Author: DMartinez
EMail: shockerdm⊕icqmail.com
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Metz, Katims and UPN. No infringement intended.
Rating: R
Summary: Liz is in a dark place.
Categories: M/L, S/L
Warning: Character Death. Body snatching. Assimilating.

Dark Places

"I... I'm... I'm just in a... a really dark place here." Liz's mouth trembled as she spilled her guts to Sean. He had tried several times to lighten the mood but she was too far gone. She needed to talk but she couldn't. "I..." Her throat was dry from underuse. "I can't get out of bed."

"Sure you can." His blue eyes ran over her face. To the outside world, her breakdown happened right after she had accepted Alex's death. Everyone had let her. They let her mourn but she didn't seem to be coming out of it and it had been weeks. He attempted another smile although the smell of unwashed sheets was quite heady. "Just get up. Get up, take a shower, with or without me, it doesn't matter."

"Sean, shut up." Liz told him and curled up around her pillow. He was a really good friend. He came by to visit her when he wasn't working. He was the only one she allowed in the room. He made her feel safe.

"You can't live like this, Parker." He shook his head at her and rose to find a seat in her desk chair. "I know you were close to him and it was hard on you but you have to move on. Alex was a great guy and he'd want you to get on with your life."

"This isn't about Alex, Sean." Her voice rose for the first time in months. "I mean, it is but not totally." Her eyes shut and she thought again about the razor blade inside the pillow she clutched to her body. How many times had she held it against her wrist? Didn't she once hold it to her throat? "It's about my life and I can't go out there."

"Come on... Hey, let's go bowling." Sean stood up and began rifling through her drawers. She had been wearing the same tank top and sweats for who knew how long. "We'll get you showered and dressed and we'll go bowling... maybe you'll hit something this time.

"Go away, Sean." Liz groaned and buried her face in her pillow. He was too happy and it wasn't working with her mood.

"Come on. Put on these sexy little panties." He held up a pair of the tiniest black panties she owned.

"Sean, get out of my underwear drawer." She sighed and rolled over to face away from him. He was always offering to get her underwear. It was an odd fetish that she chose to ignore. He was like a little kid that did things over and over to annoy his mother, like pull on her hand or call her name... Only Sean choose to go through her underwear drawer. "Go home, Sean."

She listened to the footsteps as he disappeared from the room and the soft click of the door. That was the most she had spoken to anyone all summer. Most everyone thought Max had run away, but she knew better. Oh God, did she know better.

Sitting up, she had the razor blade out of her pillow in a few seconds. Her hand shook as it neared her wrist. Sean was right, she couldn't live like this anymore. She couldn't lay in this bed with its stains and memories. Tears clouded her eyes and sobs filled her ears. She couldn't even see her hands anymore, she couldn't hear the door when it opened.

"What are you doing, Liz?" Sean's voice met her ears. She felt him moving closer. It didn't seem right. She couldn't hear him coming closer but she felt him. Sean was one to stomp around even when he was being quiet... unless he was robbing something.

"Go away." Liz whispered. She had to do it this time.

"Parker, give me that blade. You aren't going to hurt yourself. I won't let you."

Liz was helpless to stop him when his hands wrapped around her wrists, pulling her hands apart. Releasing one hand, he pried the blade from her other one. All she could do was lean into him when he pulled her into his arms and out of the comfort of her blankets. She thought it was going to be okay until she realized how stiff he was. A turn of her head showed his fingers centimeters from the the smeared dried blood on her sheets, some of which was also present on the span of sweat pant between her legs.

"Parker... is this blood?" She heard him curse silently when she nodded her head. "What happened?"

"He... he... he..." Liz couldn't get the words out.

"Where did he go? I'll kill him." Sean's voice rumbled through her body like thunder.

"You can't. I already did."

"Now what's that supposed to mean?" Sean calmed down a little but it didn't change the fact that there were blood stains on this girl's person and bed. "Where is he?"

"He's gone, Sean. He's gone." She began to sob loudly. His arms wrapped around her once more. He held on tight and rocked her slowly whispering to her until she stopped her mumblings.

"Sh. Sh. Liz, it's okay. Whatever it is... it's all over now. You're safe now." Sean kissed the top of her greasy head.

"It's not over. It's not. It happens again every night. Every night it's the same thing." Liz whispered softly but made no move to tell Sean what had happened.

