posted on 18-Mar-2002 5:18:22 PM by foreverdreamer
hey guys, I don't really write fic but I decided to give it a go. hmmm leave feedback if you think I should continue it. thanks *happy*...oh and just as a note, this prologue isn't where the story is going to pick up. this just sort of introduces the story (like the prologue is supposed to do ;)) and where I'm trying to go with it. haha, okay, I'm done.

Title: Stranglehold
Author: foreverdreamer
Category: M/L
Rating: PG-13+
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything.
Summary: Liz reflects. Read the story if you want to know more ;)
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PROLOGUE

It was a cobweb of desires that entangled me. They never ceased their stranglehold, each translucent fiber squeezing me until I felt I would burst. Until all the feelings churning inside could just scream their way out of my body, leaving but an empty husk. Husks. Ironic perhaps. It was amazing how the roads of life always lead back to Max Evans.

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Some would tell me it was the day my life ended.

But I had never felt alive until that moment. My life begun. It’s crazy, but that day at the Crashdown—I could feel Max feeding himself to me. And a part of me clung onto him, and never let go. Max Evans didn’t only heal me. No, he did more than that. I was only sixteen, a naive teenager to the realities of the world and emotion, but I felt it. Our souls bonded. It burned an endless abyss in me, something that to this day I can never be rid of.

Love.

There was another day. A day that smokes with a more negative aftertaste, a day that could have well been the end of my life. It’s amazing how deliriously happy you can be one moment, and then—it’s gone. Why I continue to torture myself with the bitterness, with the pain is a mystery. But it’s like a drug. An addictive drug. Max is my drug. I’ve tried changing my life, but he won’t let me go. But that’s addiction. Where was I? Oh yes. The day.

The day Max left me. Forever.

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THIRTEEN YEARS AGO...(Year 2001)

“I can’t believe this is all I have of you. After all we’ve been through,” I trailed off. My eyes couldn’t—wouldn’t—leave the pendant. It seemed to mock me, a symbol and painful reminder of where Max was MEANT to be.

Not by my side.

But at least it was something I could hold on to, something tangible and real that I could touch. My eyes drifted back to Max’s face.

His eyes. They were killing me, slowly and surely. Through all the sorrow, deception, and lies, his eyes were always the one thing I could count on to tell me the truth. Like the old adage, “Eyes are the windows to the soul.” Lately, his eyes had been veiled and murky, but right now, honesty was the only thing that shone through. That, and love.

“You never slept with Kyle did you?” His voice lowered to a mere whisper. I sat paralyzed. How long had it been since Future Max had come knocking on my balcony window? How long had it been since he had prophesied to me the downfall of Earth came intertwined with my love for Max? There were no words that could be formed on my lips. I merely shook my head, and watched helplessly as the walls around my beloved crashed to the ground.

“Max, I...” My words were cut off as he suddenly encompassed my own lips in his, his rough, yet gentle hands caressing the softness of my cheek, just like before. Any mention of the Future Max episode died in my throat as I returned his passionate kiss. There was a fire between us that had long gone dormant, but now, it suddenly burst into leaping flames.

I sank into sweet oblivion as flashes came to claim me, and I drunk in the memories Max fed me like water.

Max healing me. Revealing himself as an alien. Riding along the abandoned highway, wind through our hair, not a care in the world. Our first kiss to the soft straings of Gomez. Taking a step back. Revealing his true feelings after my blind date. Going farther in Michael's apartment. Our kisses in the empty van, the law on our heels.

And then I saw me. The joy he had with me. The faith he had in me. The love he had for me.

Reluctantly, he ended the kiss, resting his forehead against my own as we each inhaled deeply the scent of the other. I wished the euphoric feeling would never end. I wished we could stay like this forever. Max must have read my mind—it was the connection. He opened his eyes slowly and ran a lingering hand through my hair.

I arched my head to luxuriate in the feel of his palm, his warm fingers marking feather-light phantom trails across my scalp. Would I ever have this again?

“God Liz, I wish we could stay like this forever,” he croaked out. My eyes welled up with unshed tears. I could feel a lone teardrop trickle its way down my face. The pad of his thumb wiped it softly off my face.

“Me too...” I raised heavy-lidded eyes to meet his own churning with desire. “Stay with me Max? Even if only tonight just...stay with me.”

He didn’t need to answer me. Silently, we climbed out of the Jeep and walked hand in hand to my balcony. He swept me into his arms and carried me up the well-worn ladder. Our eyes met briefly—I knew he was thinking of the wedding flash. Just as I was.

Max gently laid me in the cocoon of quilts bundled on my bed with care. He slipped silently between the sheets and I leaned against his strong chest with a sigh. I glanced at my clock one last time. 8:55. We had the night. I snuggled even closer, covering his hands with my own. I drifted into sleep by his light caresses and his scent... masculine yet comforting all at once. Tears streamed unbidden down my face as he tucked my small body closer to his own.

Gone and close the curtains / ‘Cause all we need is candlelight / You and me, and a bottle of wine / and I’ll hold you tonight / ‘Cause we know I’m going away / And how I wish, I wish it weren’t so / So take this wine and drink with me / Let’s delay this misery..

Save tonight.



[ edited 8 time(s), last at 15-May-2002 12:20:03 AM ]
posted on 19-Mar-2002 11:27:15 AM by foreverdreamer
whoa, people actually came here and read it? sweetness *happy*. hey, I was counting on zero so this far exceeded my hopes. I think I'll continue, just to test things out. it's cool to be on the other side of the fanfiction fence, writing instead of drooling over other far superb fics. anyway, I think I'll post part one tonight. and Sherry! thanks for popping in babe!
posted on 19-Mar-2002 9:42:18 PM by foreverdreamer
anyway, I did say I'd post the first part right? sorry, I'm still not quite adept at the whole writing 15 pages in one sitting thing. but I'll work on it ;). so the prologue set the present and past scene...this isn't quite present, but the story starts running from here *happy*. kind of UCish at first. but it's M/L, don't worry. present liz is going do some talking sometimes, in italics. just wanted to explain stuff before you're "what the heck is she talking about?". that's about it...feedback would be greatly appreciated!

CHAPTER ONE

Save tonight. I’ve saved that night in my mind, clutching it like a lifesaver in a churning ocean. Why it is hurtful? Why is it bitter? Well, when the love of your life disappears from your side before sun-up, your heart just can’t help but shatter. Don’t get me wrong, it was far from it at first. I know that he didn’t mean to, he didn’t want to…I’m just sorry it took me six years to find out.

Seven Years ago (Year 2007)

The smoke ebbed sluggishly from the oven while I searched frantically for a potholder, glove, ANYTHING, that could retrieve the burning hunk of unrecognizable nothing without burning my hands beyond recognition. Damn housewife stereotypes.

I heard a pathetically disguised chuckle from behind me. Hands on hips, I swiveled around to face Sean, who’s smirking face only helped to irk me to no end.

“Sean, this isn’t funny.” I growled through clenched teeth. I managed to extract what was left of the roast (now a charred lump, half the original size) and promptly dumped it in the trash. “And that, good sir, is the last time you request anything from me and,” I waved my hand in disgust at the kitchen, “this.”

He laughed and grabbed me around the waist and pulled me close to him. I smiled impishly while he kissed me hungrily on the lips and dutifully returned his ministrations with my own. I pulled away and inhaled sharply as a fleeting, distorted image flashed before my eyes. It was fuzzy, as if someone had purposely mixed all the colors to confuse me. Could it...?

“Liz, what’s wrong?” Sean asked, a worried look rising in his eyes. He brushed my hair back from my face and I managed a small smile.

“I’m fine.” I replied hastily. ‘I’m not fine. I just had a flash.’ “I think all the smoke is starting to catch up to me...” Sean nodded skeptically and led me towards the sitting room.

“Hey, why don’t you get changed and we go out to eat?” he asked brightly. “Seeing that whatever dinner or edible food in the kitchen is ruined...”

“Watch your mouth mister,” I joked as I slapped his arm playfully. “I know you didn’t marry me for my cooking skills.”

“Nope, I married you cause you’re one hot babe.”

I rolled my eyes and bounded up the stairs lightly, assuming the guise of ‘okayness’. But I was far from it. I ran into the master bedroom and locked the door behind me, lest Sean felt like “surprising” me. I didn’t need it right now. Quickly, I crossed the carpeted expanse of the room to the balcony that I insisted be part of the condo when we purchased it. Sean gave into my wishes. I think he understood why.

Peeking around myself furtively, I crouched low to the ground and gently dislodged one of the lower bricks of the outdoor wall. I slipped my hand in and pulled out a small box, covered in dust and touched with rust.

