed himself as close to the wall as he could, slowly making his way forward.

"Is he going to get rid of her tonight?" one voice said.

"Who knows?" another answered. "I've given up trying to figure out what he's going to do."

"Guess it doesn't matter much anyway. She doesn't look like she'll last much longer."

Kyle peered around the corner he'd come upon and spied two men sitting at an old table. To their left was another cell door.

She had to be in there. He could sense it.

Drawing his gun, he waited to make his move.

"I can't wait until this is all over. This husk is really getting to me. It's drying out, I can feel it," one of them said.

"Won't be too much more of a wait. Once Khivar wraps things up here, it's only a matter of time before we'll never have to worry about that again."

"Can't be too soon for me," the other said.

"It'll never happen," Kyle said, stepping around the corner, letting off two short bursts with his pistol before the men ever had a chance to draw a weapon.

Quickly he went to the door, peering in. He didn't see anyone, and he cursed.

Stepping back, he kicked the semi-rotted door twice and it gave way.

As he walked into the cell, he looked to his right, and the sight that greeted him made him want to throw up. For curled into a ball on the floor was Serena.

"Jesus," Kyle said, falling to his knees next to her. Her hair covered her face, but the front of her clothes were covered in blood.

"Serena," he said gently, pushing her hair away from her face.

He shut his eyes against what was in front of him.

Her face was barely recognizable, her eye swollen shut. A long gash streaked across her neck, crusty with dried blood. Black bruises spread across her face, and he could hear the wheeze of blood in her breathing.

"Kyle," she said softly.

His heart fell as he saw the damage that had been done to her.

"Son of a bitch," he ground out. They'd beat her pulp.

He wanted to kill whoever had done this. He wanted to take all of it away, what she'd been through.

"Serena," he said again, his voice quavering. She moaned slightly, and then was still.

"I'm going to get you out of here," he said. "I have to lift you, ok?" he said quietly, trying to keep his emotions in check in seeing her in such a state.

Carefully positioning his arms underneath her, he gently lifted her off the floor, careful not to hit her legs in the doorway, and started back up the passage.

"It's going to be ok," he said to himself as much as to her.

"Everything's going to be ok. We're getting out of here."

He stiffened as he saw a figure ahead.

"Valenti, where the hell have you been?" Michael hissed. "You said ten minutes!"

And then Michael saw Serena, and his eyes widened.

"What the hell did they do to her?" he asked.

"I don't know, let's just get her out of here," Kyle said roughly.

Michael led the way back up the corridor quickly, Kyle taking care not to jostle her.

As they came up the steps, they immediately noticed that the spotlights had gone dark.

"I don't like this," Michael said.

"Just keep moving," Kyle answered.

Suddenly they were bathed in light.

For a moment all was still. And then all hell broke loose.

Gunfire erupted from the underbrush and Kyle instinctively fell to his knees, holding onto Serena.

Michael held out his hand toward the undergrowth where the shots were originating, and immediately, they burst into flames. Agonized cries rang out as two bodies launched themselves from the cover, engulfed in flames.

"Get her out of here!" Michael shouted to Kyle.

"What about you?" he said, cradling Serena to his chest.

"I'll meet you back at the truck. Just go!" he yelled.

Kyle didn't hesitate, rushing toward the other end of the clearing. A moment later he disappeared. Michael launched another power burst at three other men who appeared with guns out of the trees.

Rushing toward where he'd seen Kyle disappear, he didn't even see the lone sentry positioned diagonally.

A deafening shot rang out, and a blinding heat in his back pushed Michael to the ground.

He let out a yell of pain as he felt his face turning, re-melding itself.

He lay there, engulfed in agony, his vision blurry.

A harsh laugh rang out, and he squinted to see where it originated from.

"Well, well, well, this is a day I thought I'd never see," a deep voice said, and Michael looked up, focusing on the face above him.

Crystalline blue eyes looked at him musingly. A mane of golden blond hair fell down the man's back and over powerful shoulders.

"Welcome Rath," he said, and Michael laid his head back in defeat.

Khivar.

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

Kyle heard Michael's shout of pain as he hurried through the trees.
They'd felled him, Kyle was certain.

Serena moaned again as he carefully maneuvered her body through the underbrush.

He continued on, hoping against hope that he was heading in the right direction.

His progress was slower coming out than when they came in, as he tried not to worsen any of her injuries. His hand cradled her head to his neck as he prayed that he wasn't being followed.

Twenty minutes later, he reached the truck. He laid Serena gently in the passenger seat and closed the door, uncertain what to do. He couldn't go back for Michael. He'd be surrounded.

This was all his fault. Michael was right, they should have waited.

The best thing he could do was to get help from the others.

His decision made, he jumped into the driver's seat, starting the engine.

Driving as fast as he dared, he sped up the road toward the bridge, lights off.

As he approached, he saw the door of the sentry's truck open. He had only one chance at this.

The man moved into the road, and Kyle slowed up. He threw the hat back on and pulled his gun, holding it steady out his window.

He aimed as carefully as he could, and let off a round. The man was knocked off his feet by the hit, and Kyle hit the gas again, feeling the thump as the tires ran over the body. He quickly turned the headlights on.

At breakneck speed, he drove over the bridge. Keeping a watchful eye on Serena, who still remained unconscious.

The whirring of the older concrete gave way to newer blacktop with a thump.

He watched the side of the road frantically, not wanting to miss where they'd turned off earlier.

A moment later, he saw it.

The truck veered off the road, the headlights revealing the bikes and his friends, who were starting to draw their weapons.

"Don't shoot! It's me!" he yelled, jumping out.

"I've got her," he said shakily, as Liz and Doug ran to the passenger side.

"Where's Michael?" Isabel asked.

"I don't know. I think he's been captured," Kyle answered.

posted on 1-Feb-2002 8:29:14 AM by majesty
Sorry to leave you all hanging for so long......

I am hoping to have a new part of this up sometime this weekend. The news this week kind of threw me for a loop, and I just took a break from writing for a few days. Going to try to get at least some of it done today.

Again, sorry for the delay, and I'll do my best to get this up by the end of the weekend.

majesty

posted on 3-Feb-2002 1:43:27 AM by majesty
Hey Everyone,

Sorry for the delay on this. This part is a little transitional. Things are really going to start to happen from here on out.

I have outlined two endings for this, and I think I am going to post both of them when we get to the end of the line, because I can't decide which one I like better. But that's a ways off yet. Just figured I'd give you a heads up.

majesty

PART FIFTEEN

“What do you mean he’s been captured?” Isabel said, on the verge of panic

Max took an angry step toward Kyle.

“We were surrounded. We got Serena out, but they were firing at us. Michael told me to take Serena to the truck, and I ran into the woods. I heard a shot, and I heard him yell. I think they took him down,” he said, running a hand through his hair.

Liz was looking at Serena and listening to Kyle at the same time.

“We have to get out of here, they’re going to come after us,” Kyle said.

“Where do we go?” Isabel said harshly.

“I don’t know. Anywhere away from here!” Kyle said impatiently.

Max shook his head.

“I’m going back for Michael,” he said, his jaw tightening.

“Evans, you can’t do that. You’ll be caught. They’re expecting it now, for someone to come back for him. We have to get away from here. Then we can think about how to get Michael out,” he said.

“That’s if he’s even still alive,” Isabel said bitterly, crossing her arms over her chest. Alex came to stand beside her, and put a comforting arm around her shoulder.

“Listen Evans, once we get away from here, we’ll all sit and figure out how to get him out of there. But in about five minutes, a shitload of skins are going to come across that bridge, and there won’t be any more discussion of getting Michael out of there!” he said angrily.

“Fine,” Max grated, turning and stalking toward his bike. “Isabel, come with me.”

Alex put his arm around Isabel as they followed Max.

Liz caught Doug’s eye as he moved around the truck and felt a sense of relief. He was worried, but she could see that he sensed her injuries were bad, but not life-threatening. The relief in his eyes was palpable.

Kyle got into the truck.

“Liz, ride with me?” he asked quickly, starting the engine.

Max watched from his bike and Liz caught his eyes. She turned back toward Kyle and nodded.

She carefully got into the truck, careful not to jostle Serena.

Maria and Doug got on his bike, and Kyle pulled away quickly. The others following behind.

Liz sat uncomfortably trying to assess Serena’s injuries. She’d still not regained consciousness and Liz was worried. Her face was distorted and swollen from the beating she’d taken at the hands of Khivar.

Her shoulder protruded at a grotesque angle, and Liz was fairly sure it was dislocated. She didn’t know the extent of the rest of her injuries, but she knew that she would live. She saw it in Doug’s eyes.

The most important thing right now was to get away from the skins.

Kyle sat stiffly behind the wheel. She didn’t know what to say to him and it was unnerving. She couldn’t remember a time feeling uncomfortable or at a loss for words with him, but after all that had happened between she and Max, she felt the wall of secrecy that had gone up in her mind since they’d left Roswell. She knew she had to tell him, but she would have to find the right words. She hoped he would find it in his heart to understand, but she couldn’t continue to live the lie they’d both created between them.

“So what happened? Did they ambush you?” she asked quietly.

Kyle glanced at her and then turned his attention back to the road.

“I don’t know how they knew we were there. Everything happened so fast,” he said, running his hand through his hair.

“They were shooting at us. I had o get her out of there,” he said, glancing at Serena. His guilt over Michael’s capture rang in his voice.

“I don’t even know where I’m going,” he said angrily.

“There has to be a town up here somewhere,” Liz answered.

They sat in uncomfortable silence for another ten minutes until Kyle suddenly turned onto a long driveway.

A farmhouse lay at the end of it, its windows dark, the grass surrounding it overgrown.

Kyle pulled the truck around the back of the house to avoid it being seen from the road. As the truck slowed to a stop, Liz glanced out the back window searching for Max.

She saw Alex, Doug and Maria, but there was no sign of Max or Isabel. Frowning, she remembered the grim look on his face before she got into the truck. She knew he was worried about Michael, but now she felt the fear rising in her throat as she jumped out of the truck.

“Where’s Max?” she asked Alex frantically.

“He was right behind us a minute ago,” Alex said, searching the driveway.

Then she heard the low whine of the bike up at the road and she knew.

She bit her lip as she heard it fade away. They’d gone after Michael.

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

“Max, what are you doing?” Isabel shouted near his ear as he gunned the bike’s engine.

“We’re going to get Michael out of there if he’s still alive,” he grated angrily.

“Max, I don’t know if rushing into this is the best thing,” she said.

“Isabel, the others won’t be a help to us now. We’d be too worried about them. It would make us vulnerable,” he said.

“But what about you? I’m worried about you,” she answered. “You aren’t exactly the picture of health Max.”

“I’ll be fine. We have to get Michael out of there,” he said, urging the bike even faster.

Isabel had a nagging feeling that something bad was going to go down, and there was nothing she could do about it.

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

Alex broke the window on the side of the house, and pulled himself in, as Doug carefully picked Serena up out of the truck. Kyle hovered protectively behind him as they walked to the front door where Alex was waiting after unlocking it.

Quickly they moved into the bedroom off of the living room, laying Serena on the bed.

Liz glanced over at Maria and saw the worry etched on her features. She knew she was worried about Serena, but there was something else in her gaze that told her that there was more to it than just Serena. She made a note to ask her about it later.

Alex had gone into the kitchen and gotten some wet rags, bringing them back to the room. Carefully, Doug cleaned up the blood on Serena’s forehead.

“She doesn’t look good,” he said worriedly.

“Why don’t you guys go outside, and leave Maria and I to this,” Liz said. We’ll get her cleaned up.”

Alex and Doug nodded and left the room, Kyle reluctantly following, casting a long look at Serena before he shut the door.

Liz and Maria went over to the closet, searching for anything that might fit Serena. Maria found a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans that must have been worn by the woman who lived in the house.

“How are we going to do this?” Maria asked, looking at Serena’s shoulder.

“We have to fix that shoulder first,” Liz said, feeling Serena’s limbs for any sign of broken bones.

“Liz you can’t…” she said.

“We don’t have a choice Maria,” she said, looking up at her. “It’s not like there’s a doctor we can call.”

“But what if you make it worse?” she said worriedly.

“It’s not broken. Nothing’s broken,” Liz said. “We just have to pop it back into the socket. I’m going to need your help.”

Maria shook her head vigorously.

“I can’t…I can’t,” Maria said shakily.

“You can and you will,” Liz said forcefully, grabbing her arm.

“I want you to lay your palm flat here, and hold her down,” she said.

Tears started to spring in Maria’s eyes.

“Please Maria, trust me. Everything’s going to be ok,” she said, looking at her friend reassuringly.

“Michael said that too, and look what happened to him,” Maria said tearfully.

Liz looked at her sympathetically, her suspicions confirmed. As much as Maria said she was not going to allow herself to feel anything for Michael, it had happened anyway. She could see it in her eyes.

“Maria, Michael’s going to be ok. Max and Isabel will get him out of there,” she said.

But Liz felt a rush of worry herself. Max was in no shape to be rescuing anyone. She hoped Isabel would be able to compensate for Max’s lack of abilities. She didn’t want to think about what would have happened if Max had tried to heal Serena before going to save Michael. But Serena would live, of that she was sure. And she knew it from the moment she had looked at Doug outside the truck. And despite his pre-occupation, she knew he sensed it from her. She knew he wouldn’t have left otherwise.

She couldn’t allow herself to be overcome with fear for him. She tried to trust that he knew what he was doing, but something was telling her that he was in danger, real danger.

She put it to the back of her mind for the moment. If they were to have any hope at all, they had to help Serena.

“Maria please,” she said quietly.

Reluctantly, Maria placed her hand on Serena’s chest, and Liz placed hers on her forearm and her shoulder bone.

She looked at Maria one final time and pulled the arm sharply, and Serena’s eyes opened and she let out a pain-filled scream as the shoulder popped back into place.

“It’s ok, it’s ok,” Liz said quickly, as Maria stumbled back with a look of horror on her face.

“Kyle please! Get me out of here!” Serena said pitifully, trying to get up off the bed.

“Serena. Serena, it’s me Liz,” she said. “It’s ok, you’re ok. Kyle got you out,” Liz said, trying to reassure her.

“No! No! Kyle!” she yelled again, and the bedroom door burst open.

Kyle rushed into the room.

“What happened?” he asked frantically.

Serena did not seem to recognize Liz, but the moment she saw Kyle’s face, she started to breathe faster.

“Kyle…Kyle,” she whispered, looking at him tearfully. “Please, get me out of here.”

“What’s going on?” Liz said, looking at Kyle.

Kyle glanced at her before turning his attention back to Serena.

“She connected with me in dreams after we left Roswell,” he said, moving to sit on the bed next to Serena.

Her eyes would not leave his, pleading with him.

He gently put his hand to her forehead.

“She has a fever,” he said. “I think she’s hallucinating.”

“Kyle,” Serena said. “I can’t be strong anymore. They’re going to kill me.”

Kyle realized that she thought that she was in one of his dreams.

“Shhh,” he said gently. “It’s going to be ok. I’m here with you.”

“I can’t bear this alone anymore. I tried. I tried because I didn’t want to worry you or Liz or the others, but I’m so scared,” she said tearfully.

“I know,” Kyle said. “You don’t have to do this alone anymore. I’m here,” he said, glancing at Liz.

And for the first time, Liz really comprehended what she must have gone through alone.

She recognized Kyle, and that was a good thing. But when her eyes turned to Maria and Liz, her eyes grew fearful again. Liz surmised it was because sin her fever induced haze she associated them with the pain in her shoulder. She didn’t recognize them.

Every move they made seemed to agitate her.

“Kyle, I think we should leave for a bit,” Liz said finally. “She doesn’t seem upset by you. I think when I popped her shoulder back in, I reminded her of what happened back on the island. She woke up in pain, and I think she is thinking I am a skin.”

She was upset that her friend thought she would hurt her, but she knew it was the fever causing her fear. She knew if Serena was lucid, she would know Liz was only trying to help.

Would you mind staying with her for awhile?” Liz asked finally. “At least until she falls asleep or her fever goes down. Maybe you can keep her calm. I think I am just upsetting her.”

Kyle nodded, never taking his eyes off Serena.

Liz took Maria’s wrist and led her out of the bedroom door, shutting it quietly behind her.

An image of Max popped into her head, and she pushed it back. She couldn’t think about the danger he might be getting himself into. If she did, she’d go mad. It took everything in her being to force herself to stay in this house and not go after him. But she knew that it would only hinder him. He’d be too worried about her, more easily distracted, and that was not a position he could be in while he was in the vicinity of Khivar.

“Come on, let’s see if we can find something to drink around here,” Liz sighed, as Maria looked at her distractedly.

She followed Liz into the kitchen, and watched silently as she rooted around in the cabinets.

“Jackpot,” Liz said, as she pulled a carton of Coke out of the pantry.

“It’s warm, but it’s better than nothing,” she said.

“Liz, this is really bad,” Maria said suddenly, and Liz froze.

“What Maria?” she asked.

“Serena. Michael being captured. Max and Isabel going after them. This whole apocalypse thing. Everything,” she said wrapping her arms around her body.

Liz sighed.

“Everything is going to be all right,” Liz said. Too bad she didn’t really believe it. She had this nagging feeling that something very definitely was going to go wrong.

“Liz, I don’t believe that, and I *know* you don’t believe that,” Maria said.

“Maria, Serena is going to live, and Max and Isabel will get Michael back,” Liz said.

“Serena looked pretty bad to me, and from what is sounded like from Kyle, Michael was shot,” Maria shot back.

“What do you want me to say Maria?” Liz asked tiredly. “That we should just give up? That we’re all doomed?”

“I just want you to be straight with me Liz. Because I know you’re worried too, and I’d rather be worried together than for you to lie to me to make me feel better,” Maria answered, leaning against the counter.

Liz looked down at the carton and took a can of soda out, opening it as she leaned against the counter. She took a sip and handed it to Maria.

“You’re right,” she said finally.

“So as long as we’re being honest here, why don’t you just come clean and admit that you’re worried about Michael,” she said quietly. “Something happened there, didn’t it?”

Maria stared straight ahead.

“Yeah. Only I don’t know exactly what it was that happened. It’s like were either fighting, or he was being incredibly sweet. I don’t know,” she said.

She let out a harsh breath.

“Why didn’t he run with Kyle?” she asked angrily. “Why did he stay behind?”

“Because he was protecting them,” Liz said.

“But then why didn’t they wait for Max and Isabel?” Maria said, half-angry.

“Kyle said that they saw their opportunity and they took it,” Liz said.

“Besides, I don’t think Max would have been any help to them,” she mumbled.

Maria turned to her suddenly.

“You and Max…you didn’t follow my advice did you?” Maria said, shaking her head.

“Oh don’t come down on me now Maria. You didn’t follow your own advice either,” Liz retorted.

“Besides, it’s complicated,” Liz said.

“Complicated how?” Maria asked.

And suddenly it all burst forth from Liz.

“I don’t know. God Maria, I’m so worried about him. I had this really strange dream about Max, Michael and Isabel getting killed on another planet, and Isabel betrayed them. I tried to tell her, but she didn't believe me. Max was feeling weaker and we went for a walk in the woods. We kissed…well we kissed and something really strange and wonderful happened, only it’s really hard to explain. It was like this…I don’t know, hallucination, and when it was over, I had these marks, and the whole thing was amazing. Max thinks he might have hurt me, but he didn’t. And he told me that we had to take a step back. I told him I was ok with that, but I’m so not…and I’m afraid for him Maria. He’s really weak and if he meets up with Khivar…” she broke off.

Maria was staring at her wide-eyed.

“He left marks on you?” she asked.

“No, it was nothing bad Maria. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced. It was like our souls were so close to touching. I can’t explain it. But I do know one thing. I’ve fallen in love with Max Evans all over again, and I don’t know what I’m going to do if anything happens to him,” she said emotionally, finally allowing herself to feel everything she’d kept locked inside.
Maria put her hand on her arm.

“It’s ok Liz,” Maria said softly.

“You don’t hate me? Because I didn’t listen to you? Because of Kyle?” Liz said tearfully.

A small smile broke out over Maria’s face.

“How can I hate you when I did the same thing?” she said woefully. “How can we have fallen for aliens? I don’t get it.”

“Yeah, I don’t either,” Liz sniffed.

“Chica, I only want you to be happy. If Max makes you happy, then so be it. All the other human/ET stuff will have to work itself out I guess. But you have to talk to Kyle,” she said.

“I know, I know,” Liz said, wiping her tear-stained face. “I just don’t know what to say to him.”

“Just tell him the truth,” Maria said gently. “You owe him that.”

Liz nodded.

“I guess now’s as good a time as any,” she said.

“Thanks Maria,” she said quietly, moving to the doorway. She turned back to look at her friend, who was staring out the window.

“Maria,” she said and Maria turned her head toward her.

“Michael is going to be ok,” she said.

“I want to believe that,” Maria said.

Liz gave her a small smile and walked into the living room.

She stopped in front of the bedroom door, steeling herself for the conversation she was going to have with Kyle. She took a deep breath and quietly opened to door, so not to wake Serena if she’d fallen asleep.

As she peered into the room, she froze for a split second at the site that met her eyes.

Kyle was cradling Serena, placing gentle kisses on her forehead, and Serena’s good hand was gently touching his cheek.

“Oh my God,” Liz said, and Kyle looked up at her in alarm.

“Liz,” he said quickly.

“I’m…oh God I’m sorry,” she said and shut the door behind her, leaning against it in shock.

Kyle and Serena?

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

Max approached the bridge cautiously, slowing the bike. It was deserted.

“I don’t like this Max,” Isabel said apprehensively.

“They’re probably out looking for us,” Max said. “There probably in town.”

He started over the bridge, turning the headlamp off on the bike. Isabel used her powers to silence the motor.

A moment later they were across the bridge. They kept a watchful eye out as they rode pass the Clubhouse. Still there was no one around.

Isabel was starting to feel a sense of foreboding.

They came upon the tracks from Kyle’s SUV, which left deep ruts in the dirt on the side of the road.

Max drove the bike into the woods, carefully weaving his way in and out of the trees.

Though the motor was silent, there was the occasional crackling of branches underneath the tires that made Isabel nervous.

Soon they saw lights up ahead, and Max killed the engine.

They made their way on foot, keeping a careful eye on their surroundings.

Finally, they reached the underbrush surrounding the clearing. They looked around silently at the deserted area.

“Something’s wrong here Max,” she whispered.

“Try to dreamwalk Michael,” he said. “We have to find out where he is.”

Isabel nodded and closed her eyes.

For long moments, she was silent, concentrating.

And then she connected.

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

She was in a filthy cell. Looking around quickly, she spotted Michael slumped in the corner.

“Michael!” she cried, running over to him.

“Iz,” he said weakly, and she noticed the blood on the back of his shirt.

“Oh my God, Michael!” she said, tears filling her eyes. “You’re hurt!”

“I’ll be fine,” he said. “Is Serena ok?”

She nodded. “She’s hurt pretty bad. But I think she’s going to be ok.”

“Good,” he said.

“Michael, you have to tell us where you are. We need to know so we can get you out of here,” she said.

He shook his head weakly.

“No don’t come back here,” he said, shutting his eyes.

“We’re already here on the island,” she said, and his eyes snapped open.

“No, you have to get out of here!” he said angrily.

“Khivar knows who I was…Rath. If he gets Max…” he said.

“Michael, we’re not leaving without you,” she said forcefully.

“I’ll make Max stay behind, but I’m not leaving without you,” she said.

“Isabel, you don’t know what you’re getting into,” he said angrily.

“I’ll find you,” she said.

“Isabel, wait!” Michael said, but she’d already broken the connection.


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

As she opened her eyes, she saw the stairway at the end of the clearing and she knew that was where she would have to go. But she’d be leaving Max behind.

She looked at him, his features pale. He looked so tired. There was no way he was going with her.

“Max I think I know where he is, but I’m going in alone,” she said.

“What? No, we go together,” he said fiercely.

“Max, you’re in no shape to do this, and you’ll probably wind up getting us both killed,” she said.

She didn’t tell him that Khivar knew who Michael was. He’d never let her go alone if he knew that.

“No way Isabel,” he said angrily.

“I’m not going to argue with you brother. You stay here and keep an eye out. I won’t be long. If anything happens out here, or if you see anything, just come in after me. Please Max, I couldn’t live with it if anything happened to you. Michael is already hurt. I can do this. Trust me,” she said.

“No,” he said.

“Fine, we’ll do this the hard way,” Isabel said, holding out her hand.

Max tried to move, and found he was frozen in his spot.

“Iz, let me go,” he said.

“I’m connected with you. If anyone comes, you’ll be able to get away,” she said.

“I’m sorry Max,” she said, getting up.

“Isabel, this is a mistake!” he hissed.

“I’ll be back with Michael,” she whispered back, quietly moving away from him toward the stairwell.

Max was furious that she’d done this to him. He struggled against the force field, knowing it was futile. Even if he’d had all his powers, he wouldn’t be able to move from his spot unless she released him.

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


Isabel felt Max’s fury through their connection, and pushed it to the back of her head. He’d see later that she did him a favor. There was no way she was chancing him getting hurt too.

She made her way silently down the stairwell, turning to the left, never seeing the eyes glittering in the darkness behind the staircase, watching her with interest, waiting. The figure followed her as she made her way down the corridor.

Soon she would be his again. Vilondra…

TBC…

posted on 4-Feb-2002 9:42:23 PM by majesty
Thank you all for the feedback!

Mary and Kari, I am glad you are enjoing Flagellation *happy* A new part of that is next on the list, hopefully a little later this week.

Anyway, this part is a little long, maybe confusing, and probably a little upsetting for some, but remember with my fics, all is not as it seems.

If there are any questions, fire away and I will explain if I can without spoiling anyone.

Thank you all again for the feedback. You guys are the best!

majesty

PART 16

Liz moved dazed to the couch and dropped onto it heavily. Serena and Kyle? She thought to herself again dazed.

The door to the bedroom opened and Kyle stepped out, shutting the door behind him quietly.

He looked at Liz sitting on the couch and walked over to sit down next to her.

“Liz, I…”

She interrupted him.

“Its ok Kyle,” she said.

“No, no it’s not,” he said. “I should have told you that I was….starting to have feelings for Serena. Only I didn’t even admit it to myself until after we left Roswell. But it still isn’t right,” he said.

She laughed, shaking her head, and flopped back against the couch, looking up at the ceiling.

“What?” he asked.

“You and I are quite a pair Kyle,” she said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked.

“It means I haven’t been honest with you either. I’ve been having….feelings for Max,” she said.

He leaned back on the couch and turned his head toward her.

“Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about you being *too* angry with me then,” he said.

“I’m not angry Kyle. I’m actually kind of relieved,” she said. “I knew I had to tell you, but this just made it a whole lot easier.”

“Yeah, I was thinking that same thing,” he laughed.

“This is crazy, you know that right?” he asked. “You and me both having things for aliens?”

“Not just us. I think Maria does too,” Liz said. “And I suspect Alex is hiding a little crush on Isabel too.”

“Yeah, I kinda noticed that, about Maria,” he said. “Alex too? Huh…”

“Yes, it is crazy isn’t it?” she asked, sighing. “You’ve fallen for the person that is supposed to bring all of them together to get the humans back. And I think I’m in love with the King of another planet,” she said wistfully.

“You know, I still don’t like him,” Kyle said.

“Trust me Kyle, he’s beautiful, on the inside and out. I’ve seen him,” she said in a faraway voice.

“You didn’t…?” he said, looking at her with wide eyes.

“No! No,” she said. “We connected, but not like that. Not…oh forget it, I can’t sit here and explain this to my now ex-boyfriend,” she said. “It’s too weird.”

“Mmm…TMI I think,” he said.

“So, does Serena feel the same way?” she asked.

Kyle bit the side of his mouth lightly, and stared straight ahead.

“I think so,” he said. “I mean, we didn’t exactly talked about it, but in the dreams…I got the feeling she did.”

His eyes glazed over thinking about it.

Liz nodded.

“Kyle?” she said softly.

“Hmm?” he said, glancing at her.

“I just hope that we can always be friends,” she said. “I do love you, just not the way I should have. Not the way it’s supposed to be,” she said.

“I know. It’s like Serena, when I was around her, I felt this…I don’t know, rush or something,” he said. “It’s…different.”

“I know what you mean!” Liz said, turning toward him.

“I think we were just both settling for safe Liz,” he said, and she nodded.

“Yeah,” she said softly. “But I wouldn’t trade that time for anything Kyle,” she said.

“Really?” he asked.

“Nope,” she said. “You helped me get through a really hard time in my life, and I’ll never forget that. My Dad passing was one of the hardest things I will ever go through, and you were there for it. And that means the world to me,” she said.

“I’m glad I was there,” he said, leaning over and placing a kiss on her forehead. They sat in companionable silence for a moment and she noticed his eyes drawn to the bedroom door.

“I think you should get back in there,” she said, motioning to the door.

“Are you sure?” he said.

“You need to be in there,” she said.

He smiled at her and got off the couch.

“You know, that *was* actually pretty painless,” he said.

“Are you complaining?” she asked teasingly.

“Well, you’re bruising my manly ego here. I thought you’d be holding onto my leg, begging me to stay,” he joked.

She laughed and threw a pillow at him.

“Get out of here,” she said, giggling.

She watched him go into the room, and sighed.

If only Max were here. She’d give anything to be in his arms right now. There was no longer any obstacles on her end. Now he just had to figure out his own barriers.