"Ok. Ok. Sh." He stroked her back to help ease her breathing but he knew she wouldn't sleep. She looked like she hadn't slept in days. "Just promise me no more razor blades. Can you promise me that?" He dropped another kiss to her head when she nodded. "I'm going to run you a bath."

"No. I can't. I can't." Liz shook her head. She couldn't wash. She'd lose everything.

"Hate to tell you this but you smell bad. I might not come back if you don't bathe--"

"No. Don't leave me, Sean. Please, don't leave me." She clutched onto his shirt and pulled him so close she might have been trying to crawl inside him.

"Come on then." He lifted her up out of bed. "I'll go get your mom if you need her help."

"Don't leave me, Sean... She's gone. Said she didn't want to leave me like this but they needed to go." Liz rapidly relayed the message. "Don't leave me. Please, Sean, stay with me."

"I'll be right here." He whispered before carrying her into the bathroom. He ran a warm bath and helped her undress. Her arms and legs were weak with underuse and malnutrition. When he saw her ribs through her skin he wanted to cry. She was bad off, he had known that but this was horrible. The water barely displaced when he sat her in the tub.

Liz brought her kneees to her chest and let the warmth of the water seep into her skin. She shut her eyes to Sean, who had taken a seat across from the tub against the sink. Reaching out, she found the soap with her fingers and pulled it to her body. Slowly, she scrubbed herself from toes to hips before her arm got tired. The water had started to cool.

"Need some help, Parker?" She opened her eyes to verify what she had heard. He was only offering help, not taking advantage. She nodded and held the soap out to him. Sean set the soap aside to wash her hair instead. Her head tilted back as he soaked the greasy strands. She let herself drift away under his attentions. Her mind wandered and roamed unheeding of the washing he gave her hair or the scrubbing of her back. Before she knew it, he was standing up. "Finish up. I'm going to get you some clothes."

Liz sat in the cooling water and scrubbed her chest clean, leaning toward the door to listen for Sean's movements in the room. She had managed to pull the plug and stand for a final rinse under the showerhead when he returned with her clothes. Standing for that long made her dizzy. Sean barely had time to catch her before she fell.

"Okay, next on the agenda, getting you to eat." Sean sighed as he sat her on the bathmat to dry her off. He helped her into her underwear and sweats and let her put on her own thermal shirt. She looked so tiny in clothes that had already seemed small on their own. "Let's get you to eat."

"I'm not hungry." Liz shook her head.

"You got like soup or something?" He picked her up off the floor and carried her through her room and into the hallway. Turning her head, she saw he had stripped the sheets and blankets from her bed. He had been about to set her on the couch when she gripped his arms as tight as she could. Realizing she wanted to be able to see him, he changed direction and set her on a chair in the kitchen. Sean remembered holding her in his arms before, she had been light then but now she was a feather.

Liz watched him move around her kitchen and realized that her mother had redecorated sometime since she had gone into her room to hide from the world. The apples had become strawberries on the dish towels. Shaking her head slightly her eyes returned to Sean where he was heating up a can of tomato soup. It was the first time she had taken the time to really look at him since he had been coming over to keep her company. His clothes had changed. He was still wearing his leather jacket but he wore slacks and a button shirt. "Did you get a new job?"

"Yeah, how'd you guess?" Sean turned slightly with a small grin on his face.

"Your clothes. They're different." Her gaze dropped to the floor to take in his dress shoes. "Your shoes, too."

"I uh..." He gave a dry laugh. "You'll never believe this but uh... I was talking to my probation officer about you. This woman, she's known me forever, and she said she'd never seen me so... passionate about something before."

He set a bowl of warm soup in front of her and sat in another chair nearby. "She asked me if I was serious about turning over a new leaf and I said yes. Since I got my GED she started me working at the YMCA talking to kids about their problems. I gotta admit I like helping... it doesn't pay much but that isn't the point, is it?"

Sean saw how her hand shook as she lifted the spoon to her mouth from the bowl and took over. They went slowly since she hadn't eaten in some time. "So I work there after Aunt Amy lets me go and either I come here or I go to the old folks' home to work off my community service. I can't do it for real until I take some classes at the college though."

"Why are you doing this Sean?" Liz stopped him as he lifted another spoonful of crimson liquid to her mouth. "Why do you waste your time here when you could be helping those kids or finishing your community service? Maybe you could start on those classes."