My own Pandora’s box.

I haven’t looked in it for five years. All of the pain, the nightmares, and the ills of my past lay behind the rusted cover. Its silent shrieks filled my head and I briefly closed my eyes, apprehensive of unleashing the apparitions that had been kept undercover for so long.

My hand of its own volition threw open the cover and tears flooded my eyes at first sight. With trembling fingers I pulled out the pendant, looking as new as the day we filched it from Atherton’s. I ran my thumb over the raised alien design as disjointed flashes of that night ran through my mind. I touched my lips, almost feeling his kisses languidly covering my body like they did that night.

That night.

“Max...” I whispered aloud, tasting the feeling of his name on my lips. I hadn’t let myself utter his name for so long, it was almost a guilty pleasure saying it again. I shook myself out of my reverie and sifted through the contents of the box, memories hitting me full-force. I smiled slightly when I came upon the pressed white rose petals, and suddenly Max’s Spanish serenade drifted to my ears. I fought the urge to look over the balcony—I knew he wasn’t there.

My smile wavered when I touched my journal, at the bottom of the box, covered by years of memorabilia. I pulled out the leather-bound volume shakily, leafing through the slightly crinkled pages. A small gasp escaped my lips when I flipped open to a folded note, carefully pressed between two blank pages. Where did this come from? I frowned, biting my lip in thought. I’d never put anything in my journal and I sure didn’t tell anyone where I had put it. With the exception of Michael stealing it the first time. Should I read it?

I pulled the paper out of its nesting place and slowly unfolded the note. A chill ran through my body, shocking me like a dousing of cold water. Max’s familiar script leapt off the pages, causing another jolt of flashes. I fell to my knees, clutching my heart and gasping for breath.

*Max, tears streaming down his face, scribbling the note in the light of the early sun*
*Max putting the note inside the back of the journal*
*Max gently placing a kiss on my head before slipping into the morning*


“Max.” A cold sinking weight settled onto the bottom of my heart. I didn’t want to know what the note said. I didn’t want to hear the honeyed words or excuses he had for leaving. But I NEEDED to know. I owed it to myself.

Dearest Liz,

You don’t understand how hard it is to leave you, to leave the comfort and the love of your embrace. But I have to. I must. It breaks me apart inside, knowing that I’ll have to keep on existing without you. I don’t know if I will be able to exist without you—I would rather die than spend a minute away from you.

Last night you made me the happiest man alive. You filled me with renewed hope, renewed faith, and I have something to hold on to in what will be the darkest and most desolate days of my life. No matter where I am, be it Earth or Antar, I WILL come back for you. My soul will find its way back to its mate and not even death will keep me away.

I love you. More than you could ever know.

Yours forever,
Max


My mouth moved wordlessly, my eyes wide with unshed tears, my body immobile against the cold brick wall. I gaped at the letter for minutes more before letting it flutter back in between the pages of the journal. It was like he was calling me; I could feel him all around me, like a thick woolly blanket, safe and warm.

“Honey?”

Sean’s voice jerked me back from my thoughts, and suddenly, I found myself back in the middle of reality, away from those feelings of love and safety. “Yes…Sean…?” I finally replied, finding my voice again.

“Are you okay?” He sounded worried, obviously lurking behind the door from the nearness of his voice.

“Um…yeah.” I hastily stuffed the journal back into the box and slipped it into the hole before running back into the room. “You know what?” I ran around, trying desperately to look like I’d spent a decent amount of time trying on outfits. “I really want to go to that sushi place, um, over on Washington and 3rd?” I ran my fingers through my hair and quickly yanked a sundress off the rack. “I think you need to make reservations so,” I rummaged through a pile of shoes, “go make them!”

“Sure…honey.” Sean sounded unsure, confused even. I nearly burst out laughing. Sometimes Sean could be so dense. “Where’s the number?”

“On the coffee table. I grabbed a menu on the way home from work last week.”

“Okay then, come out soon.” He replied warily, slowly moving away from the door. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“YES, I’m okay!” I yelled, getting a little exasperated. My head started pounding, and I rubbed my temples, futilely trying to rid myself of the pain. I hopped on one foot towards the bathroom door, trying to pull on a black pump. ‘Where the hell did that scarf come from?’ I vaguely thought to myself when I saw myself hurtling headfirst towards the ground.

‘Max…’ His name echoed through my mind as the world around me faded to black.


TBC?
posted on 20-Mar-2002 10:51:54 PM by foreverdreamer
yay! people actually reading this fic...*happy*. I'm halfway done writing part two...hopefully I can post it tomorrow! thanks for stopping by guys!
posted on 21-Mar-2002 9:29:05 PM by foreverdreamer
thanks for all the feedback thus far. sorry if I shocked anyone with the l/s action--I felt the need to put liz somewhere *happy*. don't worry, I did say I was writing a dreamer fic, no ;)? anyway, hope you like this next part! um, the lyrical snippets in the end of the part are attributed to lifehouse!

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CHAPTER TWO

“Liz.”

A single voice called to me, the sound welcoming and familiar on my ears. My eyes felt heavy and my body felt like lead. Why couldn’t I move?

“Liz?”

I struggled to find the source of the voice. Where was it coming from? I willed my eyelids to rise up, a move that was so simple, yet seemed to be a strain at the same time. A warm hand gently began to stroke my hair, and I smiled at the gesture. Where had I felt this before?

“Shhhh…just sleep…” the voice said soothingly. My eyes flew open.

“Max?”

I rubbed the blurriness out of my vision and focused on the figure in front of me. Was it really him? The voice was his. I felt it in my heart when he said my name—the beat suddenly increased itself tenfold, so hard it nearly leapt out of my chest. Butterflies flew crazily inside my stomach, a funny queasiness that left me light-headed.

It was like being sixteen again.

I saw his eyes first. That warm amber I’d missed so much was staring straight into my own chocolate brown. “What…” I found myself gaping again, this time at Max, who sat quite calmly at my bedside, his penetrating gaze betraying only love.

“Max is that…really…” I stopped and threw myself at him, feeling his body conform to mine, our bodies fitting like two separate pieces of a puzzle. His arm snaked around my waist and his other hand caressed my hair lovingly. I breathed in the scent of him deeply, filling my starving lungs with his freshness.

My itching fingers weaved themselves through his still luxurious dark hair, and down to the tips of his endearing bangs. A small grin crinkled around his eyes, and I slid my fingers down to his eyelashes, running my tips along the velvety lightness. With excruciating slowness, I bought my face close to his and rubbed the nub of my nose playfully against his own.

“Liz,” he groaned, desire apparent as he huskily called out my name. He planted soft kisses down my neck, each loving touch filled with fire that stoked something long hidden deep beneath my breast.

“I told you I’d come back for you,” he whispered quickly into my ear as he suddenly ceased his ministrations and swept me into his lap. I blushed, heat creeping up my flaming face.

“You’re burning up. Wake up.” he said, frowning slightly as he pressed the back of his hand against my forehead.

“What?” I stared confusedly into his eyes. “You’re not making any sense.”

“Liz…”

My eyes suddenly flew open and I found Sean staring at me with a wide, frightened stare. “Liz…” he mumbled into my shoulder as he suddenly swept me into a shaky hug. “Gosh, you were burning up…I…I was so afraid that something…”

I woodenly returned his hug, my face still flushed from my encounter with Max. Or was it Max? I finally took in my surroundings—the sterile pasty walls of the hospital room stared back at me. My forehead was covered with thick, white bandages, and trails of slender tubing hung off my pale body. “Sean, where am I?”

“You…you fell…slipped, or something. And…and…I found you in the room and you had hit your head on the dresser and there was blood…and…and…then the doctors said you had a fever…108 degrees. Everyone…was so worried…but all of a sudden…you got better,” his voice trailed off. “And now you’re okay. You’re here.”

I gently disengaged myself from his embrace and comfortingly stroked his arm. “I’m sorry for scaring you like that honey.” I stared down in my lap, letting my hair fall over my face. I didn’t want Sean to see the emotions I could feel burning across my face, all the pent-up passion, worry, confusion…

Was it Max?

“Um…Sean, could you just let me sleep a while? I’m still sort of tired and all this…excitement really has me worn out.” I pleaded, suddenly leaning against the flat pillows in a show of fatigue.

He nodded energetically, doing small things in consideration of my comfort, tucking the blankets close under my chin and smoothing the hair out of my face.

