posted on 4-Mar-2002 6:35:52 PM
Title: Cross-Wired
Author: Realspacecadet and Cookie2697
E-mail: realspacecadet7⊕,dreambehr⊕
Category: M/L angst
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: They’re not mine. The characters of Roswell belong to Melinda Metz, the WB, Jason Katims, UPN...etc, etc.
Summary: Based on the Roswell Executives comments on the Season 2 commentary about the original plot for Viva Las Vegas...after an accident Liz and Tess undergo some physical changes, which wreaks havoc on the lives of them and their friends around them.

The Calling, Things Don't Always Turn Out That Way

Well he can't sleep at night
And he can't do what's right
It was all because she came into his life
It's a deep obsession, taking up his time

She's all that he wants, she's all the he needs
She's everything he just won't believe
Take away his doubt, turn him inside out
Then she can see what he's been dying to say
but things don't always turn out that way

And he must confess
All the impure thoughts of his beautiful temptress
Although he keeps it all bottled up inside
Although he keeps it all safe within his mind, oh yeah

So wipe that smile off your face
Before it gets too late
There's only so much time
For you to make up your mind

Chapter 1

Brody Davis ordered his lunch the same time every day.
He did it on purpose, of course, because he knew for a fact that a certain waitress worked that lunch shift. So every day, he called the Crashdown to order his sandwich (don't forget the pepperjack) and waited eagerly for Maria to deliver it. He hadn't asked her to eat with him since that first time, but sometimes she happened to stay and chat a little longer than he suspected. That was normal and accepted.

It made him very happy, even if she and that cook Michael were together. Nothing could have ever happened between them anyway, so Brody had come to the conclusion that it was just pleasant to share her company.

Today, he was so caught up in what he was doing, he missed his usual lunchtime. When he came out of the intense concentrative state that working on his latest project had put him in, he realized he was starving. His invention was complete, but it had come with a price. Maria's shift was over.

Damn, he scowled to himself. What luck.

Liz Parker came to deliver his sandwich instead. "Hi, Mr. Davis," she said politely, while looking around furtively.

"Thank you," Brody smiled. "You don't have to worry, Max isn't here." He chuckled when her whole frame relaxed, but was puzzled by the sadness in her eyes. From what he could tell, his employee and the waitress had been involved at one point, but were in the awkward post-break up stage. It was odd, but they simultaneously avoided and sought to find each other in the same breath . He wondered which of them had broken their relationship off, because he couldn't tell from the mutual longing in their faces whenever they were together.

Liz blushed. "That comes to four twenty-three, Mr. Davis."

Brody fumbled in his pocket for his wallet, and then realized he'd left it in his office. "My wallet is in the office," he explained. "Come back for a second and I'll get your money." Liz nodded. "I'm quite sorry, I know how busy the Crashdown must be."

"No, it's ok," Liz assured him. "My half-hour break is now anyway. I took your lunch to you as the last thing I was going to do, so I'm off now."

"Good, good," Brody mumbled as they walked. He reached his office and grabbed the keys for the door. Liz wondered offhandedly why it was locked, because she was almost certain it had never been so before. As Brody fumbled with the lock, Liz tried to bite back the question irking her that had nothing to do with the door.

She failed, and ventured to ask her question. "Um, where is Max, anyway? I thought he was supposed to have his shift now?"

Brody didn't turn and replied with his slight accent, "Oh, I believe he mentioned an excursion with that Michael boy. Didn't leave me much notice, but then again, he's a teenage boy." It was obvious he was having trouble with the lock, and Liz smiled. It probably needed some grease. But anyway, where had Max and Michael gone? "Bloody difficult, they are," Brody grumbled, and Liz didn't know whether he was referring to teenage boys or doors, but then the latter swung open.

She followed him, then, into his office, and gaped at the mess. "Wow, what IS all this stuff?" A work table was littered with mechanical paraphernalia, tools and metal and wires abound. On Brody's actual desk was what Liz assumed to be the final product, two great lumps of flashy metal and some cables.

"Eh, it's a project I've been dabbling in a bit," Brody hedged. "A virtual reality machine of sorts." He paused, as though considering whether Liz was trustworthy, and then added in a low voice, "I thought it might help me remember something more about my abduction."

Liz didn't even raise an eyebrow. She knew all about Brody's story from Max, their relationship most likely the reason why he confided in her. "Well, I hope it helps you," she said hesitantly.

"Thanks. Here's your money, and a tip." He moved to hand over the bills, when movement right outside the door caught his eye. Brody quickly strode past Liz to see who the uninvited guest was, not happy if someone was looking in on his personal effects. Outside the door, he saw no one, but when he turned he smacked right into the short blonde-haired intruder. It was Tess Harding. "Sorry," he apologized. "Are you looking for Max? He's not here."

"Yes, I was," answered Tess. Behind Brody, Liz walked toward the door cautiously. She knew she recognized the voice up front. What was Tess doing here? As if she knew Liz was thinking about her, Tess suddenly pierced Liz with her ice-blue gaze. "Hi, Liz."

"Tess," Liz replied evenly. They'd been getting along moderately well lately, but it didn't mean they were friends. She didn't think that was even ever a possibility, no matter how much the girl changed. Maybe it was immature and selfish, but Liz couldn't forgive the girl for taking Max away from her.

"So, where is Max?" Tess inquired of Brody, but she didn't look at him and instead peered inside his office. "He didn't tell me he was going anywhere."

Liz bit back the reply that Tess wasn't his keeper, and she wondered why she was suddenly in such a bad mood toward the blond alien. Then it hit her, and suddenly her somber mood of the past couple days made perfect sense. It was almost exactly a year.

A year since she and Max finally gave into their feelings for each other. A year since the brief period of time had passed where she'd never felt so alive, because what she and Max found in each other had woken her up, started her on a new path to the future.

She'd never dreamt that the future wouldn't include him, somehow. She was so naïve.

"Oh, yes, it's a project of mine," Liz heard Brody saying, and she came back to Earth. Tess was gazing interestedly upon Brody's invention.

"So, have you tried it out?" she inquired, blue eyes glinting mischievously.

Brody's own eyes took on a slightly glazed look, and he answered slowly, "No, but would you like to try it? The Center is pretty slow this time of day, and I should probably supervise, so I do need some guinea pigs." At the plural word, Tess looked to Liz, who flushed under her pervasive gaze.

"You want me to try it too?" she voiced doubtfully. "Tess, I don't think this is a good idea…"

Her eyes sparkled again. "Oh, come on, Liz," hedged Tess, "Where's your sense of adventure? What, do you have work?" She spit out the word distastefully, as though she never considered actually having to work to get herself things.

She truly was a royal pain, but Liz Parker didn't back down from a challenge, especially not one proposed by the person of whom her pride had been most injured by. "Fine, I'll do it," she conceded.

"Yeah, Liz," Tess drawled. "So, Brody, how do we begin?"

The messy-haired man grinned and loped over to the masses of metal. "Well," he began, these are the headsets, and they get plugged into the console. If the two of you do it, you'll both plug into the main box and be able to interact with each other in your virtual realities." Liz's eyes glanced nervously at Tess. As though sensing her uneasiness, Brody was quick to add, "Nothing that happens on the virtual plane will have any effect of your real self, don't worry. It's only supposed to encourage you to formulate sceneries that your mind creates, not true interaction." He picked up one headset. "Who first?"

"Ooh, let me," Tess replied quickly. Brody handed the gear to her easily, and she gingerly placed it over her blonde head. It seemed to fit snugly, obscuring her nose and making her look like on of those people on Star Trek, Liz thought fleetingly. Brody reached his hand out to Tess' face and fiddled with a few knobs, until he made an approving sound in his throat.

"Looks in tip-top shape to me." He sounded absolutely delighted. "Now, let me plug in this one so we don't get a power surge by connecting too much at once. Wouldn't want that to happen, would we?" Liz nodded with wide eyes, and Tess didn't seem to take much notice. As all was progressing, the brown-haired girl carefully observed, her scientist instincts kicking in on the onset of this most peculiar experiment. Brody went over to a large conductor that previously went unnoticed by Liz, and plugged several colored cords from the headset into it. "Red with blue, black with red," he mumbled. "Ah-hah."

Lights began to flash over Tess' eyes beneath the machine. "What do you see?" Brody queried.

"Just a blank," Tess replied. "White nothingness. Is that supposed to be what I'm seeing?"

"Yeah," Brody answered. "I haven't begun the simulation; I wanted to wait for Liz." At that, he picked up the matching headgear and held it out to Liz. "Here we are, Miss Parker. Try to get a nice, snug fit and then we'll be all set." Liz did so, feeling slightly imbalanced when the headset flung her into darkness, but Brody's presence next to her kept her calm. He fiddled with the knobs as he did with Tess, and then Liz felt him draw away. "Okay, here we go."

It was as though an electric current filled Liz's lithe body, and suddenly she could see again. Granted, it was only white, but without sight she felt vulnerable. It was hard to comprehend the fact she was still in the UFO center when all around her was nothingness. Finally, Brody's voice rang out again. "I'm starting the simulation. You should be able to see each other, and the machine will interpret your brain patters and attempt to create a scene comparable to what is in your head. Tess, why don't you picture something, for example, so you're not giving conflicting messages."

"Sure." Abruptly, Tess and Liz appeared in each other's fields of vision. Tess swung an arm in front of her body, as though she was testing the density of the air, but then a trail of smoke seemed to follow. Written in the smoke, Liz realized, was a message. Just in case Brody can hear, it read, this is nothing I can't do in a mind warp. Why don't you go ahead?

There was truth in that statement, but Liz wondered why Tess would have been so interested in this in the first place if the idea of virtual reality didn't thrill her in the least. Closing her eyes, Liz drew an image to mind, whatever happened to pop up.

It was Grandma Claudia, as alive and full of love as Liz strove to remember her. "Hello, Honeybear," she seemed to say, her eyes alight with pride.

"Who is that?" Tess interrupted disdainfully.

"My grandmother," Liz answered quietly. "She died last year." Tess didn't seem fazed, and Liz regretted sharing almost immediately. Tess did seem to have come a ways, but she still lacked a true family in some senses.

Tess commented, "Liz, you really are boring, aren't you. What Max saw in you I don't know. At least he's come to his senses partially." A spark of anger flamed through Liz, and she tried to keep herself under control. She needed to get out of this. Obviously, Tess was still as resentful of her as she was of Tess, and there was no need for them to share any more space than necessary. She tried to raise her hands and pull the set from her temples, when another thrum of power jolted through her and she dropped them.

"What was that?" Liz asked, hoping Brody would hear.

Tess answered, sounding a little panicked. "I felt it too, I think this thing is overheated. Here, let me get mine off and I'll unplug it." Their previous argument was forgotten, and Liz watched anxiously as Tess' hands blurrily moved to unfasten the gear. They glowed slightly and the metal seemed to be coming off, but then the whole world exploded.

Energy from Tess suddenly sizzled out in all directions, accompanied by their simultaneous screams. Liz felt lightning burn through her body and her hands clawed desperately at her head as the electrocution continued, and then everything went black.


[ edited 26time(s), last at 20-Jun-2002 9:25:34 PM ]
posted on 5-Mar-2002 1:05:17 AM
Gotta pop my head in, add a little note to say thanks for the awesome feedback y'all....BUT I also have to make a quick note of the fact that despite the fact that I posted it, this chapter was written by Realspacecadet and she DEFINITELY deserves the recognition for it! She rocks!
posted on 12-Mar-2002 10:34:34 PM
Part 3

Jose rang the bell for the third time. "Liz…"

Plates came crashing to the ground in a dissonant symphony, and brown eyes stared at him with venom. Whoa. He didn't know Liz Parker could look that menacing.

"Um, Order up?"

"I realized," Tess said acidly. She leaned down quickly to pick up the empty plates, only one of which was actually broken, and then stood, still frowning. "Don't you have burgers to flip or something?" She inquired.

"Yeah, yeah, sorry." Jose turned to work at the grill, but that didn't keep him from missing the muttered string of expletives that sprouted from his disgruntled co-employee's mouth. Everyone had bad days, but Liz was hardly anything other than pleasant to him. As he worked on his burgers, Tess made her way over to the long-abandoned table ten. She stood in front of them for a few seconds, watching them stare at her expectantly, and then realized she was going to actually act like a waitress.

"Oh. Um, hi, welcome to the Crashdown," Tess spoke, trying to remember what Liz said every time she saw her working in the restaurant. "Can I take your order?" The presumable husband spoke. Tess scribbled furiously on the order pad, but she wasn't fast enough.

"I'll have an Alien Blast and a medium-well Will Smith burger, no onions or tomatoes please, with extra pickles." His wife moved to speak, but Tess stopped her.

"Um, what was that? No onions and…"

"Tomatoes, with extra pickles," sighed the customer. While Tess wrote, he exchanged an irritated glance with his wife.

"Did you want a drink?"

"An alien blast," he repeated, this time rolling his eyes. Service just seemed to get worse and worse every time you went out these days. Tess managed to write down his order to the letter, his wife ordered, albeit slowly, and that was that. The waitress trudged back to the kitchen, ignoring other tables she should have been taking care of, and slapped the ticket on Jose's counter. Presently, the cook came and took one look at it, raising his eyebrow.

"Since when do you write out every word, Liz? What's up with you today?" Tess frowned at him; she didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but if she kept doing this, then she'd be figured out very soon.

"I'm sorry," she apologized. "I'm a little out of it today." If Tess wanted to take advantage of the situation, she was going to have to be a convincing Liz, and she wasn't doing a very good job of that so far. Right now she was safe because no one in their little troupe was present, but once they were she would have to assume Liz's personality. All the times Tess watched Liz in envy would be of use now. There was never a better opportunity to move her plan along, when she could easily make Max putty in her fingertips. The real Liz was going to be bitterly surprised at the meeting, Tess thought with one of her trademark smirks. However, if anyone saw that smirk who knew Liz, the real Liz, they would have said it sorely out of place on her kind face.

Fifteen minutes later, the plan to act like Liz was not only failing, but failing miserably.

"Excuse me, miss, but where's my Worchester sauce?" Wus-ta-sheer sauce? What the heck was that? She knew Tabasco, sugar, diet coke, and yogurt. Tess Harding may have been many things, but knowledgeable of food she wasn't.

"Is our meal coming?"

"I ordered decaf, not regular, Miss."

"Pardon, but can we have our check?"

Table Ten was waving her down again. "My burger is medium rare, not medium well like I asked for. Can you send it back? It needs to be brown inside, not red. Haven't you heard about e coli?" Then came the last straw.

"Why don't you get your cute butt over here and give us some service?"

Whoa. Stop right there, Tess thought. No annoying customer got away from calling her butt cute, no matter what kind of silly waitress uniform she was wearing. Liz's butt, whatever, that was even worse. "Excuse me?" she fumed. The two guys at the table leered at her, and she resisted the urge to dump the drinks on her tray into their laps.

"The service may be lacking here," the stockier one muttered out of the side of his mouth, just loud enough for Tess to hear, "but the servers sure make up for it." Then, he proceeded to ogle Liz's body lingeringly.

And that was the end of trying to stick to "the customer is always right."

~~ ~~~~~~ ~~

After realizing Tess carried around a purse and doubling back to the UFO center to retrieve it, Liz headed to the Valenti household. She could try to pull herself together there, and if Kyle was present, she could ask him if he wanted to go to the meeting tonight. If Max and Michael were still missing in action, it might be a good idea for Kyle to show up, if for no other reason than being informed.

Upon reaching the door, Liz moved her hand to ring the bell but stopped herself short. She lived there, she wouldn't be ringing the bell. "There must be a key in here somewhere," she muttered. Rummaging into the main pocket of the bag, Liz removed Tess' wallet. Feeling a key-shaped bump, she unzipped the coin purse and saw the object of her search. She smiled. Obstacle one overcome, but somehow, Liz had a feeling things were going to get a lot tougher.

The door opened easily, and Liz stepped into the once-familiar household. She let out a breath that stayed in her lungs since the discovery of the switch, because now she was alone. She could just breathe and not worry about something going horribly wrong in public. Well, something horribly wrong had gone on in public, but she didn't want another catastrophe.

"Hey, Tess," she suddenly heard. Liz turned to find Kyle walking in the kitchen door, a curious look on his face as to why she was standing in front of the door with a lost statement on her face.

"Oh, hi, Kyle. Um, I was just thinking about something."

"Right. Well, Buddha's all about contemplation, so if you ever wanna meditate together or something," his eyebrows wiggled, "you know where I am. On the couch, I mean." Liz tried not to laugh out loud. Was Kyle flirting with her? Or with Tess, she corrected herself. This was an interesting predicament if it was an actual indication of their relationship, or maybe Kyle was just being himself.