"In case you forgot, I'm going to be doing community service until I'm 80, so it doesn't matter. School has to wait until I have the funds." Sean made her take two more spoonfuls of the soup before letting her rest. "Why won't you let anyone but me in your room?"

"Can we talk some more about you?" She whispered.

"There's not much to tell, Parker." He shook his head and sighed but then nodded. "So, I wake up around eight, I'm in the shop with Aunt Amy until two. Alternate days I come here and stay until you kick me out. Those other days I go to the YMCA. I talk with whoever wants to talk, we play a few games of football or bastketball. Then I do some community service with the guys. It doubles up for me. I supervise and help and it helps my numbers as well as theirs. Then it's either come here to talk to you or I spend my nights sweeping up at the old folks' home.

"I met Valenti Sr. one night. He doesn't talk alot but he likes to look out the window. I wonder how he ended up like that, you know?"

"He killed a man." Liz whispered. "Least, that's what people say. It's not true but sometimes... you start to believe what other people say about you."

"And what do people say about you?" He raised the spoon once more for her to eat.

She took the soup and swallowed slowly. "I don't know anymore. I know they talk about me though. I'm not perfect like they say I am."

"Well, who is?"

"I don't want any more. I feel like I'm going to be sick." Liz turned her head away when he lifted another spoonful to her mouth.

"Just a little more. You've barely made a dent in the bowl." Sean protested and tilted his head to look at her.

"I haven't eaten in days. If you force me to eat more, I'll vomit and we'll have to start all over again. I'll try some more later." She promised him, her eyes meeting his. "Look it up. I'm sure I have a health book somewhere."

"Okay. I'll believe you." He set bowl and spoon aside. They sat in absolute silence for what seemed like forever before he stood up. "I'm going to go wash your sheets. Don't move."

"I won't." She nodded and shut her eyes. His shoes clicked on the tiles and thudded on the carpet and thumped down the stairs. It was so quiet that voices traveled up the stairs and to her ears.

"Don't go up there, M. I mean it." Sean's voice was thick with warning and something else Liz couldn't quite make out.

"She's my friend, Sean. If she's out of bed, I want to talk to her." Maria sounded near hysterics.

"Don't. Maria. Don't. Listen to me. Don't."

"I'm worried about her."

"So am I. Why do you think I spend all my free time here? I'm worried about her and I'm the only person she wants to see, so I'm here."

"I have to tell her something."

"Tell me and I'll give her the message."

"I have to tell her myself."

"No. She's... Maria, I got her to get out of bed and take a bath. I got her to eat but let me tell you, it was a fight. She's not ready for you to walk in there and dump some crap on her. If you tell me, I'll find a way to tell her. Okay..." That's what it was. He was almost crying.

"Sean, what's wrong?" The fear in Maria's voice was so clear. "Why are you crying Sean?" Her gasp was so loud. "What's that from?" He must have shown her the sheets. "Sean, what is that?"

"I don't know. I think maybe she something happened to her. She's not ready to talk about it but she will... I hope. You can't say anything until she say something." That pause. "I haven't confirmed a damn thing. You don't say anything to anyone until I get her confirmation... This stuff is weeks old, it's no good. Wash it. I gotta get back up to her."

"Sean, wait. I've been trying to tell her for weeks. Max is missing." That pause, it was so silent.

"I think she knows."

"Is that why?"

"I told you. I don't know anything for certain."

His feet stomped up the stairs, they thumped across the carpet and stopped. "Don't think that's what happened."

"What?" Sean asked.

"I wasn't raped." Liz cleared her throat.

"What is it then?"

She rose from the chair and turned to face him. "Can we sit? Will you hold me?"

"Yeah. Come here." Sean held his arms out and she shakily walked into them. They sat on the couch in the living room. "Take your time."

It seems as though hours had passed before she opened her mouth to speak. All that came out were sobs. Her shoulders hitched and words came tumbling out. "We... and then we..." She stammered, refusing to relive that night. "Then he... and wouldn't wake up..."

"Slow down." Sean stroked her back reassuringly.

"Sean. He didn't hurt me." Liz pleaded with him. "Don't think like that about him."

"Tell me."

