|posted on 7-May-2002 1:48:09 AM|
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Katims, Metz and UPN. No infringement intended.
Summary: Future Fic. 20 years down the road.
"Pick her up at seven sharp, Max." Liz ordered as she tossed her bag into the trunk.
"I'll remember." Max sighed heavily. Wanted to reach out and touch her, hug her, kiss her but knew better.
"She can't wait. They don't let the kids wait." Liz mumbled and ran a hand through her hair. "Maybe I shouldn't go."
"Go. You deserve it." Max mumbled, toed the ground with his right foot. His left leg was being squeezed by their young son... who should have grown out of the habit by now.
"Is this weird?" She had to know. Of course it was weird. He hadn't been inside the house in nearly two years.
"It's fine. You have to go so go. I'll take care of the kids." He sighed again. "Lydia will be picked up on time. Isaac will be in bed by 8:30. Promise."
"Lydia's grounded by the way and Terry cannot come over. Bendy can for a little while tomorrow and I will be back on Thursday." She took a deep breath and stole a look at him. "Thanks a lot Max."
"No problem... they are my kids too." Ouch. Hadn't meant to let it come out quite like that. "Liz..."
"I have to go... I'll miss my plane." She knelt to kiss Isaac's cheek. "Be good sweetie." She almost leaned in to kiss Max when she stood up but thought better of it. "You have my numbers and my itinerary."
"Yes. Go." Max nodded and shoved his hands into his pockets to keep from pulling her to him. It was for the best, really.
Liz climbed into the car and pulled out into the street. She waved at her men and leaned out the window. "Tell Lydia I love her." She nodded at Max's weak smile and sped off.
The two Evans men stood on the porch for awhile before Max began to feel odd. He looked around the yard, in the trees, across the street but couldn't pinpoint where the odd feeling was coming from. He ushered his son into the house and kept a wary eye out.
The man stepped from behind the tree two seconds after the Evans door closed. Eyes narrowed and studied the house for a full minute before he turned and walked away.
[ edited 8 time(s), last at 15-May-2002 8:03:29 PM ]
|posted on 7-May-2002 9:28:09 PM|
|"Alright, Chief..." Max popped open the refrigerator and stared at the contents. "What's for dinner?"|
"Mom always makes a salad." Isaac groaned and lay his head on top of his Speller. "Lyds is always on a diet."
"You poor, poor man. All alone in a house with Evans women." Max reached over and ruffled his hair. "Don't these girls eat meat?"
"Meat isn't on the diet." Isaac sighed heavily.
"Oh. I see." Max shut the refrigerator. "Out to eat it is."
"Daddy?" The small voice made Max turn immediately. His heart broke at the sad look in his son's eyes. "Why can't you come home?"
"Long story, Chief." He slid into a chair and just watched his son accept the answer and get back to his homework. "You know I love you... right?"
"Yeah. I love you, too."
"You talk to your aunt Iz?"
"Not so much. Uncle Jesse is really busy... travels alot. I think she likes it."
"I bet she does." Sighing heavily, he leaned over to see what Isaac was so intent on doing. "Determination. Underestimate. Wow... I don't think I had words like that when I was in the second grade."
"I'm in the fourth."
"Since... since school started and the teacher gave me some tests. They said I was really smart." Isaac avoided his father's eyes carefully.
"I wonder why your mom didn't tell me."
"Because of what I can do." Snuck a glance at his father.
"Brat already knows how to scan." Lydia breezed into the room and threw open the refrigerator.
"What? No 'Hi Dad'? No hug? No kiss?" Max turned slowly to eye his daughter. "Or maybe why you're here when I'm supposed to pick you up in two hours?"
"Hi Daddy." Lydia crossed the kitchen to sit in her father's lap. Laying her head on his shoulder, she thought of a clever way to word her answer. "Well, dance class got cancelled so... a few of us went to the mall and hung out..."
"And who brought you home?" Max kissed the top of her head.
"Terry..." She sounded out carefully.
"I believe that you are not supposed to be hanging out with him."
"Her. Why not?" Lyd leapt to her feet. "Terry is so cool. You should see her car and she is like the best dancer in the school."
"I'm sure your mother has her reasons." Max turned a cool gaze on his daughter. "Bendy can come over for a little while but you're still grounded... a story which I am dying to hear."
"Dad..." Lydia whined and pulled a salad from the refrigerator. "It was just a little innocent fun."
"Oh really... I know your mother and it couldn't have been too innocent if she felt she had to ground you."
"It's not fair. I don't know what Mom's deal is..."
The arguing voices drifted out the window and to the ears of a stranger. He shut his eyes and listened intently. Decisions, decisions, so many decisions to make...
|posted on 8-May-2002 2:18:57 PM|
|AN: Whoo, this is a long part. Be glad I'm home chugging Pepto Bismol.|
Max opened his eyes to the completely trashed living room and sighed. He had an eight year old boy tucked under one arm and a fifteen year old girl tucked under the other... and six Chinese containers strewn around with napkins and movie rental boxes.
The three of them had passed out on the pull out couch. Max got the impression that if he had tried to sleep in the guest bedroom or in his old bedroom that both kids would have still ended up sleeping with him.
It was enough to make his heart ache. Their kids suffered for him being what he was. He and Liz still loved each other, that he was almost certain of but there was too much other stuff. There was always other stuff. Fights over how to raise the children, how to decide what would keep the children safe and undiscovered, over when alien business involved each other, when the children should be told, how the children should be told...
