Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell. UPN, Melinda Metz, and Jason Katims do.
Rating: PG-13
Category: M/L, I/A, M/M
Summary: Isabel is telling her grandchildren about what happened to her brother Max in Germany in the 1940s, when their family housed a Jewish girl.
Author's Note: um, feedback would be appreciated. um...there have been large gaps between parts and I'm SORRY! uh, I think that's it.

Part 1

“Isabel, I think they’re old enough to hear it.”

“But Alex, I don’t know. What if they get upset? What if it scares them?”

“It was an upsetting time. It WAS scary. And I think they’re old enough to know. Some people who lived through it were younger than they are. And they need to know sometime.” Alex said, putting an arm around his wife.

“Yeah, but now?” Isabel asked.

“It’s the anniversary. Come on, the kids have been coming to an annual party since they’ve been born, and they have no idea what it’s for. Not to mention, they think it’s a party, so they are wondering why you are always crying at it.”

“Okay,” Isabel said quietly. “Are you sure twelve, eleven, and nine are old enough?”

“Twelve and eleven, definitely. They’ve probably already heard about it in school. And Darren’s almost ten. He’s also very mature for his age. I think he gets it from me.”

“Please! I doubt it skipped a generation, and anyway, since when are you mature for your age?” Isabel said, pushing Alex’s arm.

“Well, there was that time when…and that that other time when…and…oh, you’re right, I’m not mature for my age!” Alex said with a grin on his face. “But seriously, I think they need to know.”

“Fine. Just let me okay it with Beth and Maria first.”

Isabel Whitman walked over to her daughters, who were laughing and washing the dishes. Or, at least, Isabel supposed they were washing the dishes. They had somehow gotten into a soapsuds fight. When she reached them, Maria threw soapsuds at Beth, who ducked, and it ended up hitting Isabel.

“Mom!” Beth and Maria exclaimed at once. “Oops,” Maria muttered.

“Guys, it’s okay. Just a little soap. Anyway, your father has been bugging me, and I kind of actually agree, that it might be time to tell Bess, Max, and Darren about what happened. You know, with Max and Liz. So I was wondering, is it okay with you if we tell the story.”

Maria and Beth exchanged glances. “Well, yeah, it’s fine with me. It’s a part of their past. I think the kids need to know.” Maria said.

Beth was a bit unsure. “I’m fine about Max, but isn’t Darren a bit young?”

“Well, he’s going to be learning about it in school soon, anyway. And he’s almost ten, Beth. That’s not that young. Alex says that Darren is very mature for his age, and he takes after him.”

Maria and Beth burst out laughing. “Dad? Mature for his age? Where did he get THAT idea?” Beth asked.

“Don’t ask me. So you’re okay with it?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Beth said. “So when are you going to tell them?”

“Now, I guess. It is the anniversary, after all.” Isabel said. “Are you guys coming? I think that they might need a little comfort afterwards. Especially Bess, and possibly Max. They are named after them, you know.”

“So am I,” Beth said, rolling her eyes.

“And do you remember how upset you were when I told you?” Isabel asked with her eyebrows raised.

Beth looked down and bit her lip. Maria called to the kids, who were watching television in the other room. “Max, Bess, Dar! You guys need to come out here. Grandma wants to tell you something!”

The three kids came in soon after Maria called. “What’s up, Mom?” Bess asked curiously.

“Why don’t you guys sit down? It’s a long story.” Isabel said.

“Sure, Grandma, but what story are you going to tell us?” Max asked.

“A story about my brother.”

“You have a brother?” Darren asked.

“Yes, a brother. A twin, actually. And this is a story about when we were both 16, and we lived in Germany. It was a few years after Adolf Hitler became the leader of Germany and the Nazi party came to power, a time now known as the Holocaust, and the time when Liz Parker came into our lives…”

Germany 1940

Jeff Parker looked out the window for the last time. It was a dark night, and there was no moon. He sighed and hung his head. The landlady had kicked them out. She was scared of the Nazis and what they would do to her if she had Jews in the building, so she kicked them out.

“Nancy!” he called softly. “Is everything packed?”

“Yes!” she called from across the room. “I’ll just wake up Lizzy and we’ll be on our way.”

She went over to the bed and shook the body in it. “Liz, you have to get up. It’s time to go.”

“But Mom, I thought we had until noon to leave. Why are we leaving at night?”

“I’ll tell you later, Liz. But we have to go.” Jeff said.

