posted on 25-Nov-2002 2:39:10 PM
Name: PeachRoses aka Peachykin
Title: The Memory of Her
Pairing: Mi/L (Polar til I die!)
Rating:NC-17
Discalimer: I do not own Roswell, that belongs to Katims... unfortunately.
Summary: First few chapters are Michael and Liz POV, but switches to third person. What happens when Michael and Liz finally reveal their love?
~*~

Light creeps through the thin curtains in my apartment. I can sense the emptiness in my bed where Liz had been sleeping. Even before I open my eyes I know she’s gone. She must have left before dawn.

I roll over and bury my face in the worn out pillow where she’d rested her head, hoping it still has her scent on it. Undeniable comfort consumes me as the unmistakable scent of Liz, lavender and vanilla, wafts through my nose filling my lungs and my heart. The feeling fades as I miss the body that carried that scent.

This how it has to be. Neither of us like sneaking around, but too many people depend on us. We have to play our roles or this whole thing, Royal Four, future of our planets, friendships, will fall apart. We love our friends, Max and Maria, but not like we love each other.

So this is the dance we do. Some nights, after her parents go to sleep, she creeps out her window and comes to me. Some nights I come to her. And for a few brief hours we spend time together in truth and not the lie we put on for the others.

If you had told me two years ago that me, Stonewall Guerin, be in love with Liz Parker I would have told you screw off. But something happened after I stole her journal. I only wanted to see what she’d written about us, to make sure she wouldn’t get us in trouble. What I didn’t count on was seeing the real Liz. The concern she had not just for herself or Max, but all of us. Me.

I’d always envied Max for a lot of things, but never more than after I read what she wrote about him. Somehow, I knew in that moment that things would never be the same. That I would never be the same. Because I started to love Liz Parker. The words she wrote broke something inside me. I never believed humans were capable of the kind of compassion that she has for us. What did I know from love, except violence and abandonment?
I didn’t tell her how I felt. Hell, when do I ever tell anyone how I feel? But I couldn’t help but sense that she knew. Stolen glances that lasted a little too long. A brush of the hand that seemed innocent enough to the naked eye, but sent electricity though my body.

Then one night it happened. Something in her eyes told me I wasn’t alone in my torment. The way she stood there twisting her finger and biting her lip. Waiting. Begging me with those dark brown eyes, to do something. I don’t think I’ve moved across a room so fast in life.
I think she tried to say my name, but I didn’t give her a chance. Slience had been our refuge and I didn’t want it shattered. Everything that had gone unspoken in the over the months were finally said in that kiss. She was scared. Of me. Of the way I made her feel. Never a thought of Max or Maria. All I could feel was her. I knew by the way she was holding onto me that she felt me too.

Ever since then Liz and I have been together, in secret. We know we should tell everyone, but the time never seems right and our world feels so fragile, but never mour love. That is stronger than anything I’ve ever known.
***
I’m not sure how she does it, but Liz seems to know me, no matter how many walls I put up. She always seems to know what I’m thinking.

I tend to put up this gruff exterior to keep from getting hurt. Over the years it worked it’s way inside and I wasn’t pretending anymore. I was angry. Angry at the people who left us here. Angry at Max and Isabel for having the family I never got. Just angry. And I found that when I’m with her, I’m not so angry. She calms me and helps me find my balance.

She’s never put any high expectations on me or demanded anything from our relationship. She told me once she was just happy to “be”. I still don’t know what she means, but she smiles when she says it, so it has to be a good thing.

Lately things have been rough. Alex was killed, by some unknown alien. Max got Tess pregnant and the baby is dying. And yesterday Liz, Maria, and I found everything we need to know to get home. We have to leave. I knew this day might happen, I just didn’t count on it coming so soon.

I haven’t told Liz about Max’s son or that we’re leaving yet. I was going to last night, but I couldn’t. I wanted to see her smile one more time. I wanted to feel her body beneath mine and know I was the one giving her that smile. That, if only for a moment I brought happiness into her life. I told myself I’d tell her this morning, but she’s alreaady gone. Back to reality. Back to Max. And I go back to Maria.

Liz is going to find out we’re leaving soon enough. I want to be the one tell her, but I have a bad feeling it’s going to Max. I want to tell her I don’t want to leave her. If I had a choice I’d stay, but I don’t. There’s no other way home and whoever I was... am, is important to my planet.

I want to tell her I won’t forget her. I don’t want to forget her, but everything is so unknown. Damn Max. I was supposed to be the screw up not him.

I don’t want to leave my bed but I’m meeting Max, Isabel and Tess at the granolith to activate the damn thing. I’ll stay for a few more minutes. A few more minutes with the memory of her and how we were.

~*~
TBC...



[ edited 34time(s), last at 21-Feb-2003 2:52:36 AM ]
posted on 26-Nov-2002 3:22:16 PM

Chapter 2 (Liz POV)


They are leaving. Michael is leaving. I can’t bear to say the words out loud. That makes it real. Why did I have to hear it from Max? Why didn’t Michael tell me last night?

Oh God! Last night was our last night together. No wonder he seemed so different last night. Michael’s always been passionate. “Intense.” is what Maria calls him. I never really saw him that way. But last night that was the only word to describe him. Intense. The way he made love to me, touched my face, and whispered my name over and over, as if saying my name was something sacred and holy.
~~~~*~~~~~
I was just getting into bed, exhausted from my trip to Las Cruces with Michael and Maria. We never had time to decide who’s place we were going to be at that night because Maria was never more than an inch away from Michael. So I resigned myself to sleeping alone.

I took one last look outside my window, hoping maybe I’d see Michael climbing over the ledge. Instead I saw snow. Had to be Isabel. I lay back on my pillow, trying not to think about what finding the translation to the Destiny Book, would mean and the price Alex paid to get it. Michael, Max, Tess and Isabel had found their way home. Would Michael leave me? If not now, when?

My thoughts were broken by a gentle tapping on the window. I turned and saw Michael staring down at me. He looked different, almost scared. I swung my legs over the bed and quickly let him in.

“Michael. I thought you were with Max and...” I started.
“And Isabel,” he interrupted, his voice shaking. “Yeah, but now I need you to come with me.”
“But we could stay here. My parents are asleep.” I said confused.
“Liz. Please. I just need you to come with me. No questions.” he said urgently.

I opened my mouth to speak again, but something in his eyes begged me to just trust him, which I always did. I nodded my head and grabbed my sweatshirt from my desk chair. He was outside the window by the time I’d slipped on my shoes. He extended his hand to help me out. The snow was still falling.

I followed him down the fire escape and onto his bike. I pressed my body into his back and held him around his chest as we wound through the streets. He kept his hand on my thigh the whole time gently rubbing it with his thumb, as if making sure I was still with him.

We finally pulled up to his apartment and I handed him my helmet and waited for him to open the door. He held it open as I walked in. The air almost crackled. It was so tense. Something loomed. There was something he wasn’t telling me.

I turned to ask him what was wrong, but I was met by his predatory gaze. It was the same look he gave me the first night we kissed. We never said anything that night either and I had a feeling tonight would be the same.

Before I could even form another thought I was wrapped in his arms and his lips were devouring mine. I’d never felt him this way, primal, hungered, almost starving... intense. He didn’t just want me, he needed me. He need me to not to question his actions just to feel what he was feeling. He needed me to give into the hunger he felt and I was more than willing to give him that.

His hands tangled in my hair as his kisses grew more desperate. My lungs burned with need for air. I pulled my mouth from his and gasped. We were both panting heavily and I took a moment to search his eyes for any answers. They were dark with desire and I knew any questions I had would have to wait.

He took one of his large hands out of my hair and caressed my cheek gently. I always thought he could hold the whole world in those hands, or at least my world. He brushed his thumb over my parted and passion bruised lips. I could see him fighting back the tears that had welled in his eyes. I never minded if he cried, but I knew it embarrassed him. I rescued him by taking his thumb into my mouth and sucked gently, rolling my tongue over it causing him to moan low in his throat and close his eyes. Such a simple gesture made intensely erotic in that moment.

His tears seemed to disappear and he brought my face back to his for another bruising kiss. He gently urged me with his body to back up towards the bedroom. For every step I took back he took one forward, never letting our bodies be even a centimeter apart. I pushed his coat off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. He did the same with my sweatshirt and it fell on top of his jacket. The two articles of clothing lay tangled on the floor, mirroring the state of their owners so many times before.

Michael’s hands were all over my body as we made our seemingly endless journey to the bed. His hands gripped my waist and moved beneath my tank top resting on my back. I started unbuttoning the top of his shirt feeling the frustration of not being close enough to his skin. In my impatience I ripped the shirt open sending buttons flying all over the room. I tore the offending garment from his body. I think it landed on a lamp, I didn’t care. I made a mental note to buy him a new shirt the next day.

I attached my mouth to his chest biting slightly and licking every exposed area I could find. Not realizing where we were Michael’s knees seem to buckle as he ran into the bed. We both gasped at the loss of each other’s’s touch. As he sat on the bed he reached his arms out and pulled me to him, settling me, standing, between his legs. I lifted my arms slightly allowing him to lift my tank top over my head. He rested his head for a moment between my breasts, his soft hair tickling my chest. watched him close his eyes as he listened to my heart beating, as though he were memorizing it. I could feel his warm breath dancing over my nipple hardening it immediately and sending an undeniable ache to my lower body. I wanted to feel his mouth on me, but this was his show so I remained still.

As if reading my mind, I felt his lips close over my nipple. I let out a moan, not even attempting to stifle it. I wanted him to know he affected me as much I seemed to affect him. He responded by sucking harder and pulling me closer. I threw my head back as he switched to the other side making sure each breast got equal attention.
I became fully aware of him as his too tight pants revealed his straining erection to me. I attempted to relieve him of that strain, but he shook his head only saying. “Not yet.” I ached to know what exquisite torture he had in store for me.

His hands moved down to the waistband of my pajama bottoms. He deftly untied the string holding them up and slipped them off my hips gathering at my feet. I saw a smile cross his face for the first time as he saw I had no underwear on underneath. “That’s my girl.” he whispered.

He stood up from the bed to tower over me. I took the opportunity to apply some torture of my own caressing his erection through his jeans. He hissed and took my hand in his own bringing it up to his face and kissing my palm.

He gently lifted me onto the bed and hovered his body over my own. I could see his muscles straining under the weight of his formidable body. He leaned in for another kiss, his tongue teasing mine. He made his way down my body leaving no curve or plane untouched by his mouth. I nearly cried out when he kissed my inner thigh his breath flowing over my extremely sensitive core.

I could barely see the ceiling my vision was so blurred with lust and I let out a cry as I felt his tongue slowly, torturously glide over my folds, never touching exactly where I wanted him to most. My whole body reacted to his ministrations. I had no control over my hips, but he steadied them with his strong hand.

When I thought I could take no more I whispered his name desperate plea for release. “Michael... Please.”

That was enough for him as he locked his mouth onto my bundle of nerves sending shockwaves through my body. I grabbed the headboard and arched my back as my orgasm crashed through my body. I screamed what can only be described as an unintelligible language as I rocked against his mouth.

I released the headboard when I felt him leave me and he stretched out next to my still shaking body . I looked over at him with hooded eyes and grinned. He grinned back, but it was only for a second. Another look of worry crossed his beautiful face. I hated seeing him like that, especially after what he had just done to me.

He avoided my gaze for a moment by putting his hand over his eyes and sighing deeply. That was my chance to catch him off guard. I slid down his body and before he could protest I unbuttoned his jeans and slipped them off his hips. A wicked grin took over my face as I realized he wasn’t wearing any boxers and I came face to face with his gorgeous member. “That’s my boy.” I said huskily.

“Liz.. you don’t have too. I want this to be about you.” he protested.

His plea was lost on me as I gently gripped the base of his shaft and ran my tongue up to the head. I heard his breath hitch and his body tensed and I took that as my cue to continue. I took the head into my mouth sucking gently then rolling my tongue over it as I had done earlier with his thumb.
“Liz...” he panted as though he forgot to breathe.

I never thought of my name as a sexual word, but the way he said it sent that familiar curl of heat to my core. I took him fully into my mouth and bobbed my head a few times. I lightly scraped his head with my teeth eliciting a groan from deep in is throat. I looked up at him his hand still covering his eyes and biting his lip trying to remain in control.

I felt his hands reach for my face as I took him deeply one more time. He lifted my head forcing me to release him from my mouth. His eyes were black with desire and he growled my name sitting up. He gripped my shoulder and rolled me over. Our bodies lying sideways on his bed, my hair cascading over the edge. This time he didn’t hover over me as he kissed me. I felt the comfort of his weight resting on me. I could feel his erection resting at my entrance.

He looked into my eyes and slid inside me, not gently, but not rough either. We both let out moans as he filled my body. This was always my favorite part of making love to Michael. Sure, the orgasms were mind blowing, interstellar, but it was the always the first moment our bodies were joined that always took my breath away.

He thrust in and out of me slowly at first building our speed as our control slipped away from us. He never said anything, but my name. I could tell, by the volume at which he spoke, how close he was and he wouldn’t last that much longer.

He never closed his eyes, he kept them locked with mine. I smiled for a moment, happy that I would be the only one to see him like that. Vulnerable. Out of control. In love. For some reason that smile seemed to be is undoing. I felt him throb inside me and the he yelled my name. That was enough to send me into my second orgasm. I cried his name over and over until our bodies, slick with our sweat, came to a rest.

In my haze I swore I could hear car alarms going off, and the street seemed darker as though the lights had gone out. Only the sounds of our breathing filled the air.

I wrapped my arms around Michael and stroked his back. He brought up his head and nuzzled my neck. I felt tears fall on my collarbone. He was crying. Sobs began to rack is body as I held him, confused. We’d made love so many times before and he never cried. Why was this so different? Was it because of the bomb that nearly killed me today? Was I closer to death than I had realized?

Finally wanting answers I lifted his face to mine, “What’s wrong, Michael?”

He couldn’t, or wouldn’t, answer me. The tears kept coming and he seemed muted by a lump in his throat that no amount of swallowing could get rid of.
He slipped out of my body and rolled off. Ashamed I’d seen him cry. I moved to lay against the pillow and brought him with me resting his head on my chest and griping my waist. I stroked his hair trying as best to soothe whatever pain seemed to grip his heart.

“I love you.” I whispered.
“I love you too.” he finally replied.

We sat like that for what seemed like hours. I was about to press him about hat made him so upset, but I felt his breath grow even and realized he’d fallen asleep, his arms still wrapped around me tightly as though I might float away. His steady heartbeat lulled me to into slumber.

When I woke he was still sleeping, one arm was draped across my waist still anchoring me to him. I had to go home. I would have stayed longer if I’d only known. Just to hear him tell me he was going leaving. But it was almost dawn and I had to get home. I didn’t want to wake him. Now I wish I had.

He looked so peaceful sleeping there. The rise and fall of his chest was so even and his heartbeat was steady and strong. Even the harsh look on his face normally carries was gone. Moments of peace seem few and far between for all of us, but especially for Michael. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who really understands that or appreciates that despite his pain he’s always pushing it away to protect the others.

Now I know why he was so intense last night. He was memorizing my body to take with him on his journey. Every swell, every plane etched into his memory. If I’d known I would have done the same. To think of all that time I wasted hunting down Leanna with Max, when I could’ve been saying goodbye to Michael. The man I truly love.

Instead, I’m lying in my bed. Alone. Waiting for the familiar sound of his Dr. Marten’s on my balcony. Knowing they will never come. He’s saying goodbye to Maria. I can’t even think about what that means.

Michael’s so damn noble, sometimes. If the others only knew what he’s sacrificed for them. His happiness. With me. Everyone thinks of Michael as the loose canon. If anything he’s the most stable one of the us. I wanted to tell everyone about us when we first got together, but he said we have our roles to play. We had to keep everyone in balance. If we revealed our true feelings for each other’s it would destroy all of that. I knew he was right, but at this moment it seems like it was a stupid sacrifice. Right now I don’t care who it hurts. I just want Michael.

I should have known something was wrong this morning when he and Max came to the Crashdown. I saw it in his eyes. It was the same look he had when we first found out Alex had been killed. Scared and sad. But Max needed to talk to me and I foolishly went with him. That was the last time I saw Michael. With that look in his eyes. That’s the memory I’ll have to hold.

It was all for nothing. Leanna didn’t kill Alex. The killer is still out there and he’s... they... are just leaving us. They’re going to get on their spaceship an hop off this little rock. How can they leave knowing we’re still in danger? How can Michael leave me?

In an effort to keep my mind off of what he’s doing with Maria I try to think of the good times we had. Tears burn my eyes as I remember our firsts. The first time I knew he trusted me not only with his secret, but with his heart. The first time he looked at me with love in his eyes. The first time he kissed me. The first time he pulled me into the Eraser Room for a heavy make-out session.

The first time we made love, he was so nervous. So was I. He was shaking and I kissed him. He stilled and told me he loved me. He’s the only one who truly knew what was in my heart. He’ll be the only one.
There are so many things I want to say to Michael. How much I’ll miss stealing glances at him during work. How much I’ll miss hearing his unmistakable footsteps on my balcony. Or the way he scratches his right eyebrow when he’s concentrating on something. Even the way his stubborn sense of duty aggravated me. I just hope he knows how much I’ll miss him. How much I love him.

My thoughts keep drifting back to his apartment. Our apartment. That was our place to “be”. Now he was sharing it with her. Her head could be lying on the pillow Michael bought for me when I complained his were to lumpy. Her heart is beating next to his. Maria who he loves, but like Max said tonight, “Not like he loves me.”

I feel restless and nauseous. I have to get out of here. I keep seeing Michael with Maria. The man I love sharing our bed with my best friend. It’s pain I’ve never known existed.

I grab my jacket and step out of the window. Where am I going? Where can I go? Who can help me keep my mind off of Michael and Maria?
“Sean.” I say out loud.

Please forgive me Michael.

~*~
TBC...



posted on 27-Nov-2002 3:29:25 PM
I'm posting new chapter today but I won;t be able to tomoorw. Be back Friday with more. Hope eveyone has a great Thanksgiving. *happy*


Chapter 3

Part 3 (Michael)



It’s almost dawn again as Isabel, Max, Tess and I walk through the desert to the granolith. None of us has said anything since we left Valenti and hour ago. Normally I’d welcome the silence. It drowns out the noise in my head. Now it’s too quiet, leaving me alone with my memories of Liz.

If I could just hear her laugh one more time or even say my name. My last night on Earth was supposed to be with her not Maria. It should’ve been with Liz. I’m not a bastard. Or at least I try not to be. I love Maria. Just not like I love Liz. I don’t think I’ll love anyone like I love Liz. That’s why when it came down to it tonight, I couldn’t sleep with Maria, but I couldn’t break her heart either. She believed me when I said that I couldn’t let our first time be our only time, because I was leaving. Part of me bought into it too. Truth was I’d already spent my last night with Liz and I didn’t want to ruin that by having sex with Maria. See, I told you. At least I try not to be a bastard.

So I did what I thought Maria would most appreciate. I showed her my life, I owed her that much. It took everything I had to put her image in the center of my universe, instead of Liz. For once in my life I wanted to leave someone happy, because I knew Liz wasn’t.

Tess and Isabel’s muffled sobs bring me out of my thoughts momentarily, as we walk in darkness. This was supposed to be the best day of my life, or at the very least the happiest. Going home.

Somehow, now, it seems all wrong. Forced. I feel as though I’m being ripped away from my life here instead of being allowed to let go. How could I ever let go of Liz?

I see Max holding onto Tess and I want to take him aside and ask him how Liz was? How did she take the news? Does she hate him for what he’s done? Does she hate me? Maybe someday, if this little trip doesn’t kill us, I’ll ask him. For now I’ll play my part, stoic and silent.

My thoughts drift again as I gaze at the fading stars. a smile creeps over my face as I remember a day last year with Liz. She told me once it was the best day she’d ever had. I teased her and said “In Roswell, that’s not saying much.” But now that I think about it, she was right.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It had been shaping up to be the worst day of my life. My damn alarm clock never went off. I knew I was going to miss the bus, but I just got my motorcycle. No problem. Then I looked outside and it was pouring down rain. Just great.

I picked up the phone to call Max for a ride, but there was no dial tone. Forgot to pay the phone company again. Perfect. Really getting that emancipation thing down aren’t you, Guerin?

So I rode to work in the rain and was late. Mr. Parker was pissed. He didn’t yell at me. He didn’t have to. The look on his face was enough.
Jose started flipping me crap the second I put my apron on. I tried to ignore him, but a guy can only take so much.

Of course we got busy as hell. Apparently the entire population of Roswell had forgotten how to cook and landed right smack dab at the Crashdown’s doorstep. I couldn’t keep up and got the orders all wrong.
To top it all off Liz wasn’t there. She was out with good old Max. Every mother’s dream and a royal pain in my ass.

I finally got a break after the lunch rush had quieted. I went into the alley and looked skyward. The sun had broken through the clouds and the rain had stopped. I slid down the wall and sat on a dry patch of ground with my head in my hands.

After a few minutes I was startled when I felt someone’s fingers running through my hair.

“What the...” I said jerking my head away.
“Calm down, Michael. It’s just me.” Liz said smiling, “You’re hair’s getting long. You won’t be able to do spikes much longer.”
“Everyone needs change.” I said standing up. “What are you doing here? I thought you were spending the day with Superboy.”
It came out gruffer than I had intended. Her smile disappeared and she seemed concerned. Yeah, this was a great day.

“We came in for lunch.” she said biting her lip. “You okay?”
“Me? I’m perfect. Let’s see... I woke up late. Had to drive here on my motorcycle in the rain. Jose won’t let up. I can’t seem to fill a stupid order and my girlfriend is spending the day making goo-goo eyes at my best friend. I’m fuckin’ perfect.” I said sarcastically.

Concern turned to anger on her face. “ Hey! You know it wasn’t my bright idea to keep us a secret pal! That’s on you!” she said folding her arms across her chest.

That’s one thing I have always loved about Liz. She gave as good as she got. She never took crap from anyone and never backed down. Especially from me.

“I just came back here to let you know,” she continued, “that every moment I spend with Max I’m thinking about you... You big jerk. But hey, I’ll just go.”

She turned her back to me and headed for the door. I was going let her go. Just add it to my list of shitty things happening that day, but I couldn’t. I could deal with all the other crap life had to throw at me, but having the one person who I care about most in this world pissed at me was too much.

“Wait Liz.” I said. She stopped, “I’ve just had a really bad day. Okay?”
“Is that an apology?” she asked as a smile teased the corners of her mouth.“Best you’re gonna get from me.” I said smirking. Hey, since when have you known me to apologize for anything. I have a reputation you know.

The hand that was holding the doorknob fell and Liz walked towards me. She brought her hand up to my face and looked up at me with her soft brown eyes.
“You’re gonna have to do better than that, Guerin. Good looks and a tight t-shirt will only go so far with this chick.” she said with a wicked smile and went back inside the café. Great! Now Liz was mad at me. My day was complete.

A few minutes later, even more frustrated than when I first came outside, I went back in and started flipping burgers. Occasionally I’d glance up from my task and watch Max with Liz. He’d touch her hand or brush some hair from her face and I’d cringe hoping no one would notice.

Why did I have to be so protective of Max? I mean the guy is like a brother to me, but we all have to go through some heartache. Lord knows I’d been through enough in my lifetime. I wanted Liz all to myself, but Max was always stronger with her by his side. We needed him strong. Why did I have to love this girl so much? Oh, I remember. I’m an idiot. A big happy, crazy, in love, alien idiot.

After another torturous thirty minutes I watched Max and Liz leave and get into the Jeep. Then I saw Liz get out and walk back into the café. She picked up a spare order pad and started scribbling down something. She tore off the piece of paper and stuck it in the order wheel.

“Order in.” she said winking at me.

She ran back out to Max and they took off to who knows where. I grabbed the paper from the wheel and read it:
“Meet me in the alley after closing.
There’s someplace special I want to take you.
I love you

P.S. His touch is nothing like yours.”

I smiled and destroyed the note. No evidence.
******************************
I waited in the alley, on my motorcycle, after I closed the café. I saw her bedroom light go off and soon she was climbing down the fire escape wearing a backpack.

“Took you long enough.” I said trying not to sound too happy to see her. Truth is, I always was.
“It’s nice to see you too.” she said as she climbed on behind me.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“Frazier Woods.” she said wrapping her arms around me.
“Frazier Woods? What so special about...?” I started to say.
“Would you shut up for once and just trust me?” she interrupted frustration lacing her words.I relented, “Yes ‘mam.” I said saluting.
I started up the bike and headed out to Liz’s requested destination. We didn’t speak the whole time. I was enjoying the silence and reveling in the feeling of her body pressed to my back.

When we finally arrived at Frazier Woods I hid my bike behind a bush while Liz dug a flashlight out of her backpack. She didn’t need it. The moon was full and the light seemed to hit everything. Especially her. She caught me staring.

“What?” she asked.
“Nothing.” I said looking around avoiding her eyes, “Just waiting for you to hurry up.”
“Geez Michael! What bug flew up you ass today? she asked.
“A really big one.” I replied gruffly. Yeah an Evanus Maximus. “You ready?”
She nodded and took my hand leading me to wherever it was she deemed “special”.

“Will you tell me where we’re going already?” I asked impatiently.
She put her index finger to her lips. “Shh. Patience Spaceboy.” she said.
“You know... I really wish people would stop calling me that.” I growled.

Ten minutes later we stopped at a huge boulder. Nothing special about the place. Trees, dirt and a stupid rock.

“Great! A rock. Now my life is complete.”

Liz ignored my comment, took off her backpack and removed two blankets from its contents. She placed them one on the ground and sat on it.

“Sit. Please?” she said asked the empty space next to her.
I sighed and obeying her command. Never could resist that woman.
“Now will you tell me what’s so special about this place?” I asked her.
“Lay down.” she whispered.
Now that was an order I couldn’t get wrong. Lying down next my girlfriend after a really horrible day. She rested her head on my arm and stared into the night sky.

I followed her gaze and saw that the tree canopy opened up to the stars. Nothing to special there. I’ve seen the stars a million times, looking for home.

“Liz...” I said.
“Just keep watching, Michael.” she said.
Then I saw a streak across the night sky. Then another and another.
“Hey!” I exclaimed, unable to contain my excitement.
“It’s a meteor shower.” she said. I could hear the giddiness in her voice. My little scientist.
“I’ve never seen one of those.” I told her.
“I know.” she replied, “Alex said this would be the best place to see it.”“Alex?” I said panicking, “Y...You didn’t tell him about...”
She shook her head. “No. He mentioned it to me a couple days ago. He asked Isabel to go with him, but she turned him down...”
“Again.” we both said laughing.

We kept watching the stars fall from the sky and burn across Earth’s atmosphere. All I could hear was Liz breathing. If I really focused I could hear her heart beating. I felt like a jerk for being so mean to her earlier. I broke the silence.

“Poor bastard never knew what hit him.” I said still watching the sky.
“True. But Alex will be okay. Plus he’s persistent. It’s only a matter of time before Isabel caves.” she said giggling.
“I meant me.” I said looking over at her.
Her smile disappeared as her eyes met mine. She didn’t say anything. She just kept staring at me with those eyes men seemed to get lost in. I seemed to be no exception.

She rolled onto her side and her face hovered above mine. That wicked smile I’d seen earlier was back, “Now that’s an apology.” she said.

Before I could defend my manly honor she kissed me. Warm, delicate lips I’d been aching to kiss all day. I ran my hands through her soft, dark hair and she deepened the kiss. Who cared about male or alien pride when I had Liz Parker making a meal out of my mouth. Who cared about a crappy day when it ended like this. All was right with the world in this little bubble she and I had created.

I rolled us over until she was beneath me. I always felt like I was going to break her with all my weight on top of her, but she never complained. There also seemed to be something different in her eyes. Something that wasn’t there before. I saw the reflection of the shooting stars dance in them, but there was something beyond that. Something I’d never seen before, but I knew I liked it.

I pressed my lips to hers again and she moved her body even closer to mine. As I moved my mouth down her neck I heard her whisper my name.
“Michael?”
“Yeah?” was my reply, barely letting my lips leave her golden skin.
“Michael.” she said a little more urgently.
I felt her hands lift my head up and brought me to her face. Her eyes were burning now. Desire seemed to fill them.
“What’s wrong?” I asked wanting only to devour her lips.
“I’m ready.” she said without hesitation.
“What?” I said a little stunned.
I mean, I knew exactly what she meant, but I couldn’t believe she was saying the words. We’d both been ready for a long time, she was just the first to say it.

Now, we had shared some hot and heavy make out sessions before, in just about every place imaginable, but it never went any further than that. We were left thoroughly frustrated and could corner the market on cold showers, but we didn’t want to risk the consequences. I didn’t want to hurt her.

“I said, ‘I’m ready,’ Michael.” she repeated making sure I knew she was completely serious. There was no fear in her eyes, but I knew there was plenty in mine.

“We can’t, Liz.” I said trying to sound as reasonable as possible, when truth was that my whole body ached to be inside her, “What if something happened to you?”
“Then I’ll die happy.” she said with a smile.
“Not funny, Liz,” trying my damndest not to crack a smile, but failed miserably.

Her face grew serious again and she touched my cheek softly with her fingers. I saw tears fill her eyes.

“Michael. All I know is that I love you and this feels right.” she said, her voice finally wavering slightly.

I didn’t know what to tell her. My resolve was crumbling with each passing second. I knew what she said was true, but I was still scared. Yes me, Michael “Nothing Scares Me” Guerin was terrified.

I brought my now trembling hand to her face to wipe away the tears that stained her cheeks.

“You’re shaking.” she said with a gentle smile.

She kissed my forehead and I felt a rush of emotion. Not flashes. Something deeper than that. She poured everything she felt about me in that simple kiss.

My hands stopped shaking and a calm came over me. I wasn’t scared anymore. For the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to be unconditionally loved.

That night we made love for the first time. It wasn’t perfect like you see in the those chick movies, but it was as close as you could get.
The feel of her body beneath me. Her back arched and head thrown back in ecstacy. If it was cold out we didn’t know it. I loved how when she called my name she did so at the top of her lungs, letting the world know, or at least the various woodland creatures, that I was the one giving her that pleasure.

That was the night I became a man. Not because, I had sex, but because I made love to Liz Parker. I made her happy. And for once in my short existence, I didn’t feel like a screw-up.

Afterwards we huddled our naked bodies together and stared back up at the raining stars.

“Just think Michael,” she said quietly. “Somewhere up there is your home.”
I couldn’t help but think what she had just said sounded wrong. Why? She was right. Somewhere in that endless array of celestials was my home planet.
“Yeah,” was all I could say.

She must’ve seen the perplexed look on my face. She pressed her body closer to mine, a sensation that would come to mean many things to me. Exhilaration. Comfort. Ecstacy.

“Don’t worry, Michael.” she whispered, “Someday you’ll find home.”

~*~

Now, as the four of us walk through the desert, I look to the pre-dawn sky and remember the best day of my life.

“Thank you.” I say out loud hoping in someway Liz can hear me.
“What?” Max asks me.
“Nothing.” I answer.

~*~

TBC...


posted on 1-Dec-2002 2:47:21 AM
Chapter 4


Part 4 (Liz)


As Sean maneuvered us to the fold out couch that was his bed, I threw my jacket off and heard it softly thump on the floor. I jump slighthy remembering the previous night with Michael and how his coat made that same sound on his floor. I chastised myself for thinking of Michael again. I was there to forget him, so why did he keep entering my mind.

I continued kissing Sean fiercely, nothing gentle about it. I felt his weight as he lay on top of me. It was foreign and awkward. My body was so used to Michael’s, it was as if it was rejecting Sean’s touch. Had Michael become so much a part of me? Who was I kidding, of course he had.

My frustration was buliding as evrey time I closed my eyes I’d see Michael, but feel Sean touching me. It was all wrong. It wasn’t Sean’s fault. He didn’t know my body like Michael did.

I wondered if Michael was feeling the same way about Maria. If her skin felt like mine. If she had a spot on her body that drove her crazy when touched. Would Michael find it?

I fought back an angry growl and rolled over so I was on top of Sean ,desperately trying to feel something for him or from him. Damn Max Evans. None of this would be happening if he had just been more careful. Did he know what this was doing to all of us? What his one selfish act was taking away me? I thought Michael loved me enough to stay. Am I selfish because I didn’t want him to go?

A sob escaped my mouth in between kisses with Sean. I couldn’t breathe. Grief was consuming me. I pushed myself away from him fighting for air.

“What’s wrong?” he panted, “Are you all right?”

I sucked air into my lungs trying not to fall apart. I shook my head emphatically. “No... No. Everything is not all right, Sean.” I was suffocating without Michael.

He looked at me, not scared, but confused, even a little worried. I owed him at least a small explanation.

“Mic..” No Liz not Michael. He’s not the one who made this happen. You know who you’re really angry at.

“Max Evans broke my heart.” I finally said. Like a tidal wave hitting me my tears began to flow and I couldn’t stop.

I was always grateful to Max for saving my life, but now I was wishing he never had. Ever since that day Max Evans has done nothing but hurt me. If he’d let me die I would never have found true love with Michael. I would never know what it was like to love and to be loved in return. I would never have known what it was like to be touched by a man so deeply it made my soul shiver.

You’d think I’d be grateful for having experienced all of those things, but at that moment it just hurt too much. Reality was just too real, too raw, too painful. I knew what I was losing and I just wanted to curl up and die.

Sean wrapped me up in his arms and just let me cry. Occasionally he’d stroke my hair or kiss my forehead to comfort me and in some ways it did. While they weren’t Michael’s arms wrapped around me, for that brief time I could at least pretend.

****************
So I couldn’t go through with it. As angry as I was at the world, as hurt as I was about Michael, I couldn’t drown my sorrows in another man. It would have cheapened the love I had for Michael. He was not replaceable. Ever.

Sean left me after about an hour ago, said something about taking a walk. I must have gotten him pretty riled up and I couldn’t blame him for leaving me alone. I wanted to tell him the whole story, but I knew he already felt like a pawn, no sense in me confirming it for him.

The water in the kitchen is running. Amy must be fixing some tea. I see Maria slipping in the back door. Her face, like mine, stained with tears.

She parts the beaded curtain and lets out a loud sigh and flops beside me. She smells like Michael’s apartment, but oddly enough, not like Michael. I continue to stare at the ceiling trying not to cry again.

“I can’t believe this is happening” she says her voice shaking with sadness.

I want to ask her so badly what her last night with Michael was like. Did he cry when he made love to her? Did he accidently call my name? But all I can manage to say is, “I know.”

“I can’t believe it. His last night on Earth...All these games we’ve been playing and... he’s leaving here a virgin.” Maria said almost exasperated.

My heart jumps. “What?” I ask too relieved to care, “You mean.. you two didn’t...?”

“Have hot alien sex? No.” Maria answers, “He said he didn’t want him leaving to be the reason we did it. Part of me agrees with him, Liz, but there was part of me that just feels incomplete.”

“I’m sorry.” I say, but I think I don’t delude myself into believeing I’m sorry.

I know I should feel guilty for being happy, but I just can’t bring myself to feel that. I want to comfort Maria, but inside I’m practically doing cartwheels.Thank God I didn’t sleep with Sean. Michael is going to leave this earth only having known my body. I should have had more faith in him.
“Damn Max Evans!” Maria say through her teeth. She looks over at me. “Sorry, I know you love him, but...”
“Don’t be Maria. I’m not feeling so great about Max right now either.” I say reassuring her.

The room falls silent. My elation begins to fade as the fact that they are still leaving sinks in. Michael may not have slept with Maria, but I’ll never see him again. I think Maria is feeling the same thing. I’ve never hated Maria for loving Michael. I was just jealous she got to show it so openly. Tonight we were both losing him.

The slience we were reveling in is shattered when we hear a faint tapping noise, like fingernails on the counter. Rhythmic. The same pattern over and over. Then Amy begins shouting.

“Larek his name was Larek! Not Brody!”

Maria and I look over at eachother with wide eyes. There’s no way Amy should remember Brody was Larek, unless... Tess’ mindwarp was fading. We grab eachothers hands and make our way into the kitchen to check on Amy.

She’s pacing the room looking around as though she’s forgotten something that’s on the tip of her tongue. If she only knew the magnitude of her discovery.

“....and he’s got a gun! He pointing a gun at my daughter!” she continues.

Maria and I exchange worried glances again as Amy make her way to the stove to check on her water wracking her brain for more information.

“M... Mom?” Maria says tenatively.

As if snapping out of a daze Amy looks over at us. “Maria? Maria! What are you doing up? And Liz... Liz it’s nearly three-o-clock in the morning. “ Amy says

“Mom, are you okay?” Maria asks.

“I’m fine I just couldn’t sleep.” she answers. Then her nails begin their rhythm on the stovetop. I’d heard that rhythm before. But where.

Maria begins talking to her mother trying to make sure she’s feeling okay as I try to put the peices together.

Then it hits me. Kyle at the Crashdown this morning. He couldn’t stop that tapping. No. Go back further Parker. You’ve heard it befoe that. Think! Alex. He tapped his bass the same way before he died. What’s the connection?
“It’s Tess.” I say out loud.

“What?” Maria asks searching my eyes for an answer.

“It’s Tess. She’s connected somehow! We don’t have time! Let’s go Maria!” I say urgently tugging on my friends arm.

“Wait! Where are we going?” she asks fihsing in her purse for her keys.

“We have to got to Kyle’s!” I say pulling her along.

I knew if Tess was connected in some way it could only end up bad. I had to get to Kyle’s and make sure. Please let me get there in time.
~*~
TBC...



posted on 3-Dec-2002 1:15:35 PM
Chapter 5

Michael

Only a few more minutes and we leave the only home we’ve ever known. The sun is blaring down on us. When did that happen? I must have been so wrapped up in my thoughts of Liz that I missed my last sunrise here. Would the sun feel the same on Antar? I can’t imagine it would. Nothing will feel the same without Liz.

Max lifts his hand to the rock and the cave door opens. We all step inside and gaze in wonder at the lights reflecting off the alien metal. Damnit. This feels so wrong. It’s too soon. There wasn’t enough time.

I look over at Tess who seems to be getting more and more nervous the closer we come to leaving. Aways being suspicious I have to wonder if she’s hiding something or if she’s just scared about or impending voyage.

I look over to Isabel. She’s scared. Just as scared as I am. She’s leaving something behind too. Family. She doesn’t want to leave either, but Max is her brother and she’ll always follow him. I don’t think either of us are hiding the doubt and reluctance on our faces.

Tess winces in pain again and Max holds onto her. I hear him whisper something to her, trying to soothe her and their child.

“Don’t worry. We’ll be home soon.” he says.

Liz’s words echo through my head: “Don’t worry, Michael. Someday you’ll find home.”

Then like a bolt of lightening it hit me. Liz. Is. Home. She’s the one who keeps me grounded. She broke down my walls and kept them down. She’s the one who holds my heart. She has all the answers I’ll ever need. She’s the one who loves me no matter how much of a screw up I am. I never just want Liz, I need her.

How can I leave now when I’ve finally found where I belonged? How can I stay and forsake the only family I’ve ever known?

And what about the others. We never found who killed Alex. They are still out there. Liz, Kyle, Valenti and Maria will have to face whoever it is alone. Are they strong enough? I always promised to protect them, especially Liz.

My mind was racing. Wherever we’re going I knew could never live, truly live, without Liz or without knowing what happened to her. Would she get over me? Would she find love again? Would she have children and someday tell them about me? Then I realize, these are things I don’t want answers to, because that would mean I was gone. Now is the time to do something bold. Go after what I want. Why can’t I speak up? Have I been so terrified to have something good in my life, that when it counts the most, I can’t do it?

I see Max’s hand raise up to start the launch sequence. It’s now or never Guerin, time to start living.

“Max... I can’t go.” I say trying to sound determined. I hear my voice echo off the walls. I really said it. The last wall in my heart broken down, again, by Liz’s love. Max brings his hand down and looks over at me.

I hear Isabel take in a sharp breath. She wasn’t expecting that. I don’t think Tess was either. I thought I saw her jump. I see the question in all their eyes. Me, the one who has been determined since day one to get of this rock, always running, is staying.

“Ever since we came out of the pods I’ve been on some quest to find out where I belong. I finally found home (Liz). The weird thing is... it’s here, it’s on earth.” The words seem easier now. I’m not asking for permission, I’m demanding.

I wait for Max to object. Get mad, forbid me... something. But he doesn’t. A smile crosses his face. “You of all people.” He advances towards me and we embrace, “Take care of yourself, Michael. I love you.”
Would he be saying this if he knew the real reason why I couldn’t leave?

“You’re a great brother.” I say. He has been. He and Isabel were my only family for as long as I can remember. Now it’s time to start a new one.

“Take care of the others.” he says. His final order, request, to me. I nod. It was an easy order to take. I’ve always protected them, that would never change.

Max turns his gaze over to Isabel. “I would understand...”

She shakes her head, “What you said before, you’re my home too.”
I could only hope I’d hear those words from Liz.

I turn to Isabel and hug her fiercely. My sister. My psuedo-mother. My friend. I will miss her.

“Well whoever is coming, we have to go. Now.” Tess says urgently. She seems highly agitated, but I dismiss it as I make my way to the exit. All I want to do now is run to Liz, take her home, and make love to her for days.

I place my hand on a stone and it opens once again. I step outside the light almost blinding me. But not before I see her. Liz. She’s here.

“Tess killed Alex!” Maria yells.
It was only then I noticed her and Kyle. Wait did she just say... Tess killed Alex? I look into Liz’s eyes.
“What?” is all I can say before we turn back in to stop the others.

~~~*~~~

Liz
Damnit! Can’t this thing go faster? Of course not it’s the Jetta. We have to get to them. They have to know Tess killed Alex and she may not be done. What if this was a set up? What if Tess was working with Kivar? Michael will die. They will all die.

I wanted to be wrong about Tess. I actually felt sorry for her. She came to a place where she was never made to feel welcome. She was raised by an alien, not a human. She never knew what it was like to have a true friend, maybe because we never gave her a chance.

But the time for pity was over the second Kyle got his memories back. She used Alex until there was nothing left. He begged her to stop and she didn’t. In trying to cover up what she’d done she killed him. He died alone, my best friend died alone, scared, pleading for his life and none of us knew. We couldn’t help, but maybe we could now. Alex’s will not have died in vain.

And Kyle, she made him a part of it. I look back at him. It’s as though he’s in shock. His memories of that night assaulted his mind and he looked lost, confused and angry. This girl he’d accepted into his life when no one else would, made him part of the murder of a boy who had become a friend. His entire world was crumbling around him.

“Why did I ignore my gut? I knew there was something wrong with that girl from day one! If I get my hands on her and I’m gonna...” Maria starts.

“Stand in line.” I growl.

We see the mile post and skid off the road towards the rock. A dust cloud forms behind the Jetta as we race through the desert. So far so good. It looks like nothing has happened yet.

Maria slams on the brakes and slides to a stop. The three of us run out of the car and up the rockface trying to find an opening. I see a spot that looks familiar, but its covered. Solid. How do we get in?

It can’t end like this! We’ve come so close. Tess has taken too much away from me, she can’t take my friends and my lover. I never got to tell Michael how much loved him. How everything we risked, the secrets and even the lies, was worth it, because we had eachother.

I start banging on the rock screaming til my throat is raw. My fists grow bloody as a pound the rock harder. Michael has to hear me. Somehow he has to. Kyle and Maria yell as well, but no one can hear us.
After a few minutes I stop pounding when I feel the pain and realize, “We’re too late.”
Kyle and Maria stop yelling. None of us know what to say. We failed them. I failed Michael.

Just as I move to head back down the rock Maria stops me. “Liz!”
The rock was moving and someone was coming out. It’s Michael. He stayed. His eyes meet mine instantly. I want to run into his arms and hold him close, but Maria yells.

“Tess killed Alex!”

Michael’s eyes flick up to mine asking for confirmation, “What?”

He reaches for me and I step inside first, he follows closely behind me. I feel his hand on my back reassuring me he won’t let anything happen. I just revel in the feel of his touch again.