Truth be told, he never expected the separation to last so long. Liz claimed to need some space and time to breathe after she went back to work. It would have been fine and he would have come home in a few weeks if it had not been for the message. The message. Kivar was in attack mode...
Those were not days he cared to recall but three things kept him sane throughout the ordeal. Five year old Isaac just starting school, 13 year old Lydia taking up ballet seriously, 36 year old Liz, his wife of 15 years, just promoted to the head of the science department after her leave of absence.
He had returned battle worn and broken only to tell Liz that he couldn't come home for good until he was sure that all was safe. He wouldn't do that to her and the kids. So far, everything seemed safe but so much time had passed, many things had changed.
Keeping a safe distance was hard but necessary. He couldn't be seen with any of them until it was safe. Six months prior all his contacts had turned up every shred of evidence he needed to know that his family would be safe but... he couldn't just hope to leap back into their lives. It wasn't fair to them to be missing him and being angry at him just to think he could walk back into the house and live there. So slow it was. Recitals and plays when he could make them, weekends at his apartment or with the grandparents to regain their faith and trust that he was their father. Liz... he wasn't so sure she'd be so forgiving. She had told him that he was running out on them and maybe she was right.
"He was not." Lydia shook her head at Bendy. The tiny girl just shrugged. "No way."
"Jacob said he was... and I think he was jealous."
"Jacob?" Lydia wrinkled up her nose. "So who was this guy anyway?"
"Don't know but he was hot."
"Yeah, he was, wasn't he... he... he's not in high school, is he?" The brunette leaned forward, whispering.
Bendy's smile grew. "Nope. I check around after you left with Terry. No one knows who he is. I snapped his pic with my handy dandy I-Zone and then he was gone. Like right after you left. So I asked some people."
"Yep. Not a student at Grant or Jeff... East might be a possibility but doubtful. He was all rugged... like a college boy." Bendy's enthusiasm was contagious and both girls burst into giggles.
"Girls... you wanna keep it down in here?" Max poked his head into the room. "Isaac and I are trying to study and the giggles are a bit noisy... sorry for interrupting the no doubt enthralling world of boys and make-up."
"Dad..." Lydia whined.
"Hi. Sorry Mr. Evans." Bendy waved. "I have to get going anyway. When does Lyds get off probation?"
"Ask her mother... I still haven't gotten the details on the offense." Max shot Lydia a look.
"Curfew violation, trespassing and the kicker. Terry." Bendy bounded off the bed and grabbed her bag.
"No problem, Mr. Evans." Bendy smiled brightly at him. "See you at rehearsal tomorrow."
"Bye..." Lydia mumbled and waited. As soon as the front door shut, Max sat on the edge of Lydia's bed. "Dad... please, don't start."
"Don't start what? You're hanging out with people your mom doesn't approve up, trespassing and violating curfew." Max ran a hand over his face. "What's the deal with Terry?"
"Mom just doesn't like her because she's got a bad rep. She's a really nice girl..."
"That drives a nice car and does dangerious things to get a thrill?" His eyes slid over to her and waited for her slow nod. "Sweetie... I know that doing dangerous things seem cool but there are risks. Where did you sneak off to?"
"Some old fort." She shrugged and hugged a pillow to her chest.
He shut his eyes and flashes of the White Room flew across his mind. "Promise me you won't do anything like that again. There are still dangerous people in this country, on this planet." When he opened his eyes, her were huge. "Promise me."
Then her eyes narrowed. "I thought that's why you left. Is that why you're still not coming back? Because it's not safe? Is it?"
"It's complicated." Max shook his head.
"Get out. I want to be by myself."
Max sat next to Isaac and watched him pore over the books. "How do you like the fourth grade?"
"It's okay. It's... better than the second grade. I... don't get bored." Isaac paused in his reading. "Lyds says I'm a freak because I can already scan..."
"You're not a freak, don't listen to Lyds." Max ruffled his son's dark hair. "She's just jealous, she didn't learn to scan until she was 12."
Isaac smiled at that and went back to the book. Max watched him for several minutes as he actually read each line before turning to the next page. "I thought you could scan."
"I can but Mom says that I shouldn't do it all the time. She says if I take my time... I'll enjoy it more."
"Your mom is a smart lady."
"Yep." Then he shut the book and looked up at his father. "I'm going to go outside and play now."
"Okay, Chief." Max nodded and stayed put for a long time, just thinking. Maybe Liz had her reasons for allowing the school to skip Isaac a couple of grades... he wasn't exactly around to see what affect school was having on him.
Isaac hung upside down from the tree and watched the tall man walk up the street. "Hi."
The man blinked as if he hadn't realized there was a child in the tree. "Hi."
"Z-- My name is Zan."
"Cool." Ran his little eyes over the man named Zan. "Wanna play?"
"Mabye later, Chief."
"That's what my dad calls me."
"Oh yeah?" Eyebrow raised and he still hadn't made a decision.
"Isaac? Who are you talking to?" Isaac swiveled and fell out of the tree at his father's voice.
Zan moved quick and caught the kid before his head hit the concrete on the outside of the yard. Flipping him over, he set him inside the little white picket fence. "Whoa. Thanks, Zan."
The young man looked up only to realize the subject of his recent stalking stood just on the other side of the fence. The mix of emotions crossing his face was just too much. Locking eyes only once, he stepped back. "Be more careful kid. Later."