“Okay.” Liz got up and changed quickly. She started to pin a yellow star on her jacket, but Jeff stopped her.

“Don’t put that on.”

“But Dad, all Jews have to wear yellow stars when we go out. It’s the law.” Liz said, pushing her long brown hair behind her ear.

“Just…don’t put it on now. I’ll explain later. But we have to go. And now!”

Liz put the star in her pocket and meekly followed her father and mother out the door. She noticed that they were being very cautious not to be seen, and she wondered again why they were leaving so late, with the Jewish curfew and all.

They reached the woods and her parents relaxed slightly. “Okay, it’s about a mile along the woods, then we can return to town.” she heard her father say to her mother.

“Wait. Where are we going?” Liz asked, catching up to them.

“We’re just going along the woods so that we won’t get caught,” her father said softly.

“Oh.”

They continued walking along. About forty minutes later, Jeff stopped. “Okay, we head toward civilization now.”

They resumed walking. A little bit later, they came to a house. It was far away from the others, but not by much. Jeff looked around then walked up to the door. He knocked twice.

The door opened to reveal a man and woman. “Jeff, come on in! Nancy, nice to see you. This must be Liz.”

The three were ushered into the house. Liz pulled her father off to the side. “Dad, what are we doing here?”

Jeff sighed and looked at Liz. “Lizzy, you are my only child, and I couldn’t bear it if anything ever happened to you. I talked to my old friends, the Evans, and they agreed to take you in. Think about it Liz! They changed the papers, and now it looks like they have always had three children instead of two. They aren’t Jewish, and so you won’t be hunted again.”

Liz started shaking her head adamantly. “No, I’m not leaving you and Mom.”

“You have to. We’ll be close by. But please, Lizzy, let us know that you’ll be safe.”

Nancy had walked over during the middle of the conversation. She pulled Liz into a hug. “We will always love you, remember that. And that is why we need you to do this for us, need you to become one of the Evans’ family. We need you to be safe.”

Liz held tight to her mother and pulled her father into the embrace. “I’m going to miss you. So much. I love you. You’re my parents. Do you have to leave?”

“Yes, honey,” Jeff said. “But one day, when this is all over, we’ll come back for you and we’ll all be together again. I promise.”

“Daddy, Mommy.” Liz cried. She usually didn’t call her parents that, after all, she was sixteen, but it was an emotional time.

“Jeff, Nancy, you need to go.” Mr. Evans said, watching the family.

“Goodbye, Liz. We love you.” her father said, pulling her crying mother out the door. Liz felt tears run down her own face freely as she sank down to the floor. “Mom, Dad.” she called softly.

Part 2

Philip and Diane Evans watched as their young charge crumpled to the floor. They let her cry for a little while, then Diane went over to her. “Liz, honey, I think you should go to sleep now. You’re going to have a long day tomorrow, and then you’ll have school the day after that.”

Liz looked up. “Where am I going to sleep?” she asked.

“In our daughter Isabel’s room. She’s fifteen, actually about six months younger than you. She had a pretty large room to begin with, so you’ll have plenty of room.

Liz bit her lip. “And I’m not intruding?”

“Heavens, no!” Diane exclaimed. “Jeff and Nancy were our friends way before you were born. We’d love to help them out.”

“Yes,” Philip said in confirmation of his wife’s outburst. “We’re really glad to help. We don’t like this persecution and we don’t believe in it. We want to do anything we can.”

“Thank you,” Liz said softly.

“You’re welcome.”

There was a moment of silence until Diane clapped her hands. “Okay, we better get you settled in so you can get some sleep. We’ve always had an extra bed in Isabel’s room; we didn’t tell her you were coming. We should wake her up and tell her, but don’t get too offended if she’s rude, she’s always really cranky when she gets woken up.”

Liz nodded silently. Diane led the way to Isabel’s room. They passed another door on the way to Isabel’s room, and Liz softly inquired whose room it was.

“That’s our son Max’s room. He’s a little bit older than you.” Diane answered.

They finally reached Isabel’s room. It WAS large. Diane went over to one of the beds and gently shook the lump that was in it. The lump groaned and stretched. “Mom? What time is it?” the lump, which Liz presumed was Isabel, asked.

“It’s about one in the morning.”

Isabel sat up. “And WHY did you have the sudden urge to wake me up at one in the morning. Did you want to tell ghost stories or something, because I’m really not in the mood?”

Liz bit back a slight laugh. ‘I think I’m going to like her.’