She felt a growing sense of unease that she couldn’t explain, and said a silent prayer that he would come back to her soon.

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

Isabel made her way carefully down the tunnel, keeping a sharp eye out for any guards. She had a distinct sense that something was wrong, but she pushed on, knowing that this might be their only chance to get Michael out of here alive.

She felt badly about leaving Max behind, but she didn’t want to take a chance that he’d get hurt. She knew she’d feel it through the connection if he sensed any danger outside. She only hoped he would forgive her when it was all over.

She came to the fork in the corridors and stopped. Which way? She had to decide quickly. It would be a mistake to stop moving.

A light suddenly sprung up behind her, and she turned quickly.

Standing in the middle of the corridor hidden behind a glow that seemed to come from nowhere, was a tall figure.

“Michael?” she said uncertainly, and the figure stepped forward.

Isabel felt an immediate sense of recognition as she looked at the man who had stepped forward, though they had never met here on Earth. Her soul knew him. Her heart knew his. She’d seen him in Liz’s vision.

He stood tall and strangely not menacing. She’d expected him to have an evil demeanor. But there was no sense of danger to her coming from him. Which made her even more nervous.

His long blond hair fell across powerful shoulders, his face a portrait of angled beauty. She’d known this being in another life. She felt it in her bones. But what really scared her was that she knew she had loved him. The vision Liz had was true. She felt it.

“Stay away from me,” she said shakily, backing away.

“I don’t want to harm you Vilondra. I love you,” he said.

“My *name* is Isabel, and I don’t even know who you are,” she said.

“Fine, if that’s the name you want to go by, so be it. But don’t tell me you don’t know me, Isabel. I know you remember,” he said, stepping toward her.

“I don’t remember anything,” she said shaking her head, yet she couldn’t move away. She was frozen in place, held there by his eyes, and the familiarity she saw in them.

He moved even closer, until he was standing before her, his powerful shoulders blocking any view of what was behind him.

“If I wanted to hurt you, or anyone else for that matter, I could have done it already. I know Zan is outside, powerless to move unless you let him. I could have had the guards out there, captured and locked up already. But he is still sitting out there, waiting for you,” he said.

She looked into his eyes and knew it was the truth.

“Why?” she asked.

“I told you, because I love you,” he said.

“You had us all killed,” she said bitterly. “You say you love me, but you didn’t stop any of it,” she said.

“You wanted your brother and Rath dead as much as I did,” he said. “What happened to you was an un-preventable accident that I have suffered every day for since then,” he said softly.

“I don’t believe you. I love my brother. I love Michael. I never would have wanted them dead. You must have done something to me,” she said.

“I did nothing but tell you the truth. I did no more than open your eyes to the evils your brother committed. You had no idea,” he said sadly.

“Max wouldn’t have done anything to hurt anyone,” she said.

“Maybe the Max you know now, but not Zan. Zan was a different person on Antar. You just don’t remember,” he said.

“This is ridiculous!” she said. “I don’t believe a word of it.”

“Think about it Isabel. Remember what your mind wants you to forget, because your human mind loves Max as your brother now. Open your heart and your mind and you will see the truth,” he said.

As he said this, his voice triggered a flash from a life that she thought she did not remember.

*flash*

She had been standing in a large room, with enormous vaulted ceilings. Looking over to her left, she saw two figures animatedly discussing something. Though they did not look quite the same, she knew them, knew their essences as Max and Michael, or Zan and Rath, as they were known on Antar. She felt the familiarity of the light connection they maintain almost unconsciously at all times.

As if watching as an observer, she sees herself walk toward Rath, lightly putting her hand on his shoulder.

“Will you spend time with me now?” she asked in Antarian. “You promised me.”

Rath looked up at her, irritated. “Not now Vilondra. This is too important.”

“Everything is always more important than me, this planet, the people, the humans, all of them,” she said angrily.

Zan looked up at her patiently.

“’Londra, you knew what you were getting into when you married a member of the court, my second in command. I thought you understood clearly what marrying Rath meant,” he said, in a humoring voice.

“I don’t believe this. Now you have my brother defending you?” she gasped at Rath.

He turned toward her.

“I thought he might be able to explain it to you, so that you’d understand,” he said.

“Understand what? That I only wish for a few hours of your precious time? We’ve only been bonded for 4 moons Rath! I know you aren’t my chosen, and I’m sure I’m not yours, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be strangers passing each other in the halls either,” she said.

“’Londra, don’t start this whole ‘chosen’ saga again,” Zan said. “You knew perfectly well you made your own choice in this. You did this for Mother. It was her wish that you and Rath bond,” he said.

“Don’t think that I am not very well aware that this was my choice!” she snapped angrily. “I have had to live with it every day since! We all thought that she was going to die. Wouldn’t you grant her a dying wish? She’s adored Rath since he was a child. How could I refuse her?”

“You did the right thing Vilondra,” Zan said. “You hadn’t found ‘the one’, and who knows if you ever would. Do you have any idea how happy it made the people to know that you and Rath bonded?” he asked.

“The people,” she snorted derisively. “That’s all you care about isn’t it? You would marry whoever *they* wanted you to marry wouldn’t you?” she asked. “Don’t you ever think about finding your chosen Zan? Don’t you ever think about having a little happiness for yourself?”

“I don’t have time for that,” he answered quietly. “My duty is to my people.”

“At the expense of yourself,” she said flatly.

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you,” Zan said. “I wish that things didn’t have to be like this, but we have more problems than we know how to deal with, with Radmis. Derak had been making trouble again. Father wants me to handle this.”

“I don’t care about Radmis. I don’t care about any of it,” she said.

“I know. That’s my job. I do it so you don’t have to care. But you have to trust that if I need Rath here with me, its for a good reason,” he said, rubbing his brow.

“I don’t want to see you unhappy Vilondra, believe me. You’re my sister, and I love you. But if we don’t settle this, there won’t be anyone around to be happy with,” he said.

“And this is how you feel too?” she asked Rath.

“I have a responsibility to my King, your brother, and this planet,” Rath said. “I want to work on us too. Its hard enough that we aren’t each other’s chosen, but I can’t just drop everything else,” Rath said.

“Fine,” she said flatly, walking away and out of the room without looking back.

And such was the way it went for many moons, until a summit was called between the planets of their galaxy, to work on relations.

She did not want to be a part of it, but her parents insisted that the Royal Family put up a unified front with their presence.

She remembered dressing carefully in her finest robes, more out of habit than any sense of wanting to look good. It was expected of her, and so she did it, as much as she hated it. She always did what was expected of her. She looked at herself in the metallic glass, adjusting her headpiece meticulously, until it was just right.

She sighed unhappily at her slightly distorted reflection. In the glass, she saw Rath emerge from their bedchamber, dressed in his finest uniform. She straightened, hoping he would notice her appearance, but he walked past her distractedly, barely noticing her standing there.

She felt anger at the injustice of her situation rise in her throat. A family who was bound to duty, a husband who was fond of her, but did not love her. In the most secret place in her heart, she yearned for more. She yearned for passion, and cause, and happiness.

She sighed as Rath suddenly noticed her standing there, and put out his arm for her to take. She lowered her head and threaded her arm through his.

Together they walked to the vast enclosed court, where they waited for their announcement. The various members of the planets greeted them as they walked arm in arm through the crowd. But as soon as they reached Zan, Rath broke away from her.

She dutifully mingled, making idle conversation with different beings, just biding her time waiting for the night to end.

Music started up, and dancing began. She did not hold hope that Rath would dance with her, as he, Zan and other members of the alliance appeared to be deep in discussion, probably politics if she knew them at all.

As she watched them, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

“It seems I am in need of a dance partner,” a husky voice said from behind her. She turned and her eyes met a pair of the most beautiful blue eyes she’d ever seen.

“I don’t think I should,…?” she said, waiting for him to introduce himself.

“Khivar, son of Derak,” he said, bowing.

“Ah, so you are one of the Radmis upstarts,” she said with a smirk.

“Ah, so a reputation precedes me?” he asked with a smile. “I assure you, half of what you’ve heard isn’t true.”

She glanced over to see Rath glaring at the man next to her. This night might turn out to be fun after all.

“Maybe I will have that dance after all,” she said, taking Khivar’s hand and throwing a meaningful look at Rath before turning away pointedly.

His strong hand slid around her back as his other grasped hers gently, and he led her to the center of the room.

Her hands moved to rest lightly on his shoulders as he gently guided her around the floor in a traditional Antarian dance.

“You dance well,” she said. “How did you come to know this dance?”

“There was a time when Radmians and Antarians shared a lot of customs,” he said vaguely.

She frowned.

“What of that?” she asked.

“Please, let’s not talk politics,” he said.

“Oh yes, I’m bored to death with it as well,” she said gratefully.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Antarian female look lovelier,” he said appreciatively.

Her skin blushed a pale blue, and she lowered her eyes.

“It’s a sin that your husband is not out here with you,” he said. “If you were my chosen, I wouldn’t let you out of my sight,” he said, glancing over at Rath, who had been joined by Zan in staring Khivar down.

Their displeasure was not lost on her, and she smiled softly.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” he asked.

“Of course not!” she said indignantly.

“Forgive me,” he said. “My manners seemed to have disappeared. But I make no secret that I do not care for your brother, or his ways.”

“Why is that?” she asked, suddenly curious.

“There is much you don’t know,” he said, his fingers absently stroking her arm. This would normally be considered a major breech of etiquette, but she barely noticed it as she looked into his eyes. His mouth was sensual, his angled jaw a pleasing contrast. She could feel the powerful ligaments beneath the synthetic skin that covered them.

“I shouldn’t talk of it,” he said. “It’s rude.”

“No, I wish to hear it,” she said, urging him to continue.

“I don’t think I could explain it,” he said, looking over her shoulder. “If you’d like to know, come and visit me on Radmis. I will show you.”

“That’s impossible,” she said. “I cannot leave here.”

Unobtrusively, he moved closer to her, his breath caressing her ear.

“I know that I should be killed for saying this, but I cannot help but feel an attraction to you. From the moment I saw you come in here on Rath’s arm, I was drawn to you. You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen. I understand that you can’t leave here. You owe me nothing. But I have looked upon you, and now that I have, I shall never forget you,” he said, his lips gently touching her cheek, as her eyes widened at his boldness.

“May I dance with my wife?” an irritated voice interrupted, and Khivar pulled away, and she was strangely disappointed by the absence of his touch. She turned to see Rath’s irritated face, and quickly lowered her eyes.

“Of course,” Khivar said politely. “It was a pleasure dancing with you, Princess Vilondra.”

She nodded mutely, afraid to look at him, and she felt rather than saw him move away from them.

Rath took her hand as they began a new dance.

“What were you doing?” he hissed. “Do you have any idea who that was?”

“Khivar of Radmis,” she answered matter-of-fact.

“If you knew who he was, then *why* would you dance with him?” he asked.

“Because I was not going to be rude. Radmian or not, he is still our guest here. Besides, I didn’t see you coming to ask me to dance,” she admonished.

She saw his face tighten in anger.

“I want you to stay away from him,” he said.

“Are you jealous?” she asked, irritated.

“Please…,” he said irritated.

He’s trouble,” he answered.

“Oh don’t worry Rath,” she said in a bored voice. “You know I always do what is expected of me.”

But this time it was different. She did not speak to him again that night, but she felt his eyes on her, burning her, calling to her.

The summit ended without resolution, and all members of the alliance left for their respective planets two days later.

Khivar’s face haunted her. His words haunted her. What was it he meant when he said he didn’t like Zan’s ways?

She had felt strangely drawn to him as he was to her. For days she tried to put him out of her mind, failing miserably. And then she decided. She would go to Radmis.

She sent a transmission to Khivar’s private receiver, the frequency of which she was given once it was verified that she was in fact Vilondra.

She told Rath that she wanted to get away to a resort on Kidmees, a nearby planet known for it’s beautiful blue sand beaches that her family had frequented for years. Rath was only too happy for a respite from her complaints and readily agreed that she should get away.

And so two days later, she was enroute to Radmis with her personal guards, who had sworn loyalty to her. She knew that they would not betray her. She trusted them implicitly.

The sight that met her eyes as their ship lowered through the atmosphere made her gasp. The planet was in ruin, fields blackened, water polluted. Derak’s compound was situated in the midst of a dying city. As their ship landed, and she disembarked, she noted the deserted state of the city. There was not a being to be seen.

An enormous canopy covered the path from the ship to the compound, and a heavily robed figure waited at the entrance.

She walked nervously with her guards, afraid that she had made a severe error in judgment. But she would not show her fear. She walked with her head high, her guards flanking her stepping purposefully.

The robed figure nodded as she approached, and turned toward the entrance, and she followed him inside. Her fear immediately subsided as the figure immediately pulled the hood down as soon as the bay doors clanked shut, to reveal Khivar.

“I’m sorry for the robes,” he apologized. “This synthetic skin cannot stand the rays of the suns.”

She felt her heart fall. “I had no idea,” she said.

“There is much you don’t know. You are curious, that is why you’re here,” he said, smiling at her.

“I will reveal all you wish to know,” he said.

She nodded.

“Let me show you to your quarters,” he said, holding out his arm, and she rested her hand on his forearm lightly.

Together they walked through the massive compound.

“I honestly did not think you would come,” he admitted.

“I am not quite sure why I’m here myself,” she lied. Because she’d had to see him again, she had to know the answer of the riddle of her attraction to him.

“Well, whatever the reason, I’m glad you came,” he said, and she looked at him shyly.

He stopped in front of a closed door. He pressed the button next to the door, and it slid silently open.

She looked around at the fairly plain but neat quarters.

“I’m sorry that they are just adequate,” he apologized. “The compound is not what it used to be. We’ve had to sell a lot of things to keep it running.”

“No it’s fine,” she insisted.

“I’ll leave you to get acclimated then,” he said. “Ring the intercom when you wish to find me, and I will send someone to get you. Dinner will be ready in a half-hour. Your guards have adjacent quarters.”

She nodded, and he bowed, leaving her alone in the room. She had a moment of panic when she thought of what she was doing, and then suppressed it. She would have never been able to let it go had she not come.

She quickly changed, and when she was ready, she rang. A moment later, a Radmian girl presented herself.

“Come with me Your Highness,” she said, bowing. She followed the girl to a large dining room where Khivar waited for her.

She sat across from him.

Food was placed in front of them, and she finally spoke.

“Where is your father? I am sure he would not be too pleased that I am here,” she said.

“He is away at the moment,” Khivar answered quietly. “And it is probably just as well, as I am sure you are right, he would be about as happy with your presence here as Zan or Rath would be.”

She felt a momentary pang of guilt at the utterance of her brother and husband’s names.

“No one will be the wiser,” he said, reading her thoughts on her face.

She nodded.


See next page for continuation of Part 16.......


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Feb-2002 9:43:48 PM ]
posted on 4-Feb-2002 9:43:05 PM by majesty
As they ate, they talked about various things, none of them political, and she found him to be a very lively conversationalist, witty and interesting.

No one really talked to her much about anything at the Palace on Antar, other than of clothes or babies, or other such nonsense. Contrary to popular belief around the palace, she was well read on various flora and species in the galaxy, and she enjoyed talking to him about them.

After they ate, the rose and took a walk in the courtyard of the compound, where he showed her the gardens and the various plants he’d kept, one of the few extravagances he allowed himself.

When it came time to retire for the evening, she realized she had fully enjoyed herself. His very presence had held her captivated.

She was afraid of what would happen at the end of the evening, but he just bid her goodnight, chastely kissing her on the hand.

She did not sleep well that night, tossing and turning, imagining his fingers on her skin, his lips on hers.

They spent the following day around the compound. He’d shown her the various artifacts his family had that still remained unsold. There were many old books, and she was interested in looking through them, so he left her for awhile to peruse at her leisure.

She read of Radmian history and their long alliance with Antar. This she had known. But what she did not know was the truth of what had happened to divide them so. She knew her brother did not particularly care for Derak, but when asked, she was told not to worry about it, that she would know if the time came that she needed to. And she had never had any real interest in politics before, concerning herself with the arts and humanities, leaving the governmental functions to her brother, who seemed to thrive on it. Once she took Rath as a husband, she knew he would be the real ruler should one ever be needed. And she doubted that would ever be the case. Zan was too smart to be killed. That much she knew.

But now her attraction to Khivar raised questions in her mind as to what had happened between the two planets.

Khivar came to get her for dinner, and again they chatted companionably, Isabel blushing every time he caught her staring when she thought he wasn’t looking.

A few times she’d caught him looking at her as well, and it made her hearts beat faster. Having two hearts made it all the more exhilarating feeling the rush of adrenaline like chemicals in her body.

After the dinner was cleared, he grew serious.

“You have questions, and I think it’s time some of them were answered,” he said, rising and holding out his hand.

“Come,” he said, holding his hand out to her.

She took it gently, and he led her from the room.

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“I am sure you’ve been curious to see more of my planet. I would assume it was quite obvious that there was no one around when you arrived?” he said quietly.

“Yes,” she said. “It did seem curious.”

A flank of soldiers joined them as the main bay doors opened, letting in the light of the moons.

“My people cannot be out during the day,” he explained. “There is much sickness here. Our skin, not these synthetic husks we wear, cannot stand the rays of the sun. Our atmosphere was damaged by a sunburst two years ago, and the radiation is too powerful for us.”

“Did you know that Antar and Radmis were once allies?” he asked, walking with his hands behind his back.

“Well look on what your family has done to my people,” he said, and as she turned her attention from him, she gasped in horror.

Everywhere where Radmians, their skins peeling away, revealing welts beneath it. Painfully thin, and pitifully sick, they looked on them with the eyes of the dead.

“These are the worst of them. Not all of my people are like this, but if we don’t do something soon, it will eventually happen to us all,” he said.

“I don’t understand what this has to do with my family,” she said.

“Our families, yours and mine, once worked closely together. Antar and Radmis were both rich in resources, different for each planet, and our two planets allied were a formidable force. A time came when before our parents were even born, that both our planets’ resources had dwindled. Your ancestors, your paternal grandmother and grandfather sent out emissaries to find other planets on which we could cultivate resources. Antar sent out emissaries, finding Earth,” he said.

“Yes I knew that,” Isabel said.

“Originally, your people planned to take Earth. It was always an unspoken agreement between Antar and Radmis that they would share in all resources, putting their own people above any other,” he said.

She looked at him surprised. She did not know that Antar had planned to take over the humans’ planet. Their people had lived on her planet for as far back as she could remember.

“Yes,” he said.

“Instead of taking what both of our planets needed, they colonized there. A place called Atlantis.
Humans had resources, which they shared with Antarians. Eventually, some of them came back to Antar to live there. Those who lived in Atlantis. Atlantis was destroyed, the colony sunk into the sea, never to be found. The humans that came to Antar brought with them all of the resources Antar could possibly need, as their scientists had found a way to replenish Antar with what they had brought back with them. Antar turned on Radmis, offering our people a token supply of food, not enough to sustain us,” he said.

“We were understandably infuriated. An alliance for a millennia was suddenly cut off because your people realized that they did not want to share with both our people *and* the humans. We did not accept their offer. Around the same time, we were approached by planet Polid. It seemed we had a valuable mineral on our planet called Deshu, a rare metal. It was of no use to us, but Polid wanted and was prepared to pay handsomely for it. You have to understand how hurt my family was at your families betrayal,” he said.

“For 10 years Radmis made its living on Deshu, and your people continued their relationship with the humans. Relations between Antar and my planet deteriorated, though we were still allies, when we needed to be. That is, we were until Polid was destroyed. My planet quickly deteriorated with no way to support itself, the need for the Deshu gone.

“Five years ago a sunburst severely damaged our atmosphere, and our scientists worked frantically, coming up with a manufactured husk that would protect them from the sun’s rays. But they would not last. The scientists realized that the manufactured skin was no longer immune to the radiation of the sun. And so we are forced to stay indoors until after sundown.”

“Antarians have been oppressing the Radmians for five years, allowing the humans to live and prosper among them, while exiling us to an ailing planet. Our families’ ties of a millennium are tenuous. Your brother is about to sever them because Radmis is no longer a valuable ally. We have effectively been discarded by your brother, much like old trash, in favor of the humans.”

“That can’t be true,” Isabel said, horrified. “Zan wouldn’t do that.”

Khivar shrugged. “Believe what you must, but it’s the truth,” he answered quietly.

Isabel could not bring herself to believe what he said, but it didn’t deaden her attraction to him one iota.

She saw firsthand the poverty of his planet that night, and as she returned to her quarters that night, it was with a heavy heart.

“I am sorry this is upsetting to you,” he said softly as he stood in front of her at her door.

She shook her head.

“I wish there was something I could do,” she said.

“There is nothing. Your brother is too arrogant, too headstrong. We tried and failed,” he said.

Slowly he reached up and touched her face.

“It is amazing to me that you are even related,” he said. “You are so different.”

She smiled wanly.

“That is one think you are right about,” she said looking into his eyes.

“I want to kiss you,” he said regretfully. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you, and since you’ve been here, my mind has thought of nothing else.”

“I am bonded to Rath,” she said.

“Ah, but if he were truly your chosen, you would not be here now, would you?” he asked with a small smile.

His head lowered to hers, and she did not stop him as his lips touched hers softly, then more urgently. Her hands grasped his powerful forearms as her mouth opened to allow him entrance, and in doing that, she opened their connection.

She felt a wave of passion explode through her, his desire rolling over her in powerful pulsing waves. In her mind, she saw the vibrant, angry colors of his essence. Strong, masculine, dangerous. Beneath the calm veneer lay an imposing powerful soul. She felt his ambition, his commitment, and above all, his lust for her.

Abruptly, she broke the kiss.

“I cannot do this!” she said, trying to catch her breath. She thought of Rath and Zan and her family, who would be so disappointed in her. But her body betrayed her, screaming out for his touch.

“I understand,” he said, stepping back.
“You have to go tomorrow,” he said. “My father will be returning.”

She nodded. “I don’t think it would be a good idea if I stayed any longer anyway.”

“Good night Vilondra,” he said, bowing.

She did not sleep at all that night, and soon it was time for her to board her ship.

He stood stoically beside her, robed, as she prepared to leave.

“I will try to get Zan to help,” he said.

“I thank you for that,” he said, “but it will do no good.”

“Farewell,” he said, backing away.

She watched out the portal as he grew smaller as the ship took off.

The trip back to Antar was uneventful, and Rath barely asked her how her trip was. It was as much as she’d expected.

For days she could think of nothing else but the Radmians, and Khivar’s lips on hers. Finally, she could stand it no longer.

She confronted Zan in his quarters.

“People tell me that you will not aid the Radmians,” she said.

“Since when are you so interested in the Radmians?” he asked, barely looking up at her. “Or politics at all?”

“It interests me because I have heard that they are starving, that their planet is in ruin, and we will not help,” she said.

“Who told you this?” he asked, looking at her with interest.

“It doesn’t matter. Is it true?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said flatly.

“Why?” she asked angrily.

“Because what we offered them they refused. I will not offer again. It is time the Radmians learn to take care of themselves,” he said.

“What you offered them wasn’t enough,” she said.

“How do you know that?” he asked sarcastically. “You have no idea what you’re talking about. The Radmians are parasites.”

Rath walked in on the discussion.

“Your wife seems to be interested in our Radmian dealings,” Zan said, amused.

Rath looked at her annoyed.

“I think you should stick to what you know Vilondra, and let Zan take care of what he knows,” he said.

She felt angry tears rising at the injustice of their actions.

“Very well, I will butt out of your affairs from now on,” she said, and angrily strode from the room.

She knew it was hopeless to try to convince Zan that he was wrong. But she knew the Radmians could not get on their feet by themselves.

Over the next few months, she couldn’t help herself. She continued to see Khivar in secret. She realized that she was falling in love with him.

Khivar again approached Zan, asking for what was due his planet, in honoring their alliance. Zan refused them any aid. Zan did not miss her angry countenance, and knew what it was about He started to suspect that she was talking to Khivar.

One night, he confronted her with it, and ordered her to stay away from Khivar.

“Who do you think you are to tell me who I can and can’t speak to?” she said angrily. “You are not my husband, nor my father.”

“I am the Prince, and your acting leader,” he said angrily.

“And some Prince you are,” she retorted.

“Khivar is not to be trusted Vilondra. Stay away from him,” he said.

She’d let him say his piece, and continued to see Khivar.

Things grew desperate on Radmis. Khivar told her of the deep-seated starvation.

In desperation, Khivar’s family started to raid the Antarian compounds for food.

On one particular raid, Khivar’s father, and his brother Duruk, led a small band of Radmians to raid the Antarian food compound.

The morning after, she woke to the news of their death. Khivar was now ruler of Radmis.

News reached her that Rath and Zan had killed them. This was the final straw for her. She moved out of Rath’s quarters and refused to speak to either he or Zan.

Two days later, she met Khivar in secret. He was furious that Zan and Rath would kill the ruling family that they had allied themselves with for as long as the galaxy could remember.

Khivar called a summit, and called upon the long ago instituted law of retribution, which recompenses for the unlawful death of family.

Later, he told her what happened.

He’d argued that Radmis’ atmosphere was dissipating. His people were getting sick. They could no longer go outdoors during daylight hours. Zan and Rath had broken the scared trust between families and murdered his father and brother. He demanded justice. He wanted Earth as compensation.

Zan refused to honor the agreement. He told Khivar that the humans were their friends. An argument broke out and Zan decreed that all alliances with Radmis were severed
She knew she now had a choice to make.

And so she escaped to Radmis.

She hated the humans for the broken alliance with the Radmians, and for their interference. Khivar told her anger, telling her that had they never been brought here, things between their families would have been different. He was left with n other choice. He would unseat her brother for the throne.

She hated what her brother was, that he had ruined the lives of millions, causing her love to live in the darkness, in poverty.

But with one last hope, she went back to Antar, pleading with Zan to one last time to have mercy on Khivar. He refused to see her, angered at her defection.

Khivar was bitter. He told her that as soon as the humans had outlived their usefulness, they would suffer the same fate at the hands of her brother. But he could not be concerned about them. He had to think of his own people.

And so Khivar came up with a plan to steal the Antarian resources, and it was she that gave him the security information for the compound.

She’d hated her brother for denying help to the man she’d grown to love. For his betrayal of Radmis. She knew the Radmian people did not trust her. They hated Antarians. But maybe this act against her family would convince them that she knew their plight.

She accompanied them on their mission. As she came to the ship, she saw the large metal containers they would use to get into the compound. Radmians were already enclosed in them. They would be disguised as a food shipment. Once delivered into the compound, they would exit the containers and take what they needed, bringing it back to Radmis.

When they landed on Antar, Khivar cursed their luck. Rath was overseeing the containers coming into the compound. Surely their men would be discovered.

And then she had an idea.

As the containers approached the compound, she confronted Rath.

He was surprised to see her, and then angry. An argument broke out between the two of them, and he grabbed her arm roughly, asking her how she could betray her own people. Her guards immediately descended on him, and there was a stand-off. He let her go with disgust, telling her to get out of his site.

But the containers made it into the compound safely.

They waited a short distance away, unseen but the Antarians.

As night fell, they waited for the containers.

An eerie mist rose from the compound, and she gasped. The Granolith. Someone was using the Granolith.

Immediately, a shield rose around the compound, barring anyone from entering or exiting, and flames burst through the roof. As they watched this, the Radmians who were in the containers appeared, telling of getting out by the skin of their teeth.

She turned back to the compound, seeing figures, desperately running up against the shield, trying to get out of the compound. Humans.

And she saw that what Khivar had said was true. That Zan was going to dispose of the humans, just like he was going to try to dispose of the Radmians. A black hate filled her heart as Khivar pulled her away from the scene.

Over the next few days, word reached them of the human revolt against the Antarians, and of their desired alliance with Radmis. Zan and Rath were captured, and were to be put to death.


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

“Why didn’t I remember any of this?” she said.

“You remember it now because we mated, because we were each other’s chosen,” he said.

“You were my chosen?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said simply.

“It’s all true,” Isabel said softly, tears running down her face, as she looked at the man standing in front of her.

“Yes,” he said.

“And this…what you’ve done here,” she said.

“Radmis is a dying planet. We need a place to live,” he said.

“But what of the humans?” she asked.

“We’ve promised their Antarian counterparts that we would bring them there, to Antar. We cannot live even on Antar anymore. The suns there are too strong. There is only one sun here,” he said. “Much more conducive to this,” he said, rubbing his skin.

“I loved you didn’t I?” she asked, feeling those feelings running through her body once more.

“Yes, and I loved you,” he said. “I still love you.”

“My family…Zan, they were awful to your people,” she said.

“Yes. But that was not you. You were a kind soul Isabel. When you were killed, I…a part of my own heart died with you,” he said.

And she knew those words to be true. She could see it in his eyes. All of the love of her past life rushed into her heart once more.

He tentatively took a step toward her, and when she didn’t move away, he reached out and gently brushed her cheek with his fingers.

She felt a tingle of electric desire at his touch.

“If we don’t stop Serena, you’ll all die won’t you?” she asked.

“Yes,” he answered simply.

“I want you to be with me Isabel. I can’t lose you again,” he said softly.

And she realized that she wanted to be with him too. Every tender memory she’d experienced with him rushed through her mind, and she once again felt the attraction to him she’d once felt.

“Max is not Zan,” she said forcefully.

“I know,” he said.