Max stood in shock as the young man strode off down the street. It couldn't be... all the contacts had said the child hadn't survived Kivar's wrath.
|posted on 9-May-2002 2:13:30 AM|
|"Everything's fine. Really, Liz." Max anchored the phone between his shoulder and ear as he set a pot of water to boil. "Don't worry. I've got everything under control."|
"Somehow that doesn't give me much comfort." She sounded busy on her end of the line.
"It's not like I don't know what I'm doing." Set the eggs in the water, carefully.
"Still lacking the comfort that your words were intended to impart."
"Were you going to tell me about Isaac? Or were you going to let me read in the paper that my son is an alleged prodigy?"
"Do you care?"
"I care. How could you let them test him?" His sight set unseeing upon the pot of water. "What if someone gets suspicious?"
"Max, you weren't there. You don't know. He was becoming a discipline problem… if I didn't comply, we would have had to transfer him to Lee El. or shell out for private school. Believe it or not, his behavior at school has improved."
"Why didn't he tell me when I asked him?"
"He idolizes you, Max. You're so important to him and he didn't want to disappoint you."
"You could have at least told me. I would have liked to know. Just make an effort to keep me involved here."
"I don't want to discuss this over the phone, Max." She sighed heavily into the phone.
"You don't talk to me when we're face to face so this is as good a time as any."
"I can't keep you involved, Max. You get involved."
"I just want to know my kids. I'm doing the best I can without actually living here. I had to take two weeks off to be here."
"Don't even go there, Max."
"It's not my fault you work there."
"I… That didn't even cross my mind."
"I'm sure it didn't. It's not my fault."
"I never said it was. That was my choice, Liz. I did that for you. I wanted you to finish school and so I went and got a job and I stayed to take care of Lyds. My choice. I wanted to do it. I don't regret it. Ever."
"I really don't want to be discussing this over the phone."
"I love you. Do you know that?"
"You've got a funny way of showing it."
"Liz, wai--(click) Bye." Max set the phone on the cradle and turning down the flame under the pot of water.
"Do you always have to fight with her?" Lydia leaned against the doorframe, brown hair falling in her face.
Max stopped her as she turned to go. "Lyds… do… do you think I'm involved enough?"
She turned slightly, toeing the border under the counter. "I think… that you are more involved in my life than… some of my friends' dads who live with them." She lifted her face to look at him. "You don't know me though. I did a lot of growing up while you were gone." She had to take a breath to keep the tears from spilling down her face. "Lucky for me that I'm a girl… if I had been a boy… I'm sure I'd be more angry about it. Lucky for you… Isaac is still too young to really understand."
"Lyds…" Max reached for her and pulled her against him. "I love you. Never forget that, okay? You will always be my… little princess."
"Dad…" She whined.
"Hey, at least I don't hug you in front of your friends."
"For which I am eternally grateful." Smiling, she scooted off to her room.
Alone in the kitchen, he sat and put his head in his hands. He had almost said that Lydia would always be his first child. She wasn't and if he hadn't imagined that whole scene in the front yard, his first child was still alive… and taking strolls through his neighborhood.
Zan splashed some water on his face. He had never planned to get that close. He was definitely off his game. That kid had popped out of nowhere. Eight years old and the kid had something that Zan envied immensely. Both his parents were alive and he had known both his parents his whole like.
He still couldn't decide what he was going to do… half his options had been taken away by the fact that his father had seen him. He was getting sloppy. All his training had gone out the window.
|posted on 9-May-2002 7:04:32 PM|
|Zan watched the rehearsal from the back of the theater. He was bored. Fidgeting, he readjusted the bracelet he had bought at the mall. Its blue flames that danced on the black leather reminded him of the flame pools on Antar, a flame so hot it froze. The bracelet had spoken to him and he had to have it.|
Sometimes walking around Earth made him sick. All these people walked around without a thought of war or destruction. He had dreams of the war. He had been too young to fight but that didn't stop them from training him until the day he could. No one on Earth had ever suffered like he did.
Snapping his head to the left, he saw his father walk into the theater, mesmerized by Lydia's dancing on stage. Eyes narrowed, he slid down in his seat to avoid being seen. Anger flared up in him, watching his father watching his daughter. The pride and love there made him ache and yearn. Setting his jaw, he turned back to the stage where his father's daughter executed a difficult set of spins and leaps.
Lydia walked around to cool her limbs and nearly leapt out of her skin when Bendy bounded over, already dressed to leave. "Lyds, he's here?"
"The guy. The hottie." Bendy steered her friend to the edge of the stage to see for herself. "In the back. He's been here for the entire rehearsal."
"You're kidding." Lydia blinked and the guy was still there, slouched in the back row, watching the now empty stage. "Oh my god."
"Go talk to him." Bendy gave her a shove. "Go for it."
"Do it." This time, she was propelled on the side stage steps.
Nervously and awkwardly in her toe shoes, Lydia made her way to the back of the theater. Smoothing back her hair and taking a deep breath, she slipped into his aisle. His eyes were still set on the stage so she cleared her throat to get his attention. "Hi."
He whipped his head around and cursed silently. She should have never gotten that close. "Hi."
"Hey… um… are you waiting for someone?" She took an unconscious step backward at his blank stare. "You didn't happen to be at the mall, Friday… near the food court?"
Without so much as a word, he stood and strode out of the theater, leaving her crushed and alone.
Max stared at his daughter out of the corner of his eye as he drove. "Something wrong, Lyds?"
"What?" Her head snapped around. "Oh, no, nothing."
"Can I turn on the air?"
"Sticking to the rules, I see."
"Sorry, it's bad for my muscles." She turned to look out the window. "Where's the brat?"