“Isabel, we have a guest, and she’s going to be staying in your room tonight. I’ll explain everything in the morning, but I think that Liz is tired, so we’ll let her sleep in your spare bed. Okay?” Diane asked Isabel.

“Yeah, sure,” Isabel said, rubbing her eyes. “Hi!” she said to Liz.

“Nice to meet you,” Liz said, extending her hand. Isabel shook it.

“You can put your stuff over there, Liz,” Diane says. “You can unpack later. Right now, just get some sleep, okay?”

“Okay, thank you, Mrs. Evans.”

“You’re welcome, dear.”

Diane left, and Liz settled into the spare bed. “So your name’s Liz, right?” Isabel asked.

“Yes.”

“Liz what?”

“Parker.”

“Well, I’m Isabel Evans, which you probably know. I’m fifteen years old. How about you?”

“Sixteen.”

“Oh, okay. Well, there aren’t many things you need to know. Dad fought in the Great War (which was what they called World War I before there was a World War II). So did my uncle, and he died in it. Max, my older brother, is dating Tess Harding at the moment. Her father’s a very influential member of the Nazi party, so I wouldn’t bad-mouth them when he’s around. She’s not very nice, by the way, and I don’t really know what he sees in her. Maybe it’s the fact that all the guys want to date her. She’s an Aerean, also, with the blond hair and blue eyes. He’s not, he has dark brown hair and hazel eyes, but supposedly most girls think he’s handsome.” Isabel rolled her eyes.

“Anyway,” she said, yawning, “Considering the fact that it’s one o’clock in the morning, I think we better get back to sleep. We can talk more in the morning. Night, Liz.”

“Night, Isabel.” The younger girl drifted off to sleep easily, but Liz found it hard to sleep. Would she ever see her parents again? The Evans seemed nice enough, but what would Isabel do when she found out that Liz was Jewish? And what about this Max guy? Finally, she drifted off uneasy sleep, haunted in her dreams by a faceless stranger, who she could not remember upon awakening soon after.

Diane walked softly into the room and took Liz’s coat to hang up. She was hanging it on a hanger when something yellow drifted out of the pocket. Diane stooped down to get it. It was Liz’s yellow star.

Diane sighed as she looked at it. ‘She can’t use this anymore.’ She went and got a bowl. She threw the star in it with a burning match.

From the doorway, a pair of brown eyes, which had been opened when the intruder had entered the room, watched the only thing left of history go up in flames. Then she sighed and went back to her room to sleep, perchance to dream.

Across the room, another pair of brown eyes watched the scene with confusion. He didn’t notice the other observer whose eyes burned into the star, seemingly making it blaze higher. He only saw the curling paper disintegrate into ashes. And he didn’t know that while the star was crumbling to ashes, someone else’s life was crumbling, too.

Part 3

Diane Evans walked into her daughter’s room, being careful not to wake Liz. She shook Isabel slightly, whispering that she should be quiet. Isabel groaned and sat up. Diane put her finger to her lip.

“What’s going on, Mom?” Isabel whispered.

“Come on, your father and I have to talk to you and Max. But be quiet, Liz needs her sleep.”

“Sure.”

Isabel threw on her robe and walked out behind her mother. Diane stopped in Max’s room and woke him up as well.

The four Evans met in the living room of their house. “Okay,” Philip began. “Isabel, you have met Liz, but Max hasn’t. What do you think of her?”

Isabel pondered for a moment, then spoke. “She seems really nice, and she’s really polite. I think she’ll be a really good friend.”

Max furrowed his eyebrows. “Wait. Who’s Liz?”

“Well, she’s…” Diane began, but trailed off. She noticed someone walking into the room. “Liz! You’re up early.”

Liz smiled. “Yeah, well, I always get up early. I noticed Isabel was gone, and I heard voices, so I came in. I’m not interrupting anything, am I?” she asked, her smile fading a bit.

“Not at all!” Diane exclaimed. “Oh, and while you’re here, let me introduce you to our son, Max.”

Liz looked over to where Max was standing and her breath caught. As for Max, he hadn’t taken a breath since she walked in. He was turning sort of purple. He finally remembered to breathe, though.

Their gaze held for what seemed like hours as Isabel watched, her eyes sparked with interest. Maybe they could get rid of Tess, once and for all.

The parents were oblivious, as usual. Liz slowly extended her hand, never breaking eye contact. Max shook it slowly.

“Max Evans,” Max introduced himself.

“Liz, Liz Parker,” Liz stuttered.

