posted on 21-Apr-2002 1:16:16 AM
Title: Hell and Bliss
Authors: Gretchen (haunted) and Gwen (RNNGwen)

Rating: Right now? PG... eventually NC-17

Couples: Mi/L, K/T, M/A some brief M/L (it'll be over soon guuuys and there are polar moments) and M/M (over EVEN quicker and hardly there at all.) at the beginning.

Disclaimer: Not ours, because if they WERE then the show wouldn't SUCK. Title is from Majandra's song "Hell + Bliss"

Summary: Post Surprise (you know that episode with gratuitous shots of KHo's tits... that one...) Um, well after a tragic event desperate times call for desperate measures and our polar couple is forced to come to terms with their feelings for each other. Also, someone close to them is not who they seem.

I KNOW how vague that is, ok? But work with me here... I don't want to ruin the surprise. Also, I almost had to slit my wrists for what's at the end of this part... it goes against every last one of my principles... but trust me chiquilinos, I PROMISE he will be out of the picture. Also, to alleviate the stress on polar hearts everywhere, I promise lots of polar moments... some more subtle than others.

LMAO and humor my inner Rebounder and Groupie haha.
-G
***
Part 1

There was once a time where I believed that my life was following a set path. I would graduate at the top of my class at West Roswell High in June of 2002, spend the summer with my two best friends, Maria and Alex and then head off to Cambridge, Massachusetts to study Molecular Biology at Harvard. But then on September 18th, 1999, I died and suddenly everything changed. From that moment I was no longer Liz Parker, smallest of small town girls, but Liz Parker, living dead girl. From that day forward, my life was inextricably bound to that of one Max Evans, my savior, the boy that I thought would forever hold my heart, however, the funny thing about thoughts and beliefs are that they evolve over time, ebbing and flowing with the untamable tide of fate.

Fate and destiny, two words that have framed my life in ways that I never thought possible, challenging every last thought my mind created, causing each of my teenage beliefs to slip through my fingers just when I assumed that I had a firm grasp on them. It was fate that forced that bullet to rip through my body that day, for Max Evans to be at the Crashdown to witness it, for him to heal me, leaving a piece of himself in the dark recesses of my mind in the process. It was his destiny to reclaim the throne of the planet Antar from the tyrannical leader Kivar, the planet that he once reigned over in a previous life where he was King Zan and I was nothing but a spec of life carried within the molecules and atoms of my grandparents. However, it was fate’s fickle nature that took Max from this world, from me – he was seventeen, too young to have lived to any great degree yet so full of life that anyone who knew him would know that given the chance, his life would have been great. Yet his demise gave me a destiny of my own, a destiny so intricately woven with fate that I could no longer discern the difference between the two.

It started out as a desperate act to save the life of a friend, for I have never once surrendered the selfless nature that my friends adore, however, over time it grew into something more – something that I can no longer fathom a life without. I am no longer the girl that I was at seventeen; my innocence has been shattered by all the horrors that I have seen. However, in spite of all of this I have had one constant that keeps me fighting, the love of my life, my husband and soul-mate, Michael Guerin.


10 YEARS EARLIER…

Michael slammed his apartment door shut in a fit of rage. It had been two days since Isabel’s birthday party and he had just pulled his first eight hour shift with Liz at the Crashdown in nearly a year. He didn’t know what it was, but he could never get used to seeing Max watch Liz for her entire shift and know that she was in love with him. Michael had always found Liz attractive and had grown to love and respect her even more after reading her journal a year ago today. He’d fantasized about this date for months – he would first cook her the most wonderful dinner, then they would bare their souls to each other and finally he would be able to gather up the courage to profess his love for her and the best part would be that she would confess that she loved him just as much. They would then begin to share passionate kisses, their hands exploring each other’s bodies. Desire would then take hold and Michael would lead her to his bedroom which was bathed in candle light, the carpet covered in white rose petals – her favorite. From there they would consummate their relationship; he would make sure that every curve of her petite body was forever marked in his brain. However, Max had taken Liz to the movies and Michael was left with only a hockey game. He cursed his luck and turned the volume up, wondering if Liz Parker would ever love him like he loved her.
***
Tess sighed as Kyle wrapped his arms around her. She didn’t know what it was about him, but he managed to evoke feelings within her that Max Evans never could. In the two days following her capture, he had not let her out of his sight, forcing Tess to consider that the destiny she had been forced to believe in might not be what she wanted after all. Kyle Valenti respected her, he treated her as an equal not as a threat. They shared a common bond in that they were outsiders, looked at skeptically by the other six members of their coterie. It was through this shared bond that Tess was allowing for the walls around her guarded heart to soften, for her to finally acknowledge the feelings she harbored for him, she could no longer deny the love that they shared.