“If I stay with you, he doesn’t get hurt. None of them,” she said.

“Whatever you wish,” he said, non-committally. “But if he does not stay away, if they don’t stay away, I cannot promise you anything. In two days time we will be ready for the transport. I will promise you that they may stay here, alive, if they don’t attempt to stop it,” he said. “But you have to convince them of that.”

She nodded.

“Michael,” she said.

He looked over her shoulder and nodded, and a guard walked down the tunnel. A moment later, he dragged a stumbling Michael out of the tunnel.

“Isabel, what the hell is going on?” he asked, angrily, his voice reflecting the pain of his wound.

Khivar nodded at her, and she started back up the tunnel, the guard and Michael behind her.

“Isabel, talk to me!” Michael said angrily. “What is this?”

She didn’t answer him, walking up the stairwell.

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

Max felt the energy field release around him and he immediately stood up. As he did, he saw Isabel emerge from the stairwell, with Michael and the guard in tow.

“Isabel!” he said anxiously, putting his hand up to fell the guard.

“Don’t Max,” she said forcefully.

“Take Michael and go,” she said.

“What?!?!” he asked. “What are you talking about?”

“Get out of here, and keep Serena away from DC,” she said. “I’m staying here.”

“Are you crazy?” he asked. “What did he do to you? What did Khivar do to you?”

“Nothing,” she said. “I remembered the truth.”

“What truth? What are you talking about?” he asked.

“We were the bad guys Max. The Antarians, not Khivar,” she said.

“You can’t seriously believe that,” he said.

“I know it Max. I remember it, all of it,” she said. “You trust me Max, I wouldn’t lie to you.”

“No Isabel, I don’t believe that, I’m sorry,” he said, looking at her suspiciously.

She laughed humorlessly.

“Maybe you are more like Zan than I thought,” she said. “He didn’t listen to Vilondra either.”

“Isabel I don’t understand,” he said.

“You will in a minute,” she said, putting her hands to his head, and looking into his eyes.

“I didn’t want to do this Max. I didn’t want you to know, but you leave me no choice,” she said.

And then the flashes, her memories ran though his head, of what he’d done, of the person he’d been, of how he and Rath had dismissed her, how he’d allowed her to marry Rath, even though he was not her chosen, of how his family had abandoned Radmis, of how he’d taken what he’d wanted from the humans, and how both he and Rath paid for it. There was no doubt in his mind they were her memories, he could sense her life-force intermingled through them, as he’d so often felt in their connection.

And she took her hands from his temples, and there were tears in his eyes, and tears in hers.

“I’m sorry Max,” she said.

He looked at her in anguish.

“How did you remember this now?” he asked.

“Khivar was my chosen. Connecting with him opened up all these memories,” she said sadly.

“Max, you can’t let Serena go to DC. You can’t stop this. If you do, you’ll all die,” she said. “He’s promised you will all live. Everyone that was here will live too, on Antar.”

“You trust him?” Max said incredulously.

“Yes,” she said simply, and he saw in her eyes that she did.

“Max, you made a lot of mistakes on Antar. This is going to fix it,” she said.

He hung his head, unable to reconcile who he’d been on Antar, that he had done the things he’d done.

“Let it go Max. Let *me* go this time,” she said. She walked up and gently hugged him and stepped away.

“Don’t be foolish. You have a chance at a life, with Liz, if you just let this happen. Don’t deny yourself this time,” she said, walking away.

“I’m not going to,” she said softly.

“Isabel wait!” he said, moving to stop her, and the guard pointed a gun at him.

“Go now, if you know what’s good for you,” the guard said.

Max looked at Michael, whose face was a mask of confusion and pain. But even he knew that they were outnumbered as the guards emerged from the trees.

And in that moment, Max felt pure despair for what he’d been, for what he’d done. And he knew that Isabel was right.

“Come on Michael,” he said in a defeated voice.

“Max, we can’t just leave her here!” he said.

“It’s where she wants to be,” he said dully, pulling Michael’s arm around his shoulder. Slowly, he helped Michael away from the clearing.

TBC…..

posted on 4-Feb-2002 10:33:06 PM by majesty
Roswellluver,

Nope, those memories really are Isabel's. I know it seems a little confusing now, but it will become clearer later.

As far as the humans, Khivar has promised her that they will live, and that they will live on Antar, but like I said, all isn't as it seems *happy*

majesty
posted on 5-Feb-2002 8:45:45 AM by majesty
Midnight,

I am understanding how you are feeling, and that is the way you're supposed to be feeling at this point in the story. But have faith. Things will become clearer, and there is light at the end of the tunnel *happy*

majesty


posted on 10-Feb-2002 9:19:47 AM by majesty
Hi Everyone.

So I went a little nuts with this one this weekend. I am posting three parts. Honestly, I don't even like them. I rewrote alot of this multiple times and I still am not happy with it, but I want to finish this story sometime this century.

These installments are pretty long.

I hope it isn't confusing, and if it is, just ask away.

majesty

PART SEVENTEEN

Isabel walked slowly back down the staircase, feeling the start of a familiar yet strange sense of dizziness. Her confusion only grew as she approached Khivar again. She knew the memories to be her true perception, but there had to be more to it. She stopped in the corridor, leaning against the wall, trying to get her bearings. She didn’t have much time. The guard would be following her down as soon as Max left the area.

Her only clear thought had been to get Max and Michael out of there. Neither was a match for Khivar in the current states they were in. She needed to ask Khivar more questions. She needed to know everything.

The problem was, all rational thought flew out the window when she looked into his eyes. Perhaps the human in her was the reason she could even question his statements. Because as an Antarian, she had not even thought twice about the validity of what he had told her about his planet. Even now, her alien side was powerful, and it was a great struggle to reason out what he’d told her, and what she remembered. If what he told her *was* true, she could only hope that he was true to his word and Max would not be harmed. But if it wasn’t true, and she had betrayed her brother, she would do everything in her power to make things right this time. And the easiest way to do that was to be near Khivar.

Why hadn’t she confronted Zan, asked more questions? Thinking of the memories of her past life, she cursed herself. She’d been blinded by love, hadn’t she? Even now, she felt the call of Khivar’s presence, beckoning her, drawing her closer, making things muddy.

She felt a pang as she thought of Alex, who had been so kind to her, who had asked nothing of her. Alex who was unconventionally good-looking with his dark hair, tall frame and piercing blue eyes. Alex, who she had not looked at twice in high school, who earlier today had been in her thoughts as the only good thing to come out of this whole mess. But Alex seemed very far away now, in the shadow of Khivar’s magnetism.

She had to find someplace in her mind where she could think, where he could not get to her. But how? She felt the bond between them now, his essence like tendrils clamped around her mind.

He was sensing her thoughts. She quickly blanked her mind.

She heard him laugh softly in the gloom.

“You still don’t believe it completely?” he asked humorously.

“I…I just can’t believe that my brother was so different on Antar. I can’t believe *I* was so different,” she said.

“Ah, because you are headstrong and inquisitive as a human?” he asked, curiously.

“I wouldn’t just take anyone’s word for something, no,” she said, lifting her head defiantly.

“I saw what happened to us. You didn’t stop them from killing me,” she said, avoiding his eyes. “I gave up everything for you, and it got me killed.”

He sighed.

“I admit it,” he said. “I was a coward. And I’ve paid for it over and over again, every time your image crossed my mind.”

He reached out and touched her cheek gently.

“Isabel…please. Question anything else about your past life, but never doubt that I did love you. I still love you. I just wasn’t brave enough to fight for you,” he said, tears forming in his eyes.

Her antarian side felt his call, felt all of the love she had felt for him then, but the human side of her would not accept these feelings. She felt the conflict as if she were fighting herself.

“This was all your plan wasn’t it? To get me here?” she said.

He shook his head.

“I didn’t even know you were alive,” he said. “At least until I saw Rath, and then I guessed…I hoped. The human part of you kept me from being able to feel you. Because I could always feel you, after…after we mated,” he said.

She blanched, on one hand feeling disgusted that she would get involved with her brother’s enemy, and yet somehow strangely excited by this.

“I don’t believe that all I remember is what really happened. I know they’re my memories, but there was something more,” she said angrily.

He shook his head.

“I’m sorry. I know you don’t want to believe it of your brother, but it’s the truth,” he said.

“Where are my parents…my human parents?” she asked.

“Why does this concern you?” he asked, curiously.

“How could it not?” she answered. “They raised me.”

He looked at her speculatively for a long moment.

“What?” she said, irritated.

“It’s just going to take a little getting used to, you having concerns for humans. This was the ultimate joke, was it not? Your Antarian parents melding you with human DNA. Your family was going to try to destroy the humans like they did my people, but they found a use for them again after all, didn’t they? A very good plan, I might add. No one would think to look for any of you here,” he said thoughtfully.

“But as luck would have it, I found out anyway. Imagine how I felt when I looked at the human you call Michael, and saw the essence of Rath,” he said. “I almost didn’t dare to hope you might be alive too, but luck was with me.”

“What do you mean, you saw his essence?” Isabel said, frowning.

He smiled. “There is so much you don’t know, that you don’t remember,” he said seductively, coming closer, and she felt herself immediately drawn to him, trying to swallow the desire that threatened to choke her as his hand moved slowly, temptingly down her arm.

“I will awaken you Isabel…Vilondra,” he said softly, and as his fingers caressed her arm, she felt a strange popping in her head. And as she looked at him, she saw what he looked like underneath the synthetic skin he wore, almost superimposed over his corporeal form.

She gasped at the alien-ness of it. For he though he was humanoid, similar in size and stature to one, the similarities ended there.

His eyes were completely black, the whites of normal human eyes completely absent. Though his mouth was rich and full, his lips were the color of slight mocha, contrasting starkly with the deep gold tone of his skin. Thick muscle tissue corded around his neck area. Though different than anything she’d ever seen, his face was terrible in its beauty, the features finely chiseled, his jaw strong. His face held the character of a warrior. Across his chest and arms, deep brown marks striped his skin, angry and painful, she imagined. Of all she could see with her human eyes, only the golden hair was his.

“So now you see,” he said. “You see what the radiation has done to my skin. I didn’t always look like this.”

“We had to wear protective lenses on Radmis, and I’ve grown used to them. I’ve grown used to looking human,” he explained, as she looked at his eyes.

“You didn’t answer my question,” she said.

“Your human caretakers, yes,” he said. “They are on Radmis, with all the others. They are fine,” he said.

“Their skin is not as sensitive as ours, and the atmosphere of Radmis is habitable for humans. We are starting to transport them to Antar, where they will stay,” he said.

“No harm will come to them,” he said. “I promise you that, though I still don’t understand your fondness for them.”

His hands lifted and ran gently through her hair.

“I know you don’t trust me. But I ask that you give me a chance to prove to you that I do love you, and that everything wish you asked of me will come true,” he said.

“Your brother will be fine. All of your friends will be fine. Your human parents will be fine, as long as they don’t get in my way. You must understand, I have a responsibility to my own people, and they can’t get in the way of that,” he said. “As long as you convinced your brother, everything is going to be fine.”

And as she felt his fingers curve around the back of her neck, she again felt that rush of desire for him and his head lowered, his lips grazing hers, and she felt heat rush through her body, intoxicating, blinding.

In the reflection of his eyes, she saw her own turn dark, inhuman, alien.

In that moment, all questions flew from her head as she was immersed in his embrace.

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

Kyle rubbed his eyes tiredly. It had been an hour since Serena had fallen into unconsciousness again, and he felt the ravages of the past few days taking its toll on him.

He was still trying to comprehend what had happened with Liz. He’d been trying to prepare himself to tell her about his feelings for Serena, dreading it.

But she’d understood. He should have known she’d understand.

As he looked down at the sleeping face of the woman who had captured his unwilling heart, he allowed himself to immerse himself fully in the glow of his attraction to her, without guilt, and without fear. And it felt…really good.

He reached out a tentative finger, lightly touching her hair, and then checked her forehead. Warm, but not burning hot. An improvement.

She’d been through so much, and she was going to go through worse before all of this was over, he knew. And he’d be there with her, every step of the way.

There were no more excuses, and no further reason to pull away.

He noticed her breathing becoming erratic, and she mumbled unintelligibly.

“Vilondra…no,” she said in a pained voice. “DON’T!”

“Hey…Serena,” he said softly, concerned.

“Zan,” she whimpered.

“Serena, wake up,” he said, gently touching her cheek.

She stirred, peering at him through swollen eyes.

“Kyle?” she said, her voice cracking.

He smiled at her wryly.

“Hey you,” he said softly. “You were having a nightmare,” he said.

She nodded, shutting her eyes.

“Are you ok? Is everyone ok?” she asked.

He shook his head.

“Would you stop worrying about everyone else for one second? Are *you* ok?” he asked, his hand cupping her temple, his thumb gently stroking her forehead.

“My shoulder is killing me,” she said, wincing.

“Yeah, it was dislocated,” he said. “It’ll probably be sore for awhile.”

“What else?” he asked.

“Everything, basically,” she said. Gingerly she lifted her shirt up, and Kyle felt fury as he saw dark angry bruises covering her ribcage.

“I never realized Doc Martins could do so much damage,” she said wryly, wincing as she touched her ribcage.

“I think I have a couple of cracked ribs,” she said painfully.

Feeling something strange brush against the skin of her stomach, she looked at her wrist and noticed the chip.

“Bastards,” she said, and before Kyle could stop her, she had her fingernails under it, and had pulled it from her skin. Blood pooled immediately, and Kyle grabbed the gauze from the nightstand, quickly wrapping her wrist.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” he said, shaking his head. “What if it had been on an artery or something?”

“Then I guess I would have bled to death,” she said matter-of-factly, and Kyle looked at her in exasperation.

A moment later, he was done wrapping her wrist, and he sat back.

“Thanks,” she said.

She reached the hand of her good arm up to her face, wincing again as she felt the swelling around her eye socket and the cut on her cheek.

“I’m a mess,” she said, shutting her eyes.

“You don’t look so bad,” he said.

“Don’t humor me Kyle,” she admonished, weakly smacking his arm with her good hand.

“I see that your attitude is still fully intact,” he laughed softly.

“Shut up,” she groaned. “I swear, even on my worst day, I could still kick your ass.”

“Ah, the sense of humor hasn’t gone anywhere either,” he said chuckling.

She opened her eyes again, and he felt his heart tighten as he saw the broken blood vessels in her left eye. He suddenly wished he had Evans’ alien powers so that he could take it all away for her.

“I’m sorry you went through that,” he said, suddenly serious. “I wanted to get there sooner.”

“You got there, Kyle,” she said. “That’s what’s important.”

“I was afraid I was going to be too late,” he said softly, and she turned her head from him suddenly.

“I’m sure Liz is glad that you’re back safe,” she said, focusing her gaze on the window.

He paused for a moment, suddenly unsure of what to say.

“Yeah,” he said finally. “She was happy to see us.” An irrational fear took hold of his confidence. How did he even begin to tell her what was in his heart?

“I’ll bet,” she said, shutting her eyes tightly. She willed the tears to stop forming, but her heart had other ideas. She did not want him to see her cry.

“I have to get up,” she said, lurching a little, trying to lift her upper body. He gently pushed her back down, avoiding her shoulder.

“No way,” he said. “You’re not going anywhere, at least until we get you wrapped. You can’t walk around with cracked ribs.”

“We don’t have time for this. There’s too much to do,” she said, again trying to sit up.

He held her down carefully at her abdomen.

“No, you’re going to rest. You’ve earned it for chrissakes!” he argued.

She felt her control slipping away, and she panicked.

Pushing his hand away, averting her watery eyes from his, she finally struggled into a sitting position.

“Valenti, move!” she said roughly.

“No, can’t do that,” he said, trying to figure out why she was so insistent on moving away from him.

She felt her last shred of will leave her, and a lone tear slide down her cheek, and cursed herself.

Keeping her head turned she spoke in a menacing voice.

“Valenti, if you don’t get *out* of my way, so help me….” she grated. “You can’t keep me here.”

“Uh, yeah I can,” he said, and she snapped.

“Get the *fuck* out of my way!” she said, turning to him, and he saw the tears.

The woman he affectionately called “the terminator”, the bravest person he knew was crying, and he could see it was making her furious that he saw it.

His eyes widened for a split second, and he raised his hands to her jaw, pulling her generous lips toward him before she had time to think about it.

Their lips met, and Kyle thought his heart was going to explode out of his chest. His tongue slid along the length of hers caressing her, and he felt her breath quicken with his touch.

And suddenly, she tore her lips away from his, keeping her eyes lowered.

“Kyle, what are you doing?” she said shakily. “Liz…”

“Liz knows,” he said, stroking her cheek gently.

“What do you mean?” she asked in alarm.

“She knows how I feel,” he said.

“Oh God,” she said, pulling away from him.

“Serena,” he said, laying his hand gently on hers, “She’s ok with it.”

Her head turned toward him quickly. She stared at him, not knowing what to say.

“It’s Evans,” he said, with a smirk. “Wouldn’t have been my choice, but…”

“Max…Zan?!?” she asked in alarm. “And does he…”

“Apparently,” he answered.

A frown appeared on her face as everything she’d envisioned while in the cell started to come back to her.

“Where is Vilondra…uh, Isabel?” she asked.

“Long story,” Kyle answered, a little impatient that she’d changed the subject.

“Michael was captured when we rescued you. Max and Isabel went to get him out,” he said.

She shut her eyes wearily.

“I should have known. I should have known earlier,” she said, putting her hand to her head.

“Known what?” he asked.

“Khivar. If Khivar gets to her, if he sees her…” She broke off.

“If he sees her…” Kyle prompted.

“She was in love with him. On Antar,” she said.

“What are you saying, that she’ll betray her brother?” he asked.

“Not willingly no. But her alien side, I hope it’s not more powerful,” she said.

“Why would she betray Max…Zan, whatever?” he asked, confused.

“I don’t know. I only had a premonition. That she betrayed him on Antar,” she said.

“Crap, could this get any worse?” he said, worried.

He saw the same look mirrored on her face, and he gently pulled her into his arms.

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

Liz sat quietly with Alex, the two immersed in worried thoughts of Max and Isabel. Liz could hear Maria’s voice outside, talking quietly to Doug. She knew that Maria was just as worried for Michael.

“Do you think they’re all right?” she asked Alex.

He shrugged. “I hope so, but with Max in the weak state he was in…what would possess them to just run off like that without us?” he asked. “We could have helped.”

“I don’t think they thought of us as being able to help Alex. They would have been too distracted, worrying if something was going to happen to us. I know that was what Max was thinking,” she said.

He nodded.

“I don’t know, Isabel and I were getting along so well, and she was actually allowing herself to lean on me a little. I would have thought she would have had enough faith in me to think that I might be able to help,” he said.

“It has nothing to do with faith Alex. We don’t have the abilities that they do, that the skins do. It’s a whole other can of worms,” she said.

“I guess,” he said hesitantly.

She rubbed her eyes tiredly.

“I’m so worried about Max,” she admitted.

“He was so upset about Michael, and he was so weak,” she said.

“Isabel wasn’t exactly in a reasonable state herself,” Alex said. “I thought she was going to totally flip out when she heard about Michael. But she got ahold of herself,” he said.

“Please let them be ok,” she whispered.

And as soon as the words left her lips, she heard Maria’s voice rise in agitation.

Quickly she stood up and went to the window.

In the murk, she could see one slumped figure, as Maria ran over and put her arm under his in support, relieving the other who had been helping him.

“Max…” she whispered, and ran to the door, flinging it open and running out into the night toward him.

“Oh my God, are you ok? Michael are you ok?” She heard Maria ask frantically.

“I’ll be fine,” he said dully, glancing at Max.

Liz stopped in front of him, freezing when he would not look at her.

“Max?” she said, touching his cheek, and he turned his face from her.

“Max, what happened?” she asked quietly.

“Where’s Isabel?” Alex asked from the top step leading into the house.

Max looked up quickly at the mention of her name, and Liz saw him swallow harshly. But what froze her heart was the look of utter despair and hopelessness in his eyes.

He looked…broken.

“Max,” she said, and his eyes fell on hers.

“Tell me what happened,” she said, her voice quivering.

He shook his head and pulled away from her, stalking into the house.

She heard dull footfalls as he descended the steps to the second floor of the house.

“Somebody answer me please!” Alex said impatiently. “Where’s Isabel?”

Michael looked at him slowly.

“She stayed behind,” he said.

“*She’s* been captured now?” Alex said, half-confused, half panicked. “This is like a bad movie.”

“No. I said she stayed behind,” Michael said, his face becoming hard.

“Michael,” Maria began.

“Look, she remembered that she teamed up with Khivar, or he did something to her, or whatever, I don’t know. But she stayed behind,” he said.

“You and Max let her?” Alex asked, angrily.

“I didn’t exactly have a choice. Max connected with her, and whatever he saw made him think it was ok to leave her behind,” Michael said angrily.

“She told him that she remembered herself as Vilondra. That finding Khivar had unlocked her memories. She said something about choosing,” he said, frustrated.

“She told us that if we stay away from DC, we’ll all live. We can stay here,” he said.

“But we can’t do that, all of those people! My parents!” Liz said.

“I know,” Michael said angrily.

“So what do we do?” Maria asked.

“I don’t know,” he said wearily. “There’s something really wrong with Max. Whatever he saw, it was pretty bad. I’ve never seen him like this.”

“Let me talk to Serena,” Liz said. “Maybe she can see something. Maybe she can help.”

“I’m telling you, he’s really scaring me,” Michael said, wincing at the pain in his back.

Maria felt a warm stickiness on her hand around Michael’s waist. She leaned back to look.

“God Michael, you’re bleeding!” she said.

“I’m fine,” he said heavily.

“No, no you’re not,” Maria objected.

“Come inside,” she said, starting to help him toward the steps. “If you lie down, I can take a look at that.”

“No, I have to talk to Max,” he said, pulling her to a stop.

“No, let me,” Liz said quietly. “I need to talk to Serena first. Just give me a few minutes.”

Michael looked at her for a second, and then nodded.

“Maybe you’ll have more luck than I did. He wouldn’t say a word the whole way back, except that it was over. You have to try to convince him that we have to get Isabel away from Khivar,” Michael said.

She nodded.

She followed Maria and Michael into the house, Alex shooting her a look as she passed him.

“Can I go with you?” he asked quietly. “To talk to Serena I mean.”

posted on 10-Feb-2002 9:20:13 AM by majesty
“Yeah sure,” Liz said, knowing he wanted to find out whatever he could about Isabel.

He followed her to the bedroom, and Liz knocked softly, remembering the last time.

“Come in,” Kyle said.

Liz slowly opened the door.

“Hey,” she said softly, as she saw Kyle sitting on the bed next to Serena, Doug standing next to him.

“Hey,” Serena answered.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said.

“Come in,” Serena said.

“How are you feeling?” Liz said, still trying to adjust to the look Kyle was giving Serena. She was happy for them, but it was still an adjustment.

Alex noticed it as well, and suppressed a questioning look that itched to cover his face.

“Just sore,” Serena said. “I’ll be all right.”

“She can’t move,” Kyle interjected. “In case she’s inclined to tell you otherwise. She’s got at least a few cracked ribs.”

“I’m fine!” Serena argued back.

Kyle snorted. “She’d say that if someone cut her damned leg off.”

Serena looked at him exasperated.

Liz smiled a little inwardly, seeing that their new-found feelings had done nothing to diminish the sarcastic bantering between the two. She should have seen all of this sooner. She must have been blind.

And then she thought of Max upstairs, and her thoughts turned back to why she was there.

“Serena, we need to talk. Max and Michael are back,” she said.

“Are they ok?” Kyle asked.

“They are, but Isabel…” she faltered.

“What about Isabel?” Kyle asked, concerned.

“She stayed behind,” Liz said, and Serena flinched as she caught her meaning right away.

“He got to her, didn’t he?” she asked Liz.

Liz nodded.

“I had a premonition. I tried to warn her,” she said. “That someone she had trusted or had come to trust would betray her. But it still isn’t clear who it is,” she said. “I mean, it has to be Khivar right? Who else could it be?”

Liz looked at the floor.

“Max connected with her. She told him that we have to stay away from DC. If we do that, we’ll all live,” she said.

“What?!” Serena said. “We can’t do that! There is no way Khivar is going to let us live, we’re a threat to him.”

“Maybe not anymore,” Liz said. “There’s something wrong with Max.”

“What do you mean?” Serena asked.

“He’s been getting progressively weaker over the past few days. Something happened, and I can’t exactly explain it,” Liz said.

Serena suddenly remembered the dream she’d had when Kyle woke her. The Earth in ruin, Max dead, Isabel with Khivar.

“Michael said that Isabel remembered things, about her past life. That being with Khivar, it brought them all to the surface,” Liz said. “Michael said she said something about choosing.”

When Serena heard this, she felt a small hope. If what she suspected was true, she knew there was only one way Max could be helped now.

“Come here Liz,” Serena said suddenly.

Liz walked to the side of the bed, and Serena took her hand, closing her eyes.

She trembled slightly, and was silent for a few moments, and suddenly Liz felt her memories being dragged from her.

The images of Zan and Rath’s execution and Vilondra’s murder flashed through her mind. And then, she was again in the woods with Max, his actions predatory, and she was again swept away by the vibrant colors that had entwined and gathered above their heads.

And Serena let go.

“What was that?” she asked Liz, looking at her with wide eyes. She had to know if Max told her.

Serena looked over at Doug, who looked at her with knowing eyes. He had seen the vision.

“I don’t know, but Max seems to think that it has to do with some changes that are happening to him. They’ve been happening since Khivar made everyone disappear,” she said. “Do you know what it means?”

Serena didn’t answer.

“I don’t know what to do Serena, when he got back with Michael just now, he just looked so hopeless. When he connected with Isabel, Michael says he saw something. And whatever it was…that is why he’s given up.”

“Do you care for him Liz?” Serena asked quietly.

Liz glanced at Kyle and nodded.

Serena debated on whether to tell her about the Antarian choosing, and decided against it. She’d seen enough to know that Max, or the alien part of Max, had initiated something unknowingly in the woods between them that night. She didn’t want to scare Liz, especially now. If she truly cared for Max, she’d know what to do when the time came.

The vision of Zan and Rath’s death scared Serena. That was not a memory of Max’s, but a memory of his mother’s. Serena felt her essence imprinted on it.

“Then go to him. He needs you now. Don’t let him push you away,” she said.

“Somewhere in his mind, he holds the answers, and he needs help to find them. That vision you had of Zan and Michael was of Antar, but you know that, don’t you?” she asked quietly.

Liz nodded.

“Did he see it too?” Serena asked.

“No,” Liz said quietly.

“And you didn’t tell him,” Serena said.

“No, I didn’t know how. Isabel saw it, she connected with me. But she didn’t believe it,” Liz said.

“So he had no idea,” Serena said sadly.

“That vision was put there for a reason, by the people who sent him here, as a warning,” she said.

“Somewhere inside of him, he holds lost memories, just as Isabel did. He’s seen Isabel’s, but there has to be more to it,” she said.

“What did he see?” Liz asked.

“I don’t know,” Serena said. “But from what you’re telling me, it must have been bad.”

“How can he remember what he’s forgotten?” Liz asked.

“His alien side is trying to tell him,” Serena said cryptically.

“What does that mean?” Liz asked.

“Just go to him Liz, there isn’t any time to be lost,” Serena said. “If there is a way to help him, you’ll know it.”

Liz backed away from Serena, more confused than ever. Only one thing was clear to her now. She had to help Max. She had to do something.

posted on 10-Feb-2002 9:21:05 AM by majesty
PART EIGHTEEN

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

Maria helped Michael to lay on the facedown on the couch, carefully lifting his shirt up higher on his back. An angry hole punctured the left side of his back, sticky with new and old blood.

“Dios Mio, Michael,” she whispered.

He sighed.

“I don’t think it hit any major organs,” he said. “Otherwise I don’t think I’d be talking to you right now.”

She fought back tears as she looked at what had happened to him. It hit her, what had happened to all of them. Liz, Max, Serena, Michael. And the battle hadn’t even begun yet. She really began to wonder if they even had a chance. But she would be brave. She would be optimistic, for Michael, for all of them.

The bedroom door opened, and Liz strode out, pausing to look at Maria before she went up the stairs.

Maria sighed as she watched her disappear up the staircase.

“If anyone can help Max now, it will be Liz,” she said to Michael, pulling her backpack over to the side of the couch, and unzipping it.

She took out the first aid kit, and she heard Michael sigh heavily.

Still holding the kit, she slid to the floor, moving to the head of the couch, so she could see his face.

Her heart went out to him as she saw the sadness that lay in his eyes for his friend.

Biting her lip, she gently smoothed his unruly hair, as she watched him fight tears.

“All this time, Max has wanted to be a part of this world, and Isabel and I stopped him. And for what? We ruined any chance he might have had at just a little happiness, and look what happened anyway,” he said, his voice cracking. “Isabel…”

Impulsively, Maria leaned over and pressed her lips against his forehead, before resting her cheek against it, her arm slipping around his neck to stroke his cheek.

“Michael, you were trying to protect him. There’s nothing wrong with that,” she said softly. “That seems to be your *thing*,” she said, smiling wryly.

“You couldn’t have known that this was going to happen. None of us could have. Whatever it was that Max saw through Isabel…well, that’s something that he’s going to have to deal with. You can’t change it,” she said.