“Not from now on,” Philip said, breaking the mood. Max and Liz withdrew their hands and looked away.

“Liz, maybe you should get breakfast. The kitchen is right through there,” Diane said.

“Okay, thank you,” Liz said, and walked through the doorway.

Max watched her walk away, then hit himself mentally. He had a girlfriend! And what had his father meant by saying she wasn’t Liz Parker anymore? Who was she? The Easter Bunny?

“What do you mean, she’s not Liz Parker anymore, Dad?” Isabel asked.

“Well, you see, it’s like this…” Diane started. “Well, uh, it’s kind of complicated.”

“What’s complicated?” Isabel asked.

“Well, we have been friends with Liz’s parents for many years now. We, sort of, lost touch a while ago. Now they need our help. We’ll be taking Liz in. To anyone other than us, her name is Liz Evans, and she is Max’s twin sister who has been away at boarding school for the past 11 years. You are to tell no one that she is not our true daughter, especially Tess, Max. Maria and Aunt Amy know, but that is it. Got it?” Philip asked.

“But Dad, why all the secrecy? Why are we pretending she’s our sister?” Isabel asked. “And why can’t we tell anyone, ESPECIALLY Tess?”

Diane sighed. “Because she’s Jewish, and Nancy and Jeff are our friends, and we won’t let anything happen to her. You know how everyone is persecuting the Jewish.”

Max’s eyes became dark with anger. “You mean, we’re protecting and pretending to be related to a…to a Jew?” ‘Scratch her being the Easter Bunny, she doesn’t even celebrate Easter!’ he thought angrily. “I won’t do it! I should go to Tess’ house this minute and tell Mr. Harding that you’re harboring this…Jew!”

“Now, Max…” Diane started.

“No. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t tell.”

“Because you know what will happen to us, then,” Diane said softly. “We’ll get killed or shot or sent to a camp and even though you might get off free you’ll have to live with the fact that you basically KILLED your parents and your sister. So if that isn’t a good reason, then what is?”

Diane’s voice had been getting increasingly louder throughout her speech, and Max was fuming. He couldn’t let anyone find out about the Jew who was living off of them and endangering them without hurting his parents and sister in the process.

“And you’re going to have to pretend that you like having her here, Max, because even though siblings fight, they do not outright hate each other. And you haven’t seen your ‘sister’ for eleven years, so act like you are glad to see her. She’s supposed to be your twin! So act like it,” Philip commanded.

“This is going to be fun!” Isabel squealed. “I always wanted a sister!”

Max spun around and looked at her disbelievingly. “You’re kidding! She’s not a sister! She’s like a ward. And an unwanted one at that. She’s a Jew! They’re filthy and disgusting and you know it. They caused Germany to be like it is, in ruins. So don’t tell me that you think this is going to be fun, cause it’s not. She’s a Jew.”

Liz watched the scene unfold with haunted eyes. They were all the same. They found out she was Jewish and they hated her. She couldn’t go to school because of it, she lost all her friends because of it, and now Max Evans hated her for it. Funny, when she looked in his eyes before, she hadn’t seen these demons haunting him. She had even fooled herself into thinking she might have had an ally in him. She turned to walk away, but froze when she heard what happened next.

“Wait just one minute, Mr. Almighty Max Evans,” Isabel’s voice was like venom as she spat out the words. “What has happened to you? You’re talking about Jews as if they’re an inferior…race or something. Like they’re always wrong and if you’re against them, you’re right. As if they were slaves or something. Well, I’ll give you a hint. We’re not in ancient Egypt, and they are not inferior beings. They are humans, just like the rest of us. {J} And they don’t deserve to be persecuted.”

Her voice grew softer and harsher. “What HAS happened to you? She’s like, corrupted you. You’re totally on her side, their side, now. And that’s sad, because I remember what you used to be like. You used to be nice, and kind, and now you’re like this puppet who does whatever you think will make her happy, and if you don’t believe in it, she drums it into to you until you do. Do you remember Kyle Valenti? You guys used to be best friends, but we never see him around anymore. Why? Because he’s Jewish. And you shunned him. You don’t even know what happened to him, do you? He was dragged away, to a camp. And do you know what they did to him? They made him work, SIXTEEN hours a day, with the sustenance of only two scraps of bread and a bit of soup for each day. Finally, it became too much for him, and he decided that he had to get out of there. So he tried to escape. And he was caught. And instead of just shooting him point blank, they decided to torture him. They put him in a cage, in the center of the camp, and they made him stay there. The bars of the cage all had spikes on them, pointing inward, so that whenever Kyle moved, he got stabbed. And they wouldn’t let him get out of his misery. Whenever it seemed like he was fading towards death, they would give him a bit of bread or water, just enough to sustain him. He spent four months like that, FOUR MONTHS, Max. That’s a third of a year. He was an example to all those who tried to escape. Finally, after those four months, he was allowed to die, and was thrown into the pit of bodies.