I run into the granolith seeing Max raise his hand to activate it. “Max! Stop! Tess killed Alex!”
~~~*~~~
Michael

As we stepped into the opening I put my hands on Liz’s back. I just wanted to touch her again, but I also wanted her to know I wasn’t going anywhere without her.

We run into the granolith and I stand by her side as she yells at Max to stop.
Max brings his hand down upon hearing that Tess had killed Alex.

“She mindwarped Alex and sent him to Las Cruces to decode the book, but he broke out of the mindwarp and she killed him.” she explained. I could hear the fear in her voice. Tess had killed Alex, what was to stop her from killing Liz. I’ll tell you what. Me. Unconsciously I take Liz’s hand in mine and move slighty in front of her. My body is tense, ready at a moments notice to defend her. To die for her.

Max looks doubtful, slowly approaching her. He did the same thing I did, he’s searching her eyes for the truth. How could he doubt Liz? Was he so blinded by Tess that he forgot that Liz has always fought for us? She’d never lie to us, not when it really counted. Even her lies, our lies, were made to protect everyone.

“It’s true,” Kyle said confirming Liz’s statement, “I was there. I witnessed it.” He advanced on Tess.

Max stood in front of Tess, guarding her. I didn’t envy his position. The woman carrying his child had killed his friend. In order to protect his son, he had to protect his enemy, “Why didn’t you ever say anything?” he asked Kyle, grasping at straws.

“Because she mindwarped me too!” Kyle said angrily, “You lived in my home!” he spat at Tess,”You were like my sister!”

I felt Liz squeezing my hand. I rubbed the back of hers with my thumb. I felt the scrapes on he knuckles. She must have been pounding on that rock trying to get our attention. I’ve never been good at healing, but I foucs my energy and heal her cuts. It’s a small gesture, but one I could easily do for her. She looks up at me for a moment as if to say “thank you”, but we see Max turn to Tess.

I saw how tense his body was. I knew that tension. It was rage overtaking the confusion.

“How long?” he asked me. His voice was cold and level. His stare fixed firmly on Tess.

I glanced up at the clock, “About three minutes.” I answered.

His gaze never left Tess, “Everyone out.” he ordered.

Not a good idea. We dont have time for this. “Maxwell...”

“Now!” he bellowed.

There was no arguing with him. The others turned away and began to head out. It was only then, after once final squeeze that I let go of Liz’s hand.

Whatever Max had to say to Tess had better be quick. Not much time before this baby blows.

We all stand outside the chamber waiting for Max to come out. Nobody can say anything. We’re all still in shock. Maria clings to me like glue. I want to reach out to Liz, but now is not the time. I try to tell with my eyes how sorry I am. That it’s her I want to hold. I want to tell her I didn’t sleep with Maria. I couldn’t. I wanted to tell her that should have been the one to break the news about our leaving. Somehow, I know, she knows this.

Suddenly the ground starts to shake and rocks begin to fly. The ship is getting ready to launch. I hear Isabel scream, “Max!” as he emerges from the chamber.

He grabs Liz’s arm and we all take off down the rockface away from danger. We can barely keep our footing as the ground rattles violently beneath our feet. I keep a steady grip on Maria making sure she doesn’t fall, but I keep my eye on Liz. For once Max, please protect her.

We reach the desert floor as the explosion become more violent. I cover Maria to protect her from any flying debris. Max holds Liz to him doing the same. God, if I could trade places.

The ship shoots from the rock with one last thunderous explosion. There goes Tess and our only way home. Whether we like or not we are here to stay. Forever. Question is how do I want to start this new chapter of my life?

I see Max take Liz’s face in his hands, “I’ve been wrong about a lot of things. But I was right about one thing: To get you into my life, to be around you, to love you.”
For the first time during this whole ordeal I agree with Max. Then one thing I ever did right was loving Liz Parker. He just got to say it first.

I feel Maria pulling at my face, “You opened the door and you came out...why? You stayed for me.”

I couldn’t speak, the words stuck in my throat. How could I break this girls heart? How could I tell her I didn’t stay for her? I stayed for Liz.

The six of us stand together trying to take in what’s happened. How our lives have changed in this moment. We’ve been given a second chance at our lives.

Max wants to save his son, and I know he’ll want to do it with Liz by his side. I think what that means. Another year of lying to our friends, sneaking around, midnight rendezvous to make love. Another year of Max stroking Liz’s hair while I watched from a distance. Another year of knowing that while she’s with him, she’s thinking of me.

We start to walk towards the Jetta to make our way back to Roswell. Max holds tightly to Liz and Maria grips my hand tightly. Liz looks over her shoulder at me, asking me with tears in her eyes what we should do.

I’e asked a lot of Liz, hiding how we feel from everyone, but that’s all changed. I’m here permanantly and it’s time to stake my claim. Time to stop protecting everyone else and start living for me.

I stop walking just standing still. Maria jerks a little when she fells me stop. “Michael? What’s wrong?” she asks.

Everyone turns around to look at me. Liz’s eyes widen. She knows what I’m about to do and nods her head slightly.

“I can’t do this anymore.” I finally say.

“Can’t do what, Michael?” Max asks.

“I can’t lie anymore.” I say. I see Liz take a deep breath of anticipation.

“Lie about what, Michael? You’re scaring me.” Maria says.

I take a moment to check Liz’s eyes again. Once I say this there is no going back. Hearts will be broken and lives forever changed. I had to be sure she was ready for this.
Everything in the dark deep pools of Liz’s eyes told me she was. She had been ready since the moment we kissed, she was just waiting for me to wake up and realize it.
Silence hung in the air as the others waited for my answer.

“I stayed for Liz... I love her.”

TBC!


posted on 5-Dec-2002 3:59:38 PM
Thanks for the wonderful feedback guys. There is plenty more to this story as some of you know. *happy*

Chapter 6

Liz

Everything was happening so fast. The final explosion that sent Tess hurtling into space left an almost deafening silence in it’s wake.

I wanted to turn my head to make sure Michael was okay, but I felt Max’s hands grab my face. Please Max, not now. Not after everything that’s happened. I can’t take another declaration of your love. I don’t want it.

“...To have you in my life, to be around you, to love you.” Too late.

He crushes me to his body covering my ears. I can hear Maria saying something to Michael, but I can only make out the last part.

“...You stayed for me.”

Silence. He didn’t answer her and in that silence I knew that Michael had stayed for me, he just couldn’t say it.

Max makes his pledge to save his son, a task I know he’ll want me to tag along on. Sometimes I never knew if we were in a relationship or if Max just enjoyed playing the Hardy Boys with me.

As we begin walking toward the car, it finally hit me. They are here to stay, What does this mean for me Michael and I? Do we continue hiding or will we finally be able to be honest with everyone. I pray that it’s the latter. Sooner or later Maria won’t take “no” for an answer with Michael and I can’t go back to Max. He got another girl pregnant while still professing his love to me. Even if I did love him, I could never go back.

My eyes well with tears at the prospect of continuing with the lie. I want to scream at the top of my lungs that I, Liz Parker, love Michael Guerin, but I can’t make that decision on my own.
I look over my shoulder at Michael, as Max pulls me even closer into his arms, asking him what we should do. I see him thinking about it. I know Michael is strong, but I think even he would break under the pressure of having to go through this again. I turn my head forward. Maybe we just need to talk about it when we get some time alone.

“Michael? What’s wrong?” I hear Maria say. Kyle, Isabel, Max and I all turn around to see what Maria’s talking about.

I meet Michael’s gaze instantly and I know what he’s going to do. Butterflies jump in my stomach. I should be scared, but I’m not. I’m thrilled. I can see he’s asking my permission. I want to yell “Yes!”, but instead I just nod slightly. Seems I told the wrong alien to wake up, because that’s exactly what Michael was doing.
“I can’t do this anymore.” Michael says calmly.

“Can’t do what, Michael?” Max queries. I can’t hide the giant breath I take. The air is almost crackling.

“I can’t lie anymore.” he answers, his eyes never leaving mine.

“Lie about what, Michael? You’re scaring me.” Maria say. I’m sorry Ria.

Last chance to back out Michael. Once you say it, everything changes. I can stop this if you want all you have to do is say the word. We’ll figure it out, we’ll make it.

“I stayed for Liz... I love her.” he finally says unapologetically.

He said it! He really said it! I have never heard more beautiful words in my life. While everyone else stands in stunned silence, I let out the breath I’ve been holding with a great sob and clamp my hand over my mouth to stifle it. The weight of the past year and a half lifting off of me.
Maria drops his hand immediately as if he’s on fire. She doesn’t try to deny it. Could she have had some hint after last night? Maybe she knew she never had all of him.

“This is a joke?” Max asks him.

Michael doesn’t move. He keeps his eyes firmly locked with mine. Max looks down at me, waiting for me to deny it or tell him it’s only one way.

“No.” I say, “It’s not. I love him too.”

I release myself from Max’s arm and started to walk toward Michael. I wanted to run into his arms, but I wanted to at least try and be civilized about it. Max grabs my wrist and jerks me back. Pain and anger consume his eyes again.

“Let me go, Max.” I say quietly. “Please.”

Like that day in the hallway, Max realizes his grip on me, and it dawns on him that he’s hurting me. His grip on me relaxes and I slide out of his hand. The intoxication of finally being free consumes me and civility flew out the window as I race into Michael’s arms.

He crushes my body to him, tangling his hands in my hair. I place my head on his chest. I can hear his heart racing. He’s scared, exhilarate, relieved. Everything I’m feeling.

I look up at him, ”I’m sorry, I should have told you that night I was leaving, I just didn’t know how...” he says, his eyes widened “...and I didn’t sleep with...”
I shake my head, “ I know, Michael. It doesn’t matter. You stayed” I said.

I couldn’t stand it any longer I pulled his head down. I had to feel his lips on mine, in our first truly open and honest kiss.

“This is not happening!” Maria yelled, forcing us to break our kiss. Time to face the music.

“It is Maria,” I said, ”I’m sorry this hurts you, but...”

“Shut up.” she growled, “Just shut up. Liz. I can’t believe you’d do this to me.” Tears were streaming down her face. Michael tightens his arms around my waist, knowing how much this is killing me to be hurting my best friend.

“How long has this been going on?” Max asks. He must notice how comfortable Michael and I are with each other’s bodies.

“For a while,” Michael answers vaguely. “We didn’t want to hurt anyone. We didn’t want to break up the group.”

“What and now is a good time?” Maria screams.

I want to comfort her, tell her how sorry I am. In all of this she is the one true victim. I never thought I would chose a man over my best friend, but then again I never knew love like I had with Michael existed.

“Everything has changed,” I explain. “You guys are here for good, and I can’t lie anymore. I can’t pretend to not love Michael.”

“Tell me how long!” Max demanded once again. I opened my mouth to answers, but someone else interrupted.

“At least since October.” Kyle said. He knew?

“How did you...” I start to say. I look up at Michael and he shrugged his shoulders equally as confused.

“Hey, I would have been completely happy to remain in the dark,” Kyle said with his hands up, “but that night you asked me to help Max fall out of love with you, I needed more answers than what you gave me. So I came back later that night to talk to you.”

“Oh my God.” I gasped, realizing what he’d seen.

“Yeah, no kidding.” Kyle said, “ Imagine my surprise when I saw Guerin here, climbing up the fire escape. I asked myself, ‘Since when does Michael care about Liz?’.

When I was sure you two were inside, I climbed up and hid on the balcony, hoping for an answer. I saw you’d been crying and Michael was hugging you. Then he was kissing you and then, well you know what happened next.”

“Oh...” I said slightly embarrassed.

“Don’t worry Liz,” he reassured me, “I didn’t see everything, just enough to get the idea. I was going to tell you I knew and ask you why you didn’t just tell Max about you two, but with all you’d been dealing with, I didn’t want to contribute to it. ”

“Why did you never say anything?” Max growled at Kyle.

“Because, if you remember pal, I loved Liz before either of you and even through her tears I could see Michael made her happy. She never had that look with you Max. If we’re laying it all out here, you were usually the one causing the tears. Suddenly I saw the old Liz, before you healed her. The light was back in her eyes, and Michael was the one that put it there. Who was I to take that away from her? Besides, I figured they had a pretty damn good reason to keep it a secret. Now, I know.”

I could tell Max was wracking his brain, even with the proof in front of his eyes and what Kyle had admitted, he still looked as though he was in denial. He wanted to blame anyone but himself for what was happening. His eyes settled on Michael.

“Michael. How could you do this to me? You know how much I love her? You’re my brother. How can you take her away from me?” I see the tears in his eyes, he is hurt, but after everything he’s done, I can’t find the compassion to care. If he needs the truth so badly I can’t spare his feelings.


“Max,”I say evenly “I haven’t been yours to take away for a long time and I think somewhere, deep inside, you know that’s true.”

“No Liz, it’s not true. Look, I know I did some horrible things to you and I even understand why you might go to Michael, but we can put those things behind us... we can start over.”


~~~*~~~


Michael

I know Liz loves me, but there’s that insecure kid in me that tightens up with doubt when I hear Max asking for another chance. What’s to stop them? He could be her happily ever after. I look down nervously at Liz. She’s shaking her head.

“That could never happen Max. I love Michael too much. You are in love with the idea of us and that’s just not enough. I’m grateful to you for saving my life, but we can’t build a relationship on hero worship. ”

Like so many times before Max, shakes off her words. If it doesn’t fit the world he’s built around him he ignores it. If I didn’t know Max so well, I’d feel more guilt than I do.

“She’s right, Max”

I look around to hear who said that. I know it wasn’t Liz and Maria is too busy trying to soak everything in to speak. It was Isabel.

“What are you talking about, Is?” Max asks her. “Don’t tell me you knew too?”

She shakes her head. “No, I didn’t know, but Liz is right. You’ve always put Liz on this impossible pedestal. No human, or alien could ever be all the things you wanted her to be. You expected too much.”

Max looked shell shocked, and as long as I’m being honest I am too. Of all people, I expected Isabel to side with Max. Isabel must have sensed her brother’s shock.

“Look Max, Michael is my brother too and I love him. I’m not saying that he and Liz hiding was right, but I understand. You only see what you want to see, Max. You always have. and it blinds you to the world around you. I hate that it hurts you, and I will be here to help you get through this, but you brought this on yourself. You pushed too hard.”

I smile slightly at Is. I see shades of the girl who defended me against Hank a year ago. I see understanding and acceptance where I never thought to find it. I was grateful, and yes even a little humbled.

“This is just great!” Maria finally says. I shift my attention to her, while still holding onto Liz, “I pour my heart and soul into you and it was all for nothing.” She gasps for a moment, “Oh my God! Last night? You wouldn’t sleep with me last night, because... oh God I’m going to be ill.”

I look down at Liz. She gives me a gentle push to leave her and talk to Maria. I kiss her forehead and leave her embrace.

I put my hand on Maria’s shoulder and she turns around, the pain in her eyes is killing me. I never wanted this, but I had to be honest with her.

“Why did you let me keep after you? Why didn’t you just tell me there was someone else?” she asked.

I almost laugh, but catch myself, “You and I both know it wouldn’t have been that simple. If I recall right, I did tell you ‘No” quite a few times, but Maria Deluca doesn’t exactly take no for an answer.
As for telling you about someone else, I know exactly what you would have done. You would have tried to find out who it was and I didn’t want you to find out that way. I’m not sure if there was ever a good way for you to find out, but now you do.
Maria, I think you and I both know that eventually we would never work. I’m not everything you want me to be and in the end I’d hold you back. You’ve got this amazing talent as a musician that you haven’t even done anything about since Alex died. You owe it to yourself to find out and I deserve someone who accepts me for me, not some idyllic dream of who you want me to be. I have that someone. Liz.”

For a moment I hold out hope that what I’m saying to Maria is making some sort of sense of her. That she recognizes the truth in my words. But that hope is short lived as I see her look over at Liz. That Deluca rage firmly set.

“I will never forgive you for this, Liz. Never!” she says through her teeth.

Pain washes over Liz. She knew losing Maria would be hard, but no matter how much she prepared herself for this moment her heart was breaking.

“You can’t put this all on Liz, Maria. She wanted to tell you, I’m the one that told her we had to keep us a secret. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was protecting everyone.” I say in one last attempt to save the friendship I know Liz cherishes so much, but Maria shakes her head.

I make my way back to Liz and wrap my arms around her now sobbing frame. I make a vow to myself. Liz was willing to give up her best friend for me, and I was going to make sure I earned that sacrifice everyday.

No one knows what to say now. Liz and I are out in the open and there’s nothing anyone can say to change that. Within the span of an hour, lives have changed, hearts have been broken and new beginnings have started. Maria finally breaks the silence.

“Max, Isabel and Kyle, if guys want a ride home I’m leaving. I can’t stay here anymore,” She turns and glares at Liz and I, “You two can find your own way home.”

The four of them head to Maria’s car. Max is leaning against Isabel. She turns her head to acknowledge me. Max needs her now, but I know I haven’t lost her. She’ll always be my sister.

I don’t delude myself. I know this is a pain only time can heal. Liz may find friendship again with Maria someday, but for now we have to be happy with each other and hope the rest falls into place. We made our bed and now we had to sleep in it, but I’m not scared. For the first time in my life I’m not running away when things get tough and things couldn’t get much tougher than this. It’s think it’s easy because I know I’m not alone. I’ll have Liz. We’ve been through too much to give up now.

As we watch them the four of them drive away Liz looks up at me. I can’t hide my smile, “It’s okay... “ I tell her, wiping her tears away, “I’ve already found home.”

~~~*~~~
TBC...

posted on 8-Dec-2002 3:10:07 AM
Chapter 7

I]Liz

“You two can find your own way home.” Maria say venom dripping from her voice. It stings, because I’m the reason for that venom. I earned it. In her eyes took away the one man in her life that she ever loved. First her father leaves her , now Michael. I didn;t blame her for hating me.

Michael and I watch them walk away and tears fall down my cheeks. I just lost my best friend. I bury my face in Michael’s chest glad I’ve got him, because I know when the full weight of this hits me, I’ll need him.

Sensing my grief Michael lifts my chin to face him, smiles and wipes away my tears, “It’s okay... I’ve already found home.”

I can’t help but smile. Michael has never been one to tell a person how he feels. Usually his actions speak loudly enough for him. So I’ve learned when he uses words, and especially these words, you take them for all their worth.

I wrap my arms around his neck and pull him down for another kiss. I never thought I’d be able to do that again and I wanted to make sure I never took his kisses for granted. As I felt those warm soft lips made on mine pangs guilt that I ever suspected he might sleep with Maria creep in on me. I was just never sure how far he would go with the lie. I should have known better.

He breaks the kiss abruptly and confusion consumes his face, “You had a busy night. Max and Sean” he says, raising one eyebrow.

I’d almost completely forgotten about Sean with everything that had happened. Michael must have seen us. I knew Max kissing me wouldn’t bother him as much, he would have even expected it, but Sean was another story. Panic races through me. How could I explain about Sean? Does he hate me for it? Does he feel betrayed? Does it make him regret staying, when I so willingly ran to another man for comfort?

“Oh God.” I gasp, “Sean... um... well the thing is... I thought you were, you know, with Maria and I couldn’t get the two of you out of my head. I was angry... I’m sorry... It didn’t mean... I know I shouldn’t have.... It’s no exucse.. I’m so sorry...”

Michael shut me up with a searing kiss that threatened to take my last breath from me. When he pulled away I could only stare at him dazed. I don’t see anger in his eyes, which is a little surprising, given his often jealous nature. Maybe sharing me with Max for the past year and a half has taught him patience. Hey I said, “maybe”.

“I know you didn’t, and it doesn’t matter. I probably pushed you to it. Besides, I should have told you about us leaving. Let’s call it even. Okay?” he said, a smirk teasing the corners of his mouth. That’s my Michael.
I pause for a moment and return his smirk, “Hmmm... You, not telling me you’re leaving forever to go back to your war ridden planet, with Max’s child or me making out with Sean? I’d have to say the scale is still a little heavy on your side Guerin.”

Michael let out a small laugh, but I knew I had him beat. Of course I’d never remind him of that balance again, but it was fun just this once. I suppose humor would seem out of place at a time like this, but considering all we’ve been through, humor keeps us sane. It also let’s us know that we’ll be weather this. We’re still Michael and Liz. We just aren’t a secret anymore. We have to get back to whatever normal is for us.

“So what now?” I ask him. I realize it’s a broad question given what had just happened, but I needed to know, from him, where to go.

He looked around the quiet desert, searching for something then sighed, “Well, since we lost our ride, we walk.”

I let out a groan realizing the distance we’ll have to cover in the New Mexico desert just before summer. Does the term hellishly hot sound about right?

“Couldn’t wait ‘til we were back in Roswell to profess your undying love for me, Michael?” I tease, squeezing his waist.

Michael shook his head, took my hand and started walking, “Come on Parker, the faster we get home the less I have to hear you whining. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing plenty of that soon enough.”

~~~*~~~~
Michael

As Liz and I walked throught the desert, she told me about how she figured out Tess had killed Alex, the tapping and Kyle’s flashback. I always knew Liz Parker was smart, I just never realized how many times those smarts had saved my alien ass.

“Well aren’t you’re just a regular Nancy Drew. “ I kidded her as we walked hand in hand.

She rolled her eyes, “Please. I will be perfectly content to not figure out another alien mystery for a long time.”

“I think you and I both know the odds of that happening are slim to none.” I said honestly.

The truth was, now with Tess gone and her decpetion revealed, we had more questions than we did before. How could we take anything she said at face value anymore? She was working with our enemy, everything was tainted.
Liz let out a sigh, “Yes, but let me just dream for a little while.”

I hoped I could give her that dream. I hoped things would calm down for a while, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Between revealing our relationship and Max’s new quest to save his son I saw more danger ahead.

The heat of the day is quickly rising and neither of us are dressed for a day in the sun. I take off my shirt, leaving my black tank top on, and tuck into the back of my pants. I hear Liz let out a little giggle.

“Careful Michael, you might actually get a tan on that pasty white skin of yours. “ she said.

Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes, “Keep it up Liz. If I get us a ride I may just leave you behind.” It was an empty threat, one Liz was quick to call me on

“You wouldn’t leave Earth without me, Spaceman. I hardly think you’re gonna leave me in the desert to fend for myself.” she replies in mock smugness.

I could argue with her, but I had no grounds. I knew she was right. I’d never do anything without her again. As we reach the highway, I look over at her and notice her smile is gone and she has the patented Parker analyzing face on.

“Are we going to be okay Michael?” she asks stopping in front of me.

“Well, it’s a little late to be worrying about that Liz,” I answer her in my trademark, no bullshit way. “What’s done is done and we can’t change it. Maybe someday everyone will find a way to put this behind us and be a dysfunctional family again.”

Liz shakes her head, “That’s not what I meant. I hope your right, I don’t want to lose Maria forever, but I meant you and I. Are we going to be okay?”

I was really confused now. I just gave up my only chance to go to Antar and she wanted to know if we were going to “be okay”. She must have read the confusion on my face and began to explain.

“Ever since you and I started, well dating’s not the right word.” I watched her search her brain for a better term. “Ever since we became involved, we’ve held our relationship in secret. We don’t know what it’s like to live out the open, loving eachother. I guess I’m afraid that we became so accustomed to hiding, that now that we’re out we won’t know how to act or ‘be’. What if...”

I couldn’t let her go on. I put my index finger up to her lips and she stops talking, “You worry too much.” I tell her.

“Force of habit.” she replied sarcastically, but she had a point. Time for a new tactic.
I scratch my eyebrow unconsciously trying to think of a way to ease her fears, “Let me put it another way. Do you love me?”

“You know I do.” she answers almost looking shocked that I’d even asked such a question.

“And you know I love you. So we’ve got nothing to worry about.” I tell her.

I know it’s not much, but this me we’re talking about. And sometimes things are just that simple. Two people, with enough love for two worlds. It seems to be enough for her too because she’s smiling again. I take her hand and we keep walking.

~*~

Liz and I have been walking for two hours now and I’ve never felt so tired, yet happy, in my life. I look over at Liz who’s tries unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn.

“When’s the last time you got any sleep?” I ask her letting out a yawn of my own.

She looks down at her feet avoiding my eyes and it occurs to me that she hasn’t slept since she left me in bed yesterday morning. Neither had I. The memories of the hours before that, crying in her arms after we’d made love, for I thought would be the last time, came flooding back.

“Liz, I’m sorry... to act like I did. I just...” but this time she interrupted me.

“I ‘m not going to lie to you, Michael. I wish you had told me, but I think in your own, unique, way, you were trying to. I wouldn’t take that night back for anything.”

God I loved this woman. She’d been dragged through hell not just by Max, but by me too and she still managed to keep a perspective on everything.

“Keep doing that.” I tell her pulling her to my side as we walk.

“What?” she asked.

“Reminding me why I stayed.” I answer kissing the top of her head.

She doesn’t say anything, she just wraps one of her slender arms around my waist and leans into me.

After a few more minutes of silence she yawns again, “I don’t know what I want to do first whenever we get home. Shower or sleep.”

My brain starts running again. Okay not my brain, but can you blame me? I’m seventeen and Liz Parker’s boyfriend.
“Are your parents home?” I ask trying to sound innocent.

Liz let out a laugh, “Are the ever home?”

“Then I say you’re coming home with me and we are most defintely showering first. As for sleep... eventually.” I say waggling my eyebrows. Nope no mistake where my mind is.

Liz stops walking to face me, “I like the way you think Guerin. I knew there was a reason I liked having you around.”

“My deviant tendancies?” I ask in mock indignation.

“Most definitely.” she says mischief gleaming in her eyes.

I let out a growl and kiss her fiercely. I feel her hands slip under the front of my shirt and she lightly trails her fingers over my chest giving me much welcomed goosebumps in the New Mexico heat.

I kiss down her neck tasting the saltiness of her sweat mixed with the sweetness of that vanilla lotion she uses that drives me crazy. If we keep this up we won’t make it to a nearby bush let alone my apartment.

I pull her closer to me and place one ofmy hands on her make lfting it slightly, aching to touch her all over. I find her mouth again and drink in those lips that have the the cause of my undoing so many times.

“You know, “ I say in between kisses, “I’m not normally into public displays of affection.”

“I know, “ Liz pants.

“I make exceptions for near death experiences,” I say claiming her mouth again.

“Okay.” she says, I’m not even sure if she hears what I’m saying and frankly, I’m not even sure what I’m saying. Her mouth leaves mine to to do unspeakable things to my neck.

“I just don’t want you to...oh... think this is going...damn Liz.. to be a regular thing. PDA’s”

“Noted.” she answers. But who am I kidding, now that everything is out I’d kiss her in the fifty yard line of the high school stadium during the opening kick-off of the homecoming game.

Note to self, file that one away for future fantasy material.

Liz and I are so wrapped up in eachother we fail to see the car coming down the road slowing to a stop next to us. It isn’t until we hear the person clear their throat that we stop our highway makeout session.
“I heard you two have been busy. Hop in, I’ll give a ride home.”

~~~*~~~
TBC...



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Dec-2002 3:11:07 AM ]
posted on 11-Dec-2002 1:12:14 AM
Quick note: I changed tenses from first to third. I found it works better for the story after this point. Hope it doesn't throw anyone off.*happy*


Chapter 8

“I heard you two have been busy” Jim Valenti said to Michael and Liz, “Hop in. I’ll give you a ride home.”

While surprised to see him, they weren’t about to pass up a ride back to Roswell. Michael opened the door and Liz slid into the middle next to Jim. Once Liz was situated Michael sat beside her draping his arm over her shoulders. Liz leaned into him resting her head on his shoulder.

“How much did Kyle tell you?” Liz asked Jim as he started driving.

He sighed, “Well, he told me about Tess. I... just can’t seem to fathom how she... or why she did it... she was becoming like a daughter...I trusted her.”

“We all did.” Michael growled, chastising himself for letting his guard down so easliy with Tess. He, like everyone else, wanted to believe that none them were capable of what she’d done.

“Kyle was pretty shaken up when he got home. Told me Michael , Isabel and Max didn’t leave. Then he told me about how you and Michael have been hiding your relationship. That he knew in October and that you finally came clean today. Said that they had left you two in the desert. He was going to come get you himself, but I didn’t want him driving.” he explained.

Both Micheal and Liz, weary from their morning journey, simply nodded their heads in agreement with what Kyle had told his father.

“Is Kyle okay?” Liz asked with genuine concern. She knew no matter how bad she was feeling, Kyle had to be devastated. He had unknowingly help Tess get rid of the body of the boy, Alex, whom he had come to consider a friend.

“It’ll take some time. Those are some pretty raw memories from what I could gather. We’ll get through it. Can I count on you two?” Jim replied.

Michael and Liz both looked at him in shocked that he might want their help. Michael especially. He’d heard what Valenti had said to Max when he’d helped them get rid of the Jeep. He figured Jim would be on Max’s side.

“Yeah, um, sure. “Michael said, “But I didn’t think you’d want our help. I mean, I know you like Max and...”

Valenti held up his hand to stop Michael from talking. This kid had a way of constantly putting himself down and he wasn’t going to let him do it this time.

“Look, I’m not saying I agree with what you two did. Secrets and lies are never a good thing and someone always winds up getting hurt. But I know you two pretty well, and I while I sure as hell had no idea about what was going on, I think your hearts were in the right place. And if Kyle was willing to keep your secret too, it must have been important.

I told Max it has been an honor to know him, because I meant it. He saved Kyle’s life when I was out to expose all of you and while he’s made some poor decisions, I think he’s generally a good kid. I didn’t say anything to you last night, Michael because I figured you knew how I felt and I know you hate that mushy crap.”

Michael cracked a smile at the accuracy of Jim’s last statement. But while smiling he secretly wanted to hear what Jim thought about him, but was too afraid to ask. Liz knew Michael’s pride all too well and asked for him.

“You know Mr. Valenti, sometimes Michael needs to hear how people feel, whether he likes it or not.” she said. Michael gave her a warning glance as if annoyed that she said anything, but the gentle rubbing of his thumb on her shoulder told her otherwise.

Jim nodded and thought for a moment. He wanted to tell Michael what he thought about him, without causing the boy any embarrassment.

“Believe it or not, Michael you and I are a lot alike. We’re both protectors, well at least I was until a couple months ago. We always make sure everyone is safe an nobody get’s hurt We both know the risks to our ‘jobs’ and we take them on without a second thought. You’ve had a rough life, tougher the Max and Isabel.”

Michael’s face reddened and he looked out the window. He never liked discussing how he was raised or the abuse he suffered. Jim saw his discomfort.

“I don’t just mean Hank. Max and Isabel always had eachother and you were always on the outside. Sure it was the three of you, but the Evans found the Max and Isabel. You got out of a bad situation with Hank, asked for help when it was the most difficult. You got a place of your own and had to fend for yourself. Not many people can do that as adults. You were only sixteen.

Then you find out you were this great soldier in another life, second to Max. While I admit I like Max, I’ve never liked the way he treated you. Like you were second. It takes great restraint to take that, Michael and not say anything. But you were always protecting him. You let him play the role he needed to. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I respect you.”

Michael turned away from the window to look at Jim. This man who he’d looked up to for the past year, respected him. If he didn’t have such a strong sense of pride in him he would have burst into tears right there.

“Uh... thanks, Mr. Valenti.” he finally managed to say.
Liz knew that meant what Jim had said meant the world to Michael. She rememeber how upset Michael was the few months earlier when Jim had lost his job trying to help the group with Laurie Dupree and the gandarium scare.

There was a measured silence as they drove on. Jim had so many questions he wanted answered, but didn’t want to overwhelm Michael or Liz. They’d been through enough already and had much more ahead of them.

He looked over at the two of them and couldn’t get over how comfortable they were with eachother. Whatever he had witnessed of Michael and Liz consisted of arguments or little contact at all. He couldn’t help but admire how they’d pulled off the deception for such a long time. He also admired that they had been able to stay together through all of it. He knew marriages that couldn’t hold up under that sort of pressure, yet these two kids, with an endless amount of love in their eyes, made those people look like fools.

“I have a lot of questions, nothing that can’t wait, “ Jim said “But there is one thing I’d like to know. I think you can answer this best, Liz.”

“I’ll try.” she said quietly.

“Kyle said he’s known since October about you and Michael, but I remember around that time hearing rumors that you and Kyle had... um...”

“Slept together?” she finished.

Jim nodded, “Yeah. What really happened? Kyle said you never slept together, that you were trying to make Max leave you alone, but he thought there was more to it and that’s how he found out about you and Michael.”

Liz didn’t need to look at Michael for confirmation, she knew he would agreed it was time to finally tell someone what had happened. She proceeded to tell Jim all about Future Max and what he had told her. That in his time he and Liz were married. That Michael and Isabel were dead and the whole world was going to come to an end because Tess left.

“You knew about this Michael?” Jim said shocked. Michael nodded and thought back to that night while Liz continued to explain everything to Jim.

~*~
October 2000

Michael walking throught the park, trying to clear his head. Between finding out COurtney was a Skin and Maria’s latest tirade he needed some air. He rubbed his sore jaw, chuckling to himself. Alex really was a good friend. Up ahead he saw Max sitting on a park bench. He was going to stop and tell him about Courtney, when he saw Tess approach him. Max’s face wore only that look of pain that he knew only one person could deliver, Liz. Had he finally realized that she didn’t want him, at least not romantically? Would it only be a matter of time before he and Liz could be together in the open?

He had to know what had happened so he had hidden within earshot of the two. Then he heard overheard Max telling Tess that he had found Liz in bed with Kyle. Kyle? What the fuck was going on? Liz wouldn’t do that! She was supposed to love him, Michael! Max had to be wrong. Sure she and Kyle had a past, but sleep with him.

Not caring what else Max had to say, Michael ran, cursing that he couldn’t make his legs go any faster as he ran to the Crashdown. Steet lights exploded and car alarms whined as he passed them. His powers were no longer under his control, tightlly bonded to his emotional state. It couldn’t be true. If it was what would he do without her?

He skidded to a halt in the alley before practically flying up the fire escape. His breathing was so hard her couldn’t hear her crying until he reaches the ledge of her balcony.

Seeing Liz in tears broke Michael’s heart, but for a moment seemed to confirm what he had feared. Hearing his labored breathing Liz looked up to sees anguish and anger etched into his beautiful face.

“Tell me it’s not true, Liz” he growls, “Tell me you didn’t sleep with Kyle.”

“How...” she began to say her body still shaking with her sobs. How could he know already?

“It doesn’t matter how.... so... It is true? God Liz! Why?” he asked, his own tears threatening to spill over.

“No Michael! It’s not true. I didn’t sleep with Kyle. I could never let anyone touch me like you do.” she explained.

Michael felt as though a ten ton block had been lifted off his chest. He took Li’zs trembling hand and helped her stand up leading her into her bedroom. She needed a few minutes to calm dow so she could tell him what had happened.

They sat on her bed as she tried to collect herself, Michael rubbed her back and held her hand trying to soothe her. What could cause her so much pain? Finally the not knowing threatened to make his head explode. He needed the truth.

“I heard Max talking to Tess... I couldn’t believe it... What the hell is going on?” he asks her taking her face in his hands.

“Max... Max from the fourteen years in the future came back to make sure I fell out of love with him. Somehow, he and I wound up getting married. Tess left and without her the three of you weren’t strong enough to fight what was coming. Michael you died in Max’s arms ten minutes before he came to me. Everyone was dead... I couldn’t let that happen.”

Michael held her closer trying to absorb what she’d just told him. He didn’t doubt the truth of it. He knew Liz would always tell him the truth. He also knew why she picked Kyle. If Max had found her in bed with himself the group would be torn apart like they’d always feared. She had a histroy with Kyle so, Max would expect that she found comfort in his arms. In the world Max Evans knew Liz Parker and Michael Guerin were oil and water.

He kept thinking about her words, what Future Max had told her, and his heart felt constricted.

“Wait.” he said his voince tinged with panic, “He said, you and he... were married? Which means somehow... someway...” he couldn’t say it.

Liz nodded, “Somehow you and I lost our way. I don’t know how it happened Michael. I don’t think even Future Max knew about us. I don’t want you to die Michael and I sure as hell don’t want to find out what life without loving you is like.”

God, what she had been through that night. The pain of seeing a future where she and Michael weren’t together, must have been too much to bear.

“I’m sorry Liz. I’m sorry you had to go through that alone.” Michael said standing up. He began pacing. He was angry at Max, Future Max, for coming back and scaring her. He was also grateful to the son-of-a-bitch for coming back and stopping what his future held for them.

Liz stood up and blocked Michael, halting his pacing. Michael looked down at her in awe. How could such a little person hold so much strength and so much of his heart. He almost lost her that night and he wasn’t ever going to let that happen again.

Michael brought Liz into into his arms hugging her until she wasn’t sure where she stopped and he began. He brought his mouth down to hers and gave her a gentle kiss that, as it always did with them, quickly turned deeper and hungrier. He was grateful that his were the only lips she ever wanted to taste.

He pulled away from her for a moment caressing her jawline with his thumb, “Thank you.” he said.

Liz shook her head, “Don’t thank me Michael, just promise that future will never happen.”

It wasn’t a promise he was sure he could make at the time. There were so many unknowns and a chance at going home.

“I’ll try.” he told her, hoping it would be enough.

Liz brought his face back down for another kiss, she wanted more than “I’ll try”, but she knew it was all Michael could give.

~*~

Michael was snapped out of his thoughts as they reached the sign announcing their arrival into Roswell. He looked over at Liz who was practically drifting off to sleep on his shoulder. Jim stared at the road ahead absorbing the information the two had just revealed to him.

Michael kissed the top of Liz’s head and she glanced up at him. He bent down and kissed her softly and his next words were met with a knowing, although sleepy, grin.

“I promise.”

~~~*~~~
TBC....





posted on 15-Dec-2002 2:00:54 PM
Chapter 9 NC-17

Liz fell asleep nestled in the crook of Michael’s arm as they drove into Roswell Among the many thoughts racing through his head, Michael had a sudden fear involving Jim. He wasn’t the only man involved with a Deluca woman.

“Uh... Mr. Valenti, I, um, appreciate your support for Liz and I, but are you sure you want to? I mean Amy is bound to be pissed off. I wouldn’t blame you if you just wanted to...you know... keep your distance from us and ,well... stay alive.”

Jim chuckled, “You let me worry about Amy, Michael. If anything I can try and calm her down or at least run interference. In the last two years of knowing you, I’ve faced dangers I’d never thought possible. I think I can handle a little Deluca rage.”

Michael felt bad for Jim realizing he’d never been through a full on Deluca tantrum, “Yeah... good luck with that, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’ve seen what that woman can do with a newspaper.”

Jim laughed again, but suddenly felt as though the fear of God had been placed in him as he made his way to Michael’s apartment.

Valenti looked down at a sleeping Liz and back up at a nearly passed out Michael. The sacrifices they must have made. He knew that on the surface all people would see is that that No Good Michael Guerin boy had gone off and corrupted Little Lizzie Parker or that Liz was just going through a wild streak, rebeling with the bad boy. He knew even the members of their group wouldn’t see the truth behind it all. One thing he did know is that he would do what he could to protect them, understand them, and help them.

Michael woke when felt the truck come to slow to a stop realizing they were in front of his apartment. He gently nudged Liz awake and opened the door, sliding out. Liz paused for a moment before joining Michael. She leaned up and gave Jim a peck on the cheek.

“Thanks Mr. Valenti. For the ride and for not judging.” she said quietly, “We’ll check on Kyle later. If that’s okay?”

Jim just nodded and Liz took Michael’s hand exiting the vehicle. He whispered in her ear and she made her way to the apartment. Michael stuck head in the window and extended his hand.

“Thanks.” he said. Valenti shook the boy, young man’s, hand nodding. He wondered what Michael was feeling. He’d just given up everything, his planet , his friends, and possibly his family. He had to know one more thing.

Michael started to walk away when Valenti called out to him, “Michael? Was it worth it?”

Michael looked over at Liz who was waiting for him by the door of his place. Her hair was mussed and she had bags under her eyes from stess and lack of sleep, but the way they new day sun was hitting her, he’d thought he’d never seen anything so beautiful in his whole life.
He smiled back at Valenti, “For her? Yes sir.”

Valenti knew what Michael’s answer would be. He just needed to hear him say it. He winked at Michael and pulled away towards home to help mend his son’s broken heart and to do a little repair work on his own.

~*~

“What did he want?” Liz asked as Michael unlocked the door.

“Just wanted to know if it was all worth it?” he answered. He placed his had on the small of her back encouraging her forward.

“And?” she asked stepping inside.

Michael shrugged, “Yeah, I told him you were such a tiger in the sack that I just had to stay on the planet. I mean I don’t even know if I have the right equipment for alien chicks.”

Liz gasped and smacked his arm, “Michael! You are such a pig. Just for that I’ve got first dibs on the shower.”

Michael pouted, “I thought we were gonna share?”

“That’ll teach you to open your mouth, Guerin.” Liz said playfully. She stripped her shirt off and threw in Michael’s face, turning towards the linen closet to retreive a towel.

“Hey! You’ve never complained about my mouth before.” he said with mock indignation, “In fact usually you say, “Oh Michael..yes, yes, yes.... oh God yes!”

Liz blushed feircely and was caught between embarrassment and annoyance. She grumbled unable to think of a witty comeback and shut herself in the bathroom.

Michael laughed heartily, finally getting one up on his girlfriend. The feeling was fleeting as he heard the water in the shower turn on. It was only then he realized things weren’t exactly working out the way he’d planned. He was supposed to in there washing the dust off Liz’s... arms... neck... stomach... Instead he was standing in the middle of his apartment, sweaty, dirty, and holding Liz’s tank top instead of holding her.

“She might have a point this mouth of mine.” he muttered to himself rolling his eyes.
He knew he needed to grovel a bit if he was ever going to hear Liz calling his name again. Now was not the time for stubborn pride. He tossed his shirt and tank top aside and made his way to bathroom door.

~*~
Liz stepped into the shower letting the hot water wash away the dirt and stress from the day. She was still miffed at Michael for his last comment even if it was fairly accurate.

She tipped her head back and the water cascaded over her long, dark locks. She grabbed the lavendar shampoo, Michael let her keep there, and poured it into the palm of her hand. As she lathererd it into her hair, she couldn’t help but be amazed at how long they’d been able to keep their secret. If anyone had bothered to look a little closer the signs were everywhere.

The shampoo in his shower. The bottle of vanilla lotion, that seemed to bring out the animal in Michael, kept in his bedside table drawer. Even the vanilla ice cream in his freezer. But she guessed if you weren’t looking for clues you would never find them.

Liz was too lost in her thoughts to notice the door to the bathroom opening or Michael sneaking in. Only when she felt cold air from the curtain being pulled away, did she notice his hulking, and completely naked form.

He watched the water flow in rivulets over Liz’s shoulders, down her smooth back, and just over the swell of her well toned bottom. Liz wet. Reason number fifty he chose to stay on Earth.

“I am an ass.” he finally said as she turned around to face him.

She knew the second she looked at him she couldn’t stay mad at him. Those caramel colored eyes were always her weakness. She could read everything in them. He was sorry. He was in love. He was hers.

“Yes, you are, but seeing as you’ve changed the entire fabric of our lives with your announcement today, I’ll let it slip.” she said letting him off a hook he was never really on, “Besides, it’s not like you were completely incorrect. I can be a little...”

“Vocal?” Michael finshed for her, inching his way closer. Liz stayed still, hypnotized by those eyes like the day they first kissed.

“W-Well,” she stuttered trying to keep her composure, “I was going to say... enthusiastic.”

“Feeling... enthusiastic?” he asked raising one eyebrow now a breath away from her lips.

“You’re filthy,” Liz whispered.

“Yet another quality of mine you adore?” he teased moving in for a kiss.
“No,” Liz said smiling and pulling away, “I mean your filthy. Dirty. Unclean.” She laughed and grabbed the showerhead aiming directly at his face, thoroughly soaking him.

Michael ccouldn’t help but laugh too. He moved the showerhead and rinsed himself off.

“Fine, are you satisfied now?” he asked exasperated.

“Not even close,” Liz said, a huskiness overtaking her voice.

Michael read the lust in her eyes and growled. Wasting no time pulled her body flush to him and claimed her mouth with his own. Water slid over their bodies as their hands slipped over planes and curves. Michael moved his mouth down to her neck to suck on her pulse point, knowing how much it turned her on. Liz let out a small moan, but quickly clamped her mouth shut remembering Mr. Guerin’s earlier remarks. Determined to get back at him Liz pulled away ever so slightly leaving him a little confused and extremely aroused. If he wanted enthusiastic, he was going to get it.

“What’s wrong?” he asked barely able to breathe.

“I told you I wasn’t satisfied. You’re still dirty.” she remarked playfully.

She grabbed a washcloth and his oh so manly smelling body wash. That had been a deal breaker. Shampoo was one thing, but there was no way he was allowing some girly smelling soap and one of those puffy things near his cave.

After working up a good lather she began cleaning Michael starting at his face and working her way tortureously down. She made sure every inch of him was clean, his chest,back, arms, legs and finally saved the best for last.

She stood behind him and snaked her arms around his waist washcloth inching it’s way down his stomach. She felt him suck in a breath as she enveloped his, by now obvious arousal, in the warm cloth. She slowly, achingly stroked him while placing open mouth kisses on his well muscled back.

The washcloth was a pale substitute for the warm walls inside of Liz, but the way she was stroking him was having the same effect. Soon enough Michael had to brace his hands on the walls as his legs threatened to buckle beneath him. His breathing grew ragged, his control slipping.

Liz knew he was close. Months of making love to this man had given her a keen sense of his body. Before he knew what was happening she snuck around to the front of him and replaced the washcloth with her mouth.

“Shit Liz!” Michael cried out at the feel of her hot mouth on his throbbing erection. Her pace mirrored that of her hand only moments before. Any semblance of control was lost in that instant and he gave in willingly to her ministrations.
Still unsure of his legs he kept one hand on the wall while he rest the other on her head gently encouraging her on, unable to keep the moans form escaping his throat.

She knew, when his breathing had become uneven and his hips rocked almost wildly, that he was teetering on the brink. She took his length one last time and ever so lightly hummed. Michael shouted her name as he felt the vibration bring his release, spilling himself into her mouth as she eagerly swallowed.

MIchael tried to regain his balance as she stood up and met his eyes with a wicked grin.

“Now who’s enthusiastic?” she asked place a light kiss on his lips.

Michael smirked, “God woman, you undo me.”

Liz turned off the water and they both dried off retiring to the bedroom, for what Liz thought would be a few hours of blissful sleep. What she forgot is: a)Michael was always quick to recover b) he [I[always gave as good as he got and c)nobdy get’s the best of Michael Guerin, especially Liz Parker.

She pulled the sheets back on the bed and dropped her towel climbing into bed. She heard Michael open a drawer and assumed he was getting out a pair of boxers. When she felt the other side of the bed give into Michael’s weight she turned to face him and was greeted by a man with a rye grin,still wearing a towel, and holding her bottle of lotion in his hands.

“Forgetting something Parker?” he asked.

“I’m a dead woman.” Liz giggled.

Michael nodded and opened the bottle squeezing some of the lotion into his hand. He moved it through his fingers for a moment warming it through. He wanted Liz to burn for him as badly as he did for her.

He started at her collarbone moving in gentle circles out towards her shoulders. She held perfectly still as his moved down her arms. She was determined to not let him have any satisfaction in her coming undone. But Michael was a soldier and always had a strategy. Liz never stood a chance.

He positioned himself between her legs as he rubbed more of the vanilla scent, that intoxicated him so, over her stomach making his way up to her soft breasts. He saw her biting her lip as her drew closer to her already hardening nipples.

His let his fingertips dance around them lightly seeing in her eyes how badly she wanted him to touch them. Finally he rubbed them lightly finally eliciting a deep sigh from her. She fought the urge to arch her back into his hand, but gave in as he lightly pinched them between his fingers.

Now the vanilla lotion on it’s own was never enough to unnerve Michael. Only when it came into contact with Liz’s skin did it have a primal effect on him. He’d spent the last few minutes applying the lotion to her and by now the unmistakable scent of Liz was permeating the room. While Michael had a strategy in mind he was quickly losing site of it, drowinng in the perfume of this woman. A fact made abundantly clear by the tenting of his loose towel.

He took his fingers away from Liz’s breasts and she practically screamed at the loss of contact. He closed the lid on the lotion and set on the bedside table, his final destination in sight. He trailed his hand up the inside of her legs lightly rubbing the remaning lotion on his hand, to the soft delicate skin of her inner thighs.

Unable to stand his teasing any long Liz reached out and brought his head to her breast begging wordlessly for him to devour her. Michael obliged taking her breast into his mouth sucking gently at first. His hands still rubbed the inside of her thighs brushing her folds ever so lightly, never giving her what she really needed.

Liz’s body was no longer hers to control as she squirmed under his touch, asking without words to touch her where she needed most. Suddenly she felt Michael’s thumb on her clit as he sucked harder on her breast.

“Michael!” she gasped, her enitre body arching into him.