“But we can’t just roll over and play dead. We can’t leave Isabel there, even if she says she wants to be. And we can’t just let Khivar do whatever he’s going to do. It’s wrong, I can feel it in my gut,” he said.

“Michael,” she said, pulling away from him, looking into his eyes. “I am going to say something, and I know you aren’t going to want to hear it. But I have to say it. I am hoping that Max will come around, will come out of whatever funk it is he’s in, but if he doesn’t, you are going to have to make decisions. Max hasn’t been thinking right, and Isabel obviously isn’t in her right mind either,” she said shaking her head.

“I know that the three of you always make decisions together, but this may be one you have to make on your own, for their own good,” she said.

“Khivar isn’t going to just let us live. You know that and I know that. And I’m not going to just lie down and die, and I don’t think you want to either. So if Max doesn’t want to go to DC, let him stay. But I can feel in my heart that you know that going is the right thing to do,” she said.

He looked away from her.

“Michael, I know you’re scared for Max. Crap, I was so scared for you tonight, and I haven’t known you all that long. But I care about you. And I know how much you care about Max and Isabel. So do the right thing by them, because right now, they aren’t able to do it for themselves,” she said.

His head turned slowly toward her, and he looked at her in disbelief. She cared about him?

“Yes, I care Michael. You’re irritating and argumentative, and half the time you annoy the crap out of me. But somewhere along the line, the other half of the time I wanted to be near you, because you made me feel not so scared, and because beneath all that prickly stuff, you have a beautiful heart,” she said softly.

He blinked, not knowing how to take what she said. He was used to arguments and then impulsive kisses. This was a totally new experience.

“We don’t have the luxury of beating around the bush anymore Michael. You make me laugh, you make me mad, you make me worry, and when you kissed me… I don’t want to play games anymore. I like you. I mean I really like you. And I want to spend whatever time I have left on this earth being with you. So if it’s going to DC, I’ll be there with you. And if something happens, well then I can truly say I wouldn’t have any regrets about what I should have said or done in these past few days,” she blurted.

He stared at her in silence, and just as she was starting to think she’d made the biggest mistake in opening her mouth, his hand snaked out and pulled her toward him, his lips crashing on hers. Once again, she felt the soft fullness of his lips meet the ripeness of her own, and his tongue pushed deliciously into her mouth, and she moaned. His nose brushed gently against hers and her hands threaded through his hair.

His lips captured her bottom lip, as his tongue gently slid across it. Maria shivered as she felt her whole body respond to his wordless admission.

She pulled away, breathing raggedly, touching her forehead to his, her eyes closed.

“How do you do that?” she asked, gasping.

“What?” he said breathily.

“Make me forget that the world is falling apart around us? When you touch me…when you kiss me, I feel like everything disappears,” she said.

“I thought you would know,” he said, swallowing hard. “Because it’s the same for me.”

She smiled, opening her eyes.

“I hope Liz can help him come around, but if she doesn’t, will you think about what I said?” she asked.

After a moment’s hesitation, he nodded.

“We’ll figure it out Michael,” she whispered, gently kissing his forehead. “You’re not alone.”

She gently touched his cheek, and moved to his back to try to patch up his wound.

“I know,” he whispered.

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

Liz stood indecisively at the head of the stairs. Two doors lay open in the hallway, and she knew one of them was where Max would be.

But for a fleeting moment, her courage failed her. The look she’d seen on Max’s face outside scared her as nothing had scared her in the past few months.

It was a look of resignation, of utter hopelessness.

Serena knew more than she was saying. Liz knew that much.

What was it she wasn’t telling her?

Forcing herself to put one foot in front of the other, she moved slowly down the hall.

Hearing a strange noise, she jumped.

The first room was empty, and dread filled her heart as she approached the second.

She cautiously peered into the room, trying to find Max in the gloom.

And then she saw him, propped against the wall, his knees pulled up to his chest. She quietly shut the door behind her.

“Max?” she said weakly, moving quickly and dropping to her knees next to him.

“Go away Liz. Please…just go away,” he said miserably.

“I can’t, Max,” she said. “Tell me what happened.”

He shook his head, unable to look at her.

“Talk to me,” she said, reaching out to touch his cheek, and he flinched away.

She felt her heart fall at his rejection.

“Don’t shut me out Max, not now,” she said. “I can’t bear it.”

He let out an angry breath.

“Liz, I’m doing you a favor. Believe me, you’ll thank me in the long run,” he said harshly.

“It’s over,” he said.

“It’s not over!” she said harshly. “You can’t believe that Khivar is going to let us live. That he’s going to let everyone live! Come on Max, you know better than that!” she said angrily.

“There’s nothing I can do,” he said flatly. “Look at me Liz. I’m falling apart, physically and mentally. Isabel is gone. Michael and Serena are in no shape to fight or do anything else.”

“Max, they aren’t giving up. They’re going to go to DC. You had to know that. Whatever Isabel showed you, there has to be more to it,” she said.

He shook his head. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“No, I don’t know what you saw. But what I saw…there had to be a reason for it,” she said softly.

“What are you talking about?” Max said angrily.

“That morning at the hotel, when you kissed me. I saw something. I…saw, I saw what happened to the three of you on Antar,” she said.

“What?” he asked looking at her.

“I saw it Max, and Serena saw it through me. She says it was a memory of your mother’s, that it was some kind of warning,” she said.

His jaw clenched in anger.

“Yes, it probably was. You should have told me,” he said, looking at the floor.

“How could I Max? How could I tell you that your sister betrayed you, when you had just told me how close you were?” she asked.

He laughed humorlessly.

“You don’t know how wrong you are,” he said.

“Max, I saw it…” she started.

“Liz, it wasn’t Isabel who betrayed me. I betrayed her,” he said angrily.

“That’s not true Max,” Liz said. “It can’t be true.”

“But it is true. I saw what happened. I saw it all. And it wasn’t a mind-warp. They were her memories. I felt it,” he said harshly.

She looked at him, unable to find words.

“So you see, it was me, not Isabel that screwed everything up,” he said.

“I don’t believe that,” she said with conviction.

“It doesn’t matter what you believe Liz. It was the way it was,” he said.

“Do you remember any of it yourself?” she asked.

He let out a deep breath.

“I vaguely remember brushing her off. I remember telling her that the Radmians were parasites. I remember telling her that I wouldn’t help them. I was so angry,” he said quietly. “Michael and I…we must have been so caught up in our own planet’s gain…we almost destroyed two races,” he said, looking up at the ceiling, his eyes filling with tears.

“How could I have been that person Liz? How could I have done those things? To them? To Isabel?” he asked miserably.

“Max, you say that you remember doing all of those things,” she said. “Do you remember why? Do you remember anything else?”

He shook his head.

“No. But it makes sense, it all made sense to me. On some elemental level, I do remember being in that room, and saying what I did to her,” he said.

“Max, I know you love Isabel. There isn’t much I am sure about these days, but I do know this. You wouldn’t have done what you did unless you thought you were protecting her, protecting your people,” she said.

“I *know* you Max,” she said, pulling his face toward hers. “I saw you, all of you that night in the woods, and there wasn’t anything I saw that told me that you were evil, that you would have done something like that,” she said.

“I know you thought you were hurting me, but Max, that was the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me. There aren’t any words,” she said, looking into his eyes.

“Max, you can’t beat yourself up over this,” she said. “You can’t give up. Not now, not when everyone needs you.”

He pulled away from her.

“Liz, I can’t,” he said.

She felt the anger pulling at her.

“Yes you can, Max!” she said harshly.

“Why? What will it accomplish? I’m sick, I can’t help anyone,” he said. “And what I did…”

“Max, they’re *going* to DC,” she said again. “They’re going to regardless of what Isabel said. It’s their only chance. It’s *our* only chance. Max, Khivar didn’t fight for Isabel, not really. He let them kill her. Do you really think that he’s going to let anyone live?”

“I want to *live* Max. I want to see my parents again. I want…I want that date you promised me. I want to find out what we are, what you and I mean,” she said.

“I want my world back, only this time with you in it,” she said quietly, taking his hand.

“I want *you* Max,” she said. “I love you. I think I’ve always loved you.”

He turned his head toward her, and she could see the glint of tears in his eyes.

“You don’t know what I am, not really Liz,” he said hoarsely. “If you knew you wouldn’t say that.”

“Show me,” she said, looking into his eyes.

“Show me what you think is so terrible about you,” she said.

“I can’t,” he said.

“Yes you can, Max. Because nothing is going to change the way I feel,” she said fiercely.

She reached up, putting her hands at his temples, her eyes telling him what she needed.

“Show me,” she said.

With shaking hands, his eyes never leaving hers, he threaded his fingers into her hair at her ears.

She moved closer, instinctively knowing what she had to do.

Leaning close, she gave him a reassuring look as she gently touched her lips to his.

As their lips met, every memory of Isabel’s assaulted her senses. She saw everything through her eyes, his disregard, his callousness toward her, his immersion in the world he called Antar. She felt the hurt of Isabel’s betrayal as her own. She saw the state of chaos on Radmis, the sickness. She felt Isabel’s justification in giving Khivar the information he needed to raid the compound.

Dimly, she felt the sickness that was running through his body, a smothering weakness that was slowly eating him alive. And it scared her to death.

And then she felt Max’s shame, as he tried to pull away from her, but she wouldn’t let him. Because there was something more, memories she felt that were locked in his mind, and suddenly she knew that she was the key, the only one who could bring them forth.

This was what Serena was hiding from her. Because he loved her, with every single cell in his body, both alien and human. He chose her to give his heart and soul, and the very revelation stilled her, humbled her. Serena had thought it would scare her, but it didn’t. She was the key that could unlock all the answers he needed. He chose her.

And he’d known from the moment Isabel had said her memories were unlocked by Khivar, that she…Liz could help him to do the same. But this scared him, because of what could happen to her, and because he was afraid that the memories he held would be worse than what Isabel had shown him. He was afraid that he would fully see his true self, and it terrified him.

He broke the kiss, his head dropping to her chest as she felt his hot tears hitting her skin.

“Max,” she said, kissing the top of his head, her hands stroking his hair.

He didn’t answer, his shoulders shaking with the misery he was trying to keep at bay.

“Max,” she said again softly into his hair.

“I’ve trusted you all along. I need you to trust me now,” she said. “You to know the truth, all of it.”

“What are you talking about Liz?” he said, his voice cracking as he raised his head to look at her.

“You chose me, Max,” she said, tears filling her eyes.

His eyes widened, and he pulled away from her.

“Don’t Max,” she said. “Don’t push me away now, because I chose you too, a long time ago. I know it’s not the same, because I am human, but without you even knowing it, I gave you my heart back then in Roswell. I’m not afraid,” she whispered.

“I saw what Isabel told you. That her memories were unlocked by Khivar because of what he was to her. I want to help you to do that,” she said, cupping his face gently in her hands.

“We can’t Liz,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m sick, and after what happened in the woods…we can’t. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to you, because of what I am.”

“Max, you think we’ll be taking a huge risk, but I know in my heart that it’s right. This is what was meant to happen. Why else would I have seen what happened to you that morning? You need to know the truth Max, all of it,” she said, stroking his cheeks with her thumbs.

“I’m afraid,” he said, shutting his eyes.

“I’m not, Max. I know in my heart that whatever you see is going to set you free. I feel it with everything in my being. We’ll do this together. I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “I’m here Max.”

A lone tear fell into his cheek as his hand slid to her neck, and he pulled her closer, his lips gently touching hers. He pulled away gently, touching his forehead to hers.

“I couldn’t tell you,” he said quietly, “because I was afraid to, but I’ve loved you from the moment I saw you, Liz Parker. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t loved you. But before we came back to Roswell, I loved this fantasy I created in my head. How could I have known that knowing you has blown away every fantasy I could have created?”

He couldn’t fight her anymore. He was broken. Her presence in his life over these past few days had been so precious. Even the thought of what she might see wasn’t enough to push her away. She’d broken through his resolve, and he was too weak to fight her anymore. He needed her. He needed her strength, and her love. And if she walked away afterwards, it would still have been enough.

“Even now, knowing everything I know about myself, I can’t push you away,” he said.

“You couldn’t even if you wanted to,” she said softly.

“Max,” she said, pulling him closer.

With a strangled groan, his lips found hers, and her arms slipped around his waist.

His moved to the back of her head, gently cradling it, as his mouth gently made love to hers. She felt every sensation creating sparks that sizzled through her body as he gave in, letting all the love he felt for her flow into her mind.

For a split second, she thought she might pass out at the intensity of it, blinded by it, drowning in it. But what a wonderful way to die, she thought hazily, as his spirit surrounded her.

Dimly, she felt him gently lower her to the floor, his chest pressed lightly against hers, his elbows supporting his weight as his hands remained tangled gently in her hair.

“How could I have missed out on this?” he whispered, as he gently showered her cheeks with light kisses.

“How could I have lived without this on Antar?” he said quietly.

“You don’t miss what you never had,” Liz said breathily, as she arched her neck, feeling his tongue slide erotically against it.

His lips pressed gently against her collarbone, and she felt his breath tickle her skin.

“Maybe I was waiting,” he said. “Maybe it was you I was waiting for.”

She smiled softly, her fingers moving under his shirt, skimming over the muscles on his back that moved beneath them.

“No more waiting,” she whispered, as his lips silenced her, his tongue sliding deliciously into her mouth.

His hand slid smoothly down her neck, grazing the swell of her breast, before resting on her ribcage.

Liz felt a savage bolt of desire shoot through her as she felt his hardness pressed against her thigh. She pressed unconsciously against it, and he groaned against her lips.

He knew that this was going to be more than just making love. When they joined, it would be forever. He wondered if this frightened her, because of who he was. And a sudden rush of fear ran through him. What if it was really true? What if he was what he’d seen in the flash from Isabel?

Liz felt his fear, and through their connection, she willed every ounce of love and faith she had in him to envelop him. She had no fear and no regrets. In the deepest recesses of her mind, she knew that this was what she had been waiting for. Whatever he was, whoever he was, she loved him with all of her heart.

“Show me Max,” she said through their connection, and he heard her.

Their lips parted, and she opened her eyes, her heart bursting at all of the love shining from his as he looked at her. Every sensation was assaulting her body, the pounding of his heart against hers, the uneven expansion of his chest, his breath ragged with all he felt for her, his erection pressed against her, his hand stroking her rib cage, the feeling of his gentle fingers in her hair, his soft breath grazing her cheek. It was all she’d ever wished for, everything she’d ever wanted, and yet there was still so much more. She wanted to be immersed in him, in what he was.

With tentative fingers, she lifted his t-shirt, and he untangled his fingers from her hair so that she could pull it over his head.

She pulled it off, dropping it next to her on the floor, her eyes never leaving his.

He looked uncertain, nervous, and so she moved her fingers to her own shirt, unbuttoning it, telling him everything was going to be all right.

As she reached the last button, she dropped her hands to the floor, knowing he would have to make his own decision.

He saw it in her eyes, complete trust, love, and acceptance, for what he was, whatever that might be. And it tore at his heart.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” he asked quietly. “The bonding, it can’t be undone.”

She nodded immediately.

“I want this, more than I ever wanted anything in my life,” she said.

She smiled at him, her eyes filling with tears, and at that very moment, he didn’t think he could love her any more than he did as he looked at her beautiful smile.

She took his hand and put under the opened shirt, on her heart.

“This belongs to you Max. It always did,” she said.

His hand slid lower, and the shirt fell open, exposing her luminous velvet skin.

“You are so beautiful,” he whispered, gently pressing his lips to hers, before sliding them down her neck to her chest.

He gently cupped her breast, and she sighed quietly.

There was none of the savageness of their time in the woods. They both knew what was going to happen. There was no stopping it.

His nose gently grazed the tip of her breast through her bra, and her back arched at its touch.

He felt her nipples harden instantly as his fingers lightly brushed them.

His breath on her skin and through the thin cotton was almost too much to bear.

He gently ran his index finger down her abdomen, loving the silky skin of her skin beneath it, as her own fingers gently entwined in his hair.

He rose to his knees, pulling her up with him, and she pressed her cheek against his as his hands slid around her waist slowly, moving up her back to the clasp that held her bra to her body. He unhooked it, and it sprang apart, the straps lying loosely on her shoulders. She gently kissed his cheek as he slid his fingers under her shirt, letting it slide down her arms until it dropped to the floor.

She pressed against him, feeling the satin soft texture of his skin against her own, encasing the hardness of powerful muscle. As he shifted the friction of his chest against the material of her bra still lying on her nipples caused an insistent ache in the pit of her stomach, and she gasped against his jaw, lightly reaching to nip at his earlobe. His hand at the small of her back pressed her closer to him, and she could feel the faint throb of his erection against her aching core.

Pulling her head back, she gently teased his lower lip with her teeth, as she placed her hands on his chest, sliding them down as she pulled away slightly, her fingers scraping against his nipples before coming together on his abdomen.

She felt his breath quicken as her fingers traced the sensitive skin at the waistband of his jeans, and he groaned in almost a whisper.

“Liz,” he whispered raggedly, and her fingers slowly unbuttoned his jeans until they hung open. Again she pressed against him, his pulsing hardness more apparent on her abdomen through the thin barrier of his boxers.

She felt desire twist savagely through her womb, and her hands moved around his waist, sliding under the boxers to caress the silky skin of his rear, pulling him even closer.

He gasped and pulled away a bit.

“Liz, please, I…” he faltered, looking into her eyes.

“I want this to last,” he said, lowering his head.

Taking his hands, she placed them flat against her stomach, her hands covering his as she gently leaned up to kiss his forehead.

Gently sliding his hands down her stomach, she felt his fingers trembling.

She dropped her hands to her side, completely still as he rested his head on her shoulder, his breath on her neck sending little shivers down her spine.

After a moment of stillness, his hands tentatively moved to the button of her jeans, unclasping it as he watched his own hands pull the zipper down, exposing the soft material of her panties.

She shut her eyes, wanting to drown in the sensation of his hands on her skin.

His fingers slowly ran over the soft skin above the barrier of her panties and she trembled. He pressed his palm to the softness just below her navel, and his hand slid lower, over the material of her panties, feeling the slight cushion of the curls underneath and he felt her harsh exhale as he did. He hesitated.

“It’s ok Max,” she whispered. His fingers were driving her crazy. A mere touch was making her feel as if she was going to lose control.

His fingers moved away slightly, causing her to whimper, and he hooked them through the bolt loops of her jeans, pulling them down to her knees. One hand stayed on her waist as the other slip across her hip, gently cupping her.

The warmth of his fingers against her most private spot was maddening, and she pressed against his hand insistently. His fingers slid underneath the elastic, gently touching her, feeling the slick moistness, and knowing that he had done this. It made his heart race.

His fingers gently caressed her, and she felt suddenly light-headed, slumping against him.

She looked up into his eyes as his powerful arm lovingly supported her, and knew that there was no place she’d rather be but in his arms.

His sun-kissed eyes had darkened with desire for her, and she shivered at the sight of it.

He took her hand, pulling her to her feet, and sat her on the bed, kneeling before gently pulling her pants off as she watched him with loving eyes.

From his spot on the floor, he gazed up at her hoping against hope that this wouldn’t turn out to be a disaster. His hands rested on her knees, and he gently kissed the skin just above them, resting his cheek there.

She bent her upper body, resting her lips on his exposed cheek, her fingers running as far down his back as she could reach before gently sliding up his shoulders, along his arms, to his hands still resting in her knees. She grasped his fingers, tugging on them, pulling him up to his feet, pulling him toward her until her inner thighs rested against his knees.

Carefully, deliberately, she inched his pants down, taking his boxers with them. He stood completely still, feeling her fingers lightly brush his thighs as the heavy denim fell to his feet.

His fear for her fought with the burgeoning desire that was curling through his body.

The bandage shone stark white against his flesh on his waist, and her fingers traced the tape.

Carefully, he pulled one shoe off with his foot, before repeating the same with the other, and stepping out of the jeans. He looked down to see her eyes shining with the beauty she saw in him, and he sat next to her on the bed, cupping her cheek, stroking it with his fingers.

“How can you look at me like that?” he asked. “How can you not be afraid of me, after everything?”

“Because I see what you don’t Max. I see that there isn’t anything to be afraid of, because I love you,” she said.

“I love you too,” he said. “That’s why as much as I want this, I’m scared to death for you. What if something goes wrong? What if something terrible happens?”

“Max, I trust you, and I trust us. What happened to us the other night, I think it was your Antarian side trying to tell you something. Don’t you see it?”

That thought hadn’t even occurred to him.

“Max, I want you to make love to me. And I want you to want it too. There isn’t anything to be afraid of. Whatever happens, we’ll be together,” she said.

He nodded. He did want this. More than anything.

“Let go Max,” she said.

“Just for awhile, let go,” she whispered, as she tenderly kissed his neck.

posted on 10-Feb-2002 9:21:42 AM by majesty
PART NINETEEN

His eyes closed as he felt the exquisite sensation of her tongue on his pulse, and her hands gently pushed him to the bed.

Moving so her body was half covering his, she felt the tips of her breasts press against the hardness of his chest, and she felt the last shred of resistance leave his body as his hands gently embraced her.

He touched her everywhere, and he felt her body respond with each gentle trace of his hands.

And as he touched her, those colors again spiraled in her head, and she was no longer only corporeal, but again light and mist. And he was there with her, the vibrance of his spirit enfolding her. She was in two places at once, feeling him touching her, making her body come to life, and in another, his gentle soul embracing her, enfolding her.

As their bodies entwined, their spirits danced in love, swirling through and around each other.

She felt his hands remove her panties, as essence passed through hers tenderly, leaving a wake of absolute love behind.

His teeth lightly captured her nipple, and in her mind, his spirit embraced her.

Her fingers were in his hair, as again his spirit passed through hers, teasing, loving.

Love you, she whispered.

Love you…

An echoing whisper through their connection.

The hot velvet of his erection pressed against her, as she felt his soul pulse around her.

From their melding, the colors entwined, again spiraling above them. This time there was no fear.

The ball of energy pulsed above them, growing brighter, washing everything out, as he felt him slide into her, filling her, and she gasped silently as the power of Max Evan’s love for her was fully unleashed.

And just as she had thought, it was beautiful.

Almost from a distance, she heard both of their harsh gasps as their bodies finally joined.

Their essences twisted together, becoming one as the energy surrounding them amplified, enclosing them, joining them, forever.

Skin on skin, spirit within spirit, all at the same time.

Quiet ragged breathing was superimposed over the music of their souls.

Max Evans was filling her in every way she could be filled.

Their bodies moved together slowly, lovingly. Her hand fell across the bandage on his side, and the energy surrounding the two of them exploded, and their bodies arched together, as Max’s mind opened to her.

History.

Life was made of history, and Zan’s was more than many.

Their was a history behind their planet, and he had to learn all of it, from a tender age.

Alliances, pacts, deals.

Pillaging, killing, terrorizing.

It had been the way of the Radmians for thousands of years. Together, with Antarians, they took what they wanted from other worlds, leaving death, destruction, and chaos behind.

Together an imposing force. Always.

Until the Antarians came to Earth.

An alliance between the humans and Antarians would form, spanning the great distances between their galaxies.

From a small boy, Zan was taught the ideals of the humans, alongside his own history, Rath his study partner.

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

“The Radmians are refusing to back down,” he heard his father say. “They want us to take Earth. I won’t do it. I promised the humans safety, and I will give that to them with my dying breath.

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

Vilondra and I are to be bonded…

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

“You did the right thing Vilondra,” Zan said. “You hadn’t found ‘the one’, and who knows if you ever would. Do you have any idea how happy it made the people to know that you and Rath bonded?” he asked.

“The people…that’s all you care about isn’t it? You would marry whoever *they* wanted you to marry wouldn’t you?” she asked. “Don’t you ever think about finding your chosen Zan? Don’t you ever think about having a little happiness for yourself?”

“I don’t have time for that,” he answered quietly. “My duty is to my people.”

“At the expense of yourself,” she said flatly.

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you,” Zan said. “I wish that things didn’t have to be like this, but we have more problems than we know how to deal with, with Radmis. Derak had been making trouble again. Father wants me to handle this.”

“I don’t care about Radmis. I don’t care about any of it,” she said.

“I know. That’s my job. I do it so you don’t have to care. But you have to trust that if I need Rath here with me, its for a good reason.”

“I don’t want to see you unhappy Vilondra, believe me. You’re my sister, and I love you. But if we don’t settle this, there won’t be anyone around to be happy with.”

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

“Why have you never told her of all of this? The problems with Radmis?” Rath asked curiously.

“You’ve made me promise not to mention it to her…why?” Rath asked.

“She’s never asked before. But it’s because she’s my sister, and I love her, and I never want her to have to be concerned with any of this,” he answered. “It’s bad enough that the both of you are tied into a bonding that isn’t real for either of you.”

Rath looked away.

“I know what you’ve given up Rath, for me, for the planet, and there is nothing I could say or do to make up for that,” he said quietly.

“You are my best friend and my future King,” he said. “There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you or Antar. And I am not the only one who’s given things up.”

He didn’t answer him.

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

“The summit was a complete failure Father. I don’t know what to do. Derak will not compromise. We can’t give them what they want. I won’t let them take Earth. I won’t let our human friends down.”

“You are a wise young man Zan. You have a good heart. Trust it,” his father answered.

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

“Rath, why is she dancing with Khivar?”

“I don’t know, but I am about to find out…”

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

“People tell me that you will not aid the Radmians,” she said.

“Since when are you so interested in the Radmians?” he asked, barely looking up at her. “Or politics at all?”

“It interests me because I have heard that they are starving, that their planet is in ruin, and we will not help,” she said.

“Who told you this?” he asked, looking at her with interest.

“It doesn’t matter. Is it true?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said flatly.

“Why?” she asked angrily.

“Because what we offered them they refused. I will not offer again. It is time the Radmians learn to take care of themselves,” he said.

“What you offered them wasn’t enough,” she said.

“How do you know that?” he asked sarcastically. “You have no idea what you’re talking about. The Radmians are parasites.”

“Your wife seems to be interested in our Radmian dealings,” Zan said, to Rath.

“I think you should stick to what you know Vilondra, and let Zan take care of what he knows,” Rath said.

“Very well, I will butt out of your affairs from now on.”

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

“Sire, I don’t want to have to tell you this, but Princess Vilondra has been seeing Khivar.”

“I forbid you to see him anymore Vilondra, he’s dangerous!”

“Who do you think you are to tell me who I can and can’t speak to?” she said angrily. “You are not my husband, nor my father.”

“I am the Prince, and your acting leader,” he said angrily.

“And some Prince you are,” she retorted.

“Khivar is not to be trusted Vilondra. Stay away from him,” he said.

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

“They’ve raided the compounds again Sire.”

“This has to stop…”

“Tonight, you and I patrol Rath.”

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

“Zan, look out!”

An explosion. Two Radmian bodies left in it’s wake.

“That…that’s Derak. And…Duruk. Khivar isn’t going to let this go.”

“We had no choice, Rath answered. They were going to kill you.”

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


“Khivar wants Earth, he’s citing the law of retribution,” Rath said.

“It’s not going to happen,” he answered angrily.

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

“I hereby decree all ties with Radmis to be cut. There will be no further negotiations.”

*%*%*%*%*%*%
“Princess Vilondra is gone, Sire.”

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

“Maybe you should have talked to her Zan. Maybe we shouldn’t have left her in the dark about all of this.”

“I didn’t think she was going to betray us, our own people, after everything! How could she?”

*%*%*%*%*%*

She returned one last time.

“How could you put the humans over the Radmians? After everything!” She cried.

“Vilondra, he said tiredly, There are things I should have told you, things I tried to protect you from.”

“I don’t want to hear it! You were trying to protect me from the terrible things Antar has done, that you have done. Are you going to give them what they need or not?”

“No,” he said quietly.

“Then the discussion is over. You are an egotistical bastard Zan! How dare you hold the humans well-being over the Radmians. You will pay for this someday,” she said.

“Vilondra, wait!”

But she was already gone.

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

“Khivar has approached Faden,” Rath said.

“He’s told him and his followers are telling other humans that you are planning to discard them once our resources are completely restored,” he continued.

He shook his head.

“What has Faden said?” he asked.

“He doesn’t believe them of course. But some of the humans are listening to them.”

“Ask him to come to see me,” he said.

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

“Sire, we’ve gotten intelligence that Radmian militants were smuggled into the food compound today.”

“How could this have happened?” he asked, glancing at Rath, who had a look of dismay on his face.

“Vilondra,” he said quietly. “She distracted me.”

“Sire, the containers they are in are rigged. If we try to open them they’ll explode. They’re fitted with Entomium. If even one of them opens, it will blow away half of the planet.”

“What do we do now?” Rath asked.

“The Granolith,” he answered.

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

He watched as the Granolith was brought forth. The sacred icon of his planet. Harbinger of life and death.

Night was falling as he pushed the crystal into the passageway. It couldn’t be undone now.

He’d conferred with Faden and they’d agreed. The only way to get rid of the militants was with the Granolith.

It would set them back months with the food supply that would be destroyed, but there was nothing to be done about it.

Word was spreading through the human community of his alleged planned treachery against them.

Getting rid of the militants would be a step in the right direction.

He stepped away from the Granolith as it roared to life, a thick fog pouring out from its base.

Rath stood solemnly next to him.

Neither was happy with taking lives, but they’d had no other choice. They had to think of their own people.

A thick shield rose around the compound created of the fog, and soon fire broke out, raging through the building. Through the shimmer of the shield, he heard a dull pounding.