How do I know this? Because, two months after that, Kyle’s father, Jim, decided he would try to escape. The camps had taken his son, and he would not let them take him without putting up some sort of fight. And he actually managed to escape. He tried to come here, for our help, and Maria and I found him collapsed by the old willow tree. Skin and bones. That was basically all that was left of Jim Valenti. We gave him some food and water, and he told us what had happened. Then he died, in our arms. From exhaustion, from hunger, from loneliness, all because of them. So why don’t you tell your little girlfriend THAT.”

Isabel turned to walk out, but spun around again. “And another thing. Unwanted by whom? Because I want Liz here, Mom and Dad want Liz here, and you’re the only one against it! You know, you should just grow up, Max! Because even though you are a year or so older than me, you certainly don’t act like it! So why don’t you keep your childish opinions to yourself, because I don’t think anyone in this house wants to here it!”

She stormed out of the room and went to her room. Liz followed. She knocked on the door and heard a soft, “Who is it?”

“It’s Liz.”

There was a noise in the room, it sounded like a ‘thump’, and Isabel opened the door rubbing her head. “Come on in. You know, this is your room now, so you don’t really have to knock.”

“Oh, right,” Liz said, as she sat down on her bed. “Um, I kind of just came in to say thanks. You know, defending me to Max. I’ve never really had a real friend who would do that, I mean, everyone’s so afraid and, well, just…thanks.”

“No problem. I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with him. It’s just, with Tess and all, he’s changed.” Isabel’s tone was somber, but turned bright. “Wait, you said you don’t have many friends?”

“Hardly any,” Liz mumbled.

“How’d you like to make a new one?”

“As long as you’re not planning on it being Max.”

Isabel laughed. “No way. Come on, you can meet Maria! She’s the greatest.”

Isabel pulled Liz out of the house, yelling to her parents that they were going next door to Maria’s. She barely acknowledged the glaring Max, who was standing by the door. Max noticed the two, though. One with a long gold curtain of hair, and one with a long chocolate curtain of hair, running together side by side.

He shook his head and closed his eyes. All Jews were wrong and he disliked them, young and old. So why was he having such a hard time hating this one?

TBC

Part 4

Liz actually fit in pretty well in school. She hadn’t been recognized for two reasons. One, she really hadn’t gotten out much and her parents had home schooled her for a while. Two, she had gotten her hair cut. It was now just past shoulder-length.

Max had introduced her to Tess, but only out of courtesy. It would have been weird if he hadn’t introduced his sister to his girlfriend, and they didn’t want to appear out of the ordinary in any way.

Liz had taken a disliking to Tess immediately. Maybe it was the fact that she was a Nazi, maybe it was her high voice, maybe it was the corkscrew curls, but there was just something about her that Liz did not like.

Other than that one meeting, Liz basically avoided Max. She spent her break time with Maria and Isabel. They were both extremely nice to her, and it was very sincere. Liz found this a bit surprising, but it wasn’t unwelcome at all. She had once mentioned to the two girls that she was surprised that Isabel and Max were from the same gene pool, and they had laughed.

“Sometimes I wonder that, too” Isabel giggled. Growing somber, though, she had said in a whisper, “Seriously, though, he hasn’t always been like that. He was a really nice guy, but then he started dating Tess. She changed him somehow. And now he’s a part of her group. I don’t even really know him anymore.”

Across the room, where Max is sitting:

Max was sitting next to Tess, who was clinging to him like a lifeline. Across from him sat a couple of his buddies. Missing from the group were Tess’ clones, who were in the bathroom. Seriously, could girls not go to the bathroom by themselves? They had invited Tess, but she had said that she “couldn’t leave her Maxie-poo all alone.” Also missing was Michael, Max’s best friend, who was absent that day.

Sean, one of Max’s friends and actually one of Tess’ ex-boyfriends, was staring at Maria, Isabel, and Liz’s table. “Man, Max, your sister is FINE! She’s hot!”

Max glanced at the table quickly and turned back to Sean. “Lay off Isabel, okay?”

Sean shook his head. “No, your other sister. Beth or something?”