"Look, anyway, are you busy tonight?"

"Not too busy for you," he grinned. At her slight flinch, he held his hands out peaceably. "I'm just kidding, Harding. Really, I'm not doing anything. Wanna get me stuck in a cave full of killer crystals or something again?"

"Not quite," Liz replied. "We're having a meeting at the Crashdown after closing. Max and Michael won't be there, anyway, 'cause they've disappeared off somewhere, but I was hoping you could come." She smiled at him, trying not to get too specific about the meeting's purpose.

"Is the world in peril again?" Kyle asked, and his tone was light, but something in his voice told Liz he wasn't completely kidding.

"No," she sighed. "Not this time, Kyle." Kyle nodded and with a last smile, headed back to the kitchen. She heard the refrigerator open, the clanging of some drink can, and then two doors closing. He was gone. "At least I hope not."

Rubbing her eyes wearily, Liz continued over to the phone, mentally wondering who she should call first- Isabel, Maria, or Alex? She decided on the blonde alien, simply because she found 'Evans' written in girlish handwriting on the speed-dial. It was the only number on there, save the police station and 911 scrawled in the space left for those such things. The phone rang twice before someone picked it up.


"Hi, can I talk to Isabel, please?"

"Of course, Tess. One second," Mrs. Evans replied. Liz blinked. Did Tess call enough that Mrs. Evans knew her voice? It stung Liz a little, because she didn't know Max's mom nearly that well, but she mentally admonished herself for those thoughts. It was only right for Tess to know Max's parents because, after all, they were going to be together. Liz could never forget that.

"Tess?" Isabel's voice suddenly came over the line and woke Liz from her reverie. "What's up?"

"Hey, Isabel. Would you mind coming to the Crashdown after closing tonight? Te- Liz and I," she corrected herself, "Kind of called a meeting." She smacked her forehead lightly for forgetting who she was for a second.

"Yeah, no problem," Iz replied. "Anyway, Alex is actually here right now- I'm catching him up on some classes- so can I just see you then?"

"Of course, and tell Alex too, okay?"

"No problem. Bye." The phone clicked, and Liz held it in her hand for a moment, pondering the fact that Alex was there. Good for them, she thought. Someone in their little troupe deserved to be happy, and if Isabel had come to realize how great Alex was, even if it took his excursion to Sweden, then more power to them. As long as she didn't break his heart again, Liz would completely support their relationship. The alien abyss had already hurt Alex enough.

After a similarly uninteresting conversation with Maria, which was quite weird trying to pretend she didn’t want to spill out all the details of this newest catastrophe to her best friend, all the present members of their group were knowledgeable of the meeting. Liz now had a few hours to do whatever she pleased. Instead of taxing her mind endlessly for solutions to the problem or biting Tess' nails within an inch of their growth, she decided to get a little rest. She was always so tired lately, and being in Tess' body hadn't made a difference. Wearily, Liz curled up into a ball on the couch, not willing to sleep in the bed that housed both Tess and Kyle, and she fell into a troubled sleep.

~~ ~~~~ ~~

Liz could feel someone rubbing her shoulder and she felt her body begin to wake up. "God, that was such a weird dream," she mumbled half to herself.

"What was?" a voice asked. Kyle, it sounded like Kyle. Panicking, Liz's eyes snapped open to see her friend looking at her curiously, and suddenly the contours of the couch were pressing painfully into her back and the tight clothes were to apparent to her skin.

"Oh," she faltered, "Nothing."

"Kay, whatever. Anyway, I knew you said something about a meeting past closing." Kyle looked at his watch, "and it's about then now. You wanna go?"

She smiled. "Sure... thanks for waking me." Liz's stomach grumbled and she realized she hadn't eaten since breakfast. She thought momentarily about waiting until the Crashdown to get something, but not knowing how the discussion would go made her pause. "Let me just go grab a drink or something."

Five minutes later, Liz was standing outside trying to come up with an excuse about why she'd left her automobile at the UFO center that morning. Of course, she should have realized Tess must have driven, but she hadn't. It was obvious Tess wasn't exactly the athlete of the week, and walking to the Valenti's in her high-heels must be a feat even for her super-alien feet, no pun intended. "Well, you know, I just got into the walking spirit, and I figured since I was gonna, you know, go back tonight, I'd just leave the car there." Kyle didn't look impressed, so Liz rolled her eyes heavenward and wondered what she did to deserve this. "Today is not a normal day, Kyle," she finally concluded.

He chose to change the subject. "We're going to be late if we walk."

"What other choice do we have?"

"We can bike."


"What, don't tell me Harding never let you bike either?" Liz wondered by the way he spoke Nasedo's name if he and Tess talked about him much. The way Kyle's voice had that slight measure of distaste, she suspected they did; but whether he disliked him for the destiny he implanted in her or the treatment she suspected of him, Liz didn't know.

"No, Kyle, I do know how to bike." Her voice had an edge on it she didn't really like, something she heard in Tess' all too much. She tried to smile and asked nicely, "You have an extra?"

"Of course- it's my dad's, but I can use that one and you can have mine. You might be a little short, but you'll manage." Liz had doubts, but ten minutes later she and Kyle found themselves pulling up to the Crashdown in the fading dusk to the amusement of one Isabel Evans. She was getting out of her car with Alex in tow. Instead of moving to greet them, he stared at Liz for a second then walked briskly inside.

"Hi," Isabel greeted them. "Does this have anything to do with my idiot brother and Michael?" Kyle gave Liz a confused look and she shrugged.

"No- you don't know where they went either?" She asked.

"I'm clueless. Let's go inside and talk." Isabel looked at Alex's retreating form. "It's kind of chilly out here." The three walked into the Diner and Kyle questioned Liz quietly on the whereabouts of Evans and Guerin, as he liked to call them, but Liz just shrugged. If Isabel didn't know where they went, she had a feeling there was going to be quite a story behind their little excursion. Most likely, if it were alien related there would be some sort of knowledge among those left behind, but they seemed to have disappeared utterly and completely. Liz wondered why no one was worried when it could mean they were in trouble, but the group had lulled themselves into a fall sense of security after defeating the Gandarium recently. She shrugged and decided to tackle one problem at a time, hoping Isabel would sense if something were truly wrong with Max or Michael from their connection.

"So, what is this meeting all about?" Maria asked, once they were all seated comfortably around the center of the Crashdown.

Liz took a deep breath. "We- um, Tess and I have to tell you about something that happened today."

"You and Tess," Kyle repeated, sounding a little confused but mostly sarcastic. "Who are you then?"

"It's me, Liz," Liz said. "Look, before you think I'm crazy, I'll tell you what happened." She began to babble, feeling foolish and nervous. What had she been thinking, blurting that out like she had. "Ok, I went to bring Brody lunch but he set up this virtual reality machine and Tess and I put it on but something happened and we ended up switching bodies," Liz took a deep breath and looked at the four pairs of eyes staring disbelievingly at her. She ventured to look into her own eyes and recoiled at what she thought she saw. A sick feeling began to grow in her stomach. "Tell them, Tess," she protested weakly.

"Look, Tess," her rival began. "I thought we called this meeting to tell everyone that Brody is experimenting to try to get his memory back so we should be careful. I didn't know you were going to make up a fantastic story like that." Brown eyes met blue ones filled with disbelief and seemed to scream triumph. Across the room, Alex was shifting restlessly on his feet, eyes darting between the two girls. No one was looking at him, but if they had been they might have begun to worry. He blinked rapidly and drummed his fingers absently on the dining surface.

Liz swallowed thickly and asked, "Why are you doing this? You can't mean to stay like this...?" She looked around frantically. "I swear I'm telling the truth. We really did switch bodies, and now Tess is pretending it never happened. You have to believe me."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Tess said coldy. Then she snapped the last threads of credibility Liz had at this point. "I thought you were changing, Tess. I thought you were becoming more like us and wanted to be a part of the group. I can't believe we trusted you this long, and now you're trying to lie to everyone about this." She let the silence hang for a second before delivering the last blow. "You sound like a crazy person, Tess."


“But that was your plan, wasn’t it?” Alex suddenly piped up angrily from the corner.

Liz turned nervously to meet his gaze, and swallowed nervously at the look in his eyes. He was glaring at her with pure hatred, a burning in his eyes that Liz had never seen in the entire tenure of their friendship. Liz’s mouth went dry at the sight of it. She had never seen Alex so angry…not even when she was lying to him about Max.

“What are you talking about?” Liz asked nervously.

“Oh come on, Tess.” Alex laughed bitterly. “You don’t need to lie to me…you’ve seen my mind inside and out after all, haven’t you?”

“Alex…I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Liz insisted quickly. “Please…you have to believe me! I’m not Tess, I’m Liz. Whatever you’re talking about, I’m sure she knows!”

“Cut the crap, Tess, and tell them the truth! Tell them about how you’ve been mindwarping me into being your little servant for weeks. Tell them about Las Crueces!” Liz’s blank look seemed to just infuriate Alex further. “What? Do you look so surprised that I remember? Well it seems as if you screwed up somewhere down the line because it’s been coming back to me all afternoon.”

“Tess, is this true?” Isabel asked in complete disbelief. “Have you been mindwarping Alex?”

“I…I…” Liz stammered, as shocked as everyone else in the room. Quickly she went from one face to the next, checking everyone’s eyes for any sign of hope, but everyone was staring at her with cold, angry eyes. “I’m not Tess.” She protested again lamely, knowing that she was losing the battle.

“I think you should leave.” Tess announced coldly, turning away from Liz and studying Alex sympathetically. “Alex…are you okay?”

Liz gaped at Tess’s sudden concern for a long moment, before nodding her head slowly in acceptance and turning and walking out of the Crashdown.

posted on 17-Mar-2002 9:57:14 PM
Part 5

"I have her powers."

Kyle moved into action quickly, throwing his orange juice onto the burning timepiece, but all that served to do was cause a hissing, and the melting plastic acquired a sickly yellow hue. Liz and Kyle watched in trepidation, but soon the electric current died out and only a puddle of alarm clock parts and a burnt odor were all that was left.

Liz looked on the verge of tears. "What am I gonna do, Kyle?" she asked, a hitch in her voice.

Kyle's throat worked silently for a moment, as though he were reaching for the right thing to say. Finally, he remarked, "Well, I know you must be feeling scared as hell, but I'd just like to express my relief that you are in Tess' body right now. You know, it means I don't have to be scared of my own alien-ness at the moment and can concentrate on yours." Liz didn't look calmed. "Uh, sorry. Guess that wasn't the right thing to say."

"No," she agreed, her breathing evening out. In front of Kyle's eyes, Liz seemed to compose herself, and she straightened her shoulders resolutely. "But you did say one valid thing- I'm in Tess' body and I should have realized that... certain alien abilities would accompany it."

"So this isn't a big deal? We'll just take deep breaths, do a little Buddha meditation, and go on with our respective days?" Kyle sounded incredulous.

Liz nodded. "Yeah, it's fine. I'm fine. I can totally control this."

"But Liz-"

"No, Kyle. We don't have an alternative." She swiped her manicured hand across her forehead tiredly. "We decided it was best to deal with this was by laying low- I'm an outsider, remember?"

He nodded reluctantly. "If that's what you want. I just hope you're as quick a learner at controlling your powers as you always have been at school- I mean, look at Michael. He IS an alien and he couldn't control himself for years..."

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

"Have you seen Tess Harding today?"

"No, why?"

"She actually wore something not exposing her cleavage. I didn't know she actually had something like that in her wardrobe."

"Yeah, could she be any more pathetic, falling over Max Evans all the time like that in those skanky clothes?"

"Well, the way she looks today, I don't think she could get the class nerd to do anything with her, much less Max Evans. And she knows it, too, by the look on her face."

"Where has Max been, anyway?"

This was one of the few conversations about their group Kyle had heard since he'd entered school that day. He and Liz parted after they got out of his car and she'd gone off in search of Tess' schedule. Between the first bell and now, which was third period, he'd been informed that Alex Whitman had walked into school with Isabel Evans and apparently seen something that scared the crap out of him, so he and Isabel took off. Kyle hoped he was okay and marveled at the irony of Alien and friends, co. being the talk of the town when their main goal of life was to melt into the shadows.

Talk between two established gossips was nothing, he supposed, but rumors spread so easily that Kyle didn't know what was safe any more. The bell rang, startling him out of his deep thoughts, and he looked through the door of his History class. Tess' seat was suspiciously empty and he knew Liz would have no reason to be late for class.

"Sorry, Nixon," he muttered. "The Watergate Scandal's gotta wait a day; I got one to contend with on my own." And with that, Kyle set off in search of Liz with a gut feeling that Liz's resolution to handle her powers alone was not going to stick.

He found her in the Eraser Room five minutes later, curled into a ball.

"Liz," he whispered, "What's wrong? What happened?"

She turned to him with red eyes. "I was fine first period. I mean, it's not that hard to just sit quietly and not disturb anything. But then, I- I was in lab and my partner kept bugging me and I was getting so angry and looking at him wishing he would just stop and suddenly the beaker exploded in front of us-"

"Oh crap," Kyle muttered. "What did everything think? Did they see it happen?"

"No," she laughed sarcastically, "No one saw it happen, because it didn't. I just didn't realize it because I was seeing the beaker explode myself."

"I mind-warped my lab partner, Kyle."

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

After hearing that statement, Kyle told Liz in no uncertain terms that no matter what she thought, he was going to find Isabel right now and get her to do something. He didn't care what he had to do to convince the blond alien that Tess really was Liz, but he was going to do it. He knew how freaked out he'd been when Tess mind-warped him that once to see the fake report card, and he couldn't imagine what it would feel like to know you had invaded someone's brain. Liz was one of the best people Kyle knew, and he couldn't stand to see her like she was now, scared and disgusted with herself, not knowing what disaster was in store for her next.

The problem was finding Isabel if she'd left school with Alex and convincing her that Liz was inside the body of the person who'd been messing with Alex's head.

Fortunately, Kyle was lucky enough to run into Isabel as he exited West Roswell High. It looked as though she was just returning, a frown spread across her pretty face.

"Isabel," he called.

"Oh, hi, Kyle. I guess you heard about Alex?"

He nodded. "Something to that effect. What happened, Isabel? Is he ok?"

She stepped close enough to him so that he could hear her lowered voice. "I think that whatever Tess did to him when she mind-warped him really screwed him up." Her eyes darkened at their supposed friend's actions. "He seems okay now, but he wouldn't talk about what he saw. Liz seemed really worried about him- he was just walking into school and it was like he sensed or saw something that scared him half to death. Alex just turned pale and begged me to take him home."

Intuition. It was something they'd all acquired soon after their initiation to the alien abyss, Kyle realized. Alex might not even know it himself, but he was recognizing Tess on some basic level. Liz was one of his best friends and Kyle knew he wouldn't conceive of her hurting him; however, it didn't mean subconsciously the thought wasn't there.

"About Tess, Isabel..."

"I don't want to talk about her, now, Kyle," she answered tightly. "Look, I'll see you later in class." Isabel was walking away from him, but Kyle stopped her with his next words.

"If you care about Alex at all, Isabel, you'll listen to what I have to say." She turned slowly and gave a slight nod, indicating she was listening.

"Before I start, I'm telling you that this is really me now, Isabel. Everything I'm saying is the truth and not a product of some mind-warp. I know it may be hard to believe-"

"What is it, Kyle?" Isabel said exasperatedly. "Please just tell me."

"Right. Everything that Tess said last night? Well, it wasn't her. It really was Liz, and everything she said was true."

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Liz blinked when the door to the Eraser Room opened and light streamed in, illuminating Kyle's face. He walked into the closet and shut the door behind me, and Liz's face fell.

"You couldn't find her?" she whispered.

"No, I found her all right," Kyle responded. "She's just a little shocked right now- she didn't believe me at first, thought Tess was mind-warping me in to saying that or something. I guess I don't blame her, with the Alex thing going on."

"But she believes you now? How did you convince her."

He shrugged and a slight blush colored his face. "I told her to connect with me to prove I was under only my own influence. So she did, and I guess she believes that even Tess isn't devious enough to implant fantasies about Jody Ann Paterson into my head."

Liz chuckled grudgingly. "I'm not even gonna ask."

"Well, regardless of my methods, I've convinced her. So let's get you out of here and into Alien Power Seminar 101."

posted on 28-Mar-2002 10:11:18 PM
Thanks for the wonderful feedback y'all!

Um, well...this part may make some of you very angry with I'm prewarning you...but it's part of the story, and it will be fixed in time...that's all I can say for now.