He thought it to be the militants, but soon the lids of the containers burst open and his eyes widened in horror as he saw humans jump out.

“No!” he yelled and tried to run to the Granolith, but Rath held him back.

“There’s nothing you can do now!” he yelled. “If you touch it while it’s running, it will kill you!”

He felt the tears burn his eyes as he watched the humans smash against the shield, trying to get away from the flames.

The looks of terror on their faces as they saw him burned his mind.

They watched helplessly as they were burned alive.

Rath pulled Zan back into the temporary safety of a supply shed as he saw the humans gathering, witnessing the horror inside the compound.

“He did it,” he said to Rath.

“He’s sealed our fate. How could we have been so stupid? Humans. He put humans in the containers. They think what he’s said is true,” he said.

They heard the angry shouts of the humans as they denounced them and his sister.

“We have to get out of here Zan, its not safe,” Rath said, motioning for the guards.

They made it back to the palace, barely, before the humans were trying to gain entrance.

Faden was waiting for them.

“Faden, you have to know I didn’t do this,” Zan said miserably.

“I know you didn’t Zan. It was Khivar. But I don’t know that I can convince them of that. Already they are calling for my family’s blood, because of our alliance with you,” he said.

“You have to get off Antar,” Zan said. “It’s not safe. I’ll arrange it. You and your family will go back to Earth.”

Faden nodded.

“Will you come with us?” he asked.

“I can’t. I have to stay. It’s my responsibility…”


Max and Liz experienced every memory together, she experiencing his heartache as her own.

He died loyal to his people, loyal to humans, though they did not know it.

The energy around them was blinding, white-hot as their souls melded fully.

As their bodies became one, one final vision flashed into their consciousness.

The Granolith…

The Granolith will restore what has been lost.

An image of the towers in New York City surrounded by red mist flashed between them.

And Max knew this was the source of his sickness. Suddenly it all became clear. The Granolith had been tampered with, to transport the humans, and the virus that it had been infected with had infected him as well. And he was the only one who could fix it. He was the heir, the Keeper of the Granolith.

And then that thought was lost as their passion fully reached it’s peak, and they were again in the room in the farmhouse, Max pulling her up off the bed pulling her to him as he felt every tremor that ran through her body.

She wanted him closer, feeling the connection indelibly created with their joining. She sensed every thought, every sensation that he felt.

She felt him as he felt inside of her, how awed he was as her body enfolded him.

They made no sound, the only thing either of them heard was their harsh breathing as he moved in and out of her.

His hands grasped her hips as she sank fully onto him, taking him in.

Their eyes locked as erotic sensations ricocheted between them. His hands rested at the small of her back as her lips met his, in full acceptance, all of the love she had for him rushing through their connection.

In that moment, she felt him let go as he drove into her, pulling her down onto him, her body pressed against his, feeling his heart pounding against hers.

His whole body tensed, and as it did, she felt her own release, their cries muffled against each other’s lips as his fingers clenched her back.

For a moment, he held her clutched to his chest, and then he gently laid her back on the bed, moving to lie beside her.

Her hand cupped his cheek tenderly as she tried to grasp the enormity of what had just happened.

It was different now. They were different. She felt joined to Max as she never thought she could be.

She felt his confused thoughts through their connection.

“Max,” she said softly.

He looked at her tracing a finger across her cheek.

“I love you Liz,” he said softly.

“I love you too,” she answered.

For awhile, they lay silent, their fingers tenderly stroking the other’s skin.

“What are you going to do, Max? Now that you know the truth?” she asked.

“I don’t know. I may not have done what Isabel thought I’d done, but I was still wrong. I should have told her about the Radmians. I should have had more faith in her. She turned on me because I shut her out,” he said.

“You did it because you loved her Max,” she said.

He nodded.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to get through to her now,” he said. “There’s only one thing I can do now, for all of us.”

“You’re going back to New York,” she answered.

“I have to. I have to try,” he said. “I can’t face Khivar the way that I am now. I have to try to repair the Granolith. It’s the only choice I have now.”

“I want to go with you Max,” she said.

He searched her eyes.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “The others are going to go to DC.”

“My place is with you now. Wherever you go, I want to be with you. Serena will go Washington, she needs to go. And you need to go to New York,” she said.

He grasped her hip and pulled her toward him, wrapping her in his embrace.

“I don’t think I can spend another minute without you,” he said, burying his face in her hair.

“We’ll tell them tomorrow,” she said.

Liz pulled him closer. For years she’d dreamed of him saying it, but to actually hear it was magic.

Nothing stood between them now, and even though the world was falling apart around them, in that moment she knew the true happiness of what it was to be loved by Max Evans.

Tomorrow reality would again hit them in the face, but tonight was theirs.

TBC…
posted on 17-Mar-2002 11:09:50 PM by majesty
Hi all,

Sorry for the long delay on this. Life happens. Thanks so much for all the feedback and for bumping this :-)

*warning* Nookie ahead! Mostly nookie actually, with a few other things thrown in. Next chapter, the gang goes their seperate ways.....

Enjoy

majesty

PART TWENTY

Cool air was hitting her back, and she snuggled closer to the warmth pressed against her legs and stomach.

Against her ear a muffled drumming beat out a steady rhythm. She moved slightly and a protective arm tightened around her waist.

Slowly her eyes opened, moving her head slightly, her cheek sliding across incredibly soft skin.

A secret smile appeared on her face as she felt the slight hum of his energy through her body, and remembered where she was and whom she was with.

Her smile faded as she lifted her head and looked at Max’s face.

His eyes were closed, still in sleep. He looked more haggard now than he had the morning before, his skin pale and drawn.

Though his face was relaxed in sleep, it seemed as if he’d aged overnight. Dark patches framed the hollows under his eyes, and his lips had taken on a ghostly pallor.

She bit her lip in worry, gently stroking his hair off his forehead.

He was sick, and getting worse as each day passed.

How could he repair the Granolith in this condition? Would he have the strength?

His eyes opened slowly and he sighed, his gaze focusing on her.

“Hey,” he said smiling wanly at her.

“Hey,” she answered and he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

His lips lingered there for a moment as he sensed her worry.

“What’s wrong Liz?” he asked quietly.

“I’m worried about you Max,” she said. “You’re sick. What if what we did last night made you weaker? What if…”

“No,” he said forcefully. “You make me stronger Liz. You made me realize that there’s hope. You helped me to find out the truth. If you’d given up on me, if you’d listened to me when I told you to go away, I think I would have just given up. But you didn’t. You didn’t give up on me. You never have once. I don’t know how I lived so long without you, but I won’t do it anymore. I want you with me, no matter what happens. I’m never letting you go again.”

“I’ll be fine,” he whispered.

“We don’t know that. We don’t know anything anymore. What if something happens to you? I couldn’t bear it, not now,” she said, her arms tightening around him.

“I am not going anywhere Liz. I’d cross the universe to be with you if I had to. You are the only person I lived for, for as long as I can remember. And now that we’re together, nothing will keep us apart again. Nothing,” he said meaningfully.

“Max, you don’t look good,” she said quietly.

He sighed. He didn’t feel good either. Whatever was infecting his body was growing stronger now by the day.

But he needed her close to him. He needed her strength.

His head lowered and trapped her lips tenderly, eliciting a muffled moan from her lips.

She immediately felt erotic fire race through her body as his soft lips parted, his tongue gently tracing her lip. She opened to him, her tongue gently meeting his, his breath quickening in response.

She moved slightly away from him, breaking their kiss. If they continued on that route, it would be over much too quickly, and she wanted this to last.

Already she could feel the evidence of his desire pressed against her stomach.

“Let me just feel you Max,” she whispered, moving her hand up to his cheek, sliding it slowly to his neck, her lips following her fingers, placing tiny kisses on the path her fingers traced.

Her fingertips lightly traced his collarbone, moving to his shoulder blade.

His smoldering eyes followed her fingers, his hand moving up to absently stroke her hair.

She moved down a bit and gently pressed her lips to the tiny mole on the side of his chest, her hand running down his arm. It came to rest on his hip and then moved slightly back, where she gently stroked the velvety skin that sheathed powerful muscle.

She felt her whole body tighten in response to the mere sensation of touching his skin.

She looked up at him, meeting his desire-filled gaze, made all the more intense by his paleness and the gauntness of his face.

Again her hand traveled forward up along his rib-cage and to his abdomen, resting her palm flat as it moved over it’s defined ridges. She continued lower, running along his stomach, between his erection and the satin skin that tightened his abdomen in reaction to her touch. She felt his body hitch slightly as her hand stopped at the base of his erection, her hand resting against the soft hair there.

His breath was passing through his mouth in short gasps as he closed his eyes, completely immersed in her touch.

She leaned slowly over, placing a tender kiss at the center of his chest before pulling her hand away to run her palm up the outside length of his hardness, feeling his whole body tense in desire.
His hand tightened in her hair unconsciously, trying to maintain control of his body.

She pulled herself up again, sliding her leg over his, her moist sex pressing against his hardness, the softness of her stomach touching the steely smoothness of his.

She moved her lips to the junction where his neck met his shoulder, lightly running her tongue over the hot skin there.

She felt him shiver at the feel of the heat of her tongue followed by the coolness of her breath against the moistness she left there.

Tilting her head upward, she gently caught his earlobe between her teeth, then letting go.

“Can you feel it Max? The things you do to me? You’ve barely even touched me, but just the feel of you against me makes me want to be closer to you. It makes me want you to fill me, to make me whole. Because I’m only whole with you now,” she whispered.

She felt his shuddering breath near her ear.

“I…God Liz, I want that,” he said raggedly, his hands encircling the small of her back, pressing her ever closer to him. “Your skin, just touching your skin is driving me crazy.”

His palm moved to cup her rear, before sliding down her outer thigh.

“You fit me perfectly. It’s like it was meant…we were meant…”

“Maybe we are,” she whispered huskily as his mouth hungrily reached for hers.

His tongue teased hers before exploring the deepest recesses of her mouth, and her nipples hardened, pushing into his chest insistently.

She rocked unconsciously against his hardness, her wetness coating his erection, causing him to break the kiss in a soft moan.

She rested her cheek on his neck, sliding her head higher, feeling his erratic pulse against it.

He suddenly rolled her onto her back, caught between her thighs as his hands cupped her shoulder blades cradling her upper body on his forearms. His lips moved to her neck, pulling her upper body slightly off the bed as his tongue trailed a blazing path down the center of her chest, veering off to caress her breast, teasingly trailing his tongue around the tip, but never touching it.

She gasped quietly, and pushed against his mouth, and he smiled softly, not giving in.

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

Max was tired, so tired, but she lit a fire inside him. He felt the silky slide of her thighs on his hips as she moved against him.
Last night had been the first time he’d made love to anyone, and Liz was like a drug that he couldn’t get enough of. Her warm skin, her insistence as she pushed against his mouth, the feel of her thick dark hair trailing over his arms almost sent him over the edge before it even had begun. Her warm heat pressed up against his hardness, sliding against him, creating delicious friction, was maddening. For a moment he forgot his fatigue. For a moment, he forgot that he had to leave here as her body pressed against his. Oblivion, abandonment was what he longed for in her arms. To be enveloped by her love. For the moment, it was working.

Mischievously, he finally caught the little hard peak of her breast in his mouth, and felt his stomach tighten at the sound of her moan. She reciprocated by pressing her core even harder against his erection, eliciting a hiss from him through his teeth.

His hardness twitched against her, his pulse sounding his need for her.

His hands edged up to cradle her head as he lifted his lower body to position himself. She looked up at him in a desire-filled haze. Last night it had been all about him, now he wanted to give that back to her.

His right hand tangled in her hair slid down her side and across her stomach as his left continued to cradle her neck. His fingers met her sex as his lips crashed against hers, sliding first down and then up to the swollen bundle of nerves. She bucked against his hand in sharp desire and let out a smothered cry against his lips.

But he continued to stroke her slowly, tantalizingly, feeling his fingers becoming dipped in her desire. She trembled against him, and it took all the will-power he had not to take her right there.

Instead he continued his slow torture, the pads of his fingers alternately putting pressure in just the right places as his tongue mimicked his fingers, sliding against hers.

She was trying to tell him how much she needed him, pressing against his hand, and when he didn’t acquiesce, she reached between them and took his erection in her hand, stroking gently up and down, the pad of her thumb stroking the sensitive nerves at his tip.

His lips ripped away from hers, a harsh gasp falling from his lips as he gently nipped her neck.

“Stop torturing me Max,” she groaned. “I need you. Please…”

And he needed her. He needed no further prompting. Quickly removing his hand, he positioned his tip at her entrance, slowly pushing only a little into her entrance before pulling away, never breaking his gaze from hers. She moaned, trying to pull him closer, but he wouldn’t have it. Again he repeated the motion, barely allowing himself to enter her before pulling out again. The sensation was driving him wild, the feel of her tightness around just the tip of his erection. He wanted to bury himself inside her, become one, but he wanted it to be perfect, to drive her over the edge with him.

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

He was driving her mad. The feel of him just barely entering her was excruciating.

She wanted all of him, now.

But he would not give in. Slowly he teased her as he captured her lower lip between his teeth, gently tugging it.

The only thing she could hear was their frantic breathing. The only thing she could feel was his silken skin pressed against hers. The only thing she could see were his honey-kissed eyes above her capturing hers, now darkened with desire, now filled with love.

She felt the sweat created between their bodies, the velvet softness encasing his desire sliding against her thigh when he pulled away from her.

Beneath her hands the muscles of his back played as he shifted. The cotton of the gauze bandage pressed against her hip-bone as he again slid slightly into her.

She couldn’t hold out any longer. Forcefully her hands gripped his shoulders and pulled him down heavily on top of her.

She felt the hardened tips of her nipples pressing against the hardness of his chest.

Finally, she felt his control snap as he slowly buried himself fully in her warmth. She felt the seductive slide of each ridge as he slid deep inside and she gasped as he filled her completely.

In that moment, again she was transported to another world, his world as she found herself under him looking up at the two moons of his world as he joined with her and their souls touched yet again.

The now familiar spectrum of colors entwined around them. Dimly she heard his soft murmuring near her ear.

“I love you…” he whispered.

“I love you,” she heard herself say, as a wave of desire coursed through her very being.

Her consciousness reached another plane with him, and she felt almost drugged with the love she felt enveloping her, filling her in every way.

Faden stood outside the ship, awaiting departure.
“Zan, please come with us,” he said.

“I can’t,” Zan answered quietly, “my place is here, with my people.”

Faden slowly shook his head.

You know this means your death, don’t you?” he asked.

Zan’s face tightened, and he nodded.

“Calem is staying behind. He has a plan. Your essence…”

“I want Vilondra to be included,” Zan said, looking at Rath, who nodded.

“You can’t be serious!” Faden exclaimed. “After what she’s done…”

“Her betrayal was partly my fault, because I didn’t have enough faith in her, because I didn’t listen. I didn’t explain…” Zan said.

“Faden, you know as well as I do that the humans and Radmians won’t let her live. I am asking this of you as my friend,” Zan said.

Faden was silent for a moment.

“Very well,” he said, motioning Calem over.


Liz was in two places at once, in the quiet room atop the farmhouse, and in another galaxy altogether.

She felt his pace quicken inside her, and as he swelled she felt herself tighten around him.

The gentle slide of skin corresponded with the clashing of their spirits, coming together once again and becoming one as the familiar ball of energy swirled above them, growing larger, more powerful.

She lifted herself to him, taking him in as far as she could as she felt an emotional explosion rock her body as she cried out.

At the same time, the ball of energy suddenly plummeted toward them, washing everything out but the deep amber of his eyes as she felt his release and he cried out.

And the connection was broken, though not fully. She felt the lingering effects of his soul touching hers, gently pulling away as she became aware of his body collapsed against hers.

His head dropped to her neck, his ragged breathing cooling the moistness of her skin, as his lips tenderly pressed against her collarbone.

“I love you Liz,” he whispered.

She reached up and gently stroked the damp hair at the back of his neck and smiled softly.

“I love *you* Max Evans, and I never want to be apart from you again.”

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

Michael lay with his head in Maria’s lap, as she absently stroked his hair.

Across the room, Alex was stretched out in a chair, sound asleep.

He turned his head to look up at her.

“What are you thinking about?” he asked.

She sighed and was silent for a moment.

“Just everything,” she said.

He looked at her quizzically, and she sensed his gaze on her and she looked down at him tenderly.

“I don’t know, it’s like…things are the worst they could possibly be right now, but they're also the best. Know what I mean?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Yeah,” he said softly.

She smiled wanly at him.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“I’ll live,” he said.

She looked toward the stairs.

“They’ve been up there all night. Do you think she’s gotten through to him?” she asked, worriedly.

“I don’t know. I hope so,” he said.

Just as he said that, Kyle opened the door to the bedroom. He disappeared for a moment, and then was back in the doorway, supporting Serena carefully.

“Serena, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea...” Maria started.

“Don’t even try to argue with her,” Kyle said with a smirk, as Doug followed them out of the room.

Carefully, he led her over to a chair and set her down, the motion stirring Alex from his sleep.

“What happened?” he asked groggily, looking at the staircase.

Maria saw the widening of his eyes and turned.

Coming slowly down the stairs were Max and Liz. Michael sat up slowly watching them.

Maria covered a gasp of shock quickly.

For Max looked awful. His skin now had a sickly pallor, and his eyes appeared sunken in. But as he glanced over at Liz, she saw the undeniable look of pure love that he gave her, along with a secret smile, and she knew Liz had succeeded.

Liz had her arm around Max, and as they reached the bottom of the staircase, she put a reassuring hand on his chest.

“Maxwell?” Michael said in a low voice. “Is everything ok?”

“Yeah,” Max said in a cracked voice, attempting to smile. Michael was shocked at the change in his appearance since the night before, but didn’t dare say anything.

But he needn’t have. Max knew.

“Whatever this is, is accelerating,” he said softly. “I don’t think I have too much time.”

“What do you mean?” Michael said, as Serena regarded Max silently.

“I’m not going with you all to DC,” he said quietly.

“Max you can’t stay here,” Michael said. “It isn’t safe.”

“I’m not going to stay here,” Max said. “Liz and I are going to New York.”

“What?!” Maria said. “New York! Why New York?”

“Because the Granolith is there, and I need to fix it,” Max said quietly. “The memories I got from Isabel were true, but they weren’t all that happened. You and I Michael…you and I were duped beck on Antar.”

He relayed the whole story of Khivar’s manipulation of events, Vilondra’s betrayal, and of the death of the humans, and the subsequent blame that was laid on them. Finally he told him of their execution, and the latest vision he and Liz had shared, his last attempt to make his mistake right, by making sure Vilondra had another chance, as Isabel.

“I should go with you to New York,” Michael said softly.

“No,” Max said. “Serena and the others are going to need your help. Your place is with them Michael.”

“Max, are you sure that you can restore the Granolith?” Serena asked.

“No,” Max replied wearily, pulling Liz closer, “but I have to try.”

“What about Isabel?” Alex asked quietly.

“After the Granolith is restored, I am going to get her back from Khivar, if it’s the last thing I do,” Max muttered.

Alex nodded.

“We have to leave today,” Max said. “I am growing weaker. If I don’t get there soon, I may not be able to do what needs to be done. Serena, will you be all right to travel?”

She nodded.

“Meet the others in DC then. You’ll know if we succeeded. If we fail, get the hell out of there. Khivar will be coming after you,” he said.

“I know,” she said, looking up at Kyle, who put his arm around her.

“I’ll take care of her,” Kyle said, and Max nodded.

“We’d better pack up then,” Max said.

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

Isabel sat quietly, her eyes closed, Khivar’s hand on her knee.

She continued in her sleep state, as Khivar regarded her intently.

Suddenly, her eyes snapped open, revealing the large black irises.

“They’re at a farmhouse 10 minutes from the bridge…” she said dully. “I heard him talking. The others are going to DC, but he’s going to New York, to fix the Granolith.”

She shook her head, trying to clear her mind.

“I tried to hear what they were saying, but I can’t keep more than a few seconds hold on him when he’s awake. It’s much easier when they’re sleeping.”

“That’s good enough Vilondra. You did well,” he said, his face tightening in anger.

He motioned a guard over.

“There’s been a change of plans,” he said. “Send the first battalion to Washington. Vilondra and I will take a group with us.”

“Where to Sir?” the guard asked.

“New York,” he muttered.

TBC…

posted on 19-Mar-2002 9:02:55 AM by majesty
Thank you all for the feedback, and I promise to try to make the updates on this with less time in between them. It's just that everyone has been asking for Flagellation, and I was all into To Hell and Back.

To answer a few questions, for right now, Isabel's humanity is sort of disappearing, and she is remembering her past alien life and her perception of Zan's betrayal.

Liz cannot heal Max. She helped to unlock Max's (Zan's) memories, but she has no other abilities, that we know of yet :-) Not sure if I am going to give her powers yet. Right now, the only thing that can heal Max is the Granolith. Of course things could change at any time, hehe. We were talking about this on another board, but I kind of forgot that it wasn't discussed over here. If any of you are up on Arthurian legend, the Granolith kind of represents the Holy Grail. Max is like King Arthur, Michael is his Lancelot, Liz Guenevere, etc. Of course, Lancelot doesn't sleep with Guenevere in my story LOL. But the whole idea of the land (Antar) tied to the King, and healing the land will heal the King, hence the quest for the Grail (Granolith), kind of appealed to me. I've added a variation to it, but I am following the general idea. We'll be hearing a bit more about the state of things on Antar in upcoming chapters.

Anyway, thank you all for sticking with this. I have two different endings for this when I eventually get there, and will probably post both of them.

majesty

posted on 8-Apr-2002 9:40:47 PM by majesty
Hey Everyone,

Sorry this has been so long in coming, but life and a whole lot of other things have happened. This one is transitional, the big showdown is coming soon. This part I am posting now will be posted in two parts. There will be one or two chapters after this I think, and then two endings with possible multiple parts if I decide to post both of them. If I do, I will write and post the two of them at the same time, and you can decide which one you like better.

Hope you enjoy this one.

majesty

PART TWENTY ONE

After a tearful goodbye to everyone that she hoped wouldn’t be permanent, Liz and Max left the farmhouse for New York in the truck that Michael and Kyle had lifted from the skins.

Liz had taken the driver’s seat, knowing Max was in no real shape to drive. She knew Isabel weighed heavily on his mind, and her heart went out to him. He sat slumped against the seat, his face taking on an even greater pallor in the harshness of daylight.

Liz dodging the abandoned cars that they all had become used to seeing over the past few months. They drove the side of the road in silence for a long while, Max thinking of his sister and Liz worrying about Max’s health. She didn’t know what kind of toll this latest task would take on him, and she was terrified of losing him, after just finding him again after all this time.

“What is it Liz?” Max asked, his voice raspy, startling her out of her thoughts.

“Nothing,” she said, shaking her head with a wan smile, reaching over to take his hand in hers.

He studied her for a moment.

“You’re worried about what’s going to happen,” he said softly.

“That’s nothing new Max,” she said, trying to make light of it. “I’ve gotten used to it after all these months.

“Liz…” he said in a tone that clearly said he knew what she was doing.

She turned her head for a second and caught his eyes before turning back to the road with a sigh.

“Yes Max, I’m worried about you. Of course I’m worried. How can I not be? Look at you. You’re in no shape to be traveling, never-mind anything else,” she said, her voice conveying her fears.

“It’ll be ok,” he said, looking out the side window.

“How can you say that Max? You don’t know what will happen. What if you trying to fix the Granolith makes you worse…or, or…” she faltered, not wanting to even voice the thought.

“Liz, I have to do this,” he said gently.

“I know. I know that! But that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid for you. Max, I don’t want to lose you. Not now, not when I finally found you,” she said, willing herself not to cry. She knew Max didn’t need that.

“Liz, I love you,” he said, and she felt his hand squeeze hers gently, “and because I love you, I want this to be over. I want you to have your life back, your family, your dreams. The way things are now, everything’s leading to a dead end. You know that as well as I do.”

Her jaw clenched in an effort to contain her emotions.

“Why would I want any of that without you? Max, before we met again in Roswell, I never dreamed that we…that I would have met you again, and that you might feel the same way I did. Now that I know that, how can you expect me to be happy about this, especially if something happened to you?” she asked. “I want more time.”

She turned her head and saw him close his eyes slowly, his mouth tightening.

“Liz we have this time now. We have this time together,” he said.

“Max, maybe everything will be ok. Maybe Serena will…”

“Liz, I’m dying. There won’t be any more time if I don’t try this. It’s my only chance,” he said quietly.

Liz swerved the truck over suddenly, and threw it into park. She couldn’t drive anymore. Her eyes became blurry with the tears that had filled them. She sat silently, staring out the windshield, trying to control her breathing, trying to forget what he’d just said, because that meant soon she’d be alone again. And that thought was more than she could take.

“Liz?” Max said softly.

“It’s not fair!” She burst out suddenly. “This…you are more than I could have hoped for. I used to have these dreams about what you’d be like. What we’d be like together, and now that it’s happened, it’s so much more than I ever could have imagined, Max. I don’t want to give you up! I don’t want to give us up!”

She turned toward him and saw that his eyes were glistening with tears, his lower lip trembling slightly. His head dropped for a few seconds as he tried to get his emotions in check.

A moment later, he lifted his head to look at her.

“Do you have any idea what it means to me to hear you say that?” he asked.

“All my life, I’ve been alone. I had Isabel and Michael, but it isn’t the same. From the minute I saw you Liz, I fell in love with you. You were it for me. I knew it even then, even as a little boy. I looked at you, and I saw everything I ever dreamed of, everything I imagined the perfect person for me would be. But I was afraid, afraid to show you, afraid to let you in, because doing that would put you in danger,” he said.

“Things are so messed up right now, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I do know one thing. I wouldn’t take back one minute that I spent with you. Something happened to me back in New York, and yes, I’m sick,” he said. He stared out at the landscape ahead and let out a wry laugh.

“God, I’m dying, but I’ve never felt more alive then when I’m with you,” he said, turning to look at her.

“I feel the same way,” she said, her eyes searching his. Her put her hand to his cheek tenderly. “I come alive when you look at me, when you touch me.”

“This is my only chance,” Max said hoarsely. “If I can fix this, maybe it will fix *me* too.”

Liz nodded.

“I know you have to do this Max. I want to be there with you, no matter what happens. I love you, and I’m not going to leave you. Not now, not ever,” she said with conviction.

He leaned over and touched his lips to hers tenderly, before pulling away slightly and touching his forehead to hers.

“”You’re the best thing that’s happened to me Liz Parker. I want you to know that. I was stupid to try to push you away, and I’m glad that you didn’t let me.”

“You couldn’t if you tried,” she said softly. “I’ll never give up on you Max.”

He pulled her gently into his arms.

“I really needed to hear that. I know it’s selfish of me to want you with me, but I don’t think I can do this alone,” he said.

“You don’t have to,” she said, stroking his hair, resting her chin on his shoulder. “We’ll do this together.”

She felt his hand wind absently into her hair and she sighed.

She wanted to remember every last minute with him, because she didn’t know what was to come, or what would become of any of them.

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

Kyle felt the heat from Serena’s hands pressed flat against his stomach as he wound the bike away from the farmhouse. He didn’t like this at all, taking the bikes instead of a car, but Serena insisted it would be quicker. He could fairly feel her discomfort as she sat behind him. He was being as careful as he could, trying not to jolt her, but a bump here and there was inevitable.

He cursed Khivar for what he’d done to her. He found himself wishing that he had Max’s powers, his abilities, so that he might give Khivar a little payback for what he’d done to all of them. He’d taken everything from them, the people they knew and loved, the life they’d lived. And he wanted it back, all of it.

The bike jounced over another dip in the road, and he winced, feeling Serena’s hand tighten over his stomach. Without taking his eyes off the road, he reached down and laid his hand over hers sympathetically.

It would be hours before they reached the halfway point of their journey, weaving in and out of the cars on I95. They’d probably reach DC long after dark. But once they were there, there wouldn’t be any more long distance travel, he hoped. Serena had told him she could sense the gathering of power there, which meant the half-breeds were gathering in strength. He hoped that their combined force would be enough to do what needed to be done when the time came.

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

Alex rode behind Kyle, with Doug alongside of him, and Michael and Maria sharing a bike behind him.

He couldn’t get his mind off of Isabel. He wondered if she was all right, if she’d really turned to Khivar. He couldn’t imagine it to be possible. It just didn’t seem to be her. He’d listened intently to the sketchy details that were provided by Max before he left, and it just didn’t sit right with him. Before she left with Max, all she’d wanted was for him to be protected. She would never do anything to hurt him. Alex knew that in his heart. So why would she send him away? Why would she believe that he would betray her? Maybe Khivar was doing some sort of mind voodoo on her. But Max said that the memories were hers, that they were real, but only part of the truth. Isabel needed to know that. Someone had to tell her, had to let her know that all wasn’t as it seemed. Max was too weak to confront Khivar to get Isabel back. Michael was injured and in no shape to do it either.

He simply could not believe that she would turn on her family. He was going on faith, but somehow he knew she wasn’t completely lost to them. She was more vulnerable than any of them realized. He’d seen a softer side to her. She’d confided in him. She’d let him in. Maybe she’d let someone in again.

He said a silent prayer that once Max fixed what was wrong with the Granolith, he’d be able to wake Isabel up. He only hoped Max had the strength to do what needed to be done.