“It’s Liz,” Max said tersely. “And she’s not your type. Believe me.”

Sean looked back at the table. “No, she looks exactly like my type.”

Max practically lunged across the table and grabbed Sean’s collar. “I told you. Lay. Off. Liz. Got it?”

Sean nodded. Max let him go, and Tess once again reclaimed his arm. “Aw, that’s so sweet, big strong Max sticking up for his sister. I knew I loved you for a reason,” she cooed, and snuggled her head into his arm. And for the first time that she did that, Max felt uncomfortable.

Max, Isabel, and Liz walked home. Usually, Max walked in front and Isabel and Liz walked a bit behind him, but this time Isabel jogged to catch up with Max. Talking in a low voice, so Liz couldn’t hear, she asked, “What was all that about?”

“What was all what about?” he asked innocently.

“You know, during break,” Isabel hissed.

“What happened during break?” Max asked, trying to play dumb. It didn’t work.

“With Sean!” Isabel exploded.

“Huh? Oh, he just was trying to hit on my younger sister,” Max said, hoping she would take that as an answer and not look into it.

No such luck. “But Sean always tries to hit on me, and you’ve never actually hurt him before,” Isabel mentioned.

“Yeah, well, it wasn’t exactly you,” Max said under his breath.

“Huh? Who was he tryin…Liz,” Isabel guessed. Max nodded.

“But then why did you almost choke him?” Isabel asked.

“Just trying to look the part,” Max mumbled. Isabel smiled knowingly, but held back to wait for Liz. Max kept going.

While the family, plus Maria and Amy, was eating lunch, there was a knock on the door. Liz excused herself and went to answer it. She still wasn’t used to the whole be-part-of-the-Evans-family gig.

When she saw the person at the door she gasped. “Michael!” she cried, and launched herself into his arms.

“I take it you two know each other,” Maria said from behind them.

“Are you kidding me?” Liz asked. “I’ve known Michael forever! He worked in my father’s business until a year or two ago, when Dad fired him. Dad wanted him to get a job somewhere else, in a non-Jewish place, so that he could actually get somewhere in life.” Liz had tears in her eyes. “Michael was the only one that Dad actually had to fire. Some of them quit on their own, and some of them quit when Dad pressured them to, but Michael,” she smiled, “he wouldn’t leave. It took Dad about two months to get up the courage to actually fire him. None of us wanted to, but we knew it was for the best.” Liz turned back to Michael. “It’s great seeing you.”

By now, everyone had come into the front hall. Max couldn’t help but feel something, he wasn’t sure what it was, gnawing at his stomach from seeing Michael and Liz wrapped up in each other. Even though he knew that Michael was dating Maria, he still had the feeling. Was it jealousy? Nah, it was probably just a side affect of his mother’s mashed potatoes.

Liz tore herself from Michael’s embrace. Max asked from across the room, “So, what are you doing here, Mike?”

“How many times have I told you not to call me that, MAXWELL,” Michael teased. Then he said, “Actually, I’m hear to talk to Liz.”

Liz looked confused. “About what?”

Michael sighed. “It’s your parents, Liz. They found them.”

Liz gasped, “What?”

Michael hung his head. “They found them hiding in the woods. Your father…he tried to run. They shot him.”

Liz shook her head. “No.”

Michael continued, “Your mother was taken by them. They tied her feet together and her hands together, and then they led her along by a rope. They were crossing the street when a car came barreling toward them. The Nazis ran out of the way, but Nancy, she couldn’t run with her feet tied together. The car ran her over. They’re dead, Liz. They’re gone.”

Liz was crying by now. “No! It’s not true!” she yelled, and ran out of the house.

Michael made a move to stop her, but Maria held him back. They just stood watching Liz run away.

But Max found his feet following her.

Part 5

Mr. and Mrs. Evans and Mrs. DeLuca watched Max follow Liz with surprised eyes. Max had made it quite clear that he hated Liz and all Jews. So what was he doing?

Maria, holding tight to Michael, watched with wonder as Max ran out the door. Had he really changed his beliefs that much? Had that one girl been able to release him from the leash that Tess held?

Michael watched his best friend with a hint of surprise as he followed Liz, but also with a hint of relief. It was about time Max changed his views and decided to do what was right.

Isabel smirked slightly, seeing her brother chase after Liz. She knew that there was something there, not that her brother would admit anything. Him…and a Jew? No way. Her smile grew wider. ‘Well, I guess it just took a little push.’