We hope you enjoy *happy*

Chapter Seven

And with that enigmatic statement, Isabel stomped out of his room the way she had come. Max stared after her, wondering why she seemed so incensed. While he had expected her anger- they'd hardly ever been without each other in their entire life spans- she seemed beyond her usual furor.

He didn't remember her looking this angry since the first time she found out he healed Liz.

Liz. Her name stuck in his head, and he wondered whether she'd missed him in his absence. Suddenly, the goofy grin slid off his face and his happy mood of the last few days seemed to subside. He hadn't wanted to go to Vegas at first- gambling, sex, and alcohol didn't exactly appeal to him- but he'd needed something to dull the pain.

And it worked, all to well, maybe. Vegas was all glitter and glow, superficial to the point of numbing, so much so that Max's conscience was no longer itching him about under-age gambling by the end of their stay. Or girl problems, for that matter.

Now, thinking of the girl whose hands still held within them his heart, Max felt as though he was rediscovering the heartbreak of the last few months. Lately it was better, because he and Liz were at least friends, but that wasn't what he truly wanted. If he were honest to himself, Max would admit he still watched her every second they shared the same space for some indication-anything- that would tell him she wanted something more from him
than a simple friendship. Even now, after Liz made it clear there would be no romantic relations between the two of them, Max knew he would jump back into one with her in a heartbeat, regardless of the whole Kyle incident.

He knew it wasn't that simple, though. Maybe Max could forgive Liz for whatever she did, but that didn't mean she wanted to have anything to do with him. It was why Kyle was in the equation in the first place. Liz didn't want him.

Max forced his eyes to focus on the blurry words in his book, but to no avail. Blaming it on being too tired to read anymore instead of the thin film of water under his lids, Max crawled between his sheets. So focused was he on his own pain and problems that his mind ceased to wonder what Isabel was so angry about, and he drifted off into a troubled sleep.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

"Liz, Michael and Max are back!" Maria informed Tess. "The big jerk decided to take all the Dupree money and spend it, can you believe that? He blew it on going to Vegas and gambling, for god's sakes. I can't believe that's where he and Max went, I mean, he totally should have at least told me. No one spends money better than I do, if that was his purpose in going..."

Tess wasn't listening as Maria conducted her usual incessant chatter. Instead, once she heard that Max was back, the wheels in her head began turning. Tess figured there was no better time than the present to go after what she wanted, and decided the first time she saw Max at school, she'd put her plan in action. Tucking a stray piece of brown hair behind her ear, Tess smiled. Today was going to be a great day.

It didn't take long to find Max. He was standing by his locker, practically crawling inside it in his attempt to avoid some girl who was talking to him. As she approached him, Tess could hear the girl going on about how she'd heard "you and Tess Harding got together and that's why you were gone for a few days and she looked like crap- 'cause you broke up with her?"

Tess smirked as Max turned red and stuttered something to deny the rumor. "I was doing a friend a favor," he explained lamely. Now was the perfect time for Tess to step in and save him.

"Max," she said softly. "Hey."

He turned surprised eyes on her. "Liz! Hi." There was an awkward pause, and he glanced at the gossipy girl still standing close to him. "How- how are you?"

"I'm good. Can we talk a second, though? I need to ask you something about- you know, the water impurities out in Frazier Woods." She smiled at Max, who took the cue gratefully.

"Yeah, of course. Bye, um, Karen."

"It's Kara," she called, but Tess and Max were already walking away.

"Thanks," he said quietly, giving her a sexy half smile. "You saved me."

"Max, I really do need to talk to you. Do you think we could go now?"

Frowning a little because he felt he'd already missed enough classes during his excursion to Vegas, Max tried to think. It was hard with the way Liz was looking at him; he could usually read her pretty well, but right then he couldn't tell what she wanted to discuss at all. "Um, I guess," he conceded, curiosity getting the best of him. "I've only got Latin this period. You aren't missing any of your classes?"

"Nah," Tess replied, thinking to herself that she really didn't care anyway.

They made their way to the Eraser room, because it was the only place, Max thought, where prying student eyes didn't exist. The students, unlike the administration, had a healthy respect for their fellow classmates' romantic endeavors.

"So, Liz," Max said quietly, closing the door behind him. As he turned to face her, he realized Liz's face was extremely close to his own. "What-" he began to say, but all attempts at speech ceased as she gently pressed her lips against his. Though shocked, he still responded immediately, leaning into her so the kiss lingered a few seconds more. "Liz- what's going on?" he asked, thoroughly confused.

"I missed you, Max," she replied. "I know it might be hard to believe after all these months, but when you were gone for these few days, I realized what my life is like without you. I never stopped thinking about you, Max, I swear. Now I know what it's like to not have you in my life, to not have you as the most important person in my life, and I hate it."

"What are you saying, Liz?" Max whispered hoarsely, not letting himself believe. He'd been denied his greatest wish too long to trust in this dream without proof.

She smiled. "I want to be with you, Max. I want to hold your hand in the hallway, kiss you when the fancy strikes, go on dates with you to Buckley Point..." She moved close to him again, her breath puffing out to warm his neck, and he could hardly think. His body already accepted Liz's proposal and wanted to move beyond the talking into the physical realm, but his heart was tentative and took his mind with it.

"Why now?" he asked, staring at her with tormented eyes. "I know you said it was because I left, but is that all? I love you," Max whispered, "You know that, but what about Kyle? What about not wanting to be with me? I want to be with you so badly, but I don't think I could survive losing you again, Liz."

"You'll never lose me again, Max," she murmured, her lips closing over his again. "We both finally realize that we're meant to be together, forever."

Tess didn't tell him she loved him, too afraid how the words would roll off her lips for the first time. Max didn't notice, because he was too busy anticipating the flashes into each other's soul that never came. When they pulled back for air, their eyes met; Tess was searching for any indication that Max suspected something was wrong, while Max simply wanted to stare into the warmth that Liz always projected at him.

Neither found what they were searching for.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Later, exiting the eraser room, Max bumped into an unsuspecting Tess Harding. At first he didn't realize it was her, simply because he hadn't become accustomed to noticing her on his own; instead, she made it obvious whenever they were in the same vicinity. Now, though, she seemed as surprised to see him as he did her.

"Sorry," he apologized, then winced at the feel of Liz's hand in his. Though he was not in the least sorry for getting back together with Liz, he didn't want to have to hear her give him another speech about destiny and the inevitable. It would have been better to break it to her softly, rather than literally shoving it on to her. A little late, he greeted her with not
much more than a mumble. "Hey."

"Hi," she replied shortly, eyes downcast. When he sneaked a look at Liz she was staring at the blond coldly, a look on her face he was sure he'd never seen before. Frankly, it perturbed him.

Did this have anything to do with what Isabel insinuated happened in his absence, Max wondered. Before he could say anything more to Tess, though, she hurried off with a last odd look thrown at him. He'd seen nothing indicative of anger or resentment in her frame.

If anything, Max saw resignation and sadness. "What was that about?" he questioned. “Did something happen while I was in Vegas?" At his words, Liz seemed to lean against him heavily.

"Oh, Max," she murmured. "You'll never believe what Tess did, to Alex and to all of us..."

posted on 4-Apr-2002 9:06:54 PM
Hey guys *happy*

Just wanted to say thanks for guys are awesome *happy* And thanks for the fantastic feedback! We really, really appreciate it! We hope you guys continue to enjoy!

On to the chapter!

Chapter 9

"Crashdown Café, Liz speaking. How can I help you?" Tess asked cheerily into the phone.

"Hey, Liz, it's Max. I was just calling to make sure you'll be ready when I come to pick you up in twenty?"

"Oh, Max... I totally forgot and I promised my dad I'd work an extra shift for him."

"Oh," Max frowned. "I thought Alex would just appreciate it if you came with me when I went to see him. Moral support and all..." His voice trailed off uncertainly. "I thought he might be more comfortable if I tried," his voice dropping to a whisper, "healing him, you know, if you were there."

Tess sighed. "I know Max. I'm so sorry about this, but I think you should just go anyway. Tell Alex I'm sorry, but I know he'll be glad to see you anyway. Look, I have to go," she lied, "My dad is calling me."

"Okay, Liz," Max responded quietly. Then, as an afterthought, "Love you."

Tess faltered and then realized that she'd better start returning the words to him if she wanted to act like Liz. The real girl would probably sound totally love-struck and dazed when she responded to his endearment. "Love you too," she murmured in her best Liz impression. "Bye."

Max heard the phone click and held it in his hand still, staring at the numbers as though they would give him some answers. Something felt different about what was going on between he and Liz. Just like their date last night....

Liz was driving because Isabel had bullied and guilted him into borrowing his car to go visit Alex. She looked over and smiled at him.

"So, where do you want to go?"

Max thought for a moment and replied, "Well, since we're starting out again, why don't we go to the same place we had our first date?" He smiled at her and reached out a hand to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. "Hair thing," he said quietly.

Her smile wobbled. "Yeah, sure. That sounds like a good idea." A moment passed. "Where was that, again?"

With a sigh, Max grabbed his keys and headed out the door. He'd get to Alex's much faster now that he wasn't picking up Liz, but left to his own thoughts he knew the ride would seem longer.

If he were completely honest, he would admit it was eating away at him how Liz hadn't remembered their first date. After all, it was his first date, ever, unless you counted the soap factory. Which he didn't, because nights ending up in arrests didn't qualify under his conditions. It wasn't that she didn't seem to not care, either, just that she'd forgotten. That hurt him more than anything.

Looking up, Max realized he was at Alex's house. He sighed, shaking his head and thanking whatever gods existed that he hadn't gotten in an accident while paying absolutely no attention to the road.

He'd never been inside the Whitman's house, Max realized. He wouldn't even know where it was except he'd picked him up a couple of times for a few alien incident meetings. Max wished he and Alex were close; there were only the 9 of them who knew or held the secret and it was a shame they weren't close. It was even more shameful that it would take Alex almost dying to make Max pay any attention to him.

He could not describe how guilty he felt for not paying enough attention to the boy to notice any signs of mind-warping going on through Tess' manipulations. If he were completely honest with himself, he would admit it was hardly like Alex had even been in Sweden for all Max had noticed.

His hand was reaching for the doorbell when the door swung open, revealing a tired-looking Alex. His hair was in a disarray, as though he'd been sleeping, and he rubbed his eyes. "Max, man," he greeted him. "How was Vegas?" He didn't seem moody at all, though, which Max was thankful for. At least he was feeling better in that regard.

"Good," Max replied, too busy surveying the circles under Alex's eyes and the outer signs of illness that were apparent on the boy to give an elaborate answer.

"So, where's Liz?" Alex asked. At Max's guilty face, he shrugged and answered himself. "I'm sure she had work, right?" Max nodded. "But you guys got back together, huh? Good for you. You deserve to be happy."

"Yeah. We got back together yesterday."

"Not very fast today, are they?" Liz commented to Max, after they'd been waiting for about twenty minutes for their food.

"No, I guess not," Max answered. "I was thinking before about what you said about Alex. Did he say anything more about what Tess was doing to him? When we go to visit him, if I can focus on some imagery about what was going on, it might allow me to reach the problem more easily and uncover what happened to him."

"I don't think so," she answered carelessly. "He just sort of snapped at Tess and told us all about how she was making him go to Las Cruces."

"To do what?" Max asked her worriedly. "Did he say why would she want him to go there?"

"I don't know," she responded. "He didn't remember that."

"I still think he might be hurt, if his memory is impaired. Will you go see him with me tomorrow at eleven thirty? You get off work then, right?"

"Sure," she said quickly. "Look, let's stop talking about Alex. It's just so depressing, you know?" She gave him a sultry smile. "This is our night."

He couldn't understand how she could dismiss something of such importance so easily, but seeing the excitement in her small frame made him push his doubts aside. Maybe she was right, he thought. They should just be happy to be together; after all, they'd been through a lot lately, and the world had almost ended on them as well. Things to celebrate were few and far between.

"She really did want to come, but she was doing an extra shift for her dad as a favor," Max explained. Alex waved his hand dismissively.

"I know, Max. Liz is always being so responsible. That's what I love about her. But I guess you would know that, too. She missed you so much, Max, I don't think you have any idea. When I first sat down with her and had a talk when I came back from whatever I was doing..."

"I'm so sorry, Alex," Max interrupted. "God, I can't believe that Tess would do something like that to you. You've only done everything you could to help all of us." He moved closer to the dark haired boy. "I want to make sure you're not hurt, Alex."

"Okay," he replied. "But it's not your fault Max. Please don't blame yourself." He paused and stepped back to invite Max more fully inside his house. "C'mon, let's go to my room. In case my parents actually return, you know?" A dry laugh escaped his mouth, but ended in a small coughing fit.

Max frowned.

Alex's room was pretty much what he expected, filled with guitars, music, and electronic equipment. An acoustic bass lay on his blue bed, and some manuscript paper beside it was scribbled with messy writing. It heartened Max to see that Alex was well enough to be doing that.

"Well, here we are. Home sweet home and mecca of computer and music geeks around the world," he joked. "Let me move old Leanna here off the bed, and we can get settled." At Max's blank look, he explained, "Leanna's my name for this guitar. I read this article a long time ago that said if you name your instruments, you connect with them better. I tried it and I realized it did make me feel more intimate when I was writing and playing." He stopped. "Sorry, I'm pulling a Maria babble there."

Max laughed quietly, enjoying Alex's ramble. He was a truly funny person. "I understand," he smiled. "Music is an awesome power."

They'd left the restaurant a few minutes ago, with Liz suggesting they go to Buckley point. "To star-gaze," she explained, her eyes twinkling. Presently, she was fiddling with the radio, trying to find a song she liked.

Max's ears perked up when he heard the familiar chords of a song come over the radio waves, but Liz quickly bypassed it.

"Wait," he told her. "I thought you loved You Make Me Feel?" His mind flashed back to the day where they'd had the car accident, the way her hair flew backwards in the wind as they'd ridden down the highway.

She looked blankly at him, but obediently turned back a station. They listened in silence for a few seconds before she commented, "I didn't realize that it was this song. I do love it. It just describes exactly how I feel about you, you know?" He smiled softly at her, feeling his heart beat wildly at her words. The lyrics drifted over them soothingly, casting a spell around them. Max could only feel the warmth of her stare, and the rest of the night's awkwardness vanished abruptly.

"I'm going to have to touch you," Max explained to Alex. "If you just let your mind blank out and don't resist, the connection should form easily. I'm not going to read your mind or anything, and I'll only be searching for any damage."

"Yeah, sure. Are you going to try to see if I subconsciously remember anything about the mind-warping itself?"

"Only if you want me to," Max replied earnestly. "I don't want to go digging around in your thoughts, no matter how much I want to know myself."

Alex responded firmly, "Go right ahead. I want to know what I was a vehicle for, too." Max nodded and placed his hands on both sides of Alex's head. Both of their eyes closed and Max concentrated hard as the flashes began.

He saw images of Liz and Maria just hanging out with Alex with a sense of happiness permeating the vision, clips of his own sister and her beauty, sounds of guitars and drums. Then, the rush of images slowed as he willed them away, focusing on Alex's cell structure. Max's mind touched his, searching for hidden damages and remnants of Tess' meddling.

They were kissing passionately, Max's hands woven in Liz's hair. Her own hands were idle, as they rubbed his neck and back slowly. She was so warm against him, attentive to his every movement, but there were no flashes.

Max tore his mouth away from hers to breathe. "What about star-gazing," he panted.

Her eyes met his, their usual depth seemingly concealed by passion. "Aren't we already?" she murmured throatily, pressing her lips against his once again.

Max was shocked at the discovery of places in Alex's brain that felt as though they were decaying.

Max swallowed his panic, reaching out to find the power that would allow him to heal. Slowly and methodically, he repaired the damage done to Alex, until he was sure the physical evidence of Tess' intrusion was gone. Though Alex seemed fine outwardly, the healing took more out of Max than both Liz and Kyle's healings. He supposed it was because Alex's wounds were so much more than skin deep; the mind-warping had penetrated that many layers.

Gasping, Max pulled away, unable to stay connected anymore. He didn't have time to search for what Tess had done.

Alex opened his eyes when he felt Max's hands leave his head and looked expectantly at his friend. "What did you find?" he questioned, nervously noticing Max's pale coloring.

"Alex," Max whispered. "Do you know how long Tess was mind-warping you?"

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Apr-2002 9:29:48 PM ]
posted on 5-Apr-2002 7:41:38 PM
OMG!! I'm laughing so hard here!!!

Jane, I LOVE the "Tiz" thing...that is absolutely great!!!

It was someone in the last chapter who left feedback that looked EXACTLY like me and Realspacecadet's e-mails to each other. Something along the lines of: "And then Max sees Liz (Tess) while Tess (Liz) is at home doing this..." ANYWAY...yeah...