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

Isabel sat in the car alongside the landing strip at the small airport.

Khivar had just ordered one of his men to fire up one of the smaller planes. She sighed, knowing that his men were much more capable than they ever were. They hadn’t had a chance.

But maybe this was meant to be. Retribution. Justice for the wrongs Zan had done to him and his people. What he had done to her, discarding her as if she were an idiot, as if she didn’t know what she was talking about.

Max had to be stopped before he rejuvenated the Granolith. She’d tried to let him escape with his life. But now there was nothing to be done about it. Again she’d tried to reason with him, and again he’d ignored her. Perhaps Max wasn’t so different from Zan after all.

She felt the long dormant cold hatred she’d felt for her brother on Antar.

He’d best stay out of their way in New York. This time there would be no second chances.

Khivar opened the door to the car and moved in to sit beside her.

“We’ll be leaving soon. There’s a small problem with the plane, and it’s the only one of it’s kind here,” he said.

“It’s the only plane Nathen feels comfortable flying. A small setback, but we’ll be in New York well before Max ever gets there,” he said.

“What if it’s bad weather up there?” Isabel asked. “How will we land?”

“We’ll take our chances. We have the coordinates for LaGuardia, as well as all the surrounding states’ airports. Worst case, we’ll land at the closest clear runway. We have more than enough fuel,” he said.

Isabel nodded, turning her black eyes to him.

“You are so beautiful,” he whispered, touching her cheek. “More beautiful than I remembered.”

She smiled lightly. Her memories of him had resurfaced with a vengeance, and she moved closer to him, her hand moving to rest on his hip.

“You have a lot of making up to do for letting me die,” she said.

“After we’re through in New York, I am going to spend the rest of my days making that up to you. You and I will forge a whole new world, where the Radmians will rule the galaxies,” he said.

“And Max?” she asked.

“If he stays out of my way, he’ll live. But I warn you, he’s already causing problems. If he tries to interrupt our plans, he will pay,” he said, his lips moving closer to hers.

“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem,” Isabel said, her lips melding with his as his hands buried themselves in her hair.

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

After a long day of travelling Maria and Michael were exhausted. Maria’s legs were aching from balancing herself on the bike all day, trying not to touch the angry wound on Michael’s side.

As she got off the bike, she took at look at him and tensed. He was looking unusually pale, and she figured the ride took more out of him than he’d admitted to anyone.

Richmond, Virginia. They were very close to DC now. They’d be there tomorrow. Liz and Max would hit New York later in the day tomorrow. She wished like hell that they had some way to communicate. There was no way of knowing whether they were all right, and that worried her. Max wasn’t looking good when they’d left, only a few short hours before she and the others took off.

They’d needed to wrap Serena tightly, to ensure that her ribs were protected for the ride.

Maria had taken care of dressing Michael’s wound again, careful to make sure that it was well bandaged. Doug had helped Alex pack the supply bags, and then they’d left.

Now they were stopped outside a huge old house in Richmond for the night. Maria saw Michael grab onto the handlebars of the bike for support suddenly, before standing straighter, not wanting anyone to notice.

“Michael go inside and sit down, I’ll get the packs,” she said, concerned.

“I’m fine,” he said gruffly.

“Michael I may be a blond, but I’m not stupid. Let me do something,” she scolded lightly, and with a slight glare, Michael made his way slowly over to the doorway, going inside.

Maria untied the bags from the bike, and brought them in.

“There’s some water in the green bag,” she said. “I’m going to go and see if Serena needs anything, and then I’m all yours,” she joked. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the couch he was sitting on.

Maria walked over to Doug.

“How’s she doing?” she asked in a low voice as she watched Serena getting situated by Kyle.

“Ok I guess,” Doug shrugged. “But you know Serena, even if she wasn’t, we’d never know it.”

Alex walked up and put an arm around her shoulder.

“Well, we’re quite the bunch, aren’t we?” he asked. “Max is sick, Isabel defected, Serena is cracked in about a dozen places, and Michael’s got a hole in his back. And *how* are we supposed to defeat Khivar again?” he said wryly.

“With help from the others,” Serena said from across the room.

“Max will do what he needs to do out on New York, if my gut feeling of him is any indication. The others are growing in strength. I can feel them more strongly as we get closer. We have a chance. At least we have that,” she said.

“But at what expense?” Michael asked from his spot on the couch. “Max might die. We might lose Isabel forever. We all could get killed,” he said.

“Sometimes things are necessary for the greater good,” Serena said.

“You believe that?” Michael asked. “Knowing what happened the last time, and seeing history repeating itself here, you still believe that?”

“Yes,” Serena said, with quiet conviction. “With the half-breeds’ collective consciousness growing, our history is becoming clear. Pieces missing are falling into place. You may have lived before. Max may have lived before, but you’re different people now. You’ve learned from your mistakes. And the half-breeds are behind you. *I’m* behind you, with Doug. We will not run away this time, like our ancestors did. We’ll stand and fight with you this time. It was our ancestors’ biggest mistake, to run. It won’t happen again,” she said.

Maria turned to look at Michael, who had looked down at the floor.

Glancing at Alex and then Doug, Maria broke away from them, walking over to sit next to Michael.

“What’s wrong, Michael?” she said in a low voice.

He shook his head, avoiding her gaze.

“Michael,” she prompted.

“I should have gone with Max. I should have never let him go alone,” he said.

“Michael, he wanted you with us. There’s nothing you could do for him. It’s something he has to do on his own. Khivar is going to come after Serena, after us. You’ll be doing more good here than in New York,” she said.

He nodded wordlessly.

“Look, we’re all tired. I’m going to get dinner going. After we eat we’ll talk, ok?” she said gently. He looked out the front window distractedly.

“I’ll be back,” she said.

Much later, after they’d all eaten and the others had gone off to bed, Maria blew out a few of the candles that were lit, and sat quietly next to Michael, who hadn’t said another word since she’d spoken to him earlier.

“Michael, talk to me,” she said finally, the silence getting to her.

“I don’t have anything to say,” he answered in the dim.

“Yes you do,” she said impatiently. “Say whatever it is you’ve been thinking about all night.”

“Maria,” he said in a warning tone.

“Spit it out Guerin!” she said.

“Fine! I was thinking that none of this is going to work. We’re deluding ourselves. Max is going to die Maria. Did you see him? Isabel is with Khivar. Each of us is alone,” he said.

There was a moment of silence.

“You’re not alone Michael,” she said.

“Yes I am!” he said. “I failed him Maria! I am supposed to be his second in command, and I failed him!”

“Michael, you’re not Superman for God’s sake! You’re lucky you got out of there alive at all! God, you still think it’s only the three of you, don’t you? You think that it’s all on *your* shoulders. Well, I thought we were all in this together,” she said angrily.

“Maria,” he protested. “That’s not it at all. We just are more equipped to deal with this than you are.”

“We did just fine before you came to Roswell,” she said angrily.

Michael felt his patience snap.

“Yeah? How? By getting yourself mind-raped, among other things?” he asked.

Michael heard a small cry come from Maria’s mouth, and then it was silent. He cursed himself for his slip-up.

“Who told you that?” she asked in a low, trembling voice.

“Maria,” he said, putting his hand on her arm.

“*Who* told you?” she said in a louder voice.

Michael was silent, properly chastised. He didn’t know what to say. How could have been so stupid in blurting that out?

“Forget it,” she ground out. “I can take a pretty good guess.”

She started to get up and he grabbed her wrist, pulling her down again.

“Maria, I’m sorry,” he said.

“I don’t need your fucking pity!” she snarled. “Is that was this is? Be nice to poor Maria because she got herself molested by a skin? Fuck this!”

She started to attempt to get up again, and Michael pulled her roughly to his chest.

“Get off me!” she said angrily. “Let me go!”

Before she had an opportunity to say anything else, his lips crashed on hers, silencing her with a tiny squeak from her throat. He felt his pulse race at the feeling of her full lips against his, her hands pressed against his chest. His hands moved to the small of her back, pulling her even closer as his tongue dove into her waiting mouth. His breath grew uneven as he explored her mouth, his tongue dueling with hers, begging her to realize that pity was not at all what this was about.

A moment later, he pulled away, resting his forehead against hers, trying to catch his breath.

“Let’s just get one thing straight,” he said. “You’re not a charity case. I didn’t want to feel like this. I didn’t want to feel anything like this for anyone. I can’t afford it. But it’s too late. If I had a chance to find that fucking skin I’d rip his face off for what he did to you. I’m sorry for what I said. I’m sorry for the way it came out. And the only reason I know about it is because Alex was trying to tell me to lay off of you. He was being a good friend. More than I’d been. I was giving you a hard time,” he said, pausing.

“I wish that I could make all of this go away, but I can’t. I wish that I’d done a lot of things differently myself. But we can’t go back, and we can’t change anything. I may not have been there then, but I’m here now, and I’m sorry for what happened to you Maria,” he finished.

She pulled away from him, and he saw the tears filling her eyes as her lower lip trembled.

“Come here,” he said, drawing her head to his chest as great wracking sobs sprung from her, tears that she’d never allowed herself to shed until now.

“I’m here,” he whispered, gently kissing the top of her head, letting her finally feel what she’d pushed down for so long.



posted on 8-Apr-2002 9:44:01 PM by majesty
*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%*%

Liz turned off the ignition to the truck and wearily rubbed her eyes, taking in the hotel in front of her. So this was New Jersey, she thought to herself.

She’d seen more of the country in the past few days than she had in her life before all of this had happened. It was only a few hours to New York, but she was too tired to drive, and she didn’t want to chance falling asleep at the wheel.

She looked over at Max, sleeping in the seat next to her. He looked even more drawn than he had earlier, if that was possible.

She was reluctant to wake him, but she didn’t want either of them to spend the night in a cold truck, and so she gently leaned over and touched his cheek.

“Max, we’ve stopped,” she said gently, and his brow furrowed.

He stirred slightly, and mumbled.

“Don’t leave me Liz,” he muttered, and her heart tightened painfully.

“Max,” she said again gently, and this time his eyes opened slowly.

“We’re stopping for the night,” she said.

“Where are we?” he asked groggily, sitting up in his seat.

“New Jersey,” she said. “We’re close. We’ll be there tomorrow.”

He rubbed his eyes wearily.

“Are you ok?” she asked, taking his hand.

“Yeah,” he said. “I was having this dream…”

“What was it about?” she asked.

“I don’t really remember,” he said after a pause. “I just remember being alone, and calling out for you, but it was dark, and I couldn’t see…”

She squeezed his hand.

“Well I’m right here,” she said.

He smiled at her.

“I know,” he said, leaning over to touch her lips with his own.

“Let’s go inside,” she said. “We can have something to eat and rest up for tomorrow.”

He nodded and they got out of the truck, taking their gear with them, walking into the hotel.

Max followed her slowly as she passed the front desk and went into the adjacent hallway. Noting the room number, she turned around.

“Wait here,” she said, and disappeared for a minute. She came back in a minute with a key.

She let them both into the room, propping a chair against the door to keep it from shutting.

She dropped her bags onto the floor and took his dropping them alongside her own.

“I’m going to go see what I can dig up in the kitchen. Why don’t you lie down?” she said.

He almost wanted to argue, but he was too tired.

He nodded and crawled onto the bed, lying on his side, cursing the fact that his ailing body was requiring so much sleep when all he wanted to do was to spend every waking minute he had left with Liz. She walked to his side, gently brushing his hair off his forehead and placing a soft kiss on it.

“I’ll be back in a bit,” she said, and he nodded.

He was already asleep before she made it out of the doorway

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

Max stirred as he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“Max,” she whispered, as if in a dream, and he opened his eyes to see her standing over him with a candle in her hand.

“What time is it?” he asked, disoriented.

“It’s around 9,” she said, taking his hand.

“Come with me,” she said, and he sat up slowly.

“Where are we going?” he asked, curiously.

“You’ll see, just come,” she said, smiling at him as he stood.

She gently tugged on his hand, and he followed her out of the room, his eyes widening as he took in the site of the hallway. Lining the corridor were little tea candles to light their way.

“Liz what’s going on?” he asked, and she just looked at him with a smile, squeezing his hand.

She pulled him to the end of the hallway to a large suite at the end, and led him inside.

This room was also fairly filled with little candles, lending a soft glow to the entire room.

“Liz?” he asked questioningly, but she continued to tug him further into the room to another doorway.

It was a large bathroom glowing with little tea lights.

He looked at her curiously, but she just reached up and pulled on his t-shirt, nudging it up.

Without questioning, he let her undress him, pulling his shoes off, and then lowering his pants and boxers to the floor. Her touch was gentle, relaxing as she gently ran her fingers lightly over his chest and arms.

She then pulled off her own sweater slowly, unhooking her bra and throwing it to the floor before removing her shoes and sliding her own jeans and panties off.

She stood on tiptoe and gently nuzzled his cheek before pulling him toward her as she stepped back.

She lifted her leg and stepped into the tub behind her, sliding herself gently into the water before beckoning to him.

“Come on,” she said softly. “The water’s hot. I boiled it myself,” she said.

His gaze never broke hers as he stepped into the tub, before turning finally and settling in the water between her thighs.

He couldn’t escape the sigh of pleasure that escaped his lips as the hot water seeped into his skin, easing the ache in his muscles.

He felt her arms slip around his chest as she pulled him closer to her, and he felt her legs wrap around his waist from behind him.

“How does this feel?” she asked softly.

“Great,” he said, closing his eyes. “How is it that you always know what I need?”

Her hands slowly pulled the hot water over his chest.

“I remember how good it always felt to take a hot bath when I wasn’t feeling well,” she said, slowly pushing on his shoulders allowing him to slip lower into the water as his head rested against her stomach. She tenderly ran her fingers through his hair, slowly wetting it.

“I thought this might make you feel better,” she said.

“It does,” he said in a low voice, concentrating on the feeling of her fingers running through his hair, and the slight slosh of the water against his body as she shifted slightly.

A moment later, she was massaging shampoo into his scalp, and he relaxed even further under her soothing touch.

He would have gladly lay there forever as she rinsed the shampoo out of his hair and then began to soap his skin, her fingers deftly loosening muscles that had become cramped during their long drive.

Every touch was as if her soul was touching his as he felt their connection spark to life, her love running through his body and his mind.

He sat up and she massaged his back with soapy fingers, and his head drooped forward in relaxation. He concentrated on her fingers sliding over the muscles in his back, kneading gently.

Finally she placed a gentle kiss on his neck and he rose and turned around, sitting facing her as her legs overlapped his in the oversized tub. He pulled her closer, his cheek touching hers as he gently kissed her neck, his hands on her lower back. Suddenly she leaned back, immersing her hair in the water as his eyes caught sight of her breasts and he swallowed hard. She was so beautiful.

She sat up, her hair drenched with water now running down her back.

He smiled at her, his eyes watering.

“What?” she said, a small smile touching her lips.

He shook his head, looking at the water.

“This seems like a dream,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself it isn’t, that you’re really here. It still seems like a dream.”

“I know, I keep thinking that too. But it’s not a dream Max,” she said, leaning toward him, her eyes half-closed seductively. “You’re real, and I’m real.”

Her hands slid down his chest as her lips covered his, and he groaned lightly, as she slid closer, her breasts meeting his chest, her heart beating erratically in tune with his.

He ran his tongue over her lower lips before gently catching it between his teeth. Her hand slid round his neck, pulling him to her as their tongues slid against each others, probing seductively.

Max felt her nipples harden against his skin, and his lower region reacted accordingly.

There was something so erotic about the feel of her wet skin, his hands sliding seductively against it.

Their kiss broke as he pulled her up higher against him, as her silky thighs slid along his and he let out an involuntary groan as her heat pressed up against his erection.

He couldn’t resist taking the pink bud in front of him into his mouth as he felt himself slide into her warm heat and she moaned as she took him in.

He gently teased her nipple with his teeth before gently sucking in as she moved slowly over him, her hips rocking as her flat stomach slid against his. He looked up at her hungrily, and her head dropped, her skin flushed with all these new sensations. The water lapped seductively around their bodies in little waves as Max pulled her roughly down onto him, eliciting a small gasp from her lips.

His hands grasped her hips roughly, commanding her body to respond to his.

She squeezed his shoulders, feeling him slide into her further, and again their connection flared stronger.

She felt his love well within her, embracing her, filling her, as his body filled hers.

She pressed closer to him, feeling her body climbing toward ecstasy as he met her stroke for stroke.

Together, they cried out in release as he held her body to him, her heart beat thundering in his ear.

“I love you,” he gasped.

“I love you,” she said, pressing her lips to his forehead.

For a long time they stayed locked in each other’s arms. Finally Liz pulled away gently, feeling the water cooling.

She got out of the tub and grabbed two towels, handing him one as she toweled herself off.

She watched the powerful muscles play under the skin on his back as he toweled himself dry and then turned toward her.

It was then she noticed that the bandage had fallen off of his side, and an eerie glow was emanating from it.

“Max,” she said, her brow furrowing, as she moved to touch the surrounding skin.

Her whole body stiffened with the energy that surged through her body.

The Granolith pulsed irregularly in front of her, Max’s seal glowing a sickly gray inside of it.

She felt her body flying through space, almost as if an observer, seeing a blue planet rocket toward her at light speed.

She was in its atmosphere, moving through pale purple clouds as she moved toward the ground.

And there below her, she saw them. People, humans as far as the eye could see, confused, afraid of the Antarians they’d been dumped among. The few humans left that had lived among the Antarians were trying to explain to them where they were, but the Earth humans were panicking. People were crying, screaming, as some were chosen by the Radmians and taken away.

They were taken into a compound, and drugged, where their skin was literally cut from their bodies as they lay in a drug-induced coma. None survived for more than a few minutes.

“Max!” she cried out in terror as she looked at this vision in horror.


And she was with him suddenly again.

“I’m here,” he said in a trembling voice as he pulled her to him.

“Did you see it?” she asked, in a trembling voice. “What are they doing to them?”

Tears streamed down his face as he pressed it to her chest.

“Skins,” he said. “They’re taking their skin.”

She wrapped her arms around him and cried with him.
“It’s our fault,” he said in a ragged voice.

“Don’t take this on yourself Max,” Liz said gently.

“If my people hadn’t come here…”

“If your people hadn’t come here, it would have been the Radmians, and we wouldn’t be standing here talking. They would have laid our planet to waste and you know it!”

He broke away from her, walking into the bedroom.

Liz grabbed the two robes she’d laid on the counter, pulling one on and wrapping it around her.

“Max,” she said gently, putting the robe over his shoulders.

“I’m going to fix this,” he said with fierce determination. “I don’t care what I have to do, I am going to fix this.”

“I know you will,” she said, laying her cheek on his back and slipping her arms around his waist.

She felt his hand cover hers on his stomach.

“We’ll get them back,” he said, with anger.

“But at what cost Max?” she asked, her voice troubled.

“Whatever it takes. I am going to make it right. I am going to fix my mistakes, once and for all.”

TBC…


posted on 9-Apr-2002 1:55:54 PM by majesty
Soypet,

A couple of people have been asking about that one, so I posted it up at my site. I was reluctant, because I don't think it was one of my better fics, but if you're up for reading it, it's at:

http://majestysfanfic.tripod.com/default.html

Just click on the link to the story. He Said/She Said - A Max and Liz Christmas Story was my first attempt at Non NC-17, as well as yet again trying to puzzle out Max's distance and zombie-ism from the middle of S2.

Hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think of it.

*happy*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Apr-2002 1:56:24 PM ]
posted on 2-May-2002 8:26:19 AM by majesty
Hey guys.

This is just a little note to let you know that if all goes well there will be another update to this by the end of the weekend. At least I am keeping my fingers crossed for one.

I know it seems like there are long periods between updates, but I am working on four stories at the moment, three on the boards, and one not posted yet. I never post an update shorter than 8-10 pages in Word, so it takes me a while to get parts out for stories.

I just updated Flagellation last night and am in the process of updating the next part of To Hell and Back. The I am going to start on this one again.

Thank you so much for the feedback, especially on this story. It's one that I am a little unsure of still.

Thanks again for your patience!

majesty
posted on 2-Jun-2002 5:55:11 PM by majesty
Happy Sunday!

I've struggled with this part for weeks, mostly because I have not had much ambition to write lately, the reason for which most of you probably know by now, so I'll not bring it up. I know this isn't one of the better installments I've written, but I'm trying, so bear with me.

Thanks,

majesty

PART 22

Maria blearily swiped at her still swollen eyes, even further agitated with the bright sunlight that filled the morning sky. Neither she nor Michael had slept well the night before.

Here before them now lay their destination. She could see the Capitol building from the back of the bike in the distance, and knew that their journey was drawing to a close. After all these months, there would finally be resolution one way or another.

She wondered if Serena was nervous. She didn’t know how she couldn’t be. Maria herself felt her stomach tighten momentarily in fear of what was to come. There were no guarantees of anything from this point on.

So much could go wrong. The half-breeds could fail. Max could die. Khivar could prevail with Isabel on his side. She knew Michael was worried sick about it. Max and Isabel had been the only real family he’d ever known, and if anything happened to them, she wasn’t sure how he’d react. She didn’t know how she’d react herself if anything happened to Liz.

She leaned her chin against Michael’s back as the wind whipped her light jacket, and she felt his hand gently move to squeeze hers before returning to the handle-bars again.

Michael had turned out to be surprisingly wonderful. She would have never thought it. But there was this whole other side to him that she never would have imagined existed back in high school. It just went to show how little people took the time to know each other. Granted, Michael was like a brick wall in high school, arrogant and reclusive, but it was naïve to think that this was all there was to him.

Now she knew the truth. That brick wall was there to hide everything Michael Guerin really was. He did have feelings. He did care about people. He did get hurt.

Maria wondered if things weren’t as they were, would anyone have known the real Michael Guerin? She doubted it. For all the bad things that had happened to them all, she couldn’t be sorry for knowing him, for all his sarcasm and infuriating obnoxious tendencies. But right at this moment, sitting behind him, pressed against his back, feeling alive, the wind against her slight body, the warmth of his seeping into her own, she felt more alive and more at peace than she had in a long time.

Would she lose him? Would he lose her? She didn’t know. She didn’t know anything anymore, and so she concentrated on the pavement flying by, the flash of the inert cars like blurry ghosts of a time that had passed but would not let itself be forgotten.

The loud drone of the bike’s engine was muffled by her helmet, which pressed against her ears. Her thighs pressed tightly against Michael, though they didn’t really need to be.

It felt good. It felt good to have an objective, to feel as if they were doing something about their situation, not sitting around waiting for the Skins to come sniffing for them, hiding and waiting to knock the repulsive beings off one by one. Finally they had a chance to even things out, to possibly take their world back, to make things as they were, as they should be.

Time would tell, and it would be sooner than later. It wouldn’t be long now.

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

Isabel woke in the abandoned American Airlines terminal at LaGuardia Airport. For a moment, she forgot where she was or why she was here.

She’d had a terrible dream, one in which she’d felt the press of an angry mob around her, leering, furious. As she took steps back away from the beings in front of her, she felt the press of those behind her. She was surrounded. Looking around for help, for some sort of support, she called out to Khivar. She caught sight of him outside the throng, looking at her with a great sadness in his eyes.

“Help me,” she pleaded as her eyes locked with his. Though there was great regret in his eyes, he did not move.

“I’m sorry,” she saw him mouth, as her arm was grabbed roughly.

“No!” she cried out to him. “Please, you can’t let them!”

“They’ll kill me,” he said through their connection. “I love you, but my duty is to my people first.”

“I betrayed my family for you,” she whispered, as her head was yanked back by an overzealous Radmian.

“You have paid for your family’s sins. The slate is clean,” he said. “But know that I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment I saw you, and I know you love me.”

“I loved you and your people. Wasn’t that enough?” she said miserably.

He remained silent as she was thrown to the ground and the air above her became dark with the swarming of faces around her.

“You’re remembering it aren’t you?” a voice said, tearing her from her thoughts.

She turned her head quickly, frowning as she looked at Khivar, who’d been sitting quietly across from her on another row of seats. His eyes were locked on her, his face unreadable as he stroked his chin.

He was a beautiful man, she thought to herself, even now. He’d always had a terrible beauty, and a tragic yet passionate demeanor. It was what had attracted her that night at the ball, and it still drew her like a magnet.

“It was a mistake Vilondra,” he said softly. “It’s one I have paid for every day since. It’s a terrible regret I’ve had to live with. It’s the one thing I will never let happen again.”

He stood up and moved across the carpeted floor to sit next to her.

“Do you have any idea what it was like to live with knowing that my one moment of cowardice caused me to lose the one person who made me whole? That was you. My life after that day was empty. I filled it much as Zan probably did, with politics and laws and trying to fix things. It’s probably the one and only thing we’ll ever have in common. But it was not a life, not without you. I hate your brother more than I’ve ever hated anyone in my life, which is why it’s so incredible that I could love someone of the same blood as powerfully as I hate him. But I do…love you Vilondra. I want that chance to prove to you that I can be the being I wasn’t back on Antar. You will be my Queen and together we’ll unite the people,” he said.

She reached over and touched his hand, instantly connecting with him, and she saw that he spoke the truth. He’d loved her, and she felt the regret coming off of him in waves, along with the hope that she could love him again.

For all his mistakes, he did love her. And she had loved him once, and all that he’d represented. She’d loved him for the courage he’d had to stand up for his people, to protect them, and she’d died because of it.

But it had been her family’s fault that it had come to that. Khivar had tried to negotiate with Zan. She had tried to reason with him, but Zan wouldn’t listen, arrogant in his ideals and his position. He’d been just as ruthless as he’d claimed Khivar was.

She didn’t want Max to die. She’d tried to warn him, but again as in his previous life, he hadn’t listened. He would be here in New York shortly. She could sense him coming closer. Khivar had offered him his life, and she had warned him against coming here, but he’d ignored her…again.

She’d been feeling a progressive detachment from her human perspective, growing stronger as each hour passed. Her alien-ness was becoming more predominant, and couldn’t say that she was really sad about it. There was a certain liberation in embracing her old self, her old values, her memories of a lost love.

She loved her human parents and would make sure of their safety and survival. She loved Max, but now he was on his own. The little niggling doubts were fading. With each passing minute she felt the parallels between Zan and Max. If he chose to follow through with this ridiculous mission of his, endangering his own life when it was offered to him on a silver platter, then what was she to do about it?

She frowned as a human reaction rose in her mind. He was her brother. He’d protected her, protected all of them. Shouldn’t she do the same?

But Vilondra reared her head with a vengeance. Protecting him was exactly what she had been trying to do in telling him to let it lie. If he didn’t listen, then he had no one to blame but himself.

She felt a gentle hand run through her hair, and she slowly turned her head back to face Kivar.

I love you Vilondra,” he said softly. “I want you with me, forever this time. But that can’t happen while your brother still lives, while he tries to destroy everything. You know that don’t you?”

She looked into his mesmerizing blue eyes, and her last shred of humanity was lost to her, enveloped by the overpowering emotion she saw swimming in his face.

“Yes…” she said softly.

“Then come, and let this be finished, once and for all,” he said, holding his hand out to her.

She took it and stood slowly, prepared for whatever she would have to face in the coming hours.

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

Liz found it difficult to maneuver around the congestion of the abandoned cars on the Goethals Bridge.

Cursing under her breath, she stopped the SUV, seeing that they could go no further on the narrow bridge. She’d taken a chance in going this route, assuming that the smaller bridge would have less cars on it than the George Washington Bridge, but she hadn’t factored in the width of it. It was too narrow to pass the vehicles sitting silently all the way across.

She sighed heavily, realizing that they would have to walk it, choosing a car to continue on to their destination at the other end.

She leaned out of the window, looking down the length of it.

“Max,” she said as she scanned the horizon. When she received no answer, she turned to him.

He was staring out the window, lost in his thoughts.

“Max,” she said gently, putting her hand on his shoulder, and he jumped a bit, turning toward her.

“I’m sorry,” he said a little sheepishly, and she felt her throat tighten as she looked at him, his face haggard in the harsh sunlight.

“We’re going to have to walk,” she said, and his eyes lowered in fatigue as he nodded.

“We’ll pick up another car at the other end of the bridge, all right?” she said, her fingers threading through his. She chewed her lip worriedly. She wasn’t sure what the long walk across the bridge would take out of him, as he seemed to be growing even weaker by the hour now.

“I’ll be fine,” he said, sensing her apprehension at the thought of him walking across the bridge.

Liz knew that he wouldn’t have said anything else, not wanting her to worry about him. But he couldn’t hide the fatigue on his face. She decided against saying anything, as there wasn’t anything else to be done. There was no other way across the bridge.

They got out of the truck, and Max came around the front, taking Liz’s hand. They started the walk, the bright sun warming their bodies and the clothes they wore. For a moment, Liz could almost forget the red tinge of the sky that was a constant reminder of what they’d all lost.

She concentrated on the feel of the soft pads of Max’s fingers resting against her palm, warm and comforting.

“Max, do you wish that things could have been different in high school, you know, with us?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said softly. “Things would have been more normal.”

She glanced at him and smiled.

“It wouldn’t have been for long with those funky hallucinations you give me,” she joked lightly, and a small grin appeared on his face.

“I thought you said it was exciting?” he said, squeezing her hand teasingly.

“It was,” she said softly. “But no more exciting than any other minute I spend with you.”

She looked up at him and a small smile appeared on his face.

“Do you?” he asked.