Max had absolutely no idea why he was following Liz, but his feet did not want to obey his brain. Instead, they wanted to obey his heart. So he let them. And kept on going.

Liz was running. Running away. Running away from her parents’ death, running away from her surrogate family, running away from life. Running away to the woods. And she couldn’t cry.

Liz took a few steps into the woods and collapsed. That’s when the tears came. At first they fell slowly, but then the doors were opened and they fell freely.

A pair of strong arms wrapped around her waist. She turned and blinked through her tears. “Max?” she gasped. Was it really him or was it a very real hallucination?

“Yeah, it’s me. Shh…” he whispered as he started to rock her gently in his arms. ‘What am I doing?’ he screamed at himself silently.

‘What is he doing?’ Liz wondered.

Trying to convince himself that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing, he whispered, “Hey, I’m your brother, right? And brothers aren’t supposed to let their sisters cry. Well, as long as they weren’t the cause of the tears.”

Liz smiled a bit. Max thought, ‘She has an amazing smile,’ and found himself unconsciously leaning towards her.

‘No! What are you doing?’ he chastised himself. ‘You can’t do that! She’s a Jew! You’re not! And you have a girlfriend! So stop it!’

Max pulled away as quickly as he could without harming Liz. He started to back away. “And now that you’re okay, I’m gonna go.” He turned and started running, not noticing that he was going the wrong way and actually going INTO the woods, instead of back out of them.

Liz stared at his retreating back in disbelief. What was that? One minute he had been sweet and caring, and the next, he was running away as fast as his legs could carry him! Guys.

Liz shook her head and got up. She supposed that she should go after Max, after all, it would look pretty weird if she came back without him. Why had he gone deeper in the woods, anyway? Why didn’t he just go home?

Liz started walking in the general direction in which Max had been going. Stumbling over a few fallen branches, she wiped her eyes with her sleeve. Then she started wandering aimlessly through the trees.

It took a little while, but she finally found Max. He was a wreck, sitting down with his back to a tree. He was talking aloud to himself, and she found herself eavesdropping on his “conversation”.

“But I don’t know what to do. I mean, my brain says one thing, my heart says another, and I don’t even know how they’re talking to me! But anyway, for some reason she just makes me want to throw everything I know out the window. Everything.”

Liz looked closer, and saw that he seemed to be talking to a squirrel. But about who? ‘Tess, probably,’ her mind said. But something in her told her that wasn’t it.

“She’s just amazing, you know, Bob,” Max said, still talking to the squirrel.

‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, must be hallucinating. Did he just call the squirrel Bob?’ Liz thought.

“And I don’t know what it was today, but I just got this overwhelming sense of, I don’t know, maybe…jealousy when Sean was talking about her today. And that’s not right. Because…she’s a Jew. And for the past few years I’ve had this one thing drilled into me, that Jews are wrong, and evil, and the cause of everything bad that has ever happened in the history of Germany. I’ve been told that by the government and by all the teachers and by my girlfriend, which brings up another point. I have a girlfriend. A wonderful, though sometimes annoying, girlfriend. So why am I having these weird feelings about Liz?”

Liz stood there, her mouth agape. ‘He was talking about me?’ She didn’t notice that she was unconsciously moving out from behind the tree into plain sight.

Max looked up and caught Liz’s eye. He then turned back to the squirrel. “You see? Now I’m even hallucinating and imagining that she’s here. She’s just a daydream, and I know that because right now the real Liz is sitting in my living room or Isabel’s bedroom either crying her eyes out, sleeping, or talking. Because there’s no way she’d come after me.” Max started walking closer to Liz, taking the squirrel with him.

“In fact, I could probably kiss her right now and she wouldn’t do anything because it’s just my dream version of her!” Max announced to his squirrel. Liz watched on, frozen in place. She couldn’t have moved for her life. “You just watch.”

It wasn’t until his lips touched hers that he realized that she was real.

Part 6a

‘What am I doing?’ Max thought to himself. ‘I can’t do this!’ But his brain did not seem to be completely connected with his mouth, so he kept on kissing her.

Liz had gasped at the first contact of their lips, making it easy for Max’s tongue (also not completely connected with his brain) to enter. She moaned, tracing her tongue against his, effectively breaking him out of his trance.

He pulled back quickly. “What am I thinking?” he asked aloud, and took off deeper into the woods.

Liz stood in place, staring at where he had disappeared. She backed up to the tree and slid down until she was sitting.