I do have to say though...some of y'all's feedback made me REALLY we not know me by now? Would I allow Max and Tess to sleep together? But then again, you guys probably wouldn't expect Max and Tess to be making out either...but they're not making out...he's kissing LIZ!!! Only it's not, know? I'm just not even going to try to justify that one. Max is an idiot...but what can I say? He'll wake up eventually *happy*
posted on 5-Apr-2002 10:08:18 PM
Realspacecadet originally wrote:
So if Tess as Liz is "Tiz," then Liz as Tess is "Less?" Hmmmm....

ROTF!!! That's a good one...although I don't know WHY that amuses me so much!! Very witty *big*
posted on 8-Apr-2002 11:06:58 PM
Gosh, at the rate we're posting we might start to spoil you guys *big*

Well, actually, just to update you on US, both Realspacecadet and I were on Spring Break last week...hence the insane number of updates...we were writing maniacs. But we're both back to school now, so they MAY slow down a bit!

I say MAY simply because you guys aren't the only ones eager for Max to get a clue...we are too! LOL! We really want to get there as well, so we're hoping to keep with the speedy updates as much as possible!

So to sum it all up, they MAY slow down, but we don't WANT them to so we'll try to keep them coming *happy*

Thanks for the great feedback y'all! Hope you're enjoying!

On to the chapter!

Chapter 11

"Oh, Max." Tess sounded worried, but the statement didn't reach her eyes. "Are you okay?"

Max sounded incredulous when he replied, "Yes, I'm fine. It's not me I'm worried about; my powers will come back soon enough. But Alex, Liz; he almost died." He took a step back and rubbed his forehead tiredly.

Away from Max, Tess shook her head and paused, realizing she had to get herself out of the hole she was digging. She looked down at the floor for a moment before lifting her head with a pained statement on her face. A tear fell from her eye. "I'm sorry," she choked. "God, Max, I just can't let myself even consider that possibility because of how much Alex means to me. You know?" She brushed her hand over her eyes to rub the tears away, and Max moved forward at the motion.

"Shh, Liz, it's okay," he murmured, feeling finally that he understood why she'd reacted as she had. "He's okay."

"Max, I don't know what I would do if I lost him. Or you. You're just..." She stopped as he pulled her into his arms, letting him envelop her in his warmth. Her head fell over Max's shoulder and as he rubbed her back soothingly, she smiled. Tess Harding was nothing if not an actress.

Minutes later, Max released her. "I still don't know what to do about Tess," he said honestly. "I- I don't know if I can believe she did this on purpose, because she must have known how much it would hurt all of us when we found out. Still, I'm so angry, I don't know if I'm thinking straight. Alex- all of you- have done so much for us. You never deserve to be used like a puppet."

"No," Tess agreed. "But I don't think Tess understands that. She's not right somehow, Max. Not human, like the rest of us. One second she's mindwarping you, the next she's our ally; we don't know what kind of agenda she has." She tried not to smile at the supreme irony of the situation.

Max let out a long-suffering sigh. "I told Alex that if he remembered something he should tell me. Maybe we should wait to act about Tess until we see just how much he recalls." He faltered. "But I know I have to tell Isabel, and she's going to be mad."

Tess smiled sympathetically. "I know you'll do the right thing, Max. Go home and sleep on it. I promise, I'll be here tomorrow. And forever." She kissed him lingeringly on the mouth and trailed her lips down his neck as his eyes fluttered shut. "Good night, Max. I know we'll take care of Tess."

"Yeah, tomorrow," Max whispered. His eyes were still closed. He remembered when tomorrow was full of promise and didn't make his heart heavy with dread. Not even Liz's proximity could lift the weight on his soul, and that hurt too. "Good night, Liz." He turned and walked out the door without looking back.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max fumbled in his pockets for his house key as he stood at the darkened doorstep. The lights of his parents' bedroom and Isabel's room were lit, and the rest of the house was dark. That meant they'd retired for the night. Max's stomach growled hungrily, and he realized that the combination of the healing and not eating dinner was not lost on him. He opened the door slowly, trying not to make much noise.

The kitchen was bathed in moonlight, but he switched the stove light on to see better. Max opened the refrigerator, searching for something quick to heat up, but then he turned around to see one angry sister staring at me.

"Max." She said coolly. "Glad to see you've decided to remain in New Mexico today."

Max looked away, her words stinging. It seemed that they'd finally made up after the whole Vilandra incident so recently; it was hard to believe there'd been another fall-out. As children, Max and Isabel fought like normal siblings, but their secret bonded them together so tightly that squabbling was as bad as it got. Now, their relationship was frail, broken so easily. He felt guilty for leaving her behind, but the money and idea was Michael's. Their friendship had needed mending, too.

"I was at Alex's," he answered dully. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I didn't know if I could concentrate if too many people were there."

"Was Liz there?" Isabel exclaimed. Secretly, of course, she asked because Tess was an unknown danger to Alex. However, she knew Max would regard it as a jealousy thing. Regardless, the answer she would get would be the same.

"No," Max replied, frowning. "I asked her to come, though," he admitted. "She was working."

Isabel sighed in relief. "So, Alex is all right, right?" she asked. "He seemed so much better. I assume you checked him out?"

The haunted look in Max's eyes made her swallow convulsively, and the refrigerator hung open, forgotten as Max sat down wearily to recount their group's near loss.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

"Tomorrow?" Kyle exclaimed. "It's a school day, Liz. Are you nuts?"

"Yes, tomorrow. We are going to Las Cruces tomorrow. And may I remind you that I'm not concerned about Tess' attendance at that hell-hole of a high school." Kyle didn't respond, because he recognized the belligerent look in Liz's eyes. She was just begging him to challenge her.

"Las Cruces it is," he agreed. "So, what are we going to do when we get there? All the information we have is a couple newspaper clippings and a picture of some girl who may or may not exist. And may I remind you we still don't know what Tess had Alex doing with the super-computer, if that's what he was, in fact, using. Or why it was necessary to use Alex, and under a mindwarp, no less."

Liz looked at him coolly, her blue eyes piercing Kyle's. "I didn't have Isabel teach me how to mindwarp for nothing, I suppose. I might as well use these powers."

"What about what happened to Alex?"

"We don't know how he's doing, Kyle," Liz replied. "And we don't know how long Tess was screwing with his head. It's just a risk we'll have to take." She yawned. "Now, we should go to bed. We have a long mission ahead of us."

Kyle nodded wearily. "You're the brains behind this operation. I'm only the brawn." He settled on the couch and pulled the blanket over his legs. Liz retreated to Kyle's room, and he waited for a minute before the lights went out. Then he dashed for the phone.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

By the time Max finished telling Isabel what transpired, most of the blood had drained from her face and tears were stinging in her eyes. "Max," she whispered, "I'm sorry I was mad you. And I'm sorry I didn't tell you what was going on. Alex- it took this to make me realize how much I care about him, and if I lost him now..."

"I know. It's easy to take our friends- and our family- for granted," Max said meaningfully. "We learned a long time ago that the six of us are the strongest together."

"The six of us," Isabel echoed. "Max, what are you thinking of doing about Tess?" Her mind raced, trying to figure out a way to do damage control while still keeping the real Tess in the dark to their plan. For them to watch her successfully, she had to think they didn't know about the switch. That meant acting like Liz was the evil one and having Max act normally around the impostor.

That meant he couldn't know what was going on. Max would never stay close to "Liz" if he knew she were Tess.

"Max," she repeated. "I want to find out what Tess has been up to. Alex- he's my- well, he means a lot to me, and I want to make sure she realizes how wrong she was. Let me make sure she won't hurt anyone again."

Max nodded and moved to speak when Isabel froze, craning her head. "I think that's my phone," she muttered. "We'll talk later." And she ran to get the phone before the caller hung up.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

"Hello?" Isabel asked breathlessly.

"Shhh!" The voice on the other end exclaimed.


"Yeah," he whispered. "Look, I'm not supposed to be calling you, but I'm aware of rumors of your wrath when people leave without telling you." The humor was lost on an unamused Isabel.

"Wait. Leaving? What are you talking about, Kyle? Where are you going?"

"Las Cruces. Liz and I are going to Las Cruces, because of what Alex said. We also found some-"

Isabel interrupted him. "Are you insane?" she hissed. "You have no idea what Tess had him doing there. What if she was working with other people that can hurt you?"

"Well, Liz is Tess right now, Isabel. She can take care of us. We think we know what she was doing, at least in part. I don't want you to follow us, Isabel. You need to stay and monitor Tess while we're away. I just thought you should know what was going on."

"You think you know what she was doing," Isabel repeated. "Pray tell what it was?"

"Well, Liz thinks she was using a new super-computer in the college campus."

"To do what, though?" Isabel wondered. "What would Tess want with a computer?"

Kyle sighed. "That, we couldn't figure out. The computer specializes in cryptography, or some crap like that." He paused suddenly. "Shh, I think I hear something." After a minute, he let out a sigh. "It was just my dad. Look, I have to go. Don't tell anyone else where we're going, okay?"

"Wait!" Isabel cried. "Max went to Alex's today and healed him, and he found out that Tess was doing more damage than we thought. He's mad, and he's very suspicious of Tess. I'm doing damage control, but be careful, okay? And don't draw attention to yourselves."

"Got it, Isabel," Kyle replied. Then he shut off the phone, placed it on the hook, and flopped back on the couch.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Isabel sat in bed, unable to sleep. Her conversation with Kyle was running through her head, and she knew that something was evading her consciousness. Some answer was just beyond her grasp.

She grabbed her yearbook, this time her sophomore one, and flipped through the pages. First, Tess' picture loomed out at her. The random thought passed through her head as she wondered who she would dream walk if she concentrated on the picture.

Isabel shivered, remembering the last dream she entered. Ever since the Laurie incident, she actually refrained from invading people's dreams for no reason. As amusing as watching Liz swoon over Max or Kyle scream over acquiring a reptilian hand was, she didn't need a repeat of suffocating under the ground.

Tonight, Isabel needed to overcome her recent fear. She knew it somehow.

Her fingers flipped to the end of the sophomore section, and she smiled at how White came after Whitman. A perfectly manicured nail tapped on Alex's smiling face, and she smiled at him in return. "What did she do to you?" she breathed. Her voice was hardly audible.

Isabel lay back, her eyes fluttering shut. It didn't take long to find Alex's dream orb, but its usual clarity was marred. Confusion permeated Alex's consciousness, but before Isabel could fully materialize, flashes flew across the landscape. Symbols whirred past, glowing and fading, morphing into yet more symbols, and then letters. Bronze, silver, regal colors abounded.

It came to her in the next second, almost in the same instant the dreamer suffered a similar phenomenon.

"The destiny book."

posted on 9-Apr-2002 4:37:40 PM
What she's hinting at is that she wrote the chapter, not me *big*

But that WAS a really good catch Araxie...I didn't even notice and I reread each chapter over and over while I'm figuring out how I'm going to continue!
posted on 11-Apr-2002 7:18:55 PM
alienchica originally wrote:

Also, I have a question, Isabel and Kyle know that Liz and Tess have switched bodies but what about Alex, Maria and Michael. I know that Max doens't suspect anything.

Hey, good question *happy* I'll clarify. Isabel and Kyle are the ONLY ones who know anything. We haven't really addressed Michael and Maria much...Michael's really in the background pretty much for this whole story...Maria...I *think* we're going to address her eventually...although we haven't quite gotten there yet ;) Max is clueless, and Alex, well, since he's kind of in a sensitive spot right now, let's just say we're saving him the agony of all of this ;) Even if he is a HUGE clue in it!
posted on 13-Apr-2002 10:17:16 PM
Thanks for the awesome feedback guys! The tables are starting to turn now ;)

Chapter 13

"Well then," Isabel practically yelled. "I guess we're done, then, huh?" Her nerves were shot, but the way Max and Michael were looking at her made her lower her voice. "So, Max and Liz are going to go to Las Cruces tomorrow? Alone?"

"Yes, that seems to be the plan," Max replied evenly. "I think Alex should rest, and we can't have too many of us go missing anyway. You can cover for me and Maria can cover for Liz."

"But why don't you go with Michael then?" she asked, her voice a pitch too high. "I mean, he doesn't have anyone to check up on him."

"Michael went to Las Vegas," Max replied. "I know I did too, but I'm going, and that's final. And Liz is going with me. Okay?"

Tess was staring at Isabel strangely, assessing her. Realizing that her behavior was erratic and suspicions could not be raised, Isabel backed down. "Yeah, that's fine." Tess couldn't know Isabel knew the truth. She had Max wrapped around her finger, and if Tess sensed she was about to be exposed, Isabel had the feeling she wouldn't hesitate to take what she wanted and run. It was the reason why she agreed to keeping quiet in the first place. Tess not only had Max, but Liz, as well. "Anyway, I promised Mom I was going to help her with something in a few minutes, so would you guys mind if we break this meeting up? Max, you're driving me home, right?"

"Sure," he sighed. Giving Tess a chaste kiss, he rose and moved to remove his keys from his pocket. "I'll call you later, okay?"

"Bye, Max," Tess replied. "Love you."

"Love you too," he responded. Isabel bit back the urge to scream. She promised the real Liz silently that she would never roll her eyes at the two of them when things were right again. At least then she would know who lived and breathed behind Liz's face.

The two siblings walked out of the diner and got into the Jeep. Isabel smiled at Alex, who was leaving with Maria, when she passed him in leaving. Otherwise, the ride was silent and still to the Evans' house. It wasn't until they pulled into the driveway that Isabel opened her mouth.

"Max, can I talk to you about something?" she asked quietly.

"Yeah," he sighed, turning off the car engine. "What's up?"

She faltered, not knowing how to approach what she was going to say. When Max stared at her expectantly, she finally blurted out, "What do you think about me and Alex, Max? Do you think we should give it a try?" It wasn't what she'd meant to say at all, but Max's look softened.

"Yes," he replied. "If you care about him, and you think you're ready again. I know you didn't like what I thought about Grant and maybe you think I want you to be with Alex only because he knows our secret... but Iz, Alex is a wonderful person. He wants to be with you, too, you know."

"I know." Isabel smiled a little. Even though this wasn't what she had to talk about at all, it made her feel a lot better sharing how she was feeling with Max. He was her brother, after all. "Thanks, Max." He was her brother, and she had to be looking out for him. She didn't know if she was doing that, though. Isabel swallowed.

"No problem," he responded. He moved to open the door, but Isabel's hand on his shoulder stopped him. Max turned to look at her and was unnerved by the fearful look in her eyes.

"Be careful with you and Liz, Max."

"What?" he asked quickly, startled. "Where is that coming from?"

"Just don't go too fast too soon with Liz, Max," Isabel pleaded.

Max was disgusted. "I thought you got over your problems with Liz and I being together, Isabel," he said angrily. "You're telling me you want a relationship with Alex but you can't accept me and Liz?"