That was all he needed to hear. He never thought he would hear his name on his lips again and he forgot about his stupid battle for control with her.

He threw the towel aside and sat perched at her entrance, sliding in easily and letting out an unabashed moan.

“I never thought I’d get to do this again,” he whispered kissing her before he began to move inside her.

Liz had a million words running through her head that she wanted to say to him, but they didn’t seem to do justice to how she was feeling. The look in his eyes as their bodies joined again was the same as the one she’s seen only two nights earlier. Except this time instead of pain and loss she saw eternity.

She met him in a kiss as he brought their hands together and clasped over her head. Every thrust brought more pleasure and she was sure she was going to die with the need for release.

Michael knew it was cliche', but he felt that Liz Parker was made for him. The way their bodies fit together was too perfect. The way her walls fit around him, contracting drawing him deeper into pleasure.

He felt her hands squeeze his tighter and saw her eyes began to close knowing her relase was upon her. He sped up his movements, while still being as gentle as he could. With one last thrust he felt her clamp down on him and she cried out his name.
“M-I-I-I-cheal!”

“Oh Christ... L-I-I-z-z-z!”

Michael gently removed himself from her and rested his head on her chest, listening to her frantic heartbeat come down.

The steady thumping began to lull him to sleeo when he heard her sniffling. He looked up and saw tears streaming down her cheeks.

Michael brought his hand up to he face trying to wipe the tears away that were merely replaced with new ones.

“Liz? Baby? Are you okay? D-did I hurt you?” he asked concerned searching her eyes for answers.

Liz shook her head, “No, no... it was wonderful.” she said sobs escaping her lips.

“Then what’s wrong?”

“I-I just realized how close I came to losing you forever.” she managed to get out before finally letting all the day’s stress come flowing out of her. “ I lost some of the most important people in my life today. If I’d lost you I don’t know...”

Michael took her in his arms and borught the blankets around them. He let her cry against him as he stroked her wet hair, drying it with his powers so he could feel the silken locks flow through his fingers.

When he felt her sobs ease he lifted her chin with his fingertip, “Now you know I’m not one for a lot of mushy words so listen up. I wouldn’t be alive right now if I didn’t love you so much. You were the only thing that got me off that ship. If I didn’t have you, Max, Isabel and I would probably dead right now. I may not show it often enough, but I am grateful that you are in my life. You are the one thing in my screwed up existence that I ever got right. I don’t think I knew how to live before I loved you. I am not going anywhere Parker, you got me?”

Liz smiled and nodded, laying her head on his chest letting his steady heartbeat bring her into sleep.
~~~*~~~~
TBC....



posted on 23-Dec-2002 1:29:12 AM
Chapter 10


Liz and Michael slept through most of the day. Staying up for more than twenty-four hours, not to mention almost being killed tends to wear a person out.

Normally Michael was a light sleeper, wide awake at the slightest hint of movement, but with the exhaustion of the morning he was almost dead to the world. So he never heard the snik of of the lock to his front door being opened.

The figure made it’s way through the apartment as quietly as it could knowing the sensitivity Michael had tp any strange noise. They looked around and saw Liz’s tank top on the floor along with Michael clothes and made their way to the bedroom to look in on the sleeping lovers.

Lucky enough for the intruder the door to the bedroom lay wide open so they didn’t have to worry about the squeaky doorknob. Their breath hitched as they caught their first glimpse of Michael and Liz naked in the bed together.

As always, Michael held Liz’s body posessively to his. Even in slumber he never let go of her, never stopped protecting her. Her head lay on his chest and her arm draped over his waist, she protecting him as much as he was protecting her.

The uninvited guest stood in the doorway raking their eyes over their sleeping forms, both wrapped in a sheet. One of Michael’s legs stuck out straight. His waist was covered by the sheet, but it was clear he was wearing nothing underneath.

Liz had one exposed leg over the covers in between Michael’s legs. Eyes combed over her nude hip following the line up her back. The sheets were bunch up around her chest hiding her breasts from the stranger’s gaze. They were so caught up in watching they forgot the creaky floorboard on the threshhold on Michael’s bedroom.

Liz moved ever so slightly at the sound, causing the figure to panic a little Not wanting to move and make the noise again they stayed still, taking the couple in with their eyes. Michael’s arm tightened around Liz’s waist instinctively and she let out a sigh of contentment.

The intruder watched as, eyes still closed, a smile crept over Liz’s face and the hand that had been wrapped around his waist was sliding down under the sheet. Not wanting to be caught, the person slowly started to back out of the room.

“Leaving so soon, Max?” Michael said opening his eyes and looking at his friend standing in the doorway, “Why not stay for whole show?”

Max froze in place. While Liz’s eyes flew open. She clutched the sheet, covering her body, and sat up quickly. Max was still in the same clothes he was wearing that morning. His eyes looked puffy and tired. They could both tell he hadn’t slept. They might have even felt sorry for him if he hadn’t snuck in to spy on them.

“What the hell are you doing here Max?” Liz yelled furiously.
Max was at a loss for words, he was sure they were both sound asleep. Michael sat up shielding Liz’s body with his own. “She asked you a question, Max.”

“I-I-I just had to see if it was true or if this was another lie... like with Kyle. I mean Tess is already gone Liz. Whatever my future self told you... we can change... it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to be with Michael to save the world. ” Max said trying to reason with her.

“Yes I do. Michael is my world!” Liz growled. Her anger was palpable, Michael could feel it coming off her in waves. He’d never seen her that angry before, but his heart soared as he heard Liz call him her world.

“But Liz...”

“Get out, Max!’ God! Why is it so hard for you to believe that I don’t love you? I never did.” she said. Michael felt the her energy building and knew if Max didn’t get out soon somthing bad was going to happen.

”That’s not true Liz and you know it!” Max argued. It couldn’t be true. He saved her life. He saw into her soul. She loved him. She had to. How could he be so wrong?

Michael turned away from Max and placed a hand on Liz’s cheek. He moved moved her face to his making her look into his eyes. He could feel her shaking with rage.

“Calm down. I’ll handle this.” he said in a soothing voice. She nodded her consent and Michael turned back to Max.

“Look Max, now isn’t the best time for this okay. We all need time to cool off, then we’ll talk and you can profess you undying devotion to my girlfriend.”

“Michael Guerin, the voice of reason? That’s a switch.” Max said sarcastically.

“Keep it up Maxwell and you’ll see how unreasonable I can get.” Michael responded his own rage threatening to spill over. “Leave. Now. Or I may just forget what Liz taught me about being a polite host.”

Max glared at the couple one last time, tuned away and made a hasty exit. Michael and Liz heard breaking glass as Max slammed the door on his way out.

“Well, that was fun.” Michael said falling back on to his pillow.
Liz was still sitting up, shaking with anger. How dare Max barge in on she and Michael like that? How could he still be denying something that was over before it ever really began? How could he not see how much she loved Michael?

“Hey... Liz.. Hey...” Michael said sitting back up rubbing her back gently. “He’s gone... it’s over.”

Liz snapped out of her trance and looked at Michael, “You and I both know Max, Michael. It’s not over.”

Michael couldn’t argue with her. He knew she was right, Max Evans was about many things when it came to Liz and one of those things was a pitbull. Once he held on he’d never let go. But Max always underestimated Michael and this was no exception. Michael would fight til his last breath for this woman, even if it meant fighting his brother.

~*~

After the ordeal with Max, Michael and Liz knew they wouldn’t be getting anymore sleep. Besides Michael had a broken front door window to fix and the grumbling in their bellies reminded them they hadn’t eaten in a while.

Michael threw on a pair of jeans and headed out to the living room, leaving Liz digging through his closet for something to wear.

“When’s the last time you did laundry?” Liz called out, as she came upon nothing but a pile of Michael’s dirty clothes.

“Uh, Liz, I was leaving the planet... it wasn’t exactly on my ‘to do’ list.” he replied fishing a two sodas out of the fridge before venturing over to the broken glass. He chuckled as he heard a muffled gowl come from his bedroom.

A minute later, Liz came out padding out in her bare feet wearing only one of Michael’s t-shirts. On him it was a little baggy on her it practically swallowed her lithe form. It was at times like these when he realized how tiny Liz really was and how amazing it was that they ever fit together. Paul Bunyan and Tinkerbell came to mind.

Liz started to walk forward towards the kitchen when Michael held his hand up, “Just stay there a sec. I need to fix the window and there still glass on the floor. You’ll cut up you feet.”

That was only part of the reason. It was also an exuse to look at the two great loves of his life: Liz Parker wearing his Metallica t-shirt. He smiled for a moment, then swiped his hand from the floor to the window mending the broken shards to a single sheet of clear glass.

“Safe?” she asked.
“From the glass? Yeah. From me? Not a chance.” he said advancing on her.

Liz held her hands up to keep him back and scurried around him into the kitchen where he quickly trapped her against the refrigerator. Not that she really wanted to put up much of a fight, not when Michael had that devious look in his eyes.

“Now, Miss Parker, I believe you were going to do something nasty with those hands of yours before His Highness interrupted.” Michael pointed out.

“Why whatever are you talking about Mr.Guerin?” Liz asked batting her eyes feigning innocence.

“Can’t pull one over on me, Liz. I know all your tricks.” Michael whispered in her ear , wrapping one his arms around her waist and pulling her closer.

“If you say so.” she relented, leaning up to capture his mouth in a kiss.

As Michael’s tongue teased the corners Liz’s mouth she reached behind her grabbing one of the ice cold soda’s he had taken out of the fridge minutes earlier. Before he knew what was happening Michael felt the cold can on his neck. He jumped back from her yelping. Liz practically sank to the floor in a fit of laughter as she watched Michael rub the warmth back into his neck.

“You still have a lot to learn about me, Grasshopper.” Liz said barely able to speak.

“Apparently.” Michael said mildly annoyed. But seeing Liz laughing again quickly erased that. Max had really shaken her up , he wasn’t sure if she would be okay anytime soon.

Liz saw that glint back in Michael’s eye and she knew she was in for it. After that morning’s earlier tryst she remembered that nobody got Michael Guerin without paying a price.
She saw him take a step towards her again and she began to back away. Soon they were at a full run around the apartment. Over the coffee table, around the couch and in front of the television. If Michael was going to get her, she wanted him to work for it.

He finally caught her by the table in the kitchen causing her to let out a squeal as he lifted her off the ground. He quieted her with a searing kiss and she instinctively wrapped her legs around his waist feeling how hard he was for her. Their breathing was already heavy from their jaunt around the apartment and didn’t threaten to slow down anytime soon.

Michael set Liz down on the edge of the table when her realized dishes from the previous night’s dinner with Maria were in their way. Without a thought he brushed the items off the surface, sending them crashing to the floor.

Liz scooted back pulling Michael by the belt loops towards her. He gently pushed her down making his way to lay on top of her unsure that the table would hold there weight, but not really caring either. His mouth attacked her as she wrapped her legs once again around his waist, tangling her hands into his dark blonde locks, moaning at the feel of his open mouth on her neck.

They were broken from their passionate embrace by the loud crash of Michael’s front door being broken down.
~~~*~~~
TBC...


posted on 27-Dec-2002 1:06:11 PM
Chapter 11



Michael’s front door came open with a loud crash. He barely had time to get off of Liz, and stand defend them holding his hand up, ready to blast whomever walked through the door.

“Michael? Liz?” Kyle yelled as he ran in the door. He caught Michael out of the corner of his eye with his hand up and starting to glow. “Shit! Whoa man! It’s just me!”

Michael brought his hand down, “Dammit Valenti!”

“I’m sorry, I was coming over here to talk to you guys when I heard Liz screaming.” Kyle said quickly when his eyes fell on Liz who was still perched on the table eyes wide wearing only a black Metallica t-shirt, “And then I heard an crash...” his gaze then fell to the mess of plates broken on the floor. “... I thought you were in trouble...” his eyes met Michael’s intensely annoyed glare, “... and I’m beginning to think I shoulda called first.”

“Ya think?” Michael asked dryly.

Kyle averted his eyes from the couple as Liz hopped down and stood by Michael. “You know I have this nasty habit of catching you two... uh, doing whatever it is you two are... were doing... So...I’m just gonna go now, we can talk later. Sorry about your door, man”

Kyle started to leave when Liz called out to him, “No Kyle! Stay. It’s okay.”

Kyle stopped and looked up at Michael who nodded his head in agreement. Sure the guy had seriously interrupted his groove, but it was nothing that couldn’t wait.

“Besides, I need someone to hold the door still while I fix it.” Michael added. “Poor thing’s been through a lot to day.” Kyle gave him a puzzled look and Michael told him he’d explain later.

Liz walked over to Kyle and invited him in. She’d completely forgotten her state of undress.

“Uh, Liz... I realize I’m not the only one you’ve shared a bed with...” Kyle began when he heard Michael growl at the memory that, although nothing ever happened and it was for the good of Earth, Liz had been had been naked in a bed with Kyle before. Kyle quickly moved the away from that subject, “Um, could you... uh... put something ...more on?”

Liz blushed and nodded running into Michael’s bedroom and fished out an old pair of sweats she’d left there. She tossed Michael a t-shirt and he and Kyle set about fixing Michael’s front door.

“Hey man, I am really sorry.” Kyle whispered to Michael nodding in the direction of Liz who was getting another soda out for Kyle.

“You have no idea.” Michael whispered back with a smirk.

“I’m gonna order a pizza. Kyle, you’re staying for dinner. You almost finished?” Liz asked from the living room.
“Keep your panties on, Parker.” Michael yelled back swiping his hand once more over the door mending the splintered wood and bent hinges.

“Not wearing any, Guerin. “ Liz sang.

Kyle coughed, “Did not need to know that!”

Michael just laughed and he and Kyle made their way into the living room where Liz sat on the couch with the phone in her hand ordering an extra large pizza for the three of them. Michael took his place next to Liz after she hung up the phone while Kyle settled into the armchair cracking open his soda.

Kyle watched the couple for a moment while Liz handed Michael his soda and the Tabasco that always accompanied alien beverages. He noticed Michael didn’t even ask for it, she’d just handed it to him. He’d forgotten that they had been together longer than anyone really knew and were completely in tune with each others habits and quirks. It was oddly comforting to see them finally working together as a couple, doing things normal couples do. Well as normal as a former alien warrior and teenage girl can be.

“It’s going to take some getting used to, seeing you two like this.” Kyle remarked.

Liz nodded understanding then frowned a little. She realized that if Kyle, who’d known about she and Michael for months, was having trouble adjusting it would probably take the others a lot longer. Hell, it would probably take the entire town a while to adjust.

Sensing Liz’s slight depression Kyle was quick to follow up, “But I’m just glad it’s finally out and you’re happy.”

His words achieved their desire effect when Liz’s frown returned to a smile. She leaned back against Michael and sipped her soda.

“What did you mean about the door being through a lot today?” Kyle asked changing the subject, then another thought entered his head, “...and if it had anything to do with some weird human/alien sex thing, remember, I don’t want to know.”

Michael and Liz laughed, glad to see that while Kyle was still reeling on the inside from Tess’ betrayal, some semblance of their wisecracking friend remained.

“No.” Michael answered scratching his eyebrow. “The door had an unfortunate run in with Max Evans.”

Kyle’s widened and he practically choked on his cola, “Evans was here? When? What did he say?”
“He was here about a half hour ago. “Liz answered anger rising in her remembering waking up and finding Max spying on her and Michael. “He didn’t say much. I don’t think he was planning on us catching him watching us sleep.”

Michael heard the venom in her voice and rubbed her shoulder trying to calm her. Kyle could tell this agitated Liz more than it did Michael leading him to the conclusion that Max had pulled another “we belong together” speech.

“Needless to say he was pretty pissed off when he left.” Michael finished for Liz who was too angry to speak, “Slammed the door and broke the glass out of the window.”

Kyle nodded knowingly, tempted to coin a phrase by Buddha, but decide against it.

“H-How are you?” Liz asked him regaining her composure remembering why Kyle was probably there in the first place.

“I’m not gonna lie, pretty fucking shitty.” Kyle answered, “It doesn’t seem real ya know. I have a hard time deciding what upsets me more, what she did to all of us... or what she made me do with Alex’s bod...Liz, you have to know how sorry I am... if I’d known... I would never have... I just wasn’t strong enough.

Liz heard his voice shaking realizing the memories of that night were still very fresh in his mind. He was also apologizing to her. He thought it was his fault about Alex and not knowing what Tess was up to. He blamed himself.

“Oh God, Kyle! No! What happened to Alex was not your fault. There was no way you could have known.” she said reaching out and squeezing his hand.

“Yeah man,” Michael added, “None of us did. She was mind warping him for a long time. She was really powerful. You can’t blame yourself.”

“But I knew something wasn’t right. At Alex’s wake when Liz told us she thought Alex was murdered. I knew... Dammit she was right there in the room!”

“Kyle, if you’re ever going to get past this you have to stop blaming yourself.” Liz said calmly, but sadness crept into her voice “If anything it’s my fault Alex dead.”

Michael and Kyle both looked at her wide eyed. Liz Parker heaping the weight of the world on her shoulders once again.

“How can you think that?” Michael asked her.

“Future Max... if I hadn’t help him Alex might still be... I didn’t know... how could I make that kind of choice?” Liz began weeping.
Kyle got up from the chair and sat next to Liz embracing her. Michael didn’t feel jealous or possessive. He knew it was what Liz needed and Kyle had proven to be a trustworthy ally over the last year.

“Stop it already will ya Liz. You know I hate it when girls cry.” Kyle said as Liz continued to sob against his shoulder “Dad told me about what happened that night I found you and Michael. You had to do it. There’s no way you could have known Alex was going to die.”

Liz sniffled and looked up at her friend, “Fine, I’ll stop crying if you admit it was not your fault. The only people to blame here is Tess and Nascedo.”

Kyle reluctantly agreed if only to stop Liz crying. They both knew it was a wound they’d both feel for a long time. Not easily healed in one day.

Michael remained quiet letting the two friends comfort each other and relieve some necessary guilt. He wasn’t about to spill his own guilty feelings over what had happened to Alex, at least not yet. Everyone thought he was so stoic during that time, that because he’d never been really close with Alex, his death didn’t affect him as much. It couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Not even Liz knew how he broke down in his apartment and destroyed a fair amount of his belongings unable to express his grief. He was supposed to protect everyone, that was his job. Even though at the time he didn’t know Alex had been murdered he still felt guilty. Alex had helped them even before he’d known they were aliens. He was Liz’s best friend and he couldn’t protect him.

Liz had been so busy shutting down and investigating Alex’s death that she never knew how much Michael was hurting inside. It killed him that she had pushed him away and told him to go to Maria, that she needed him more. It killed him, because he knew that’s what he did to people, even Liz sometimes, and never realized how badly it felt to be on the receiving end. He understood it and gave Liz her space, but he knew how much she was hurting inside. Alex had grown up with Liz, they had been inseparable and in one agonizing instant he’d been ripped out of her life

That pain and guilt Michael had pushed aside began building again when he realized Liz had been right, that Alex had been murdered and by one of their own. But true to Stonewall Guerin form he pushed those feelings down, telling himself he had to be strong for Liz and now for Kyle. He could fall apart later when no one was watching.

A knocking at his door gave Michael relief out of his thoughts. He got up off the couch and answered the door taking the pizza and handing the delivery guy a twenty telling him to keep the change.

He set the pizza on the counter and fetched some paper plates. As he took out the slices he watched Kyle and Liz. He had his arm around her and gave her a chaste kiss the crown of her head.
He couldn’t help but wonder what it was about Liz that made men want to take care of her for the rest of their lives? Was it because she was so small or that she seemed so fragile? Few men knew how truly strong she was. That was one of the things Michael loved about her. Nobody knew how many times she’d been strong for him. They leaned on each other and found a balance.

He cleared his throat and walked into the living room handing Kyle and Liz their pizza. Kyle returned to the armchair as they began eating.

“So have you seen anyone else? Isabel?” Kyle asked, “Maria?” he said almost in a whisper.

Liz shook her head, “Isabel seems okay with us, but I just wouldn’t know what to say to Maria. We really hurt her.”

Kyle nodded, “Not to sound like a bastard here, but Michael was right back at the cliffs. Maria did bring some of this on herself. She pursued Michael almost as rabidly as Max went after you Liz. Michael couldn’t have brushed her off without making her suspicious. She would have found out eventually. I’m sorry she’s hurt, but I think she’ll be okay in the long run.”

“I hope you’re right. I think I’m just going to let her come to me. “Liz said, “Let her get out what she needs to. I can take it. I deserve some of it., but I know things will never be the same.”

“That’s an understatement.” Michael added knowing he too would probably have to face Maria again soon.

The three of them continued eating talking about everything and nothing and for once, in what seemed like ages, felt normal. They didn’t know it at the time, but they were forming a bond that would last them a lifetime and would redefine the dynamics of the group that had become such an integral part of their lives.

Around 7:00 Kyle decided to leave. He wanted to get back home and spend some time with his dad, the only other person, besides Michael and Liz, he felt he could trust and would understand him.

“When do you’re parents get home?” he asked Liz as the approached the beaten, but repaired, door.

“Later tonight. They’re coming in from Sante Fe.” she answered.

“You need a lift home?” he asked.

Liz looked up at Michael, “No, I think I’ll have Michael take me home. We’ll wait for my parents to come home and we’ll tell them about us... together.”

Kyle nodded, “Good luck.”

Liz gave him a hug thanking him for his support when she knew he didn’t have to give it.
Kyle smiled, “You know Max saved my life too. If he ever get’s over you I don’t think I could handle the ‘soulmate’ deal.”

Michael let out a laugh while Liz lightly punched Kyle’s arm. He shook Michael’s hand one last time and left still chuckling to himself.

Michael put away the pizza as Liz got dressed. They had to break the news to Liz’s parents so they needed to get her home. Michael wouldn’t admit it, but he’d never been so nervous in his life.

~~~*~~~
TBC...
posted on 31-Dec-2002 5:21:51 PM
Chapter 12


Michael and Liz walked into the darkened Crashdown Cafe. Liz called out to her parents only to be greeted with silence.

“Must not be back yet.” Michael said.

Liz shrugged, “You stay here I’m gonna go change.”

“I can help you with that, you know.” Michael said that deviant glint back in his eye.

Liz waved him off, “No way, Michael. You’re seem to excel at the undressing part. That’s not exactly the first impression I want my parents to have when they find out about us.”

“You owe me.” Michael grumbled as she pushed her way through the back room and up the stairs to her bedroom.

Alone in the silence gave Michael time to contemplate his impending conversation with the Parker’s. It made him realize that he had it a little too good with Liz when they were a secret. He never had to worry about her father watching his back. Never had the talk about his intentions towards their daughter. Never had to worry about keeping her out past curfew.

He wondered often wondered what Mr. Parker’s reaction to dating the local juvenille delinquent would be. Michael always got the impression that Jeff Parker was never really fond of Max, who on the surface was picture perfect. Good family. Good grades. Polite. Michael was none of those things.

The more Michael thought about it the more nervous he got. What if Mr. Parker hated the idea of him dating Liz so much that he fired him? At that thought Michael grabbed the days newspaper, found the want ads and a highlighting pen.

That’s the scene that greeted Liz when she came down the stairs. Michael sitting at the counter highlighting jobs ads. She looked over his shoulder and brushed her lips on the back of his neck. “What are you doing?” she asked taking seat next to him.

“It’s called being prepared.” he said not looking up from his task, “I have to be prepared to seek other employment if your parents hate the idea of us being together.”

Liz shook her head, “Michael, you have to have more faith in people. My dad likes you. He appreciates how you’ve managed to make a life for yourself out of really tough circumstances.”

“I didn’t ask for pity, Liz.” Michael growled.

Liz tipped Michael’s face to hers, “It’s not pity. It’s a compliment.”

“We’ll see.” Michael said focusing back on the paper.
As much as Liz loved Michael she hated the way he was always putting himself down. She knew she made some difference, but there were wounds she knew might never heal within Michael, scarred over from years of abuse and neglect. Always made to feel second.

Still hungry, Liz went behind the counter and fished out some ice cream and two bowls. She continued to let Michael read through the paper realizing he’d already made his mind up about what her parents would think of him.

She quietly placed the bowl of pistachio and Tobasco in front of him and sat quietly eating her vanilla and pineapple. She knew from over a year and a half of experience there was no talking to Michael when he was like this. He told her once, “ If you set your expectations of people low, you won’t feel as disappointed when they let you down.”

“Find anything good?” she asked as she fed him a bite of ice cream.

He wouldn’t admit it, but just her letting him stew actually helped, not to mention the ice cream. Maria would drive him crazy trying to get him to talk when there were just somethings he needed to work out on his own. “There’s a night watchman’s job open at Meta-Chem. If your dad doesn’t completely hate me, it might be a good second job.”

“School, two jobs and a girlfriend? I don’t know Michael, sounds like a lot of pressure.” Liz reasoned.

Michael sighed, “Yeah. Guess I’ll have to get rid of the girlfriend. Priorities, you know.” he said winking at her. He leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss letting her know she was the last thing in the world he’d even consider getting rid of.

Liz was about to make a snappy comeback when she saw her parents watching them through the breakroom door.

“Showtime, Michael.” she whispered nudging him. Michael followed her gaze to Jeff and Nancy, suddenly barely able to swallow the ice cream in his mouth.

~*~

Jeff and Nancy Parker parked their car on the side of the building they’d owned for more years than they could count. The only place there daughter knew as home. They hated leaving Liz when they attended the often tedious entrepenuer conventions, but their daughter was extremely understanding and they always trusted her.

Weary from the endless pitches and fake smiles the Parkers just wanted to get inside, hug their daughter, and go to bed.

Nancy went ahead of Jeff, who was grabbing their luggage. When he came struggling in with the numerous bags her saw his wife at the breakroom door looking out into the diner.
“Uh, Nance... a little...”
He was quickly shushed by his wife and she beckoned him to the small diamond shaped window.

‘What is it?” he whispered.

“Look.” she said pointing out at the two teenagers in sitting at the counter. It was Liz and Michael.

He understood Liz being there it was her home, but Michael? The cafe' had been closed that day, he had no reason to be there. To his knowledge Michael and Liz never really hung out together unless with Max or Maria.

He watched the two interact and saw a closeness he’d never noticed before. Maybe he was blind to it because he never really wanted to think of his little girl loving anyone, but him. Or maybe it was because he was usually worrying about Max Evans following her everywhere.

He saw Liz feed Michael some ice cream, not exactly what people who barely talked to eachother did. Was it possible Liz was dating Michael and if so when did it happen? He’d always thought that Micheal was attached to Maria or at least Maria seemed to think they were.

“Are they...but I thought he and Mar..?” he began, but Nancy shushed him again and they listened in on the Michael and Liz’s conversation.

They heard Liz say that Jeff liked Michael. He appreciated that he had made a life for himself through tough circumstances. Which was true. Since hiring Michael he’d come to depend on him more than most of his employees, sometimes even more than his daughter.

Jeff let out a little laugh remembering that it had been Liz who had lobbied him to give Michael a chance. All he’d ever known about Michael was what he heard around town. Most people thought he was as bad as Hank, but Jeff never believed that. He knew Hank Guerin and had always been amazed that the state let him take care of a child.

He saw Michael get agiatated by Liz’s statement, not wanting pity. He was stubborn, but Jeff understood that. Michael never wanted anything handed to him. Everything he had in life he earned and one thing Michael didn’t know he had earned was Jeff’s respect.

He heard Liz ask if he’d found anything good. Good? Was he thinking about quitting? Was he not happy at the Crashdown? Did they not pay him enough? Was Maria going to be a problem?

He heard Michael say something about Meta-Chem and taking a second job if he(Jeff) didn’t hate him. Hate Michael? Had he ever given that impression or had Michael’s years with Hank given him such a low opinion of himself.

Jeff had been so wrapped in his thoughts he only heard the last part of Michael’s response to Liz. Something about geting rid of his girlfriend. Then he leaned in and gave Liz a soft kiss, confirming what he and Nancy had suspected. Michael Guerin was dating their daughter. Question now was how long? They seemed too comfortable with eachother to have only just started.

Before they could duck out of the way they were caught by Liz’s glance. She whispered something to Michael and he turned around. The poor boy looked like a deer caught in headlights.

~*~

Michael shifted uncomfortably in his seat when he saw the Parkers through the window. All his fears seemed to come to the surface. This was his moment of truth. He knew he was good enough for Liz, it had taken him a long time to believe that. His only worry now was if Nancy and Jeff thought so?

Liz got up from her seat and hugged her mother then her father. Michael stood up nervously to greet them.

“Hey Mr. Parker. Mrs. Parker.” Michael finally said, his voice cracking. His voice cracking? That hadn’t happened since the sixth gradewhen puberty reared it’s ugly head.

“Michael. Nice to see you. Have a good weekend?” Jeff said to an obviously nervous Michael.

“It wasn’t boring.” Michael said exchanging a look with Liz. Oh, if they only knew.

There was an awkward silence as no one knew what to say. How do you tell your parents you’re in love with one of the cooks and have been seeing him for over a year? Making sure to leave out all the parts about him being an alien and your lover.

“So I’m guessing you have something to tell us Liz.” Nancy said eyeing her daughter who had by now wrapped her small hand in Michael’s.

“First. I have a question.” Jeff said just as Liz was about to speak, “Are you pregnant?”

Michael’s eyes about came out of their sockets and Liz’s jaw dropped. Nancy smacked her husband’s arm. Jeff knew it was an unfair question, but he’d already been a little shocked by Liz and Michael being together in the first place. He wanted to be at least a little prepared.

“What?” Liz finally said, “God Dad!... No!”

“I’m sorry Michael. We know you’re a good kid it’s just Jeff is an insufferable ass.” Nancy chided. Michael couldn’t help, but smirk at that and it seemed to lighten the mood.

“Look, Mom, Dad,... I’m just going to come out and say it... Michael and I are dating, we have been for a while. The reason we’ve never said anything is because...”

“You didn’t want hurt your friends.” Jeff finished for her. Liz gave her father a puzzled look. “Hey, I’m not completely oblivious. I know that Maria seems pretty attached to Michael, Max won’t leave alone and I know how important your friends are to you. Both of you.”

Liz and Michael both nodded. Michael sucked up his courage and spoke, “I’m not very good at this stuff, the parent thing, so I ‘ll just say this: I love Liz. I’ll try my best not to hurt her. We’ve been though a lot together and I know I’m not what you may have pictured... but...I need her.”

Nancy saw Liz squeeze Michael’s hand, and knew her daughter felt the same way about this tall, brooding boy standing before them. She began to see the effect Liz had on Michael, he used to seem so angry and tense, always on edge. But now he seemed softer, more relaxed. Well, relaxed wasn’t the right term for the situation,but he seemed less angry. She knew that was Liz’s influence.

Jeff’s heart constricted. His little girl was in love. Not only that but she seemed to be loved back with an equal amount of fervor. He knew Michael had a hard time expressing himself and here he was telling his girlfriends parents he needed her in his life. That took a lot of guts.

“I trust you Michael. Just take care of her.” Jeff finally said extending his hand to the boy who held his daughter’s heart.

“I will.” Michael replied a bit stunned at the ease with which Mr. Parker had accepted him as Liz’s boyfriend. He shook Jeff’s hand then took Liz’s again.

“Well, we’re pretty beat, so we’ll just head upstairs. Elizabeth, we can talk later. Jeff?” Nancy said giving the couple time alone to talk about what had just happened or more what didn’t happen.

“Yeah, “ he said letting out a fake yawn, ‘We’ll see you upstairs, honey.”

“Okay. Thanks Daddy.” Liz said in an almost childlike voice.

Jeff smiled. Liz hadn’t called him “Daddy” since she was a little girl. This really must have meant a lot to her.

Jeff and Nancy started to walk away when Jeff stopped, “Oh Michael could you come by a little earlier tomorrow. I wanna talk about giving you some more responsibilites around here. Wouldn’t want you to have to give up your girlfriend” he said with a wink.

“Um... Yes sir.” Michael answered. He couldn’t believe his what had happened. Not only had Jeff Parker given him his trust with his only daughter, but it sounded like he was getting a promotion.

Michael and Liz waited until Jeff and Nancy had disappeared upstairs before either of them said anything.

“What the hell was that?” Michael said feeling as though he hadn’t taken a breath in hours.

Liz grinned, “See what happens when you have a little faith in people?”
“No. I’m beginning to see the advantages of sleeping with the bosses daughter.” Michael kidded.

Liz threw her hands in the air and started to walk away but Michael pulled her back to him, kissing her with all he had. For so long he’d gone without knowing what it was like to be accepted or even trusted and the feeling was euphoric.

He wanted to hold onto that moment forever. He knew they still had other people to deal with who wouldn’t be so understanding and accepting. But for this one moment in time he was someone to be proud of and for once he felt worthy of it.

~~~*~~~
TBC...
posted on 5-Jan-2003 12:59:46 PM
Chapter 13


After Leaving Liz back at the Crashdown, Michael went for a ride on his bike. He needed some time be alone and reflect about what had happened that day. In some ways it was the best day of his life. He would finally get to be with Liz out in the open. Her parents approved him, even trusted him there most precious possession, their daughter. Him, the trailer trash foster kid.

He was getting a promotion, which meant more money, something he could always use more of. He would be eighteen soon and all the perks of being emancipated would soon disappear. His rent would go up and people would start expecting more of him.

It had also been one of the worst days of his life. He had dramatically altered the lives of everyone involved. Relationships would never be the same. Maria, whom he loved as a friend would probably never speak to him or Liz again. As irritating as she was sometimes, Michael knew Maria cared about him and that wasn’t something he had a lot of growing up. Her broken heart would be his one big regret in this whole thing. He knew Liz felt the same way.

Isabel. She had surprised him with the things she’d said at the cliffs. He’d expected her to blow up, chastise him or chew at him, but she didn’t. It seemed as though she understood or was at least trying to. Maybe it was still too early to tell. Maybe if she had more time to think, more time with Max to see how badly he was hurting. Then she might turn her back on him.

Finally Max. His king. His brother. His friend. Even though Michael always knew Liz never loved Max, he knew Max was completely in love with Liz. It was a love that got twisted over time. Now Max treated Liz like everyone else, as a possession. Something to be owned ans something to obey. Max had changed so much in the past year. And if Michael was being honest with himself he had to admit it was scaring him a little. Love had turned to obsession and it was starting to get ugly.

He always knew Max was intensely infatuated with Liz. He could hardly blame the guy, but the tenacity at which he went after her in the past year, was something he’d never seen before. That afternoon, sneaking into the apartment to spy on them? That wasn’t the Max Evans he knew. Maybe the stress of everything finally broke him and he was trying to cling to the one thing he believed he loved the most, Liz.

Before he knew it Michael was back at his apartment. Fatigue was setting in. Even though he and Liz had gotten some sleep that afternoon, it wasn’t nearly enough after surviving an alien double cross and “meeting” Liz’s parents.

He was going to miss Liz not sleeping next to him, but he knew you can’t always get what you want. Although that day seemed to be better than most.

He opened his door and set his helmet on the kitchen counter. He was shuffling towards the bedroom when he heard someone from the living room clear their throat.
~*~
Michael practically jumped out of his boots, when the mystery guest stood up. He recognized her statuesque frame immediately.
“Jesus Isabel! What is it with people breaking into my apartment today?” he said more than annoyed.

“What are you talking about?” Isabel asked in confusion.

Michael waved her off, “Later. What are you doing here? I thought you’d be with Max.” Michael couldn’t help but wonder where she was when Max had broken into his apartment earlier that day.

“I finally got him to lie down and rest when he got back home. He took off when I dozed off earlier today. I don’t know where he’d been, but he looked worse when he got home and hour ago.”

“So why are you here?” Michael asked again deliberately changing the subject. He didn’t want Isabel to worry if she didn’t have to. The fear that Max was cracking up was something he wanted to keep to himself for now. He hoped he was wrong.

“I wanted to see if you... and Liz were okay. How did you get home?” she asked biting her lip. She wasn’t sure if Michael was angry with her for leaving him in the desert with Liz. She had felt so torn, but knew Max needed her more at that moment.

“Liz and I had to walk for a couple hours. Mr. Valenti came by and picked us up along the highway. Why?”

“I would have come to get you, but Max, you know... and the Jeep well that’s history... and...”

“Is. You’re rambling. Liz and I are fine.” he said. “Thanks though.”

Isabel nodded and looked around the room. She was avoiding Michael’s eyes. He could tell she had something to say. “What is it Is?”

“Michael, why didn’t you tell me? About you and Liz?” she finally blurted out. She sounded hurt.

Michael sighed and motioned for Isabel to sit back down on the couch, slumping next to her.

“I didn’t want you to have to choose sides, Is and to be honest I didn’t think you’d understand. I mean Max is your brother, why would you not stick by him. Christ! I hate this emotional stuff. The truth is I couldn’t take it if you hated me. You are the only family I’ve got. I knew you’d probably side with Max. He’s your blood. So it was easier to lie.”

“You are my brother too Michael! I don’t care what that damn book says. We grew up together. You should have told me! You should have told everyone!” she said, Michael heard the iciness in her voice. Maybe she had changed her mind.

“How could I Is? Max was following Liz around like a lost puppy dog professing his love for her at every damn moment. He seemed to feed off of her. He seemed stronger with her. We needed Max strong. Remember all those flashes she got from him? She never got those with me!”

Michael paused for a moment and put his head in his hands. Isabel could tell Liz getting those flashes from Max hurt him deeply. She wondered if it had ever caused problems for them. She knew how Michael could be when he felt hurt by someone. Liz had to have been strong to weather everything with him.

“What do you think would’ve happened if I had told him?” he continued You saw what happened today. Everything is a mess, but it’s a mess I’m willing to deal with.”

“So why today? Why tell today? You could have gone on lying. We’d all eventually go our separate ways. You and Liz could have made it look like...”

“No! We couldn’t! I couldn’t! I couldn’t stand another year of watching Max pine after Liz. I could not go another year without people knowing how much I love her.

What changed? Everything! We are here to stay, Is. Unless there is another ship out there with the coordinates for Antar conveniently programmed into its controls, Earth is home. It’s time I made it my home and that starts with being honest about Liz.

Ever since Liz and I got together I’ve asked her to keep us a secret. I thought I was protecting everyone. Now I have nothing to protect and I’m tired of feeling ashamed for being with her when I’m not.”

Isabel was silent. She’d never seen Michael so... in love. She never saw that gleam in his eye with Maria. Michael was never one to express himself. Words were always hard, so she knew everything he’d told her was true. Michael Guerin loved Liz Parker. Wholly and completely.

Michael was right, she thought, Max would have never understood. He would never have accepted it. He would have blamed Michael and their tight knit family would have fallen apart. It was happening now, but somehow it didn’t seem as devastating. They could never go back to Antar, so they would never get to fulfill their roles.

“Are you happy?” she asked him.

“With Liz? Yes. With everything that’s happened? No. Time will have to tell. I want you to be happy for me Is, but I’ll understand if you aren’t or can’t.” he said leaning back on the couch and looking up at the ceiling.

Michael heard Isabel stifle a giggle. He took his focus of the ceiling and looked over at her, “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing, it’s just you never do things the easy way, do you? I mean of all the people in the world, you had to fall in love with Liz Parker. The one person my brother thinks the sun rises and sets around.”
Michael smiled, Isabel had a point, “It’s not like I planned it. I fought it for a long time, believe me.”

“What changed?” Isabel queried.

“The more I fought it, the deeper I got. I can’t explain it, Is. I didn’t just want to be with her... I needed to.”

Isabel pondered this for a moment. Michael Guerin admitting he needed someone. That something was beyond his control and he liked it, scratch that, loved it. Michael was happy and if Liz was the one making him smile there was no way Isabel was going to deny him.

“Well, I’m not going to stand in your way. In fact I may not be around much. Max needs me right now, but I wanted you to know that I’m not abandoning you. Like I said, you’re my brother too. I won’t choose between you.”

Michael simply nodded, “Thanks Is. I didn’t want to lose you.”

Another awkward silence passed and Michael was feeling the wear of being so openly emotional. His mind wasn’t used to sharing so much.

They talked a little while longer. Michael told her about Kyle and his grand entrance that afternoon. Isabel laughed, really laughed, for the first time since Alex died. It felt good, freeing.

It was getting late and Isabel stood to leave, “I better get home, take care of Max.”

Michael walked her to the door. He saw that her face was etched with worry when she said Max’s name. He knew if Isabel was going to be his ally he had to tell her everything he knew. She could keep and eye on him. Make sure he was stable.

“Is. Max was hear today.”

“What?” she gasped. the look of concern replaced with shock, “Why didn’t you tell me? What happened?”

“I didn’t want you to get upset, but I think Max is... I don’t know... I think he’s breaking down. He snuck in here and watched Liz and I sleeping. When we caught him he kept telling Liz they could start over.” he explained.

Isabel still stood in shock, she knew Max was upset, but this was so unlike him, “Is.. Liz okay?”

Michael flashed back to the memory of that afternoon. Liz clutching the sheet to her body, shaking, not with fear, but anger. He had to calm her down. The irony was lost on him at the time, usually it was the other way around.
“Um, yeah. She was pissed, like I’ve never seen, Is. I wouldn’t have told you, but I’m worried. Max is my friend and I hate seeing him like that. I just thought you could keep a better eye out for him than I can.”

A thought flashed through Isabel’s head. Not one she would have ever entertained in her wildest imagination, but the days events had taught her otherwise. “Do you think he’s dangerous? Not to me, but to you or Liz?”

Michael wanted to deny it. Max dangerous? But his shift had Michael nervous. He could take care of himself, but his concern was more for Liz. So he answered Isabel as honestly as he could. “I don’t know.”

“I can’t believe we’re even thinking this, Michael.”she whispered. Her thoughts bounced around her head. Max’s disheveled appearance when he came home suddenly made sense.

“I’m probably just being paranoid, it’s what I do. But just to be on the safe side...” Michael said scratching his eyebrow, a dead giveaway to Isabel, that Michael was more concerned than he was letting on.

“Of course.” Isabel answered quickly and she walked out into the hallway. Michael was about to shut the door when she stopped, “I’m glad you’re happy Michael. Liz is lucky to have you. Don’t let her forget that.”

Michael smiled. “I won’t, Is.”