Max made his way back towards his house. He was avoiding the area where he had left Liz, but he didn’t know why. He was pretty sure that she had gone back to the house after he had left her. So she wouldn’t have been there anyway.

He was kicking himself for kissing her. She was Jewish. And that was wrong. But still…even though she was Jewish, there was this connection between them that he was tired of denying. But he would anyway. To protect himself. To protect her.

He knew that if anyone ever found out that she was Jewish, they would all be in big trouble. But if anyone found out that they were seeing each other…it would be even worse. Not to mention the fact that they were supposed to be keeping up the pretence that they were brother and sister. And incest wasn’t looked upon to highly.

He also wasn’t sure what his family would think about the situation. I mean, they didn’t like the Nazis, they cared about the Jews, but he still didn’t know what they thought about inter-religious relationships.

By this time, he had reached the door of his house. He opened it, and was bombarded by questions. “Did you find Liz?” “Is she all right?” “Where is she?”

‘Oops. Looks like she didn’t come back,’ Max thought.

He decided to take the easy way out. Avoiding Isabel and Maria’s eyes, he said, “No, I didn’t find her. I thought she had wandered back here.”

‘Well, it’s only half-lying,’ he thought to himself.

Isabel narrowed her eyes and was about to say something when Maria pointed out the door. “Look. There she is.”

Liz, after composing herself, had decided to come back. She had reached the edge of the tree line when she saw Max almost to the house. She gave him about a minute, then walked to the house.

When she got in the house, she too was bombarded. She answered as many as she could.

Maria, seeing how Liz and Max kept avoiding looking at each other, asked Liz, “Max said he didn’t find you.”

Liz looked quickly at Max, which Maria’s eagle eyes caught. “Well,” Liz began, “I did move around a bit. Met a squirrel, calmed down a bit.”

Max looked at Liz and asked, “Hey, what happened to your hand?”

This caused everyone to look at her hand. Sure enough, there was a pretty large gash there.

“Oh, wow, Liz that looks big,” Isabel said. “Here, come on, Maria and I will help you.”

In the bathroom:

While Maria was cleaning the cut, Isabel was grilling Liz. “Come on, Liz, we know that you and Max didn’t tell us the whole truth about what happened in the woods. Come on! What really DID happen?”

“Nothing…ow!” Liz winced.

“Liz, I’ve known my brother for my whole life. And I know you pretty well, too, ‘sis’. And the one thing I know that you both have in common is that you are VERY bad liars. So tell me the truth. What REALLY happened?”

Liz hesitated, biting her lip. “Well…”

Maria, who was now bandaging the wound, spoke up. “You can trust us Liz. Whatever you tell us will not leave this room.”

“It can’t,” Liz muttered.

“What was that?”

“It can’t leave the room,” Liz said a bit louder.

“It won’t,” Isabel promised, shutting the door. “It won’t.”

“Well,” Liz began, “I was crying in the forest and someone came up behind me. It was Max. He held me, and comforted me, and then he ran off into the woods.”

“He what?” Maria gasped.

“He ran off into the woods.”

“And that was it?” Isabel sounded disgusted with her brother.

Liz looked down and shook her head. “No…”

“Well, what else happened, then?” Maria asked.

“I followed him,” Liz whispered softly. Then her voice got louder and stronger. “I followed him into the woods and I saw him talking to a squirrel. A squirrel he had named Bob. And the weird thing was…he was talking about me. About how he was confused and had feelings for me. Then he saw me. But he didn’t think it was me; he thought I was a mirage of some sort. So he walked up to me and…he kissed me. And then he realized it was really me, and he ran off into the woods again. Then after a little while I came back here and he had told you guys this story of not seeing me. And I had to go along with it. Otherwise I would have made him look like an idiot.”

Isabel was silent through this whole speech. Afterwards, she looked at me somewhat oddly and said, “You had the tools to make Max, a guy who has been mean to you for your entire stay here, look like a total idiot, and you didn’t?”

Liz nodded slowly, trying to see what she was getting at.

She looked over at Maria and said, “It must be love.”

“What?” Liz yelped. Then, realizing how loud she was being, she lowered her voice to a whisper. “What?”

Isabel rolled her eyes. “I was kidding.”

“Well, you’re all bandaged up,” Maria announced.

“Yeah, now we can go out and see loverboy,” Isabel teased.

Liz smacked her arm as they walked out of the bathroom. They were acting more like sisters every day.

TBC


Natures first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So Dawn goes down to day
Nothing Gold can stay
-Robert Frost