"No!" Isabel reached desperately for words. "I think you and Liz should be together, Max. I just want you to think, and not... not do something you would regret." Then, before he could reply, she opened her door and hurried into the Evans' house. Max sat for a few seconds, trying to dismiss her words as the usual Isabel jealousy act, but he couldn't. There had been something in the way she'd looked at him that had begged him to take her words to heart. Or maybe it was his heart telling him to do so.

~~~~~ ~~~~

Tess sat in Liz's room with a frown on her face. At first, it seemed like a great idea for her and Max to go to Las Cruces alone, but now she wasn't sure. Of course she wanted the translation as quickly as possible, especially now since she had Max, but she was wary of having too much alone time. Max was openly affectionate with her and he seemed happy, but Tess sensed he thought something was a bit off. Of course, his feelings were valid, because while Tess could imitate Liz pretty well in mannerisms, she didn't have her memories. She could act in love with Max all day long, but she knew nothing truly specific about Max and Liz's relationship. If only there were some way for her to learn about Liz through the girl's own thoughts, Tess thought.

She wandered downstairs into the back room of the diner and spotted Michael working the grill. A vague idea flitted through her mind and she sauntered over to him, smiling casually.

"Hey, Michael."

"Liz," he nodded, flipping a burger.

"Michael, you know me pretty well, right?" she asked.

"Sure," he grunted, not bothering to look at her. "Do you want something? If this is about Max, I don't know anything about it."

"No, no," she reassured him. "I just have this... project to do, and I was thinking about getting started on it. We have to make... um... a time capsule. Yeah, we have to make a time capsule and I was wondering what you thought I should put in it."

"I don't know." Michael sounded irritated. "Why are you askin' me, Liz? Go bother Maria or something. What do I know?"

Tess frowned and wondered how Liz would react to that statement. Deciding on the unfazed approach, she said amiably, "Well, you're here and Maria's not, Michael. Besides, Maria knows too much about me. What do you think I should include that's pertinent to my character...?" She trailed off.

Michael finally turned to her, looking fully annoyed. "Why don't you just put in that journal of yours and a big picture of you and Max mooning over each other," he said sarcastically. "Of course, that would either land you in therapy or Max in some lab, again, so never mind." He snorted and then mumbled, "You should burn that thing, if you haven't already."

But Tess wasn't listening to him. "Thanks, Michael," she replied carelessly. "I'll talk to you later." And then she was gone, treading the stairs to the Parker's apartment two at a time.

"Now where would Liz put a journal filled with secrets about her handsome alien lover?" Tess wondered idly, opening drawers in Liz's room methodically. "Sadly, she's not stupid, so I don't think she left it in some easily accessible place." When all the drawers, closets, nooks, and crannies of Liz's room and bathroom had been search, Tess stepped out to the balcony.

At first glance, it didn't look like there was place to hide anything on the balcony, much less a sizable journal. Then Tess' eyes narrowed.

"She wouldn't be that cliché, would she?" Tess muttered, staring at the wall. Then she let out an odd chuckle, her voice contained against the brick. "Yes... yes, she would."

Though feeling the entire brick wall for irregularities that might or might not have been there was an arduous and boring task, Tess stuck with it. She was fairly confident that the journal would turn up, stuffed in some hollow brick, only because of how sickeningly romantic the whole idea was. It was bad enough to keep a diary, because that's what it was- regardless of the euphemisms one could use to make it sound less child-like, but to hide it in a brick wall was amazingly cinematic.

It was with a great sense of achievement that Tess uncovered the black notebook.

She nodded her head with mock sadness. "Poor Liz. You are just so predictable." Then, Tess climbed easily back into the girl's room. After placing the journal on Liz's pillow, Tess rummaged through the closet for some more comfortable clothes. She changed into them quickly, eager to begin her night's reading, but then the phone rang.

She picked it up quickly, knowing it was Max but wishing it wasn't just the same. "Hello?"

"Hey," Max whispered. "How was your afternoon?"

"Great," Tess answered cheerfully. "I just did some homework and relaxed. It feels so good to know we're going to get some answers tomorrow." She smirked, flipping through the journal at the same time.

"Yeah, it does," Max murmured happily. He paused for a second. "And I'm glad we're going together- I know there isn't anyone else I'd want to on a little trip more with."

Tess grinned, looking down at the words scrawled in Liz's handwriting on paper. "Let's hope it will be more successful than our other little road trip, huh?" she asked.

Max didn't respond for a second, but then let out a husky laugh at remembrance. "God, yeah," he chuckled. "We don't need any more surprise trips to the hospital, right?"

Score one point for me, Tess thought triumphantly. "No," she agreed. "Max, I have to take a shower. Can I see you tomorrow, then?"

"Yeah, sure," he replied. "I'll pick you up in normal time for school and we'll go, okay?"

"Okay. Night, Max." She hung up the phone and let herself fall back into the soft pillows once again. Her hands flipped to the first page of the notebook to begin her full reading.

I'm Liz Parker, and five days ago I died.

~~~~~ ~~~~

The next morning, Liz and Kyle sat in Kyle's car talking quietly. The day before had been spent in a fruitless search for clues as to where the destiny book had gone. Even finding the supercomputer itself and several campus computer whizzes had turned up nothing, and mentions of "Ray' receive recognition but not much else.

"Kyle, there's nothing else to be found." Liz's voice was full of resignation. "We know Alex decoded the book, but we can't find it or the translation, and Leanna was the only helpful one to us at all. Wherever the translation is, it's hidden very well, and either Alex or Tess knows the spot. Either way, we've come to a dead end." She slumped back into Kyle's car's seat, rubbing her neck tiredly.

"So, you want to go back to Roswell with nothing?" He sounded incredulous. "You're not a quitter, Liz."

"I'm not quitting," Liz returned acidly. "We came to discover what was going on, and we did." Kyle looked down in apology and Liz felt guilt wash over her. "I'm sorry, Kyle," she whispered. "You are being so wonderful about everything and all I do is order you around. I'm just scared of what all this means. Alex would have decoded the book for Tess if she'd asked, you know? She didn't have to mindwarp him, he would have just done it. That's why I know there's something more going on here, something that made Tess keep the whole operation a secret. And I feel like we're running out of time."