Michael stripped down and got into bed with a million thoughts running through his mind. It would have been enough to drive a sane man crazy, but one thought lulled him to sleep. Liz.

~~~*~~~
TBC...
posted on 10-Jan-2003 5:19:19 PM
Chapter 14

The next day Michael went into the Crashdown a half hour before his shift started, to talk to Jeff about his “new responsibilities” and what was expected of him. He greeted Liz with a small peck on the lips, as Jeff was watching from the office’s open door. Truth be told Michael was in such a good mood he wanted to attack Liz right there and commits various acts of sin against the employee lockers, but the watchful eye of a parent kinda ruined that possibility.

Michael saw Jeff was busy on the phone so he hung back to talk to Liz for a few minutes, while she was on her break. She poured him some coffee and he told her about the talk he had with Isabel, careful to leave out their conversation about Max, knowing it would agitate Liz.

“Wow.” Liz said a little stunned, “I thought she’d hate me. I mean she was never really happy about Max’s infatuation with me.”

Michael saw Liz bristle, and stumble over Max’s name. She was still angry about the previous day, and he knew if he dug deeper about a lot more things than that.

“She just wants me to be happy, you too Liz. She meant what she said at the cliffs. She thinks he(Max) put way too much pressure on you. I was a little surprised too, but if she’s willing to support us I’m not turning it away.” Michael explained.

Liz nodded in agreement, “Did she say anything else?”

Michael smirked, “She just wanted me to remind you how lucky you are to have me.”

Liz rolled her eyes, “Great! So she gave you her support and a generous ego stroking. Like you needed it. Now you’re going to be impossible aren’t you?”

“Hey don’t get pissy just because she happened to be telling the truth, Parker.” he joked. “I am a hell of a catch. I’m human with benefits. Nifty powers a healthy ‘appetite’,and...”

“...and a mullet any hockey player would be jealous of.” Liz added with a great laugh. She knew how sensitive Michael was about his hair. It was his Achilles heel.

Michael’s jaw dropped, “You had to go after the hair. That was low, Liz. And it’s not a mullet... I’m growing it out.”

“Well it’s doing a really great impression of one.” she said still laughing.

“Keep laughing. If you aren’t careful I might just sneak into your room tonight and give you a technicolor hairdo, no amount of washing will get out.”

Liz stopped laughing immediately, but maintained a dangerous grin on her beautiful face. She siddled up to Michael and whispered low in his ear. “If you sneak into my room tonight, I guarantee your ego won’t be the only thing stroked.”
Michael choked on his coffee and Liz jumped out of the way as he sputtered it everywhere. He growled at her and was about to make a comment, when he felt Jeff’s hand slap his back.

“You okay Michael?”

“Y-Yeah, Mr. Parker.” Michael stuttered, he bore his eyes into Liz, “I, uh, just had something go down the wrong pipe. I’m fine.”

Liz grinned again, but when Jeff turned to look at his daughter she plastered a look of doe-eyed innocence on her face, “Who was on the phone, Dad?”

“Well, that was Maria.” Jeff answered with a sigh.

Michael’s steady hungry gaze on Liz disappeared at the mention of Maria’s name. Liz’s face saddened as well.

“Not surprisingly she called to quit. Said she was going to go with Amy on the road this summer. Felt like she could make more money, but I think we all know why.”

“I’m sorry, Dad.” Liz said unable to look in his eyes. She knew it was a possibility the Maria would quit. She could hardly blame her. Liz knew the pain of watching someone everyday you couldn’t have. She knew Maria wouldn’t be able to work with the two people she loved the most in world, who’d also caused her the most heartache.

“It’s okay, sweetie. I’ll miss having Maria around, but I think with what’s happened it may be for the best. She needs to get away for a while. Might do her and you two some good.”

Liz nodded and looked back up at Michael. His face registered sadness, not so much for himself, but for Liz.

“She‘s coming in at lunch to pick up her paycheck. She asked if you could take your lunch break with her, Liz. I told her you would.” Jeff added.

“S-she wants to talk to me? I mean, yeah, that’s um, fine.” Liz said, unsure of how to feel about an impending talk with Hurricane DeLuca.

Jeff knew better than to press Liz about her feelings. She needed time to think and an awkward pause had come over the room so he turned his attention back to Michael.

“Let’s go to my office, Michael”
“Yeah, uh, yes sir. Right behind you.”

Michael studied Liz’s face. He read so many emotions on it. Fear, sadness, trepidation, etc. She seemed lost in her own thoughts, oblivious to the world around her.

“Liz?” he said softly. She blinked and set her eyes on his. He wanted to tell her everything was going to be okay, that a talk with Maria might help, but Michael had never been one to be optimistic about much. He knew Maria a little too well. This would not be a talk about acceptance and forgiveness.

“I’m fine, Michael. I’ll be okay. Go on.” she told him.

Michael checked her eyes one last time. He knew she wasn’t “okay”. No matter how much you kid yourself, there’s no good way to prepare yourself for losing your best friend. He kissed her forehead and walked into Jeff’s office, shutting the door behind him.

If Liz’s thoughts weren’t so preoccupied she might have taken the moment to well up with pride as she watched the man she loved take one more step towards building a life with her. The other man she loved most in her life, her father, helping him along.
~*~

The hours seem to tick by slowly. Every minute, every second Liz seemed to be on edge. Each time the door opened she took a tremulous breath expecting to see Maria walking in hatred burning in her eyes. Each time she let the breath out feeling dizzy and lightheaded.

Michael watched her carefully from his station in the kitchen. He knew from the many flashes he’d received from her that Maria and Alex were an integral part of who Liz was. Now Alex was dead and her friendship with Maria dangling on a precipice. He knew his Liz was strong, but was this too much?

Finally, after watching her lean on the counter for support after yet another stranger walked in, did Michael do anything. He glanced over at Jeff who’d been keeping a close watch on his daughter as well.

Michael ripped off his apron and went out to the dining room. He stopped and whispered something to Janine, another waitress. She nodded agreeing to take Liz’s tables for a few minutes.

When Liz finally felt stable enough to push off the counter she felt Michael’s strong arms wrap around her shoulders, “Come on... let’s get you some air.”

She nodded and let herself lean into Michael, making his strength her own. She hadn’t even talked to Maria yet and she was already weak. She barely felt her feet touch the floor with each step as Michael took her past the breakroom and into the alley.
Liz tried to take a deep breath but the stifling heat of the day crept into her lungs offering no relief. There was something more to this than anxiety over Maria. She felt out of control, spiralling into nothing. All she could hear was the sound of her own blood rushing in her ears.

“..LIZ!”

She suddenly realized Michael was shouting her name and shaking her shoulders. The concern she’d seen in his eyes when he first took out of the dining room was replaced with fear. But in looking into those light brown eyes she found calm. Her breathing evened and she felt steadier.

“W-what? Michael, I’m fine, I-I just forgot to eat breakfast...” she lied. She placed her hands on Michael’s forearms, “...and I’m just freaking a little about what Maria is going to say.”

Michael was worried. Everything she said made sense, but he couldn’t get over the feeling that there was something more. He thought he’d lost her there for a minute. He kept calling he name, but she just stared into space as if nothing else around her exisited.

“Liz, I don’t like this. Maybe you should cancel with Maria. Go lie down.” he said still checking her over.

“I can’t put off the inevitable Michael. It’s just a panic attack. I’ve been a little stressed lately if you hadn’t noticed. Best friend dying, boyfriend leaving the planet... I’m fine.”

Michael sighed only partially relieved by her words. He knew this woman body and soul and something just wasn’t right.

“You’d tell me if something was up, right?” he asked.

“Of course,” she replied, she convinced herself that was the truth. She didn’t want him to worry if it was nothing. No, she was a good scientist, she needed some concrete proof.

After a few minutes passed wrapped in the comfort of Michael’s embrace, they made their way back inside. He stopped her before she went back out, leaned down and brushed her lips gently with his own.

“I love you.” he whispered against her lips.

Trying to ease his fears Liz made and attempt at humor, “You just want your... ego...stroked later.” she whispered back.

Michael smiled against her lips and kissed her harder, mindful that Mr. Parker was only a few feet away pretending not to watch them out of the corner of his eye.

Michael let Liz go and she pushed her way back out to the dining area. The smile she was wearing quickly disappeared when she saw Maria standing at the counter looking directly at her.
~*~

Maria had been dreading this too. Her whole world had been rocked. The man she thought she was in love with, loved someone else. Not just someone else. Her best friend. Michael loved Liz. She could barely wrap her head around that and it hadn’t stopped bringing her tears.

She parked the Jetta down the street and made her way to the Crashdown steeling herself for whatever was going to happen. She didn’t want to quit her job. She loved it at the Crashdown, because everything she loved, or thought she did, was there. Her best friend and her boyfriend... ex-boyfriend.

When her mother suggested thay she come along with her to the craft shows over the summer, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. She didn’t think she could stomach watching Michael and Liz groping eachother all summer, hating Liz for holding Michael’s heart. The last thing in the world she wanted to do was hate Liz.

Michael was a whole different story. He’d been so attentive lately, especially when Alex died. She wondered how much of it was an act. She wondered if he and Liz laughed at her. She wanted to believe he was capable of it, even if she knew he wasn’t.

She took a deep breath before opening the doors to the cafe'. She didn’t know what she was going to say to Liz, only that it wouldn’t be kind and it wouldn’t be easy.

Maria scanned the room and saw no sign of Liz. Probably up in her room fucking Michael. Was Michael even on the schedule? How convenient they could schedule their secret meetings. She shuddered at the thought.

She made her way towards the back. She could at least pick up her check while she was waiting for Liz. The she saw them through the breakroom door. Michael was looking into Liz’s eyes, she saw worry etched in his face. Liz looked pale and unsteady. The she saw Michael lean down and give Liz a kiss. She watched his mouth remembering how his lips used to feel. She could clearly read the “I love you” that came from them. Her heart felt like it was on fire.

Maria had come in willing herself to believe that what was happening between Michael and Liz was purely sexual. Empty. Liz’s way of getting back at Max for all the pain he’d caused her. She wasn’t prepared to see love that Michael so obviously held for Liz. She realized she’d never really seen him look at her that way. It hurt like nothing else.

She was so busy staring at Michael she missed what Liz said, because the next thing she knew they were both smiling and he was kissing Liz harder. He let Liz go and she made her way out, unknowingly, to Maria.
~*~
There she stood. Liz couldn’t read the expression on Maria’s face. Normally she was an open book. She wondered how much she’d seen. One thing she and Michael had talked about was not to be openly affectionate for a while, until people could get used to them being together. It was something they could easily do, considering that was what they had been doing for over a year.

“Oh... Maria. Hi.” she said, her voice barely audible. “Did you want to talk here or...”

“Let’s go.” Maria said coldly. Her stare moved over to Michael who was watching them closely.

Michael watched as Liz and Maria left the cafe'. He wanted to make sure Liz didn’t have another “panic attack”. If she did he wanted to be right there. But he watched her straighten herself and walk away giving him one last reassuring look before they left.

~*~

Maria and Liz silently made their way to the park, Maria thought it appropriate that they talk there. It was where she and Liz had first met all those years ago. Seemed fitting to be the place where their friendship now ended.

“Dad said you were going with your mom this summer?” Liz said, trying to break the uncomfortable silence.

“Yeah. I can’t stay here and watch you... I can’t stay here.”

Liz nodded her understanding. It was she how she felt when she found out about Max, Tess, Isabel and Michael’s so called “destiny”. She had to get away from the pain of everything.

“It’ll be good to get out of Roswell, see things beyond this dinky town. Away from all the alien crap.” Maria continued, “Guess I was never cut out for that.”

“That’s not true, Maria.” Liz protested, “You helped them so many times...”

“Yeah well so did Alex and look where it got him.” Maria said through her teeth, “I thought if I had Michael I could make through all this, but I never really had Michael did I, Liz?”

It was question that already had an answer. Liz felt if she confirmed it Maria would feel the knife going further in her back. It was then that Liz realized she would just have bear what Maria had to say. Maria didn’t want to to talk with her, she wanted to talk at her

“What happened to ‘The Code’, Liz? Though shalt not steal your best friend’s man.” Maria said her blood beginning to boil.

“Somethings go beyond ‘The Code’ Maria. I love him.” Liz said quietly.

Maria let out a sarcastic laugh, “Well if that’s what you need to tell yourself, you go right ahead. You knew how much I loved him... why Liz? You could have told me...”

Tears began to spill from Maria’s eyes as she stared at Liz, who’s lips were beginning to tremble.

“Michael tried to get you back off Maria... you wouldn’t listen. Besides, if I had told you, would have reacted any different than you are right now? We both know you’d be just as hurt.” Liz reasoned unable to stop her tears from falling.

“What about when Alex died? What was that? He was there for me. Not you!” Maria spat.

Alex was a big sore spot for Liz. Maria knew she blamed herself for his death, but Liz’s precious feelings weren’t Maria’s first concern at the moment. Only her own broken heart.

“I told Michael to go to you! I knew how devastated you were! I pushed him away when Alex died, because I didn’t know how to deal with it! You needed his strength, maybe more than I did. That’s why!” Liz didn’t mean to sound so angry, but she’d brought up Alex and all bets were off.

“God! Everything was a fucking lie! Michael. You. None of it was real!” Maria screamed, standing up and turning her back on Liz.

Liz’s shoulders shook with her sobs,”Maria, I am so sorry we hurt you. I’ve already lost Alex...please... I don’t want to lose you too.”

“Well, you should’ve thought about that before Liz! I want to hate you so much right now for what you two did!”

Liz looked up at Maria upon hearing this, “But you don’t do you? Why?”

Maria turned back around to face her. Her face was red and tearstained, “Because he loves you, Liz! I saw it when you were in the breakroom. He never looked at me like that. He never kissed me like that. I hate it that he loves you and not me, but I can’t hate you.”

Her voice had calmed and she held her arms around her body as if her heart were going to burst through her chest if she removed them. Liz stood up and walked to her. She put a hand tenatively on Maria’s shoulder. She was prepared for her to flinch away, but she didn’t.

“Look I know you’ll never forgive me for what Michael and I did. Lying to you and everyone else was wrong. We know that. We just didn’t think we had a choice. I want us to still be friends Maria, but I know that’s impossible. We hurt you. I hurt you.”

Maria was quiet for a moment. This wasn’t working like she thought it would. She’d yelled at Liz. Made her feel terrible and yet she, Maria, didn’t feel better.
“I have this hole in my heart, Liz. It’s hole only my best friend can fill. I’m not saying that it’ll happen overnight, but maybe someday I’ll be able to forgive you. We’ve been friends too long to say anything is ‘impossible’.”

And there it was. Hope. In the last place Liz expected to find it. Maria didn’t hate her. It would take a long time, but someday they could be friends again. It would never be the same or as innocent, but they would eventually find their way back.

That’s how they left things that day. with a comma not a period. Maria would spend the summer traveling with her mom, but would think about coming back when things had cooled off. when she’d be able to look at Liz and Michael and not feel anger or betrayal. In the end what saved their friendship was the common thought that Maria needed Liz as much as Liz needed her.

It was a small comfort to Liz as she watched Maria drive away. They had a long way to go and today was just the first step.

~~~*~~~
TBC...



posted on 15-Jan-2003 12:08:34 PM
Chapter 15

Michael had anxiously been waiting for Liz and Maria to return from their talk. He wanted to make sure Liz was okay. Despite her attempts to aswage his fears, Michael was still worried about her. The blanks stare in her eyes, the dizzy spell, her unresponsiveness still vivid in his mind. For a brief moment in time Liz Parker had vanished.

An hour after she left Liz came back in the cafe, alone. She appeared as though she had a little more color in her cheeks, but upon closer inspection Michael realize it was tears that had stained her cheeks red. Underneath, Liz was still bordering on pale and she was looking, well, like someone who’d just lost her best friend.

Liz wordlessly passed the through the dining area, into the breakroom and settled herself on the stairs leading up to the apartment. She held her head in her hands and tried to let everything Maria had said to her sink in. This was a guilt she knew she needed to feel, no matter how badly it pained her.

She felt Michael’s familar presence towering over her, then gently kneeling to her level. She was always amazed at how just sharing space with him calmed her. Michael, the firey, take no shit, passionate, angry alien, gave her endless peace.

“Guess I don’t have to ask how it went.” he said breaking the silence. Liz kept her head in her hands nodding. She fought back tears, knowing if she started she wouldn’t be able to stop.

Michael knew Liz was starting to shut down. She did that with Alex. He didn’t like it, but there was no way to prevent it. He knew Liz would want to get through her shift then break down later. He knew he’d be there. Placing a strong hand on her knee, he let her know he wouldn’t go anywhere until she told him to.

Jeff watched his daughter from the office. She looked tired an so sad. A far cry from the girl who had seemed so happy the night before at his acceptance of her boyfriend. She looked shattered. No mystery as to why. Maria.

He watched as Michael lent her his support, but didn’t crowd her. No doubt the reaction of a boy, a man, who’d seen Liz through more than a few rough times. Michael was a stark contrast to Max, who seemed to be glued to Liz almost to the point of suffocation. Maybe it was unfair to compare the the two boys, but it was oddly satisfiying. After two years of watching the complicated dance between Max and Liz, Jeff couldn’t help but appreciate the simplicity that seemed to be Michael and Liz. Two kids hopelessly in love, taking life as it came.

Steeling herself, Liz raised her head to look at Michael. She didn’t want to cry anymore. The last two days had been an emotional roller coaster. Anger, sadness, betrayal, and bliss. Anyone would understand if she cracked under the pressure, but she wasn’t just anyone. She was tired of leaning on Michael so much, he could take it willingly, but she didn’t want to worry him.

When Liz stared into his eyes she saw the sorrow she was feeling reflected. Maria had been his friend too. He knew he wronged her and whatever punishment she’d doled out to Liz, would more than likely be his as well. As sad as Liz was, when she looked at Michael she couldn’t help, but be happy. Was it possible to feel perfect misery and perfect joy all in the same moment?

Michael lifted his hand from her knee and caressed her cheek with his hand, “We’ll talk about it later.”

“Thanks.” Liz answered. She didn’t know how to put everything into words right then and she appreciated that Michael knew that, “I should get back to work.”

Michael nodded and stood up offering his hand. Liz accepted and pulled herself up. Dizzyness set in again and she gripped Michael’s hand to steady herself, hoping he hadn’t noticed. She’d forgotten how keenly observant Michael always was, especially when it came to her.

“Liz?” he said, he lilt of worry back in his voice.

She shook her head to clear out the fog that seemed to have come over her, “I’m fine. Just stood up too fast. Could you make me a Will Smith Burger? I just need to eat something.”

“Yeah... no problem.” Michael said skeptically. He kept a firm grip on her hand, ever wary of her seemingly delicate condition.

Liz gave him a small smile hoping it would wipe away the furrowed brow that now hid his beautiful amber eyes from the world. No such luck. Nothing was ever that easy with Michael.

Liz took a precarious step down when suddenly the room seemed to tilt on some unseen axis, then everything went black. Michael rushed forward and caught her in his arms. His heart lurched when he held her limp body against him her neck lolled from side to side. He placed a steady arm under it, fear griping his body as he held the woman he loved in his arms, unconscious and unresponsive.

“Liz!” he said loudly, trying to get her to wake up, “Liz!” He his heart now threatened to thump out of his chest. What was wrong with her? Please let her be okay.

Jeff ran out of the office upon seeing his daughter faint and was at Michael’s side in an instant. “What happened?” he asked urgently.

Michael shook his head, “I don’t know. She just stood up and fainted.”

Liz began to stir in Michael’s arms and Jeff yelled at one of the waitress to bring them some water.

“Liz, sweetie,” Jeff said quietly, stroking his daughter’s hair, “Wake up.”

Liz heard her father’s voice, but couldn’t seem to open her eyes. She felt as though she was in some sort of abyss, with the echos of her loved ones haunting her, torturing her with their closeness, yet out of reach. One voice seemed closer, it didn’t echo. It was Michael. He was callling her name, asking, pleading with her to open her eyes.

The blackness ceased and the echos stopped when Liz fluttered her eyes open. She saw Michael looking down at her first, then felt his warmth all around her. What had happened? She heard her father mumble something to Michael and saw him nod in agreement.

“You fainted, sweetie. Michael’s going to take you upstairs to you room. I’ll get someone to cover your shift.”

“W-what? No Dad. Maria just quit. We don’t have anyone to cov...” Liz protested trying to sit up, but her body felt like lead.

“Forget about it Elizabeth Parker. You’re going upstairs to lie down. Michael, I’ll cover the kitchen, you just stay with her until her mother gets back from the bank.”

“Yes sir.” Michael said standing up.

Liz relented and brought heavy arms around Michael’s neck as he climbed the stairs. She heard him whispering something over and over again as if praying. Willing her to be better. She strained her ears to hear.

“Not now, I need you. Not now. I need you. Not now. I need you...”

“I’m here. “ Liz whispered in his ear. She felt Michael’s grip on her tighten and felt his jaw clench against her cheek upon her words. She was still with him, he wasn’t going to lose her. Not now. Not at the beginning of their lives.

Unconsciousness threatened to overtake her again, but with her head resting on Michael’s shoulder, she was able to breathe in his scent. The soap he’d used in the shower mixed with the detergent he used to wash his clothes. The sweat mixed with the shampoo he used in his hair. It all kept her on the same plane with Michael.

Vaguely aware of her surroundings she felt Michael push her bedroom door open and he gingerly set her on the bed. He lifted the ridiculous antennae off her head and tossed them aside.

Liz stared up at him lovingly. Michael was in full Protector mode now. Checking her over for any visible injuries, putting pillow under her head, feeling her forehead for any rise in temperature. If she wasn’t so frightened as to what had happened, she might also have found it cute.

Michael unbuttoned the top of her uniform innocently to give her more room to breathe. He saw Liz smile, “He said ‘stay with me’ Michael, not take advantage of me.”

“Not funny, Liz,” he grumbled. How could she joke at a time like this? “What the hell happened back there? First the alley, now this?”
Liz wanted to tell him it was nothing to worry about, but she could already tell it would have no effect on him. “I don’t know, Michael. Maybe it’s just all the stress catching up with me.”

“Yeah... maybe, but until we get this figured out I want you to rest.” he ordered.

“Now you sound like Dad.” Liz said rolling her eyes.

“I’m serious, Liz. If you’re sick we need...” he began but was interrupted by Nancy rushing into the room.

“Oh God baby! What happened?” she said breathlessly practically knocking Michael to the floor to get to Liz.

“I’m fine Mom. I just fainted. Stop worrying.” The last comment seemed to be more directed at Michael than Nancy, but he just shook his head at her.

“I’m calling Dr. Wong right away.” Nancy said leaving the room before Liz could protest.

“Stop her, Michael!” she said insistently.

“No way.” Michael refused, “I’m with your mom on this one. Hate me all you like, but...”

Liz smiled as Michael rambled on about her safety. So protective. So stubborn. So Michael. All the things that drove her crazy, made her love him all the more.

“Michael!” Liz said sternly, the lowered her voice to a whisper finally vocalizing her fear, “What if it’s alien related?”

Michael’s eyes widened, she had a point. Why had he not thought about that possibility? Had seeing her so weak and helpless pushed all reasonable logic out his supposedly “advanced” mind? Was he becoming too human already?

Nancy came back into the room with the phone in her hand, “Dr. Wong can’t fit you in until tomorrow. Do you need to go to the hospital?”

“No Mom!” Liz practically screamed. Michael put his hand up telling her to calm down. Nancy had her back to him so she didn’t see the gesture. Liz had to think fast, “”I-I saw Maria today and we talked. It was really, um emotionally draining. A-and you know me... I usually skip breakfast... I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Nancy looked her daughter over, taking a frustrating breath, “Okay, but if you feel this way tomorrow Elizabeth Parker you are going to se Dr. Wong. Deal?”

“Deal.” Liz said emphatically, but she wasn’t looking at her mother she was looking at Michael.
Nancy saw the exchanged glances and turned to Michael, “I’ll keep an eye on her, Michael. You finish you shift and come up for dinner later.”

Michael wanted to argue. He wanted to stay by Liz, especially if it was alien related, but he knew better than to argue with a girls mother. A lesson he learned all to well from Amy DeLuca. He nodded his aquiesence and leaned down, giving Liz a kiss on the forehead.

Nancy ushered him out of Liz’s room to the top of the stairs leading back down to the cafe stopping him before he descended.

“Michael, is there something you two aren’t telling us?” her breath hitched for a moment, “I-Is Liz pregnant?”

“No, ‘mam!” Michael said quickly, “It’s probably what she said, you know... stress. With Alex... and now Maria... it’s been hard for her.”

Nancy let out large breath, not that she was happy her daughter was sick... but at this point it was better than pregnant. She softened a moment to soothe the boy who cared so deeply for her daughter.

“Thanks for taking care of her, Michael.”

He nodded and headed down the stairs. All the while thoughts and fears bombarded his alien mind. They had been so careful, hadn’t they? What if Liz was pregnant?

Did Liz even suspect that she might be pregnant? Is that what she meant by “alien related”? Perfect time to be vauge, Liz.

He tried to remember what he’d seen Tess do. What symptoms Max said she had. Would it be the same? Max and Tess were both aliens, whereas as Liz was human, altered, but human. There was the dizzy spells as far as he knew, but were their symptoms Liz wasn’t telling him about?

Would the baby safe? Max’s son couldn’t stand Earth’s atmosphere, what about his son... or daughter? Would Liz be safe? Tess seemed to be in so much pain? How much of that was real?

Michael thought to his own childhood. How could he be a father when he never knew what one was? Would he be able to connect with his child in the womb like Max did with his son? If alien pregnancies lasted only a month how long would an human/alien pregnancy last? Three months? Six?

Michael felt his own world spinning out of control, just when it was starting to come into focus. He leaned against the wall for support, resting his head against the cool bricks. He hadn’t noticed that he’d broken out in a sweat and his breathing seemed labored. He suddenly felt like the room was to small and the walls were closing in on him. He was scared, not for himself, but for Liz. What if it could kill her? Couldn’t go one fucking day without screwing up could you?
As the questions raced through his mind a glass jar of peanuts from one of the upper shelves started trembling on it own. First lightly rattling, then within seconds it was shaking violently. Finally, the pressure had become so intense it burst, seemingly of it’s own free will. Michael jumped, his thoughts interrupted, seeing the mess his unchecked emotions had caused.

“Get a hold of yourself, Guerin.” he whispered, trying to keep himself calm before he blew up the entire cafe, “Think like Liz. You need proof... Tonight after dinner. Try to connect, see if anything happens. Yeah... that’ll work. God... a baby? ”
~~~*~~~
TBC...

posted on 16-Jan-2003 3:13:14 PM
Chapter 16..Is she or isn't she?


Michael worked through the rest of his shift noticeably detached from his duties. His mind kept wandering to the girl upstairs, who owned his heart and could very well be carrying his child. Their child.

He burned burgers and mixed up orders left and right. Janine or one of the other waitresses had to snap him out of a haze more than a few times. Agnes suggested that it might be mono, seeing as Michael was exhibiting some of the same symptoms as Liz. Jeff quickly dismissed that idea knowing Michael was just concerned for his girlfriend.

Michael felt a little relief when Nancy brought Liz’s empty plate down, knowing she’d at least had something to eat. Nancy said she looked better and was out of bed, camped out on the sofa watching something on the Discovery Channel. Always the scientist.

Jose walked in for his shift at six-o-clock, five minutes late and received an icy glare from Michael. It wasn’t that Jose was a bad guy, he just picked the wrong day to be even half second late.

Michael ripped the apron from his body, not even bothering to hang it on the rack. He bounded up the stairs, taking two, sometimes three steps at a time. When he finally reached the top he was out of breath. He searched the living room and saw the television was on, but Liz was nowhere to be found.

He was about to call out to her when he heard her almost musical laughter in the kitchen. He took long strides and peeked around the corner to see Liz and Nancy preparing dinner together and laughing. He’d noticed Liz had changed from her uniform into a red tank top and a long black skirt that slung low on her hips so he could see a fair section of her midriff. Her hair spilled over her shoulders and her cheeks seemed to have their color back.

Michael looked her up and down with new eyes. He checked her over for any visible signs of pregnancy. Distending belly? Slightly swollen breasts? Nothing. Was it too early to tell? What did he know about pregnancy, he’d been hatched for Christ’s sake.

As he watched the would-be mother of his child, he got the image of her gently rubbing a rounded belly, full with his child, her tank top stretched as far as it could go and her belly button threatening to become an outie. He had to admit, as scary as impending fatherhood was, the image he’d conjured in his mind’s eye seemed beautiful and somehow right.

“...Michael!” Nancy said sharply for the third time. Michael shook his head and rubbed his eyes. Liz was back to normal, her well toned stomach completely flat and tantilizingly exposed.

“Oh... uh... Sorry Mrs. Parker... It’s been a long day.” he covered quickly.

Liz saw that far away look in Michael’s eye and wondered about the small smile that had managed to creep out over his lips. She wondered what was going on in that beautiful mind of his.

“Well as you can see, Liz looks much better.” Nancy said cupping her daughter’s chin as if to show her off. Liz rolled her eyes.

“I told you. It was just stress. I’m fine. Just needed something to eat and a nap.” she told both of them, suddenly feeling like she was five years old again.

“Well, just to be on the safe side, why don’t you two stay in tonight. Watch a movie on the couch or something.” Nancy requested.

“Sounds good to me.” Michael answered before Liz protested.

“Yeah, Mom just how I want to spend my night. Kicking back watching movies with my boyfriend and my parents . Whew! Now that’s romance.” Liz said playful sarcasm dripping from her voice.

“Well, your father and I were planning on going to the movies tonight anyway. I was going to cancel to take care of you, but with Michael here, I don’t see why we can’t still go. Does that meet with your approval Miss Parker?”

“Fine.” Liz grumbled winking at Michael.

No, that was better that fine, it was perfect. Michael had to figure out a way to “connect” with a child he suspected to be harbored in Liz’s womb and he’d have to get her alone to do it. He hoped he could check without Liz noticing, but wasn’t confident in his powers or sure if it was even possible. There were so many unknowns.

Michael’s first thought had been to call Max and grill him about what Tess had gone through. How had he established a connection with his son? But with recent events and the radical personality change Max seemed to be undergoing, Michael thought better of it. If Max wasn’t teetering precariously over an unseen edge already, finding out Liz was pregnant would certainly be the piece of news to do it. No, he’d have to handle this on his own. Get the facts then figure out what to do.

Michael sat on a barstool watching Liz and her mom joke, laugh, and talk about nothing. It was nice to see Liz smiling, especially after the morning she’d had. He knew the fallout from the revelation regarding their relaStionship would be massive, but he never believed it would affect Liz as adversely as it had.

Nancy asked the two to set the table while she excused herself to fetch Jeff for dinner, giving Michael his first opportunity to check Liz over and attempt a connection.

Liz was fishing silverware out of the drawer when she felt Michael’s arms wrap around her tiny waist. She leaned back into him and let out a sigh. “She’s been driving me nuts all day. I love her, but I will not be sorry when they leave for the movies.”

Michael plastered a grin on his face and bent down to rest his head on her shoulder. He moved aside the hair that blocked her neck and started placing light kisses on her shoulder moving his way up. Not that it wasn’t highly enjoyable for him, but distracting Liz by kissing her neck, gave him a chance to place a palm on her belly without her suspecting anything.

Liz closed her eyes, reveling in the feel of Michael’s sinful lips sending tingles to the tips of her fingers. She quickly forgot her task dropping the silverware back in the drawer, snaking a hand back into Michael’s long dark blond locks, urging him to press his kisses deeper. Michael heeded her silent request, while still keeping one hand firmly placed on her tummy. Liz moaned and kept her eyes closed, not noticing the hand on her stomach glowing, believing the heat she felt was her own desire.

Needing to feel Michael’s lips on her own she spun around and captured his mouth. Michael let out a slight groan of protest, unable finish his task, but was quickly caught up in the kiss as Liz’s tongue teased the corners of his mouth. Plenty of time later, no immediate rush.

“Mmm...” Liz said pulling away from his embrace, she backed up and held Michael at an arms length. She knew the desire that Michael could generate in her and resistance would soon be futile, “We should stop, they’ll be up here in a minute and they’ll wonder why the table isn’t set.”

“What? Didn’t you your dad tell you? One of my new ‘responsibilities’ is to keep you ‘happy’. Now that can be interpreted in many ways.” he said waggling his eyebrows and advancing on her again.

“Somehow I don’t think ravaging his baby girl on the kitchen counter was quite what he had in mind.” Liz teased backing away from him still placing a hand on his hard chest when he got too close.

Upon hearing the word’s “baby girl” Michael was sobered from his lusty intoxication, and seemed to retract form her touch, “Oh... well... yeah. Um, you get the silverware, I’ll grab the glasses,” he avoided her eyes and reached for the upper cupboard.

Liz was taken aback by Michael’s sudden change in his mood, “Hey. You alright? I didn’t mean to...”

“Yeah,” Michael answered abruptly He took the glasses down and headed to the dining room, “Just tired. You know I actually worked today.”

“Yeah, well... Hello. Fainted.” Liz said behind him jokingly.

Michael turned to face her after setting the last glass down, almost breaking it, His jaw clenched, unable to hide his tension, “Caught you. Remember?”

Liz heard the edge in his voice. He was still worried about her. Was it that thought that broke his passionate mood only moments earlier? Did he have a theory as to what might be wrong with her? If he did why didn’t he say anything?
“Michael? Is there something...”

“Is the table set yet?” they heard Nancy say as she and Jeff walked into the living room. Liz would have to wait to find out what brought the brood back in her boyfriend.

The two exchanged guarded looks, Liz trying to read whatever concern Michael seemed to have. Michael trying to see any hint that Liz might know her condition. Neither getting an answer.

“Just gotta grab some napkins.” Michael answered as Nancy and Jeff came into the dining room.

“Oh, I’ll get those Michael, you sit down. Liz you too. Jeff, help me with the lasagne and the salad.” Nancy said, noticing the tension between Michael and Liz. She thought she’d give them a moment to work out whatever seemed to be bothering them.

Michael pulled out Liz’s chair for her and then sat in his own staring at the worn pattern of the tablecloth.

“Edgy much?” Liz hissed as she sat next to him. She crossed her arms across her chest for evidence of her indignation.

Michael felt terrible. He didn’t mean to snap at Liz. He was just terrified of the possibilities. Terrified of losing her and he did what he always did, pushed her away. But there she was, as always, not giving him an inch of room to back away.

He let out a sigh and brought his eyes to hers, “Sorry. I just.. you kinda scared me today.”

Liz softened, “I told you, I feel better. Just stress. If it’s more we’ll figure it out. Together.”

Michael nodded and leaned his head to rest on her shoulder. Liz tousled his long hair in a gesture of forgiveness and he kissed her shoulder. As if on cue Jeff and Nancy walked in with the food and Michael sat up straight. It was an innocent kiss, but he wasn’t taking any chances on the Parkers taking it the wrong way. After all they were leaving him alone in their house with their daughter after dinner. A dangerous and highly arousing situation if they knew any better.

~*~

Dinner went well. The conversation consisted of small talk: Michael’s new role in café business and the local gossip. No one brought up Maria and Liz’s talk for fear of a repeat fainting spell.

After some coaxing from Nancy, Jeff reluctantly agreed to go out to the movies, leaving Liz in Michael’s capable, of not eventually roaming, hands. As they were heading out the door Liz and Michael had settled on the couch, Liz nestled in the crook of his arm.

“We might go out for a beer after the movie so we won’t be back til later.” Jeff said, Nancy pushing him down the stairs.
“Okay Dad!” Liz called out, rolling her eyes up at Michael.

“Oh! And Michael?” Jeff yelled back.

“Yes sir?”

“One foot on the floor please!”

“Jeffrey!” Nancy hollered as the sound of her hand meeting the back of her husband’s head could be heard.

Liz burst out laughing as Michael’s face turned three different shades of red, “Y-Yes sir!”

Liz’s laughter continued even after they heard the backdoor of the cafe closing, signaling Jeff and Nancy’s departure. Michael pressed play on the VCR and Liz groaned.

“ The Matrix? Again? Michael how about something new for once?”

“We are not getting into this debate again, Liz. The Matrix is a classic movie with many life lessons. It should be watched over and over again...”

“To the point of nauseam.” Liz finished.

Michael glowered down at her, “Hey, it could have been Braveheart. Every time I watch that I get a new body count.”

“You are beyond twisted.” Liz smiled in surrender.

Michael merely smirked and pulled her closer to him. He had to think of another way to try and connect, to see if he was going to be a father, without asking Liz outright. He kept telling himself there was no need to worry her until he knew for sure.

Liz, unknowingly, gave him that opportunity when she began to rub the inside of his denim clad leg, in a fairly successful attempt to distract him from their umpteenth viewing of Neo and Trinity ducking bullets and seeking reality.

She started out slowly beginning at his knee then working her way up. She watched Michael suck in a breath and close his eyes as she gently brushed the sensitive flesh beginning to strain in his jeans. She smiled in satisfaction that even after all the time they’d been together, the slightest touch from her could elicit such a response.

Michael turned his head and looked down at her through half-lidded eyes, “You had no intention of watching this movie, did you, Liz?”

Liz batted her eyes innocently, “While the parent’s are away, the kids shall play,” she answered in a sing song voice, continuing her slow torture on now tenting jeans, “Think you could tear yourself away from Keanu Reeves, for a while.”

“Keanu does nothing for me. “ Michael whispered against her ear, “Besides, your twice as flexible.”

Liz giggled, but soon stopped as Michael attached his mouth to her neck as he’d done in the kitchen earlier. This time the kisses were deep and insistent from the first touch, immediately causing Liz to open her mouth in a silent cry. She gasped when she felt him leave her and cold air hit her newly wet skin. She wasn’t cold long, as Michael faced her placing his mouth on hers. Their tongues dueled and their bodies rubbed together in an unbearable friction. She loved that, despite her earlier fragility, Michael treated her with the same amount of passion he always did.

Liz inched her way down the couch so she could feel the comfort of Michael’s weight stretched out on top of her. She attempted to wrap her legs around his waist but was met with some resistance. One of Michael’s legs hung at an awkward angle off the couch. She stopped kissing him and gave him a puzzled look.

Michael raised an eyebrow, “Daddy said one foot on the floor.” he tapped the Dr. Marten on the wooden floor for emphasis. Michael Guerin, perpetual smartass.

Liz smiled again and pulled Michael down into a bruising kiss. Michael made his way down tasting her neck again, crossing her collarbone and dipping down to her tank top clad breasts. He playfully nipped at the stiffened peaks that were already showing through her top. He supported his weight above her resting on his forearm on the arm of the couch, while the other hand was busy pushing her skirt slowly up her leg, his thumb grazing the silken skin of her thigh.

Liz busied her hands tangling them in Michael’s hair, which if she could form a coherent thought, she admitted seemed to be getting longer. She felt his hand leave her thigh and push her shirt up exposing more of her tummy to him.

Michael couldn’t help but place feather-light kisses all over the tanned skin. He unconsciously gave extra attention to the area below her bellybutton, the spot where the baby might be just inside trying to make his or her existence known to their father. He replaced his mouth with his palm running over her stomach lovingly, getting her used to the idea of it being there. When he heard her sigh, he knew she was comfortable and distracted her further with a mind bending kiss. Michael was one man who knew how to use is mouth as am erotic weapon.

Using his powers to connect and keeping Liz occupied would require vast amounts of concentration and energy. Something he knew wouldn’t last long if she kept running her foot up and down his thigh, like she was.

Feeling her melt into his body he knew it was time. He pressed his mouth harder into hers and began trying to form the connection with his hand.
Liz felt a familar warmth on her stomach again, like she had in the kitchen. She moaned Michael’s name against his lips, and he pressed harder. When breathing became necessary she broke the kiss. Still feeling the warmth on her tummy she glanced down at Michael’s hand to see it glowing.

“Michael?” she said quietly, knowing this wasn’t normal. They’d made love many times and his hands never glowed She tried to look into his eyes but they were shut tightly, “Michael? What’s wrong? What are you doing?”

The panic in Liz’s voice broke his concentration, just when he felt he might be on the verge of discovery. He let out a gigantic breath he’d been holding and opened his eyes to see a confused and slightly frightened Liz.

“Damnit!” he whispered hanging his head. He hadn’t been strong enough or maybe Liz’s resistance had blocked him whatever it was he was no closer to an answer. He wasn’t the only one looking for them either.

“Michael, answer me. What were you doing? Were you trying to heal me?” Liz asked forcing him to look in her eyes.

Michael shook his head and shoved himself off of her, thoroughly disappointed at his ineptitude. He stood up and began pacing back and forth, “No.. I was trying to see what was wrong with you.. I was trying to see if you might be...”he said motion towards her stomach, unable to say the word to her out loud.

Then it dawned on Liz what Michael had been thinking. She clutched her belly still feeling the tingling warmth from his touch. She stood up wide eyed and halted his pacing by placing a hand on his arm, while keeping the other on her tummy.

“You thought I might be pregnant, didn’t you?”

Michael nodded, ashamed that he’d scared her, when all he was trying to do was make sure she was okay, “I didn’t know what else to think Liz. The dizzy spells... you kept telling me you were fine, but I know you Liz, there’s something more. I want to know, so I can find a way to protect you... and the baby.”

“If there is a baby. “ Liz said quietly, entertaining the idea for a moment. It would certainly explain some of the symptoms she passed off as stress, “B-but, wouldn’t I know, I mean it would be half alien.. wouldn’t I feel more...”

“That’s just it Liz. I don’t know.” Michael said running his hands through his hair in frustration, “We barely knew anything about Tess’ pregnancy. We sure as hell don’t know anything about cross-breeding.”

Liz stood in stunned silence taking Michael’s words in letting him tell her all his fears he’d been holding onto that afternoon.

“I thought... maybe if I formed a connection, then we’d know for sure. I’m sorry,” he said reaching out and taking her face in his hands, “I should have told you.”

Hearing Michael talk about how worried he was about her safety and the baby’s, Liz found a new level to Michael’s love for her. He’d been torturing himself all day with “what-ifs” and how he could protect her. He was scared that he would lose her. He blamed himself for any pain that she’d been experiencing because of him.

Wordlessly Liz took one of Michael’s hands from her face and placed it on her stomach. Michael gazed into her coffee colored eyes knowing what she wanted him to do.

“Liz, I don’t think I’m strong enough. You know I can’t control...”

“Try.” she whispered.

Michael relented and they both closed their eyes. Liz felt the warmth on her belly again and could see the glow even through her eyelids. She gave into the feeling of Michael flowing through her veins letting him in, letting him see what he needed.

Michael felt as though he was pouring everything he had into Liz. As though he was the very blood that gave her life. He’d never experienced anything like it. He was literally seeing inside Liz Parker. He could feel her giving him access to her body so he could look for their baby. He searched for the separate life that would be half him and half Liz.

When he felt himself reach her womb he was overwhelmed by the sense of emptiness. Not bleak or barren, just empty. There was no other life to connect with.

Liz felt his warmth leave her body and realized he’d taken his hand away. She opened her eyes and saw his were still closed, “Michael?”

He opened his eyes and slowly shook his head, unsure of how to feel,”You aren’t... there’s no baby.” he said quietly.

They both stood there in silence trying to gauge their feelings. Michael thought he’d feel more relief, but somehow he felt saddened. Liz felt it too. There was no way she was ready for motherhood. Someday maybe, not now. But still...

“Relieved?” she finally asked him. Michael could hear the tentativeness in her shaking voice.

“Yeah...” he breathed, absentmindedly scratching his eyebrow for a moment, deciding honesty was best, “...and disappointed.”

Liz took in a breath, realizing she wasn’t alone, “Yeah... Me too.”
~*~

Jeff and Nancy returned home late that evening to a quiet apartment. When they came into the living room they saw Michael and Liz, fully clothed, and asleep on the couch. She was draped over his body, her head resting on his chest. He had an arm wrapped around her waist holding her to him, protecting her as always.

“We should wake them up.” Jeff said, feeling fatherly, but touched by the closeness the two shared.

“Oh, let them sleep, Jeff.” she said raking her eyes over her daughter and Michael. They looked so peaceful and content. Her eyes fell on Michael and she giggled.

“What?” Jeff asked.

Nancy giggled again pointed at Michael, “He kept his word.”

Jeff looked at what Nancy was pointing to and let out a silent laugh of his own. Every bit of Michael was stretched out on the couch with the exception of one boot clad foot planted solidly on the floor.

~~~*~~~
TBC...

posted on 18-Jan-2003 3:35:33 PM
Chapter 17


Michael woke up in a bit of a fog, but felt the gentle presence of Liz snuggled on top of him and realized he was on the Parker’s couch. He searched the room for a clock and saw into was nearly two in the morning. Surely the Parkers were back and had noticed he was still there.

Deciding he shouldn’t be there in the morning Michael attempted to extricate himself from Liz’s grasp without waking her up. An effort that was quickly rebuffed when Liz stirred wrapping her slender arm around his waist, holding him firmly in place.

Michael wasn’t much in the mood to argue with a sleeping Liz. He’d been drained physically and emotionally when he had tried to connect with a baby that wasn’t there. Now he knew why Max was so drained when he’d healed someone. It wasn’t just random energy you were putting into that person, but your own. Your essence. Your life force. Although he didn’t find anything when he’d placed his hand on her, he knew part of Michael Guerin was flowing through Liz Parker.

As Michael stared up at the ceiling, stoking Liz’s hair, he replayed the conversation they’d had after discovering Liz wasn’t pregnant. His heart constricted at all the unknowns that still lay ahead of them.

******
“Relieved?” Liz asked.

“Yeah. And disappointed” Michael replied.

“Yeah. Me too.”

They had stood in silence for a moment trying to figure out what that meant. To Michael, he was relieved that Liz wouldn’t have to go through any pain or any danger the pregnancy would cause her. But in the same breath, Michael had had time to prepare himself for the possiblity and was warming up to the idea of being a father. To have someone wholy dependant on you for support and love was both terrifying and exhilarating. He’d thought about making up for all the mistakes that had been made on him and giving his child a better life.

To Liz, who’d barely had time to even think about what a baby would mean, she was relieved. She was in no way ready to be a mother and she had plans. Plans that included Michael, but not a baby. Sadness was mixed in because, Liz had always loved children. She wanted to have them someday and the thought of carrying Michael’s child touched her heart in so many ways. Life growing inside her, filling her, a physical reminder of the love she and Michael shared. She knew a child would soften Michael, teach him that there is unconditional love and the he was more than worthy of it. She could almost see the childs face, a generous mixture of she and Michael.

Relief was short lived for Michael as he realized he was no closer to an answer as to why Liz was having the fainting spells. When he saw inside her he was so busy looking for a baby, he didn’t bother to search for anything else. He cursed himself for being so stupid. So weak.
Michael felt his knees threatening to buckle. His energy had been drained and he needed to sit down. Liz saw him sway slightly and wordlessly pulled on his arm wrapping her own arm around his waist to support him and set him gently on the couch. An observer would have laughed at the sight of the petite brunette trying to support the burly alien with any sort of weight, but she did.

“Do you want some water... you must be drained.” she asked him as she began to lift off the couch. Michael stopped her pulling her into his embrace, for once asking for her strength.

“Someday.” he whispered and kissed the crown of her hair.

Liz smiled. This little brush with parenthood had Michael thinking about the possibility. It was never something they’d talked about, not even when Isabel had her pregnancy scare, but now Liz knew how he felt.

“You’ll be a great daddy someday.” she said entwining her fingers in his.

“Damn right.” Michael answered weakly, as if there should be no doubt in her mind, even if there was plenty in his own.

They sat there for a few minutes staring at the blank television screen wrapped in their thoughts.

“Michael?”

“Yeah?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

Michael closed his eyes hearing the fear in her voice. Confirmation that Liz brushing off her symtpoms earlier was just a cover. She was scared and he had no answers for her.

I-I don’t know,” Michael answered his breath hitching, fighting tears of helplessness.

He mentally chastised himself for showing this weakness in front of her. She need him strong. She needed him alert. Option one: Pregnancy, was out, time to move on to the next.

“Tell me about when you faint,” he said after clearing his throat and rubbing the tears from his eyes, “Do you see anything? Or does something happen right before?”

Seeing his resolve Liz felt her own courage rise. She wracked her brain for a moment trying to remember anything.

“Well, when I passed out downstairs, I felt like I was spiraling into some sort of black abyss. People were caling my name. I knew they were close, but I couldn’t reach them. Their echo’s were almost deafening.”
“Glad I didn’t get a trip inside your brain back there. Pleasant place.” Michael joked attempting to relax both he and Liz.

“Wasn’t fun for me either.” Liz said sitting up so she could face Michael, “I do remember there was one voice that was clear to me. It didn’t echo. It was solid, something I could hold onto. It pulled me out of this... this... psychotic abyss I was in.”

Michael saw that fire in Liz’s eyes. She was ready for anything. Ready to investigate. Complain as she did, Liz loved a good mystery. This just happened to be the ultimate one. Her life.

“Do you know who it was? Male? Female? Alien?” he asked. A thought gripped Michael’s heart again. What if it was Max who’d pulled her out? It wouldn’t be a stretch, he’d healed her, they could be connected. Like it or not they had a bond.

Liz saw Michael’s expression change from intrigue to trepidation and a little pain. She knew who Michael thought it was, she knew his insecurities about Max. “Male. Definitely alien.” she told him.

Michael tipped his head back onto the couch. Great just great. He had her all to himself in the open now, but Max still had a piece of her. Figured.

“It was you, Michael.” Liz said with a smile, ending the mental torture she knew he was putting himself though.

Michael’s head snapped up at Liz’s revelation. His was the only voice that saved her. For once is his screwed up existence his tenacity for protecting people had paid off. It wasn’t Max. He wanted to stand up and let out a roar of victory, but he was still weak and Liz’s parents were sound asleep in their bedroom.

Liz read the elation on his face, awed that he was the one who pulled her out, “Don’t you get it Michael? You are so much more powerful than you understand. You always make me feel safe. Yes, Max Evans saved my life that day, but you saved my soul. That means a hell of a lot more to me.”

Michael raised a hand to Liz’s face pulling her down for a kiss, unable to find the words to tell her how much what she’d just said meant. Always a man of action Michael spilled his feelings into the kiss hoping Liz would know.

Liz smiled against his lips, a little proud that she’d just broken down yet another one of Michael’s walls, by letting him know he was important and needed.

When they broke the kiss, Michael saw Liz’s smiling face staring back at him. He felt a new sense of resolve to find out what it was that was making Liz sick, but he knew it was going to come at a price. He couldn’t do it alone. He had to involve the group and that meant Max.
Michael stretched himself out on the couch, still weary, he pulled Liz along with him always comforted by the closeness and heat of her body. Time for some strategy. Rally the troops so to speak. They’d done it before and this was Liz, they could, had to, do it again.