"At his friend's house. Sleepover so it's just you and me, Sweetie." He flashed her a smile.
"He's sleeping over on a Sunday night?" She looked at him incredulously. "That's so not fair."
"Your mother okayed it before she left. They're working on some project and have to be at school early tomorrow." He narrowed his eyes at her. "What's wrong?"
"What took you so long to meet me outside?"
"Nothing. God, what is this? The third degree?" She huffed and turned her back to him. After a few moments of silence she took a breath. "Why are guys such jerks?"
"Ok. This is not my area." Max shut his eyes for a second at a red light. "If I had it my way, I'd turn back time and put you back in pigtails. I am not the one to ask about boys."
"Soup or Salads?"
"Sounds good." She nodded.
Zan took a turn through the house. Isaac's room was full of books and toys. Lydia's full of posters of movie stars and fast cars, some striking poses of ballerinas and lots of pictures of friends. It wasn't fair. His father's other children never had to train and fight, never seen death and loss, never knew what it was like to be alien. The family portrait in the hallway was too much. The rage consumed him, cracking all the glass in the room before he passed out.
|posted on 11-May-2002 2:34:54 PM|
|AN: Sorry for the delay but I got my computer back and I had to redo everything, programs, software the whole nineyards but here I am on a saturday, a beautiful one at that, creating for all of you.|
"I thought none of this was part of the infamous diet." Max laughed, still unsure how they came home with burgers, fries, and onion rings when he distinctly remembered suggesting Soup or Salads.
"I have no clue what you're talking about." Lydia stared at him innocently as she stuffed a fry in her mouth.
"Right. So you're not going to blame me if you gain five pounds?"
"Of course, I will. Do you think there's enough for you to eat? I'm kinda hungry." She smiled cheerily and walked through the front door. The smile died on her face. Something wasn't right in the house. She could feel it in her bones. "Dad."
"What?" Max leaned in to look over her head. The room was dark but he could make out the outline of a vase Liz kept on a long table behind the couch. The outline wasn't the way it should have been. It was shorter and jagged. Swiftly, he pulled his daughter behind him and walked into the house.
It was almost too quiet. He couldn't remember if he had left the radio on before he left or now. Sinking into a crouch, they made their way into the house. He slid their food onto a low table and kept moving. In the juncture from the hallway to the living room lay a prone figure. Max tried to send some power to a lamp nearby but it didn't work. Finally, after motioning to Lydia to hide behind the couch, he approached the figure.
It was a man. An unconscious man he discovered after prodding at him. Slowly, he turned him over. The young man that had introduced himself as Zan to Isaac just the day before. "My god…"
"Dad?" Lydia hissed from her hiding place.
"Sh." Max quickly ran his eyes over the place for any sign of someone else. When he found none, he stood up. "Help me get him to the guest room."
"Dad. Who is it?"
"We'll find out." Max nodded for her to go open the door. Gently, he hoisted the thin man against him and used his power to help carry him up the stairs. As he set him on the bed, Lydia gasped. "What?"
"Dad… who is that?" She whispered.
"I don't know for sure yet… why?" Max turned his head to look at his daughter. Her expression worried him.
"Friday… Bendy said he was staring at me… at the mall. And he was at rehearsal today. I tried to talk to him but he just ignored me and left." Her eyes were wide with fear.
"And he was talking to Isaac yesterday." Max ran a hand over his face.
Lydia nibbled at her hamburger in the doorway. She noted how her father had pulled a chair up to the bed and sat watching the guy sleep. She had offered to bring him his food but had just shaken his head, claiming not to be hungry anymore. Finally, he turned his head to her. "Lyds, after you finish eating, get to bed. You have school tomorrow."
"How can I sleep with a stranger in the house?" She asked him seriously.
"Don't worry about it…" Had to bite his lip to keep from saying that he wasn't a stranger. Averted his eyes and sighed. "If you're bent on staying awake… start fixing the lights downstairs… make sure you fix Mom's vase."
"Lydia, I don't want you in here when he wakes up."
"Who is he?"
"No one we've ever met before." Max waited until he knew Lydia was down the stairs to reach out and touch Zan's forehead. As he feared, the mark of Antar lay inside. His son. His firstborn son. Pale skin, thin but strong arms and legs, light scars scattered over what parts of his hands that Max could see. It was enough to make him cry.
Groaning, Zan came back into consciousness and immediately felt the bed beneath him. He bolted upright only to be pushed back down by a force field. "Don't get up. I still don't know what's wrong with you… or why you're here."
Max winced at the rage directed at him from eyes that matched his own. All the innocence that had lived in his face as he slept melted away into the hardness of a young man who had lived a difficult life. "Why are you here?"
"Not the greeting I expected, Dad." Zan's eyes traveled over the man beside him. Not the image he had in his mind of how his father would look. This man had a slight paunch, dark circles under his eyes, the beginnings of worry lines in his face, much older than the one he had in his head. "Or do you need proof?"
"I didn't want to but I had to make sure." Max confirmed that he had checked for the mark. "Why are you here?"
"Guess I found what I came for." Zan tried to get up but Max held him in place, with his hand this time.
"Not before you answer some questions."
"Like why I was told you were dead."
Lydia sighed and shut her book. She dropped her head on top of it and ignored the whispers from the rest of her study group. Finally Bendy made her way around the table. "Lyds… what's wrong?"
"I so don't want to be here today."
"Then don't be." Another voice spoke to her.
"I'm not even supposed to be talking to you much less ditching with you." Lydia groaned but never lifted her head.