Kyle rubbed his brow wearily. "I feel it too, Liz. I just hope we're not too late." He leaned over the cup holder and shift and gave Liz a light hug. "C'mon. Let's go home."

~~~~~ ~~~~

For Max and Tess, getting the translation was incredibly simple. Alex sent Max an e-mail with the directions, he picked Tess up the next morning, and they found the book without a hitch. It almost seemed too easy, but Max and Tess weren't complaining.

Instead of leaving the town and returning to Roswell right away, Tess persuaded Max to have them spend the day outside, just enjoying themselves. She was feeling very confident because of the journal, and the conversation flowed easily between them. It was early evening before the two headed back to Roswell, with Max's heart significantly lighter. He held answers to his future in his hand and the girl he loved was next to him. There wasn't much more to ask for.

"Do you want to come up?" she asked him, smiling brightly and placing her hand on his thigh.

He fingered the key in the Jeep uncertainly. "I don't know, Liz." His voice was honest. "I should probably get back home and tell Isabel that everything went fine. Everyone is probably worried that we were gone so long."

"Max, it's us," she laughed. "I think they'll understand. Come up," she urged, moving her wayward hand upward. "I'll make it worth your while."

His eyes traveled to look at her hand nervously, and he was surprised at how bold she was being. "O-okay. For a little." He shut the Jeep off and climbed up to the balcony while she went the normal way to greet her parents.

A minute later, she poked her head out, beckoning him in with a devilish smile. "The coast is clear," she stage-whispered.

"Where are your mom and dad?" Max asked nervously. He didn't ever want to get in trouble with the Parkers again, especially in their own home.

"Out," Liz said easily. "Another one of those pesky conventions. They'll be back tomorrow. Lucky us, huh?" She took their joined hands and led him to the bed. "Sit down, Max," she coaxed. "Don't be so worried. Everything is wonderful."

He nodded. "You're right." He let out a deep breath. Then, Tess leaned over and kissed him. Her arms went around him easily, one hand playing with the hair at the nape of his neck.

"Max," she murmured into his neck. "Oh, Max." She lay down sideways on the bed, pulling Max with her. Her hips pushed closer to his and she began to move against him slightly.

Max pulled his mouth away from hers, and she moved to kiss his neck. Isabel's words rang in his ears and his head suddenly felt so confused. He could feel her skin against his, the warmth of her mouth touching his, but he couldn't feel anything else. His body wasn't reacting to hers; he felt cold, so numb.

"Wait, Liz," he cried suddenly, pulling away. She looked at him in shock, her hair messy and eyes wild.

"What's wrong, Max?" she panted.

"I'm sorry," he managed. "I just- I can't do this now. It's too soon." He leapt off the bed and grabbed his jacket from the floor, and before she could say anything else, he repeated his apology and was gone.

Max nearly fell off the ladder on his way down, his hands were shaking so badly. The thought crossed his spinning mind that he was in no condition to drive, so he turned slowly and began to walk home.

posted on 15-Apr-2002 10:09:25 PM
LOL! Miranda, you have WONDERFUL timing! We were in the process of discussing posting the next chapter...flash to the board! HEY! Another bump! Let's do it!

I hope you guys enjoy! Realspacecadet isn't the only one who loves this chapter *happy*
posted on 16-Apr-2002 10:06:58 PM
Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome feedback you guys *happy* I am SO happy to hear that you loved this chapter!! You're wonderful!
posted on 18-Apr-2002 7:12:33 PM
Thanks for the awesome bumpage y'all *happy*

Uhhh...I probably shouldn't say this because I haven't talked to Realspacecadet yet, but I think we're going to post another chapter tonight sometime...pending on how fast I can type! LOL! So keep your eyes open!
posted on 18-Apr-2002 10:09:14 PM
Hey guys!!!

As promised, I give you an update *happy* Thanks for the fantastic feedback, and I hope you continue to enjoy!

Chapter 15

Liz sat as still as a rock, watching Max walk away from her, breathing a sigh of relief when he finally disappeared out of sight. Her heart was still pounding heavily in her chest, just like it had been from the first moment she had spied him crossing the park towards her. His presence had taken her completely by surprise, and Liz wanted to curse herself for not being able to control her feelings for him. It had been months since Future Max had disappeared, she should have been able to move on by now, but if anything her feelings for him had only grown in that time.

Seeing Max had been the furthest thing from her agenda for that night. Liz had returned from Las Crueces early that afternoon with Kyle, and had immediately called Isabel to update her on their findings. Liz had been shocked to learn that the rest of the group was already a step beyond her findings. Not only did they know what Tess had been up to, they had the means to find it.

Isabel’s voice had been bitter as she explained how Max had taken Tess with him to retrieve the destiny book. Max had been dead set upon preventing Tess from causing anymore damage, yet he had handed her exactly what it was she wanted.

The thought left Liz feeling cold, chilled all the way down to the bone, and after hanging up with Isabel, Liz turned and walked right out of Tess’s home. She needed to get away, escape from all reminders of her nemesis…so she had walked alone for hours.

The park was a mere block away from Max’s house, and Liz had forced herself to stop before she subconsciously found herself walking by in a weak attempt to catch a glimpse of him. Max had always been her greatest comfort when she was distraught, but this time he was not the person she could turn to. So instead she found herself sitting on a bench, alone in the park, staring up at the stars, and wishing that their world could be less complicated.

Now, an hour later, after talking to Max for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, her life was even more confusing.

Liz had mixed feelings on Max’s comments about his relationship with Tess.

Tess…it was still hard to think that since Max was still convinced that Tess was her. He was disappointed in the relationship, because he didn’t feel the passion in it. The thought alone made Liz’s heart surge with pride in him. Even if Max hadn’t put the pieces together yet, his heart knew Tess’s true identity and wouldn’t allow him to commit to her.

Still, she had her doubts about the situation.

Tess was Liz. Maybe Tess didn’t have her soul or her personality, or any of the things that mattered, but shouldn’t Max still feel things with her in the ways that counted? If Max wasn’t physically drawn to Tess right now, than would he still be drawn to her when she was herself again?

Plus, the other thing that left her chilled and disconcerned was the way he had reacted to her as they talked. Liz recognized the husky tone that his voice had taken as he spoke to her. It sounded like he was attracted to her…and as much as Liz loved the feeling of being loved by Max, the idea that he would feel attracted to her in this form disturbed her. It proved everything true that Max had been denying for a year…that it was possible for him to be attracted to Tess Harding.

Liz fought back the tears that threatened to surface, as she pushed herself up, glancing one last time at the lights of Max’s house in the distance, before turning and hurrying across the park, in the direction of the Valenti house.

She needed to put some space between her and Max. Maybe it would lessen the pain of the betrayal she was feeling at that moment.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

The idea of even trying to sleep was incomprehensible to Max that night as he lay awake in bed, his eyes wide, hands folded behind his head, staring at the ceiling. He felt more alert, more energized than he had in days, and he had no idea why.

Particularly because his emotions were just a mess of confusion.

Ever since running into Tess in the park, Max had felt completely lost.

A few hours earlier, his life had meaning, a purpose. He needed to stop Tess Harding from hurting anyone else the way she hurt Alex. Then he ran into her on the way home from the most disturbing incident he had ever had with Liz.

Max knew he should have attacked Tess on the spot, confronting her about her actions, ordering her to stay away from the group…anything except what he did do. Still, something about that moment had kept him from feeling any anger at all. He sat down and talked to her like an old friend, and even though he knew it was odd, nothing about the moment felt strange deep inside…and that scared Max almost as much as the things he felt at that moment.

Passion…that was the thing that scared him the most. Merely talking to Tess had invoked feelings and emotions inside of him that he had thought were lost…feelings that used to arise only when Liz was nearby. Feelings that he had been searching for constantly since he and Liz reunited only to be constantly left lacking.

It disturbed him, to say the least. Following his destiny was the last thing he ever wanted to do. Max believed in free will, in choosing for himself, not just because of Liz, but just because he deserved that right.

But what if it was a right he didn’t have. What if he was destined to fall in love with Tess? What if he did it on his own terms, based on his own feelings, not some alien urge?

Max shuddered at the thought, but still couldn’t deny the fact that he needed to find out what was going on. What had changed to make his feelings move so drastically from Liz to Tess.

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max sat cross legged on his bed, silently waiting for Michael to react.

After a fitful night’s rest, Max had awoken early to the familiar sound of his best friend climbing through his window, eager to take a look at the Destiny Book’s translation. Michael had chastised Max briefly, before taking the stack of papers and seating himself at Max’s desk, slowly flipping through them.

Max couldn’t believe that he had completely forgotten about the translation. It had been almost a day since he and Liz had found it, but with everything that had happened the night before, the destiny book had been the furthest thing from his mind. He felt like an idiot in retrospective…this was the key to his past, and he was too busy worrying about his own personal love triangle.

“So what do you think about all of this?” Michael asked gruffly, swiveling around in the chair to face where Max sat on the bed.

“Actually, I haven’t read it yet.” Max admitted sheepishly. “We got in late last night and I just went right to sleep.”

“You couldn’t even take time to read it?” Michael cried out in astonishment. “You have no idea what we even have here, do you?”

“The truth about our past lives?” Max guessed curiously.

“No, you idiot!” Michael exclaimed. “It’s more than that! There are directions here on how to get home! We could leave tomorrow if we want!”

“What?” Max gasped, jumping from his seat on the bed and hurrying to his friend’s side. Peeking over Michael’s shoulder, Max scanned the words filling the page, quickly skimming it, his eyes widening in disbelief with each line.

“Oh my God.” Max hissed. “Go get Isabel…she should be here. It looks like we have some decisions to make.”

~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Liz moaned in misery as Kyle rushed into the room, the door flying open and hitting the wall with a bang and startling her out of sleep. She glanced at him through blurry eyes and messy hair, before rolling away from him.

“Go away Kyle…I’m not coming out today.”

“Get up, Liz.” Kyle ordered, ignoring her pleas. “It’s after noon. You need to come out and face the day…and we need to meet with Isabel and figure out what to do about the Destiny book’s translation.”

“I don’t want to.” Liz moaned, pulling the covers up over her head. “I just want to hide in here for the rest of my life.”

Kyle stared at her for a long moment in concern, before finally sitting down beside her and pulling the covers away from her. She peeked up at him with miserable blue eyes, messy blonde curls hanging in her face, making her look even more pathetic.

“What is it, Liz?” Kyle finally asked. “What’s wrong?”

Liz hesitated a long moment before answering him. “I saw Max last night.”

“Oh God…” Kyle gaped. “Don’t tell me he was with her.”

Liz shook her head in the negative. “No, it was nothing like that. It was just him and me, alone together.”

“Did he say anything?” Kyle wondered aloud, his voice bitter as his protective side came bubbling up. Max had the capability to destroy Liz, and he wouldn’t allow it to happen. “Did he try to hurt you?”

“No.” Liz disputed softly. “And I think that’s what hurts the most.” She paused, collecting her thoughts before finally relaying the story to him. “Max seemed upset. He looked like he needed a friend, so I offered to listen. He’s miserable with her, Kyle. He knows it’s not me, even if he doesn’t understand that yet. And he was comfortable enough with me to tell me everything, even when he is supposed to hate me.”

“And you’re worried that it’s a confirmation that he does have feelings for Tess.” Kyle finished, putting the pieces together. “Because he was reacting to you in this form.”

“Yeah.” Liz confirmed. “And I don’t know how to feel about that.”

“Liz…” Kyle hesitantly started. “What did I say to you when we first found out that they were together? Do you remember?” Liz shook her head in the negative, so Kyle continued. “I told you that Max would know the real you, otherwise he didn’t deserve you.”

Liz’s lips turned up in a half-smile as she flashed back to Kyle’s supportiveness. “Yeah, I remember.”

“Well, what do you think is happening here? Like you just said, Evans just hasn’t put the pieces together yet. He’s miserable with her, and he’s feeling things for you. That means he knows the real you, Liz, even if he doesn’t realize it yet. Ten bucks he’s sitting at home right now tied into pieces over you as well.”

Liz smiled warily at her friend. “I wish it was that simple, Kyle. But it’s not. She’s his girlfriend, not me. I know Max well enough to know that he won’t give that up so easily. He’s probably sitting at home trying to figure out if I was mindwarping him or having some other kind of alien effect on him. As much as I’d love to believe what you’re saying, the reality here is quite simple, Kyle.”

Liz’s final words chilled Kyle to the bone, particularly with heart numbing certainty which Liz delivered them.

“Max and I can never be together again.”

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 18-Apr-2002 10:33:33 PM ]
posted on 26-Apr-2002 11:10:19 AM
Araxie HRH originally wrote:
Anne forgive me if any of this sounds harsh, but ya just HAD to go and get angsty on me!!! LOL!!! So I'm just letting it all hang out!!!! Ya know I love ya!!!!!

lol...I appologize for going angsty on you Araxie...and I don't blame you for getting frustrated! I probably would be too, to be honest! Things are going to be going crazy FAST in the next 4-5 chapters, so I don't know, you may kill me even more then! *giggle* We'll have to see!

hehe...wait until you see my new fic... *cackles evily*
posted on 29-Apr-2002 11:27:08 PM
WindsorW originally wrote:

And oh yeah, did you mention a NEW FIC, Anne??? WE CAN HOPE!!! *big**big*

ROTFLMAO!!! I only do this, because my new fic is titled: "Hope Alone" So YUP you can hope...hee! I'm trying to save it for after the season finale, because it's based on false spoilers for the finale, so I don't want a "false spoiler" warning to turn people off of it or anything.

Thanks for the fantastic feedback Windsor! I always love hearing what you think *big* Wouldn't it have been interesting if they HAD taken this direction? Unfortunately I think the reason they cut it was because they decided to make Tess evil again, and they didn't think it would work or something. I think it works BETTER to have Liz(Tess) a pariah...and all the Alex angst and everything...

And thanks for the bumpage everyone! I was out of town this weekend, which is one of the reasons why updates were slow. Uhhh...I have nothing definitive to say yet about the next update...I'll talk to Realspacecadet and come back! *happy*
posted on 1-May-2002 10:57:35 PM
Hey guys!!

Thanks for all the incredible feedback, AND the bumpage! That really is a compliment to me, just because it means you're eagerly waiting!

So I'm sorry this took so long...both of us have been a little slow on the last few chapters...real life got in the way. BUT we're back now, I think *happy*

Hope you enjoy this, and let us know what you think *happy* We LOVE your comments! You guys rock!

Chapter 17

Liz gaped at the skin as he crossed the distance between them, an evil smirk marring his youthful face as he approached.

“What, aren’t you going to invite me in, Tess?” Nicholas mocked her, and Liz was so shocked by the informal greeting that she couldn’t come up with any response better than a disgusted glare. He just smirked at her before climbing through the window and stepping into the room, studying his surroundings in amusement. “Nice place you have here.” He commented sarcastically.

“What are you doing here?” She finally spat back at him. “You should know better than to come here.”

Liz desperately fought to keep her voice angry and threatening as she thought Tess would in the situation, meanwhile desperately trying to hide how afraid she truly was.

“What do you think I’m doing here?” He shot back at her. “I want to know why you didn’t show up for our scheduled meeting yesterday. Khivar wants an update on how the plan is going.”

Liz froze at his words, completely unable to respond to his words. She was shocked, her mouth opening and closing wordlessly as she struggled to reply, even as his words just began to penetrate.

Tess’s betrayal was much worse than they had ever anticipated. She was working for their worst enemy. Liz was disgusted in the girl that most of the group had once called their friend.

“What, no response?” Nicholas mocked her with a harsh laugh. “Come on, Tess. How hard is it to get into the king’s pants?” Nicholas ran a leery grin over her figure, making Liz feel dirty, as he emphasized his point. “It’s not like you’re lacking in the proper attributes or anything.”

Liz shuddered under his gaze, even as she tried to counter him as realistically as possible. She needed to play along long enough to figure out his plan and then get him out of there.

“It isn’t that easy. He’s in love.”

“Bullshit.” Nicholas disputed. “You said that problem is long over. The girl’s little visitor took care of that. Nice to know that he’s always going to be as foolish and emotional as he is right now, isn’t it?”

The blood drained from Liz’s face at Nicholas’s reference to Future Max. No one was supposed to know about that, especially not the enemy. To make matters worse apparently her actions, which had seemed right at the time, only made things worse in the long run. She felt shocked, disturbed, and angrier than she had felt in a long time.

“Just back off, okay?” Liz exploded. “I’ll take care of him, all right?” Liz insisted trying to get Nicholas off her back, as her anger level rose. Her blood boiled within her skin as she stared at the little troll who was threatening the love of her life.

“You’d better take care of him.” Nicholas threatened. “Khivar doesn’t like it when his people fail him. Right now he wants Zan’s son…so you had better deliver.”

Nicholas turned his back as if to leave, and Liz reacted quickly, knowing that the situation needed to be taken care of. Kyle’s baseball bat was sitting in the corner only a few inches away from her. It only took one quick motion for her to grab the bat, and swing it, cracking right into the center of Nicholas’s back. Before he even knew what hit him, the skin exploded into a rainstorm of flakes, showering around the room.

Liz stared at the remains fluttering through the air, as she stepped to the center of the room, the baseball bat still in her hand, before weakly dropping it and falling to her knees in the midst of the flurry.

One enemy was taken care of…but they were all still in very real danger. Especially Max. And Liz had no idea what to do to fix everything.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Isabel took a deep breath before knocking on the Valenti’s front door. She had been avoiding contact with Liz and Kyle as much as possible to try to lessen suspicion, but with the discovery of what Tess’s agenda with Alex was, and the secrets contained in the destiny book, she knew she had to see them. Liz would want to know everything.

So she had sneaked out early before the meeting, telling Max and Michael that she needed some time to think about what her stance would be when they all talked that afternoon. Max hadn’t even questioned as she disappeared with the destiny book, telling him that she would bring it to the meeting.

After three quick knocks, the door flew open and Kyle was instantly in her face.

“Oh my God, you’re here!” He exclaimed, breathing a sigh of relief before tugging Isabel into the house. “Liz has been freaking out ever since I got home a half hour ago, but she won’t tell me why, only that she needed to see you right away. I’ve been trying to call, but for obvious reasons Max has been a little less than friendly.”

His words sent a chill down Isabel’s spine, and she quickly pushed past Kyle and into Tess’s bedroom, where Liz was pacing back and forth nervously across the center of the room.

“Oh thank God, Isabel!” Liz exclaimed at the sight of her ally.

“Liz? What’s going on?” Isabel pressed quickly.

Liz’s eyes flew wildly from Isabel’s to Kyle’s and back again, before taking a deep breath and starting to explain.

“The situation with Tess is much worse than we ever possibly imagined. She’s working for Khivar!”

“What?” Isabel gasped in disbelief.

“Nicholas was just here…checking up on me…on her.” Liz continued in a flat voice. “I killed him.”

“What?” Isabel gasped, thinking of the dangerous skin who had overwhelmed all four of them with his powers once before.

“I took him by surprise.” Liz explained softly. “I think he trusted Tess. His guard was down.”

“You did the right thing, Liz.” Kyle insisted. “He would have killed all of you…he’s tried before.”

“I know. He was a monster.” Liz agreed, her voice bitter. “It seems they have some big plan they’re working on. I got enough of it to figure out this much. Tess is supposed to seduce Max into sleeping with her, to get her pregnant. Khivar wants Max’s child for some reason, probably to secure the throne. Apparently that side of the plan wasn’t going very well for her.” Liz smiled bitterly.

“Which is why Tess jumped at the chance to be you.” Kyle finished for her. “Because Max loves you and would be willing to go there with you.”

“Oh God.” Liz paled at the thought. “Do you think he has? Slept with her…as me?”

“Liz, no!” Isabel insisted comfortingly. “Anyway, Nicholas would have known if she had. If Tess had succeeded, she would have gone to him to prove it.”

Liz nodded, a sickened expression on her face at the thought of Tess bragging to the enemy about winning Max over.

“You’re right.” Liz agreed, before turning her subject back to the question at hand. “So what we need to figure out is how the two plots are connected. Nicholas, Max’s child, and the destiny book.”

“Maybe there’s a hint in this?” Isabel held up the stack of papers which had been carefully tucked under her arm, and passed them to Liz. “I thought you might like to see them. It’s the translation to the destiny book.”

Liz stared at the papers in her hand for a long moment, before staring at Isabel in awe.

“Have you…did you read it?” Liz stammered, clearly nervous about what was inside.

“Some.” Isabel admitted. “Not the whole thing.”

“What…” Liz didn’t even need to finish her question. Isabel knew exactly what she was asking and quickly clarified.

“Lots of things…the history of how we came here and why, some basic scientific information about us…and instructions on how to use the granolith.”

Liz froze on Isabel’s last word, her mind whirling with nervous energy. Images of Future Max and his explanation of time travel flew through her mind.

”Wh-what? You expect me to believe that the...the granilith is like some sort of time machine?”