“Do I what?” she asked as she looked at their feet stepping in synch on the cement.

“Do you wish things could have been different?” he asked, looking out over the water, glimmering with the light of the sun.

“Maybe, only because we’d have had more time,” she said, and he nodded.

“And I could have taken you out on a real date,” he said regretfully, his hand sliding slowly up his waist to cover his wound.

She noticed his movement right away.

“Max, has that gotten worse?” she asked.

“It’s fine,” he insisted, but the stopped and pulled him back when he tried to keep walking.

“Let me see,” she said.

“Liz, it’s fine,” he insisted.

She held his eyes for a moment, and he relented, dropping his hand.

She slowly wrapped her fingers around the hem of his t-shirt, her eyes never leaving his as he looked at her nervously.

Her fingers slid against the smooth skin of his stomach as she lifted the shirt, her eyes lowering. From beneath the bandage a sickly green light pulsed lightly.

She pulled the bandage away and gasped.

“How long has it been like this Max” she asked.

“Since this morning,” he admitted.

She bit her lip as she looked at the skin surrounding the wound that had turned almost black. The wound itself oozed the green glow that she had seen emanating from behind the bandage.

She looked at him worriedly.

“The Granolith will fix it,” he said.

“What if it doesn’t?” she said.

He didn’t answer.

“We should go,” he said.

She nodded and carefully smoothed the bandage back into place before lowering his t-shirt.

His arm slipped around her as he pulled her close, and remained there as they continued their way across the bridge.

Liz wasn’t sure what to say, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that each step on the concrete was bringing them closer to their destination, and closer to the possibility that she might lose Max.

There was so much she was feeling, and she knew that they could very well be running out of time, but the words failed to surface. How could she possibly verbalize all that he had come to mean to her in such a short period of time? She’d been in love with him from afar for as long as she could remember, but now knowing him as she never had back in high school, she realized he was everything she dreamed he’d be and more, and yet so very different from anything she could have imagined.

She turned her head and looked at his handsome profile. His eyes held the perpetual worry that had been there since they’d met again, as his eyes scanned the water surrounding the bridge. She knew that he carried his past heavily on his shoulders. So much more than he should be carrying.

She also knew that he was prepared to do anything to help his sister, Michael and the rest of the group. It made her angry that he was not even thinking of himself, or whether he would make it through all of this, but she held her tongue.

Though he might be prepared to do what had to be done, whatever the cost to himself, he hadn’t taken her presence into account. She was going to make sure that she did everything that she could to make sure that he was still around to love her when all was said and done.

He stopped suddenly, his eyes closing as he stood in the middle of the bridge.

“What is it Max?” Liz said, concerned.

“Serena. She’s joined the others in DC. I can feel them,” he said with a small smile.

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

Serena gazed at the people lining the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, surveying those who’d made the journey to DC, following an instinct that hadn’t been entirely conscious. They’d started gathering slowly, gradually gaining numbers over the last week. Now a crowd of about two hundred people stood looking at her expectantly, waiting for her to speak.

She bit back the painful jabs radiating from her damaged ribs. Now was not the time to be wallowing in self-pity.

She glanced at Kyle, who stood next to her, and took his hand. Standing with her was the one dream she’d allowed herself that had become real. The one man who’d she’d secretly longed for from the moment she’d met him. The man who she’d always assumed would forever be out of her reach.

Yet here he stood, with concern in his eyes and love in his heart for her, and only her, and she felt that even though the world might fall apart around them, this one thing, this one little light that had come into her life at it’s darkest point, would get her through what she had to do.

Someday when this was all over, she would tell him about that dark place, where she cowered in hidden fear on Jekyll Island, where she’d almost given up. Where she welcomed oblivion, only to be lulled by the pull of his voice and the promise that he’d come to get her. Someday she’d tell him that it was him, and only him that had given her the will to hang on through the tortures she’d endured.

Someday, but not now.

Kyle cleared his throat, looking at Doug, who stood on the other side of Serena, waiting for her first move.

Maria and Michael stood off to the side, Michael’s arm wrapped around Maria’s waist. They knew this was their last hope.

“I think the peanut gallery is waiting to hear from you,” Kyle said, his head motioning toward the crowd.

She turned to Doug.

“Are you ready?” she asked, holding her hand out to him. He smiled and nodded and took her hand as they both turned to the people waiting.

The two closed their eyes in concentration and a great sigh escaped from the crowd of people as their minds all connected at once in a single collective consciousness.

“Zan lives,” her voice whispered through the connection, and a flurry of shocked murmurings ricocheted into her mind and she felt Doug’s hand tighten on hers in anticipation. Suddenly she felt a wave of knowledge flow from the group, as the secrets of what they were, were completely unlocked. Those who did not know, now had the knowledge. Those who did, let the secrets of generations flow through the connection. It was what they’d all been called here for. Now they knew the purpose of seemingly senseless need to travel to this particular deserted city.

“The Granolith has been tampered with, knocked off balance,” she said. “Zan is weak. He’d been injured in the red disaster. He is not fully Antarian, but half human like us. He is more powerful, as he was genetically engineered, where we were born naturally, but he will need every ounce of our concentration, the elements that make up our Antarian side, in order to fix what needs to be fixed. It may help to bring our loved ones back home. Are you prepared to help him?” she asked.

A resounding agreement soared through their collective psyche. Serena felt her muscles relax from the tenseness she hadn’t realized she’d been feeling. Though she’d hoped that this would all come together, she couldn’t be positive. Knowing the half-breeds were in complete agreement with what needed to be done made her feel marginally better that this plan might actually have a chance at succeeding.

In this moment, united with her people, her brother and those she loved, she felt as if they just might win this time, for both the humans and the Antarians.

*%*%*%*%*%*

A short distance away, two pairs of eyes watched the crowd gathered on the steps.

“Are the men in place?” a dark-haired man barked out, looking at the shorter man beside him.

“Yes, all are in position,” the short man said in a low tone. “Shouldn’t we wait for Khivar to contact us?”

“He said he’d link with us, but if the full group was assembled, we were to move without his orders. Get ready to move,” the dark-haired man answered.

*%*%*%*%*%*

Max and Liz reached the other end of the bridge and stopped to look over the landscape of Staten Island.

Max felt the light touch of Liz’s fingers on his back and his eyes closed, just savoring the sensation for a long moment. It was reassurance, love, and worry all wrapped up in the smooth slide of fingers against his t-shirt. It brought him peace, a momentary stillness in time concentrated in every nerve ending her fingers made contact with.

The barbed pain he’d been fighting all morning faded for that instant, in the glow of knowing that with everything that was wrong with the world, that one thing was surely right, that Liz Parker somehow loved him for who he was. She loved him despite what he was.

“Max,” she said softly, and he opened his eyes to see the worried frown on her face.

He smiled gently leaning to kiss her forehead lightly.

“I just…I can’t explain what it feels like when you touch me,” he said, resting his chin on the top of her head as she continued to draw lazy circles on the small of his back.

“I’ve waited practically all my life dreaming about what it would feel like. None of us…” he paused, trying to find the right words.

“We couldn’t allow ourselves to be close to anyone. Isabel and I had it a little easier. Our parents loved us. They tried to open us up. It worked on Isabel, but I was always so afraid, afraid that if I let anyone in too far, that they’d be hurt in the end, because of who we are. And Michael, he had it the worst, living with Hank all those years,” he said sadly.

“I remember he used to come into school with bruises,” Liz said thoughtfully, “but I always thought he’d been in a fight.”

“There was never a fight,” Max said bitterly. “He never fought back. Hank would get drunk and find any excuse to beat on him. Michael was so afraid of what he was capable of, so he just took it.”

“Oh Max,” she said, her arms wrapping around him gently. “I’m sorry.”

“I don’t know how many times I thought of just going over there and killing him myself,” he said, his jaw tightening with the memories. “Michael would just get angry. He always told us that it wouldn’t be forever. That when we were eighteen we could leave. But every time he came around with those bruises,” he said, breaking off in a cracked voice.

He looked into her eyes and saw anger there. Anger for what Michael had been through, and for Max and Isabel who had been helpless to stop it, as much as they wanted to.

Max swiped at his eyes angrily.

“Anyway, my parents, especially my mom, tried to get me to open up, but I couldn’t. How could I tell them what I was? What we were? So I kept myself at a distance,” he said, looking away. “I love them. I love them for taking us in and giving us a life. That’s why I couldn’t let them be close to me. I sort of pulled away when my mom tried to hug me, because I was afraid she’d see what I really was somehow. I couldn’t…I just couldn’t bear them looking at me like I was a monster. Isabel let them, but I was too afraid.”

“Max, everyone needs to be touched,” Liz said softly, letting her fingers play across his jaw.

He closed his eyes, laying his hand over hers.

You’ve touched me, in every a person can be touched,” he said quietly. “My heart, my body…my soul. Whatever happens Liz, I want you to know that every second I’ve spent with you has made me whole. You didn’t give up on me, even when I had given up on myself. I will never, ever forget that.”

“I can’t give up on someone I love,” Liz said, tears springing to her eyes.

“I’ll never give up on you, Max Evans,” she said meaningfully.

Max pulled her close and buried his face in the softness of her hair.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice muffled against her neck.

“For what?” she asked quietly.

“For being everything I had dreamed and more. You were always the girl of my dreams Liz, and now you’re real,” he said.

She gently stroked the hair that curled at the base of his neck, with a knowing smile.

“You were everything I could have ever hoped for Max. I know what you think, that because of who you are, that you’re the lucky one. But I’m the one that’s lucky. You brought me back to life. You saved my life because you loved me. And I’ll always love you for that,” she said.

For a time they stood completely still in each other’s arms, letting the minutes slip by as they immersed themselves in the simple act of holding each other.

Regretfully Max pulled away, a thoughtful look in his eyes.

Liz met his eyes questioningly.

“The others, with Serena…they’re strong. I can feel the connection. They’re gathering their strength,” he said.

Liz glanced around and spotted a Honda motorcycle lying on its side up ahead.

“Let’s see if we can get that running. We need to finish this once and for all Max. I want an us, and until this is over, it’s going to come between us,” she said.

He nodded with determination.

“Let’s finish it then,” he said grimly, and together they walked toward the bike.

*%*%*%*%*%*

Isabel dreamily watched Khivar study the surroundings outside Building 7 of the World Trade Financial Center.

If felt strange to be back in the city. It had always been so full of life, bustling with activity. Now it seemed to be a city of the dead. There was nothing but silence and the whistling of the wind between the buildings. The bright sunlight tinged with red only made it seem more garish.

She shook the feeling of morbidity off. Soon things would be set right, and she would be gone from here forever.

Khivar turned to her.

“He’ll be here soon,” he said. “I want you to stay here, in this building. I don’t want anything to happen to you, and when it’s finished, we’ll leave this place for good. You and I can begin the life we never had the chance to live,” he said gently, smiling at her. She smiled gently in return.

She ignored the pangs of guilt she felt over Max, and for leaving Alex without an explanation. She knew had they been given the opportunity, things might have bloomed between them. But she had too much history with her alien side.

She tried to convince herself that this would have eventually drove a wedge between them, and pushed the thought that she was lying to herself to the back of her mind. Things had been set in motion. There was nothing to be done about any of it now.

She closed her eyes, and flashes of she and Max as children, walking in the desert, alone and scared. It had been so cold and dark, a strange and scary world that they had emerged into. He’d gripped her hand with a tight reassuring squeeze, willing her to feel that he would protect her no matter what happened. Though they couldn’t speak the words, Max had sent her calming energy through their connection, and somehow she knew that they would be ok.

Twin bright lights appeared before them, momentarily blinding them, and Max had stepped in front of her, blocking her from the light.

She remembered turning her head to look at him as he pulled her behind him, and in his eyes she saw the fear he was trying to hide from her, trying to be brave for the both of them.

In that moment, she had known that no matter what happened, she would never be alone. Fragmented memories of a strong, brave brother flitted through her mind and then were gone.

Never alone…

But things had changed now. Truths were spoken. Memories revealed. Actions taken that could not be reversed. Her brother again revealed to her to be someone who was stubborn, who did not listen. Someone who thought she could not think for herself. A foolish man, again caught up in a cause he had no business taking part in.

He should have just let it lie. He should have chosen his life.

But it was too late.

“Vilondra?” a voice said tentatively, and she opened her eyes, surprised that they were misty.

“Are you well?” he asked suspiciously.

“I’m fine,” she said, wiping her eyes. “Just tired. I didn’t sleep well.”

“Why don’t you lie down then? I’ll come for you later,” he said, and she nodded submissively.

She walked over to one of the large leather sofas that were placed around the lobby and settled herself down, closing her eyes. Just a little while longer, and it would all be over.

*%*%*%*%*%

Khivar walked outside and motioned to one of his men.

“Keep an eye on the Princess when Zan arrives. Don’t let her out of your sight. We can’t afford to have anything go wrong now,” he said pointedly.

The man nodded, walking inside the door and taking his post beside a large column.

Khivar sighed as he looked up at the red sky.

Things would have been so much easier if he hadn’t fallen in love with the enemy. It had happened before he’d even realized it on Radmis. He wanted the best of both worlds, his people saved, and she who held his heart at his side. If he played his cards right, he’d have everything.

TBC…
posted on 7-Jun-2002 3:29:51 PM by majesty
Ok, I have decided to revise 23 after reading Tim's feedback. Thank you Tim for the suggestion, and I think the scenario you provided does provide much more drama and better flow to the story *happy*

majesty


PART 23

Alex stood away from the others, a little distance from the steps where the other had gathered.

The half-breeds were going to finish what had begun many months ago. By the end of this day, things would be changed, one way or another.


Kyle wandered over, seeing him standing alone.

“Alex, how are you holding up?” he asked, folding his arms as he kept an eyes on Serena.

“Aside from the whole world about to fall around our ears, I’m fine,” Alex said dryly.

“How’s Serena?” he asked, following Kyle’s gaze. “She’s got to be in pain.”

“Yeah well, Serena does what she has to do,” Kyle said.

“I guess Max and Liz will have reached New York by now,” Alex contemplated.

“Mmm hmm,” Kyle said, with an irritated twinge to his voice. “I just hope that Liz doesn’t get caught up in Max’s quest to redeem his damned sister. I still can’t believe she turned on us like that. Then again, she was the Ice Queen in high school, so I don’t see why it should surprise me.”

Alex felt anger rising in his throat and bit it back.

“Kyle, there’s a lot more to Isabel than you think. You don’t know her,” he said.

“And you do?” he laughed. “She was always a manipulative bitch, even back when we were in school. She did what she needed to, to get where she wanted to be. It’s just painfully obvious that she reverted to her old tactics, if she ever really left them behind to begin with.”

“Think about it this way Kyle. Say everything that you thought was the truth, turns out to be a lie. She thinks her brother turned away from her back on Antar, that he just completely disregarded her. And I think in some ways he did, by not giving her enough credit to understand the whole situation. He was trying to protect her, but look what happened in the end? All these lives were lost because of lack of communication in their family. I think she thinks it’s their fault. It’s not like she wanted anything bad to happen to Max. She tried to hand him his safety on a silver platter, and he rejected it and her, again. She was in love with this guy Khivar, and maybe she still has feelings for him even now. She doesn’t know the truth. She doesn’t know what’s going to happen to the humans. She’s trying to do the right thing,” Alex finished.

“You’re taking her side?” Kyle asked, incredulous.

“I’m not taking any sides!” Alex said angrily. “But she’s…she’s a friend, and I’m trying to see the full picture here! Something none of you are doing!”

“Alex man, the only side I need to see is the one where we all live to see another day. Max is her brother, and family should come above everything. She deserted him for his enemy. That guy’s the reason Serena is beat up. That guy’s the reason Max is sick, and why we’re all here trying to stop a mass slaughter before it happens. If she loves him, then that’s her fucking problem. She’ll have to deal with whatever comes her way. But I swear to God if anything happens to Liz, I’ll kill her myself.”

“You think I want anything to happen to Liz?” Alex shot back.

“Well the way you’re talking,” Kyle started.

“When did you become so narrow-minded?” Alex asked. He turned away angrily, shaking his head.

“Whatever man. I’m going for a walk,” he said, striding down the stairs.

“Alex!” Kyle called after him, but Alex just put his hand in the air, warning him off as he moved further away.

He still couldn't believe she'd turned on Max as she did. As close as he'd always remembered them being, it just didn't sit right with him. He knew that she'd betrayed Max on Antar, but that was another life, and she was a different person now.

Why couldn’t Kyle at least try to see things from Isabel’s point of view?

Why couldn’t he see that she was so afraid of what she was?

Alex knew she loved Max, above all he knew that in witnessing her fierce protectiveness of him. And he knew what she believed, that Max had set out to destroy the Radmians and humans in their previous life. But he did have to wonder why she didn't have the slightest doubts. Didn't she even question it?

She didn't know what the Radmians real plans for the humans were. He knew she would have run from Khivar if she knew. She was there because she thought she was protecting the humans, and paying some kind of penance for her perceived wrongs and the wrongs she thought her family committed. There was something noble in that, no matter how misguided.

He really liked Isabel, despite her tendencies toward being prickly. He knew Max loved his sister. He hoped that somehow Max would find a way to let her see the truth of what really happened. Because if he didn't, sooner or later she would find out, and he had a good idea that she wouldn't be able to live with the guilt.

Max said she loved this guy Khivar on Antar. She must have remembered those feelings. Perhaps if Kyle thought about it in terms of how he felt about Serena, maybe he might have at least started to understand. Sometimes life just wasn’t black and white.

And was worried about Liz. He was worried about everyone. They were all in danger.

He was so caught up on his thoughts as he reached an outcropping of trees, that he didn’t see the man positioned behind a tangle of trees.

A bright burst of pain shot through his skull as he was hit from behind, and he stumbled to his knees.

The cold metal of a gun was pressed against his temple, and another man appeared from the group of trees.

“Whadda we got?” the second man asked, as Alex turned blurry eyes toward them, as his gun was taken from the waistband of his jeans.

“He was heading toward the rendezvous point,” the man said, and Alex felt the gun pressed more forcefully against his head.

“Half breed?” the other asked.

“Dunno,” the man with the gun replied.

“They’re ready to move,” the first man said. “Get rid of him, but ya can’t shoot him, not yet. We don’t want them to know we’re here. I’m moving my group out.”

The other man nodded. Alex knew if he didn’t think quickly, he was a dead man.

“Wait a few minutes, until we’re in place, and then pop him in the head,” the second man said.

“Got ya,” the man with the gun said, and the second man moved back into the trees.

“You picked the wrong time for a stroll man,” the guy said. “Though it don’t really matter. We’da killed you anyway.”

Alex swayed on his knees.

Think Alex, think.

He didn’t dare look up again. All he could see was a blurry outline of the man’s legs, and then he knew what he had to do. With a last mental shake, his arm moved behind the man’s legs like lightening, chopping the back of his knees, sending him to the ground.

Alex fell on top of him, frantically reaching on the ground for something, anything as the man struggled beneath him.

His fingers touched the cold hardness of a rock, covered in a slimy substance, and he realized it was his own blood. It was what he’d been hit with. His hand clenched around it. As his other hand held the man down on his stomach, he brought the rock down on the one weak spot the Radmians had, and immediately the man turned to dust.

Alex’s hands smacked the ground, and for a moment, he felt as if he was going to lose consciousness. He could feel the warm stickiness of his blood streaming down his neck.

He knew if he did, it would all be over. The half-breeds would be slaughtered, and Max would be a sitting duck.

He took deep breaths and slowly rose, picking up the man’s gun and stumbling out of the trees. There was no time to lose.

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

Serena felt the combined energy of the half-breeds crackling like electricity in her brain. Together, they reached out to Max psychically, letting him know that they were ready. She felt his vague acknowledgement.

"He's close to the Granolith," Doug whispered. "Do you feel it?"

Serena nodded. They all felt it. Silence reigned suddenly among the group before them. The overpowering sense of homecoming as they felt the presence of their King permeate their psyches as never before. For most, it had been a minute sensation that was always there, barely noticed, readily dismissed because the origin of the feeling was unknown. But they had been awakened, and recognized the strong presence when attuned to it.

"What now?" Kyle asked Serena, as he moved to stand beside her, taking her hand.

"We wait," she answered.

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

Liz looked around her in amazement as her hands rested lightly on Max's waist. He guided the motorcycle down Broadway, heading downtown toward their final destination.

Up ahead, she could see the massive towers looming before them, jutting out over the skyline like a beacon. Even deserted, this city was amazing. There were no lights and no people. No sounds of traffic, or the subways rumbling beneath the streets, no vendors hawking their copycat merchandise, hotdogs, books, umbrellas, or clothing, but the very sight of all the buildings held her enraptured.

She'd always wanted to visit this city, but never dreamed she would under these circumstances. She wondered what it must have been like for Max to live among a see of people, to move amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life here. Everywhere, splashes of yellow surrounded them, taxicabs now abandoned and still, as if the city had gone to sleep. And surely it had, because there was a suffocating silence that made the bikes engine seem even louder, echoing off the buildings that were silent witness to another race's conquests.

Her hands tightened around Max's waist as she thought of all the people who had been going on about their daily lives, when the unimaginable happened. Were they scared where they were now? Did they all know what was going to happen to them? She didn't want to think about it. She wouldn?t allow herself to think that Max wouldn't succeed.

Max veered off of Broadway and they entered the financial center. They were very close now.

Suddenly, Max slowed the bike and pulled over, turning it off.

"What is it?" Liz asked.

"I don't know. Something's wrong," he answered cautiously.

She sat in worried silence behind him, knowing that he was trying to figure out where the sense of danger was coming from.

"I feel panic, coming from someone," he said. "Disarray. I can't explain it. But it’s building quickly."

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

Alex ran for all that he was worth, to reach Serena and the others before hell was set loose on them.

He shouted as he drew closer, but no one seemed to hear him.

"Serena! Kyle! Maria! Run!" he yelled, as he kept his eyes glued to them on the steps. He stumbled and fell, and when he got up, he saw the men moving stealthily around the monument, and he knew his time was running out.

"Serena!" he yelled, and he saw her turn her head toward him. Even at this distance, he could see her smile, and the look of puzzlement on her face. But she'd seen him.

As he stumbled through the crowd, he pointed to the side of the memorial. Serena's gaze followed his, and he saw her eyes widen as she yelled something unintelligible to Doug. Together they joined hands and their message was received by the other half-breeds, because suddenly someone screamed and the crowd started to scatter. Alex heard the clap of gunshots ring through the air, and mass-panic broke out.

He saw it clearly now. The Skins had been planning this ambush all along, waiting for the opportune moment to take them all down.

Two women ran past him in terror, knocking the gum out of his hand, and he looked desperately at the ground trying to spot it, but was pushed further away by a mass of people. His shoulder was hit roughly, and he knew that if he continued to look for the gun and went down he’d most likely be trampled. And so he gave up on it, moving to the stairs. The wall of terrified half-breeds impeded his progress up the steps. He was forced to stop and he watched as Michael threw a bolt of energy at the three men at the side of the monument, taking them out. But there were more coming out of hiding to replace them.

"Run!" he heard Serena shout to the half-breeds. "Hide yourselves! Just get out of here!"

Maria stood in panic behind Michael, tears in her eyes as he did the best that he could to thwart the attack that was happening, directing his alien energy at the snipers he could see.

Alex finally reached to top of the steps and Serena rushed toward him, Doug and Kyle behind her.

"What happened?" she said desperately, as chaos reigned around them. Kyle let off a shot at a skin trying to make his way up the steps, and the man fell to the ground.

"One of them got me near the trees. We should have known it wasn’t going to be that easy," Alex muttered as he looked around. "We have to scatter. Can you contact these people if they're separated?"

"I think so. Now that we've connected, we have an open line to each other's minds," she said.

"Then get away from here," Alex said breathlessly, feeling nauseous. "If they capture you or take you down, there's no hope for Max."

Serena nodded.

"What about you Alex?" she asked. “God, there’s blood down your back!”

"Don't worry about me. Just get out of here!" he said anxiously.

She nodded, and she and Doug turned and ran. Kyle let another shot off, and Alex heard the ping of metal hitting metal. Alex turned to see a Skin behind him, and the gun that had been in his hand hitting the ground. Kyle had hit it with a dead on shot. Before he had time to react, a man grabbed his neck. Immediately he couldn't breathe as cruel fingers pressed against his windpipe.

Futilely he struggled to tear the fingers from his neck, but his efforts were quickly slowed as his vision started to fade. Kyle jumped the guy, but was thrown to the ground. Alex saw Kyle grab the back of his head. And then he felt himself starting to choke, and suddenly a blast of energy erupted around him and the pressure was gone. He coughed as he breathed in a horrible dust that surrounded him.

"Alex," Maria said frantically, as her arm slipped around his waist, "are you ok?"

He nodded, choking again, as Michael came up behind Maria, and Kyle got up holding the back of his head, and then it hit him. Michael had done it. He'd killed the guy who'd been intent on choking him to death.

'Thank you," Alex gasped, and Michael nodded grimly, turning to Kyle. "Are you ok?" he asked, and Kyle nodded.

"You're in no shape to fight here. Go after Serena," Michael said. "Maria and I will find you," Michael said, picking up the gun that was all that remained of Alex's attacker.

"Go," Michael urged, and Alex and Kyle took off in the direction they'd seen Serena and Doug run to.

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

Michael handed Maria the gun.

"Stay behind me,' he said, as he let off another blast of energy at two menacing looking figures making their way up the stairs.

The crowd had scattered, leaving behind the bodies of the fallen. Those that were still alive were being finished off with rifles. Thankfully Michael noted, the casualties were few. Alex's warning had saved a lot of lives. There was no one left to protect here but Maria, and he could see more skins heading out of the trees.

Volleying powerful energy blasts, he slowly backed up, Maria following his lead.

"When I tell you, turn and run to the right of the building. Get out of the area, and into that hotel we saw coming in here," Michael said loudly, as he noted another Skin approaching, and another energy ball burst from his hand.

"What about you?" she said frantically.

'I'll meet you there," he said, looking around.

"Michael, I don't-"

"Now!" he yelled, and she took off, following his directive.

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

Maria ran as fast as she could away from the monument, her heart in a tangle. What if something happened to Michael?

She knew that it was best she was away from him. She would only be a liability without abilities like his. Yet she still worried. What if there were too many skins? What if he was overpowered?

She pushed the thought out of her head. He would find her. She had to believe that.

Quickly she made her way out of the area toward the hotel Michael had told her to hide in.

She didn't see the pair of eyes that followed her movements with malicious surprise.

The figure waited hidden until she was almost out of his sight before setting off after her.

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

Liz heard the change in Max's breathing as he looked at the surrounding buidlings, frantically searching for any sign of movement.

He grabbed Liz's hand and dragged her off the bike and toward the nearest building.

"Max what happened?" she asked, suddenly afraid.

"We have to get out of sight," he said, pulling her through the revolving door of a large foreign bank.

He hurried her through the lobby to the stairwell.

"We need to get onto the second floor," he said, "we'll be able to see better there."

'Max, please tell me what's going on," Liz said as they climbed the stairs.

"Khivar sent his men to Washington," Max said.

"There was some sort of ambush. I felt pain. I felt confusion,fear," he said, his voice shaking.

"Are they all right?" Liz asked, in near panic over the thought that something might have happened to her friends.

"Serena and Doug are ok, and Michael is too. I think the others are ok as well. I would have felt something from Serena or Doug if something had happened to them. I can barely feel them now. They've scattered, all of them. The fear is making the connection weak," he said.

"Max, you think Khivar is here, don't you?" Liz asked, as he opened the stairwell door into an office.

"Yes," he said truthfully.

"Then he's gotten to the Granolith. He's won," she said dully.

"No, he hasn't won yet. He's waiting for me. He's playing with me. He wants to kill me, but he'll toy with me first," Max said.

"What are we going to do?" Liz asked, as they went to the window.

Max scanned the surrounding area from the window.

"They know we're here, but they won't get too close yet. They don't want to give themselves away. If we can get to the tunnels, we can get into the Tower that way," he said. "Maybe we can surprise them."

"Do you think that will work?" Liz asked, unsure.

'It's the only chance we have," Max said. "We don't have much time. They'll be waiting for us to come out of the building, but they won't wait too long before they know something's up."

"How are we going to get to the tunnels without them seeing us?" Liz asked.

"Just trust me. Come on," Max said, taking her hand, and she followed without question.

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

Michael took the opportunity in the lull of the arrival of skins to make his exit. There was no way he could get rid of all of them, and he felt enough time had passed for Serena and the others to make it to safety.

He felt her fear through the connection she'd opened between the half-breeds and the hybrids. He wondered if Isabel was feeling any of this. Perhaps she didn't sense any of it. He didn't know. He wondered if any of it mattered to her. A month ago he would have known without a doubt that it would matter, but now he wasn't so sure. The last time he'd seen her on Jekyll Island, it was as if he didn't know her. As if she were a different person altogether.

Making his way unseen toward the hotel he'd told Maria about, he wondered if any of them would be the same when this was all over. He knew he'd changed more than he ever thought possible. Before they'd gone to Roswell, he'd only cared about Max and Isabel. But now, he felt part of this strange group of humans he'd grown up with, yet never really known.

And then there was Maria. A whole different ball-game entirely. Somehow she'd managed to get under his skin, with those huge expressive eyes and fiery demeanor that hid a vulnerability that he never would have guessed was there. He wasn't sure when it happened, or how, but he found himself thinking that maybe, just maybe if they all got out of this in one piece, that maybe he'd stick around for awhile, to see where things went between the two of them.