Liz layed herself slightly to the side of Michael their legs tangled together. She propped her chin on his chest as she watched him form a plan. Always the soldier. He was going to approach this like a battle. The battle for her life.

“I’ll call a meeting tomorrow,” he finally said after a few minutes deliberation.

Liz’s eyes widened,”Do you think that’s a good idea? I mean everyone is still so raw. It may not be a good time...”

“Liz, you’re sick. It could be alien related. We’re all going to have to put aside what’s happened and find out what’s wrong with you so we can fix it.” Michael said in a tone that let Liz know he wasn’t budging an inch from his position.

Liz bit her lip at her next thought, “Even Max?”

Micahel saw the trepidation and anger flicker through her eyes. He knew she had no desire to see Max Evans, given the stunt he’d pulled in Michael’s bedroom. He didn’t like the idea of Max being there either, but he knew they needed him just in case Liz needed to be healed again.

“Even Max.” Michael answered.

Liz sighed annoucing her surrender, “Just let the record show, I think having Max come is a bad idea... he just seems so...”

“Dettached from reality?”

“Lost.” Liz corrected. She rested her head on Michael’s chest as the flush of anger from her cheeks threatened to spread over her whole body.

Michael noticed how rigid Liz’s body had become upon the mere mention of Max’s name. He stroked her back gently and felt her relax slightly. He wasn’t going to let anything happen to this woman. Max, stress, mystery illness or otherwise.

“I’m not going to let anything happen to you, Liz” he said with a gentle squeeze, “Who else is going to put up with my dumb ass?”

Liz settled her dark eyes on him again and a grin creeped over her face, “True, I mean you’ve got me broken in quite nicely don’t you?”

Michael let out a chuckle, happy he’d managed to relax her, “Yeah, I mean it would take at least a week or two to break someone new in.”
Liz’s jaw dropped and she smacked his chest, “Nice to know I’m replaceable.”she said burying her face in his chest giggling.

Michael’s face grew serious and he tipped her face up to his, “Never.”

Foregoing any carnal pleasures due to their mutually weakened states they fell asleep minutes later.
~*~

Michael woke the next morning to the sun shining through the window and the smell of coffee brewing. Liz was still covering him like a blanket when a shuffling figure in the kitchen came out with a steaming mug in their hand.

“Morning, Michael.” Nancy whispered cheerfully. Way too cheerful for a woman, who’s daughter’s boyfriend had spent the entire night at their home, ought to be.

“Morning Mrs. P.” Michael said scratching his head, “Uh... I’m sorry I didn’t... we must’ve fallen asleep... nothing happened...” he stuttered waiting for the inevitable rolled up newspaper to smack him squarely on the forehead.

“Don’t worry about it Michael. We didn’t want to wake you and you kept your promise to Jeff, ” she giggled motioning at his foot resting on the floor.

Michael grinned and accepted the mug Nancy had given him, “Thanks. Except now my foot is asleep to the point of excrutiating pain.” he said feeling the pins and needles effect spread through his foot.

Nancy laughed again clamping her hand over her mouth not wanting to wake Liz, “Trust me Michael, that’s nothing compared to the pain Jeff would have visited on you if you hadn’t.”

Michael nodded in agreement still puzzled by the Parkers open acceptance of him as Liz’s boyfriend. Puzzled, but not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“How’s the patient?” Nancy nodded towards her daughter.

“Ornrey as hell, as per usual. “ Michael joked.

“And listening to every word you two are saying” Liz’s muffled voice said startling both Nancy and Michael.

“Morning baby.” Nancy smiled at her daughter, “Hungry?”

“Starving.” she and Michael both said.

Nancy laughed and got up to fix breakfast. Liz pushed herself off Michael to sit up and stretch letting out a massive yawn in the process. Michael sat up rubbing his neck. While always comfortable with Liz in his arms the Parker’s couch had left something to be desired ergonomically speaking.

Liz rubbed her hands together creating some warmth and placed her hands on Michael’s neck kneading and soothing the ache out.

“How’re you feeling?” she asked referring to his energy after the previous night’s experiment.

“Hey, I’m the one supposed to be asking you that,” Michael yawned reveling in the massage Liz was giving him. the heat from her hands immediately relaxing tensed sore muscles.

“So far so good. No black abyss yet, but we’ll see. You want me to call the others?” she asked.

“No. No I’ll do it. Don’t want to risk you talking to Max. Besides I’m not sure what to tell them.” Michael said sitting back. Liz moved her hands from Michael’s neck to play with strands of his hair.

“You’ll think of something.” Liz said with all the confidence in the world. She knew Michael needed that, “Why don’t you call the others and I’ll go take a shower,” beginning to stand, but was gently tugged down into Michael’s arms.

Michael hovered his mouth close to her ear, “You’re lucky your parents are home or I’d have to pay you back for that shower trick the other day.”
Goosebumps tickled up Liz’s body with Michael’s words and breath on her neck. She leaned down and captured his mouth with her own careful to watch out for the inevitable killjoy of a parental figure walking in.

“I’m counting on it, Guerin.” Liz purred, pulling away slightly.

Michael growled wrapping his hand around the back of her neck and bringing her back for another kiss. Liz Parker may have seemed like the picture of innocence on the outside, but Michael knew and loved her wicked tendancies.

The crashing sound of ceramic breaking on what sounded like Liz’s balcony, startled Michael and he pulled away from their embrace.

“Gaudy.” Liz sighed rolling her eyes.

“Excuse me?” Michael said with a puzzled look.

“ Gaudy. She’s a stray cat who comes around for scraps. She has this charming habit of climbing on our ledge and knocking off our flower pots.” Liz explained, “I better go clean it up.”

“No I’ll do it after I call Isabel and Kyle. You just go get ready.” Michael said.
Liz gave him one last lingering kiss then hopped off the couch running into her bedroom before Michael could grab her. After regaining his composure he stood up and ventured into the kitchen where he found Nancy bustling around cooking breakfast.

“Need help?” Michael asked sheepishly.

“No. It’s your day off Michael. Just relax.” she answered waving her hand at him.

“Thanks Mrs. P. Uh, could I use your phone. I need to make a couple calls.”

“Sure sweetie. Just use the one in the living room. You making some plans for today?” she asked stirring the scrambled eggs.

“Uh, yeah...Liz said she’d feeling better so I thought we’d go out today, see a couple friends.”

Nancy paused for a moment, Michael was sure everything had been too good. Spending the night without a tirade from either parent was just too much to ask.

“Well, I’m not crazy about the idea of her going out, with those dizzy spells she had yesterday... but she does need to get out. Just promise me if she starts feeling sick again, you’ll bring her right home.”

“Um... yeah. Definitely.” Michael answered letting a breath out.

Michael hung in the doorway a moment. He was so used to being disliked he was waiting for the other shoe to drop and Nancy to lash out at him.

“Well, go on, Michael. Breakfast won’t be ready for another few minutes... unless there’s something else you wanted to talk about.” she said studying the boy with such a puzzled look on his face.

“N-No, I just... well... most parents wouldn’t be very cool about their daughter’s boyfriend spending the night...and I know I don’t have the best reputation...”

Nancy’s heart broke for Michael. He was so used to things going badly for him he didn’t know how to respond to random acts of kindness and understanding.

“Look Michael, I’m not sure how long you and Liz have been together or why you kept it a secret. I suspect I will never know and I’m okay with that. What I do know is that I haven’t seen Liz smile like she has the past couple days in about two years. You did that Michael and I’m grateful. You, believe it or not, are a good kid. You deserve some trust. You’ve earned it. Just don’t break it and we’ll be fine.”

Michael let a sleepy smile creep across his face, “Thanks Mrs. P.” he said turning out of the kitchen and back to the living room.

He picked up the phone and dialed Isabel’s number. He was relieved when she answered the phone. It was too early in the morning to deal with Max.

“Yeah, Is it’s me.” Michael said in a low voice, he didn’t want Jeff or Nancy to overhear anything having to do with Liz being sick.

“Michael? Max isn’t here. Went for a jog or something this morning.” she said.

“I don’t need to talk to him, Is. I just wanted to know if you could meet Liz and I at the quarry later today?”

“The quarry? What’s wrong Michael? We only go to the quarry... Don’t you think it’s a little soon to be getting everyone together after what’s...”

“It’s important, Isabel. Liz is sick... and I can’t figure out what’s wrong. I need your help. Everyone’s help.”

“Sick? What do you mean?” panic seeped into Isabel’s voice.

“I’ll explain when we get there. Can you come?” Michael asked not wanting to tell her too much over the phone.

“Of course. What about Max?”

Michael let out a deep sigh, “Yes. Tell His Majesty to come too. Don’t tell him it’s about Liz. Not yet.”

“Okay.” Isabel answered, she could hear the exhaustion and fear in Michael’s voice, “Michael, we’ll figure this out. We always do.”

“I hope so.” Michael said. He hung up the phone and dialed the Valenti homestead.

When Kyle answered the phone he said something about attaining perfect harmony through sleeping in, but Michael ignored him. He explained about meeting at the quarry and Liz. Kyle agreed immediately and hung up.

Michael poked his head into the kitchen to ask for a broom and dustpan.

“What happened?” Nancy asked handing him the requested items.

“Liz said Gaudy, the cat... broke a flower pot on her balcony. I told her I’d clean it up.”

Nancy shook her head, “That damn cat. I’ve lost five flower pots this month because of her. If she weren’t so damn lovable... Too bad I don’t have magical powers to piece them back together. I’d save a ton of money.”

Michael stifled a laugh, “Yeah Mrs. P. I’ll just go take care of that.”

He knocked on Liz’s door before entering. He’d seen her naked plenty of times but he didn’t want Mrs. Parker to know that, so he put on the pretense of being a gentleman.

He heard Liz sing “come in” and he opened the door. To his dismay she was fully clothed in a pair of hiphuggers and and a tank top. Her chocolate brown hair was still wet from her shower. She was sitting on her bed putting her shoes on.

“Damn.” Michael whispered.

Liz heard him and looked up from tying the laces to her tennis shoes, “Patience, Michael,” she said with that wicked glint in her eye.

Michael fought the urge to rip her clothes off and take her right there on the bed but Nancy’s voice announcing breakfast quickly put a stop to that.

“Did you call Isabel and Kyle?” Liz asked standing up and brushing her hair.

“Yeah. We’re meeting them at the quarry in about an hour. Sher... Mr. Valenti‘s coming too.”

Liz didn’t ask if Max was coming, frankly she didn’t care and let it pass. She did catch Michael’s trip over calling Jim the sheriff, “You know once we get Messed-Up-Me figured out, we’ll have to work on getting Mr. Valenti his job back. We kinda owe him.”

“Do you ever take a break, Parker?” Michael asked knowing full well Liz never took a break unless forced to.

“No rest for the wicked.” she said playfully winking at him. She turned her back to him and flipped some of her wet hair in his face, “Could you?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Michael said nonchalantly. He had a reputation to protect, even with Liz ,and the fact that loved drying her hair with his powers was one of those things he liked to keep to himself. So, she didn’t see how he closed his eyes when the heat of his hands intensified the perfume of her lavendar scented hair.

Nancy’s second call broke him out of his stupor and he let Liz’s hair fall through his fingers, “You go eat, I gotta clean up that mess.” Michael said ushering Liz out of her own bedroom.

Liz giggled, “Nobody would believe this. Michael Guerin the beloved boyfriend whom parents adore.”
“Yeah well, don’t spread it around... I’d kinda like to keep my badass rep.” he scoffed. He turned around and headed for her window when he felt a firm smack on his backside. He laughed to himself. He wasn’t the only badass in that house.

Michael stepped out onto the balcony and sure enough found the broken pot shattered and dirt spread everywhere. As he bent down to sweep up the mess, the supposed culprit, Gaudy, announced her presence with a loud “Meow”. She skirted along the balcony ledge, hopped down and rubbed herself on Michael’s knee.

“Hey, don’t suck up to me little lady,” Michael scolded the cat, but relented and scratching her ears. He was never what you called a pet person, especially cat’s, but this cat had character. She was a tawny color with a white face. She was skinny, but not uderfed. Michael noticed she had one eye missing and quite a few battle scars, some new, some old. A warrior. Michael could respect that.

He watched as Gaudy walked through the dirt leaving her paw prints behind, then something caught his eye. A footprint. Human. It was smaller than Michael’s, so he couldn’t have made it. His brain kicked into overdrive and he felt a rage boiling inside him.

“You didn’t knock this over, did you cat? he whispered. Gaudy merely meowed again and purred against Michael’s leg.

“Damnit Maxwell!” Michael hissed. The menace in his voice halted Gaudy’s rumbling purr. Michael’s fists balled up and he could feel his nails cutting into the palm of his hand.

Where was it Isabel said Max was this morning? Jogging? “My ass.” he growled.

How long had Max been there? Did he just come for a quick peep at Liz? This was getting crazy. Michael’s vision blurred to red and the explosion of another flower pot sent Gaudy bounding away.

Liz ran into her room upon hearing the crash, “Michael?”

Michael snapped out of his rage and saw the other flower pot in much smaller pieces around him. He quickly swept up the dirt containing the footprint as he heard Liz approach the window.

“Was that Gaudy again?”

“Um yeah, I think surprised her.” he covered quickly.

“Oh. Well, come and eat before the food get’s cold.” she said exiting the window.

Michael nodded and waved his hand over the mess leaving the balcony clean once again. He took a few deep breaths, keeping his anger in check. No need to explode a pitcher of orange juice at the table. He glance down at his hands and saw the neat half moon cuts from his fingernails in his palm. Concentrating for a moment he quickly healed them.

“This is getting out of control.” Michael whispered before he headed out to the kitchen to eat with Nancy and Liz.

~~~*~~~

TBC...
posted on 20-Jan-2003 6:11:42 PM
Chapter 18 (NC-17)

After breakfast Michael showered and grabbed a clean shirt that he kept in his locker downstairs. Nancy didn’t want Liz riding on his motorcycle with the dizzy spells she was having and Michael wasn’t inclined to argue. So Nancy handed over the keys to spare truck she and Jeff used when not getting supplies for the café.

Michael and Liz left for the quarry knowing it would take at least fifteen minutes to get there. Liz stared out the passenger window with a pensive look plastered on her face. Michael knew she was worried about meeting up with Max. He was worried too. He was worried he was going to rip his head off the second he saw him.

The angry guitar riffs of Metallica that filled the truck cab only fueled that rage and Michael felt he might soon blow up the truck engine accidently. He saw one of Liz’s favorite cassette’s on the bench seat and popped in the tape player.

The soothing voice of Joan Osbourne came through the speakers. Michael saw Liz relax and a smile had crept over her face. He listened carefully to the song, Crazy Baby, and knew exactly what had brought that smile to Liz’s face.

“Thinking about prom?’ he asked. Liz’s smile grew wider and she nodded.

To the untrained eye, Liz’s last prom might have been seen as a disaster. She went with Max, who ended up kissing Tess. She wound up skating on her socks in a bowling alley with Sean and it was the last night the whole group had been together before Alex was killed. But nobody saw what happened after she got home, except for Michael.

~*~

Liz was sitting out on her balcony still draped in her black prom dress listening to Joan Osbourne. Foregoing the usual strand of Christmas lights she’d lit five candles in setting various positions around the ledge or the floor. Their light seemed to mirror her mood for the evening. Not terribly bright, but just enough of a glow to see.

Man your hands are really shakin’ something awful
As you light your twenty-seventh cigarette
Oh how long have you been sittin’ in the darkness?
You forget


She’d had fun at the bowling alley, but it still didn’t take away the sting from the night. She had to watch as Michael came into the gymnasium dressed to the nines, in the tux she helped him pick out, only to shove Maria into his arms.

Oh you know you’re gettin’ really hard to be with
And you’re cryin every time you turn around
And you wonder why you cannot pick your head up
Off the ground

Maria had been whining all night about how Michael had cheated on her with some chick named Juanita. Liz knew Juanita was a dance instructor that Michael had seen to help him with dance moves. The truth was Liz had given Michael her name when Maria started suspecting he’d been seeing someone else. The scene Maria had been crying about when they’d gone to spy on him was a carefully constructed ruse, thus Liz’s reluctance to be as upset about it as Maria seemed to be.

Liz would have almost laughed about it if she hadn’t seen Michael looking so dashing in that tux. Black always worked for him, but that night he took her breath away. She saw him look her over and only had a moment to appreciate his beauty before shoving Maria towards him to clear up the ridiculous mix up her best friend concocted in her head.

Oh my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh my crazy baby
Don’t put out the light
The light, the light...the light


Needing to get out of the room for some much needed air, Liz stepped out into the student commons only to find Max swallowing Tess’ face whole. Perfect topper to an already dismal evening. For a guy who’d seemed so heartbroken and shattered only ten minutes earlier, he sure knew how to recover.

And they look at you like they don’t speak your language
And you’re living at the bottom of a well
And you’ve swallowed all the awful bloody secrets
That you can’t tell


She ran out of the school bursting through the double doors. Not knowing where to go and in serious need of some fun, Liz headed to where she knew Sean would be. He was always good for a laugh, even if Michael hated the guy’s guts. He might have even been a threat for Liz’s affections if Michael hadn’t owned her heart so completely.

Oh you know you ought to get yourself together
But you cannot bear to walk outside your door
No you cannot bear to look into the mirror,
Anymore... anymore


Around two in the morning she heard the heard a tapping on the fire escape ladder and saw the rungs shaking for a moment. A large tuxedo coat flew through the air and fell onto the floor of the balcony, its owner not far behind. Liz, wanting to wallow in a little self pity, couldn’t help but smile as Michael’s head appeared a few seconds later and he swung his legs over the ledge.

He still looked amazing. He’d taken off his tie and had undone three buttons on his shirt which was by now untucked. Michael was never comfortable unless thoroughly rumpled. She’d overheard one of the girls in school call him “walking sex” and Liz had to agree with that analogy. He possessed that raw sexuality that can only come within.

Oh my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh my crazy baby
Don’t put out the light
The light, the light... the light


Michael stood for a minute, seeming to drink her in with eyes, before approaching her cautiously, “Uh oh. You’ve got Joan on. How bad was it?” he asked, slumping down on the lawn chair beside her.

“Pretty bad...” Liz answered with an exhausted sigh, “...and pretty good. I think Max is with Tess now.” she rested her head on his shoulder as he placed a gentle hand on her back.

“Yeah, they were kinda cozy after you left. Where’d you go?”

“The bowling alley. Sean was there and between watching you try to dance with Maria and Max getting over me... I needed some fun.” she felt him pull away slightly.

“Sean huh?” Michael said a scowl forming on his face.

Liz knew that scowl, disapproval, thinly veiled, “Michael... don’t start. You know nothing happened.” she said rolling her eyes, “Besides, you’re showing up here pretty late. What were you and Maria up to?”

Michael ran his hands over his face and through his hair, “We went to some all night dive a few miles out and got some really bad coffee Then we walked through the park. When I took her home Amy was so excited to see me in a tux she made us get cleaned up and took pictures for an hour. I left a half hour ago and I walked that’s why it took me so long to get here. I didn’t forget our prom.”

Man, your hands are really shakin’ somethin’ awful
As your worries crawl around inside your clothes
Oh how long will you be sittin’ in the darkness?
Heaven knows


“I didn’t think you had, Michael.” Liz said putting her hand on his arm. She saw the harsh glare of frustration in his face and how her gentle touch had softened it.

She watched Michael’s dark amber eyes flicker over her again and he tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear.
“You...um... really do look... pretty... no ... beautiful, tonight,” he managed to stutter out.

“Thanks.” She knew Michael had a hard time giving compliments, so she took it at its worth.

Seeing the sad look in Liz’s eyes Michael stood up and in a gesture that could only mean so much coming from him, he extended his hand. Liz looked up and smiled. Michael hated to dance, as Maria’s toes had the misfortune of finding out. But here he was despite the pensive look on his face, offering Liz a chance to have a real dance, a real prom with the man she really loved.

She reached up and accepted his hand. She kicked off her shoes and to avoid injury placed her feet on top of Michael’s. He pulled her close to him placing one arm around her waist and the other took her hand and held it next to his heart. Liz lay her head on his shoulder as he began to sway to the music, closing her eyes and listening to Joan serenade them. Beat Tres Dias any day of the week.

Oh my crazy baby
Try to hold on tight
Oh my crazy baby
Don’t put out the light
The light, the light... the light


When the song was over they kept dancing as the next song began to play. Liz tried not to think too much in that moment, when it was just she and Michael as open as they’d ever been. But with Max no longer making sojourns up her fire escape they were in no immediate danger.

“Liz?”

“Mmm?”

“I’ve been thinking.”

“I thought I smelled smoke.” she grinned still resting her head on Michael’s broad shoulder.

“You’re a riot. Seriously Liz I have been... thinking, that is.”

“What about?”

“Max and Tess.”

“You need a hobby.” Liz said grinning again.

Michael stopped dancing, “Do you want to hear this or not?”

Liz looked up at Michael and saw how truly serious he was. He looked as though he were a man about to jump off a very large cliff.
“I’m sorry. Go ahead.” she said.

“Okay. Max and Tess are together now, so there’s no threat of her leaving the planet. Everything Max from the future told you won’t happen. Right?” Michael said urgently needing confirmation.

“I think so.” Liz answered waiting for Michael to continue.

“The thing is... I feel like Maria wants to get more serious, you know?” he said almost in a panic. Liz knew what “serious” meant and she couldn’t bear the thought of it.

“I hate it too, but, what does that have to do with Max and Tess, Michael?” Liz asked, clearly confused as to his point.

“I’m getting to that. I don’t want to lead Maria on anymore, and with Max and Tess together... you and I... we... don’t have to hide.” he said his darkened eyes practically boring into her soul.

Liz was so stunned she had to step away from Michael for a moment. It would have been too much to hope for. He couldn’t have meant it... could he?

“Don’t play with me, Michael. I can’t take that.”

Michael step towards her, closing the distance, “I’m not playing, Liz.”

Liz read the truth in his eyes. He was tired of hiding. He was tired of lying. He was tired of not living the life he so desperately wanted, with her.

“So we tell them?” Liz said her voice shaky, unable to believe his words weren’t just some cruel dream.

“Yeah. Just give me a couple days to end things with Maria. Then we can tell them.” Michael said, barely able to believe he was saying the words himself.

A fear gripped him that he could lose everything with this revelation, but the look of sheer, undiluted, joy on Liz’s face washed away that fear. He knew that was all she ever wanted and now he was giving it to her. Honesty without shame.

Liz could barely grasp at his willingness to come out with their relationship. They’d been in the shadows for so long... it had to be a joke, or maybe he was... no that had to be it... he was drunk. But she hadn’t tasted alcohol on his lips.

“Michael? Did you drink the punch? Because I heard Pam Troy’s boyfriend spiked it and I’ve seen what alcohol can do to alie...”

“Liz. I’ve never been more sober in my life. Trust me.”
Liz couldn’t speak. Happy tears fell from her eyes and she’d never felt lighter. Michael wiped her tears away and pulled her closer to his body. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed light kisses all over his face, his cheeks his eyelids, his chin and finally his mouth.

Michael brought a hand to the back of her head and held her in place to deepen the kiss darting his tongue out, pleading for entrance. Liz slowly, torturously obliged, letting his tongue tangle with her own.

Their kisses grew wilder and more feverish as Liz tangled her hands in Michael’s hair, pulling him as close to her as she possible could, yet still feeling a mile’s distance between them. Michael lifted Liz up and she wrapped her legs around his waist. They stumbled and slammed into the wall feeling no pain as their passion took over, both a desperate need for fulfillment The idea that they were finally going to be a couple for everyone to see had proven to be quite an aphrodisiac.

Michael assaulted Liz’s neck with his mouth, sucking an biting, marking her as his own. These were marks he wouldn’t have to heal because this time he wanted everyone to know she was his.

One of the straps of her dress fell off her shoulder and Michael nibbled at the exposed flesh. His body pressed firmly against her, holding her on the wall allowed him to busy his hands pushing the skirt of her dress further up her legs. Her ankles were locked firmly behind he waist. He couldn’t escape if he wanted to, not that he ever did.

Liz felt a familiar quickening as she felt Michael’s rock hard arousal press into her with each movement. Each brush of constrained flesh sending curling heat through both of them.

She gripped his arms and squeezed him tighter with her legs. Michael met her lips again in a bruising and frenetic kiss allowing her to snake one hand down between them and unzip his pants an send them slumping to the floor.

Dying with need to be inside her, Michael’s ripped away the remaining barrier between their sensitive flesh, her black thong. Liz felt the material torn away from her and gasped, highly aroused by the sheer animal passion Michael was showing.

Michael didn’t have to search her eyes to see if he was being too rough. He could tell by the kisses and bites she was placing on his neck, the fire that burned in her eyes, she was on the same plane he was.

He gripped at her hips and without warning swiftly thrust into her, filling her completely. They both might have screamed had they not worried about waking anyone up, but the did both moan low in their throats. Liz gazed into Michael’s eyes and saw unchecked lust tearing through them.

Liz rocked her body against him encouraging his movements begging him to go harder, faster. She could take it. She needed it. He knew she wasn’t some fragile china doll in a window. Their were so many sides to Liz Parker and he’d seen them all.
Their eyes never left each other as he continued thrusting long and hard into her. Liz felt the old brick wall scraping the soft skin of her back, but the pain was muted completely by the pleasure coursing through her body.

They leaned their foreheads together as they both pushed dangerously close to the edge. Liz gripped Michael’s shoulder and hoarsely called out his name as her orgasm washed over her in wave after wave of burning desire. Michael followed growling her name as his body went rigid with the sensation of release and perfect completion.

The sound of their ragged breaths accompanied the silence that followed. Liz felt as if her body was limp unable to support itself. She hugged Michael’s head to her chest and he gripped the wall with his hands steadying them both with what little strength he had left.

Michael tipped his head up and met Liz in a slow, lingering, romantic kiss and gently slid out of her body. She instantly missed the feeling of him in her body, the sense of emptiness that always came in that moment.

Holding her by the waist, Michael set her down and she began to repair herself. He pulled up his pants and fastened them. He took her hand and they settled back on the lawn chair, Liz in between his legs leaning against his chest, wrapped once again in the comfort of his embrace.

When their breathing returned to normal she felt him chuckle, “Shit Liz, if I’d known I’d get that kind of reaction I would have thought about outing us a lot sooner.”

Liz let out a laugh too, “What can I say? Freedom is can be powerfully erotic.”

She felt Michael nod in agreement. Still fearful it was all a dream Liz needed one last confirmation from him. She sat up and looked him the eyes, “We’re really going to do this? Tell them?”

Searching for any doubt, she found none, “Yeah. It’s time.” he said.

After another hour staring at the stars and just spending some time in silence Michael went home. Liz changed into her pajamas and was about to crawl into bed when she saw her journal laying on her bedside table. There was a thin film of dust covering it, relaying it hadn’t been used in quite a while.

Liz bit her lip and grabbed the small red book, retiring to her usual writing spot on the lawn chair. For the first time in what felt like forever she needed to write again. She was about to embark on a whole new chapter of her life. With Michael. She wanted to preserve that moment forever.

Her pen seemed to take on a life of it’s own and the words poured from her heart. When she was done she read her last paragraph with satisfaction feeling it summed up the sense of freedom that was within her grasp:
We try to live responsible, logical lives. But we can’t tell our hearts how to feel. Sometimes our hearts lead us to places we never thought we wanted to go. And sometimes our hearts can be the sweetest, gentlest things we have. Sometimes our hearts can make us feel miserable, angry excited and confused, all at once. But at least my heart is open. And I’m writing again. I’m breathing.

~*~

Fate had other plans in mind for Michael and Liz. They never did get to set things right and come clean about their relationship. Alex died and the time for them to be together openly seemed to die with him, until a few days ago at the cliffs.

Liz would have liked things to turn out another way, but who was she to argue with fate. She missed Alex. She knew he would have been torn between herself and Maria, but would have found a way to balance the two.

She wiped the stray tear that had fallen from her eye as she and Michael pulled up to the quarry. It was time to see what fate had in store for Liz Parker this time.

~~~*~~~

TBC...


posted on 22-Jan-2003 2:45:06 PM
Now what's the trouble with Liz...?


Chapter 19

When Michael and Liz pulled up they saw Kyle and Jim’s beat up old truck. The father and son were skimming rocks in the quarry trying to busy themselves. Neither one had discussed much of anything since Michael’s call. Liz was sick, they had to meet at the quarry, which meant it could affect Kyle.

As soon as Liz got out of the truck Kyle took her in his arms. Part of him was relieved to see, that while she looked a little tired, she hadn’t managed to sprout antennae or turned green. Jim shook hands with Michael and took him aside to let the two “altered” humans talk.

“How’s she doing?” Jim asked motioning towards Liz.

“Better than yesterday, but it could just be temporary.” Michael said noncomittaly. One thing he’d learned so far was that nothing was certain.

“What about you?”Jim asked.

Michael let out an angry sigh, “Frustrated. I don’t know what to do or how to help her. I feel so damn...” he couldn’t seem to find a word to adequately describe his current state.

“Helpless?” Jim supplied.

Michael nodded, “I’m not used to feeling like that. It bites.”

Jim grinned. As grown up as Michael tried to be, bits of the teenager peeked out from time to time. It reminded him that Michael, while an alien forced to deal with interstellar situations, was still a seventeen-year-old kid. He decided to wait for Max and Isabel to join them, before pressing Michael any further about Liz’s condition and what it might mean to his son.

Feeling an awkward pause, Michael remembered that Maria and her mother had left Roswell and decided to ask Jim about how things had gone with Amy.

“Well, the fact that she’s left town bodes well for you, Michael. To say she wants your finely coiffed noggin on a platter would be an understatement.” Jim explained.

“Yeah with a side order of my balls I imagine.” Michael added with a rare grin.

Jim laughed, “Well I thought I’d leave that part out, but you seem to know Amy as well as I do. She’ll get over it. She didn’t understand why I supported you and Liz... it was kinda ugly.” he didn’t have to say more. Michael knew they’d left things angry and he felt bad. Jim had chosen them over his relationship with Amy.

“Uh... sorry Valenti.”

Jim threw a hand in the air waving off Michael’s apology, “Shit, son don’t worry about it. Made her leaving a little easier on me.” Not wanting to get into the specifics, Jim changed DeLucas, “Did you get a chance to talk to Maria?”

“No. She came in yesterday and talked to Liz. Didn’t go very well and I was too busy taking care of her to worry about what Maria had to say. She’s probably in the same boat with her mom. I don’t blame her. I’m used to having people pissed at me. But Liz... well..” Michael kicked a pebble around for a minute, “It was rough on her.”

Michael weighed another matter on his mind, he needed help, but didn’t know how to ask Jim. Sensing Michael was holding something back, he decided to help the boy along. “Got something else on you mind?”

Michael scratched his eyebrow, “Um.. yeah... but I’m not sure if... forget it... I can handle it on my own.”

“Michael, let me help. Whatever it is.” Jim knew how difficult it was for Michael to ask for help and whatever it was that was bothering him seemed to be something he wasn’t sure he really could handle the problem on his own.

“You’ve helped us so many times before Valenti. I can’t ask you to...”

“Michael, you let me decide for myself. I haven’t regretted one single thing I’ve done for you kids. Now, come on. Fess up.”

Michael surrendered, “It’s Max. He’s... I think Tess leaving with his son and Liz and I... I think he’s losing it.”

“Max has been under a lot of pressure lately, Michael. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was having a breakdown.”

“Yeah... but it’s not just that. His whole world has been rocked and now... it’s like... he’s clinging to the one thing that ever truly meant something to him,” letting his eyes flicker over to Liz who was still talking to Kyle. Jim followed his glance and nodded, “I think he’s stalking Liz and I don’t know what to do.”

Jim was a little surprised at Michael’s revelation. He knew Max was seriously infatuated with Liz, but stalking? “Are you sure?”

“Pretty damn sure.” Michael answered almost baring his teeth at the thought, “He’s crossing lines... spying on us.. her...”

He would have continued, but they heard a car coming and saw Max and Isabel pulling up in one of their parents cars, the Jeep having effectively been destroyed in the days preceding.

Liz stopped talking to Kyle mid sentence and noticeably tensed up. He pushed her gently over to Michael, knowing she’d feel safer with him
“You ready?” Michael asked Liz as he put and arm around her waist hugging her to him. He could feel how rigid her body was wishing he could take it all away.

“No, “Liz answered honestly, “But I guess I have no choice.”

Michael’s heart broke for her. She was scared and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He had to seek help from the one person in the world Liz seemed to fear most. “I don’t like it either, Liz, but until we know.... I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“Me either.” Kyle said standing on the other side of Liz. She gave them both a weak smile and tried to steel herself. She felt the tension in her rise a mixture of fear and anger. All of it directed at Max Evans, a boy, at one time, she thought she loved and had an infinite amount of faith in. Time and time again her faith in him was tested and each time she found she had a little less. She should have felt lost when she realized Max wasn’t the man she thought he was, but she had Michael to restore her faith in that good hearts existed, she’d just been looking in the wrong place. Sometimes healers can deliver the biggest wounds. Sometimes those who seem the most broken, can fix them.

As Liz stood with the people who really mattered to her, who stood by her no matter what, her confidence grew. She couldn’t help but feel Maria’s absence, but she knew with time she would come around. So with, Kyle, Jim and Michael’s strength, how could she not make it though the meeting?

As soon as they parked Isabel jumped out of the driver’s side and approached Liz. Liz took in a shaky breath of uncertainty. She knew Isabel supported Michael, but that didn’t mean she supported her. Isabel was fiercely protective of her brother and at one point Isabel resented her for distracting Max. But so many things had changed. Liz couldn’t help but wonder if Isabel was seeing Max with new eyes.

“We’re going to get you though this.” Isabel whispered gently, before Max joined them. Liz could see the kindness and concern in her eyes and let out her breath, giving her new ally a smile of thanks.

Max, if it was possible, looked worse than he had a few days earlier, He had at least four days of stubble speckling his face, his eyes carried dark circles and his cheeks were beginning to sink in suggesting weight loss. His clothes were rumpled as though they’d been slept in. He was a far cry from the innocent boy who had once saved Liz’s life. He looked more like a pauper than a king. Even then Liz felt sympathy for him, despite her anger. She felt Michael give her a squeeze and Kyle put a hand on her shoulder.

Jim was content to sit back and watch the kids interact. He observed how the dynamics of the group had changed in those few days. He found it very telling that Michael, Liz, Isabel and Kyle all stood together leaving Max to stand alone. A testament to how poor choices and poor character can change the landscape of friendships. A new balance was about to be established.
“Since when do you call the meetings, Michael?” Max growled, obviously less than happy about being summoned to a meeting by the man he believed stole away his beloved.

“Things change Max. You should know that.” Michael bit out. He could barely contain his rage. Liz could feel how tense Michael was, like he was battling some sort of inner demon. She gently rubbed his back to sooth his nerves.

“Well it better be important.” Max said looking around, as if he had more pressing issues at hand.

Michael stepped closer to Max, but still kept his hand laced with Liz’s, “Oh I’m sorry Maxwell. Did you have more important things to do? Like, oh I don’t know, jogging?”

Max’s head snapped up at Michael’s last word. “Jogging” is what he’d told Isabel he’d been doing that morning, but the menacing tone in Michael’s voice suggested he knew otherwise.

“No. I just don’t like being summoned anywhere.” Max said quickly covering inching closer to Michael. He wasn’t about to back down in front of Liz.

“Yeah, I guess taking orders is a little alien to you, Your Highness. Michael retorted, the ever present sarcasm clinging to every word.

Isabel looked between her brothers and saw nothing but venom between them. It broke her heart to see them so distant, so angry. She didn’t kid herself. She knew the riff was about a lot more than Liz, but now was not the time for it. Liz needed their help and they needed to focus.

“When you two boys are through with your pissing contest, could we get to the reason why we’re here.” Isabel said standing in between Max and Michael.

The two men stalled for a moment. The choice between violence and diplomacy seemed to be undetermined. Liz squeezed Michael’s hand reminding him why they were there. He gave Max one last glare and stepped back, putting his arm around her.

“Yeah.... um... the reason I asked you here... is because...” Michael struggled with the words. Once he said it he knew Max would react, rush in and try to be the knight in shining armor.

“I’m sick.” Liz said finally finding her voice. “We called you here because I’m sick and we...” her breath started hitching and Kyle squeezed her shoulder.

“We need to know if it’s alien related.” Michael finished for her.

“Y-you’re sick?” Max stuttered in abject shock, “W-wha...H-how...”

Isabel rolled her eyes at Max, “I think what my brother is trying to ask is: ‘What are your symptoms?’”
“So far, dizziness, fainting spells, trances...” Liz said, “but it’s after I pass out that the worst. The things I see or rather don’t see. It’s like this black abyss and people are calling my name, but their echos rattle me. It’s really scary you guys.”

Everyone was silent for a moment trying to take in what Liz told them. What could possibly be making her sick? It could be anything human, but cheating death through alien intervention tended to magnify other possibilities.

“Tess.” Isabel said quickly, “What if Tess did something to you before she left? Like a mindwarp to make you think you were sick.”

“I thought about that already,” Liz answered, “She wouldn’t have been strong enough. The baby weakened her powers. Amy started remembering when Brody took us hostage...”

“...And I remembered what happened to Alex.” Kyle said confirming Liz’s theory.

Liz nodded, “Exactly. She was already losing her grip on the mindwarps she’d already performed. I don’t think she had the time or the strength to affect me.”

Upon the mention of Tess, Kyle had another theory. It was a bit embarrassing to Michael and Liz, especially in front of his dad, but it was worth a shot.

“Uh... Maybe this is an obvious question... but um, Liz? Could you..uh .. be... you know...” Kyle said nervously, suddenly unable to say a simple word.

“Could you be pregnant?” Jim asked bluntly, for his son. Kyle nodded, the blush still reddening his face.

“Oh my God. A baby?” Isabel said looking down at Liz’s petite frame, wondering how her body could take an alien pregnancy. All the questions and fears Michael had the day before raced through her mind.

“No. I mean, Michael and I already ruled that out?” Liz told them, “Besides, I think we’ve had enough unplanned pregnancies around here, don’t you think?” her glare settling on Max, who’d hung his head in shame.

Isabel let out a ragged breath of relief. She remembered when she had her pregnancy scare. All the unknowns. The relief when she found out it wasn’t real... and the disappointment. She looked at Michael and Liz’s faces seeing they’d gone through the same thing.

“Ruled out how?” Max asked anger seeping into his voice. The very idea that Liz could be carrying someone else’s child, Michael’s child, chilled him.

“I tried to connect with the baby and got nothing.” Michael answered sadly.
“Maybe you did it wrong,” Max spat, “You aren’t exactly known for having great control over your powers , Michael... or your ‘energy source’ apparently.”

That was it for Liz, Max could moon over her all he wanted, but she wasn’t going to stand by another minute and let Max abuse Michael yet again.

“Yeah Max, because you’d know all about controlling your ‘energy source’, wouldn’t you? I mean Tess isn’t hurtling through space right now carrying your child or anything!” she yelled, surprising everyone.

“Th-that was a mistake... I know that now...” Max said dumbfounded. at Liz’s outburst.

“Well, Hale-frickin-lujah Max! Now you know? Do you have any idea of what you almost did? What you’ve done? Of course not! You have never thought of anyone, but yourself! Whatever the king wants he gets, damn everyone else! God! And you wonder why your planet fell?” she continued on her tirade.


She released Michael’s hand and began advancing on Max. Michael went to stop her, but Kyle and Isabel held him back, “She needs to do this, Michael.” Kyle whispered. Isabel nodded in agreement.

“Liz? Where is this coming from? I thought you’d understand...we’re..soul..” Max said backing away slightly from Liz.

“Finish that word and it’ll be your last Max Evans!” Liz growled, “You are not my soulmate. If you truly knew my soul, you’d see the man who knows me body and soul. Who’s love for me kept you and Isabel alive! You’d see Michael!”

“But... the memories, when I healed you... the flashes when we kissed...” Max was faltering. He’d never seen Liz so angry.

“Seeing my embarrassment over a the cupcake dress my mother made me in third grade does not make you my soulmate Max! God! Did you honestly think that I’d go back with you after everything you’ve done? ‘Oh he was just intrigued by one of his own kind. He tried it out, didn’t like and now he wants me back! Yippee!’ Get over yourself! You never had that much power over me!” Liz screamed.

Max was stunned. Everything she was saying... she couldn’t possibly mean it. He knew Liz Parker. She was angry about Tess. That had to be it. She had every right to be, but it was time to move on. Time stop playing games with Michael and start living life with him. An eerie iciness came over his face.

“Liz... you’ve indulged in this little affair with Michael for too long as far as I can see. I need you now. I need you to help me find my son. I can’t do it without you.”
Isabel physically bristled when Max used the word “indulged”. Just a week earlier when she came to him about going away to school he had used that same term. She’d been “indulged” in a dream to go to college. the things he threatened to do if she didn’t stop...she never knew Max has it in him. She and Kyle had fun getting back at him and she thought she was over it, but when she heard it again, the sting seemed fresh and raw. She was tempted to interrupt Liz and tear into Max herself, but held back. It was Liz’s turn, she could wait.

Liz let out a sarcastic laugh. “Indulged? News flash Max! I am not one of your subjects. We aren’t on your planet and I don’t take orders! As for your son, try focusing on him instead of me. You created him. You let his mother get away. You have to find him...and just leave me the hell alone! I want my life back and it doesn’t include you! You are my past Max Evans... Michael is my future!”

Michael watched as two years of pent up anger erupted from Liz. He’d never been more proud of her in the whole time they’d been together. He wondered if he had the courage to do the same thing. Suddenly he saw Liz start to sway. It had all been too much. No one can expect to unload like that and not be exhausted by it.

Max hadn’t noticed Liz was weakening. All he could see was rage. He wasn’t going to let her tell him he’d wasted two years loving her for nothing. He grabbed her shoulders violently and shook her.

“Stop saying that! It wasn’t for nothing!” he screamed.

Along with the blackness Liz felt pain shooting through her body as though a million volts of electricity were coursing through her veins. Max dropped her immediately when she cried out. He watched in horror as tiny, green bolts of energy seemed to consume her skin. Had he done this to her?

“LIZ!” Michael screamed running to her side.

She was in a level of pain that defied description. It was as if her energy was leaving her body from the inside out. Conscious enough to hold her hand up Liz tried to keep Michael back, she didn’t want him hurt either, “No Michael! It’s not safe!”

“I don’t care.” Michael said lifting her off the ground and into his arms, away from Max. His arms burned as he felt the energy Liz was giving off seep into his skin, but his instinct to protect her dulled the pain.

He set her down on the ground leaning her against the Kyle and Jim’s truck, her face contorted in agony. Isabel, Kyle and Jim stood back on Michael’s command, giving he and Liz room to breathe. Max ignored him and ran to the other side of her.

“I can fix this Liz!” he pleaded touching her face.
Liz screamed again the bolts concentrating where Max had touched her. Max recoiled in confusion. Determined, he reached out again. Not wanting to see Liz hurt more, Kyle grabbed Max’s shoulders and threw him back, landing hard in the dusty ground.

“Stop!” Kyle yelled towering over Max. “Don’t you see you’re the one causing this?!”

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind now that Liz’s illness was alien related, but why manifest itself now? Why had Max been the one to trigger it?

Michael taxed his mind for an answer when suddenly it all clicked. Liz was partly right. It was stress, but on a much deeper level. He remembered feeling the energy come off of Liz the morning Max broke into his apartment. She was shaking uncontrollably. Maria. Liz was about to lose her best friend in the whole world. Her emotions were in turmoil. Her body shut down unable to deal with the conflicting emotions. With everything she’d been though in the past weeks it was no wonder her body was reacting.

The final straw came when she exploded at Max. All the pent up rage she’d been feeling, manifesting itself as pain and energy the instant the one who caused it touched her. Michael knew this because he went through it as a child, still went though it on bad days. Liz was developing powers.

Liz groaned in pain again, her eyes still shut tightly, “It hurts...it hurts...” she whimpered. A tear slipped down her cheek.

Michael remembered her telling him, that when she passed out his was the only voice to pull her out. “Liz? Come on baby, open your eyes. It’s Michael. I won’t hurt you. You know that. Liz?” His voice calm and comforting, as though he were soothing a baby to sleep.

Liz allowed herself to open her eyes, and saw the amber eyes she adored staring back at her. He was scared for her, but in that same look carried an overwhelming sense of peace. She saw him reach out to touch her and brought up her hand in protest. “No...Michael... it hurts too much.”

Michael took the hand she was holding up in his own. She didn’t retract in pain. “It’s okay Liz.” he said, “See It doesn’t hurt.”

To her surprise Michael’s touch didn’t cause more pain, if anything it seemed to ease it. The bolts of energy in her hand started to dissipate. She stared wide eyed at him. He took his other hand and wiped the tear off her cheek. The warmth of his touch spread through her again and the pain began to subside. She smiled at Michael and saw his eyes well with tears. He’d healed her. He’d saved her. He was humbled by his own actions.

His whole life Michael believed he was the bad one. He was the destroyer. Max was always the good one. He was the healer. Now when it counted most, Michael shined, able to save the most important person in his life. His touch brought life.
“What’s happening, Michael?” Isabel asked still in shock at what she’d just seen.

“Liz was changed when Max healed her two years ago. It took longer for her to develop powers because she’s human.” Michael explained still not taking his eyes off of Liz watching her body relax as the pain faded.

“I.. don’t understand...” Isabel said still not quite able to grasp what he was saying. Michael gently helped Liz stand up, letting her lean against him for support.

“Don’t you get it Is? Our powers have always been connected to our emotions. You know that’s why I have always had a hard time controlling them. With everything that’s happened: Alex dying. Us leaving. Tess... the baby... Maria... Liz has been an emotional wreck. It all came to a head with Maxwell over here and with her altered state...”

“Her powers came out. Like when we were kids just discovering our abilities.” Isabel finished, realization finally dawning on her. Michael nodded.

“Now who’s the scientist.” Liz said weakly to Michael.

“Hey I had to get something from hanging out with you all this time.” Michael joked holding her closer.

“What does this mean for Kyle?” Jim asked, concerned for his son.

Kyle who’d been keeping watch over Max turned back to the others curious as to the answer. His biggest fear is that he would become one of them and now it seemed that it was possible. After seeing what Liz had gone through he had to admit he was scared.

“I don’t know. It’s possible he may never develop powers, but now we know what to look for.” Michael answered.

“Guess that makes me the guinea pig.” Liz said still looking weak, but noticeably better.

“Better you than me, Parker.” Kyle said masking his fear with humor.