"Oh come on. What's the deal?" Terry coaxed her into looking up.
Lydia stared at the senior for a minute before shaking her head. "My dad's staying with us. I don't want to get him in trouble with my mom."
"It's perfect. Your dad doesn't tell your mom and he scores points." Terry smiled broadly.
"That may be the way your parents work but it's not the way hers work." Bendy cut in.
"Please, once the father moves out of the house, it's all over. Everyone knows that." The tall blond shook her head condescendingly.
"Just because your dad ran out on you doesn't mean everyone else's father did. Her parents love each other."
"You're so naïve."
"Have you even met Mr. Evans?"
"Don't need to. All men are the same."
"Stop." Lydia stood up. The whole conversation was making her head hurt. "I'm leaving but I'm not leaving with either of you." The two girls kept arguing even after Lydia had gathered her things and was out the door.
"Only because your mother's been married 15 times to men twice her age."
The two men circled the kitchen, watching each other. "You can sit and eat."
"I'd rather stand." Zan mumbled around his mouthful of cold burger and onion ring.
"Are you going to answer me?"
"I'm thinking about it."
"What did they tell you about me?"
"You abandoned us."
"Me and my mother."
"Tess told you that I abandoned you?" Max felt the rage build in his chest around the aching in his heart.
"Your mother." The rage ebbed a bit but he wasn't done learning. "Ava."
"I didn't know her name. They took me when I was born."
"Who? Kivar?" Max just needed to know and the glaring rage in his son's eyes told him that he also knew who Kivar was.
"He killed her after I was born."
"Yes. He did. They told me." Zan threw the cold half-eaten burger on the table and stopped pacing. "I was born and they took me. Then Kivar killed my mother."
"That's not what happened. They may have taken you from her but Tess was alive up to six years ago. She was working with Kivar."
"No!" Zan shouted and squeezed his eyes shut. "No, she wouldn't do that."
"You never met her. How would you know? I knew her. She betrayed us all." Max's rage surfaced again. "She pretended to be one of us, all the while plotting to get pregnant with my baby to take to Kivar. To drag us back there to our deaths. She left Earth in our only means home to betray us. I'm sorry she took you with her. I'm sorry I couldn’t get to you but I searched and searched for ways to get to you. 20 years I searched, ruining lives just to get to you, only to find out you were dead and now all of a sudden you're not." Max pinned his son with a look. "I've learned that in this life. The lives we (gestured to the two of them) lead. Nothing is ever what it seems. Take nothing at face value except this. I always have and always will love ALL my children. You are my son and I will love you no matter what."
"Dad?" Lydia looked from one man to the next. "What's going on?"
|posted on 12-May-2002 11:44:48 PM|
|Lydia's forehead furrowed in confusion as she tried to wrap her mind around what she had heard. "If he's your son, then… he's my brother?"|
"Lyds…" Max's eyes shut.
"Don't Lyds me. I heard you." She looked at the man standing near her father and then back at her father. "Why didn't you tell me I had an older brother?"
"Yeah, I feel the love now, Dad." Zan sneered and turned to go out the back door.
"Stay." Max reached out and slammed the door shut with his powers. "Both of you." He opened his eyes. Apparently the tone in his voice had frozen them both in place. "Sit. Now." He paced for a moment with the two of them stealing glances at each other as they took a seat on opposite sides of the table. His hands went to his face and he noted the time on his watch. "I'm going to forget for a moment that you're supposed to be in school." He pointed to one and then the other. "Or that I still don't know why you're here…
"Please just let me explain." Max pleaded and waited for their nods. "This will be a lot to hear but I think you're old enough, Lydia. Zan… just bear with me." He took a deep breath. "I was 18 when Tess got pregnant with you. We had been together just once and I was still confused with how I felt about her on top of the fact she knew she was pregnant the next day."
"I thought you were with Mom when you were 18." Lydia cut in.
"Just let me tell the story. Your mother and I hadn't been together for nearly a year and I thought I was feeling whatever it was I felt for Tess in the past life. It was a very confusing time." He ran a hand over his face. "She got pregnant and when I connected with you. I found that you couldn't survive on Earth and we had to go back to Antar."
"That's a lie."
"I know that. Now." Max pinned him with a look. "Just before we were going to leave, I found out that Tess killed our friend Alex. I couldn't go with her after she confessed to being in with Kivar. So I sent her back to Antar alone." He cleared his throat. " After that first time you connected to me… I had to find you. You were so scared when you were born… I spent the next few months trying to find a way home and trying to get back together with your mother." He nodded to his daughter. "I… I ruined a life to get to you and it backfired. My plan didn't even work." Max found himself on his knees before his son. "That was my last hope for a long time. Kivar tried to get to us through Isabel and that backfired on him… I tried and tried and nothing would ever work. I never gave up, just put it aside while I tried to forge a life."
"You just put me aside?"
"It was years before I got another clue, alright?"
"No." Zan stood up and stared down at his father. "How do you put your flesh and blood aside? Do you know what I've been through? Do you know what I had to do to get here?" He watched his father rise to his feet.
"Before you storm out of here." Max spoke calmly. "I want to know why you came here if you didn't want to see me."
"Maybe I thought you were someone else." Zan shoved him out of the way and ran out the backdoor.
"Dad?" Lydia whispered. "Why didn't you ever tell us about him?"
"I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up… especially mine." Max swallowed convulsively.
"Why is he here?"
"I don't know. But I have to talk to my contacts." Max pulled a cell phone out of his pocket and started dialing.