Kyle smiled down at Tess, her crystalline blue eyes softening as she met his gaze. This little insecure spitfire had managed to weave her way into his heart despite the trepidation that he had towards embarking on a new relationship. However, with Tess it just felt right, as if he had been waiting all of his seventeen years to find her and now that she was here he was never going to let her go. His fingers became entwined with her soft golden curls, fulfilling the need to touch them. A stray fingertip came in contact with her smooth skin and he felt the last bit of his control dissolve into nothingness. His lips descended on hers, first gently brushing against them, then pressing against her supple lips, needing to taste more of her. It was intense, electric, more than anything he could have ever imagined. Her tongue begged for entry into his mouth and he obliged, they met and separated and crashed together trying to savor more of each other. They broke apart and he brushed a stray curl off of her face while she professed her love for him. “I love you.” He replied breathlessly, knowing right then that she was it for him and that he would never lose her to anyone. They belonged together.
***
Liz smiled softly as Max wrapped his arm protectively around her. She had no idea whether the movie was good or not, she was too wrapped up in him. He was so sweet, always concerned with how she was feeling. It could be suffocating at times, but she tended to ignore it, Max was a caring individual with a beautiful soul… if only he would be a bit more aggressive once in a while. She did love everything about him, but she felt that she was on a pedestal with him sometimes, although it probably was just something that she made up to convince herself that Max was not perfect. She bit her lip nervously and looked over at Max – she found his boyish innocence adorable. “I had a good time tonight.”

“Liz, I’m just so glad that you uh wanted to be with me again. You are my destiny… I’m glad that you know that now.” Max smiled and kissed her forehead while they took another step, ending up on the doorstep of the Crashdown. He loved the way that she felt around him, loved the way that she smelled – like vanilla and strawberries, well he loved everything about her.

Liz turned and stared up into his dark eyes. She wasn’t sure that she wanted to explore a relationship with Max again, but Tess had begun to let up on the destiny speech, must to the enjoyment of everyone in their small group of eight. “Max…” Liz breathed, her uncertainty laced through her tone.

“Liz, I’m serious, nothing can come between us, nothing.” Max declared and pressed his lips against hers, needing to feel her lips on his again, it had been a long time – too long and he could not hold out any longer.

The kiss sent Liz’s emotions into a tailspin and she began to kiss him back, hungrily, craving some sort of spontaneity from him and finally finding it in this kiss. However, at the same time she knew that it was soon, too soon and she did not want her heart to be broken again, like it had been last spring. She pulled apart from him, her cheeks flushed and her eyes suddenly finding the floor interesting. Liz managed to pull her eyes up to his while a small smile danced across her face. “Goodnight Max.” She whispered as she entered the Crashdown, leaving a determined Max in her wake.

[ edited 9 time(s), last at 14-Aug-2002 2:39:24 PM ]
posted on 27-Apr-2002 12:37:20 AM
Thanks guys ;) We're trying to get out part 4 this weekend too so y'know. There is no Max (ha why include my least favorite character... right?)
Thanks for the feedback, we're glad that you like it!
-G

Part 3

Maria dragged Liz down the hallway away from the two aliens. She needed to live vicariously through her best friend since her own romantic life was non existent. She did not know what Michael’s problem was. In Maria’s eyes she was the perfect girlfriend; always spending her precious time to make Michael a more integrated member of society… it was only a matter of time until he realized what he was missing. “Ok, I want details girl and I want them now.”

Liz rolled her eyes and grinned as Maria grew red at the gesture. It was easy to set her off and Liz enjoyed Maria’s fire some of the time. But she could not stand when Maria transformed into a complete busybody. “Maria, honestly nothing happened. We went to the movies and he kissed me. End of story.”

Maria squealed and gave Liz a curious look. That was definitely not nothing – how could Liz downplay what was, in her mind, a monumental event. “Nothing? Well I still think that was something Liz. God, if Michael just did something remotely Max-like I would die from shock! I swear chica; you definitely got the better Czechoslovakian. God Michael won’t even talk to me… do you think that he found someone else? I’d die if that happened… wait MICHAEL? Find someone else? What am I talking about…? I am the best for him.”

“Maria, I think you need to let off on Michael for a bit and have him come to you. He is still under a lot of stress and I don’t think that Max is any better than Michael, they both are wonderful people.” Liz bit her lip and looked at Maria nervously. Michael was breakable and Maria could be like a bull in a china shop. It was no wonder why Michael was distancing himself from Maria – they were wrong for each other.