Sean really was a sweetheart. I always wondered how it would be if we had tried to make it work. But Sean could never fill that void in my heart. He was like a security blanket—things were stable with him. I had a set routine that lulled me into a steady sense of false happiness. I didn’t want to involve myself in anything new, anything that had the potential of heartbreak. I didn’t want my heart shattered the way Max Evans did. I guess that’s why I married Sean. My heart couldn’t be broken anymore.

“Thanks Sean.” I gave him a small smile, squeezing his hand in reassurance. He planted a light kiss on my brow before finally exiting the room, being careful not to squeak his boots on the clean linoleum floor. I frowned slightly—he was making this harder for me.

When the door closed behind him, I let out an enormous sigh of relief, finally able to have a moment of peace with my thoughts. The flash, dream, hallucination—whatever it was—was…well, I didn’t know what it was. But it felt so real…I could still feel his presence lingering in the air around me, just like how I’d feel back in high school, every time he left a room. The air would seem to be vibrating with his aura, yet at the same time painfully vacant, only making me crave him more. Just like now.

I took a deep, shaky breath and squeezed my eyes shut, determined to send myself to whatever dream plane I stumbled upon and back into Max’s arms. After five minutes of restless tossing and turning, I blew out a frustrated breath, sleep continuing to elude me.

“Max,” I whispered to myself, burning tears prickling at the edges of my eyes. “Why can’t you just be here with me?”

“But I am.” His deep murmur brushed tenderly against my ear.

I froze. A set of strong, loving arms encircled my waist lightly, eliciting another rush of emotions I thought I had buried deep inside me long ago.

This is over my head, but underneath my feet
Because by tomorrow morning, I’ll have this thing beat
And everything will be back to the way it was
I wish that it was just that easy


“Are you real?” I asked, hesitant on moving from my comfortable position, also admittedly a little afraid. What if I turned around and he disappeared? What if Max left again? God, I didn’t think I could stand it.

And I am somewhere in between
What is real and just a dream


“I’m real in your heart, aren’t I?” He slowly turned my body around, making me look into his endless amber eyes. “That’s all that matters, love.”

Would you catch me if I fall out of what I fell in
Don’t be surprised if I collapsed at your feet again


“All that matters.” I echoed.

TBC?
posted on 22-Mar-2002 2:01:07 AM by foreverdreamer
ah, silly me. I forgot to edit my post to say that I updated the fic. whoops *happy*

Cookie, thanks for stopping by...I see you posting everywhere and I gotta say, I'm honored that you think my fic is worth your time *happy*.

Sherry, whoo, you stopped by again! haha, aren't you just dreadfully curious where it's all leading to? all in good time, all in good time *wink*. and the imagery. thank my 11 AP teacher *big*
posted on 1-Apr-2002 9:14:53 AM by foreverdreamer
hey guys! thanks for still stopping by and leaving FB! you all rock *happy*. anyway, I would have posted this earlier but RL and other fics distracting me...it's madness. but it's spring break and I have a couple more parts I have to edit before posting, but hopefully I can get those up soon too. anyway, in regards to this part, I was going for something else, but it sort of spun out of my hands and I felt that I had to resolve this whole situation before moving on. a little abrupt, but hopefully it turns out for the best. thanks for reading!

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CHAPTER THREE

I gave a drawn out yawn, stretching out languorously beneath the thin covers. A smile hovered over my face as I gazed at Max’s angelic face, rimmed by the soft rays of the morning sun. He was so beautiful—and he was all mine. I lightly traced his lips with my index finger, marveling at their perfection. Even in his slumber, they seemed to call to me, beckoning me to come closer. Who was I to refuse such a request?

“Liz?” Sean strode into the room, carrying a tray, smiling tensely. “You’re up. Are you feeling better?”

“Yeah…” My voice trailed off. My eyes kept moving between Sean and Max, baffled by the turn of events. Sean turned and set the food on a small side table by the window. Max had awakened at the sound of the door opening and sat up in the bed quickly. I looked at Sean again. Was he blind? Or was I just hallucinating? Max eased himself out from under the covers, a guilty expression apparent on his features.

“Liz, I can explain,” he started, running his fingers through his hair nervously.

“You better explain.” I answered warily.

“Explain what?” Sean asked, his brow arched up in surprise. “I just wanted to bring you some breakfast. But if you’re not feeling up to it…” His voice instantly adopted a hurt tone, tinged with anger.

I forced myself to smile, despite the frustration bubbling up inside. “Sorry, I was just talking to myself.”

“Oh.” He fiddled nervously with a fork and gazed down with a hard stare at his shoes.

“Sean, are you okay?” I asked faintly. The room filled with an uneasy silence as he stopping his fidgeting. He suddenly seemed so withdrawn, so anxious…it was scaring me.

“Liz,” he started, a strange quiver overtaking his voice. “Why did you marry me?”

My jaw dropped slightly. I wasn’t expecting this. No, I wasn’t this at all. My gaze flickered briefly to Max, who stood off to the side, staring wistfully out the open window, obviously avoiding the questions in my eyes. I glanced back at Sean, who was now stirring my scrambled eggs into a pile of unidentifiable mush.

“Sean, why are you asking me this?”

“I just want to know.” he mumbled.

“I don’t think that’s it.” I countered. “Why are you asking me this? Aren’t you happy the way we are?”

“I was happy with the way we were.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I pushed myself off the bed and padded a few steps closer to Sean’s hunched-over figure.

“I knew coming into this that I wasn’t ever going to take Evans’ place in your heart. But I thought…” he faltered, emotion taking over. “I thought that we could make a new life for ourselves, you know? Away from all the crap that Evans was giving you and just start over.”

“Sean, where is this coming from?”

“I heard you. The nurses heard you. I’m your husband, not Max. Shouldn’t you be calling for me? You told me from the start that part of your life was behind you. You lied to me.”

The gears in my head spun around crazily, trying to digest everything he was saying. He sounded near the point of breakdown, and I had no idea how my saying Max’s name would let loose these demons. I knew Sean never liked Max; he aggressively pursued me despite my feelings for Max. The hate in his voice surprised me…my stomach turned.

“You know what? Never mind.” Sean slammed his arm against the tray, sending it flying towards the wall. I cringed, and unconsciously moved closer to the window where Max had stopped staring out of. Instead, he was now staring at Sean with an odd glint in his eye, and his arms seemed to waver towards my body.

That was Max. Ever the protector. Sean though…I never knew he had that in him. A part of me was—and I know it’s just horrible to say but it’s true—relieved. As safe and as comfortable Sean was to me, he was never Max. I knew the empty voids in my heart would never be satisfied being filled with temporary comfort. It was like a child, learning to distinguish between shapes, circles with circles, squares with squares. The square could never be forced into the circle, no matter how hard the child pushed. No matter how hard I pushed, Sean never fit. There was only one man that could ever claim any part of my heart, and deep inside, we both knew.

“Max…” I whispered under my breath, my eyes lingering on the unwavering apparition of my love. I was mesmerized. I felt like someone had catapulted me years back in time. A girlish image of my younger self, sneaking covert glances at Max Evans rose like a mist before my eyes. To be that girl again…without the alien conspiracy or some bull called destiny or even life threatening gunshot wounds marring the tapestry of normal life. Was it even possible that Max and I could have been a normal couple? The idea was as ludicrous as seeing pigs fly, but staring at the image of Max, seventeen, jaw clenching and eyes leaping with a fire, a fire to protect me…I couldn’t help but wonder. Would we still be together? Would I be able to touch a real Max? A Max that wasn’t only a figment of my imagination? Would I have been able to avoid this travesty of a relationship with someone I didn’t love?

Could’ve. Would’ve. Should’ve.

My sudden lapse into Max-thoughts didn’t escape Sean. He swore roughly. “Damn it Liz…” He gave me one last, painful glance before finally angrily stalking out of the room, leaving me alone. I knew that things between us could never be repaired. That would be the last time I saw Sean DeLuca.

posted on 5-Apr-2002 9:56:16 PM by foreverdreamer
hey guys *happy*. I was going to post earlier but since I didn't, I made the part a little longer. hopefully this answers some questions. and brings up some new ones! have fun reading.

CHAPTER FOUR

I let out the sigh I hadn’t realized I had been holding, relieved to feel air circulating throughout my body again. I slid down to the ground, burying my head into my hands. I made a real mess of this one. It in no way compared to the first, but a tiny part of me couldn’t help but shove the fact into my face: I had been abandoned again.

Great job Parker, the little voice murmured caustically in my ear. First Max, now Sean. Nobody wants you…you’re just the poor, abandoned little orphan…everybody eventually leaves you…where are your parents? Your friends? Your love? All gone.