"Why? I thought all that was done with."
"The reason I made these contacts was to find Zan and they told me he was dead nearly a year ago. They told me that Kivar killed him." Max checked for a signal and then turned to face her.
"He's why you left, isn't he? He's the reason you left us." She slammed her hands on the table then ran up the stairs to her room.
Lydia was sitting on the front porch when her mother pulled into the drive. Quickly, she wiped at her eyes and turned her face away. Liz forgot all about her bags when she saw her daughter. "Sweetie? What are you doing out here? It's late. Where's your dad?"
"Dad's people are here."
"What?" Liz's face went pale.
"They got here this morning when I was leaving for school."
"He brought them into my house." Liz ground out as she stormed into the house and into the living room where Max was listening intently as one of the contacts tried to explain everything he knew. "You!" Everyone turned and looked at her. "You!" She made a move toward Max but two men stepped in front of him and two more raised their hands to her. "Get out of my way."
"Stand down." Max ordered and rose from his seat. "Liz, you're back early."
"Good thing, too. You're having your meetings in my house now?" She paced in front of him. "I thought you said you wouldn't need to see them again."
"Mom?" A small voice spoke from behind one of the men. Isaac looked on, wide-eyed, his game with one of the men interrupted.
"And not only is our daughter sitting outside but you've got our son in the middle of this?" Liz stopped her rant and took a breath. "What could it possibly be this time? I thought Kivar was dead."
"He is… my son isn't." Max told her softly.
"What?" She shook her head and glanced at Isaac.
"My son, Zan. He's alive. He was here."
"What?" Her face went pale for the second time that night. "What does he want?"
"I don't know. I still don't know why he was here. According to all these men, he was dead but he's not. I've seen him, touched him. He has my seal, Liz." Max tried to take her hand but she pulled away. "Liz."
"Get these people out of my house, Max." She felt nauseous and she needed to think. "Get them out of my house and… don't go far. I'm not done with you yet." She motioned for Isaac to go with her upstairs.
"Should we stand guard?" The closest man whispered to another man.
"No point. The wrath of that woman would kill us all."
"Who is she?"
"My wife." Max answered softly, staring at his hands.
"Fine choice, sir."
|posted on 13-May-2002 6:29:33 PM|
|Liz calmly listened as her daughter recounted the week's events. "All that? I was only gone five days."|
"Yeah. He… I guess he was staking us out." Lydia rolled over on her mother's bed to stare at the ceiling. She had given herself plenty of time to think about why Zan had shown up the way he did, what might have been going through his head. "He's lost and alone… and angry and sad."
"So you really must have gotten to know him, huh."
"No. We never spoke to each other really." Took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I could see it in his eyes."
"You're not afraid?"
"No. I guess I should be but I don't think he would hurt us."
"I don't think he knows why he's here. Dad asked him and he just went off, then he left." Lydia rolled back over and sat up. "Why didn't he tell us about Zan?"
"We agreed that it would probably be best as there was no way to get back to Antar. If Tess brought him back, then so be it… but we believed for a long time that he couldn't survive here but… you've done fine… so we figured that if he were alive, he'd be under their control… the enemy." Liz took a breath. "We couldn't risk sentimentality towards a potential threat. Out of sight, out of mind."
"Never stopped him from trying, did it?"
"That what the fighting was about?"
"Some of it."
"I'm mad at him. I really am. If I had known…"
"There was nothing you could have done about it except scare him off." Liz pulled her hair out of her face and shut her eyes. "Your dad… he means well but he's not perfect." Opening her eyes, she took a breath. "If he's anything like your dad… he'll wait. He'll wait and watch. We won't know when he'll come back or what he'll do when he does."
Zan felt the presence in his apartment but never paused in his work out. Sent out a blast of energy without ever pausing, knocked the protector clear across the room. "I. Don't. Want. You. Here."
"Sire…" The protector groaned as he got to his feet. "You haven't checked in for days."
"You. Lied. To me." Couldn’t pause in his sit-ups as he hung from a pole in the middle of the studio.
"My mother? She was a traitor." Finally rested.
"Sire, who have you been talking to?" The protector shuddered when those honeyed eyes fixed on him, the deadly glare. "Sire."
"What else did you lie to me about?" Arched his back to reach the floor with his hands and simply let go of the pole. He stood up effortlessly. "You took me from my traitorous mother. Lied about my father…" Pinned the man with another look. "Were you ever loyal to him?"
"Always. King Zan's death was a great loss but now we have you."
"He's still alive. Why not go to him?"
"That… abomination is not our King." The protector realized his mistake a second too late. By the time he had recovered, he was pinned beneath a force field against the wall. "Sire."
"That abomination made me. If he is an abomination, then so am I. I am his flesh just as he was created from his own flesh. If you're looking for a king… you're in the wrong place." Zan walked away but never released the field.
"You were bred to be king."
"I'm not a horse. I'm a person." Zan poured himself a glass of water and stared out the window. "I'm human."
"You should be shot, the whole lot of you." Zan took a deep swallow and turned to his protector. "How long did you think you'd be able to fight them both off? How long did you think I had until I figured it out?"
"Sire, I don't know what you're talking about."
"Kivar thought I was dead. My father thought I was dead. It doesn't make sense unless I was a weapon against them all." Zan let the protector go. "I am not a pawn. I was meant for much greater things than undermining any attempt at the restoration of Antar under my father. I might be human but I'm not stupid. This ends now. Tell the others that I'm not playing their game anymore."