“It wasn't intended to be, but it does have an enormous amount of power, and we were able to modify it to artificially create a tear in time space.”

Liz was so caught up in the memory, that she barely even registered as Isabel continued to speak.

“Liz, we can use the granolith to go home.”

“What?” Kyle exclaimed in shock. “Are you going to go?”

“We don’t know yet.” Isabel sighed. “We’re having a group meeting in a little bit to talk it over and decide.”

As Isabel and Kyle debated the possibilities of the aliens going home, Liz climbed up onto Tess’s bed, sitting cross-legged as she flipped through the papers quickly, trying to find the page with the information about the granolith on it. She paused as the words she searched for flew out of the page at her, and quickly skimmed the entire page, before settling her attention on one passage…the words she had been both hoping, and fearing would be there.

“God, it’s all here.” Liz murmured to herself, catching both Isabel and Kyle’s attention.

“What’s there?” Kyle asked, but Liz ignored the question as she stared down at the page, her eyes not even focusing on the words as she quickly formed her plan.

“What is it, Liz?” Isabel pressed.

“I can use the granolith to fix this…all of this. Everything.” Liz mumbled in a distant voice.

“Everything, meaning?” Kyle wondered.

“Meaning I can make it so that this switch never happened…and still reveal the truth about what Tess has done.”

“What?” Isabel cried. “How?”

“I have to go back to before all of this happened.” Liz determined. “I have to change the past.”

posted on 2-May-2002 12:09:52 AM
GASP! Not a SNERK!!!

Well...well...I stick my tongue out at thee!

THAT'S IT!!! Araxie snerked at me! I'm changing the next chapter to Max and Tess's sex scene!!!

*glares at Araxie*


*note to all readers other than Araxie...I'm just kidding. I would NEVER stoop THAT low!*
posted on 2-May-2002 12:35:33 AM
*Anne smiles triumphantly*

Yeah, yeah...that's right! Run Away!

I think you've learned your lesson! NEVER mess with a fanfic writer, otherwise she can lay out the most horrendous punishment in the world!

*cackles evilly again*
posted on 2-May-2002 1:13:20 AM
hmmmm....texx, texx, texx.....

posted on 2-May-2002 2:29:24 PM
Realspacecadet originally wrote:

And I thought I was the odd one in this pairing....


ROTF! Yeah...I was feeling silly last night, what can I say? I was working off of very little sleep! It's my excuse for being weird...everyone knows I was joking right? No texx here!

*Anne scratches head* There was something I wanted to tell you...and I'm drawing a blank. urgh. I'll e-mail you if I remember.
posted on 5-May-2002 7:59:18 PM
Hey guys!

Just to give you a little update...I'm so sorry for the wait. There has been a pile of drama for me for the past few days, and it's my turn to write on this one, so I'm the one you're waiting on. I started the next chapter today at work, and am going to get going on typing that chunk up and hopefully finishing it update could be late tonight, or possibly not until tomorrow...we'll see how it goes!

So sorry for the delay, and thanks for the great bumpage! It makes my day to hear how much you're enjoying this!
posted on 6-May-2002 1:11:15 AM
Now I owe you guys an appology...I really did expect to get a lot accomplished tonight, and get the next chapter up, but some unexpected stuff came up...I had to do some campaign work, and didn't get to write a single word all night :(

Tomorrow I'm going to try damn hard to get it done...and I'm not ANTICIPATING anything to get in the way of that...but I wasn't anticipating anything today either! LOL! Seriously though...I'm DYING to get the next chapter up!
posted on 9-May-2002 11:35:36 PM
Hey guys *happy*

First off...let me appologize for taking this long! A lot of real life stuff came up this past week...starting with my brother, work, schoolwork, and then finally I went to LA this week...just got back *happy*

I don't know how many of you know about the Crashdown/FSMA fundraiser party/viewing of 4AAAB, but it was a fantastic event! I am SO glad I got to go. The entire cast minus Bill, Emilie, Adam, and Colin were there, and all of the writers except for JK and Gretchen Berg. It was tiny...under 100 people in the whole room COUNTING the 20 odd yeah, just the event of a lifetime *happy* We raised over $11,000 for joke. And I even won 2 auctions *happy*

So...that's my life right I'm still on my party high!

So here's the next chapter...and actually it's another one of my personal favorites *happy* So I hope you guys enjoy it! Let us know what you think!


PS...Araxie and Cyn...if either of you guys are reading, can you drop me an e-mail (dreambehr⊕ Cyn, I lost your address and I have something I think you would enjoy seeing. Araxie...for some reason your address has been bumping all of my episode commentaries, and party report and everything...I want to make sure I have it right!

Okay...on to the chapter *happy*

Chapter Nineteen

Liz sat cross-legged in the center of Tess’s bed, reading the revealing passage in the Destiny book over and over again.

Isabel had left Liz the page with the granolith’s instructions on it so that Liz could have a chance to study it in greater detail, and form her plan. She knew what she had to do now. The whole plan was thought out completely, but Liz couldn’t help studying the passage a few more times, just to make sure that she didn’t miss something, or misinterpret an instruction.

She didn’t. She was sure of it. Although the passage would have seemed like gibberish to the other aliens, to Liz it was plain as day, thanks to her discussions with Future Max.

All she needed was to get to the granolith chamber to put her plan into motion.

Liz’s attention wavered at the distracting sound of a knock on the door.

“Come in.” She called, running a frustrated hand through her blonde curls, as she turned to see what Kyle wanted.

The door opened slowly, and Liz’s eyes widened as Max stepped into the room.

“Max!” She exclaimed, her eyes darkening in hurt at the sight of him. The pain from the night before was still much to raw in her heart, and his sudden appearance did nothing to ease it. “What are you doing here?”

Max’s expression was masked, his usually revealing eyes giving away nothing as he responded, leaving Liz’s heart pounding nervously.

“I think it’s about time we go somewhere and talk seriously.” Max explained evenly. “Will you go on a drive with me?”

Liz hesitated a long moment. He was acting so secretive, she knew for a fact that something was not right with him, but she couldn’t figure out what.

“I really shouldn’t…” She stammered uncertainly.

“Please.” Max insisted, his unemotional eyes burning into her. “We need to get all of this fixed. Just come with me, okay?”

“Okay.” Liz finally agreed, her own curiosity over Max’s strange behavior winning her over. Walking behind him, Liz studied the back of his head nervously, as she followed him out of the house to the jeep.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

The whole gang stared at Isabel in disbelief, as she held her hand over Liz’s head, ready to move should Liz try to fight her.

“What the hell are you talking about, Isabel?” Liz burst out angrily. “She got to you too, didn’t she? Just like she got to Alex, only you can’t break out of her mindwarp!”

“Cut the crap, Tess!” Isabel exploded. “I’m not going to take it.” Isabel turned pleading eyes to the rest of the gang, who were frozen in shock at the sudden change in atmosphere. “Last week when the truth about what happened to Alex came out, Liz was telling the truth. She and Tess somehow switched bodies. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.” Isabel explained quickly. “Liz came to me the day after the meeting. She couldn’t control her powers and she needed help learning how to use them. I had to train her from scratch.”

“She’s playing you, Isabel.” Liz insisted again. “I’m telling you, I’m exactly who I say I am.”

“Test her.” Isabel demanded, turning to Alex and Maria. “Test her to see if she is who she says she is. Ask her something only Liz would know.”

Maria eyed Liz for a long moment before bursting out a question.

“Where is the place by the thing that we went that time with what's-her-name?” Maria asked quickly.

WHAT?” Tess burst out in confusion. Maria smirked at her as the blood drained from Tess’s face and she realized that her farce was over.

“She’s a fake.” Maria stated simply, before her own eyes widened in fear. “Which means that Max is about to put my best friend into a spaceship blasting off of the planet! We have to stop him!”

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

“So, I thought you wanted to talk?” Liz asked, her voice wavering nervously.

Max had been silent throughout the whole drive, since the moment they left the Valenti house, and it was starting to wear on Liz’s nerves. Something was definitely up, there was no doubt about it in her mind anymore. All she needed to figure out is what was going on.

Max didn’t respond right away, so Liz asked another question.

“Where are we going anyway?”

“The pod chamber.” Max replied shortly, turning to look at Liz. The mask was gone from his expression, leaving Liz chilled at the cold, hateful gaze in his eyes. Max had never looked at her that way before, not even after she pretended to sleep with Kyle.

“Why?” Liz pressed insistently. “I know something is going on, Max. What is it? You may as well just get it over with and tell me.”

“You almost killed Alex, Tess.” Max’s lip curled up in disgust. “You almost killed him with your damn mindwarp. You made us believe that we could trust you, and then you stabbed us in the back. You don’t belong with us, and I’m going to make sure that you can’t ever hurt anyone again.”

The hair raised on Liz’s back at Max’s cold words.

“You’re not a killer.” Liz stated with certainty, hoping that she sounded more certain than she felt that Max would never hurt her. “You couldn’t kill me.”

“No, you’re right.” Max agreed. “I couldn’t ever kill you. I’m not like you. But I can send you far away from here where you’ll never be a problem for us again. The Destiny Book’s translation was quite useful for us, Tess, so at least Alex’s suffering wasn’t all for nothing.”

“The Destiny Book.” Liz mumbled to herself, Max’s words bringing her back to reality. Max was taking her to the granolith chamber, and if she timed everything right, she could work this right into her own plans.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max clutched the steering wheel tightly as he turned the jeep off of the highway onto the bumpy dirt path that led to the pod chamber.

Every fiber of his being was fighting against the other at that exact moment, and it was taking everything in his power not to reveal to Tess how confused and disturbed he was. In his mind, he knew he was doing the right thing. Tess was dangerous. Tess was untrustworthy. Getting rid of Tess would bring them nothing but good.

But then there was his body’s reaction. It was as if every cell in his body was gravitating towards Tess. All he wanted to do was pull her into his embrace, which left him feeling like scum. Even if his mind knew what he had to do, his heart was screaming at him that he was doing the wrong thing.

All of the contradicting thoughts and feelings left Max feeling angrier, more hateful to Tess than he ever remembered feeling before. He hated that he had to do this to her, and he hated that feeling as well. He hated that he had feelings for her, and he hated what would happen if Liz ever found out about the urges deep inside of him at that moment. And most of all he hated that he didn’t feel those same urges for the most precious person that had ever been a part of his life anymore.

Regardless of what his body was feeling at that moment, emotionally he was channeling all the contradicting anger and hatred inside of him right at the small, blonde alien sitting beside him.

Dust flying through the air, Max pulled the jeep around to a halt beside the path to the Pod Chamber. The car had just barely stopped before he was out of his seat and quickly stepping around to the passenger site to get Tess out.

“Let’s go.” He demanded in a no-nonsense voice. She just stared back at him with those all too calm, cool blue eyes. A chill ran down Max’s spine at her lack of reaction. Something was going on with her, and he didn’t like it. “Don’t even think about mindwarping me.” Max warned, his voice dripping with lethal threats.

“I’m not going to fight you, Max.” Tess tried to comfort him, as she climbed down from the passenger seat.

She stayed true to her word, walking directly towards the pod chamber entrance, with Max following a step behind her to stop her should she try to take off. It surprised Max how compliant she was being. She only hesitated for a moment, before waving her hand over the rock and pressing it down over the silver handprint that appeared.

They stepped side by side into the darkened cave, and for the first time Tess hesitated, Max wasn’t sure why.

“Come on.” He growled angrily, leading her towards the granolith. He crawled through Isabel’s pod to the now familiar hidden chamber, and stepped into the brightly lit room, thanks to the granolith’s glow.

Tess followed him in, staring up at the granolith in awe. Max stared openly at her reaction, trying to figure out why she was reacting so strongly to the granolith. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen it a dozen times before or anything.

Her eyes were glued to the swirling light in the center of the cone, as she distractedly walked towards Max. She wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing, and stumbled right into Max, who stuck his arms out to steady her.

His hands grasped onto the bare skin of her arms, and almost instantly there was a rush of energy between them. Tess glanced up at Max’s eyes in shock, and the moment their gazes met, the memories came rushing forth out of their subconscious minds, their world consumed with the familiar flashes that had been missing for much too long.

Image after image rushed through their joined minds.

The Crashdown shooting. Max’s fear as Liz lay dying on the floor, until he brought her back from the brink, opening up both of their worlds to entire new possibilities.

Their first kiss. The first time that they willingly gave into temptation after fighting it for so long. The pure love rushing through their fiery veins as for the first time both of them felt complete in each other’s arms.

Max walking away from Liz after the incident with Michael at the reservation. The pain and longing in her heart. She had finally found her other half, only for fear and doubts to keep them apart. Her anger and frustration in Max for not being willing to fight for their love.

Kiss after sweet kiss, as they discovered with wonder the melding of their minds through their flashes. Max’s wonder at seeing how much Liz loved and wanted him. Liz realizing for the first time that she wanted Max forever.

Liz walking away from Max at the pod chamber. Max’s disbelief, agony, fear…and most of all determination to change her mind. Determination that only grew in the time that Liz was away.

Max seeing Liz and Kyle in bed together, and the scorching pain and hatred that followed it. Giving up hope, after fighting for so long. Losing himself within his alien side, because his human side couldn’t take the pain.

Love that still, after all of the hurt couldn’t be denied. Max saw her sitting on the bench in the park, and he gravitated towards her, not even knowing who she was, because of the connection within their souls.

Even as the last flash faded away, Max blinked as understanding swept over his mind. His mind may not have understood what was going on at the time, but his soul had always known her, loved her, regardless of what she looked like.

He had been about to make the biggest mistake of his life.

Pure, undeniable love shone out from Max’s eyes as he stared down into her crystal blue eyes, unfamiliar eyes that now unlocked all of the secrets within, as with a hushed breath he softly cried out her name.

“Liz…” Max gasped with wonder.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-May-2002 11:56:29 PM ]
posted on 10-May-2002 7:04:05 PM
bump for Jo *happy*

Thanks for the awesome feedback y'all! Glad you're enjoying!
posted on 18-May-2002 1:06:08 PM
burntofferrings originally wrote:
in EOTW Fmax couldn't talk w/ himself b/c of the whole two of the same things sharing the same time, or something like that, but since liz is Tess, does that still apply? even though her essence is inside tess can she still come in contact w/ herself to convince herself of what tess has been doing, and what is going to happen? it will be interesting to find out *happy* come back soon!!*big**bounce*

Good question!

I think this is one that I can answer without spoiling TOO much *happy*

Realspacecadet and I had a long chat about how to handle that very issue...and the way we determined it to be in our fic at least is that it's not an essence thing, it's a physical thing. The world can't support two of the same person, and Liz IS Tess right her presence wouldn't effect present day Liz *happy*
posted on 22-May-2002 11:20:03 PM
Hey all!

Thanks again for the amazing feedback *happy* You guys are amazing, so as a gift I give you......the next chapter *happy*

Hope you enjoy, and let us know what you think *happy*

Chapter 21

The change was instantaneous. One world flashed away into a bright, blinding light, and then she was standing there in the new world. It all happened so quickly that it left Liz feeling disoriented for a long moment, as she adjusted to her new surroundings.

In a stray thought, Liz found herself wondering how it was that Future Max had been so strong, intent, and determined when he had suddenly appeared on her balcony. His whole universe had literally faded away into a flash of light, yet he stayed strong. It reminded Liz again how completely desperate he must have been at that moment, to not be lingering on what he left behind.

For Liz, it was haunting her.

One moment she had been staring into Max’s beautiful, loving eyes, loaded down with hurt, pain, and betrayal, and the next moment she was standing in the middle of the park, right beside the bench where only the night before, Max had unwittingly discovered her true identity.

Exhausted, both physically and emotionally, Liz collapsed onto the bench, staring up at the stars. Tears stung at her eyes, and Liz desperately tried to blink them back, determined to keep herself from falling apart…but it was to no avail. Every time she blinked, Max’s face appeared before her in the darkness. The look in his eyes was burned into her memory…the pain, the agony…he didn’t understand. He couldn’t ever understand that she had the power to fix things.

She couldn’t live out the rest of her life as the person she loathed most in the world. She would rather die…which was why she had to fix things.

In a failed attempt to try to calm herself down, Liz found her reminding herself that Max was gone. He would never again exist as he did in that moment…and that look in his eyes as he stared at her through the granolith’s walls would forever be only a memory haunting her within her own mind.

But she couldn’t let his face go. With every flutter of her eyelids, his eyes cried out to her, and soon she could no longer fight the tears that had been begging to fall.

With loud gasping gulps, and sobs of torment, Liz gave herself over to all of her fears and regrets from the past. She cried openly in a way that she had not allowed herself to do until that very moment. Letting herself go, Liz cried for Max and the pain she had caused him by leaving him behind. She cried for herself, and her worthless sacrifice from months earlier, praying desperately that she would get it right this time. Liz cried for Kyle, and the betrayal he felt when he learned Tess’s true nature. Most of all though, Liz cried for Alex…for the fact that she couldn’t save him from the pain that Tess caused him by using him for all of those months.

Liz cried until there were no tears left within her, and then still, dry heaves racked through her body, until finally with a few deep breaths she forced herself to calm down.

Summoning her strength, Liz pushed herself up from the bench, and turned. Max’s home was distantly in sight, the lights shining in the windows in the early evening darkness, beckoning her towards him. With an uneasy step, Liz started to cross the distance remaining between her and Max.

She came here for a purpose. It was time to make things right again.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Max Evans sat in his bedroom, a copy of Romeo and Juliet open in his hands, but the book wasn’t what held his attention. It was the picture he kept there, carefully slipped between the pages of the balcony scene, the most romantic part of the whole play.

Liz’s face shone out of the image at him, bright and cheerful, smiling and happy. It had been a long time since he had seen her that way…a long time since he himself had felt that way either.

Ever since last October it seemed as though his whole world was a darker place to be…ever since the day that Liz made it abundantly clear to him that she was no longer his.

Sometimes he was so angry with himself for feeling this way, for still loving her. What kind of a fool was he to pine away after a girl who ripped his heart into a million pieces? But he couldn’t help it. He had always loved Liz. Always. And he couldn’t let her go that easily.

So every night he locked himself in his room, and studied her face, because he had no idea what else he could do.

A shuffling near his window suddenly startled Max out of his reverie. Eyeing the window suspiciously, Max pushed himself up from the bed, pacing across the room with all of his senses on alert. Pushing the drapes cautiously to the side, Max focused his eyes in disbelief on the figure standing there.

“Tess?” He asked curiously of the girl who was his only friend to always come through the front door, never the window. “What are you doing here?”

“Can I come in?” She asked softly. Max nodded his consent, and offered her a hand to help her climb through the winder. Surprisingly, she refused his help, and climbed through on her own, steadying herself on the sill as she jumped down and hit the floor.

A shaking hand ran through her hair, as she studied their surroundings for a long moment, and Max couldn’t help noting her disheveled appearance. Tess’s hair was in tangles, her clothes surprisingly conservative, and her eyes were bloodshot and red, as if she had been crying. Max couldn’t remember ever seeing Tess cry before.

A chill ran down Max’s spine as he took in her appearance, and began to form a theory in his mind. Something was horribly wrong here, and by her appearance, Max had an idea what it was.

“Tess…are you all right?” He asked her gently. “Did somebody…do something to you?”

“Max, I need your help.” Tess turned to face him, her eyes burning into him with determination and strength.

“Of course.” Max replied instantly. “Just tell me what’s wrong, and I’ll do what I can to help.”

“It’s going to sound crazy.” Tess warned him. “I know it will, I’ve been there. Well, I’ve sort of been there. But it’s all the truth. I just need you to promise me that you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt here. I can prove to you that I’m telling the truth, if you just give me the chance.”

“I’ll listen, Tess.” Max insisted. “What is it?”

“I’m not Tess.” She burst out, quickly continuing before Max could dispute her statement. “I’m Liz, from nine days in the future. There was an accident, and Tess and I switched bodies somehow…I’m not even sure how. All I know is that I ended up as her, and she ended up as me. She’s evil, Max. The switch was enough to reveal her true nature. No one in my time would believe me…the group basically shunned me, and the situation was impossible to fix without Tess’s help. I need to prevent the switch from ever happening. Please…help me.”

Max stared at her in disbelief. What she was saying…it made no sense. Body switching and time travel? They were impossible events, even for an alien.

“How is it possible that you’re here if you’re from the future?” Max demanded quickly. “Time travel is impossible.”

“No Max, it isn’t.” She disputed in a sad voice. “I learned that time travel was possible back in October.” She paused, her face contorting painfully, as she sat down on his bed, running a frustrated hand through her hair. “God, I never thought I’d ever be able to tell you this. In my time, you never found out the truth.”