“Shut up.” I growled through clenched teeth. I squeezed my eyes shut while my hands found themselves clasped firmly over my ears. “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

“Liz, baby, what’s wrong?” I didn’t need to open my eyes to feel Max’s sudden healing warmth wash over me in waves.

“You’re not real. Go away.” My voice sounded tiny and helpless.

“Liz, look at me.” Max’s gentle hands closed over my own. I pulled them away, feeling scalded by his touch. Quickly, I jumped back and crawled to a vacant corner, huddled in a pathetic heap.

“You’re not real!”

His tender touch shocked me again, and I leapt from my post and ran behind the bed. Max slowly rose from his kneeling position and stood on the other side, head cocked to the side.

“Liz, I’m here. I’m really here.” His eyes were openly begging, pleading.

I refused to let myself be swayed. “No…no…yo-you’re like a hallucination or a ghost or something…you are not Max!” I pointed accusingly at him. The sudden irony of the situation hit me full force, hysterical laughter bubbling in my throat. I swore I could see the older Max suddenly materialize beside the younger Max. A sudden swarm of memories spun around me.

I could almost see myself trying to push Max into Tess’ arms, my conspiring with Future Max, gosh, pretending to sleep with Kyle of all people. I could also feel my heart breaking again—this Max wasn’t real. I refused to let myself be torn down again after all these years.

“I’m going to sit here,” I made myself comfortable on the hard floor, “and I’m going to wait for you to disappear.”

“I’m not going to disappear Liz.” Max gently cupped my chin in his hand and forced me to look into his eyes, his deep amber eyes. This feels too real… My own hand snaked up to cover his. His skin was warm to touch, and my fingers traced the small veins that protruded slightly. It might be a trick of my imagination, but I could swear I saw blood flowing through them, as plain as day.

“I guess I might have some explaining to do…” He trailed off, cracking a tiny half smile as my face took on a jokingly annoyed expression.

“I don’t think that covers the half of it.” I grinned. I had missed this. Missed this terribly. Max returned my grin and settled down on the ground next to me. I quickly burrowed myself into the solace of his arms, my body fitting perfectly into his. “Well?”

“Well…” Max glanced down at me. I could feel his reluctance, his obvious attempts at blocking something away from me. “I guess it all started that night…that night that I left you.”

I nodded, a sudden chill overtaking my body. How I ever survived the years without him holding me close, I have no idea. He seemed to feel this thought coursing through me, and quickly hugged me tighter.

“We took the granolith, me, Michael, Isabel, and…Tess. It was surreal, standing inside this machine and looking out into the granolith chamber. I could almost see through the walls and out into the desert, and into Roswell. You don’t understand how hard it was Liz, how hard to have to live without you. I wanted to turn back the moment I got in, but it was too late—the granolith had already prepped itself for takeoff, and soon we were hurtled through space, back to Antar.

“We landed in a desert, the Antarians call it D’Wyeh Khar, and it was the site of a base for one of the many offshoots of Kivar’s rebel factions. They called themselves the Myamar and they had direct orders to capture us, and destroy us. Tess, knew of this, and managed to escape to the safety of the base, since it turned out she was working directly for Kivar.”

I smothered a gasp of surprise and looked on with wide-eyes. I always knew that she wasn’t to be trusted, that she would only bring ruin to the group. From the day she stepped into Roswell, she had a personal vendetta against the rest of us. She lied, weaseled her way into the group, and milked every alien opportunity to the advantage of her “Destiny” cause. And her deceptions cost my best friend’s life. Hot tears dripped steadily off my face as I thought of Alex, innocent Alex, taken over by a conniving, heartless…I paused my own train of thought and whispered to Max, “I’m sorry. It must have been hard.”

“I should be the one apologizing, not you,” he insisted soothingly. His tone turned bitter, and self-loathing. “She made all our lives miserable. If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have had to go through so much pain.”

“Don’t say that Max. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here right now, lying in your arms. I wouldn’t have had every laugh, every tear, every smile, every frown, every kiss. My life could have easily ended that day, bleeding to death on the Crashdown floor, but no, you gave me the ultimate gift. You gave me life.” I leaned in closer, resting my forehead against his, my breathing falling into a steady rhythm alongside him, our bodies acting as one. “What would life be without the pain? Without it, I would have never had you.”

My heart fluttered passionately beneath my breast as he whispered a tearful “thank you” in my ear, his warm breath tickling the sensitive lobe of my ear. It was these small things, these minute gestures that inflamed me, and had me straining to extend our invisible connection till our souls could just touch, exchanging the slightest of butterfly kisses. I breathily murmured, “You’re welcome...” and with a small nod, gave signal for him to continue his tale.

“Tess was too proud for her own good, and took the opportunity to gloat in our faces, making the mistake of divulging more information to our advantage and increasing our chances of survival. We managed to escape from Kivar’s underlings, and we’ve been on the run ever since.”

“And you’re now back on Earth?” I asked, my brow furrowed in confusion.

“Well, not exactly…” He shifted uncomfortably.

“What do you mean, ‘not exactly’? You’re right here, aren’t you?” Thoughts began to race through my head—what if this wasn’t Max? What if it was a shapeshifter? —but his touch…his eyes…I quickly dispelled the thought and sat in his arms, apprehensive for his answer.

“We’ve been trying to get back to Earth, contact someone, anything. Nothing’s worked. We thought our powers probably just didn’t work over long-distances. But then, last night…I managed to slip into your dream.”

I blushed, remembering our intimate encounter after my accident. “I thought only Isabel could dreamwalk. How did you…?”

“On Antar, our powers are amplified. The atmosphere is like a catalyst, acting to speed up the development of our powers. We basically can tap into both aspects of the physical and mental.” He gazed down at me, mirth leaping in the depths of his eyes. “Ever my little scientist Liz. And here I thought I was boring you.”

I wrinkled my nose in reply, faintly glowing at his perceptiveness. After all this time, he could still read me like an open book. “Well, I just can’t help myself sometimes. So…how come you managed to only dreamwalk me after so long?”

“I’m not sure. For the past seven years, I’d lost that connection with you. I thought I’d never be able to…to feel you again.”

“Max…” I breathed. “I…I guess I was scared. I never let myself think of you, because I had a feeling that if I did, I would only be disappointed. You wouldn’t be back, and I’d still have a broken heart.”

The despair in his eyes was like a crushing weight on my heart, as I flickered a quick gaze at his face. I continued, my voice starting to break, “I found your letter yesterday and I…”

“The letter.” Max weaved his fingers into my own and squeezed lightly. “That must be what opened you up to me again.”

“Yeah,” I replied. My mind quickly recalled the contents of the letter, pausing briefly on the line ‘My soul will find its way back to its mate and not even death will keep me away.’ My heart warmed, leaving me full for the first time in years. And he did find his way back. He’s here now.

“You said you’d find your way back to me…and you did,” I whispered to him with glistening eyes.

“My soul found its way back to you, love.” He sighed, pressing a feather-like kiss upon my brow. “And I mean literally.” He added sheepishly.

“Literally?”

“Yeah…you see, I’m not really here.”

I shifted uncomfortably. “Not really here?”

“I’m actually still back on Antar.”

I slowly inched out of his embrace. “You’re back on Antar?” I realized how much of an idiot I sounded like, echoing every word Max had haltingly said to me. But I wasn’t quite getting what he was saying. How in the world did someone exist in two places at once?

“This must be a little strange for you…”

“More than you think. So what is this? How are you here? How can I touch you? How can I feel this way if you’re not really here?”

“I came here because you needed me.”

My mind once more found myself taking a trip down memory lane. Flickers of steam curled at the edges of my psyche, the streets of late night New York reassembling themselves before my very eyes. I could still feel myself being sucked into a vortex of energy, my eyes closing tightly against the sudden force, and my body whipped like a flimsy scarf in the wind as I was pulled towards Max. I could still see the hustle and bustle, the lack of attention as my presence materialized in the middle of a crowded street without notice, and my fear that Max wouldn’t see me either, my heart leaping dangerously high in my throat. I could still see the leering faces of Lonnie and Rath as they held Tess in a chokehold of silence, and the teetering platform above Max’s head, coming dangerously close to cutting off life abruptly. I could feel the overwhelming relief coursing through my body as Max tilted his head in recognition, and then the soundless scream that ripped from my nonexistent voice as I was torn away again, in a thunderclap of an instant.