"He came over so we could talk. We came to an understanding and then... we kept talking." She kept her head buried in Sean's chest as she recounted that infamous night to him. "Then we started getting closer.... That night we made love. It was my first time and... I bled. When it was over.... he collapsed on top of me... I... I didn't know... I thought he had fallen asleep or something but... he wouldn't move. Oh god, he wouldn't move... he wasn't breathing."

"What happened?" Sean pushed her away slightly. He needed to see her face.

"He died, Sean. He died on top of me. While he was still inside me." Liz shut her eyes and she could feel his dead weight on top of her.

"He just died."

"Yes... and I didn't know what to do. I was so scared."

"What did you do?"

"I don't remember." She opened her eyes. "I don't know." Her sobs started up again.

"Think about it... I know you don't want to but try and remember..." Sean asked urgently.

"Sean, I don't know. We made love, he collapsed, he died and I passed out." Her voice was so small that she wasn't even sure he heard her.

"When did you wake up?"

"I don't know but when I did he was gone." Liz kept wringing his shirt in her hands. His flesh was unmistakably hard beneath it. Sean had always been strong but never built. Shaking her head she tried to listen to him.

"Okay. Okay. Sh." Sean wrapped his arms around her and bent his head to press kisses to her face. "Sh. Calm down."

"He was just... gone." Liz wiped at her face at turned it up to look at him.

"Sh." He kissed her mouth softly. Her lips pressed back reflexsively until she felt a release in the contact. A release so much warmer than the one she had been living in for so many weeks.

"Sean..." She breathed out. His lips muffled her words which quickly turned to moans. The heat of his body felt so good that she melted into it, welcomed it, embraced it. "Sean... Sean, don't stop."

Sean shifted their bodies so she lay beneath him. She was so entralled in his kisses, she never registered the moment when their clothes vanished. All she needed to know is that his body was heating hers up and making her feel incredible.

--

Liz opened her eyes carefully. Sean was staring at her, his eyes slightly gray instead of blue. Somehow they had ended up on the floor, their limbs still tangled up. She blinked and let out a breath. He was still alive.

The relief was short-lived when she noticed his hand caressing her abdomen between their bodies and the slight glow that warmed her to the core. Then she felt the presence in her mind. "Sean? What's going on?"

"It's our son, Liz." He murmured as he breathed in the scent of her hair. "He loves us, Liz."

"Sean? What are you talking about?" Liz tried to sit up, scared.

"We'll be fine, Liz... fine. Now we can always be together."

"Sean, you're scaring me."

"I'm not Sean, Liz. I'm Max, Liz. Max." He let her sit up but kept his hand over her bare abdomen. She kept her mouth closed and let him talk. She had to resist the urge to cover herself up; she couldn't show fear. "Sean was an eager host. Our bodies just aren't compatible, Liz. He came to see you and tried to get me off of you. He and I became one."

"Sean, stop it." Liz pleaded while attempting to scoot backwards but he kept the intimacy of their bodies... their still joined bodies.

"He agreed. He loves you, too and you can mate with him but you can love me."

"Sean, stop. You're scaring me." This time she tried to push him off of her but he was lodged firmly between her thighs, his cock hardening inside her.

"We love you, Liz. We can be a family. You and our son and us."

"What are you talking about?" Tears streamed down her face unheeded.

"It's been agony to see you this way. We knew you'd come around, we didn't think you'd think of suicide though. Sooner or later, you will completely understand. I knew you could come around and you did." He bent his head to kiss her forehead.

Liz squeezed her eyes shut tight. This wasn't happening. It couldn't be happening. Max was dead. Max and Sean were not sharing a body. Even as she tried to deny it, her son was soothing her frazzled nerves. She just wanted to climb back into bed and forget this whole day had ever happened.

"It's gonna be alright, Liz. We love you." He whispered into her ear as his weight returned to her.

--

Liz stared at the wall as she rocked in her chair. Sean reached into the crib and pulled out their son. She didn't even see the trains on the walls of the nursery in their new apartment. Her hand rested on the diminishing bump that had once housed their son. Her mind seemed so empty without him.

"Oh, is that him?" Maria cooed from somewhere behind her. "What's his name?"

"Max." Sean answered with a little pride in his voice. "He looks just like her, doesn't he?"

"Yeah, he does." She kept on making baby noises. Their presences retreated further behind her. "So she was pregnant all this time and just didn't want anyone to know?"