“Yeah… maybe… oh guess what! Alex and I have a gig next Friday, you ARE coming right?”

“Maria, that’s great! But I’ve got to get to class… major test.” Liz plastered on a fake smile and hurried away while rolling her eyes. This was the fourth time that Maria had told her about this concert and she’d heard it from Alex at least twice more. Alex and Maria, now that worked… too bad they would never admit it.
***
Kyle could not believe that Tess had dragged him into the infamous eraser room. Sure he had been in there before with other girls, but none of them held his heart like she did. Tess deserved better than the eraser room and as much as he wanted to have her lips on his like they had been last night, the eraser room was tainted with too many memories of the old Kyle Valenti, the asshole jock. “What about class?” He asked, trying to act logical to show her that they could not do this, but if she didn’t take the bait then he would not be able to stop her.

Tess felt her stomach turn in knots – did Kyle not want her now? She could not take another rejection, but the way that he looked at her made her, his eyes filled with such love, made her want to hope. “Please Kyle, if you’re actually worried about class I can make some passes… alien powers DO have that advantage. But I believe that someone has a debt that they owe me and I always collect payment.” Tess teased, hiding her own insecurities, while her voluptuous body pressed into Kyle’s muscular one.

The feel of Tess’ soft body on his caused Kyle’s last bit of control to fade into nothingness. She wanted him and he wanted her – all of her. “You do, do you?” Kyle breathed huskily as his blue eyes gazed intensely into hers. He watched her nod her head, his lips looming inches above hers – that was all he needed to trigger their descent. They met and pulled away following the tide of their shared passion, each lost in their own emotions, which began to flow together, mixing in the myriad of emotions that until now they had no idea that they shared.

Tess felt every cell in her body begin to awaken as she and Kyle continued to kiss each other and then gasped as she was bombarded with his emotions. She’d always thought that Kyle was strong and unaffected by criticism, but was somewhat happy to discover that he was just as vulnerable as she was – maybe they would be able to work through these emotions together. She smiled as she pulled away from him and looked into his soft blue eyes with a new sense of understanding. As new as these feelings of love were, she knew that they would not fail her.

Kyle smiled as he continued to stare into Tess’ intoxicating blue eyes while toying with a stray golden curl. How was it that this little vixen could be so unsure about his intentions towards her? He knew that she was not as strong as she pretended to be, but to know that she was so insecure, well, it made him want to protect her even more. Tess was fragile and she could not stand all the animosity towards her… he felt everything that she felt, and besides the strangeness if it, it felt more right than anything else in his young life. “Tess, I think I’m falling in love with you.”

Tess smiled and felt her cheeks redden at Kyle’s admission. She had never been loved before nor had she loved before, so it was all new and exciting to her. “Kyle, I think I’m falling in love with you, too.” Tess breathed, her forefinger tracing the outline of Kyle’s jaw.

“Then let’s fall together.” Kyle remarked, his eyes still gazing passionately into hers. “I love you Tess Harding.”

“I love you Kyle Valenti.” Tess grinned as she created two passes from nothing. “But let’s get to class and pretend to learn something other than biology.”

“Do we have to?” Kyle teased as he wrapped his arm around her small frame.

“Unfortunately, yes.” Tess sighed as she felt Kyle’s lips gently graze her forehead. This was how it should be, destiny be damned.
***
Alex sighed as he tried to pay attention in his music class. Isabel was out with some random thirty year old man, pretending to be happy and in love, when she was not. He was sick of her bullshit, yanking his tender heart every which way. Alex could only stand so much of her torture – it was like that Catullus guy that he was translating in AP Latin, always so loving and supportive of his promiscuous mistress Lesbia. I hate and I love, yeah, that described Alex’s feelings towards Isabel all right, and he was sick of it. He was a good person; he needed someone who could appreciate his love; however the only other person he harbored any romantic feelings for was currently wrapped up in an abusive relationship of her own. He sighed as his thoughts drifted to Maria for a moment, her fire had been diminishing over the year as a result of this relationship with Michael – they were wrong for each other, but Maria would just not let go. He remembered the good times, before the alien invasion, when they would flirt occasionally behind Liz’s back, each pining over someone else, someone who ended up being so wrong for the other. Maria just made sense to him, too bad he didn’t make sense to her.
***
Michael watched Liz in their ceramics class, the one period of the day when he was alone with this beautiful raven haired goddess. They sat together in the back corner, bound together by the secret that they shared, but never saying more than two words to each other. Michael hated this silence, but he didn’t know how to start a conversation with her. However, he wanted to try – if he couldn’t have her love he could have her friendship… right? “Parker, what are you making?”