My hands found themselves clutching wildly at Max, unwilling to let this moment suddenly be snatched away by some cruel trick of fate. I needed him, damn it. He seemed to hear my unsaid need and reassuringly stroked my back, sprinkling kisses upon my upturned face. I felt his gestures of love sending ripples of assuring calm to overtake my own turbulent and troubled waves. I let out a shaky sigh, reining my emotions back in.

“I’ll be here whenever you need me, Liz.”

I nodded. A part of me hated the fact that I suddenly seemed so helpless at his feet, so dependent on his presence. I had survived the past seven years without him, and now I had more than thrown myself at a mere projection of him, seizing like a lifeline. Yet my heart stated the truth of the matter. I loved him too much to let him go. But a tight knot formed in my stomach as he embraced me, and a feeling of impending doom pervaded my emotions.

posted on 9-Apr-2002 12:14:54 AM by foreverdreamer
just a forewarning: no max in this part! sorry :(...but I felt the need to devote a chapter to reintroducing certain people into the story. hope you still like it *happy*. and don't worry, I'm already halfway done with the next part and max is definitely there. thanks for taking time out to read my fic. feedback is of course muchly appreciated!

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CHAPTER FIVE

I stood, biting my lower lip nervously. My hand was poised above the doorbell, ready to push the button for the tenth time. A sudden stampede of footsteps and muted cursing reached my ears—I broke into a small smile and dropped my arm.

The door began to open. “Who the hell rings someone’s friggin’ doorbell at this friggin’ unholy hour?! Some peo…” The flurry of words came to a sudden halt and I shifted my weight to my right leg. The left one was suddenly overwhelmed with that uneasy prickling sensation of sleep.

“Hey…Maria…” I said weakly, suddenly at a loss for words. My best…well, former best friend stood, jaw to the ground, in the doorframe, obviously hastily dressed in a rumpled tank and undies. I wasn’t going to ask who was in the bedroom awaiting her return. “You know, if this is a bad time, I can just…”

“Liz?” She barely whispered my name, the shock still quite evident upon her face.

Well, I guess you’re having a few questions at this point. Let’s skip back seven years, shall we? So, Max, Michael, Isabel, and Tess had just shot off to who knows where in a galaxy far, far away, leaving me and Maria alone on planet Earth. Let’s just say, the moments following were not a very pretty sight. Maria likes to be vocal about her emotions, especially when it comes to Michael. I’m sure she kept the entire town of Roswell awake with her screaming. I know I could’ve done something, but then again, I’ve never been very vocal about my emotions, at least not when it came to Max. I had shut down. I was empty, listless, simply going through the motions each day.

It was unbearable. So when Sean offered to take me along when he skipped town, it was tempting. I wanted to rid myself of the town that caused me so much grief. Going out to see the world…it was tempting. It was something I never thought I’d actually be doing. But it meant leaving Maria. My best friend in the whole world. We didn’t have anyone else but each other and I was going to abandon her out of some selfish whim to wash myself clean of the past. And I did. I don’t think she ever forgave me for that. It was enough that the love of her life leaves her in the dark of the night, but the only best friend she had left in the world leaves her too. It still hurts me to this day. But when I showed up on her doorstep, a whole world of memories and pain came crashing down with me.


“Liz.” She repeated herself, louder now. The haze that had appeared in her eyes was now clearing up. I braced myself for whatever screaming or yelling was to come. I now saw her eyes clearly. They were not filled with anger or rage; they were filled with pain. A clear and distinct pain suffused her face. I winced visibly—I could feel her emotions like a dead weight on my shoulders. And it broke my heart.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Her voice was chillingly void of any outward emotion.

I winced again. I knew I had that coming. “I just wanted to see you Maria.”

She hrumphed and crossed her arms defensively. “You have no right to come here Liz. No. Right.”

“I know,” I whispered. A sudden attack of inadequateness touched me, and I felt incredibly vulnerable and worthless. Talk about making a big mess of things. “I…I guess I just feeling that told me to come here.”

Now Maria was the one shifting agitatedly, emotions running rampant across her features. Glimmers of fear and betrayal intertwined with flickers of love and loyalty. “Why now? Why not before? Years before?” She now stood before me, tears forming at the corners of her eyes.

I couldn’t stop myself. I threw my arms around her, tears freely streaming down my face. “Maria, I am so sorry. So sorry,” I muttered, my heart feeling relief as she returned my hug. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed the support of my best friend till now. “You don’t realize how hard the past seven years have been without you…there were so many things I didn’t get to tell you.”

“I know Liz, I know…” she whispered into my shoulder. “I didn’t know what to do when you left. Liz you left me all alone.” I tightened my hold, ashamed.

“I’m so sorry Ria. There are a lot of things I wish I could take back,” I pulled back, holding Maria’s face between my hands. I pushed back wet strands of blonde hair that had stuck to the sides of her face, drinking in the image of the girl that had been joined to my hip since first grade. “God knows that Sean isn’t the best person to share girl talk over ice cream with.”

She laughed, and I echoed her, making a face at the memory. She had by now captured my own face between her hands, and we sat like this, laughing ceaselessly amidst our tearfest. “You do realize how silly we look like this, right?”

I nodded, a wide grin breaking across my face. I pinched her cheeks and scrambled up, pulling her along with me. “Hey! No fair!” she pouted. My heart leapt for joy; this was the Maria I remembered. She hooked arms with me, and pulled me into her house, slamming the door behind us.

“Hey Maria, you done out there ye…?” The voice trailed off. The man froze in midway out of the bedroom, his eyes narrowing at me, as if trying to remember something important. I stood gaping as Maria blushed quickly, and ran to push the man out the front door. She grabbed a shirt off the couch and went out the door behind him. A few whispers and giggles later, she scampered back with an apologetic smile. “Sorry about that.”

“Maria. Do you know who he looks like?” I squeaked.

She sighed. “Yeah…I don’t know…I guess I just haven’t. You know.”

I nodded in understanding. But it left an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach to see my best friend with a man that looked like a splitting image of Michael Guerin. It was strange. Just strange.

--------

“Wait a minute…okay, I still don’t get it.”

Maria and I lounged comfortably together on her black leather couch, bowls of half-eaten vanilla ice cream perched precariously upon our stomachs. I scooped another soupy spoonful into my mouth and let the sugar set in before answering.

“Well, it was just one of those crazy things.”

“Um, I think crazy is just too light a word to describe marrying my cousin.”

I laughed. It was simply indescribable how good it felt to be doing this again, sharing laughs and woes over a bowl or two of ice cream. The look on her face was absolutely priceless, plastic spoon jutting into the air, eyebrows contorted into shapes that I didn’t think was even possible.

“We were tired. We had just lost a lot of money to those cursed slot machines… happy hour was in full swing. I mean it’s Las Vegas. It just seemed incredibly convenient.”

“Well, at least you didn’t get conned into auditioning for the ever respectful job of stripper extraordinaire.”

We both shared the laugh this time. “The only drawback this time was that we had to enjoy the comforts of Days Inn instead of a classy penthouse suite.”

“Serves you right for marrying my cousin.” Her eyes softened, and she began to stir her ice cream restlessly. I knew the question that was on her mind, on the tip of her tongue.

“You can ask Maria. I’m okay.” I said quietly, tearing my gaze away from her nervous form.

“Was it…weird?”

“Yeah, I guess.” I gave a short laugh. “How weird could it be getting married to a guy you don’t even love in the place where the happiest day of your life was supposed to happen?” The bitterness was painfully obvious in my voice, all thorns and brambles. Maria had cringed slightly, but recovered. She replaced our ice cream on the coffee table and sat up, patting her lap. I immediately curled myself up and laid my head down, feeling slightly comforted as she stroked my hair.

“You can tell me Liz.”

“I didn’t even remember that night. I was too drunk. But I guess it was for the better. God knows what I would’ve done if I knew. You know, I feel like I just wasted time with Sean. I look back right now, and it’s like, this whole part of my life is gone. It’s all just a blur.”

“It’s been hard Lizzie.” She slipped into using my old childhood nickname and I smiled, reveling in the aura of innocence and dreams that came attached with that name.

“I just feel that I’ve missed out on something. A lot, actually. You know, ever since we were kids, it was supposed to be me, molecular biologist at Harvard, and you, my crazy friend who throws great parties. Together, we were supposed to rule the world.”

Maria laughed softly in remembrance. “Yeah, you were the brains, and I was the brawn. And I would help you have fun while you slaved in a stuffy lab, and you’d make sure I didn’t get too stupid so I didn’t constantly make a fool of myself in front of the intellectually elite,” she scrunched up her face. “Gosh, was that even us?”