A small smile appeared on his face as he remembered how she'd pressed against his back on the bike, of how she automatically looked to him now when something happened.

Yeah, he'd definitely changed.

Surveying the street ahead of him before cautiously making his way across, he spotted the hotel and breathed a sigh of relief. He'd feel a lot better when he got there and knew that Maria had made it safely.

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

Maria sat silently in the lobby of the hotel, getting more and more freaked out by the silence with each passing minute. It was the first time in a while that she'd been separated from the group without knowing where they were, and it scared her a little.


She silently willed Michael to get here as soon as he could.

At least when he was with her, she felt safe. She knew without questioning it that he would protect her. He'd done it today, making sure she got to safety. She was worried that maybe he hadn't been thinking of himself and had gotten himself into something that he couldn't handle.

A loud click practically made her jump off the couch. Nervously, she scanned the room, looking for the source of the noise, and then she heard it again, standing quickly.

"Michael, is that you?" she said in a low, shaky voice, backing toward the desk, hers eyes furiously moving back and forth across the room.

Only silence met her query, and she felt her breathing become shaky, puffing from her body in little frightened gasps.

"Michael, if that's you, this isn't funny," she whispered, half in tears.

She felt the solid wood of the desk touch her back and she knew she could back up no further.

"Please answer me," she said, her voice trembling.

Suddenly, a hand was clapped over her mouth from behind, her scream of terror muffled by a large palm.

An arm wrapped around her throat, and she felt the shift of the muscles as the unknown intruder's body maneuvered itself quickly over the desk. Maria struggled vainly to free herself, panic threatening to overpower her.

She bit ferociously against the skin over her mouth, and the man cursed, his hand moving from her mouth.

"Bitch!" a voice growled.

"LET ME GO!!" Maria screamed frantically, trying to kick at the man behind her unsuccessfully.

A laugh erupted from the man behind her, and she felt the sinister shake of his body against her back.

"You're not going anywhere," the man said menacingly, and yanked her around to face him.

Maria's eyes widened in shock and recognition, as she was shoved across the lobby onto the couch.

For a moment, she was paralyzed, and then she screamed.

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

Liz followed Max into the murk of the basement, her trepidation growing with each passing second.

"Where are we going Max?' Liz asked, her voice echoing through the empty space.

He let the door shut behind him, throwing them into near darkness.

"Most of these buildings are above the subway tunnels. I think we can find a way into the tunnels without going outside," he said, looking at the floor as he walked along slowly. Liz noted that his arm was now securely pressed against his side.

"Look for any grates or seams in the floor," he said, and she moved a short distance away from him, walking parallel while scanning the floor.

She glanced periodically at him as she looked for any irregularities in the floor.

Glancing to the corner, she saw something.

She walked over and took a closer look.

"Max," she called out, as she knelt next to the grate.

"Is this what you're looking for?" she asked, and he gingerly knelt beside her.

"Yes," he said, wincing.

Suddenly, his hand flew to his temples, and he swayed on the balls of his feet.

"Max, are you ok?" she asked, concerned, and he nodded tightly.

"It's the others. The emotions I'm getting are overwhelming me a little," he admitted.

She yanked on the rusted grate and it popped up, revealing a drop to the tracks below.

"We're going to have to jump," he said, looking at her.

Liz glanced into the murk below and swallowed hard. Neither of them had any idea what awaited them below. There was always the chance that a Skin had been posted in the tunnels.

"We don't have a choice," he said, and she nodded.

"I'll go first," he said, and she put her hand on his arm.

"Maybe I should," she said, and he shook his head.

"I want to make sure it's safe," he said.

"But what if..." she started to protest, and was silenced by his eyes.

"Please Liz," he pleaded quietly. "If anything happened to you...I need you with me for this."

Impulsively, she leaned over and tenderly kissed his lips.

"I love you," she whispered.

He touched her cheek, gently.

"I love you too," he said quietly, and then sat on the edge of the opening.

"Here goes nothing," he said, and let himself drop through.

Liz heard the hard thump of his shoes hitting the ground below.

For a moment there was silence.

"Max?" she whispered finally. For a torturous moment, her call was met with silence.

"It's ok," his voice said finally from below, and she let out the breath she'd been holding.

"Be careful," he said. "I'm right below you. I'll catch you as you come down."

Taking a deep breath, she swung her legs through the opening and let herself drop through it.

Max's capable hands slowed her descent, and she thudded lightly to the tracks.

It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dank. It smelled stale, even now. The faint odor of some sort of fuel, and the stink of the damp filled her nostrils. A faint howl came from somewhere down the tunnel, and it took her a moment to realize that it was just the wind running across the ventilation shafts and into the tunnel. The dampness and cold air crept up her back, causing her to shiver.

She could tell Max sensed her uneasiness, for his arm wrapped around her gently for a moment, pulling her close.

"It's going to be ok," he whispered, but Liz had an uneasy feeling that she couldn't shake. Again, she shivered, moving even closer to Max.

"I don't like this," Liz whispered.

"There's no one down here," he said, looking around. And that's when she noticed how deathly white Max's skin had suddenly become.

"Come on," he said, taking her hand, and pulling the flashlight out of his pocket.

He turned it on for a moment, and allowed it to flash down the tunnel so that they could get their bearings, and then clicked it off.

"We can't use it for long," he said regretfully.

Liz knew that if there were anyone up ahead in the tunnels, the flash of the beam would give them away.

She nodded.

"Watch where you're stepping," Max said, his voice strained as they picked their way along the tracks. "The third rail isn't live, but you can get your foot caught under it."

Max had a reassuring arm threaded through hers in case she slipped, but again she felt him sway as another burst of the connection slammed into his head.

Liz heard a noticeable change in Max's breathing, as if it had become labored, and she felt little tremors running through the muscles of the arm that was locked with hers. She placed a gentle hand on it, and turned her head toward him.

In that moment, he stumbled a little, and she caught his arm with her other hand.

She saw the tightness of his jaw, and the effort it was taking not to voice the pain she could so obviously see etched on his face. He must have injured himself further jumping down to the tracks.

She wanted to say something. She wanted to take the pain away from his features, but she knew that there was nothing she could do. They had to reach the Granolith if there was to be any relief for him, and they had to do it despite Khivar.

So she did what she could. She moved her arm from his, sliding it around his back as he stumbled again, a small grunt of pain escaping his lips.

"Let me help you," she said gently, putting her hand under his arm and pulling it over her shoulder.

For a moment he resisted, and then relented. She felt him lean on her a little bit.

They continued on this way in silence for a short distance, and then a split in the tunnel ahead appeared before them.

"Which way?" Liz asked.

"Left," Max said roughly, and they continued on the path he chose.

The only sound in the tunnel now was the sound of Max's pained breathing.

"You should have let me go first Max," Liz said sadly.

"Wouldn't have made a difference," he said, wincing, as he looked ahead. He slowed and stopped.

"There," he whispered, pointing.

Liz's eyes followed his finger, and she saw it. The subway platform.

Slowly they continued on, completely silent now, Max taking great pains to quiet his breathing.

Any misstep could cost them everything now. They were too close to risk it now.

Liz could make out the steps that led up to the ground level. The tiled walls seemed to glow of their own volition their shine visible even in the low light.

Liz felt her heart begin to beat faster in fear. The sense of uneasiness she'd felt just a few minutes ago had reached a fevered pitch as she saw the tiled sign embedded in the wall.

World Trade Center

TBC...


[ edited 4 time(s), last at 12-Jun-2002 8:40:33 PM ]
posted on 9-Jun-2002 11:06:49 AM by majesty
Hey everyone,

I have the next part done and will be posting it sometime today, and am working on the two alternate endings, which should each have two parts. I hope to have this whole thing wrapped up in the next few days. I can't believe it's almost done, after all the struggles. In a strange way, I am really going to miss this story.

Nina -The Granolith is hidden in the World Trade Center. Max had a vision of it when he and Liz made love. He was not injured by the Granolith, but by the impact of the energy against the building they were in. The Granolith was altered by Khivar to transport the humans to Antar for harvesting, but when he did that, a red virus was released from it, which is why some of the people who were left behind went senile and died, and is the reason Max is ill. He is tied to the Granolith, and the Granolith is "sick" now, so to speak, hence Max is too. He has to heal the Granolith to heal himself.

majesty
posted on 9-Jun-2002 3:36:13 PM by majesty
Hey everyone,

So here is the last part before the endings veer off.

I am going to post both endings at once, and you can decide which you like better *happy* I hope to have them up within the next few days, as I am working on them furiously right now, hehe.

Hope you enjoy this, and thank you again for all your support and feedback, especially on this story.

majesty

PART 24

Serena and the others had taken refuge in a crypt in a large cemetery.

Alex paced back and forth filled with nervous energy, while Serena sat between Kyle’s legs, her back resting against his chest. He stroked her arm, trying to comfort her.

He had a nasty cut on the back of his head, but that was the worst of his injuries. Serena had no idea what she would have done if something had happened to him. Even now, she took comfort in his confidence in her strength. He pulled her hair back off her neck in a tender gesture and for a moment, she wished that time would stand still, so that she might finally be able to savor a moment with him.

But she knew that if she didn’t keep her mind on the task at hand, there would never be any moments like that.

“What are we going to do?” Alex asked.

“Doug and I are slowly re-establishing a connection with the others,” Serena said.

“Will you be able to help Max?” Alex asked.

“If we concentrate,” Serena said.

“I can feel Max. He is weak,” she said in a low voice. “The connection will be his strength. I see it now.”

Concentrate, Serena thought. It’s his only chance.

*%*%*%*%*%

Maria felt the re-emergence of the terror she had tried to bury for so long. This was the nightmare she’d dreamed of countless nights since that night in the park.

It was him.

She nearly panicked at the thought of his hands on her again, and the terrible agony his mind-rape had inflicted on her. She’d barely survived the last one. She knew it wouldn’t happen again. Her mind wouldn’t be able to handle a second attack.


“I’m gonna finish the job this time,” the man snarled at her as his hand came across her cheek in a sharp crack.

She tried to knock him off of her, but it was futile.

“Not again,” she whispered.

“You don’t have a choice, girlie. I mean to finish what I started. Khivar will promote me for this one. Now we can do this the easy way, or the hard way,” he said, as his hands moved to her temples.

She screamed out in agony, as she felt the brutal attack of his psyche on her mind. Was this how it was meant to end?

Not like this, she thought.

Not like this.

And then suddenly the pain was gone as the man’s hands were ripped away.

It took a moment for her to register what was happening.

“You son of a bitch!” an angry voice cried.

Michael.

Maria sat up, as the man was thrown across the room by the sheer will of Michael’s anger.

“Do you get off on this? Huh?” Michael shouted as the man picked himself up off the floor.

With a gruesome smile, he wiped the blood that started to trickle from his mouth.

“Rath,” the man laughed. “I see the temper hasn’t changed at all has it?”

“I don’t know you,” Michael said, his voice a menacing threat, “but I am going to kill you.”

The man laughed.

“Oh really now?” he said as they circled each other. “Over what? A human?”

“Exactly,” Michael answered.

And then, a cacophony of voices erupted in Michael’s head, and he grabbed his temples in momentary confusion.

The man was quick and took advantage of it. He knocked off a punch and Michael stumbled.

“Michael!” Maria cried.

“Stay out of the way Maria,” Michael said, never taking his eyes off the intruder as he regained his balance and they continued moving. The din of the voices rose and fell.

“Is this how Radmians treat their women?” Michael asked, shaking off the voices, putting them to the back of his mind.

The man laughed.

“It’s no better or worse than the Antarians treat theirs. Or don’t you remember why Vilandra left you for Khivar?” the man sneered.

“Shut up!” Michael yelled.

“Ooh, I think I hit a sore spot,” the man said, goading him.

Michael held out his hand and a blast of energy flew from it, hitting the man squarely in the chest. The man stumbled back against the wall and then righted himself.

Michael rushed him just as he was regaining his balance, and the both of them fell to the floor.

Michael righted himself first and got a solid punch in square on the man’s jaw.

“Lesson number one, never ever hit a woman,” Michael said.

He threw a second punch, and the man grunted.

“Lesson number two, you never touch the woman who is mine,” he continued.

The third punch broke the man’s nose, and a small spray of blood erupted from it.

“Lesson number three, don’t ever mention my sister’s name in my presence again, because you aren’t worthy enough to speak her name,” he said.

“Sister?” the man spat in humorous disbelief.

“That’s what she is to me now,” Michael said.

“Your sister is about to let your best friend, her brother] be fed to the wolves,” he said in glee, spitting blood out of his mouth.

Michael’s face tightened in rage.

“Where was I?” Michael said, his voiced laced with sarcasm.

“You know what? I’m past talking to you. Class dismissed,” he said, throwing the man onto his stomach, as he aimed a final burst of energy at the man’s back, and a shower of dust sprayed around him as the man disintegrated.

It took a few seconds for Michael to get his rage under control, and then he turned with worried eyes to Maria, who stood with tears streaming down her face.

Immediately he was on his feet and taking her into his arms.

A broken sob erupted against his chest, and he felt his heart tighten.

Gently he stroked her hair as he held her close.

“He’s gone,” Michael said. “He can’t hurt you anymore.”

Maria clung to him and let all of the fear and pent up emotion she’d kept bottled up inside of her flow from her body.

“I love you Michael,” she whispered.

Michael’s heart swelled hearing those words fall from her lips. They were words that he’d longed to hear someone speak, in the most secret place in his heart for as long as he could remember.

But something, some long ingrained stopped him from answering her. Instead he held her tighter, pressing his lips against her hair.

“It’s all right, you don’t have to say anything,” she said, her voice muffled against his shirt.

“But I had to say it once, before it late to,” she said.

“Thank you, for what you did,” she said, looking up at him, her eyes brimming with tears.

As he looked into the dark pools of her eyes, swimming with the love she’d just voiced, Michael felt something click inside of him. He knew he’d found his home, as frightening as it had once seemed to him.

His mouth opened to speak and then shut again, and the moment passed as he felt Serena call out to him.

“What is it?” Maria asked, as she saw his expression change.

“Serena,” he breathed. “Max is in trouble. We have to go to them.”

*%*%*%*%

Isabel woke with a blinding headache, and the sound of hundreds of voices in her head, all speaking at once.

She didn’t know where it was coming from, but it scared her.

And then she felt Max. He was close and very weak.

But still trying.

Why?

Why couldn’t he just let it go?

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

“Sir, we lost them,” the guard said to Khivar.

“What do you mean ‘lost them’?” Khivar said, the humor not lost on him.

“You told us to keep our distance. We watched them go into the stairwell, and we caught a glimpse of them in the first floor windows, but then they disappeared,” the guard answered.

“We found an open hatch in the basement. We think they may have used the subway tunnels,” the guard said, a hint of fear lacing his voice.

No matter,” Khivar said. “It will only make the whole thing more interesting. He’ll never win. He’s too weak. He’s always been too weak.”

“Besides, we hold the trump card,” he sighed.

“Bring Vilandra to the tower, and keep her here in this office until I send for her,” Khivar said, rising to look out over the skyline of the city. It was very impressive from the one hundred and tenth floor.

“But you said…” the guard stammered.

“Don’t question me. Just do it,” Khivar said, and walked out of the office. Looking down the hall, he stared at the doorway of the restaurant thoughtfully. It wouldn’t be long now. Soon the universe would be his.

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

Liz climbed up onto the platform and then half-dragged Max up behind her. He struggled onto the platform, and fell to the cement.

His face was strained, and she could see that he was in great pain.

“Where now, Max?” she asked.

“To the top,” he answered, his voice cracking.

“But all of those stairs,” she protested.

“We have no choice Liz,” he said, and she knew he was right.

Together they started up the stairs to the main lobby.

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

Serena sent her thoughts out to the others now scattered in unknown areas of the city.

“We must rebuild the connection, for Zan. I know you’re all afraid, but this is our only chance to defeat the skins. He can’t do it on his own,” she thought.

“Please,” she thought. “Our very existence and the survival of everyone who lived her depends on it.”

The connection started to build between the remaining half-breeds. Serena hoped it would be strong enough when Max called upon it.

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

Almost an hour later, Liz and Max reached the Windows on the World restaurant. It had taken longer than expected, but they’d had to stop in the stairwells for Max to rest. A clammy sweat had broken out over his skin, and she wiped it away from his forehead, her hand resting there tenderly for a moment. As they climbed higher, Max sensed a humming energy that seemed to become stronger the further they progressed.

As the door opened to the hallway outside the restaurant, for a moment, the thrum seemed almost deafening and he swayed against the wall.

“Max?” Liz said, and he shook his head to clear it.

“Come on,” she said, leading him into the restaurant. For a moment he was still, eyes closed, and then they opened slowly.

“The Granolith is through there,” Max said, pointing to a doorway that led to the kitchen. “I can sense it.”

He could feel the malevolent energy that emanated from it, pulsing in his head.

They were cautious walked through the kitchen, guided by Max’s senses, until they reached two large metal doors. Max opened them slowly, and they stepped in.

And there it was. It pulsed with an angry red light, almost menacing, overpowering even the large room it inhabited.

Together they stood just looking at it for a moment.

Max almost fell against Liz as the hum of the Granolith and the re-established connection with the half-breeds almost overpowered him, and he had to fight the nausea that was rising in his throat. He took a step forward.

A malevolent chuckle arose from the dark behind the Granolith.

“So, you’ve finally decided to join the party Zan,” a voice said as a man stepped out from his hiding place.

“Khivar,” Max said, defeated.

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

Alex saw Michael and Maria first.

“They’re here,” he said.

“Good,” Serena said, and caught Michael’s eyes.

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

Max stood his ground, trying to stay on his feet. The answer to everything lay but a few feet away, but it might as well have been across the universe.

Did you really think you could beat me? Khivar asked, truly curious.

“I needed to try,” Max said.

Khivar laughed, his tone tinged with humor.

“You lied to my sister,” Max said.

“In another lifetime, yes I did,” Khivar said.

“You let her go on believing that lie, her memories, in this lifetime,” Max said.

“I love your sister,” Khivar said.

“Funny way of showing it,” Liz retorted.

“What happened to Vilandra was something I’ve regretted,” Khivar said.

Max shook his head.

“Do not fear Zan, I mean her no harm. You on the other hand,” Khivar paused, with a smile.

“The name is Max,” Max bit out, swaying a bit. Liz put her hand on his arm to steady him.

“How can you be so cruel? I know what you’re going to do to all those people. What are they? Your new harvest?” Max asked, glaring at him.

Khivar looked at him with distaste.

“It’s none of your affair now. I see you’ve learned nothing Max, Khivar said. “You came from a line of great leaders, until your father. He was a bleeding heart like you. You brought down a great and powerful family. We owned the universe for a millennia,” Khivar said.

“At the expense of countless worlds!” Max said.

“And what of it?” Khivar asked. “What are they to us?”

“They are beings that have just as much right to live as your people do!” Max grated.

“Ah so I see you don’t believe in the survival of the fittest theory?” Khivar asked.

“Not if the fittest don’t fight fair,” Max said.

“Too bad,” Khivar said. “But it is of no consequence now. You are going to die Max…again. And no one will be around to bring you back this time.”

Max glared defiantly at Khivar. Liz could see that his body was wracked with pain, and yet he stood tall and proud.

“Step away from him young woman,” Khivar said, looking at Liz.

“No,” Liz said with quiet defiance.

“So be it,” Khivar said, raising his hand. For a moment it glowed bright red, and then a huge ball of energy burst from it, catapulting into Max.

Liz registered the seizing of Max’s muscles right before the energy ran through Max’s arm into her own body, knocking them both to the ground.

For a moment she knew nothing but a dazzling brightness, and then excruciating pain that took her breath away. Every muscle in her body clenched for a long moment before letting loose.

She gasped for breath as she rolled to her side and her heart twisted in her chest as she caught sight of Max, gasping for air.

In that moment, she forgot where she was, she forgot about Khivar and the Granolith, and all the people they’d set out to save.

All she could see was Max, the beloved man of her dreams for as long as she could remember.

“Max?” she whispered, dragging herself over to him, trembling fingers touching his cheek.

His eyes moved over her face with a small smile.

“Love you…Liz,” he gasped.

“I love you too,” she said, her lip quivering.

His hand closed over hers.

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

Isabel was brought into the room by one of the guards and she saw her brother lying on the floor. The voices rose to an even higher pitch in her head.

With shaky fingers pressed to her temples, she paused.

“Vilandra,” Khivar said. “Would you like to bid your brother farewell?”

Her gaze lingered on the young man who had been with her through everything here on earth, now lying crumpled on the floor, barely alive. Her gaze flicked over Liz with bare recognition.

“I suppose,” she said, walking over to stand above Max.

“Why didn’t you listen to me?” she asked him, resigned.

He looked up at her, his chest rising and falling, trying to take labored breaths.

“Because…what you know isn’t the…truth,” he said.

She shook her head.

“Max, I know you want to deny your part in this…,” she said.

Liz glared up at her.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Liz said, standing up.

“And what would you know?” Isabel said, irritated. Another wave of voices rose in her head and she bit back the pain of the sheer volume of it.

And it was then that Liz snapped. Liz felt fury at the injustice of all that had happened, and it enveloped her with a savage intensity that gave her the courage to do what needed to be done.

Before Khivar or the guard even knew what was happening, she grabbed Isabel by the hair and yanked her to the ground next to Max. Her arm wrapped around her throat with lightning speed.

“You touch him Isabel,” Liz said. “You take his hand and face the truth, all of it. Do it or I swear I will break your neck.”

It all happened within a matter of seconds. Isabel froze for an instant and then started to struggle. Liz kept her to the floor, and then the struggling ceased and Liz saw that Max had reached out and grabbed Isabel’s arm.

“What is the meaning of this?” Liz heard Khivar shout, and Isabel’s eyes grew wide as the full truth was revealed to her in one devastating blow.

“Oh my God,” she whispered. “Max…”

Khivar rushed over and dragged Liz off of Isabel.

Isabel’s eyes closed in complete devastation, and she made a split second decision. Khivar handed Liz off to the guard, and Isabel stood, her movements deliberate.

“Vilandra, are you all right?” Khivar asked as he laid his hand on her arm.

“Yes,” she said, as she turned to Liz, who was looking at her with pleading eyes, struggling with the guard. A silent look of understanding passed between them, and Liz stilled her struggles.

Isabel took one last apologetic look at her brother lying on the floor, and her hand clamped over Khivar’s hand.

“Vilandra,” he said, feeling the unaccustomed strength in which she held it.

“You son of a bitch,” she whispered, and she willed all the energy she could muster to the hand on his arm.

Time stood still for a moment, as she watched his eyes widen, and them he was knocked to the floor by the wall of power that spread from her fingertips.

The guard holding Liz let go of her, intent on protecting his leader, and he rushed Isabel. With infinite calm, she turned toward him, her other hand raised, disintegrating him where he stood.

She stood still for a moment, as if listening to some unseen voice.

“Get Max over to the Granolith, Liz. He can get Michael here,” Isabel said, her body straining to hold Khivar to the floor.

“Do it now. I can’t hold this for long, and his grunts will be along shortly. We need Michael,” she said.

Without waiting to hear another word, Liz half-dragged Max over to the pulsating monolith that stood in the middle of the room.

Max was struggling for breath, and his vision was becoming inky. He knew he was going to lose consciousness. Isabel couldn’t handle this alone, and he knew he didn’t have the time to do what needed to be done to fix what had been wrought. Khivar’s men were too close.

In his mind, he let a desperate plea travel out to Serena, Doug and the half-breeds.

I need your strength to bring Michael…Please…

Tell Michael to be ready….

An answering thunder through the connection infused his body with energy that was not his own, keeping him lucid as Liz pulled him to a sitting position next to the Granolith.

“What do I do Max?” he heard her ask as if from a distance. He wanted to tell her once more that he loved her, but his voice had abandoned him.

Instead with great effort, he reached up and placed a shaky hand flat against the reflective surface, and the entire surface lit up with a blinding glow.

Max roared as the energy of the Granolith pulsed through every cell of his body.

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

Maria had not let go of Michael’s hand since they’d left the hotel.

She could see the worry for Max and Isabel etched on his face as he kept his eyes glued to Serena, who’d been feeling the pain Max had been experiencing.

“He’s in so much pain,” Serena whispered.

Michael felt Maria’s hand tighten around his, and he allowed himself to be grateful for her presence, especially now.

Serena blanched suddenly.

“He’s going to bring you there,” Serena said, looking at Michael.

“How?” he’d barely asked when the air around them suddenly seemed charged with energy.

And then he knew. He turned his head toward Maria, seeing her eyes widen as she realized what was going to happen.

“Michael?” she said, her brow furrowing.

In that moment, he knew it was all or nothing. There might not be another chance.

He felt his body becoming insubstantial, and a bright halo of energy was erupting around him.

“Michael!” Maria shouted, and he looked at her one last time, memorizing her lovely face as it became whitewashed with the growing intensity of the power of the Granolith.

“I love you Maria,” he said, as her features faded. For a final second, he felt her fingers slide against his, and then he was gone.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way, he thought.

TBC…


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Jun-2002 3:41:27 PM ]
posted on 12-Jun-2002 8:45:37 PM by majesty
Tim,

Thank you for the suggestion, and I completely agree that the situation you proposed makes for better flow, confrontation and drama in Part 23. I left Pt. 24 as is, because I rationalized that the "virus" that is affecting the Granolith is making Max weak, and until he gets rid of it he cannot draw on it's power, and in fact gets weaker as the Granolith does. The closer he gets to the energy, the more of an effect it has on him.

If you ever decide to write or if you do write and post your work on this board, I'd love to read it *happy*

For Everyone - I am still working on both endings, which are taking longer than I thought, but I want to get them right. I will post as soon as I feel they're ready, hopefully within a few days *happy*

majesty
posted on 13-Jun-2002 4:05:05 PM by majesty
I'd like to make a suggestion to anyone who is writing, thinking of writing, or just taking the first steps.

Pick up Stephen King's "On Writing". It's an odd mix of anecdotes, tips, and he even gives the reader an exercise.

Whether you like or hate his writing, I think anyone who is even attempting to write might find it valuable to read. There is no high and mighty bullsh*t about the "art" of writing.
He gives thoughts on how to set up dialogue, where to pick up ideas, how to set up your "toolbox" of grammar, style and creativity, the importance and unimportance of theme, symbolism, plot, diction, research, and even tells you ways to look into getting an agent or getting published. He breaks everything down into concepts that anyone can relate to, and I really got alot out of it.

The one thing that is driving me crazy is his pet peeve for adverbs. He feels that they make for weak writing, and gives a pretty good argument for it. I looked back on my fics, and they are totally littered with them. I am now almost obsessed with trying not to use them.

The one thing that he says is that you have to read and write alot to be a good writer. He also says that there are some people out there who are just plain bad writers, and no amount of practice is going to make them competent writers. But, he also says that there are also many competent writers who have more of a fighting chance to become good writers. Very few people become great writers, and usually those that do were born with the innate talent. For the rest of us, it's alot of hard work, blood, sweat, tears and laughs *happy*

Oh, and he says everyone should have an "Ideal Reader", someone who will be honest about what works and what doesn't, and yet still can be supportive. I am not following his method of a closed door first draft, before letting anyone read what I've written. I don't even have a beta, and I am really starting to think I should.

Seriously, the book is a really interesting read even for someone who is a reader. There are some really good childhood anecdotes in it that were very insightful and entertaining.

Just thought I'd put that out there for those who are interested.

majesty
posted on 15-Jun-2002 6:07:42 PM by majesty
Hey everyone.

Sorry for the delay on the endings of this. It's turning out to be alot more than I thought it would be. I anticipate almost 90 pages between the two endings when all is said and done.

I will try to have them up as soon as I can, but I still have alot of work to do on one of them.

I hope I can post this here, but if I'm not supposed to, Admins please tell me, and I will edit it out of my post.

I am coordinating a Roswell Party in LA to benefit FSMA. Some of you may know by now that I am the coordinator of the former Jason Behr Birthday Project. Things did not work out as we had hoped this year, and so the Project was discontinued, but my partner and I have decided to raise money for FSMA, because we think it's a great cause, and we know a lot of Roswell fans think so as well. We have contacted Garrett Lerner and have his full support for the merchandise we are offering, as well as the party, which will be held August 3rd. If any of you live in the LA area, or even if you don't and would like to attend, please go to http://www.behritall.com and click on the FSMA Gathering link under the graphic in the center of the page. I'd love to meet you guys *happy*

Kelly
*majesty*

posted on 21-Jun-2002 7:02:41 PM by majesty
Guys,

Sorry for the delay on this and my other fics. Things have come up in other areas of the internet over the past few days that required my full attention, so everything has been set back a bit.

I will do my best to update this as soon as I possibly can.
Thanks for the support and bumps.

majesty

posted on 30-Jun-2002 11:55:34 AM by majesty
I know you guys are ready to kill me, but I am working on this. The first conclusion is twice as long as predicted, around 70 pages, and I am sending it out to be beta'd today. The second conclusion is outlined, but I still have to flesh it out. The good news is, I am on vacation from 7/4-7/16, and have abolsutely nothing to do but sit around other than working on my gathering, so this will be completed and there should be major updates on all the remaining stories during that time *happy*

Thanks for being so patient with me,

majesty