“It’ll be okay, Kyle.” Isabel said patting his back, letting him know he wasn’t going to be alone. He had every reason in the world not to believe her after the betrayal Tess had visited upon him. But when he looked into Isabel’s eyes he knew he could trust her.

Max picked himself up off the desert floor and dusted off his clothes. He approached the group having heard everything. “This is great... we can help Liz develop her powers..and then I can touch her without causing her pain.”

Michael looked down at Liz, then back up at Isabel. He guided her over to Is who held the petite brunette up. Michael had unfinished business with Max.
“You.” he said approaching Max, this time with nobody to stop him, “Will not go near Liz. You’ve caused her enough pain already.” he stopped, standing toe to toe with his leader, “She doesn’t even want you, Max! Face it! You lost! To your second!”

The other’s watched in silence waiting for Max’s response. No one dared breathe too loud. The silence was broken violently with a loud crunch when Max’s fist met Michael’s jaw.

~~~*~~~
TBC...



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 22-Jan-2003 8:22:20 PM ]
posted on 24-Jan-2003 12:09:56 PM
Chapter 20


Michael knew the punch was coming. He had learned from a very early age the exact movements of someone about to hit him. He could have stopped Max if he really wanted to. He knew those words would provoke Max to violence. He counted on it. What he didn’t count on was the power behind the punch, because the force of the blow knocked him to the ground.

Michael heard Liz scream his name and Isabel yell Max’s. He put his hand up to let Liz know he was okay, despite the metallic taste of his own blood in his mouth. He wiped his lip with his hand and felt the sting where Max had cracked the corner of his mouth.

Jim moved to break up the fight or hold Max back, but Kyle stopped him, “Uh Dad... Two really pissed off aliens. Powers reduce your ass to dust... Not a wise idea.”

Jim nodded in agreement, not so much that he worried for his own safety as much as he realized Michael and Max had to work this out. He only hoped they keep to fists and not powers.

“Get up!” Max growled standing over Michael.

“Not done yet?” Michael asked as her rose to his feet, spitting out the blood that pooled in his mouth. “What? The great diplomat has no words so he uses his fists? Isn’t that how you always handle me? Little Mikey get’s out of line so let’s rough him up a bit?”

“Shut up!” Max spat, Michael’s words hitting a little too close to home. He brought his fists up again ready to fight.

“I’m not gonna fight you Max. Though I’m tempted to rip your head off and send it to Kivar for what you’ve done to Liz!” Michael said sounding a little too calm.

“What I’ve done? What the hell have I ever done, but love her?” he said desperately.

“You did what you always do Max. You tried to mold her to fit into her world. You were the kid in gradeschool who was always trying to fit the square peg in the round hole. You force it until it breaks. That’s what you’ve done to Liz. To Isabel and... me.” The words were coming so easily to Michael, he almost felt as though it wasn’t even him speaking. But it had to be, because the voice was saying exactly how he felt about Max for the first time in his life.

Max grimaced at the truth of Michael’s statement, “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, Michael!”

“Don’t I? What were you expecting to happen by spying on us Max. The other day in my apartment? This morning on Liz’s balcony? What? Did you think that if you follow her around enough she’ll eventually cave in and come back to you?” Michael asked.

“What? My balcony?” Liz asked suddenly realizing what Michael was saying, “It wasn’t Gaudy who broke that flower pot.”
Michael shook his head, “Word to the wise Max, if you’re going to spy someone don’t leave behind evidence.”

“I’m not stalking her. I love her.” Max protested. “I heard she fainted yesterday and I wanted to see how she was.”

“Here’s a concept: Use the God damn phone! Or maybe somewhere deep inside, you know everything Liz said to you is true. You aren’t the man you think you are. You’re still a little boy trying to play king.” Michael said.

Max’s rage boiled over again and he ran at Michael throwing them both to the ground. Michael did his best to fend off an blows he threw his way as Max’s arms flailed wildly looking to strike any part of Michael.

Michael knew he could pummel Max in five seconds flat. He was bigger and better at fighting, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Max was still his brother. Another lesson life, or moreover Hank, taught Michael was that beating the crap out of someone wouldn’t solve a single thing.

Michael pushed Max off his body, flinging him to the side. Max sat up tears welling in his eyes, “How could you do this to me Michael? You know how much I love her. I have always been good to you!”

Michael scoffed, “No Max, you really haven’t. Ever since we found eachother you’ve tried being my father, my keeper, and my leader. I never wanted or needed any of those things. I just wanted a friend, but you could never give me that. Can’t keep your true friends under your thumb. You couldn’t do it to Liz and I kidded my self into thinking I had to let you do it to me.” he stood again, a fresh cut above his eye trickled blood down the side of his face.

“You wanna know the sad thing?” Michael continued, pausing for a moment, “I looked up to you. You had the parents who didn’t hit you. The sister who adored you. You were someone I thought I wanted to be like. All I ever wanted was your respect. To be an equal, but you never let me forget what side of town I came from. You’ve never treated me like man, just petulant child you had to get out one mess or another. I’ve always been an afterthought. Second.”

“That’s right Michael! You always wanted what I had! That’s why you took Liz! You couldn’t have the parents or the sister so you had to take the girl!”

“Think about Max. I took Liz away? That suggests she wanted to be taken. Last time I checked mindwarping wasn’t on my list of nifty powers in my posession. We found eachother because she couldn’t find what she needed in you.”

“But you will still always be second Michael! She saw me first!” Max said desperately. Michael looked down at his king on the ground, wallowing in the dirt. He knew that was a card Max would play. Sometimes he wished Max wasn’t so damn predictable.
“You’re right Max. Liz saw you first, but she loves me now. From where I’m standing, walking away with the her makes being second look pretty fucking good.”

“You can’t love her like I can Michael.” Max growled finally getting to his feet.

“Oh you’re right about that Max. I can’t use her and expect her to take me back. I can’t follow her every move suffocating her and taking the light out of her eyes. I can’t knock up some other chick while professing my undying love for her and expect her to go weak in the knees. You know why I can’t do that? Because that’s not Liz. She’s right, you have no idea who she really is! You’ve got this image plastered on that tiny mind of yours as to exactly who Liz should be instead of who she really is. And that my friend is the difference. You love the idea of Liz Parker and I love the real thing.”

Max was at a loss for words. He underestimated how profound Michael could be. He’d always took for granted Michael’s intelligence and the depth at which he felt things. Michael was the bigger man. He could even be a better leader. He was walking away with Liz. Max saw that now, but there was no way he’d admit it and there was no way he would give up. His thoughts were irrational and all he wanted to do was hurt Michael.

Seeing the defeated look on Max’s face Michael turned his back and started walking back to the others. To Liz. He felt Max following getting closer and closer. Finally he felt him pressed to his back his mouth close to his ear.

“She’ll see it eventually Michael.” Max whispered, pure hatred skimming off of every syllable, “You aren’t good enough. You never will be. You’re a killer, remember?”

Michael clenched his jaw at the word “killer”. He tortured himself with it every night since he’d killed Agent Pierce. He was protecting Max and Valenti, but a life was a life no matter how you slice it.

Max clapped his hands together rubbing them back and forth, weighing his next words carefully. He knew they’d be the one’s to send Michael over the edge, “Yep, just a matter of time. Thanks for breaking Liz in though. I guess if I have to be second to you in anything...”

Max didn’t finish his sentence. Michael’s fist effectively ended any speaking Max was doing. He’d finally found the one thing that could make Michael mad enough to lash out.

Max’s eye felt as though it was about to burst from the pain and he fell back landing once again in the dust. Michael grabbed him by the shirt collars and yanked him up to face him. Max could feel the burning heat coming off of Michael’s hands. Perhaps he’d pushed to far and Michael was losing control.

“You ever say anything like that again about Liz and I’ll kill you, brother or not! You stay the hell away from her!” Michael growled.
Max got the reaction he wanted from MIchael, but never expected the ferocity. For the first time Max was actually scared of Michael. He saw the rage in his eyes. He saw the fierce protectiveness he felt for Liz. He knew there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her. He saw the love Liz brought out in him. Pure and untainted. Max could claim no such feeling.

Michael dropped Max giving him one last shove for emphasis. He backed away this time to keep an eye on Max. His felt his body shaking, like it did when he killed Agent Pierce. His hands felt as thought they were about to explode. It unnerved him. He wanted to kill Max. His brother.

Max wasn’t about to let it die there. He and Michael weren’t finished. He couldn’t let Michael win. He started to run at Michael, soon at a full sprint. Michael prepared himself for the blow trying to keep his eyes open. Just as Max got to Michael there was a loud scream.

“Stop!”

Suddenly Max flew back through the air. Some violent invisible force had lifted him off his feet and thrown him back at least twenty feet away from where Michael stood. He landed with a hard thud, the wind knocked out of him.gasped for air feeling his lungs might explode.

Michael whipped around to see who’d thrown Max. He knew it wasn’t him, he was too busy trying to tame the fire in his hands. It had to be Isabel. When Michael focused his eyes he saw Jim, Kyle and Isabel standing back in shock from Liz. Her arm was outstretched and he palm was open, trembling.

Michael took long strides towards Liz, unable or unwilling to run and frighten her more. He could see the fear and panic in her eyes, she didn’t move as if her action had left her paralyzed. Gently he helped bring her arm down. She wouldn’t look at him, she could only stare at Max yards away rolling around on the ground in some amount of discomfort.

“Liz?” Michael said gently.

Liz’s eyes filled with tears, “I couldn’t watch him hurt you, Michael. I’m tired of him hurting you. I-Is he okay? I didn’t know...”

Michael looked back at Max who was struggling to stand at this point. He seemed okay, but just to make sure, “Isabel. Go see if Max is okay.”

Isabel snapped out of her stupor and nodded. She calmly walked over to Max, unsure of how to feel. She’d seen a side to Max she feared lurked beneath the surface. He was cold, callused and cruel. She should have been worried about his safety after Liz threw him away from Michael, but part of her knew Max had deserved it.

Michael focused back on Liz taking her face in his hands forcing her to look at him, “Hey, I’m the protector around here.” he said with a small smile.
Liz blinked away her tears, once again finding calm in Michael’s eyes. She was still in shock as to what she’d done, but with all that had happened she just wanted to get away. To be with Michael.

“I want to go home. Now.” he voice was still shakey, but determined relaying what she wanted. Michael nodded knowing she meant go back to his apartment. She’d just found out she her entire human existence had be forever altered, there was no way she could deal with her mother fussing over her again.

Nothing was said between the group. Max was trying to regain his balance after Liz’s blast. Isabel exchanged a silent look with Michael, they’d talk later. Jim and Kyle were too stunned to say anything and knew neither Michael or Liz were up to any questions. Liz seemed almost catatonic. So much to take in. She’d experienced the power that Michael, Isabel, Max and Tess had shown, never fathoming she’d ever posess any of her own.

Michael opened the door to the truck and helped Liz inside. Before Michael drove away Kyle thought about saying something to him, but he knew Michael would take care of Liz. They were a team and Michael would get her through this.

Max could only watch the dust cloud that followed the truck, still in utter disbelief that Liz had used her newfound powers against him. She stood by Michael, not him. He’d give her time. Maybe he had come on too strong. She needed time to process things, then maybe they could start over.

Max was ripped from his thoughts by a severe smack to the back of his head, “Don’t even think about it little brother!” Isabel fumed, “Or I will have Dad draw up a restraining order for Liz before you can say ‘prison bitch’!”

“You wouldn’t dare.” Max said sizing his sister up, looking for any hint that she might back down. Nothing. The Ice Princess was back.

“Oh I’ll go you one better Maxwell. See if this sounds familiar.” she crossed her arms in defiance, “If you keep after Liz I’ll tell our parents that you’ve been using drugs and that there’s a really great rehab center in Arizona they could send you to for the summer. I mean just look at what one of your binges has done to the Jeep. Seems to me it’ll be awfully difficult to look for a way to save your son if you’re locked up in a padded cell all summer.”

“Wh-Why would you do that?” Max asked stunned that his sister would seemingly abandon him.

Isabel let out and exasperated sigh, “Because I love you, you moron, and I can’t watch you destroy yourself or Liz over this. She deserves a life and she deserves to be with someone who appreciates her. That person is Michael. The sooner you realize that the better off you’ll be. You had your chance with her and you blew it. I told you if you didn’t start listening to the people you care about you’d be a leader without any followers. Lonely, isnt it?”
Max glared at Isabel and headed back to their car, “Get Kyle to take you home.”

Isabel knew better than to protest. If Max wanted to destroy their parents car by thrashing it around in the desert it was his perogative. Frankly she didn’t want to make the trip home with him brooding anyway.

Max slammed the door to the SUV. Just as he started the engine Kyle leaned in the open window, “Kyle, I’m really not in the mood for a Buddahist lecture right now.” Max spat.

“Screw Buddah, Evans. You hurt Liz like that again and I’ll kick your ass.” His face straight, and his voice even. Kyle backed away as Max gunned the engine and sped off in the opposite direction of home.

~*~
Michael carried a still weakened Liz into the apartment and set her on the couch. He went to the fridge and got her a soda. He wet a washcloth, he noticed on the way home that she had a slight temperature. No doubt for the heat that went through her body before he healed her.

They hadn’t spoken a word since they left the others at the quarry. Michael was scared. He couldn’t read Liz with the blank emotionless stare that had consumed her face. He’d seen that face before. In the alley the day before. She was shutting down, only this seemed more severe. He was afraid it had all been too much and she’d thrown herself so far into denial that she closed everything else out.

Michael retrieved some pillows and a first aid kit, for his own wounds, from his bedroom and rushed back to Liz’s side. He removed her shoes stretched her out on the couch, propped her head up with the pillows and lay the washcloth on her forehead. He felt jumpy and impatient. His hands iched needing to do something constructive to do. He couldn’t just watch her. He looked over at her soda sweating in the heat of his sweltering apartment.

“Ice. You need ice.” he said starting to get up. He had to keep moving. He had to take care of her.

“Michael. Stop.” Liz said in a small voice. Michael grateful she was at least conscious, obeyed sitting on the floor next to her. “I need you, not a nurse.”

Michael grinned inwardly. He never was very good at waiting on other people or tending to their needs. He just needed to keep busy or the weight of what had just happenened at the quarry would come crashing down on him.

He took Liz’s tiny hand into his own and just held it waiting for to speak, sleep or do what ever it was she needed to do. He didn’t ask he if she was okay, because he knew she wasn’t, but she would be.

After about twenty minutes spent in unbearble silence Michael saw a single tear slide down Liz’s cheek. A crack in the wall she’d put up, preparing himself for the inevitable flood that would follow. He could see her fighting back the emotions that threatened to surface. He knew she didn’t want to be weak in front of him. He wanted to tell her it was okay to fall apart, sometimes that’s the strongest thing you can do. He wanted to tell her that as a child he cried, unable to understand what was happening to him. He even did now as a grown man when he couldn’t keep himself in check. He wondered why it was so easy for Max and Isabel to harness their emotions and while his seemed to be like a wild stallion, untamed and unbreakable.

Michael saw her mouth open then close, trying to say what she felt, but unable or unwilling to admit her feelings about her change. He saw her take a deep breath before she burst into tears. Her slight shoulders shaking, her hand squeezing his. Unable to simply watch her fall apart, Michael gathered her in his arms letting her cry against his shoulder. He made no efforts to quiet her or question what her tears were for.

After a few minutes the sobs that racked her tiny frame slowed and she looked up at him, finally able to find her voice, “I thought I was dying.”

Michael immediately felt as though his heart stop. He thought of all the things she could have been crying about: the powers, Max, or the pain, she thought she was dying? He had entertained the thought after they discovered she wasn’t pregnant, but had quickly dismissed it. There was no way in hell he was going to let her die, let alone think it. Yeah, it was denial on his part, but at the time it was a denial that kept him sane.

“Wh--What do you mean?” he asked stroking her hair.

“That black abyss I was telling you about... I didn’t tell you how familiar it felt. When I got shot last year I blacked out for a minute. I was in that place, Michael. The the voices, people screaming, sinking, pulling me down. I never heard your voice pulling me out. I was ripped out when Max healed me. It was violent and it hurt. Not like when you pulled me out. Gentle and easing.” she said the tears still spilling, reddening her olive skin.

Now Michael was the one left speechless. He knew that blackness had terrified Liz like nothing else, but he never truly realized why. He never understood the torture she must have gone through. Remaining silent, he let Liz continue.

“So, when I felt myself back in that abyss after I passed out, I thought...Max healing me that day, somehow just prolonged the invevitable. Like Fate felt cheated, so it was coming back to finish what it started. I know it’s weak of me to say it...but I was scared to die, but I was.”

Weak? She thought she was weak? She faced death more times than any teenage girl should. Battled epidermically challenged aliens. Was kidnapped by a slightly psychotic shapeshifter. Was shot at by the FBI and she thought she was weak? If she was weak then he had to be the biggest wussy on the planet. And Michael did not fancy himself a wussy.

“One thing you are not, Parker, is weak.” Michael told her emphatically, gripping her chin, “I was scared too. Soldier. Warrior. Remember? Not exactly looking to die either. If you died... I’d be all alone. I may seem like a loner, but you know me better than that. Besides you are the only person on this planet who puts up with my bullshit. Of course now I have to be more careful. If I step out of line you could zap my ass.”

It got the reaction he was hoping for. A grin spread over her face and she knew he didn’t think any less of her because she had been terrified of death. In fact, she swore she saw awe in his gaze.

Michael winced as the grin he made reopened the cut on his mouth. Fresh blood appeared on the surface of the wound. It wasn’t until then that Liz had noticed Michael’s injuries, he ones Max had inflicted.

“Oh God Michael! You’re hurt.” she said. She took the washcloth he’d made for her and started cleaning the cut above his eye, washing away the blood that had dried on his cheek.

“I can’t believe he hit you.” she said gritting her teeth. She couldn’t even bring herself to say Max’s name.

“That’s his way Liz. Max bottles up everything ‘til he explodes. I knew he was going to hit me.” he winced again when Liz moved the washcloth to the corner of his mouth.

“Then why did you let him?” Liz asked confused, “Why didn’t you stop him?”

Michael sighed scratching his eyebrow, but the jerking a little when he discovered it was the one with the cut, “I wanted to see how far he’d go. I have a habit of doing that, you know. Pushing people buttons.”

Liz rolled her eyes knowingly, “Preachin’ to the choir, Guerin.”

“Yeah” Michael laughed, again forgetting he was injured and wincing in pain. Liz brought the cloth to his mouth again as he continued, “And I guess part of me thought I deserved it.”

Liz stopped cleaning him her jaw threatening to drop. A wave of righteous indignation consuming her, “ Deserve it? Nobody has the right to hit...”

Michael put a finger to her lips to quiet her, “Whoa! Now before you get all child advocate on me, let me finish.” Liz nodded, fishing a bandage out of the first aid kit, to place over his eye.

“I deserved it, because at some point I think Max really did love you. I don’t know when it got to be the peverted thing he’s made it into, but he did love you, Liz and he felt I took that away. Maybe I did. Call it a male ego thing.”

Liz sighed, “Boys.”

Liz finished bandaging Michael’s eye and place a gentle kiss on the wound. She sat back looking at him, biting her lip.

“Spill it Parker. You’re doing that lip thing again.” Michel said recognizing his girlfriend’s quirk.

She traced her finger lightly over his bandaged forehead then down to his cut lip, “Maybe... I could try to... heal these.”

Michael leaned his cheek into her hand, moved by the gesture, and a little surprised she’d embraced her change so quickly. Ever his little scientist.

“No. I’ll let them heal on their own. Battle scars.” he said puffing his chest out a little in manly pride.

“Another male ego thing?” Liz asked with a slight air of annoyance.

Michael nodded, “ Besides you’ve been through enough today and healing is kinda advanced. It’s the one I have the most trouble with.”

“You didn’t have trouble today.” Liz pointed out, giving Michael her thanks. with a light kiss. Michael winced again. Deciding if he couldn’t kiss his own girlfriend he’d sacrifice one of his battle scars and quickly healed the cut on his lip.

“Well, today was different.” Michael said looking away. Liz brought him back to face her.

“Why is that?” Liz asked, intrigued.

Michael smirked, leaning in for another kiss, “It was you.”

~~~*~~~
TBC...


posted on 26-Jan-2003 3:53:53 AM
Chapter 21

Despite gaining some of her strength back, Michael made Liz rest. He wanted her to go lie down in the bedroom, but she insisted on staying out on the couch. She could sleep while he watched television. Knowing it was a losing battle, Michael relented, taking the armchair while Liz napped on the couch. At least that way he could keep an eye on her and catch the afternoon movie on the local station.

He got a fairly good chuckle when the portly, balding movie host came on announcing the days movie. Ocean’s Eleven. The Rat Pack version. Yep can’t go wrong with ol’ Frankie, Deano, and Sammy. Not to mention Angie Dickinson. Michael had found an appreciation for that particular redhead, with the reruns of Police Woman on TV Land. Samantha and Genie had couldn’t hold a candle to the tough talkin’, take no crap, Pepper Anderson.

As the film started Michael’s mind drifted off to the group’s foray into Las Vegas. Disastrous to say the least. It didn’t start out that way. It just kinda snowballed, but it wasn’t a complete loss. As always, because of Liz. It also made him a little sad. Somewhere during that he’d managed to reforge an old bond with Max. Amazing what a few months time could do to a friendship.

~~~*~~~

It had been a couple weeks since Laurie Dupree, the gandarium scare, and Michael getting shot. Every night since he’d gotten back Michael had been waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air, his heart threatening to pound right out of his chest. He reached for Liz to find his bed empty. He shook his head remembering she told him she had to sleep at home that night. Since he’d started having the nightmares neither one of them had gotten much sleep.

“Look Michael, I know you’re alien DNA allows you to maintain inhuman hours, but I am but a lowly human in desperate need of some sleep.”

He couldn’t help, but agree with her and they spent that night apart, reluctantly. Even though she needed the sleep, Liz still worried about Michael. More so since he’d been shot at the Dupree estate. It was the closest brush with death he’d come to since he’d been sick the year before.

Far too agitated to go back to sleep Michael went to the refrigerator not entirely sure what he was looking for. All he wanted was get his mind off of this nightmare that seemed to consume his psyche. What was it trying to tell him?

It was always the same. He and Max running through the halls of West Roswell High from a group of commandos. Michael looked to Max for answers. Where they should go and what they should do? He was scared, he didn’t want to die.

“They’ve gotta want something,” Michael told Max desperately, “Maybe we could talk to them.”

Max turned him and fixed his steely gaze on the other boy, “It’s time to step it up. Face the demon. No more hiding.”
Michael turns to see if they are being followed and when he turns back Max is gone, seemingly having abandoned him. Next thing he knows he staring down the barrels of at least seven automatic rifles, pleading for his life before shots ring out.

He always woke then, out of breath and more terrified than he’d ever felt in his life. He was confused by the emotions he felt and the apparent role reversals he and Max had taken. True Max had always been the leader, but when it came to a fight, Michael had never backed down. And there he was trying to see if the commandos would “negotiate”?

What did Max mean “time to step it up. Face the demon. No more hiding.” There were so many secrets Michael carried, which one could he possibly mean? Certainly not Liz? And why had Max abandoned him. Left him to die?

Not finding anything in the fridge Michael turned to the cupboard. A brown paper bag containing the Dupree bribe fell into his hands. Wanting to forget about the money and not knowing where else to stash it he’d stuffed it in there hoping to figure out what to do with it later.

The thought occurred to him, as he ran the crumpled paper through his fingers, that the money could be connected to his dreams. He’d never felt good about taking it, despite the financial security it offered. It was, after all, a bribe. Tainted and ugly. What was that saying? Money is the root of all evil? Was the money the “demon” Michael needed to “face”? He needed answers and there was only one person in the world he trusted to help him.

Twenty minutes later he was tapping on the familiar window, eagerly waiting for the stirring figure to wake up and let him in. They appeared to go back to sleep, so Michael opened the window himself and climbed in.

“Liz,” he whispered, gently shaking her, “Liz.”

“Mmm, Michael just one night huh, a girl can only take so much alien lovin...” she mumbled.

Michael smirked with manly pride, but quickly remembered why he was there. “Liz, come on. Wake up. Liz.”

Liz sat up rubbing her eyes trying to focus them on the rude intruder who’d woken from a perfectly enjoyable, if not exhausting dream.

“Michael? It’s one in the morning. What’s wrong?” she said letting out a yawn, “Is it your nightmare?”

“Yeah. I think I might have figured part of it out, but I need your help with the rest. Don’t make me beg.”

Liz ran her hand over her face, “Heaven forbid.”
She got a good look at her boyfriend, wild-eyed and desperate. He was clutching a brown paper bag in his hand. She knew it was the Dupree money. It had fallen on her head numerous times in the past two weeks when she had opened his cupboard.

“Fine,” she sighed, “But let’s go on the balcony so we don’t wake up my parents.”

Michael nodded heading back out the window, “We’ve never had a problem waking them before,” he pointed out taking her hand and helping her still sleepy body out.

Liz snorted, “That’s because we aren’t usually talking.”

Michael couldn’t help, but smirk again. The woman had a point, but he couldn’t get distracted by that. He watched her slump onto the lawn chair and place her fatigued head in her hands as if holding it up was the only way to keep her awake.

“Okay Guerin. Talk.”

Michael started pacing back and forth on the balcony, spilling out everything that was plaguing his nightmare ridden mind, “It’s this money. I think that must be the demon Max is talking about in my dream. It’s dirty and I don’t want it, but I don’t know what to do with it. It’s like it’s haunting me.”

“So get rid of it. Donate it to charity, a homeless shelter or something. Do something positive with it. Clear your conscience.”

“No way. I couldn’t do that Liz. I mean in theory it’s a nice idea, but it’s blood money. It just wouldn’t feel right.” he dismissed.

Not wanting to argue with an agitated Michael, Liz moved on, “So what else about the dream is bugging you?”

“Max. In the dream he always leaves me behind. He abandons me Liz. Why would I let him do that?”

Liz watched Michael’s face and listened to his words. This had really shaken him up and she wanted to help him. She waited for him to finish before offering her council.

“I don’t know much about dreams, Michael. But I do know sometimes they are trying to tell you something. Maybe it is trying to tell you to get rid of the money. As for Max, well, that’s not a real big mystery if you think about it.”

“Liz, would I be here if I knew what the hell my dream meant?” he snapped.

Michael watched her cringe at his words. He hadn’t meant to be so curt, but he was frazzled and did what he always did, take it out on whomever was closest.
Liz stood up indignation plastered on her face, “Hey. You’re the one who woke me up, jerk. If you’re just going to bitch at me all night, I’m going back to Dream Michael. He’s nicer.”

She turned to go back to her room when Michael grabbed her hand stopping her, “I’m sorry. It’s just... I need to know...I feel like I’m going crazy. Please Liz.”

She studied his face a moment. The gruffness had disappeared and he looked like that little boy in grade school she’d found crying in the broom closet. Frustrated and tired.

Sitting back down she drug Michael with her. All his pacing was making her dizzy, “So...Max. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s noticed it, but you two have been miles apart lately.”

“That’s nothing new. Max and I hardly ever see eye...”

“Would you shut up and let me finish. I want to get back to Dream Michael, I kinda left him...wanting.” Liz sighed. Michael clamped his mouth shut and let her continue, unsure if he should be proud or jealous of “Dream Michael.”

“True, you two have never seen eye to eye, but you were still friends. Brothers. Lately there’s been this coldness between you. It was there before Arizona, but it’s been more so since you got back. I think your dream is trying to tell you need to reconnect with Max in some way. When is the last time you guys did something, just the two of you? Now, how it’s all connected to the money I’m not sure.”

“Reconnect with Max?” Michael said scratching his eyebrow contemplating the truth of her words, “Yeah I think I can do that, but how?”

“I don’t know.” Liz said racking her tired mind, “Take a road trip. Clear out some of the cobwebs in the wacky brain of yours. Go camping. Spend some guy time. Go...catch a hockey game or blow up rocks in the desert. Do what guys do. Something that resembles fun. Maybe find a way to blow that money. Kill two birds with one stone.”

Michael was silent for a moment, his addled mind working overtime. He had $50,000 dollars to blow. There was no way he could blow it in Roswell without someone getting suspicious. He and Max need to get away to “reconnect” and Max needed to loosen up, have some fun, get the bug out of his ass.

Liz had rested her head on Michael’s shoulder and was attempting to go back to sleep when Michael snapped his fingers and stood up dramatically. Liz fell over in the chair and stared at her hyper alien boyfriend who was back at his frenetic pacing. He had to find a place where everything was fast and didn’t give you time to think. A place where even Max might let down his guard for five minutes.

“I’ve got it! It’s perfect. The ultimate place for sin. Ha! Even Saint Max will have to cut loose there.”

“What? Where Michael?” Liz asked baffled. The fact that Michael needed other places to commit various acts of sin should have been bit more disconcerting to her, but at one in the morning Liz couldn’t bring herself to worry too much.

Michael suddenly knelt before her and took her face in his hands smashing his lips to hers in an excitable kiss. Liz was out of breath when he finally released her, still wearing the look of confusion.

“Vegas baby! I’m taking Max to Vegas. I’ll be back in a couple days.” he vaguely explained, grabbing the money and heading to the fire escape. He had to get over to Max’s. They had to leave. Now. The sooner they left the sooner he’d feel better. He swung his legs over the edge and started climbing down.

Liz was left in a haze. Great. Michael and Max in Vegas. She only hoped Michael didn’t blow up a roulette table.

“Michael?” She called out. Liz saw his head pop back up a upon hearing his name. She walked over to the fire escape and looked him in the eye, “You’re going to cheat aren’t you?”

“Of course. Gotta use these powers for something.” he said with a mischievous glint in his eye.

Liz rolled her eyes, “Have fun and just don’t get arrested.”

“Can’t promise that.” he chuckled.

“Whatever.” Liz said coining a token Michael phrase. She turned to go back to bed when she felt Michael grab her arm and pull her back, bringing her face close to his.

“Good to know even in your dreams, I exhaust you.” He gave her one last searing kiss of gratitude for the inspiration, leapt down the ladder and took off at a sprint for Max’s house.

~*~

Michael should have known Max couldn’t keep his mouth shut, because by fifth period the next day the whole gang was going. Well at least everyone but Liz. It was only supposed to be he and Max. Now everyone was going except the one person on the planet he could get along with.

If it was going to be a group outing he wanted Liz along to so during fifth period, Liz’s free hour, Michael snuck into the lab, knowing she’d be there. She was busy cleaning up the pig embryo she’d been dissecting. She was humming Viva Las Vegas and nearly jumped when she saw him standing in the doorway.

“So much for a boys outing, huh?” she said almost giggling at the predicament poor Michael was in now.
Michael rolled his eyes, “This is not what I had in mind. I knew we should’ve left last night. But why would Max listen to me...” he trailed off.

“So? Come to say goodbye?” Liz asked when she finished cleaning.

He surveyed the room and the hall for any other students to come barging into the classroom. Seeing no one was in an immediate hurry to come in the lab he made his way behind Liz and put his arms around her waist.

“No. I came to tell you to come with us.” he breathed on her neck.

Liz gripped the table. Michael knew her weak spots and her neck was one of those that could bring her to her knees. Trying to ignore his hot breath on her neck she tried to focus.

“Michael, I already told Maria I didn’t want to go.”

“But it was your idea.” Michael said a little taken aback.

Liz turned around in his arms to face him, “No, all I said was for you and Max to go somewhere fun, just the two of you.” Pointing a finger in his chest, “ You are the one who thought of Vegas.”

“What’s wrong with Vegas?” he asked more than a little confused.

Liz rolled her eyes, “I got married there, Michael.”

Michael’s jaw dropped, “Little something you forgot to mention to me Parker? Not that I find sleeping with a married woman entirely unattractive... keeps my rep in tact.”

“Future Max, you dope!” she said smacking his the arms that were still wrapped around her waist.

The mention of that name jogged Michael’s memory. Future Max had told Liz that she and Max had been married in Las Vegas. Of course she wouldn’t want to go. It would just be another reminder that somehow she and Michael failed in their own relationship.

“But you changed all of that...with Kyle.” Michael argued.

“Yeah I know... but still... I’ll just stay here. Ward off any suspicious parents.” she said unrelenting.

Michael sighed deeply kissing her forehead, “No way I can convince you to come?” he asked one more time.

Liz shook her head, “Nope. You guys go ahead. Have fun. Stick with Max. At least try to have your male bonding time.”
Michael got that evil glint in his eye again and pulled Liz closer, bringing his mouth down to her ear, “Not even if I promise to do all the things Dream Michael does to you?”

Liz tired to prevent herself from melting and giggled, “Not extra terrestrially or humanly possible Guerin. You aren’t that flexible. Although I’m sure Kyle has some fascinating books on Tantra you could read on the plane.”

Michael just laughed, but made a mental note to corner Buddha Boy at the airport. It couldn’t hurt, “Fine. I’m going. I’ll see you when I get back. But if I bring back Maria in a neat pile of dust it’s all your fault.”

Liz laughed and gave him a quick kiss before he headed out of the room, “You could save yourself a lot of trouble if you just donated the money to a homeless shelter like I suggested.”

Michael waved her off and went to join the others, thoroughly disappointed Liz wouldn’t be coming.

Ten minutes later he rounded the corner to leave the school greeted my the ecstatic group of Vegas bound teenagers complete with “Guerin Party” sign and a limo driver. Very covert.

Max gave them their cover story and they started to head out. Suddenly Michael heard Liz running down the hallway yelling at them to wait. If he wasn’t afraid someone would notice he would have let out an enormous breath.

Maria squealed and Max said something about getting out of the hallway. It was time for Michael to play his part, despite the elation he was feeling of having Liz come on the trip. She started to head out to the limo when he stopped her and gave her his patented steely gaze.

“No lecturing. No moralizing. No whining about spending the money on the homeless. This weekend is about fun and debauchery. You got it?”

He saw her smirk taking that as a hint that she understood he was only acting the bear for the sake of the others. But then she stepped up to him, he face inches from his own. What the hell was she doing?

“I know how to have fun.” she said in a low voice.

Michael almost smirked, but decided annoyed would be more what everyone would expect, “Right.”

~*~
TBC...
~*~

The plane trip to Vegas was fairly uneventful. Keeping in the spirit for which the weekend was intended Max and Michael sat together, by themselves, while the rest of the group looked through brochures and tried to find places to got to spend their money.

Max had dozed off, which gave Michael a chance to check on Liz without getting caught. He looked behind him and saw Maria busy talking Liz’s ear off about being discovered in a smokey nightclub and which would be the perfect one. He saw Liz nodding along, but not really listening to her. She looked up and winked at Michael. Maria turned her gaze up and waved at Michael. with a loud grunt he turned his head back around, waking Max up.

“Liz, I have to go to work not now...” he mumbled groggily.

Michael slapped his back a little on the hard side, “Down killer. She isn’t your’s anymore, remember.” Little did Max know how true that statement was.

“Shut up.” Max grumbled rubbing his eyes.

~*~

The hotel room was amazing. Michael had to hand it to Maria, she had taste. Much better than the cheap motel he had booked for he and Max earlier. Eager to get on with the male bonding Michael called the group together to give them their new I.D.’s.

He had to keep from laughing when he gave Liz, Shirley Temple. She read the name in utter disgust and he knew he’d pay for it later. Michael knew everyone thought he thought of Liz as a goody-two-shoes, so he tried to think of the most virginal drink he could imagine. Only two people in that room knew any better, well three if you counted Kyle. Michael swore he’d make it up to Liz somehow.

He, of course, gave himself a fitting moniker, Dr. Love. A mantle he wore proudly despite the various sniggles from the group, including Liz. Ignoring their insolence, Michael gave the group the rules making sure that everyone understood that he and Max were to be left alone. He was determined to reconnect with his brother and have some damn fun, if only to rid himself of the nightmares.

Everyone took off in opposite directions while Michael shed his coat putting it in his bedroom. When he emerged he saw Max fawning over Liz, who obviously wanted to get out of there and find some fun of her own. Her eyes flickered over to Michael letting him know she and Max were talking about him. Time to work the Guerin charm.

“Hey Shirley, Didn’t you here the Dr.’s orders?” he said with an air of annoyance.

“Yeah, I’m sorry. we were just...” she stuttered a little taken back by Michael’s gruffness.

“Yeah. Good. Cool. Bye.” Michael said pushing her towards the door.

Liz was about to turn around and read Michael the riot act but she felt his hand tap her butt playfully and she knew he was just playing his part again.

“Yeah. Okay.” she said in a warning tone.

Michael turned to Max, making sure Liz was in earshot, “ Oh she’s exhausting.”

He could have sworn he heard her giggle in the hallway.

~*~

Needless to say the male bonding did not go well. Michael and Max were sitting in a jail cell, having been in a fight at the casino. Michael admitted he got a little cocky with his powers, but he’d also been a little frustrated. Max hadn’t loosened up a stitch. He was even more of a pain in the ass if that was possible. He made no effort to have even a little fun. As much as he was angry, Michael was hurt. Once again Max was treating him though he(Max) was the father, to Michael, the reckless child.

There could have been so many different things Michael could have been doing if he hadn’t put so much faith in Max. He could have done something for Liz. He knew he’d scared her when he went off to Arizona with Maria and came home with a bullet wound in his shoulder.

When he got back, after he’d had Max heal him, she came to his apartment. She just stared at him for the longest time, as if to make sure he wasn’t leaving her sight. She brought trembling hands to his shirt and unbuttoned it. she pushed the right sleeve down exposing the shoulder that had been wounded. It was clean, pale and scarless, as if nothing had ever pierced Michael’s carefully constructed armor. She let out a ragged breath as tears filled her eyes. Standing on the tips of her toes , Liz brushed her lips over the freshly healed skin.

Michael had closed his eyes, finally glad to feel exquisite pleasure in a place where he’d experienced such intense pain...

“Are we having fun yet?” Max whined against the bars, snapping Michael’s thoughts away from Liz.

“No, thanks to you.” Michael spat.

Max turned around to face Michael, refusing to take the blame, “This is not my fault! If you hadn’t been showing off...”

Michael rolled his eyes, wondering if he should dust off Max’s soap box for him, “Here we go, another lecture.” He looked around the empty cells and yelled, “Hey everybody gather ‘round your cell doors, because Max here is going to give another lecture.”

Max gawked at Michael as though he were mentally retarded, “Shut up! What’s with you?”

‘Loaded question’, Michael thought to himself. He knew Max couldn’t handle everything that was on his mind, so he settled for the basic truths, choosing to leave Liz out of the equation. He came here to has some fun with his best friend. Kill some demons and Max couldn’t even give him that, “What’s with me? Definitely not you?”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Max asked genuinely confused, “The only reason I came on this trip was for you.”

Yes. Saint Max comes from on high to mingle with his worshipers. How could’ve Michael forgotten, “Oh yeah out of the goodness of your big, fat, bleeding heart. You skipped out on sixth period and you went to Vegas with poor screwed up Michael. Yeah big hand, Max.”

Michael saw him watching his clapping hands with disdain, “Whatever. You’re talking to yourself now, Michael. I’m done.”

‘Why do I always feel like I’m talking to myself with Max and why am I just now noticing it?’ Michael thought, but never one to let a good moment of sarcasm pass, he tore into it, lowering his voice, “And I’m talking to myself. Gee Michael why would you want to go to Vegas with Max in the first place? Sounds like a really stupid idea.”

He used his own voice to answer, “No. No. You don’t get it. Max and I, were guys, and sometimes guys like to go out and tear it up for no good reason.

“But Michael, Max is no fun. He’s a straight arrow. He’s a responsible guy.”

Max rolled his eyes condescendingly and tried to interrupt, Michael’s diatribe. “I’m here aren’t I?”

Michael glanced over at Max, intent on giving Max exactly what he asked for, “This is a private conversation.” Max looked away again in frustration while Michael continued, “As I was saying Michael, it’s like this: Max and I, we used to be tight. We grew up together and it’s no big deal that we can go out and have fun for a couple of days, we used to be friends.”

Max stood up no longer able to take anymore. That’s right Max, react. Finally, “Give me a break! This isn’t about friendship! This is about your irresponsible reckless behavior!”

‘Well if it isn’t Father Knows Best giving Bud a stern talkin’ too. Jeepers Dad I’m so sorry I disappointed you. But you’ve been too busy mooning over my girlfriend to see I might really need you.’ Michael thought, but he bit his tongue as much as he could. He stood up to face Max, “Hey! I’ve been going through some heavy stuff the last couple weeks. In case you missed it. I got shot!”

“I know! I healed you!”

Michael couldn’t help but shake his head. Max still thought all he had to do was wave his hand over something and it would all magically be better. He always forgot the emotional wounds that linger long after the physical one’s disappear.

In that moment Michael had never been more glad to have Liz in his life. When she came to his door to see if he was okay. She didn’t just check his physical state. If Max hadn’t pulled him out of his earlier thought, Michael would have remembered that after Liz kissed his shoulder her lips traveled to his heart, leaving an achingly sweet kiss over the spot she knew he would be hurting the most.

She remembered what it was like to get shot. To watch your life’s blood flowing out of you. She remembered the emotional aftermath. Every click sound like the action of a gun. A movie with gunfire in it made her jump. She had said it was a violation of her body by a foreign object, all stemmed from this evil thing called, violence. Max chose not to understand that. You can treat the surface, but there’s always more underneath.

“You put your hand over my shoulder and you did your trick like a robot.” Michael fumed, “You’re a machine Max. You wouldn’t know the first thing about what it takes to heal me. To really heal me.”

Max remained silent, either shutting down or letting Michael’s words absorb. Either way Michael didn’t care. He knew his nightmares would end, because he had the answer to what it meant. He was afraid of Max abandoning him. He thought he’d be more afraid of physical abandonment. But he realized that might have been kinder. Max’s emotional dettachement hurt far more than anything else. Michael had faced his demon only his demon was now standing in a jail cell, speechless with a wounded ego.

~*~

Just when Michael had thought the trip a waste of time and energy he saw Liz in that red dress. He had to fight his physical reaction in the hotel room, when she emerged from the bedroom smiling at something Maria had said. Her was piled loosely on her head and tendrils fell around her face. Perfect.

He could tell by her slight pause that the blue suit didn’t look horrible on him. He’d never wanted to have her walk next to him so badly since the beginning of their relationship. Just so he would be the one getting the jealous looks from other men, because Liz was on his arm. He’d almost forgotten his anger at Max.

So the remaining members of the group: Tess, Kyle, Maria, Alex, Liz and Michael headed out to the elevator to go to some swanky dinner Maria had planned.

The elevator opened and it was fairly crowded to begin with, Michael volunteered to take the next one. Realizing this would give them a moment alone Liz had to think fast.

“Oh damn I forgot... my thing.. um, back in the room....I’ll just catch the next one guys. You don’t mind waiting do you, Michael?” Liz said quickly.
Mind? Go downstairs with the crew or stay upstairs with a beautiful woman he adored completely? “Yeah... whatever.”

As the elevator doors were closing Michael could’ve sworn he’d seen Kyle smirking and stifling a laugh.

Sure they were gone, Michael tugged Liz close to his body and hugged her. Needing to feel the familiar presence of her arms around his waist.

“Bad day?” she asked almost giggling.

“Let’s see locked in a jail cell with Max for most of the day... not exactly the male bonding experience I was looking for. You?” Michael asked taking her face in his in of his hands and tracing her jaw line with his finger.

Everything about that day had been harsh and bright. From the lights to the raw emotions spilled out in that jail cell. But when he looked at her all he saw was softness and beauty. Made it all worth the trip. Made him not want to take what he had for granted.

Liz smiled, “Well, Shirley Temple was too short to get in anywhere good despite Dr. Love’s miracle aging cure,” making her point by lacing a hand in his, “So I spent the day in the arcade with those frickin’ prize machines where you lower the hook and try to get a stupid trinket. There was this silly little ring in there, that reminded me of yours and I just wanted to get the damn thing. I think I wasted about a hundred bucks and I still didn’t get it.”

Michael laughed at the mental image of Liz face gritted in determination at the controls of the machine dropping quarter after quarter trying to get a silly little trinket.

“Michael, let us never come here again.” Liz begged half joking.

“Next time we’ll leave the rest of them behind.” Michael said seriously, leaning down to give her a kiss.

They parted when the elevator doors opened and resumed the facade of two people, who while in a close -knit group, didn’t know each other well at all. When the truth between them was they knew each other better than any of the others.

“You know, you should do something nice for Maria tonight.” Liz said making a concerted effort not to hold Michael’s hand.

Michael scratched his eyebrow, “Yeah. I know. I was kinda an ass to her earlier. Any suggestions?”

“Hey, I’ve done the muse thing for you already, Guerin. Look how it turned out,” Liz scoffed, “However, I have an infinite amount of faith in you that you’ll think of someway to make peace with Maria.”

Michael’s face turned sad, “Wish I could say the same with Max. We left things kinda bad.”

“I gathered that. You’ll fix things with Max too, Michael. You’re brothers. You love each other.”

Michael nodded noncomittally and they finally reached the ground floor.

~*~

Liz was right about both Max and Maria. Michael found a way to make peace with the both of them. With Maria it was helping her dream along, by getting her to sing in the smokey night club they’d gone to for dinner. It killed him to watch Max come in and take Liz out on the dance floor, but he knew Maria’s happiness was important, not only to Liz, but himself.

Peace with Max came over coffee following the Valenti tirade that greeted them after their whirlwind evening. Effectively halting any suspended reality they’d let themselves have. The were still high school kids, with extremely pissed off parents.

Max and Michael came to an understanding, at least at the time Michael felt they did. They were still on rocky footing, but at least he had his friend back.

Michael had told Max the last of the money had gone in the tip jar at the coffee stand, but that wasn’t entirely true. He had one more stop to make before they left and one last quarter to drop.

~*~

Liz didn’’t see the light of day for the entire weekend after that which meant no Michael either. Between working at the Crashdown during opposing shifts and the grounding she got when she got home Liz had managed to only catch glimpses of the tall, brooding alien.

After closing up the café and scrubbing down the grills for Jose, yet another punishment courtesy of Warden Parker, Liz headed directly for her bedroom for some much needed sleep.

Without looking, Liz slumped onto her bed, letting out a loud yelp when she landed on something hard. Reaching under her back to find the offending object, she pulled out a small black velvet box. Puzzled she sat up hearing the crinkling of paper underneath her. It was a note with her name scrawled on the front in Michael’s familiar chicken scratch. She tore it open and read the note:
I didn’t cheat.

Liz dropped the note and opened the box letting out a loud laugh as she saw it contents. Inside was the trinket ring she’d spent nearly a day trying to get out of that stupid machine in the arcade. Before she slipped it over her pinky she caught some words that Michael had inscribed inside: Viva Las Vegas
~~~*~~~
Liz opened her eyes to Frank, Dean, Sammy and the rest of the Ocean’s 11 crew wincing in a church watching their money be buried along with their pal.