Max sat and waited. The others had been gone for nearly two hours and Liz still had yet to show a sign of re-emerging. He kept turning it over and over in his mind. Krisel was a spy on the inside. He had known everything that had happened since Tess had arrived on Antar. Upon her death six years before, he journeyed to Earth to relay the news to his king. His beliefs were that the prince had been killed upon birth.
Saran had confirmed that five years later when he emerged the sole survivor of his clan after the last battle with Kivar. Saran and his brother Cirot had done sweeps of all remaining camps on Antar to weed out the enemy threat and to ask about the prince. All of it had confirmed what Krisel believed. Fipwe and Alkin did their own investigations, which supported the theory. All five men had pledged their allegiance in their first meeting with the King, none would ever betray him. Their clans had all sworn in turn to serve when and where they could. Alkin and his sons were ambassadors to Earth from the northern territories. Those seven served as Max's counsel on Earth.
They all kept in regular communication with Antar since the return nearly a year before. Antarian civilization was on the rebuild and that was the best they could hope for in their king's absence and in the wake of their enemy's demise.
His head snapped up when he heard the footsteps on the stairs. Rising, he waited for the reaming he was going to get. Nothing prepared him for the anger in his wife's eyes. "Liz."
"No. No. You don't get to talk now. You get to listen for once." Liz bit out as she took to pacing the length of the room. "I trusted you to keep my children safe while I was gone but you couldn't do that. Their half-brother is stalking them, showing up in the house, making scenes and for who knows what." She poked him in the chest as she passed. "You promised that this was all over."
"Shut up." She blinked at him before sinking into a chair. "What does he want Max? Where has he been? If they didn't kill him at birth, who had him?"
"I don't know. I've got some theories." Max sat gingerly across from her. "I am sorry, Liz. Would you rather I had taken the kids with me to meet them?"
"I would have rather you left the past in the past."
"This is my child, Liz." He forced her to look at him. "If it had been Lyds missing all this time?"
"Not to me it's not. He's mine." Max slid back and held his face in his hands. "He's a man now. Old enough to drink. He can take care of himself. Now that he's within reach, he doesn't need me."
"Why? Why are you so intent on pursuing this?" Liz whispered, tears in her eyes.
"Liz. I love you. I've never stopped… you have every right to be angry with me but… I hate disappointing you and I'd hate for you to think differently of me." He looked up at her. "If I give up on him… what would keep you from believing that I'd give up on our kids."
"What's your theory?" Her voice and eyes were so tired but she needed to listen to him.
"There was a third party. If we didn't have him and Kivar didn't have him and no one knew… there was another threat that no one knew anything about." Max jumped to his feet. "I can't believe that I hadn't thought about it before but meeting him has brought up all sorts of questions. Makes me wonder if any of the people I trusted on Antar were part of this third movement."
"Max. Calm down." Liz pleaded and put a hand to her forehead. "Did you try just asking him?"
"Of course. All I got were vague answers and even more questions." Max sank back onto his seat and ran a hand over his face. "He's just so angry Liz. He thinks… He was brought up to think that I had abandoned him. He was told that Tess was dead since he was born. He was so angry."
"So is Lydia."
"I know." Max sank further back. "I just… handled it wrong. I was talking to him and she walked in. I still don't know exactly how much she heard and I tried to explain but it was all happening so fast… too fast." He sighed. "I just wish I had some real answers."
"Max…" Liz got him to look up. Her mind was swimming. "Why didn't you tell me that you had seen him when I called Saturday or Sunday… or yesterday?"
"Because I didn't want you to panic. I wanted you to enjoy yourself." His honeyed eyes slowly rose to hers.
"It was a business trip. I couldn't have enjoyed myself if I tried."
"You know you love all that science stuff."
"I do but that's beside the point. You should have told me. You can't protect us all the time." She took a deep breath that hurt against the straining of her throat. "Max, you try. You do but you usually end up hurting us worse."
"No. Listen. You left me and the kids to chase a ghost. You were gone for a year and then when I saw you again… you just said that you had to stay away. Six months later you just popped up saying that you wanted participation rights to a family you abandoned, barely able to admit that the ghost really was ghost." She wiped a tear from her eye. "Now you're telling me the ghost wasn't a ghost after all. It hurts a lot, Max. It really does."
"I never abandoned you." Max bowed his head. "There were problems and I gave you the space you wanted… I couldn't very well have taken you with me to fight. I had to keep you here where you were safe. I had to make sure that the threat was gone before I came back home… and I'm still not home."
"You're the one that got that damned apartment. Started dictating visitation schedules like we were divorced." Liz rose to her feet. "I… just don’t want to hurt anymore, Max."
"Would you have let me waltz back home like nothing had ever happened?"
"No, probably not but you never gave me the option of refusing you. You can't keep taking my decisions from me… that's what got us fighting in the first place." She turned to go, barely pausing in the entryway. "Go home, Max. Just… go home."
|posted on 15-May-2002 7:52:08 PM|
|Max answered the phone wearily. "Hello? … Speaking… where? … uh-huh… how long? … how bad is it? … that bad? … No. No problem… Jerry, I swear. She came back into town early. I'm good to go… about an hour. I need to pack and get there… yeah, I got it covered."|
In twenty minutes he had showered and packed and was on his way out the door, cell phone in hand. "Liz… I know but I have to go to work. It's an emergency… busted pipeline in Roswell… Tell Lyds I'm sorry."