“The truth about what?” Max pressed insistently.

“The truth about what happened between me and Kyle last October.” She sighed. “We never slept together, Max. It was all staged. Kyle wasn’t even a part of what was really going on there. I used him. We used him.”

“We?” Max questioned.

“We…you and I. That is, the future version of you, and I.” She explained. “You traveled back from the year 2014 to get me to change the future. Unfortunately it didn’t work…because there were things that even the future version of you didn’t know, that are now apparent to me…namely, Tess’s true nature.”

Max shook his head wildly, as he stared into her persuasive eyes. None of this made sense…she was talking like a crazy person!

“No.” Max disputed quickly. “This isn’t possible. Time travel isn’t possible. I don’t know who you are, or what you are…some kind of shapeshifter or something, but you’re not Liz!”

She took Max totally by surprise by suddenly breaking out into a huge grin, and bursting out laughing loudly.

“Why are you laughing?” He cried in disgust.

“Because, I accused Future Max of the same thing…of being some kind of evil shapeshifter. The thing is, he wasn’t Max. He knew things before they happened. He proved it to me time and time again, that he was you.” Shyly, she lowered her eyes, studying her feet awkwardly, before breathing out. “I’d know you anywhere.”

“Prove it.” Max softly ordered, as she met his eyes again with a pensive gaze. “If he could prove it to you so easily, then prove it to me. Show me that you are who you claim to be.”

She nodded slowly, and Max could almost see the wheels turning in her head as she tried to decide what to say to prove it to him. And then, so quickly it took Max completely by surprise, she crossed the room to him, wrapped her arm around his neck, and pulled his head down to meet her lips in a hard, determined, passionate embrace.

posted on 1-Jun-2002 4:36:02 PM
Hey guys...thanks for the bumpage. I'm going to post the new part SOON...the problem is I can't get onto my computer because my little brother is downloading music on it (I'm on my mom's right now). So as soon as I can wrench control of my proper computer away from him, I'll be able to post the hopefully sometime in the next hour or so...
posted on 1-Jun-2002 6:06:29 PM
Enjoy *happy*

Chapter 23

They woke early the next morning, quickly preparing for the day’s events in silence. The tension was thick in the room though, as each of them kept passing lingering glances at each other. Occasionally, their eyes would meet, and they would quickly look away, trying desperately not to be caught staring, to no avail.

Even as he pulled a clean shirt over his head, while she ran a brush through her hair in the opposite corner, Max found himself remembering the last time they had slept wrapped up in each other’s arms. It seemed like an eternity in the past…the night that he had escaped from the white room. She had been his lifeline then, the only thing keeping him going as he fought his inner demons and regained enough strength to lead them towards defeating the F.B.I.

This time it was the exact opposite. She was the leader, the warrior, the one loaded down with inner scars. And she was the strong one. She was the one that was going to do what needed to be done, at all costs.

Max didn’t think he had ever admired Liz Parker more than he did at that moment.

“Okay…I’m ready.” Liz announced softly, turning and meeting Max’s probing eyes head on. Her gaze was gentle, loving in a manner that was almost unnerving to see in Tess’s eyes. Tess was incapable of looking at him with such unconditional love…just another piece of evidence proving that Liz was who she claimed to be.

“Are you sure?” Max asked her gently. “You don’t have to do this. We can find another way.”

“No…we need to do this.” Liz insisted. “I need to do this. It’s the only way I can ensure your future.”

“I love you.” His whispered oath took her by surprised, and she stared at him through tear glazed eyes for a long moment, silence filling the room, and the rest of the world fading away.

“I know.” She answered him softly. “But you’re not going to lose me, Max. You’re going to walk out that door, and go to me, to the real me, and you’re going to tell her everything. And I swear to you, Max. I will love you so much that I will never let you go again. And we’re going to be so happy together.”

A tear dripped down Liz’s face, and Max took an step towards her, ready to wrap his arms around her for comfort, but she quickly gestured for him to stay back, wiping her own tears away.

“Don’t.” She softly scolded. “It will only make this harder. Go to her, Max.”

Hesitantly, Max nodded his agreement, meeting her eyes one last time in a loving gaze, before slipping through his bedroom door, calling a quick goodbye to his mother, and heading out the front door to the jeep.

Tears stung at his own eyes as he forced himself not to look back, and say goodbye to the woman he loved, who was willing to give up everything for him.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Liz Parker lay in her bed, the blankets pulled up around her chin for warmth, yet she still shivered from the cool air blowing in through the open window. She had forgotten to close it the night before as she stumbled into her bedroom, seeking her bed for solace and comfort.

She had barely slept that night…just lay in her bed, her eyes wide and bloodshot, stinging with the tears that wanted to fall, but just couldn’t break the surface. The image of Max and Tess curled up together kept haunting her, flashing before her eyes, and she just couldn’t shake it away.

She felt sickened, disturbed…miserable and alone, and admitting it for the first time since Future Max had left months earlier. All of this time, she had always been clinging to the smallest shred of hope that something would change…that she didn’t push Max to Tess…that he still loved her.

But now that hope was gone. It was over.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Liz ran a weary hand through her blonde curls, as she watched Max pull away in the jeep, without looking back. That was the one thing that she was thankful of. He wasn’t looking back…he wasn’t lingering on her. He was moving forward, securing his future, as he rightfully should be, rather than wasting his time worrying about her imminent demise.

The time had come for her to end it.

Taking a deep breath, and shivering from all the built up tension inside of her, Liz swiftly turned, heading by foot across town towards the Valenti house.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Max paused beside her window, squatting down as he peeked through her window. The room was dark, except for the morning light streaming through the open window, and Max could see her figured, laying stiffly in the bed.

In his months of loneliness and misery, Max had come here often, hoping to say something, anything to Liz, but unable to find the words. Often he had found himself crouching beside her window, as he was at that moment, just peeking through, and watching her sleep. He knew it was stalkerish, but he couldn’t help it. He missed her.

As a result, he knew her sleeping habits. And he could tell that she was not sleeping at that moment.

“Liz…” He quietly called out. “Can I come in?”

Max waited for a response and was surprised when she didn’t answer…just stiffened visibly in her bed, and continued to stare at the ceiling.

“I know you’re awake.” He continued softly. “Please…I really need to talk to you.”

Liz sighed, a soft sound that was like music to Max’s ears, and he watched as she sat up and allowed herself to meet his eyes.

“What do you want, Max?” She asked him in a dull voice, and it was only then that Max noticed her bloodshot eyes.

“Liz…what’s wrong?” Max quickly asked worriedly, sliding through her window, and quickly crossing the room to her bedside. “Are you okay?” He pressed, his eyes searching hers wildly.

Unhesitantly, he leaned forward to gently cup her cheek in a loving gesture, and was shocked when she turned her head to avoid his touch.

“I’m…I’m sorry.” Max stammered, realizing that he had overstepped his boundaries…but he couldn’t help it. With everything going on…all he wanted to do was make Liz, his Liz, the happiest girl alive, after learning all that she had been through, and all that the future version of her was going through at that exact moment.

“What are you doing here, Max?” Liz sighed again, breaking his gaze and studying her blankets awkwardly. “Shouldn’t you be with Tess right now?”

“Tess?” Max asked in confusion. “God, no. Only you…I need to talk to you.”

“About what?” Liz asked softly.

“About you.” Max answered firmly. “And how amazing you are.”

“What are you talking about?” Liz murmured softly, still refusing to meet his eyes.

“I’m talking about the truth, Liz. I know the truth.” Max explained quickly. “I know that you never slept with Kyle. And I know about the visitor you had from the future.”

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Liz stood in front of the Valenti’s house…the place where she had lived for the past eight days, and took a deep breath, preparing herself for what she was about to do. She was making a risky move…and she prayed that her calculations were correct…that she would not fail.

Still, it was an odd feeling to know that in a matter of moments she would cease to exist. What did that mean? Would she die? Go to heaven? Or would she simply be wiped from existence. Would it be painful?

None of it mattered of course…it didn’t change what she had to do.

Still, even as she stood, silent and still on the sidewalk, beneath the early morning sun, she remembered the life that she had led over the past seventeen years…and Max’s loving eyes appeared within her mind, watching her proudly.

With a determined step, Liz remembered why she was doing this. She was giving herself, and Max, a chance at a future. They were going to live a happy life together, and nothing was going to prevent it now.

Quickly, with determination, Liz crossed the Valenti’s front lawn, headed quickly up to the front porch, and unlocked the front door with her powers. Slipping through the door, Liz closed the door behind her, and turned to head down the hallway, before a curious voice stopped her.

“Tess…where did you go so early?” Kyle murmured, his voice heavily muddled with sleep.

“Don’t worry about it, Kyle.” Liz comforted him softly. “I had to take care of something.”

“Okay.” He accepted, rolling over and quickly falling back asleep. Liz breathed a sigh of relief at his quick trust, before heading down the hallway, and placing her hand on the doorknob. Her hand shook with tension and fear, yet she ignored her own doubts, as she quickly turned the knob, and stepped into the room.

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

“That’s impossible.” Liz stated firmly, sending Max a sharp gaze. “You couldn’t possibly know what you’re talking about…unless….” Liz’s voice trailed off, as she pondered the possibilities. Her eyes darkened angrily as realization hit her gaze. “Aw, hell.” She swore. “It was Maria, wasn’t it? I’m going to kill her.”

“No.” Max denied quickly, not wanting to get his friend in trouble. “It wasn’t Maria, Liz. I swear. She didn’t break your trust.”

“Then how?” Liz demanded. “How could you possibly know about what you claim to know?”

“I’ve had my own visitor from the future, Liz.” Max explained gently. “Last night, she came to me from a mere nine days in the future, because…”

“Last night?” Liz laughed bitterly, cutting Max off quickly. “I thought you were with Tess last night.”

“Tess?” Max gaped, staring at her in disbelief. “What are you talking about?”

“You know, Tess?” Liz spat out at him in disgust. “Your destined bride? The one that you slept with last night. That Tess.”

“That I slept with?” Max repeated, a slow smile sliding across his face. “You came to my room last night?”

Liz froze, a guilty expression on her face. “I was just…I wanted to…I mean…” She stammered shamefully, trying to find an explanation for her actions.

“It’s okay, Liz. You don’t need to explain.” Max comforted quickly, smiling gently at her. “However, I think I do need to explain a little more thoroughly here.”

Liz nodded her agreement, and Max took a deep breath, searching for his words, before finally continuing.

“The person that you saw me in bed with last night was not Tess.” Max explained truthfully. “It was you, from nine days in the future.”

“How is that possible?” Liz asked, her voice loaded down with firm disbelief.

“She came back from the future to prevent an accident that would have occurred tomorrow. There was some sort of power surge at the UFO Center that you and Tess got caught in, and somehow, when you both woke up, you were in each other’s forms. That was when you, the future version of you, discovered the truth. Tess has been working against us all this time.”

“What?” Liz gasped. “That’s not possible. You need her. She’s imperative to your survival.”

“She’s not.” Max disagreed firmly. “She cut a deal with Nicholas years ago that if completed would result in my death…and Michael and Isabel’s as well.”

“But Future Max said…”

“Future Max must have never known.” Max guessed. “After the switch, you ended up with Tess’s powers, and Tess’s life. You took the fall for her. She basically destroyed your life. So you took matters into your own hands, and used the granolith to come back here and stop it from ever happening.”

“Where is she right now?” Liz wondered softly.

“Taking care of Tess.” Max murmured, his own voice sad. “She wouldn’t let me help. She said it would be easier if she just went. We’re never going to see her, or Tess, again.”

posted on 20-Jun-2002 8:00:36 PM
It's coming! I swear!
posted on 20-Jun-2002 9:23:29 PM
Hey everyone!

Well, we've come to the end of our long journey here! I hope you guys have enjoyed the run. I know it's been a blast for me. I want to say a huge thank you to Realspacecadet for letting me cowrite this with her. I don't think we ever clarified HOW we cowrote this to you guys, but it was her idea, I have to give her major props for that. We plotted it out together, and then switched off every other chapter writing. Hopefully it flowed well enough that you couldn't tell whose chapter was whose! LOL! We didn't always post the chapter we wrote ;)

ANYWAY...thanks for letting me write this with you. It was my first time cowriting a fic with someone, and it was an awesome experience. Very cool, very fun...and I do really, really hope that we do it again sometime *big*

And thanks to all of y'all who stuck with it through every twist and turn. Thanks for the fantastic feedback! You guys have been absolutely wonderful readers!

And on that note, I'll go ahead and shut up and give you guys the chapter. Enjoy *happy*



It wasn’t until late that afternoon that the gang gathered out by the rocks at the pod chamber to discuss the happenings of the past day. Max and Liz were already there waiting, long before the rest of the gang arrived. The couple sat side by side on the rocks, their sides pressed together, and Max’s arm wrapped tightly around Liz’s shoulder in an intimate manner that hadn’t been seen between the two since Max escaped from the F.B.I almost a year earlier.

They hadn’t been apart all day. Liz stayed by Max’s side that morning as he slowly healed Alex’s badly warped mind of the damages that Tess had left behind in their friend. It had been a painful moment for the three of them when Max had finally pulled out of Alex’s mind to confirm that Future Liz’s warnings were not exaggerated. Alex’s mind was so weak, he was without a doubt near death before Max had helped to save him. With the evidence of Tess’s betrayal so blatantly before them, Max and Liz had to admit that they no longer had any doubts or regrets about all of the events of that morning.

The mortality of them all was now a rude awakening to the couple. Tess was dead. Alex almost died. They had been in danger on a day to day basis for almost a year, and no one had even been aware of it.

Liz found herself shivering at the memory of the cold looks Tess used to pass her way when she first arrived in Roswell. She knew, without a doubt, that Tess could have eliminated her at any moment in an attempt to win Max, and wondered darkly why the alien never tried it.

Max caught her thoughts at that moment, noticing the way her brow furrowed in deep thought, and her gaze darkened angrily.

“Hey.” He murmured softly, as he leaned over and pressed his lips to her scalp. “Shhh…no regrets, okay?”

Liz nodded stiffly. “Right.” She agreed, as she took a deep breath to try to calm herself. “No regrets.” She repeated, obviously trying to still convince herself.

“What is it?” Max pressed gently as he eyed her with concern.

“It’s just…I can’t help wondering why she didn’t just kill me to get me out of her way or something. Alex almost died, and he wasn’t even an obstacle for her. I was though. I was the biggest thing standing between her and you.”

“Maybe she knew that if you died it would destroy me.” Max mused, with a sad shake of his head. Turning, Max met her eyes with a serious gaze, reaching over to brush his thumb gently across her face. “It would, you know. It would completely destroy me. If it was you instead of her…I’d probably never recover.”

“You would.” Liz argued. “It might take some time, but you’d eventually move on.”

“No.” Max insisted one last time. “I wouldn’t.”

Liz smiled shyly at his passionate belief, before moving on to another theory.

“Maybe she wanted you to come to her on your own terms.” Liz suggested. “If you united with her while I was still around and a factor in all of this, then it would have been a greater victory for her, than if I was dead and out of the way leaving you with no other options.”

“Maybe.” Max agreed softly, his own eyes darkening at the thought of him ever choosing Tess over Liz.

“I just keep thinking about Future Max.” Liz burst out suddenly, tears forming in her eyes as she remembered her experiences with her own visitor from the future. “He believed in what he was doing completely when he was here. He was sure that if you got together with Tess it would fix everything that went wrong in his world. He must have never learned the truth behind her actions.”

Max shook his head sadly, as her words struck him hard. “I can’t even imagine ever feeling that way…like Tess and I are the world’s only hope? I could never feel for her anything even remotely close to what I feel for you.”

“He didn’t seem to feel that way at all.” Liz sighed. “He seemed to think that it would be possible for you to forget about me if I hurt you enough.”

“He was an idiot.” Max stated firmly, shaking his head in disapproval at his own future self’s misled actions.

“No, he wasn’t.” Liz disagreed in a soft, thoughtful voice. “He wasn’t an idiot. He was just a man who had lost everything, and was clinging to what he believed to be his last hope at ever being able to right the mistakes that he had made. The problem being that sometimes you just can’t. We’re not supposed to have that much control over our own destinies. I mean, look at where we are now. He did everything in his power to split us apart because he believed it was right, but we still managed to find our way back to each other. We weren’t what went wrong in that world, regardless of what he thought.”

Max nodded silently, as he let her explanation for his own actions sink in. He hated the idea that in the future he could become such a desperate man that he would doubt the only stability in his life that kept him sane. Liz was his life. He couldn’t imagine ever denying that.

“What was he like?” Max softly asked. “He…I….whatever I should call him.”

“Future Max?” Liz responded curiously.

“Yeah…tell me more about him.”

“Why?” She wondered softly, studying him carefully as she asked.

“Because I want to understand him. I want to understand what could ever drive me that far over the edge that I would deny the only truth I’ve ever known.”

Liz sighed, shaking her head in rebuttal of what Max was saying. “It wasn’t like that, Max. He denied nothing. He just had certain evidences that he put together to believe a certain truth, kind of like when scientists believed that the earth was flat hundreds of years ago. They believed it because they didn’t have the kind of evidence that we have now, like telescope images from space. Future Max saw that we were weak without Tess, so he believed that if we had Tess, we’d be stronger. But she left so early into that world that he never learned that she was a traitor from the start.”

“Future Max knew only his reality. What he saw was that the skins destroyed the world, and we were so weak that we were all basically murdered. He had lost everyone of any importance to him, and was facing either imminent death, or the possibility to take his own life by changing the past. He chose the latter.” Liz explained. “However, the life he lived was a wonderful one for him until the end of the world. We were together. We were happy. We got married in Vegas at the age of 19…eloped, because we were that much in love. That night that you saw Kyle and I together…he chose that night for a reason. It was the night that we were going to cement our relationship permanently. He knew that if he tried this any later than that exact night, that breaking us apart would not be an option. And he knew it because he lived it. That was his reality.”

Liz glanced at Max and watched at he absorbed all of this with wide eyes, slowly nodding his head in understanding, when it was obvious that he didn’t really. The life that she was describing, up to the end of the world, sounded as perfect to him as it did to her when she first heard the story. The idea of giving it all up was almost unfathomable to them both…except that whatever had happened to end it made it all worth while to the Max Evans of the future.

Liz shook her head and smiled softly at Max’s shocked look, and decided to lighten the moment to help him out.

“And then of course there was the long hair and the leather pants. I have to say, even for an old man, you looked pretty damn sexy in full leather.”

“Excuse me?” Max gaped in shock at her sudden words.

She grinned evilly at him. “You heard me.” She teased.

“Please tell me you’re joking.” He pleaded. “Leather pants? What happened? Did Future Isabel get her hands on me?”

“I have no idea.” Liz laughed in amusement. “I didn’t exactly ask him to explain the leather pants! They weren’t that bad though. You actually looked pretty cute in them.”

“Cute?” Max exploded huffily.

“Well, you know…sexy, hot…you had that whole bad-ass look going on.” Liz insisted. “It actually sort of suited you.”

“Riiiight.” Max shook his head doubtfully.

“I swear, it did!” Liz laughed.

Her head suddenly turned at the sound of the motor of an approaching car.

“That’s the jetta.” Liz stated, turning to see her best friend’s car approaching with Michael in the passenger seat, and Isabel and Alex in the back. “They’re here. Are you ready for this?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Max nodded with certainty, all humor gone from his eyes. “Do you think they’ll believe us?”

“They’ll have to.” Liz insisted. “It sounds crazy, trust me, I know…but Maria already knows my side of the story about Future Max, and Alex’s healing will also prove a lot of it. This won’t sound so farfetched when they can help to confirm it all.”

The jetta pulled to a stop a few feet away from them, and Max and Liz both stood to greet their friends, their hands connected for strength as they approached the car.

“Maxwell.” Michael greeted his friend with a nod as he stepped from the car. He glanced at Liz and nodded silently to her, enough of a greeting for Michael. “What the hell is this meeting all about? And why the hell did we have to come all the way out here?”

Max’s eyes ran over the forms of their friends, pausing on each and every one with a slow smile. These were some of the only people that he had grown to trust over the course of his short life. The people he could count on. The people he would always know would be there for him for the rest of his life…a life that he hoped would be long and prosperous. The future had been changed. Tess was gone. Hope had been reborn. And the future was yet to be determined, as it should be.

Max smiled gently at them, praying that he was lending them his strength, before slowly he began to speak.

“A lot has happened over the past few days.” Max explained. “You have no idea how much. We have quite a story for you.”

The End