She looked over at Michael who was grinning from ear to ear, obviously enjoying the movie. She twisted the ring on her pinky finger. It was worn and chipped in places and the inscription was fading but next to her turquoise choker from her Grandma Claudia, she thought it was the most beautiful piece of jewelry she’d ever owned.

~~~*~~~
TBC....



posted on 28-Jan-2003 1:54:41 AM
Chapter 22 (NC-17)

“Ow!”

“Sorry Michael...” Liz breathed heavily, “Guess I got a little enthusiastic.”

“It’s okay Liz... just slow down a little. A man can only take so much.”

“You’re hardly the typical man, Guerin.” Liz remarked.

“This is true...” Michael smirked, “but still... just slow it down. No matter what you do I’ll be impressed.” he scratched his eyebrow for a moment, a look of mild frustration framing his face, “Maybe if we try a different, position, you’ll feel more comfortable.”

Liz nodded, “Ok.”

After a few moments pause to collect herself, and Michael manuevering behind her, pressing his body close, Liz began again.

“That’s it Liz. Nice and slow. Don’t rush it.”

“Like that, Michael?” Liz panted, eyes shut tightly.

“Just like that.” Michael whispered in her ear.

A feeling of euphoria spread over Liz reaching every tip if her body, she felt her control slipping and cried out, “God! Michael! I can’t hold on!”

“Yes, you can Liz! Just stay with me.” Michael said insistently, but gently. He wasn’t ready yet and needed her to hold on a bit longer.

“I can’t!” Liz said through clenched teeth. Her face bearing the expression of one dangling between control and oblivion.

“Liz!” Michael cried out trying to get her to focus on his voice. Not yet, just a little more time.

“Michael!” Liz screamed finally relinquishing any control she had over her body.

The sound of breaking glass shattered the silence that had followed. They both jumped and Michael shielded Liz’s face from the flying shards. The juice cup that sat on the coffee table lay in a million pieces and a look of utter defeat consumed Liz’s beautiful face.

“Another one bites the dust?” she said in an unmistakeably dejected tone, leaning back into Michael’s chest.

Michael couldn’t help but chuckle, “Yeah, my Scooby cup collection will never be complete again.”
It had only been a week and a half since the meeting at the quarry and discovering Liz’s powers. Ever the scientist, Liz immediately wanted to explore her new abilities, test what she could and could not do. She wanted Michael to teach her how to hone her skills and possibly help him perfect his own.

When they weren’t working at the Crashdown they were working on Liz’s powers. They knew from Max’s trip to New York that she could astral project, but since neither one of them knew how she did it they put it on the back burner, possibly for Isabel to help her with.

They also know she could move things with her mind as was evident in the quarry when Liz had thrown Max around like a rag doll. Not eager to test that particular power out on Michael, they decided to work on molecular manipulation and offensive skills, since he excelled at those.

Liz took for granted the amount of concentration it took to perform even what seemed to be relatively simple bits of “magic”. She now understood why Michael always had a hard time controlling his powers. It had to be a bit diffucult to concentate when you were being physically or mentally abused by the town drunk in a daily basis.

Even after Michael had gotten away from Hank he had to adjust to a whole new life on his own. New responsibilities. New stresses. It was a wonder he had any control at all.

Liz watched Michael clean up the mess she’d made of the fourth descimated Scooby glass, she couldn’t understand why she was having such a difficult time of it. Once Liz Parker put her mind to something, it got done. She always saw herself as calm and relatively focused, yet she had destroyed everything she’d tried to mend. Perhaps it was the teacher, but to this point Liz was exceedingly good at blowing things up, whether she intended to or not.

For this particular lesson in molecular manipulation, Michael had carefully cut the glass in half with his own powers and Liz was supposed to reform it, mainpulate it back to it’s original form. A simple enough task for someone like Michael or Isabel, but all Liz had succeeded in doing so far was either bursting the damn things or melting them into a puddle.

Michael studied her expression carefully, recognizing the defeated look of failure. Something Liz never took lightly. She needed reassurance that she could do this. Just not overnight.

“Liz, this isn’t like schoolwork or some lab expreriment. This is your body. Your mind. You can’t expect to pick things up right away.” sweeping away the remaining shards with his own powers. Poor Scooby.

“Oh and I’m sure you were the picture of placidness when you were learning these things,” Liz said with an air of sarcasm.

Michael gave her a warning look, but it slid into a grin. Truth was he’d been ten times angrier than Liz was when he was developing his own powers as a child, but he had ten times the reasons. Liz knew this too.

Liz let out a sigh a slumped onto the couch. The sting of failure not being the only thing that had exhausted her. She’d discovered that developing alien powers not only took a great deal of mental and emontional concentration, but it took a great physical toll as well.

The past nights Liz had almost literally crawled into bed, exhausted before she hit the pillow. Her body completely drained of all energy, much to the chagrin of Michael’s healthy teenage libido. But he knew how important this was to Liz, not to mention the group as a whole. With Tess gone and Max’s breakdown they had to look for strength in unlikely places, Liz, and possibly Kyle.

Michael joined Liz on the couch her rested her head on his broad shoulder, “I just thought it would be easier, you know? I mean I’m older, more in control of my emotions...”

Michael shook his head, “There are way too many unknowns Parker. You are a human who was healed. Completely different from us. We were spliced together and hatched. It took Isabel, Max and I years to get a hold on our powers. And look at me. I can’t get decently pissed off without causing a power outage on my street.”

Liz giggled, Michael had a point. She couldn’t expect to accomplish in a matter of days, what it had taken Michael years to develop, “I can’t help it Michael. I’ve always been an overacheiver.”

“Don’t I know it.” Michael said in mock exhaustion, “Look, like I said, just take it slow. Exercise a little patience.”

Liz laughed again, “ Me taking lessons on patience from you? That’s rich.”

Had the statement not been so accurate Michael might have been hurt, instead he laughed right along with her, “Hey, the irony does not escape me. I’m only just now realizing what a pain in the ass I must have been to Max and Isabel.”

Liz pulled away from Michael and sat up, “What? Now I’m a pain in the ass?” she asked in mock indignance.

“Yes” Michael answered blatantly, “But you look so great naked, I let it slide.”

Liz glared at Michael, but soon that mischevious glint sparkled back at him. It had occurred to her that in her pursuit of things all things alien, she’d neglected one in particular. She leaned in and whispered against Michael’s neck, “How would you know? You haven’t seen me naked for a while.”

Michael shifted uncomfortably in the beat up cushions of his couch. It really had been a while considering the instantaneous effect Liz’s light breath on his neck seemed to be having on him. ‘Down boy,’ he scolded himself.
“Liz? That is a fact I’m painfully aware of.” he growled looking straight ahead. He knew if he turned he would see the hungry look in Liz’s eyes that mirrored his own and any semblance of control would be hopelessly lost.

Liz saw how Michael’s jaw tightened and his fists were clenched resting on either knee. She knew he was in a battle against his body, fighting his natural reaction to her proximity.

“Hmmm,” she purred behind his ear sending vibrations all the way down his body, “Is the teacher getting a little lesson in self control from the student?”

Michael stopped the groan that rose in his throat and was about to relinquish that control with her words, but glanced over at his wall clock finding salvation and disappointment in the same moment. Finally armed he felt brave enough to face the cause of his unraveling,

“Lesson’s over Dr. Parker. Our shift starts in fifteen minutes.” he smirked.

Liz looked up at the clock, then back at Michael sticking her lip out in a girlish pout, “Damn. And I had a special treat for the teacher too.”

Michael let out a loud groan, not wanting or willing to stop it. He knew full well the “treats” that Liz could bestow upon him. He’d never been the scholarly type, but being Liz’s teacher could definitely be a rewarding experience in more ways than one. Not to mention that Liz’s scientific mind had been contagious. He had one experiment he was dying to try.

“After we close, we can work on extra credit.” Michael said raising an eyebrow.

Liz nodded emphatically getting off the couch, fetching her helmet. As they headed out the door she couldn’t help, but inflict one last bit of torture on Michael.

“If I’d known getting A’s were this easy I never would have wasted all those years studying.”

“You know I thought you spent a little too much time in bio lab during human reproduction... and Mr. Seligman was grinning awfully big that week...” Michael said without skipping a beat.

He felt Liz smack the back of his helmet and squeeze him around the waist a little tighter. Score one for Guerin. He now eagerly awaited Liz’s next move.

~*~

Work had gone by at an excrutiatingly slow pace. The combination of a week and a half’s worth of sexual tension and Liz’s short ridiculously uniform sent Michael to the industrial refrigerator more than few times. Something had to give.

He knew she wasn’t giving him and inch either. If people actually paid attention to the cute brunette waitress and the brooding short order cook they would have seen a carefully constructed dance between two people helplessly in love, but at the moment drowining in their own desire for one another.

Every subtle movement Liz made, took on a whole new meaning for Michael. The gentle sway of her hips as she moved from table to table or the slight dip in her uniform that gave the tiniest hint of her cleavage. What nearly killed him was the way Liz would bite her pen, playfully swiping her tongue over the tip. He was wholly convinced that Liz Parker was trying to kill him, but what an exquisite death it would be.

Michael wasn’t alone in his self induced torment. The cheery expression and innocent face belied the vixen that lurked within Liz. She had the advantage of being able to hide her intoxication with Michael, but everytime she looked up at him, his eyes boring into her very soul, she felt as though she might melt into the puddle she’d so expertly made of the Scooby cups.

She was quickly beginning to regret the amount of time and energy she’d devoted the past days to her powers as she watched Michael flipping burgers. Even the simplest of movements seemed to accentuate every muscle in his arms and chest. She imagined those arms wrapped tightly around her, his body pressed to hers, his breath on her neck and his hands...

Liz physically shivered at the thought of what Michael could do to her. She looked back up at him and found that same soul peircing gaze. She smiled. It reminded her of another night when Michael’s eyes, in one moment, turned her entire world upside down.

~*~

Liz sat at the counter of the Crashdown deep in contemplation. She and Max had just shared their first kiss. She wanted that kiss with Max to mean so much more than it did. She wanted it to be all those things she’d written about in her journal, but it fell miles short and it all came back to Michael.

It had been weeks since Michael had stolen Liz’s diary and left her with a conversation that had shaken her pysche and her heart more than she cared to admit.

“But..Why didn’t you just destroy this, Michael? Because anyone that found this would know all about you.”

“No... they’d know all about you, Liz.”

Had Michael really been the only one to truly see her? Would Max have been so insightful if he’d read her words or would he merely take it as a stroke to his his ego? Confirmation of the feelings he already knew she harbored for him?

Why did she suddenly feel like everything she thought she’d believed in was no longer clear, everything was a blur and she didn’t know how to focus. She was supposed to love Max wasn’t she? He saved her life. He risked everything for her hadn’t he? So why was that kiss so empty? Devoid of passion? Intensity? Love?

Max had given her everything she’d wanted. The shy boy next door. Knight in in shining armor. Hard to get. Yet when she kissed him, she was hit profoundly with the revelation, that what you want and what you need are entirely different things.


Had it only been Liz’s imagination, or perhaps her secret hope, that the looks she and Michael had exchanged since their conversation meant more than two casual aquaintances greeting eachother? She thought she saw the intensity in his eyes, the burning that mirrored the heat within her. Liz thought Michael knew that she’d begun to look beyond Max and directly to him. Max Evans may have seen a few memories, but she thought Michael had truly seen her soul.

That all shattered one heated evening when she’d stumbled upon Michael and Maria making out behind the very counter Liz now rested her head on. The familair sinking feeling crept over her as she remembered Michael burying his face in Maria’s neck, his lips devouring hers. Never in her life had Liz wanted to switch places more with Maria. To know what Michael’s lips felt and tasted like.

Liz felt her heart constrict still remembering as she watched the hands that had brushed hers only for a moment, but sent electricity to every nerve in her body, run over Maria’s instead of her own.

How could Liz justify these feelings she was having for Michael. She seemingly knew nothing about him, while he knew everything about her. Was it purely the lustful fantasies for the local bad boy. If it was just a fantasy why would it hurt her so much to see him touching Maria?

That night she turned her focus back on Max. Maybe that was how things were supposed to be. Michael with Maria and herself with Max. So why did it feel so wrong? Forced?

Liz wondered if Maria saw past the rough exterior and truly looked into the one place where Michael gave away everything. His eyes. Since he gave her journal back, Liz had tried to gague Michael’s feelings and had found nothing. His body said “back off”, his actions said, “stay away”, but when she looked in his eyes for those briefest of moments she thought they said, “I need you”.

Liz knew Michael’s homelife was far from ideal and she’d watched as Max tried to be a father to him instead of a friend. She saw the walls Michael had carefully constructed to protect his own heart. She wondered how thick those walls were and if she was the one who could break them down.

She knew Michael was angry and hurt, but she never knew why. All she knew was that it had burrowed into his heart and it would take an act of unparalelled love to penetrate him. With all the confusion she felt, Liz wondered if she was strong enough to do just that. Love Michael.
Liz lifted her head off the counter and let out a defeated sigh, “Who are you kidding Parker?” she lectured herself out loud, “Michael has to love you back.”

She hopped down from the stool resigning herself to her blurry emotions and headed for her room. Maybe writing everything down would give her the clarity she needed.

Liz pushed her way into the backroom heading for the stairs to her apartment when she caught something out of the corner of her eye. She looked again making sure her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her. It wasn’t just some thing, but some one. She should have been scared or at the very least alarmed, but the presence was familar. Their gaze heated and determined. Michael.

He stood in the doorway to the alley, dressed in his usual black attire. Sweat glistening on his forehead from the mugginess of the night. His chest heaved as though he were fighting for every breath. Had he run there? If so, why?

What was he doing there? Maria was grounded because of the party at the soap factory. Was it possible he was there to see her(Liz)? Had he heard her heart’s desire and felt drawn to her?

Liz felt frozen where she stood, Michael’s gaze held her there. She saw the deep amber in his eyes soften. His breathing slowed and the harshness on his face disappeared. Then Liz saw it. Love. He was looking at her and he loved her. She wasn’t alone. There was something between them.

Everything about him told her she was right. His body, his actions, and his eyes. They were all saying the same thing, ‘I need you.’

Her legs refused to move. The last vestige of doubt cementing her to the floor. ‘If he really means it, he’ll come to you,’ she thought desperately.

Liz twisted her finger to keep from reaching out to him. She bit her lip to prevent her from screaming the thoughts that ravaged her mind and heart, ‘Please Michael! Do something! Anything! Let me know I’m not crazy. This is not crazy. Loving you is not crazy.’

Michael’s answer was swift and unmistakeable. He swept across the room with a speed uncalculated by science. His arm locked around her waist holding her unbearably close to him. He brought his other hand up to hold her face. Liz tried to say his name, but was quickly silenced by the lips she’d so longed to taste.

The kiss wasn’t gentle and testing. It was passionate, bruising, forceful and unashamed. Liz got the impression Michael knew exactly what he wanted. Her.

Liz didn’t pull away, if anything she pressed harder, opening her mouth to his. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck threading her hand into his hair as their tongues searched eachother out.

Despite the drugging effect Michael’s kiss seemed to be having on her, Liz had never felt so clear headed in her life. The blur that only moments before clouded her vision disappeared. She was scared of the way Michael made her feel, yet exhilarated at the same time. It was out of her control and she loved it. She loved him.

Max or Maria never entered her mind. All Liz could feel was Michael and that she never wanted to taste anyone but him ever again. What she didn’t expect was the feelings she got from him. Not flashes, but raw emotions. She never expected him give her so much of himself so soon.

He trusted her. He knew her heart. He needed her. He loved her.

Afraid to break the kiss, but desperately needing the air, Liz finally pulled back opening her eyes. Michael’s eyes were closed as if in prayer. He slowly opened them and for a moment Liz expected to see doubt or regret, but it wasn’t there. Just love.

Michael rested his forehead against hers still staring into her eyes. Their breathing labored and his arm still holding her body to his.

“What happens now?” Liz whispered.

“I don’t know.” Michael answered her honestly.

Everything had changed in that moment. More so than when Liz had been shot. This was real and could not be denied. It was a love that was not supposed to be, but there it was staring them right in the face.

~*~

The chuckles of an elderly couple brought Liz’s focus back to to the present. She watched as a man and woman sat across from eachother sharing a secret joke and holding wrinkled hands together hands for everyone to see. It warmed her heart and made her wonder if that was a future she dared hope to have with Michael. Would the enemies that sought them out still come with Tess being gone? Would she spend her whole life fighting for the freedom of her planet as well as Michael’s? Or would she get the picket fence and porch swing?

Not wanting to dwell on the what-ifs Liz graciously took the couple’s order and set about delivering it to Michael.

When she reached the kitchen, she was a little surprised to find it empty. She looked over at Jose and asked where Michael had gone.

“He mumbled something about going to the refrigerator. You ask me, that boy is a little loco tonight. He’s been in there four times already.”

‘Four times? What could he possibly need in the refrigerator?’ Liz thought innocently to herself. Deciding this bore investigating Liz tracked Janine down.
“Could you take my tables for a minute? I’m going to see if Michael needs help.” she asked the older redhead.

Janine smiled and gave Liz a wink and leaned in for a whisper, “Take all the time you need, hon.”

Liz blushed at Janine’s suggestion and thanked her as she made her way to the backroom. She swung the door to the refrigerator open and found Michael leaning against a wall, eyes closed and head back taking in deep, calming breaths.

“Heat getting to you?” Liz asked knowing how hot the kitchen could get at this time of year, but suspected it wasn’t temperature that had sent Michael in there to seek relief.

“You could say that?” Michael answered his eyes still closed.

As Liz walked towards him she felt the refrigerator door slam behind her sending a cold blast of air all around her. Knowing that door wasn’t inclined to slamming she suspected Michael had helped it along.

In any case she didn’t care because Michael had opened his eyes and the tell tale hunger burned within them. Liz no longer had the buffer of customers and the dining room to filter his gaze or the effect he had on her.

Michael stood still against the wall, unwilling to make the next move. He needed to know she wanted him as much as he wanted her. He could tell by the smirk on her face and the slow, cautious steps she took towards him, she did.

Liz ran her eyes ove his body, tense, taut, ready to pounce, but still fighting his reaction to her. She wondered if the cold concrete of the refrigerator wall did anything to cool him down.

She finally stood in front of him her mouth a breath away from his. She placed a hand on his chest and nearly had to pull it away from the heat he was giving off. Her eyes never left his and darkened when she saw the blackness of desire that had clouded them.

“You know, we’re learning all these new things about my powers. I mean I’ve changed... so I was wondering...” Liz said unable to hide the huskiness in her voice, “...if everything has changed. We’ll call this an experiment...for the sake of discovery of course.”

“Of course.” Michael agreed, his own voice hoarse. She’d read his mind.

Finally unable to stand Liz’s proximity Michael bent down to capture her lips. He was met with equal, if not more fervor. Her tongue immediately begging entrance to his mouth. Never one to refuse Liz anything, Michael obliged.
He pulled her flush to his body practically yanking her off her feet. He felt her tiny hands slip under his shirt placing goosebumps on overheated skin. Wondering if her skin was as hot as his he moved his hands to either side of the lapels of her uniform and pulled the snaps open.

Michael groaned as he placed his hand over an unrestrained breast, feeling the heat of her skin against his own. He felt her lips curve into a smile against his own, proud of the response he’d given her.

He’d been so distracted by Liz’s boldness, he almost missed her deft fingers moving down to unzip his pants.

“Moving a little fast aren’t we?” Michael mumbled, moving his mouth down her neck.

“Well, seeing as we’re both on the clock...consider this a timed experiment.” Liz panted.

“So in other words... ‘a quickie’?” he said letting his pants and boxers fall to the floor around his feet.

“Uh huh.” she confirmed pushing down on his shoulders to seat him on the floor.

Too intoxicated with lust Michael never felt the coldness of the floor beneath him. He ran his hands up either side of Liz’s legs, under her skirt, hooking his thumbs on her underwear swiftly pulling them off.

Liz straddled him brushing her heat against his aching member. The both hissed at the contact, suddenly feeling exactly how long it had been since they last made love. They both knew neither one would last long.

Michael gripped Liz’s hips attempting to settle her on him but she teased him pulling herself away at the last possible moment. She nearly giggling at the look of utter frustration painted on Michael’s face and the primal growl it had illicited.

Staring up at the face of his would be nymph, Michael decide two could play at that game. Leaning forward he took her bared nipple in his mouth sucking and biting at the tender flesh. Liz couldn’t help but gasp at the sensations the action sent southward. This boy knew how to play dirty. He knew just where to touch her to make her submit willingly.

She brought Michael’s face up for a another dizzying kiss before sliding him fully inside her. Michael had to fight not to bite Liz’s ower lip when himself suddenly sheathed inside her warm walls. This girl knew how to play dirty.

The “experiment” long forgotten, Liz began rocking against Michael concentrating on the feeling of him inside her and the building pressure threatening to explode.

Michael hung on, not even attempting to interrupt Liz’s rhythm, watching the pleasure he gave her consume face. He knew she was dangerously close and was glad of it. Never one for control, Michael felt what little he had slipping.

“God! Michael!” Liz trying to whisper, unsuccessfully, “I can’t hold on!”

“It’s okay.” Michael said through his teeth barely able to think let alone speak, “Neither can I.”

Michael grabbed at Liz’s hips again meeting her body thrust for thrust. Both needing him deeper Michael sat up from the wall driving further into Liz, touching her womb. He buried his face into her shoulder while she grasped him around the neck seeking anything to hold onto as her orgasm began to violently shake her body.

Knowing how “enthusiastic” Liz could get if unchecked, Michael moved his mouth from her shoulder to her lips trapping the scream that escaped her mouth and stifling the all consuming growl that erupted from him as they came together.

Too lost in the sensations that seemed to seep from one body to the next, Michael and Liz failed to notice the box of eggs that had been rattling towards the edge of the shelf a few feet away, until it came crashing down to the floor.

Utterly spent and exhausted, Liz and Michael looked at eachtother, breathing still labored by their exertions. Michael was the first to speak, “Well... that’s never happened before.”

Liz let a lazy grin spread over her face, “True, but I think it warrents further exploration.”

“Don’t hear me arguing do you?” Michael replied.

Liz shook her head and leaned down for a kiss when they here someone at the door. Luckily, Michael had enough presence of mind to lock it when he’d slammed it shut.

“Hey! Michael? Are you in there?” Jeff’s muffled voice said. “I thought I heard a crash!”

Liz and Michael’s eyes widened, and panic sunk in. How could they explain how they’d gotten locked in there? Not to mention in their current state Mr. Parker’s respect for Michael would fly right window along with a few of his vital body parts.

“Michael?” Jeff yelled again.

“Uh, yeah Mr. P. I think the door got locked. I’m okay!” Michael called out, not wanting Jeff to suspect anything. Liz jumped off Michael searching for her tossed underwear and doing her best to collect herself.

“Don’t worry! I have key. I’ll have you out in a sec!”

“Shit!” Michael said a little too loudly as he pulled up his pants doing his best to at least appear as though nothing devious had happened in there.

“What was that?” Jeff called out.

“Oh! Um... I said, ‘Great’!” Michael covered.

“What are we going to do?” Liz hissed looking around for a place to hide finding nothing, “He can’t find us like this.”

Michael held his hands up in defeat as they heard the snik of the lock being turned. Liz closed her eyes, standing at Michael’s side, ready to face her father’s wrath, all the while whispering under her breath, “Please don’t let him kill Michael. Please don’t let him kill Michael.”

They took a deep breath as Jeff opened the door. He looked directly at Michael and Liz, down at the floor and the eggy mess that oozed around his feet, then back up at them.

“Mr. Parker I can explain...” Michael started to say, unsure of exactly how he was going to explain why he was locked in the refrigerator with his only daughter.

“No need to explain, Michael.” Jeff said looking back down at the mess, “Accidents happen. Sorry about the door. I need to have the refrigerator guy come take a look at it. Someone could get locked in here all night if they weren’t careful.”

Michael wasn’t sure what to say. Did Jeff not see Liz standing right next to him? If he did, why wasn’t he dragging Michael out by the ear or pointing a shotgun in his face? He looked down at Liz who was just as dumbfounded as he was.

“You okay son?” Jeff asked a seemingly shell shocked Michael.

“Huh? Oh yeah... um I’ll clean this up.” Michael answered quickly.

“No rush. Janine said Liz was on her break. I’ll send her to help you when she get’s back.” Jeff said.

Michael had to prevent his own jaw from dropping, “T-Thanks... that’d be... great.”

Jeff studied Michael’s face for a moment, “You sure your okay Michael? You look a little flushed.”

“Yeah... I’m fine... just a little uh...claustraphobic.”

Jeff nodded, “I’ll get you a mop.” Michael and Liz watched in abject shock as her father simply walked away, never acknowledging her presence.

“Did he seriously not see you standing here?” Michael finally said looking down at Liz.
“Looks that way.” Liz said. But she’d only been wishing her dad hadn’t see her. She couldn’t have actually disappeared, “You saw me didn’t you, Michael.”

“Kinda hard to miss you.” motioning towards Liz’s hastily buttoned top.

Liz wracked wer brain for explanations. She’d heard of people going hysterically blind, but her father still saw Michael and the mess on the floor. He’d looked directly at her, almost through her and hadn’t seen her. There was only one reason to explain it, but it was impossible wasn’t it?

Liz gasped and clamped her hand over her mouth at the realization, “Oh my God.

Still stumped Michael grabbed Liz’s shoulder’s turned her to face him, “Liz what the hell just happened? You know don’t you?”

Liz nodded her eyes still wide with shock, “Michael, I just mindwarped my father.”
~~~*~~~
TBC...

posted on 30-Jan-2003 2:50:14 AM
Liz's reaction...This was my favorite chapter to write. Hope you guys enjoy it.


Chapter 23

“You what?!” Michael exclaimed.

“I mindwarped my dad, Michael.” Liz repeated, barely able to believe her own words. Too shocked to actually ponder what having that particular power meant.

Michael ran a hand through his hair, trying to absorb the possibility of Liz actually being able to mindwarp. No one but Tess knew how to do that. How could they teach Liz how to harness it if he and Isabel had no idea how it worked? How had she tapped into this?

Michael looked down at Liz who, while in a state of disbelief seemed to be taxing her own brain for answers. It was too unbelieveable. Couldn’t even go two weeks without some new alien trauma for Liz. Hadn’t she been through enough?

“M-Maybe he was just preoccupied with the mess he didn’t notice you?” Michael reasoned weakly.

Liz shook her head, “Michael. He. Looked. Right At. Me.”

He knew she was right, but he wanted more proof, or at the very least to live in denial for a few more minutes, “Ok. We need more to go on. Fix your uniform and go out in the alley. Come back in the front door, like you’re just getting back from your break. See what your dad says.”

Liz had to admit Michael was right, They couldn’t just assume anything. They did need more evidence. Wow, the scientist in her really was rubbing off on him. Liz agreed and left the refrigerator, careful to make sure no one saw her leaving out the backdoor.

Michael was still working on collecting himself when Jeff came back with the mop. Michael thanked him looking for any signs of confusion on Jeff’s part or maybe a delayed reaction. Nothing. He watched as Jeff went back to the dining room refilling coffees and seating customers.

Liz had waited a few minutes in the alley, fixing her uniform and her mental state. If she really did have the ability to mindwarp, what would Kyle, Isabel and even Max, think? Alex entered her mind for a moment, but she quickly pushed him away knowing the inner turmoil it would bring. Now was not the time for another breakdown.

Finally composed, Liz walked calmly from the alley to the front of the Crashdown. Jeff was just seating a family of four when she walked in. She plastered a smile on her face, but it quickly disappeared when her father looked up at her, face stern and bordering on angry. Or was that just what her overactive imagination wanted her to see?

Liz’s shoulders slumped when she saw Jeff beckon her with his finger taking her aside behind the counter. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was going to publicly humiliate her or just pin a scarlet “A” to her chest.

She also wondered, if while she’d been waiting in the alley, her beloved father hadn’t diced Michael into fine pieces, only to be identified by dental records.
“Dad... I don’t know what to sa..” Liz started, but Jeff cut her off.

“Liz, I expect more from you”he sighed an air of disappointment settling in, “We have certain rules around here. I expect you to set a beter example for the other staff. If I let you walk all over me what does that say to them? Maybe that’s not fair, but that’s the breaks when you’re the boss man’s only child.”

Liz nodded in agreement, “Yes Dad. You’re right. I’m sorry... please just don’t fire Michael. He needs this job.” She couldn’t look her father in the face afraid of the tears he might see.

Jeff looked down at his daughter puzzled, “Why would I fire Michael, because you forgot to tell me you were going on you’re break?”

Liz’s head shot up and she could barely keep the expression of shock off her face, “M-my break?”

Jeff nodded, “Yeah, I went upstairs to talk to your mother and when I come back you’re gone. Then I noticed Michael was gone and of course my overprotective father gene kicked in. Janine finally told me you’d gone on your break and I found poor Michael locked in the refrigerator.”

Liz let out a large breath, unable to contain it. She was unsure how to feel, relieved that she and Michael hadn’t been caught, or terrified because it meant she really had mindwarped her father.

“Liz?” he father said noticing his daughter’s far away gaze.

She snapped to attention, “Huh? Oh yeah. Next time I’ll tell you about my break... I’m sorry...Is Michael okay?”

Jeff chuckled, “Yeah, afraid he made a bit of a mess. A box of eggs fell off the shelf. Why don’t you go help him clean it up. Consider it penance. ‘Forgive me Father for I have sinned.’”

Liz winced at his last statement before giving him a little smile and a nod.. She brushed past him heading for the refrigerator to help Michael, when she heard the gentle, rhythmic tapping of her fathers fingers drumming against the counter. The last bit of confirmation she needed that she had indeed mindwarped him.

Guilt knotted in her stomach. How could she have done such a thing? Granted she had no idea she could do it, but still... She could have hurt her own father, like Tess had hurt Alex. Tears welled in her eyes and she turned back around to face her dad.

Jeff felt Liz’s arms wrap around his neck pulling him close. His daughter wasn’t prone to public displays of affection when it came to him, but he was never one to refuse such openess from her. It never ceased to amaze him how quickly the time had gone by. It had seemed like only yesterday she was running through the doors of the Crashdown, after kindergarten, rushing into his arms to tell him all about her day.
Now Liz was seventeen, practically, no definitely, a woman. He was no longer the only man in her life. She was in love, approaching her senior year, Harvard was a possibility and soon she’d be leaving him. Why had he been so foolish as to blink and watch it all fly by.

Liz clung to her father’s neck unable to stop the slight tremors that shook her body. Fear, relief and guilt all jostling her. She tried to concentrate on the smell of her father’s aftershave. He’d been usung the same one since she was a little girl. It always seemed to give her comfort. One of the few, simple, constants in her life. Not wanting him to suspect that anything was wrong Liz pulled away.

“Not that your old man isn’t grateful, but what was that for?” he asked her with a warm smile.

Liz bit her lip, fighting back the tears, “I-I’m sorry. I just wanted you to know I was sorry. It won’t happen again. I promise.” she said in a shaky voice, but one full of conviction. ‘Never again,’ she promised herself.

“Don’t worry about it sweetie. I know you didn’t mean it. Now go and help Michael.” Jeff said. He couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t more behind his daughter’s apology than what the surface showed.

Liz turned and walked into the backroom heading straight for the refrigerator. Michael was bent down soaking up the eggy mess with some paper towels. He looked up and saw Liz standing in the doorway, her bottom lip trembling.

Leaving the mess he stood up and took her in his arms. She didn’t need to say anything. He could tell by the look on her face that she’d done what they’d feared.

Liz rested her head on Michael chest and closed her eyes at the feel of his lips pressing on the top of her head, “I could have hurt him.” she whispered.

“But you didn’t.”Michael reassured her. “We just have to be more careful, until we know how to control this.”

Liz looked up at Michael and saw determination. He wasn’t scared of her or her new ability. He still trusted her. He still needed her. He still loved her. She wished she had as much faith in herself as Michael seemed to have in her.

Steeling herself Liz pulled away to help him clean up. Grabbing the mop and bucket she started to work. Michael could see she was pushing back her fear, shutting down like she always did. He knew it had to be bothering her more than she let on, but he wasn’t going to press. They could talk about it after work. He made a mental note to call Kyle and Isabel. They needed to know about the new development.

They cleaned up the mess in companionable silence, neither one sure of what to say or think anymore. Neither wanting to re-open on still fresh wounds delivered by Tess.

~*~

Work did little to slow Liz’s mind down. She’d hoped for the distraction, but her heart had other ideas. She kept thinking about Alex and how broken Kyle had said he’d been when he came to Tess, begging her to stop torturing him.

Kyle would never be able to look at her the same way again. He’d trusted Tess, thought of her like a sister, and look what she’d done with her ability. As much as she needed Michael, she needed Kyle too. If only to have someone who was just as scared as she was about her change. He shared an understanding with her that neither Michael or Isabel could comprehend.

God, Isabel. She’d loved Alex so much. She was so broken after he died. They were finally going to stop with all the games and excuses and just be together, when Tess ripped him away from her. How would she feel about Liz carrying the same power that had taken away the first love of her life.

Around 9:30 the cafe was pretty dead so Jeff sent Janine and Jose home, leaving Michael and Liz to close up.

Liz threw herself into the robotic routine of wiping down tables and turning over chairs. She jumped when Michael came out to the dining room and set down the mop and bucket.

“Sorry.” he said not realizing how edgy she was. He knew her brain was running a mile a minute, but he hadn’t realized she’d already gone into auto pilot.

“It’s ok.” Liz said turning another chair over, then another almost in an eerie rhythm.

“You know, there’s no rush. Isabel and Kyle are going to be here at ten...” Michael began to say.

Liz whipped around, “What? You called them?” her voice squeaking and panicky.

Michael was taken aback by Liz’s reaction, “Yeah, I thought they’d want to know so we can all figure out what to do? We’re a group remember?”

“You TOLD them?” Liz said her voice even higher pitched.

“No.” Michael said shaking his head, “I told them there was a new development they might want to know about and to meet us here at ten? Liz? What’s wrong?”

Liz threw her hands in the air in frustration, “Did you think maybe I wanted to spend some time on my own figuring it out before we told them? I mean, I don’t know how I feel about this, let alone what Kyle and Isabel are going to think!”
Liz knew she was overreacting, but logic flew out the window the second she realized she could mindwarp. She wasn’t really angry with Michael. She knew he was only doing what he thought was best, but his timing was off.

Michael had winced at the sound of Liz yelling. Given that she was hardly prone to emotional outbursts, he wasn’t expecting this reaction. Maybe she was right. Maybe he’d been too hasty in calling Isabel and Kyle.

“I just thought..”

“Look Michael. I know you just thought you were doing what you thought was best. I just wished you’d talked to me about it first. I’m the one with the ability to turn people’s brains to mush.” Liz explained, self-loathing dripping from her words. It was a tone Michael knew all to well having used it frequently himself.

“We don’t even know how they’ll react! Leave it to me to get the one power that killed my best friend!” Liz continued her voice rising with every word.

“Is that what you think? That Isabel and Kyle will hate you because you can mindwarp?” Michael asked walking towards Liz. She was so scared he just wanted to wrap her in his arms.

“Hate me. Be terrified of me. I wouldn’t blame them. I’m scared.” Liz said backing away. She didn’t want to hurt him with even so much as a bad thought.

“ I’m not afraid of you Liz.” Michael said never taking his eyes away from her. He wasn’t going to let her take this on alone like she always did.

“You should be.” Liz countered, holding her arm out to keep him back.

Michael almost smirked, “I don’t like being told what I should and shouldn’t do Liz. Neither do you. I’m not letting go through this alone. We’ve been in it too long to for that.”

Liz wanted to feel comforted by Michael’s words. She wanted to know she wasn’t alone, that she wasn’t going to hurt him or anyone else, but she couldn’t guarantee it. She wasn’t ready to face Kyle or Isabel and the myriad of questions that they would have. She wasn’t ready to tell Michael all her fears about what this power meant to her. She wasn’t ready to relieve the guilt. She needed to get away.

Spotting the keys to her parents truck made a dash for the door. Too quick for even Michael to catch.

“Liz!” he called out to her nearly tripping over the mop and bucket to run after her.

Michael caught up to her as she was trying to unlock the truck door. He spun her around forcing her to face him, “What are you doing?”
“I need to be alone Michael!” she yelled tears threatening to spill over, “I need to go somewhere and think about this! Let me go!”

“ We can talk about this Liz!” Michael tried to reason, “Kyle and Isabel won’t hate you! They’ll want to help! I want to help! Don’t run away!”

“I’m tired of being the one who needs help!” Liz screamed, “I’ve been nothing but weak and needy ever since I started this damn change! I hate that you have to rescue me all the time! I hate this God damn power! I don’t want it! Why did I have to get this power?”, sobs wracking her tiny frame. Her voice grew hoarse from her screams, “Don’t you get it? I’m too unstable! I could kill you with a thought! Then I’d be no better than Tess!”

Liz pushed hard against Michael’s chest send him back a few steps. She wanted him as far away from her as possible. Not because she was angry with him, but because she loved him too much to hurt him.

The dumpster a few feet away spewed out shredded papers of it’s own free will, yet another side effect to Liz’s emotional state. Liz’s rage at herself had boiled over and nothing was in her control.

Kyle and Isabel, who’d pulled up to the front of the cafe’ moments earlier, ran around to the alley when they heard Liz yelling.

“What the hell is going on!” Kyle asked seeing the paper scattering in the air.

Liz let out a sob and locked herself in the truck, gunning the engine and driving away before Michael could stop her.

“Michael?” Isabel asked standing in front of her brother. His jaw clenched in frustration watching the faint red glow of the truck’s tail light’s disappear into the darkness. He was back to feeling helpless. Liz,was in so much pain, this time emotional, and she wouldn’t let him help. Even if he could help her he didn’t know where she’d gone.

“What happened?” Kyle asked looking at the mess all around them, “Is Liz sick again?”

“Why did she leave?” Isabel asked.

Michael took a deep breath running his hands over his face, “Liz mindwarped her father today.”

“What?!” Kyle said in a loud whisper.

Isabel brought her hand to her mouth, “Oh my God! H-How? I mean... how do you know for sure?”

“Liz and I got locked in the refirgerator... okay I locked us in there... and Mr. Parker was about to catch us. When he opened the door he only saw me. Liz was standing next to me and he looked right through her. Liz came back in from the front door and her dad thought she’d just come back from a break.” Michael told them succinctly.

“Was he...?” Kyle asked wiggling his fingers, suggesting the drumming he’d experienced from a mindwarp.

“Like Keith Moon.” Michael answered. “Needless to say Liz is seriously freaked out.”

“I don’t understand.” Isabel said, “Liz wouldn’t just run away. That’s not her. She always wants to talk things out. Find out exactly what’s going on. Why would she run?”

“She’s scared.” Michael explained, “More scared than a couple weeks ago. I mean she has the same power that...”

“...killed Alex.” Isabel finished with understanding.

Michael nodded, “She’d afraid she’s going to hurt us. She’s afraid you two will hate her after what Tess did.”

There was a moment of stunned silence as Kyle and Isabel tried to absorb what Michael had told them and the level of fear tht must have gripped Liz when she realized what was in her posession.

“Shit.” Kyle said dumbstruck.

“Well that was profound.” Isabel quipped to Kyle.

Kyle shrugged his shoulders, “What am I supposed to say? Buddah doesn’t cover mindwarping.”

“Finally something that chatty fat man doesn’t have a saying for!” Isabel said raising her hands to the sky.

“Are you guys finished?” Michael said ignoring Kyle and Isabel’s bantering, “We need to figure out where she’s going. I’m not letting her run away.”

“Right. Sorry.” Isabel said, smacking Kyle’s arm.

“Ow! You know Buddah’s got plenty of wisdom on the subject of violence, Princess.” Kyle rubbed his arm.

“Would you two knock it off!” Michael hollered, frustration building with each passing second. “Now think!”

“You know her best, Michael.” Isabel offered, suddenly feeling guilty for not getting to know Liz better in the past two years.

“Liz always goes to her balcony or and her journal when she’s upset, but this is different.” Michael said gesturing in the direction Liz had driven off in.

Kyle clapped his hands togther and tapped them against his mouth. He paced around the alley deep in thought, “Ok. You just find out you have the power to manipulate people’s minds. A power that killed your best friend. A power that nearly got people she loved killed... where would you go? The caves?”

Michael shook his head, “No. The ship launching pretty much descimated them. Besides she wouldn’t get any answers there.”

Kyle nodded in agreement and continued pacing. It seemed contagious, because Michael started walking around in the opposite direction. Isabel stayed still with her eyes closed, almost as if she were meditating.

She tried to put herself in Liz’s shoes. Where would she seek comfort if not with Michael? No. Not where. Who? Maria was gone and there was no way after the quarry that Liz would seek out Max. Who was left?

“I know where she is!” Isabel suddenly said, halting Michael and Kyle’s pacing. Kyle tossed her the keys without question and the three of them ran around the corner, piling into Kyle’s beat-up Bronco. Michael and Kyle were nearly thrown into the backseat when Isabel slammed on the gas.

~*~

“Hey.”Liz said quietly, the soft glow of a candle lighting her face “I know I haven’t been by in a while... well, okay not since... The thing is you’re the only one I can talk to about this. You’re the only one who ever really listened to me, even before this alien stuff. And now you sorta have to listen don’t you? God, I miss you.”

Liz settled herself in the freshly grown grass, tears that fell from her eyes darkening the marble containing the name of her confidant.

Alexander C. Whitman
June 21,1984- April 29, 2001
Beloved son and friend
May your song always be sung


“I haven’t been able to come here since your funeral, because part of me wants doesn’t to believe you’re really gone... and part me thinks your...d-death is my fault.”

“Elizabeth Parker. If I were alive I’d smack you on the back of the head for thinking that. Except, my mom always told me never to hit girls. Even beautiful brainiacs.” a voice said from behind Liz. She didn’t even need to look.
“Alex.” she smiled.

“I’d say in the flesh... but we both know that’s impossible.” he answered sitting next to her.

“Great. Now I’m completely insane. I’ve fried my own brain. Because last time I checked ghosts didn’t exist.”

“I’m whatever you need me to be Liz. I told Isabel the same thing. Besides, we made a blood oath when we were seven. No matter what, we’d always be there for eachother.” Alex answered nudging her.

“Techinically it was a ketchup oath you big weenie.” Liz smiled.

“Hey, I hate blood, especially my own. You know that, you vampire.” Alex coountered. “But I did make a promise. No reason a little thing like death should prevent me from keeping that promise.”

Liz nodded her head and bit her lip. There she was sitting in a cemetary late at night chatting with the ghost of her best friend like it was an everyday occurance. Ghost, seemed like such a creepy word. He said he was what she wanted him to be, so, Liz told herself, he was a piece of her heart that just needed attention.

Alex watched Liz chew her lip and chuckled, “You know you give everything away when bite your lip like that Liz. It’s one of the things Michael loves about you most.”

Liz’s jaw nearly dropped, “You knew about Michael?”

“Correction luv,” Alex added. “I know about Michael. You learn all sorts of interesting things when you die. If I’m coming from your heart then I know about Michael, because I think we both know Michael IS your heart.”

Liz smiled, “So you aren’t mad?”

Alex shook his head, “I should be, I mean for Maria and believe me, I wanted to be, but when I see you and Michael together... as much sense as it doesn’t make to other people, it make perfect sense to me. The way you look at eachother. It was been always there. I don’t know why I never saw it earlier.”

“We did a pretty good job of hiding it. Although apparently not from Kyle.” Liz said rolling her eyes.

“Hey, it was better than the scrambled porn he’s used to watching.” Alex laughed.

Alex’s laughter was always contagious and Liz couldn’t help but join him. They just sat like that for a few moment, like time had stood still and Alex hadn’t died that day. They were seven years old again taking their oath to be there and defend eachother always.
Alex stopped laughing and put his arm around Liz’s shoulders, “So why don’t you tell me why you’re really here?”

Liz leaned into his wiry, but strong frame,” I think you know why. I have these powers... I’m not very good any of them...”

“As Scooby can attest to.” Alex interjected.

“Not helping Alex.” Liz said through her teeth, faking annoyance.

“I’m sorry. Please continue.” Alex gestured with his free arm, his other still wrapped around Liz’s shoulders.

“Well today I used one I didn’t know I had... and I barely had to try...” Liz’s breath hitched as she remembered her father’s tapping fingers.

“Mindwarping.” Alex said plainly.

Liz looked at him puzzled, “H-how...”

Alex point to her heart, “Remember where I am? I know everything you do, Liz.”

She nodded, “So then you know how much this is tearing me up. I mean it’s the one power that...” a sob escaped her lips as she could barely form the words, “...killed you.”

Alex shook his head, “Again, I have to correct the resident brainiac. Tess killed me, Liz. She made a choice. She chose to use me to get that translation. She chose to kill me that day in Kyle’s room. YOU wouldn’t do that.”

Liz heard the trust in Alex’s voice and wondered: If Alex truly was merely a figment of her heart, was this how she really felt?

“But I can’t control it, Alex! I mean look what I did to Dad today. I could’ve really hurt him... or worse.” Liz sobbed.

“Liz you don’t have it in you to kill. What you did with you’re dad, wasn’t harmful.” he tipped her chin up to face him and smiled, “Now if he had caught you and Michael in that refrigerator... that would have been a world of hurt.”

Liz caught the Whitman smile and couldn’t help but return it. She smacked his chest lightly, “Hey I’m supposed to be feeling like crap right now and you won’t let me wallow?”

“Did I ever let you wallow in anything?” Alex asked her raising an eyebrow. she shook her head, “And why was that?” he continued.
“Because Maria did enough wallowing for the three of us.” they said in unison, hearty laughter following.

“Seriously Liz,” Alex said clutching his sides “The refrigerator?”

Liz wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes and held her hands up, “Hey what can I say? Alien lovin’ can get hot.”

Alex covered his face in his hands, “Argh! Don’t remind me of what I’m missing Liz.”

Liz giggled, “I’m sorry, you did say dying a virgin would be your one supreme embarassment.”

“Do you see me blushing?” Alex asked cryptically.

Liz’s eyes widened, “No! You and Isabel? When?”