Liz blinked and tried to process what he was saying. Did Michael just ask her a question? He has beautiful eyes, she mused while a silly grin appeared on her face. What was the matter with her? She loved Max, he was loyal and caring, kind and considerate… plus he saved her life! “Uhm… uh… a pot? I’m not all that creative Michael, art is your area of expertise. So, what are you making?”

Michael barely registered what Liz had said, he was too busy staring into her chocolate eyes. He smiled softly – she had beautiful eyes. He looked down at the lump of gray clay in her small hand and sighed. “Oh can’t wait to see it. I’m working on a combined form. It’s uh supposed to show my view on life. It’s like most people hide their true feelings behind a thin veil of secrecy and then there is the avoidance of painful memories, shown by the small figure on the corner of the piece. But Liz, you are good with clay, you just need to let a bit of your control go and move with it and then you’ll be kicking my ass.”

“Michael, I sincerely doubt that I will EVER be better than you at this, but thank you for the advice, I might just have to try that.” Liz smiled and ran her free hand through her long locks. “Michael, I don’t think I’ve ever told you, but I think that your artwork is beautiful… it’s so honest and expressive.”

Michael suppressed the urge to take her in his arms and kiss her all over. She was the first person who had ever appreciated his art and he felt himself warm at the thought of it being Liz who loved it. He knew that Liz did not harbor the same passionate feelings that he did, she just happened to like his artwork, but even still he couldn’t help but love her more. “Thanks.” He breathed and allowed for the familiar silence to settle over the two.

posted on 2-May-2002 11:50:43 PM
harmless bump
posted on 5-May-2002 4:21:30 AM
ok, no Alex or Maria in this part, sorry guys, but don't worry all in good time... my groupie ness is just begging for the shot.

LMAO flying monkeys on isabel...hmmm...

OK... graphic scene with Isabel/Max (not sexual, just disturbing) so if you have a weak stomach, you don't need to read it (it's after the Liz/Mi part) the general gyst of it is in the other sections of the part just wanted to give you guys warning since, well, I kinda grossed Gwen out with that one.
-G

Liz sighed as she felt the wind whip across her face while she sat on the balcony, waiting for someone, something that was just out of her reach. Suddenly, she felt strong hands grasp at her back and she turned to see Michael’s lust-filled eyes boring into hers. Smiling coyly, she pressed her lips against his urgently, craving him like air. His dry lips bristled against hers, their tongues joining together in shared need. “Michael, you came.” She breathed while parting, again meeting his darkened gaze.

“Liz, oh god Liz, I’ve missed you so much.” Michael whispered, his fingers entangling themselves in her dark hair.

“Michael, it’s been too long. Oh, I need you so much, make love to me... please.” Liz pleaded, her hands tearing his black t-shirt off of his chest, while his fingers latched themselves to the waistband of her pajama pants, pulling them to the ground in one fluid motion, the fabric pooling at her feet. A soft blush crept across her cheeks while Michael smiled wryly at the notion that she was not wearing any underwear. “What? I need you so much.” Her breath carried the words in the wind, flowing upwards into the sky, while she buried her head into the cradle of Michael’s neck.

“I know, baby, I know.” Michael muttered and lifted her naked body up, cradling her tiny body in his arms as he led her to her bed, delicately laying her on it. He smiled as she reached for his jeans, tugging them off of his body and felt the stiff fabric pool around his legs, and then onto the floor.

“Michael, I love you, please I need you now.” Liz whispered, her eyes begging for him to enter her and make her his all over again. She needed him, he completed her and she craved the feel of his member inside of her tiny body.

“I love you Liz, so much.” Michael replied while he entered her, slowly moving in and out of her in some unknown, but set pattern that their bodies instinctively knew. First fast, then slow then fast again, ebbing and flowing with the tide of their shared desire which grew with each passing day.

***

Max groaned as he felt his jeans tighten while he continued to think about the black lacy bra that framed the soft curves of Liz’s breasts. Even the cold September air could do nothing to alleviate his throbbing member. He cursed softly and kept his head down, focusing on the cracks in the pavement, unaware of Isabel’s presence until he bumped into her.

Isabel chuckled as she caught sight of Max’s erection, which was painfully obvious to anyone who happened to notice it. Her eyes gleamed as a plan formed in her head. This was perfect! “My Max, which head are you thinking with today?”