"Yeah. I couldn't say anything or else she would kill me." He explained.

"So what's wrong with her?"

"She's in a little bit of shock. Alex, Tess... Max and all that on top of post partum depression. It's been taking a toll on her." He sighed. "She'll be okay though."

"I hope so. I hate seeing her like this." Maria's pout could almost be heard in her voice. "She looks so lost."

"She'll be fine. I promise."

"I'm really glad you got your act together, Sean." Maria passed him his child. "I didn't approve of the baby but I love him just the same. You know, if I didn't know better, I'd swear you were a different person all together."

"I'm still me." He kissed his son's head. "And we all love her."

"I have to get back to work. Take care of my girl, Sean." Maria's footsteps faded off.

"We will, won't we Maxie?" Sean stepped around to kneel in front of Liz. "Baby, you ready to hold him?"

She slowly let his face come into focus. His blue eyes with the golden brown flecks. His light hair with the darkening roots. His pale skin that had gotten richer.

"God, you're really both in there." She whispered incredulously at him.

"Honey, we've been over this." He reached up and touched her cheek, sighing when she flinched. "I thought you had gotten used to the idea."

Instead of answering, she resumed her observation of the time and space between her and the choo choo train wallpaper. He sighed again and cradled their son against his chest. He replaced their son in his crib before resuming his place in front of her chair.

"Liz, baby, you have to snap out of this. Little Max needs you." Sean whispered.

"Don't you have to be at work?" She hissed at him.

"Sweetie, you don't hate me. What's wrong?"

"Why are you here? Why are you doing this to me?" Liz whispered, a tear fell from her eye. "I don't understand why me."

"I told you all this." He reached up and wiped the tear away, trying to ignore the sting when she flinched at his touch. "This was what I was sent here for, Liz." He told her sincerely. "This is why my son with Tess couldn't survive on Earth. I was supposed to mate with a human but I had to find a willing host. I thought I could change you and that it would work but it didn't. I would have died if Sean hadn't come that night.

"We're here to assimilate. We need to build an army and this is the only way. There is so much more that you don't understand about us hybrids and how the gandarium functioned on the ship. Liz, if only I could make you understand but it's barely feasible in my mind."

"Why me?"

"I love you, Liz. You know that. Sean loves you too. He wants you to be happy." Sean took her hands in his.

Liz closed her eyes. She wanted to take it all back but he had done something to her. She couldn't talk about this to anyone but him. "What about Michael and Maria?"

"She's not a suitable mother. Michael will just have sex with her until he finds a better mate and a suitable host. Then he will begin mating just like we did." He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "I have to go to work now. Can you take care of him by yourself or do you want me to take you to your mom's?"

"I'll be fine." She whispered.

"I'll be back before you know it, sweetie." He kissed her lips softly and left her alone in the nursery.

After she was sure he was gone, she rose from her rocking chair. There he was, her son, in his crib. She touched his forehead lightly. He was beautiful, just like Sean said he was. He was so very beautiful... just like his fathers.

So very beautiful a child her son was. How he could ever grow up and learn to assimilate, she couldn't fathom. How he was going to take a host and mate with a human girl just didn't seem plausible. How that was going to gain them their kingdom back was beyond her. Still, how could she let that happen to these poor unsuspecting humans? How could she stand back while her son grew into an assimilating creature from the stars?

Liz had tried before. Smother him with his pillow, snap his neck but he wouldn't let her. Little Max would just stare at her with his father's eyes, that mixture of blue and brown, and communicate to her how much he loved her and Daddy. He was too small and defensless and she couldn't do it.

She really didn't know what to call her husband. Was he Sean or Max? Sean was the body, her legal husband but Max was the soul, the inhabitant. He looked and sounded like Sean but Max's features were appearing gradually.

Staring at her child, she could feel the dark place calling to her. It called her name again. She retreated to that dark place when he made love to her. It was in that dark place that she had given birth to her child. That dark place that taught her to seek out razor blades but that he had carefully thought to remove from their home.

It called her name so enticingly but she couldn't leave her child with that thing that claimed her. Her child was mostly human, mostly human and that gave him a right to be normal. That's all she wanted was to be normal.

She could retreat to the dark place again when that thing took her to bed to create another life but she had to be able to come out of it for her children.

The END