“It seems so bizarre, just thinking about it,” I admitted. “And then all that alien business just consumed my life. After that, I didn’t even think I’d go to college. I just saw myself with Max. I was all ready to be with him, through everything. And then…”

“And then Tess happened.” Maria finished for me, her eyes growing hard.

My mind involuntarily strayed to Max’s betrayal. I inwardly shuddered at the image of Tess in his arms, waking up the morning after. My throat constricted and my stomach turned. I felt a slight pull at my heart and saw a sudden flash of amber eyes. I knew Max was somewhere—watching. I quickly banished the repulsive thoughts, straining to hold back that part of myself—the embittered, loathing part—from Max’s seemingly omnipresent awareness. I wasn’t ready to face it myself.

“Can...can we just not talk about her right now Ria?” I mumbled. Maria squeezed my arm in understanding.

“I guess I’m having an identity crisis or something,” I lamented, turning over to look up at Maria. She gave me a half-smile.

“I’ve been there, done that. This hair?” She twisted a handful of her stringy blonde hair in between her fingers. “Dyed it 13 times. Red. Green. Purple. Black. All the colors of the rainbow before I finally went back to blonde. But I guess that sort of thing just comes with the tortured songwriter, trying to make a life for herself.”

“Well, I think it looks better blonde.” I replied as flashes of Maria with black and green hair flit before my eyes. “Yes, much better blonde.”

“You know what I think Liz?” she suddenly said, her tone much more serious.

“Grace me with your infinite wisdom.” I joked, failing miserably at alleviating the solemnity in the air.

“I think that you were always waiting for something, even when we were kids. You were waiting for something, someone, to come and take you away from Roswell. And when Max Evans came, he completed something in you and it was undeniably right. You were willing to go through all the crap with him, as long as you were together. And when you did all that planning to turn him away, it hurt you more than you let on, even if you didn’t tell me everything. And when he finally left that day, to go to Antar, you didn’t have anything else. It’s not an identity crisis Lizzie; it’s losing a part of your soul to something you have no control over. And all you want is to be complete again.”

Honestly, it was like Maria had caught a glimpse of the mess in my soul and managed to explain it to me in an amazingly coherent way.

“I understand it now Lizzie. Why you had to go. I know how you feel. Because I feel it too.”

Best friend vibes. They never let you down. I sat up and hugged Maria. I knew she understood all the motivations that plagued me. But I felt a little guilty—my heart was nearing repair while hers was still in shambles. Was it time to tell her about Max?

Maria caught the vibe of hesitancy that was being broadcasted off my body. “Is there something else?” I felt as if I were a child being caught with her hand in the cookie jar. I sighed remorsefully.

“Actually,” I started. “There is something.”

“Well, what is it?”

“Max is back.”

“WHOA, whoa, whoa. Max is WHAT?” Her voice must have gone up about ten decibels in the time span of a millisecond.

“Well, not really back.”

“Okay, you DO understand you’re not making a scrap of sense now.” She pressed the back of her hand against my forehead. “Are you sick Lizzie? Feverish? Hallucinating?”

I pushed her hand away from my face agitatedly. “He…he just appeared okay? I don’t know what it means. I just know that it’s what split Sean and I up, but I’m not crying over that. It’s just that… it’s really confusing. Max somehow…astral-projected or something from Antar...him, Michael, and Isabel are running from Kivar’s men probably as we speak. I’m still trying to understand the situation as it is.”

“I would think so,” Maria replied with equal agitation. “What did he…did he say about…” A glimmer of hope appeared in her eyes as she stumbled over her words and I had to look away.

“Michael is fine, Maria.” I said quietly. “That’s all I know.” I hesitated saying more—Max really hadn’t given me too much information on the others before going away, and I didn’t want to fill her with false hopes. False hopes hurt a lot more than no hope ever could.

She nodded, looking a little dazed. I put my arm around her and we both sat in the silence, lost in our own labyrinths of thoughts.

Maria was the first one to think of it. I don’t think that I would have ever even thought so doing such a thing, but with Maria…well, Maria was always the more persuasive one.

“Liz.” She said firmly, and with determination. I eyed my best friend warily. I recognized that tone. I had gotten into a heck of a lot of trouble back in high school when Maria took on that tone. God, if Alex were here, he’d be getting his knickers in a twist trying to calm Maria down before trouble ensued. A little rumble of laughter spread through my body imagining him distracting Maria with his purposely off-key renditions of old Frank Sinatra love songs. I was glad I had gotten to a point in my life where I could think of Alex without spiraling into a deep pit of depression, something that recurred often on the road with Sean.

Liz.” Maria repeated, even more firmly than before if that was possible.

“Yes?” I replied meekly.

“We’re going to save them.”

“Save who?”

“Max, Michael, and Isabel.”

“We’re going to what?”

“You heard me Liz.”

“How the hell are we going to do that? They can’t even figure out a way to do it themselves!” This had me going close to the verge of angry tears. False hopes, false hopes, false hopes…

“There must be something left here, something that was left behind. A clue. Anything.” Maria pleaded her case while I stared in stony surprise. “Come on Liz,” she continued softly, “We can just try.” Her eyes begged me to have faith in her insane plan. Begged me to help bring back the man she loved, and the man that I loved.

My shoulders sagged in defeat. She gave a small smile and embraced me. “We can do this Liz. I know we can.” She whispered in my ear.

“I know.”

It was like Maria had said years ago: we’ve all been sucked into the alien abyss. And even now…it wasn’t ever going to let go.

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hope you enjoyed that *happy*. just hit midnight which means I should stop procrastinating and actually do *gasp* work. thanks for reading!
posted on 25-Apr-2002 10:20:03 PM by foreverdreamer
(oh look, hey, a note from me, the author *happy*) --> aww, thanks for bumpin' guys. I apologize now that I haven't been around-- real life has been laying it on real thick these days: two weeks of state testing, then SATs, then APs (I can't believe the finale is right in between), and ACTs. fun for me. I've also run into a slight block on the story...I'm having trouble transitioning the fic into where I exactly want it to go :(, but I'm working on it. for now, I'll post the first part of chapter six, a nice little M/L scene before I start into the rest. thanks for reading!

CHAPTER 6A

My mind skittered around blurred images that danced around my subconscious, around my dreams. My dreams were plagued. Plagued with an unknown deception. Fraught with some looming danger. If only I could make out the images. It was a cacophony of vivid colors, flashes of green and dark azure blue, all bleeding streams of red-blood red. Splashes of black only more so flawed the surface, twisting and turning like cruelly stabbed swords in the back of a brutally murdered soldier. Faces mocked me, faces hiding behind blank masks, their high-pitched laughing all blending into some malicious symphony, filling my ears with that horrible, guttural sound. I narrowed my eyes, focusing on one face, one face that slowly seemed to unravel itself from its cocoon of shadow. I waited. Each night I waited. Layer by layer was divested, and a distinct form seemed to take shape. I stepped forward.

A clap of pure white lightning flashed brightly against the seething sky.

I gasped, awakening, drenched in sweat. Max's arms suddenly materialized around me. I immediately felt safer, protected from the images…those horrible images…

"Liz, are you alright?" His voice was laced with worry. I nodded, only a barely audible whimper betrayed my real feelings. His eyes hardened, now pinched with fear. "Did you have the same nightmare again?"

"Yeah." I sighed.

"Why won't you tell me what was in it?" He asked quietly. I turned my head away slightly.

"It's really no big deal Max."

"Yes, it is a big deal." Frustration seeped into his voice. "I know what you and Maria are doing. What if this is some sort of Antarian mind game they're playing on you? What if you're getting hurt Liz?"

"It's nothing like that Max. I'm fine." I pleaded. I couldn't afford Max interfering in the plans, no matter how good his intentions were. I was going to save him.

"Liz, you have sacrificed yourself for me too many times in the past for me to just dismiss this." He gave a shuddering sigh and pulled me flush against him. "I know their power, and they can kill. If anything ever happened to you again…because of me…" A soft sob escaped, and I buried my head in his chest. "I don't know what I would do. I can't even help you…I'm not even really here!" He ended in disgust.

I shook my head furiously. "No Max, you are. You don't understand how much it means to me that you're here…you're my pillar of support and I draw all my strength from you. If you hadn't come when you did, I'd probably be in shambles right now."

He smiled woefully. "You would never be in shambles. You're too strong for that."

"Oh, I've been in pretty bad places, I can tell you that." I sighed, fiddling nervously with the hem of his t-shirt. It was his faded green shirt, the one he wore the day he saved me. I smiled sadly at the memory-my life had changed so much in that instant. He grasped my fingers and intertwined them with his own.

"I'm sorry you had to go through times like those alone."