The door shut behind him, leaving the apartment empty. Zan slid open the window and climbed inside. He took a turn of the rooms. Bare mostly. Single bed in the smaller room, rumpled from where Max had slept. Closet full of T-shirts, jean over-shirts and jeans, couple of nice suits. Work boots and tennis shoes lined the back wall. The dresser was bare save for a few birthday cards. The larger room held two full size beds (one blue, one green), two dressers (one with perfume and make-up, the second with a comb and a dinosaur wearing a space helmet), divided closet with some clothes (some feminine, some masculine), and a radio.
The kitchen was no better, the bare essentials in the cabinets, some milk in the fridge that looked as if it would make a fine cottage cheese some day, some cheese that would make a fine penicillin culture some day soon and an egg that would hatch given some love and warmth. The fridge door held multiple drawings of the home world through the descriptions of a father to the mind of a child, as well as copies of old report cards boasting proud A's and B's.
Despite all that could be read into the objects in the apartment, one thing stood out. Only one person lived there… and that person wasn't happy. Somehow it didn't make him feel any better.
Liz hung up the phone and turned to Lydia who was nearly ready to go to her recital. "You look beautiful."
"Thanks." Lydia smiled brightly and smoothed back her hair. "I'm so nervous."
"You'll do fine." She smiled weakly.
"I got Bendy's dad to save you and Dad some seats…" Lydia trailed off at the look on her mother's face. "Where's Dad?"
"On his way to Roswell." Liz shushed Lydia's immediate protest. "It's work. A pipeline busted and they called him in to fix it."
"Why tonight?" She stomped her foot and teared up. "First you were going to miss it and now Dad's going to miss it… what else could go wrong?"
"At least no one was hurt in the explosion. Did you think of that? He's going to go patch it up so no one will get hurt."
"He's a welder, not Superman." Lydia grabbed her bag and made for the door. "Terry's picking me up in a little bit."
"Lydia!" Liz called after her and just missed her as she hopped into the Ferrari and sped off.
Zan hid in the back among the strangers, still not sure why he bothered. It was sick. He just wanted to see the way that his father watched his daughter dance. Found the little boy in the front row next to the woman that his father had married. She was pretty enough, had probably been beautiful once. Tired eyes that probably expressed every feeling like a book, strong gaze that probably withered anyone who dared threatened her children, a poise that defined how people saw her. Zan winced when a smile broke her face, it changed the whole way she looked, and he knew that the curtain had risen and her daughter was on stage.
Slowly he moved to get a better view and crouched to stare at her. Studied the way she sat and smiled, the way her eyes lit up but stayed guarded. Somehow the weariness never seemed to leave her completely. His study was interrupted by a voice above him. "That one… no the other one."
"Center stage. Name's Lydia. She's hot." The voice grated on Zan's ears.
"Yep. We were talking before the show. I'm taking her up to the Pointe tonight."
"I don’t know, Jacob… She's a little young, isn't she?"
"How I like 'em. Terry says she's clean."
Zan rose to his feet and didn't budge when Jacob tapped him to move out of his way. Some strange feeling filled his chest, a strange tightening that constricted his breathing. He managed to stay still throughout the remainder of the performance though his body was screaming at him to do something. His gaze focused on his hands until the lights turned on.
When he looked up, he locked gazes with his father's wife. Mild shock flitted across her eyes, followed shortly by contempt and slight anger. She gripped her son's hand and rushed outside. Taking in his surroundings, the people leaving either to go backstage or out front, the constricting in his chest dropped to a roiling in his stomach.
Instinct drove him to hurry outside where he witnessed a fight. His father's wife and their daughter exchanging words and then Lydia's escape with the guy who had been talking about her. His father's wife looked distraught, kept looking around for someone, anyone. He was next to her before he could recall moving. She stared at him in mild fear, throat convulsively swallowing. He kept his eye on the car as it turned the corner. "The Pointe."
The widening of her eyes confirmed his suspicions and he was in motion, the roiling in his stomach turning white-hot with very familiar emotions. Anger, loyalty, protection.
"Jacob, stop…" Lydia protested when he became more aggressive than she was used to.
"Lyds, come on." He pulled her tighter against him, letting his hands roam her body freely.
"Jacob, cut it out." She gasped when she felt his hand on the inside of her thigh. "Hey. Stop." She tried to push him away and rapped her elbow on the door handle, sending a throbbing through it. While she was distracted, he shifted their positions so that he covered much of her body with his. "Get off."
"Come on, Lyds, just relax." He rasped against her neck as he slid his leg between hers.
"No. Jacob. Stop. Get off me." She tried to push at him but she was little compared to him and her best efforts did nothing to thwart him. "No!"
Her unitard ripped and his hands were on her body. And suddenly, there was a flash of light and he was gone. Her hands went to pull her unitard back together and when she wiped at her face, there were tears streaming down her cheeks. The chill of the night reached her from the open driver's side door. Slowly, she slid over to climb out, noting that the door had been wretched open without an attempt to use the handle.
Zan had Jacob pinned to a tree. His eyes glowed bright. "You are not to see you again. If you say one word to her ever again, you will regret it. Do I make myself clear?"
"Who are you?" Jacob squeaked.
"Am I clear? You are never to be near her again." Zan growled.
"Crystal clear." Jacob nodded and felt himself falling to the ground. He landed with a thud.
"I'm her brother." Zan's own words didn't register at all as he looked to his half-sister. "Let's go." She nodded stiffly and approached him slowly. He took in her appearance and shrugged out of his jacket. "Put this on. It's a long walk."