Alex looked away at nothing, “Come on Liz, I’m a gentleman, I never kiss and tell.” he leaned in to whisper, “But I will say prom became a religious experience.”

They both broke out into laughter. Anyone else listening would have simply seen a teenage girl laughing hysterically into thin air, but from where Liz was sitting, she could hear Alex’s laugh bouncing off the hills that srrounded them.

As their laughter died down a silence settled between them before Alex broke it, “Liz. You’re going to be okay. You’ll learn how to control these powers. You have to. I don’t know what the future holds for you, but I do know you were given these powers for a reason. Be better than Tess, Liz. It’s not the power that’s bad Liz, it’s the person uses it. You are a good person. Despite what you may think, you always have been.”

“I wish I had as much faith in myself as you seem to.” Liz said tears streaming down her face.

“I’m not the only one. Michael believes in you too. Kyle. Isabel. Even Max.” he reassured her. Liz let a small smile out through her tears.

“I gotta go, Liz.” Alex said standing up, “But I want you to tell a couple people somethings for me.”

“Anything, but are you sure you don’t want to tell them yourself?” Liz asked.

Alex chuckled, “Well according to Kyle I’ve been reincarnated as either a new computer chip or a kick ass bass, so I’ll just send a message through you. Tell him to look after Isabel. I trust him with her. There’s something between them. It may not happen right away, but plant the seed, Liz. Maybe something will grow.” Alex shook his head, “I’m dead and Valenti’s got me quoting Buddah.”
Liz smiled, “Who else?”

“Well since Michael, isn’t exactly one for opening his heart up to many people, me appearing to him isn’t in the forseeable future. Just tell him my death wasn’t his fault either. He’s a protector, not God.”

“He’ll appreciate that.” Liz said knowing the quiet torture Michael put himself through over Alex’s death.

“Oh, and tell him he’s got a really hard jaw.” Alex said shaking his hand remembering the pain he felt in his fist for days after punching Michael during what Maria called “The Courtney Incident”.

Liz gave Alex a puzzled look, getting punched out by Alex Whitman wasn’t something Michael wanted spread around. “Just trust me, he’ll know what I’m talking about.” Alex explained.

“Max?”

Alex stared off into the distance for a moment, “If you ever do end up talking to him again, just tell him: Thanks for trying.”

“I will.” Liz confirmed.

“Max is in a bad place right now, Liz. I know he’s done some unforgivable things, but he’ll come around. He just needs some help. It’s got to be hard being the leader and having to ask for help. He’s important to the group, Liz. But, you already know that don’t you?

Liz simply nodded, knowing the truth behind Alex’s words, “And Isabel?”

Alex shook his head sadly, “We said our goodbyes already. I know she loved me and she knows I loved her. That last night at the prom with her... made it all worth it.”

Alex leaned down and placed a chaste kiss on Liz’s forehead, “Now I really gotta go. The others are looking for you.”

“What am I going to do without you, Alex?” Liz said weakly, taking one last look at the tall, lanky, dark haired boy she loved so dearly as her own brother.

Alex leaned in and rested his forehead against Liz’s. He held her eyes making sure she took in every word “You, Liz Guerin. Are. Going To Be Spectacular.”

Liz smiled, then her eyes widened as Alex pulled away and started walking away, “Wait! Alex! Liz Guerin? You said you didn’t know what the future held.”

“Ok...call it a hunch,” he smirked raising one eyebrow skyward, “Bye Liz. I love you.”
Liz, let one last tear slip down her cheek, raised her hand slightly and waved at the fading figure, “I love you too, Alex. Thank you.”

~*~

Isabel screeched to a halt in the Roswell cemetary parking lot. Michael and Kyle sat white faced and white knuckled in their seats. She hadn’t told them where she was going only that she knew where Liz had gone. Isabel was notorious for her driving, or rather lack of, driving skills. “Bat out of hell” was a frequently used term.

Isabel saw the Parkers truck and knew Liz was there. She’d been right. She hopped out of the driver’s side and slammed the door.

“Are you two coming?” she asked through the window.

“We stopped moving?” Michael asked peeling his gripped hands off the seat making his way out of the Bronco.

“You sure she wasn’t the one who crashed the ship?” Kyle muttered to Michael as the climbed the hill following Isabel.

When they reached the top they saw Liz standing over Alex’s grave. She was looking off into the distance, waving to seemingly no one.

Michael studied her tear stained face and faint smile touched her moving lips.

“Who’s she talking to?” Kyle asked in confusion.

Isabel smiled through tears that brimmed in her eyes. It seemed she wasn’t the only one he watched over.

She and Michael spoke together, “Alex.”

~~*~~~
TBC....



posted on 1-Feb-2003 6:32:11 PM
Thanks for the generous praise guys. You are really so sweet, and the fact that some of you aren't even polarists and still reading this is praise enough. So thanks.

On with the show... warning angst ahead...

Chapter 24


Michael, Kyle and Isabel stood back and let Liz say her goodbyes to Alex. Whatever she had to say or do, she needed to do it alone.

Her head slowly hung down and her shoulders began to shake as the finality of Alex’s death sunk in. He’d always be in her heart, but she couldn’t chase ghosts for the rest of her life.

Michael stepped forward to comfort her, but Isabel stopped him, “Let me. Please.” she said in a small voice. Michael nodded somehow knowing it should be Isabel, Liz saw first.

“Do you think Liz really saw Alex?” Kyle asked Michael as they watched Isabel approach Liz tentatively.

Michael shrugged, “She probably saw what she needed to see. I just hope he gave her what I couldn’t?”

“Which is?” Kyle pressed.

“Him.” Michael answered. Kyle was confused for a moment. But looking at Liz next to the grave of her best friend gave him a little clarity.

Before Maria. Before himself. Before gunshots and alien crisis’, there was Alex. He was there the first time she fell off her bike. Kyle remembered Liz joking about how Alex had nearly passed out at the sight of her scrape.

Alex was there when Tommy Rollins broke her heart in sixth grade by dumping her for Leah Florns, because she had bigger boobs. Alex was so mad he’d even picked a fight with Tommy, who was twice his size and double his weight. Kyle remembered seeing Alex in school the next day with a cracked lip and a bruise on his forehead. Liz said the bruise was from when Alex had hit the kitchen counter at the sight of his own blood.

Alex was there after she got shot, even after she’d pushed him away, he kept coming. Alex was the best of them all. There would never be anyone like him again. If Liz really needed to see him, he’d find a way to be there for her.

Alex found a way to be there for all of them. He always made the best out the worst situations. Since getting involved with the Pod Squad, worst situations of interstellar proportions seemed to be the norm.

Kyle’s lasting memory of Alex was the time they spent trapped in the gandarium nest singing American Pie. The jock and the nerd forming a bond that day they thought might last the rest of their lives. And in truth it did, it was just that Alex’s life was cut so short.

There was an noticeable silence between Michael and Kyle, neither one comfortable with the subject of death, particularly Alex’s. They both blamed themselves in some way for it. Michael for not protecting him and Kyle for witnessing his murder.
“So...” Kyle said breaking the silence, kicking a rock around, a question at the tip of his tongue lingered.

Seeing Liz at Alex’s grave had made Kyle wonder how she and Michael had weathered Alex’s death. He remembered how angry and closed off Liz was, convinced his death had been not a suicide, but otherworldly.

“So? ” Michael repeated feeling the same awkward pause. He sensed Kyle had something on his mind. “Valenti, just spit it out. I’ve never been good at small talk.”

Kyle nodded, shoving his hands in his pocket, “How... I mean you and Liz were together when Alex died. You practically spent every waking minute with Maria. And at his wake, you just walked out... How did you two make it through?”

Michael scratched his eyebrow remembering that dark time. He’d never been able to tell anyone about everything that had happened. He’d never come so close to losing Liz. He let out a sigh figuring Kyle was someone he could confide in, “We almost didn’t. Make it, that is.”

~*~ One month earlier ~*~

Everyone had gathered at the Crashdown after closing that fateful night. Some were looking at prom photos others just hanging out. For once, a normal evening. It had been so long since they’d all just spent time together as friends, but it felt so natural. Too good to be true was more like it.

Michael tried to find a moment alone with Liz. It was the night he was going to break things off with Maria and he needed a little confidence boost. He needed to see the smile that Liz had given him a few days earlier when he told her he wanted to stop being a secret.

On the premise of carrying out the trash they found their moment to get away.

“You okay?” Liz asked noticing the pensive look on Michael’s face.

“Yeah. Just not looking forward to tonight. It’s not going to be pretty.”

Liz nodded and he noticed a sad look on her face, “You aren’t going to tell me to change my mind are you?” he asked.

Liz looked up, “No way, Guerin. Yeah, it’s going to be ugly, but I’m tired of lying. Just try to be gentle with her, okay? She’s still my best friend, even if only for a couple more days.”

“What?” Michael asked feigning hurt, “Are you saying I lack tact?”

Liz smiled, “I’m saying, think they neglected to install it in your DNA.”
“So you’re ready to face the music?” Michael asked her, checking for any lingering doubt on Liz’s part, finding none.

“Yes. I hate that this will hurt Maria, but knowing Alex will be there for her helps.” Liz told him.

Michael dumped the last bag of trash in the dumpster then looked around to see if anyone was around. The coast being clear he bent down and kissed Liz tenderly, reminding himself why he was about to throw himself into the lion’s mouth otherwise known as Deluca rage.

“Careful Michael you aren’t a free man yet.” Liz teased pulling away from him and walking back inside.

Half an hour later, Michael sat with Max at the counter debating the superiority of Michelle Yeoh versus Keanu Reeves. It was an argument Michael could have had blindfolded. The Matrix, was a far superior film to Crappy Tiger, so he just let Max try to impose his will on him. As if repeatedly telling Michael which was the better film would change his mind.

Maria dropped a bin of dishes, cursing at herself for her clumsiness. Isabel, Kyle and Tess behind them in the booth, waiting for Alex, laughing over prom photos, something that failed to capture Michael’s interest. The only memories Michael cared about were of what happened after prom with Liz.

Every once in a while he’d glance over at Liz who was working on the café' books, a genuine smile illuminating her face. He knew why she was smiling so much. She was happy, about to start a new life with the man she loved. Open and honest. It made her whole face glow. It was so contagious Michael was about to smile back when Maria passed by her in a huff with the bin of broken dishes.

“You simply can’t prefer Keanu Reeves to Michelle Yeoh. You can’t... I won’t let you.” Max said insistently, nearly ordering poor Michael to change his opinion.

Michael rolled his eyes and contemplated just giving in to Max’s demands if only to shut His Highness up. He let his gaze pass back over to Liz, finding instant calm.

“Why do you do that?” Max asked.

“Do what?” Michael asked turning his gaze from Liz back to Max.

“You keep staring at Liz.” Max accused, “Why?”

Yes, he was caught, and anyone else might have cracked under the sudden pressure, but Michael’s mind was sharp as always. He didn’t have to hide anything from Max he was with Tess now, but he still had Maria to deal with, so another diversionary tactic was in order.

“What? She’s doing the payroll. I wanna make sure she’s getting it right. I need all the money I can get. Just keeping her honest,” he answered as if insulted.

Max was about to unnecessarily defend Liz’s honor when they heard Maria scream from the backroom, “NO!”

Everyone stood up as she came running out of the kitchen and straight into Liz’s arms. Tears running down her cheeks her breathing labored. Liz had tried to get Maria to tell her what was wrong, but she wouldn’t or couldn’t reply.

Their answer came moments later as a sullen Mr. Valenti came into the dining room. Michael watched as he took in each teenager’s face, trying to find a way to tell them something he knew would devastate each of them.

“There’s been an accident...” Valenti said, pausing for a moment, as if summoning up more courage.

Michael knew someone was dead. He could read it all over the older man’s face. But who? Maria’s mom? The Evan’s? He made a quick survey of the room. Who was missing? Michael froze. ‘Oh God no Valenti!... Don’t say it... No! Not..’

“Alex is dead.”

The room held a silence that bordered on deafening. The air felt as though it had been sucked from the room rendering it’s occupants, clamoring to breathe.

Michael closed his eyes for a moment and tilted his head back. Not. Alex. Anyone, but Alex. He’d been one of their strongest allies. Not this way. A fucking car accident? Jesus, Liz.

Michael turned his gaze over to Liz who was in wide-eyed shock, cradling Maria in her arms. Her face was blank and unreadable. He knew in that moment, they wouldn’t be able to be together in the open. Not when their world had just been turned on it’s ear.

Michael strained his ears to the people around them. Trembling breaths could be heard and Maria began to whimper against Liz’s shoulder. Isabel looked as though she were about to faint. As if sensing her fragility, Kyle reached back to steady her.

“Max.” Liz finally said snapping everyone to attention. They all stared over at her and Maria pulled away.

Isabel wiped her eyes and smiled knowing exactly what Liz was thinking, “I-it’s okay. Liz is right. Max... y-you can heal him. We owe him that.”

Michael looked to Max. He seemed unsure. Maybe it was just the shock. He could...had to, pull it together heal their friend.

“Max!” Isabel cried out seeking confirmation from her brother.
“Y-yeah. I-I could try.” Max finally mumbled.

Someone needed to take charge and looking at his leader Michael knew Max was in no shape to do it. Pushing his own grief aside Michael rallied the troops. Everyone would have expected Michael to act that way. Emotionally distant, not letting anything touch him. If that’s what they needed from him, that’s what he’d give them.

“Okay. Valenti? Where are they taking him?” Michael asked in an authoritative voice.

Jim cleared his throat of the lump that sat there, watching the young man take charge, thankful one of them had a clear head, somehow knowing it would be Michael, “Uh... coroner’s office is taking the bod... Alex to the morg... city hall. I can run a diversion. Give Max enough time to get in the van and do his thing.”

“Great. “ Michael said forming a strategy in his head. With a quick glance around the room he gave the others their assignments. “Kyle, go with your dad and Tess. Max, you take Isabel. I’ll, go with Maria and Liz.”

“But...” Max began to speak upon the mention of Liz’s name.

Not wanting to argue Michael cut Max off, “Maria and Liz need to stick together, in case this doesn’t work. And if you haven’t noticed, you aren’t exactly Liz’s favorite person right now,” he said glancing over at Tess.

Max reluctantly nodded, stealing one last glance sorrowful glance at Liz before heading out the door with Isabel. Tess, Kyle and Jim followed them a moment later.

Michael grabbed Maria and Liz’s coats along with his own, fishing the Jetta’s keys out of Maria’s pockets. He ushered the two girls out the door, helping a teary-eyed Maria get into her coat and settled the back seat, all the while carefully watching Liz. Her expression hadn’t changed one bit. Michael had never seen her like this and he was scared.

He shut the back door and stood there with Liz for a moment. Not caring if Maria saw him, Michael placed his hands on her shoulders. She blinked at the contact.

“Tell me it’s going to be okay, Michael.” Liz said weakly her eyes suddenly with life back in them. Sad and lost, but there.

Michael opened his mouth, wanting to tell Liz it was going to be okay. That Max could heal Alex and everything would be fine. But he couldn’t. Maybe it was the pessimist in him or maybe he just had a bad feeling about the whole situation, but he just couldn’t tell her what she needed to hear.

“I wish I could, Liz.” he whispered.
As quickly as Liz’s eyes had sparked back to life, it was gone. The blank emptiness returned as she barely nodded her head and climbed into the passenger seat.

Michael gently shut the door and made his way to the drivers side. ‘Keep calm. Stay focused. Stone wall,’ he told himself as he started the engine. He watched as Maria reached out for Liz’s hand, Liz squeezing it in return, that same blank expression on her face. Stone wall.

Had he taught Liz how to do that or had she always had it in her? Michael wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer either way.

~*~

They all stood in the back lot of City Hall as the coroner’s van carrying Alex’s body pulled in. No one dared to breathe as they watched Jim distract the two attendants. Once they were out of the way Max tentatively made his way to the van, closing the door quietly behind him.

Michael kept a close watch on everyone, but mainly Maria and Liz. He could hear Isabel talking. Telling them what Max would do. That everything would be okay. That Alex would live another day. He knew his sister was saying all of it to convince herself, because if Max failed...

He saw Maria bury her head in Liz’s shoulders as seconds seemed to stretch into hours. Liz cradled her friends head still staring blankly ahead. If Michael didn’t know any better he’d say Liz was willing her own strength to Max, hoping that extra bit of energy would be the thing that woke her childhood friend, brother, from his fatal slumber.

Max exited the van, a look of pure anguish painted on his face. It was over. Alex was dead. Michael wasn’t sure he believed in God, but he couldn’t help closing his eyes, tilting his head towards the heavens and say a silent prayer to whomever was listening up there.

Maria began sobbing, realizing Max had failed, but Liz didn’t change. She just stared ahead, her eyes betraying nothing as to her emotional state. Her body was rigid and unmoving. Michael knew when he got this way it meant, Back off. I need to be alone. He wondered if it had hurt Liz as much when he’d done this to her.

“I think you all should go home now,” Jim told the kids somberly and went to attend to Kyle and Tess.

The two attendants came back and pulled Alex’s black bagged body from the van.

Maria screamed, “Oh my God!”

Michael was at her side holding her. He felt her pain too. As much as he wanted to comfort Liz, he knew Maria needed it as well. Liz would have told him as much. Maria was falling apart and he was the only one strong enough to handle her at the time.
“Come on,” he told the crumbling girl, “I’ll take you home.”

He walked away, cradling Maria in his arms trying to ease the tremors that wracked her slender frame. He took one last look at Liz, hoping for some sign of emotion. Grief. Anger. Something. She just stood their stoically.

Michael was settling Maria in the passenger’s seat of the Jetta, when he saw Isabel run off into the darkness sobbing. Tess told Max to go after her, but he wouldn’t. Not at first. He reached out to Liz.

“Yeah.” Liz said, “Go after her, Max.”

Michael shivered at the coldness in her voice. He thought he heard anger. Almost rage, but an overall it was the eerie iciness that chilled him to the bone.

Liz had always warm and kind. Her voice soothing and gentle, but when she spoke to Max, Michael could almost feel the sting of rejection that he must have felt. He wondered if it wasn’t directed at him for leaving with Maria.

Michael watched as the two Valenti men and Tess walked away. Kyle tried to reach out to Liz, but she wouldn’t move. She wouldn’t look at anyone. She just kept staring at the coroner’s van, long after Alex had been taken inside. Michael was torn. He didn’t want to leave Liz there alone, but he had to get Maria home to her mother. He’d try to get away later to check on her.

~*~

After getting Maria to sleep and making sure Amy could cope for a few hours Michael left the DeLuca home on the premise of retrieving his bike from the Crashdown.

It was late, past one in the morning, but Michael knew Liz would be up. He saw the faint glow of a single candle lighting the balcony. He wondered if she was sitting out there, but if she was, why didn’t he hear crying? She had to have broken down by now.

He nearly gasped when he saw Liz sitting on her lawnchair, legs drawn up to her chest, the same blank look in her eyes. It hit him. She was shutting down. Call it denial or repression, but she was shutting down. Michael knew all the symptoms, because he was an expert at them. But to see Liz doing the same thing threatened to shatter his heart into a million pieces.

Michael didn’t say a word, he just sat beside her, putting a strong arm around her shoulders. She didn’t even acknowledge his presence. They stayed that way for a few minutes before she finally spoke.

“How’s Maria and Amy?” her voice was even and too calm.
“Bad.” Michael answered, “But they have each other. How are you?”

“Fine. I’m fine.” Liz said emphatically as if saying the words would really make her be fine.

“Liz.” Michael said trying to get her to look at him, “Liz.” Still nothing. “Liz. Please, look at me.”

Upon hearing the word “please” escape from Michael’s lips Liz turned to face him. Michael never asked for anything so “please” wasn’t a regular part of his vocabulary.

“You don’t have to be strong, Liz,” Michael told her, thinking somehow she’d denied herself permission to fall apart.

“Yes I do, Michael. I have to find out what happened to Alex. This just doesn’t seem right,” Liz said her expression unchanged. Michael’s fears growing deeper. He was losing her.

“It was an accident. Of course it feels wrong. He was your best friend.” Michael said kissing her temple.

“No Michael. I want to make sure it was an accident. I mean with the whole alien angle... I want to make sure...”

Michael pulled back, “Whoa! ‘Alien angle?’ You don’t think this had something to do with us don’t you?” ‘Please Liz don’t say you think we had a hand in this.’

“I need to rule it out and I need you to not stop me.” Liz answered, her voice still cold.

“The hell I’m not, Liz” Michael said standing up. How could she even... “You aren’t thinking straight. You’re in shock. When you’ve had some time to deal with this, then maybe...”

“How can I deal until I know the truth Michael?” Liz challenged, “You don’t have to support me. Go be with Maria. She needs you.”

“Are you listening to yourself Liz? You’re scaring the hell out of me! Your shutting down! Shutting me out! I want to be here for you!” Michael hadn’t realized he was practically yelling now. His own emotions about Alex’s death and now Liz’s retreat into herself no longer able to fester inside.

“Isn’t that what you do, Michael? Shut people out! Why is it so different if I do it?” Liz retorted.

“Because that’s not you Liz! You’re best friend just died and you’re walking around like a fucking zombie! He isn’t even cold yet and you’re talking about foul play?” Michael hollered no longer caring if he woke up the neighborhood let alone Liz’s parents.

“I can’t fall apart right now, Michael!” Liz screamed, her breath finally hitching, tears forming in her eyes, “If I do... then it’s real. Alex is really dead.” Her voice was fading to a whisper.
Michael watched as one tear slipped down Liz’s cheek. He hoped many would follow. For the first time in his life he wanted a girl to cry on his shoulder. He wanted Liz to cry. Bitter disappointment followed as she quickly wiped it away along with emotion behind it.

“I’m not asking you to help me, Michael. Just take care of Maria and the others. They aren’t going to like what I’m going to do or where I’m going to look.”

“What? I’m supposed to just let you run off and look for killer aliens by yourself. No way Liz.” Michael said crossing his arms over his chest.

“I wasn’t asking permission, Michael. I’m telling you, because I thought you should know.” Liz glared.

Frustrated, more than hurt, Michael ran his hands through his hair, “Liz, I’m not telling you to do anything. You know me better than that.”

“Then what do you want from me, Michael?” Liz asked throwing her hands in the air.

“I want you to feel, Liz.” He said taking her face in his hands, “This is tearing me up too. Alex was good to us, but it kills me to see you do this to yourself.”

“I have to do this. For Alex.” she relied evenly.

Michael searched her eyes, looking for the love that always came back to him. Nothing. In shutting herself down, she shut herself off to him. Damn everyone else. Damn him. The Liz Parker he loved was gone, replaced by an almost robotic being, single minded in her mission.

“I can’t sit here and watch you destroy yourself, Liz.” Michael told her, grazing his thumb over her cheek where the tear had fallen.

“So don’t.” Liz said dismissively.

Michael’s face fell. He couldn’t hide the pain of the dagger she’d just plunged into his heart. She was pushing him away. She didn’t want him or need him. He should have known it would never last. Good things never happened to him.

He dropped his hands from her face and he backed away nearly stumbling over the ledge. She watched him climb down the stairs with that same cold stare.

As Michael drove to his apartment he couldn’t help but wonder if Liz would ever come back to life. Would finding any answers help her feel again? If she did would she feel the same way about him? Would he feel the same way about her? Was it the grief that made her treat him this way? Would he be able to forgive her? Did she need forgiveness?

~*~
Michael set his threw his keys aside upon entering his apartment. He braced his palms on the counter and hung his head. The double whammy of Alex’s death and Liz’s dismissal of him ganging up on his heart.

He could feel his palms heating up, things were about to explode if he didn’t let it out his pain. Finally, he threw the paper from his counter and slammed his fists into it. He broke chairs and ripped his couch cushions. Letting every aggression he was feeling out on his material possessions.

This went on for ten minutes until Michael, exhausted, slumped on the floor of his bedroom. His apartment thoroughly trashed, only his body tired. His mind still raced. All the night’s terrible words pounding in his ears.

“Alex is dead”
“Tell me it’s going to be okay. Michael”
“I wish I could.”
“Isn’t that what you do Michael? Shut people out!”
“I can’t fall apart right now!”
“I can’t sit here and watch you destroy yourself, Liz”
“So don’t”


Unable to move from physical exhaustion, Michael finally gave in. The tears in his eyes finally spilling over and falling onto his jeans. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d cried. He always felt weak when he did it, but losing Alex and Liz in the same night had sufficiently done the job.

Silent tears soon became moaning sobs, he could no longer hold in. He was a wounded animal without a mate. He wasn’t just experiencing one death, but two. The instant Alex Whitman died, so did a part of Liz.

Michael hung his head in his hands weeping uncontrollably, still hoping that not all of the woman he loved had died that night.

~*~
TBC....



posted on 3-Feb-2003 6:09:09 PM
Chapter 25

“Wait... so you and Liz broke up?” Kyle asked stunned by Michael’s revelations about what occurred between himself and Liz after Alex’s death, “You were going to tell everyone about you two...then Alex dies and you broke up?”

Michael shook his head, “It was a little more complicated than that. Liz was in shock. She was in a bad place and I couldn’t help her. No one could. Well, no one, but Alex.”

~*~

Michael had fallen asleep crumpled on his bedroom floor, only to be awakened by the sun creeping in through his curtains. He looked up to find out the time only to discover he’d smashed the alarm clock into bits a few hours earlier in his pain induced haze.

Fresh tears threatened to spill as he remembered the reason behind the mess he now sat in. Alex...and Liz.

He should have felt angrier with Liz than he was. She’d pushed him away, rejected him. Instead he found himself loving her more than he’d ever thought possible. It wasn’t her, it was the grief. Is that what it felt like to be Max? Reasoning away Liz’s behavior?

It had to be the grief. Only just before they found out about Alex she’d looked at Michael with infinite love in her eyes. He was her man and soon everyone would know about it.

But the distant, coldness in her eyes on her balcony... God he’d never known pain like that could exist. He’d given Liz whole heart and soul to her. He’d opened up to her like no one else. Not even Max and Isabel. How Liz could so effortlessly extract him from her life made him shudder. Maybe he wasn’t as important to her as he’d thought.

Michael glanced down at his watch, which aside from a scratched face, had managed to escape his wrath of a few hours earlier. It was 6:30 am. He’d promised Maria and Amy he’d be there in the morning.

He actually looked forward to going over to the DeLuca home. A death so close to home, made Michael want to be around people. He thought being around Liz would help, but that had proved painfully false.

At least the DeLuca women hadn’t shut down. Maria and Amy wore their hearts on their sleeves, not afraid to hide what their emotions. Letting the reality of Alex’s death sink in. They were feeling. He told himself he needed to see that. Frankly he’d lose it again if he saw Liz’s blank cold eyes again.

He stood up making a sweep of the apartment, waving his hand over objects, mending his previous destruction. He wished Liz’s heart and his own had been so easy to mend.

~*~
After much arguing in the DeLuca home, Amy reluctantly agreed to let Michael take Maria to school. The others would be there and they needed to talk or just be around each other. They had all in some way, been connected to Alex. Michael wondered if Liz would be there and if she’d changed at all. He held the hope, but had already started building a wall around his heart, so the pain of seeing her so distant wouldn’t kill him.

Maria remained glued to his side as they walked through the halls. Michael was afraid to let go of the stricken girl, for fear she’d fall over. Attached at the hip was taking on a whole new meaning. But he was glad to do it. At least she was letting him take care of her. She was letting him protect her.

He’d never entertained the thought of just giving in and being with Maria. That was never a possibility, for as much as Liz hurt him, his love for her was unwavering. Broken, but still there. He told himself he needed to be with Maria, because they let each other play their parts. He needed to feel needed and Liz, made it plain she didn’t need him.

Michael saw Liz’s long dark locks standing in front of the makeshift memorial that had been Alex’s locker. Maria spotted her a half second later and looked up at Michael. He nodded knowing Maria needed to see Liz.

“Liz.” Maria said tremulously.

Liz turned around upon hearing Maria’s voice. Michael saw her eyes flicker over to his then quickly back to Maria. Liz took Maria in her arms holding her friend close.

“How are you doing?” Liz finely asked into the blonde girls hair. Michael’s heart crushing more with every passing second. Her voice was still so calm, placid, unrevealing.

“Not good.” Maria answered honestly.

Liz stepped back looking straight into her friends eyes, “Just try to get through the day, ok? Just keep moving forward. Keep breathing.”

‘Why? Is that what you’re doing?’ Michael wondered in his mind, ‘If you stop moving, will you crumble. If you keep moving, will the pain be too slow to catch you. Dammit Liz...I’ll catch you.’

“Ok,” Maria said with a deep breath, weakly trying to follow Liz’s advice, “How ‘bout you? How are you.”

Once again Liz’s eyes flickered over to Michael’s and if anything her gaze hardened, “I’m fine.” she stated even more emphatically than she had the night before on the balcony.

Liz wasn’t telling anything to Maria. She was speaking directly to him. Michael knew she was far from fine. If anything she was the most broken of them all, but now was not the time to argue. He watched her reach into her coat pocket for something.

“Come on, it’s me,” Maria challenged, “You don’t have to put up a front.”

‘Yes she does.’ Michael thought. I would... I am.

Liz didn’t acknowledge Maria’s statement, instead she shoved a picture in their faces, “Look at this.”

Michael studied the photo for a moment, crumpled and a slightly red haze covering it. Blood? He recognized one of the people in it. Alex. His head was missing. Cut out. But who was the girl?

“Isn’t that...” he finally spoke, momentarily forgetting about his own heartbreak, genuinely intrigued by Liz’s discovery.

“Yeah it’s Alex and Leanna in Sweden. I found it in the wreck.” Liz said her eyes growing wild with discovery.

Michael felt sick. She’d gone to the wreck? She wasn’t kidding when she said they weren’t going to like what she was going to do. He was ripped from his thoughts, when he felt Maria start to shake.

“Oh my God! Oh my God!” she yelled, breathlessly. She twisted in Michael’s arms trying to get away from the photo Liz was showing them.

“It’s all right.” he whispered calmly to Maria tipping her face to his to get her away from the photo that was so obviously causing her distress, “Hey, it’s all right.”

“Oh my God!” Maria said one more time, pleading with Liz to just take the picture away.

Undaunted Liz pressed the photo closer, “Look! Look at the way it’s been cut up! Someone cut off...”

“I’m going to be sick! I can’t believe you went there!” Maria fumed, her breathing was labored again, to the point of hyperventilation.

Liz persisted, “Maria, this means something! Why is Alex’s head missing?”

“Stop it! Stop it!” Maria begged Liz.

Between Maria’s histrionics and Liz’s detached demeanor, Michael was in a state of confusion. Liz would never intentionally hurt a friend. Yet here she was, ignoring her best friends pleas to stop what she was doing. Causing her more and more pain. Dragging her into this insane investigation of hers.
“Shh- It’s okay.” Michael whispered to Maria trying his best to calm her. Michael tried to get Maria to focus on him. He didn’t want more of a scene in the hallway.

He felt Liz’s gaze fall to him, “It means something.” she said coldly before walking away.

His instinct told him to follow Liz. To take in the Eraser room and shake her til she snapped out of this destructive haze she was in. But Maria was so fragile he couldn’t and the truth was, the steadily building wall around his heart told him not to. ‘She’ll only push you away again. Can you really take that again Guerin?’

~*~

The group had met under the bleachers. Kyle had told them about Mr. Whitman’s request that he Michael and Max be pall bearers. Of course they would, as weird as it felt.

Noticeably absent was Liz. No one said it, but they all felt it. She was distancing herself not only from the aliens, but everyone. If they’d stopped to talk about it they all would have said the same thing, Liz was going off the deep end. Strong, steady, dependable Liz... was losing her grip on reality.

After Isabel had made her announcement about San Francisco the group separated, Max with Tess. Kyle by himself and Maria clinging to Michael. As they walked off Michael saw Liz in the middle of the football field talking to Jerry, the sophomore that had been the last to see Alex alive.

He’d noticed that Liz’s eyes were at least registering some emotion. Anger, by her stance. What had Jerry said that had evoked any kind of reaction out of her.

Michael watched as she handed him a slip of paper. Her caught her gaze for a moment. Anger gone and the soullessness returned. He averted his own eyes and unconsciously squeezed Maria a little tighter.

~*~

Michael had spent the rest of the day with Amy and Maria. Getting them tea and tissues, running to the store for anything they might need. Yeah, it was busy work, but unless he wanted a repeated demolition of his apartment he had to keep moving. Just like Liz was doing.

He was stirring Amy’s hot buttered rum after finally getting Maria to sleep. His heart again wandered to the dark haired girl, so consumed with what seemed like a futile quest. He wondered if the answer she finally got would make her feel any better, because no answer she found would change the fact that Alex was dead.

~*~

Amy had fallen asleep an hour later, but as tired as Michael was he couldn’t bear to close his eyes. He was still worried about Liz. She was out there looking for answers and could be in danger. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe her that Alex’s death had been alien related, it just seemed unlikely. Sometimes shit happens and people die. This time it just happened to be someone she loved.

Quietly he grabbed his coat and walked. The motorcycle seemed too loud in the quiet that had taken over the town after the death of one of their own. He made a detour down Max and Isabel’s street to check up on his brother and sister. He’d seen how torn up Max was under the bleachers, that he couldn’t heal Alex. He knew Max would blame himself or think himself ineffective.

And Isabel had almost been inconsolable. Alex was turning into the love of her life. Her next step toward a normal, human life, and he was ripped away from her. Michael was beginning to realize how that truly felt. Losing Liz had proved to be an equally jarring event for him.

He was about to cross the street to Max’s house, when he saw Liz leaving out the front door. What could she have possibly wanted with him? Comfort?

‘Why not me? Ha. You’ve got a lot of room to talk, Guerin. You’ve been attached to Maria since this whole thing started... Liz has every right to go to whomever she wants. Doesn’t she?’

Rather than making his presence known Michael ducked behind a parked car and watched her walk away. He could have gone after her, but she would have only lashed out at him. He hoped she got what she needed from Max, whatever it was. He bit back the jealousy that was now coursing through his veins.

’What did you expect? Max has always been good with the emotional stuff. You. Stone wall. Remember? Why the hell would Liz go to you?’

~*~

The next day at the funeral, Michael kept a watchful eye on Liz as always, while maintaining steady support for Amy and Maria.

He’d watched as Liz arrived up the hill, alone, after he Max, Kyle and Jim had set Alex’s casket down. Her hair hung in her face hiding her eyes. For once Michael didn’t want to brush her hair away from the chocolate brown pools, knowing if he did he’d only find darkness and death behind them.

As he walked to the car with the DeLuca’s he saw Max and Jim in a heated argument by the older man’s truck. Was it anything to do with why Liz had gone to see Max? Had her investigation turned up anything and if it did, what about it put Valenti and Max at odds?

He saw Valenti shove a file in Max’s face. Alex’s? Did it hold any clues as to what had happened? Was it really an accident?

~*~
Michael looked over the buffet table at the Whitman’s home searching for something Maria might eat. No one had much of an appetite, but ate only to keep their strength up. Tess was trying to be helpful.

“What about the chicken?” she asked.

Michael shook his head, “Maria hates barbeque. There’s gotta be something around here she’ll eat.”

Moving around the table Michael caught Mr. Whitman out in the backyard by the pool. He was not a man easily unnoticed. He was incredibly tall and skinny, no doubt a trait Alex had picked up from him. His shoulders seemed permanently hunched. Michael couldn’t fathom what it must’ve been like for him. A child is never supposed to die before the parent and here the Whitman’s had just lost their only child.

Michael was about to turn his attention away from Mr. Whitman, when he saw a familiar petite frame slowly approach the gentle giant of a man. Liz. She looked so very tiny next to him. Almost fragile.

Michael wished he could see her eyes to see if being next to Alex’s father would change her. Make her feel. Liz always said he’d been like a second father to her and Maria. He watched their exchange and Michael’s heart softened when he saw her hug him. She could break out of her fortress for a moment to comfort the heart broken father.

~*~

Finally getting Maria to eat some fruit, Michael stealthily followed Liz up to Alex’s bedroom standing outside the door to hear anything. To hear her cry, or rage, or reveal something about her investigation, without crowding her space. He wanted to be there if she fell despite the pain she’d given him. He wanted so badly to take care of her, but not suffocate her. He’d learned from Max’s mistakes.

Michael listened as she strummed Alex’s favorite bass guitar, finding some peace in it’s low vibrating sound, finally speaking to departed friend.

“I really need your help. I know something’s wrong. I know what they’re saying about you isn’t true. But I don’t know where to go from here. I really wish you could... give me some advice. Point me in the right direction.”

What did she mean, “...what they’re saying bout you isn’t true?” What were the police saying about the accident? Did it have anything to do with what was in the file he’d seen Max with at the cemetery?

Michael tensed when he heard Liz’s light footsteps on the hard wooden floor. He didn’t want her to think her he was spying on her. He looked for a place to hide when she stopped.

The rustling of pages could be hear. A book? Then her soft voice reciting Robert Frost:

The woods are lovely dark and deep.
But I have promise to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

What did that mean? Why was Liz reading poetry? Michael would have continued, but was interrupted by Tess.

“Michael.” she whispered, he nearly shot out of his skin, “What are you doing? Spying on Liz?”

“Yeah, I mean, no. I’m just making sure she’s okay. Someone has to now that you and...” Michael covered not finishing the last word. Tess had nodded her head knowingly.

Liz came barreling out of the room running smack into Michael. She gave him a suspicious look, while he just shrugged his shoulders.

“Something wrong, Liz?” Tess asked.

“Can you go get everyone together?” she asked the blonde girl, “It’s urgent.”

Tess nodded and left down the stairs to retrieve the group. Michael stared down at Liz unsure of what to say. The last time they’d really spoken she’d broken his heart.

“What is it Liz?” he finally asked.

“Whatever happens... just don’t hate me, Michael.” she said, her eyes softening. Slivers of the girl he loved, threatening to surface.

Hate her? How could he hate her. He loved her with every fiber of his being human and alien. Hate was never an emotion he could fathom having for her.

“Liz...I...”, Michael started, but Kyle lumbering up the stairs prevented him from saying anything.

“You better go get Maria.” Liz said her voice cold again.

Michael nodded and went downstairs to retrieve Maria. He heard Kyle talking to Liz before rounding the corner.

“Everything okay Liz?” he asked in a gentle voice.

“No, Kyle. But you’ll find out soon. I-I just need your support. Can you do that?”
“Of course.” Kyle answered.

‘What the fuck was going on?’, Michael thought, First she pushes me away, then she goes to Max...And now she asking Kyle for support? What did I do wrong? Why am I not good enough?’

~*~
Michael had watched Liz pace the room while waiting for everyone to gather in Alex’s room. He sat with Maria in the window seat watching Liz’s eyes flash with discovery. She was in detective mode and she’d found a clue in that room that would break things wide open and would break the group apart.

When the teens had all settled Liz began explaining everything she’d been found out.

“Everything I’m about to say is gonna come as a shock to some of you, but something’s happened, and you need to know what’s going on. Valenti and Hanson are about to declare Alex’s death a suicide.”

“What!?” Isabel exclaimed, seemingly speaking for everyone in the room.

That was impossible. Alex was the happiest one of all of them. Between he and Kyle , they had managed to make the other’s laugh even at the most grim of situations. Suicide?

“No. It’s not true, okay? It’s not true” Liz reassured.

“How could they say that?” Maria said indignantly, “Of course it’s not true.”

“Well...I’m not so sure.” Max said quietly.

Michael watched as Liz’s face fell, and it dawned on him that this was what Liz had been to see Max about. She wanted him to talk to Valenti, knowing the former sheriff might listen to him. Part of Michael relaxed with the knowledge that she hadn’t sought Max out for comfort and was proud that she had gone to the right person at the time. Although now it looked like she might have been wrong.

“What?!” Liz exclaimed her anger beginning to rise, “Max, come on... we talked about this. You said...”

“I know.” Max interrupted avoiding Liz’s eyes, “but I’ve read the file. Valenti showed...”

“Oh! Valenti showed you the file.” Liz ground out.

“I don’t want to believe it either, but I saw,” Max reasoned, “The evidence is pretty convincing.”

Liz was seething. Michael watched her fists clench at her side. Max Evans had let her down again. ‘Time to step up, Guerin. Liz needs you. Give her something.’

“I can’t believe it’s suicide.” he finally said

Liz looked down at him and almost smiled, but her focus was clear, “It wasn’t a suicide and I can prove it.” She held up two concert tickets. To the naked eye, I not very convincing evidence but when Liz explained it made all the sense in the world.

“Five minutes ago I found these here, in Alex’s room. They are concert tickets to Beth Orton. Alex bought them on the day he died, probably for him and Isabel.”

She looked around the room for a moment, hoping someone would see where she was going. Someone besides her had to connect the dots. Michael wished he could see her point, but he just couldn’t make the connection.

“Don’t you get it?” she asked, frustrated, “You don’t buy concert tickets on the day you plan to kill yourself. You don’t make plans for the future if you are not planning on having a future!”

“She’s right, there’s no way” Maria concurred, “There’s no way.”

Michael saw Tess shaking her head, “I don’t know. You know, a couple of concert tickets? It’s pretty slim evidence.”

Wrong thing to say, blondie. If that doesn’t piss of Liz it sure as hell will piss off....

“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Ok?” Maria growled at Tess.

“Hey. Hey.” Michael said squeezing Maria. He was glad she’d come to Liz’s defense. It might have seemed suspicious if he’d kept doing it. But now he needed to diffuse the situation before it got out of hand, “There is nothing to gain from this argument, one way or another. We know Alex. We know what kind of guy he is, and we know he’d never kill himself.”

It seemed to work for the moment when he heard Maria whisper, “Exactly.” So then why did Liz look so unconvinced? It was an accident. Not a suicide. Was she not satisfied with that explanation? He decided to make one more statement to test the waters. See where Liz stood.

“So, as far as all the people in this room are concerned, it was an accident. Nothing more.”

Liz stared straight at Michael, her anger still unchecked and burning straight through to his heart. Had he missed something? What was she trying to tell him?

“It wasn’t an accident. He was murdered.”

“Murdered?” Kyle asked, taking the words right out of Michael’s mouth. He knew Liz might jump to that conclusion, but had she found any proof? Would anyone believe her? Did he believe her?

“Would you listen to yourself?” Max asked as though talking to a mental patient, “Who could possibly murder Alex?”

“I don’t know.” Liz answered honestly, “Maybe somebody with a grudge against him... or, maybe and alien.”

Max stood up advancing on Liz. Michael didn’t like it. He moved slightly to stand up in case he put his hands on her. Michael had seen the back hand of Max’s rage before and he was damned if he was going to let him hurt Liz.

“That’s not what happened here.” Max ground out, sounding more he was giving a proclamation than a rebuttal.

True to form, Liz didn’t back down, “Would you think about it for just a minute? If there is anything any of us should have learned over the last year and a half it’s that nothing is ever what it seems.”

Isabel stood up her rage spilling over, “What is that? That’s not evidence! That’s not proof WE had anything to do with this!”

While Tess tried to quiet everyone down Michael’s mind raced. Is that what Liz thought? That they, the aliens, had something to do with Alex’s death? How could she even consider it?

“You cannot deny the fact that a key member of this conspiracy just died under very suspicious circumstances.” Liz said pointedly.

Kyle stood up, “I’m with Liz. There’s somethin’ not right about all of this.”

‘Son-of-a-bitch kept his word,’ Michael commented inwardly slightly admiring Kyle for supporting Liz. Michael wanted to, but part of him couldn’t believe that Liz would really think they had a hand in this tragedy.

“It was a traffic accident. Nothing otherworldly about that,” Max demanded.

Michael had to say something. He needed to know why Liz would connect them to Alex’s... murder. He needed to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“What possible reason would an alien have to kill Alex?” he asked, hoping she’d see the question as a thinly veiled vote of confidence.

“Isabel for one, “ Liz answered defiantly, “We know that there’s an alien named Kivar who wants to bring Isabel back to your world.”
“No!” Isabel hollered in denial.

Liz continued, “If Kivar discovered that you and Alex were...”

“No! No! No!” Isabel screamed again as if Liz’s words physically hurt her, “You’re just making that up!”

Max turned Liz to face him, menace and intimidation written all over his face, “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about! You don’t know anything about Kivar, or our world!”

Michael couldn’t do anything to stop what was happening or what was about to be said. If he’d known how badly it would fracture the group and his relationship with Liz, he might have made a better effort. Didn’t Max know by now, Liz never backed down from a fight?

“You don’t want to think that Alex was killed by an alien because that would mean YOU are responsible.” she finally screamed.

Michael felt the dagger she’d placed in his heart earlier, twist. She wasn’t just speaking to Max, but all of them. How could she say such a thing? She knew how utterly shattered Michael had been after he’d killed Agent Pierce. She’d finally gotten him to admit it was self defense, but it did little to ease the guilt that he’d taken a life in anger.

Now here she stood, all but accusing them of killing Alex. How had it gotten this far? Michael felt the wall around his heart rapidly growing. The woman he loved more than anything in the world, believed them, him...a killer.

Tension crackled in the air. No one knew what to say. Michael swore if you’d really listened, you could hear the rip that divided the group. He looked at Liz and saw the what he thought were the last vestiges of the girl who held his heart, seemed to fade away, buried along with Alex.

Michael was angry, confused and hurt. Now he understood why she asked him not to hate her. Even though he was angry, he couldn’t hate her, but for the first time since they’d decided to be together, he couldn’t understand her.

“Let’s go.” Max ordered.

Isabel and Tess followed quickly behind Max, exiting the room. Michael rose slowly, torn. He needed to stand with his family, but he wanted to understand Liz. He wanted to stay and yes, talk, things out, but he wouldn’t know what to say.

He felt Maria grab at his hand trying to get him to stay, but he’d made up his mind. Brushing past Liz to follow his family, Michael made the hardest decision of his life. To walk away from Liz.

~*~
TBC....


posted on 5-Feb-2003 1:17:07 PM
Chapter 26

“I didn’t see her for days after that and even then, it was tense.” Michael told Kyle.

“God, if I had known...” Kyle said shaking his head, “I could’ve done something.”

“Uh, Kyle, You had just been mindwarped. I think we’ll let you off the hook.” Michael reminded him.

“Yeah, well so I don’t remember some things.” he replied.

“Just don’t use that as a crutch. You can only use that for so long.”

Kyle smirked, “Noted.” Still curious Kyle pressed, “So you and Liz had split and things were ‘tense’. What changed? I mean, you aren’t exactly the forgiving type and Liz was pretty hell bent.”

Michael nodded, “It was