"I'm not," I replied faintly. "It helped me to survive on my own…something I never imagined I could do so well years ago."

He tilted my chin up. "Do you know how incredible you are, Liz Parker?"

I gave him a mischievous smile and leaned in, brushing his lips with a quick kiss. "I'm not incredible. I'm just stubborn." I poked him in the chest, each jab accentuating my words. "Besides, you've been very distracting lately, Mr. Evans. I'm getting and looking older than ever and here you are, not a day over seventeen. Tends to make my mind wander," I kissed his neck lightly, "if you know what I mean."

He smiled, playing distractedly with my hair. "You're changing the subject Liz. Besides, you should see me back on Antar. I'm an absolute mess."

"Well, I still love you, mess and all. And you changed the subject first."

He wrinkled his nose adorably and I laughed, hugging myself closer to his body. I embraced his distractions, and willed myself to forget the dreams. I could worry about them tomorrow.

posted on 26-Apr-2002 10:49:32 AM by foreverdreamer
yeah, just bumping this up because the server wouldn't let me edit last night!
posted on 28-Apr-2002 10:13:35 PM by foreverdreamer
*note: I apologize now for any discrepancies in chapter 7. I haven't watched my old tapes in a while (broken VCR) so I had to rely on my dusty memory and imagination to fill in the gaps *happy*. enjoy!*

CHAPTER 6B

Max frequently came and went, usually for a day and a night, before disappearing for blocks of time. Astral projecting over such far distances took a lot out of him, and being a fugitive on the run, he needed to conserve all the energy he could. Parting was always hard, but lately I had other things on my mind to keep me distracted, mainly the “investigation”…and Maria.

“So,” I started, folding my arms in front of me as I leaned against Maria’s doorpost. She blushed, anticipating my questions. “What’s up with this Mark of yours? You’ve been closed-mouthed about him ever since I moved here, which I must say Ria, is very unlike the girl I used to know.”

Her face turned flaming red and she ran her fingers through her choppy blonde hair nervously. I gave her a pointed look and she finally started talking. “Well, there’s really nothing much to know about. We met on one of my gigs. He was working the bar. I had couple too many drinks, he took me home.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“No, nothing happened,” she said hastily, reading my look perfectly. “He made sure I didn’t do anything stupid, like drive or whatever. Afterwards, we got together once and while, and now…” Maria trailed off, her eyes becoming distant.

“What about…?” I asked softly, my question hanging silently in the air. Maria’s gaze flickered towards my direction.

“I thought that maybe I was attracted towards him because he looked so much like…you know. But it’s not that. I really like him, I do. That other part of me has been gone for a long time now. I’ve learned to move on, to move past it.”

“Like?” I hadn’t missed her slight discrepancy.

“It’s nothing serious. It might be in the future, but for now…we’re both comfortable the way we are.” she answered quietly.

“Well, I’m happy if you’re happy Maria,” I said with equal quietness, sitting next to her on the bed. “and if he makes you happy too.” She gave me a weak smile, which I returned hesitantly. I couldn’t ignore the odd rush I felt when Mark was around—a small, yet nagging feeling—that there wasn’t something right about him. But it was neither the time, nor the place to voice such concerns. It was time to be the friend that Maria deserved to have.

“Thanks Liz.” She turned and enfolded me into a tight hug. Even as we embraced, I knew who she was thinking about. Her tears trickled slowly down my arm, and I didn’t say a word.

“No problem,” I whispered.

She gave a small laugh and hastily pulled away, wiping her face on a discarded t-shirt. “So,” she started nonchalantly, an obvious attempt to draw attention away from her tear-stained face. “How much have you been able to find about the Granolith?”

I gave a heavy sigh, a dull thudding pain returning to my head at the thought of the futile search. “Not much, unfortunately. I’ve been through everything of Max’s that I’ve kept with me, the artifacts, everything, but all I’m getting are dead ends. No flashes, nothing.”

“Yeah,” Maria replied, after a beat. “I went through everything I had from Roswell and nothing makes a connection.”

I nodded. I knew that all of this “looking” was useless. Did we really think we’d find anything from what little we had? My brow furrowed in frustration. All of our enthusiastic and heart-felt “We’re going to save the aliens!” spiel didn’t have any substance. What we’d been doing the past few weeks conveniently stuck ourselves in a never-ending limbo. I knew that we didn’t have a single answer or clue to go on...here. Maria’s face blanched when she caught onto the resolute look in my eyes.

“We have to go back.”

===========

CHAPTER SEVEN

Silence.

The air surrounding us was thick with it, almost suffocating. Occasionally the sharp, quick sound of falling rock hitting rock pierced the terse air, but almost immediately, the hush fell upon the desert again.

I stopped to catch my breath, shielding my eyes from the harsh light of the sun. It’d been so long since I’d left this part of my life behind that I’d forgotten the overwhelming heat of the New Mexico sun, especially in the desert. Maria paused besides me, taking a quick swig of water. “You okay girl?”

I nodded. “Just getting re-accustomed to Roswell weather.” I gazed mournfully behind us, towards the car parked out besides the highway. “I wish we could’ve drove.”

“You know my car can’t withstand this sort of terrain,” Maria said, giving a melodramatic sigh. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say that it’s almost as bad as my Mom’s old Jetta. Gosh, to have that car again. At least it got us through all that alien mumbo-jumbo safe and sound.”

“Right.” I smiled. I focused my attention on the cluster of cliffs towards my west. “I remember the chamber being somewhere over there, in between two of the cliffs. Where exactly, I can’t be sure.”

“Well, I’m not going to stand here all day and wait for the sun to bake me to a crisp. Let’s do it.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me forward, and we both fell into a rhythmic walk, Maria obviously anxious to arrive at our destination.

I stumbled forward, a bit surprised at Maria’s fervor. Since when did I get winded so easily? I thought between my uneasy breaths. Back in the day, I could run from the law with the best of them. Now…I inwardly chuckled at the silly, fleeting thoughts that ran rampant through my mind. Must be the sun…

My eyes scanned the landscape thoughtfully. They snagged on a familiar looking rock formation, a large cluster of jutting cliffs and nooks, with one particular crag protruding much farther than the others. A flash from the day I left Max at the pod chamber played clearly before my eyes. This was it. I turned to Maria, giving her a slight nod. “We’re here.”

“Good,” she answered, squinting up at the rocks. “Shall we?”

We both started up the north face of the formation, carefully working our way around the rocky surfaces. My forehead was drenched in sweat, and my body felt sticky and grimy. I narrowed my eyes. I was going to find the chamber. Maria gave a strangled cry and I turned just in time to catch her before she fell.

“Maria!” I asked worriedly, barely holding my best friend up. “What happened?”

“Damn rocks…” she muttered, gently massaging her quickly swelling ankle. “I must have caught my foot in a nook. I’ll be fine, Liz.”

“You sure?” Her claim did nothing to assuage the uneasiness that filled my gut. I bit my lip in anxiously. How I wished Max could be here right now and take away Maria’s pain. “Here, put your arm over my shoulder.” She swung her arm up and around my neck, and after easing her into a semi-standing position, we slowly limped to a flatter surface, under the shade of another overhanging crag. I helped her sit down slowly, against the rock’s cool surface, and took a look at her leg. It was tinged with red, with dark purple blotches marring her white skin around her ankle. “I think you twisted it…here, why don’t we just go back and look for the chamber tomorrow?”

“No!” Maria yelled. I flinched, taken aback. She sighed and looked at the ground. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell, I just…I just want to find this.” She lifted pleading eyes to mine. “I just want to know…that Michael will be safe.”

I nodded, tears threatening to fill my eyes. Actually hearing Maria say Michael’s name after such a long time only spurred me on to help Max, to save Max from the danger he was running from. To really have him safe and in my arms. I stood up shakily, putting an arm behind me and against the smooth wall in support.

That’s weird. I thought to myself. Although there were many other fairly smooth spots in the cluster of rocks around them, the face of this rock was smooth. Unnaturally smooth. I turned and stared at the wall, my eyes roaming quickly over its surface. There was a particularly worn spot on the right side of the wall, its shade definitely lighter than the rest of the rock. I placed my hand lightly on the spot, my palm tingling with an odd, prickling sensation.

A flash of silver shone from beneath my hand and I pulled back in surprise. Maria stared at the silver handprint that had suddenly materialized upon the rock, shell-shocked. Dust permeated the air, temporarily blinding us, as the muted rumble of rock against rock filled our ears. The face had opened itself, a rock door forming from the wall’s smooth, seamless surface. Inky darkness pervaded the interior.

“Liz…how did you…?” The question trailed from Maria’s lips as she stared wide-eyed into the chamber. All of our possible answers lay within. All my doubts flew out of the window the moment the chamber opened its doors to me. I helped my friend up and we slowed entered the room, our eyes quickly adjusting to the darkness.

There was definitely something different about the chamber. For one, it had lost its usually aqua lit cast, and the pods were shaded—dormant. I helped Maria to a far wall and wandered around, my eyes picking up the minute differences that separated the pod chamber of the present from the pod chamber of the past. Only one pod glowed now, although the light was definitely dim. Tess. I thought scathingly. Of course only her pod would still have residual energy. The other three were cut off from the support of the Antarian government and on the run—how predictable that she would sever off their only tie to Earth as well.

I quickly wrenched my gaze away, focusing on finding the whereabouts of the hidden artifacts. I vaguely remembered Max mentioning that they had placed whatever alien knowledge they knew somewhere within the chamber. I only hoped that Michael had thought to leave the translation of the Destiny book behind as well—I didn’t want to rehash past situations and get myself nearly killed again.

I decided to check out the Granolith first. Or more correctly, where the Granolith used to be. I gingerly edged myself through the opening of chamber door and gazed into the large vacancy that had once held the diamond shaped transporter. The floor was burned black, edged with silver, probably deposit from the granolith itself. The symbol of the whirlwind galaxy that we had found on the orbs shone dully on the rounded wall. I ambled around, kicking lightly at piles of dust and ash, hoping that maybe a clue would soon uncover itself. No flashes seemed to register as I touched various parts of the chamber, leaving me with an almost lonely feeling, unable to clutch at this connection that Max had left me with.

My foot suddenly struck something hard, as I poked and prodded one of the piles of dust. I reached in and pulled out the long diamond key Michael, Maria, and I had found in the abandoned house with the Destiny book translation. I cringed slightly as a sudden barrage of flashes assaulted my mind.

*flash*

Max slipping the key into the granolith. “Everyone say your goodbyes.”

*flash*

Max touching the key briefly while looking at the whirlwind clock. Michael and Isabel peers at him anxiously while Tess eagerly places her hand upon the granolith.

“I don’t want to go. I can’t just…leave.” Max says, pain filling his eyes. Tess turns to him, face set and resolute.

“Max, we can’t stay here.” She places her hand protectively upon her belly and lifts deceptively tearful eyes towards the burdened leader. “The baby…”

Michael walks over to Max, his eyes also brimming with the same pain and guilt that clouds the other man’s. “Max, I know how you feel. But I have to leave Maria too…I…” He sounds defeated. “We have to do this, or else your son dies, and we lose Antar in the process. We might not give a damn about the stupid planet, but we have a responsibility to uphold. The others…will have to wait.”

Isabel gives a choked sob as Tess’ features school themselves into a secretly smug smile. The taller blonde reaches over and squeezes Max’s hand reassuringly. “We’ll find a way back Max. You’ll find your way back to her.”

Max looks over to his sister, a sudden weight pulling at his heart. He flickers his gaze over to Tess, whose eyes have hardened at the mention of Liz. What ever possessed him to get close to her, let alone sleep with her? He feels the bile rising in his throat as the past few weeks’ events fly before his eyes. Liz. His Liz. She was probably still sleeping, face peaceful and her hair, splayed out like a chocolate fan on her pillow. He closes his eyes, letting her presence envelop him again, even from so far away.

Tess tugs urgently at Max’s sleeve as she doubles over in pain. “Max…” she utters through her shallow breathing. This seems to transport the rest of the aliens back to the present, and back to the inevitable journey that they are obligated to take.

Max hesitantly places his hand upon the cool surface of the granolith, Michael and Isabel soon following suit. With a sudden flash of energy, he feels himself being pulled into the swirling interior of the ship, and in a split second is staring out into the empty chamber, from the murky interior of the granolith.

Max lets his eyes roam around for one last glance at the place he had called home. His eyes felt as if they could pierce through the steel walls and into the wide expanse of dry desert, all the way into the streets of Roswell where he had grown up, and to the Crashdown balcony of his love’s bedroom, where he swore he could see Liz, finally awake but crying, her trembling form curled in the fetal position in the exact spot where he had laid upon her bed. He reaches out his arm instinctively, as if to soothe her broken heart from the distance, but finds only nothing.

‘Liz!’

His aching cry scatters into oblivion as the ship hurtles the Royal Four into the dark solitude of space.

posted on 15-May-2002 12:24:55 AM by foreverdreamer
aw, thanks for bumping you guys! I know I suck big, but tests are just a pain in the arse, but I come behring half a chapter for you guys to read. I decided to only post half so it'd entice you to come back *wink*. hopefully my plan works *big*. did you guys like graduation? it was pre-empted here in MI *sad*...but I'll see it soon I hope. anyway, enjoy! I should have more time to work on this after APs are over...my last one is this thursday so after that, I'm home free!

anyway, this latest part is a little bit sadder than I expected it to come out. crazy late night studying and coffee just makes the writer's mind a little interesting I suppose...but yeah, read it anyway.


CHAPTER 8A

Throughout the years, I’ve learned that life likes to throw a revelation or two along the way, whether to break the monotony of naivety, or to just make life miserable…I wouldn’t know. Even now, I have yet to find out.

“Liz?” Maria’s voice sounded from outside the granolith chamber. For some reason she sounded so far away—barely registering in my ears. I lifted my eyes slowly, searching for her outline to appear within the shadows. “Liz?” Her voice grew louder, more anxious.

My instincts suggested trouble. I had to get up. I had to help Maria. Yet my limbs felt heavy with fatigue, my mouth dry and grainy, and my brain jumbled, snippets of my flashes of Max sparking within my mind intertwined with random thoughts of the mission at hand. I glanced down at the crystal I clutched tightly in my hands. It felt like it had been burned into my skin, and I couldn’t let it go. Max! I cried silently aloud. Help me… Nothing made sense. Why didn’t anything make sense?

“Liz!” Maria’s voice came at a high-pitched cry, and the sudden sound of someone being pitched against the chamber walls reverberated throughout my mind.

And then I was standing in the doorway, hand extended towards a clandestine form and throwing them away with some unknown force from Maria’s whimpering figure. The surge of power momentarily overwhelmed me, my body was bathed in an unearthly blue light. A grim smile touched my lips upon hearing the satisfied crunch of bone shattering against rock.

Another strangled cry from Maria’s direction broke me off from my thoughts, and I quickly rushed to her side. Her eyes were closed, and she clutched a worn duffel bag within her arms. An ugly looking gash cut down the side of her arm, and a bruise began to appear on her temple, a haphazard mixture of red and purple, marring her usually flawless complexion. “Maria…” I whispered, holding back a teary gasp. I gently cradled her hand my lap and smoothed back her matted blonde hair. My fingers suddenly turned sticky with blood, a hidden wound on the back of her head oozing its life onto my still glowing hands.

My stomach turned and I slowly shook my head, not even believing the scene that was unfolding before me.

“Liz…” Maria murmured, her eyes suddenly fluttering open. “I found it.”

“Found what?” I answered softly, urging my best friend to continue.

“What we’re looking for.” She beckoned me closer and I silently obliged, leaning my ear closer to her mouth. “Everything we’ve been looking for to save them, Liz. It’s all in the bag. And more. You can do it now Liz.”

“You’re going to save them with me.” I insisted, tears falling unhindered down my face. “I’ll save you too.”

I held my hands in stasis above her head wound, mentally urging whatever power flowing from my hands to direct them in healing my friend. The glow remained where it was, surrounding my hands, pulsating slowly. The blood continued to seep into the sandy ground. “Damn it,” I whispered angrily, shutting my eyes and concentrating as hard as I could, seeing in my mind’s eye the power suddenly flowing over the gash and neatly healing it together. I opened my eyes. Maria smiled wanly.

“I’m sorry Liz.”

“No. No, Maria, listen to me, you’re going to hold on, okay? We can go get help, we can—…”

“No,” came her forceful reply. I was taken aback, surprised at the command behind the simple word. “Liz, leave me here. Go and save them. Bring them back.”

“I can’t leave you…not here…not to die…” My shoulders trembled with my sobs. “I lost Alex, I lost Max, and I sure as hell am not going to lose you too.”

“Lizzie,” she smiled up at me, her voice getting softer. “I love you too.” A lone tear made a path down her grimy cheek. “When Michael comes back…tell him I waited for him. And I would have waited for him forever. I love him…so…”

Silence reigned in the pod chamber.


TBC...