“What? Oh, sorry…” Max blushed as he felt Isabel’s gaze on him. When had she grown so cold? “It’s just that Liz and I well, she had this lacy bra and she let me…”

“Touch her hidden treasure? Please Max, spare me the details.” Isabel rolled her eyes as she felt Max grow angrier and angrier by the second. Oh this, this would be something that would go down in history, and well, maybe Nikolas would fear her enough to finish what he started earlier when he heard exactly what she did to prove her loyalty.

“Isabel, what do you want from me then? What has gotten into you? Did I mess up your nail polish or something? You don’t need to be such a bitch.” Max stated. He was concerned over her hateful behavior, but at the same time angry that he had downplayed what had happened earlier with Liz.

“Max, Max, Max, you never were the smart one now were you?” A malicious smile crossed her face as she flicked her wrist, halting all of Max’s movements. “But Max, well, you see, there is something that I want from you tonight. But first, do you know who Liz was thinking about when you touched her? Do you?” Her grin grew as he stared at her in astonishment, angry, yet still curious as to what she had to say. “What dear brother, tongue tied? Well, SHE wasn’t without words, now was she? Remember that muffled cry she let out? That wasn’t your name that she muttered, now was it? Well, was it?” She sighed as he refused to acknowledge her – the game was no fun if he would not play along. “It was Michael she cried out to, your second in command, and her first love, too bad she was too stupid to realize it.”

Max tried to move his legs and walk away from Isabel, he’d heard enough of her hateful words for the night. Whatever was wrong with her was just not what he wanted to taint his perfect night and now that Isabel mentioned it, maybe she did cry out Michael’s name, but he doubted it, and even if she did, it didn’t mean anything did it? But, why couldn’t he move his legs? “ISABEL WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Isabel stifled a yawn as she looked at Max annoyed. What a pathetic little boy he was, not even a worthy kill. “Max, you don’t get it do you? You have something I want, and I always get what I want.” She felt his eyes bore into her flesh and a momentary feeling of guilt passed through her and she knew that she had to get this over with before her current life as Isabel Evans usurped her cool and calculating demeanor. She was Villondra and she was SICK of whiny Max Evans, who was just as pathetic as Zan. “Oh and Max, call me Villondra, former princess and future queen of Antar.”

“Isabel, what’s with you? You… you’re my sister. You don’t have to do this.”

“Oh, I do, dear brother, I do.” She thought of Kivar and the life that she wanted on Antar while focusing her energy on her task, to kill Max and gain the seal. Her eyes grew cold and emotionless while she thought about her earlier plan, which was still the most brilliant thing to ever come from her beautifully conniving mind. “Oh and Max, just so you know, I’m going to make it really easy for you to decide which head to think from now, since your dick has always gotten in the way of your mind. That was your weakness then, it is your weakness now. No matter, I still win.” A wicked smile yet again danced across her face as she focused the red energy that danced up her arm on his arousal. She waited a moment and let it go; separating Max from his penis, which now lied limp on the cement encased in the bit of jeans that had confined it moments ago, while the rest of Max fell to the floor in a puddle of his own blood, staining his grey shirt red, while life faded from his dark eyes, shock still painted on his face.

***
Tess let out a sigh of contentment as she felt Kyle’s strong arms wrapped around her small frame. They’d fallen asleep together on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms after watching, well, not really watching, a movie. It had been the perfect evening; Kyle had cooked pasta for her and made her a homemade Tabasco smoothie. Sure it wasn’t the most complicated thing in the world, but it showed her that he really did care and it was such a distinctively Kyle thing to do. She felt so loved in his presence and she knew that he felt the same way.

She looked over at his sleeping body and couldn’t help but smile as she looked at the huge grin that danced across his face. He looked like an oversized six year-old in his sleep and she found that adorable. Tess tousled his brown hair, which had begun to stick up during the night and shut her eyes, returning to her dreams, where much more than sleeping happened on the same couch.

However, her reverie was broken moments later when her dreams were invaded by a searing pain that emanated from within her mind. As soon as it had come, it had left, but it had taken a piece of her with it, the piece of her that had held her weak connection to Max and Isabel, the thing that bonded her to the former king of Antar and proved her status as the former bride and member of the royal four. The emptiness ate at her and she knew that something had happened. Her blue eyes flickered open and shut again, trying to wake from the horrible dream, but nothing was different. Her mouth moved trying to form a coherent phrase, but finding no words and was only able to produce a high pitched scream when an image of Max’s limp form flashed through her mind.

Kyle wrapped his arms tighter around Tess as her screams woke him from his slumber. He had no idea what was going on, just that she needed him. “Tess, what is it? Tess, please stop screaming and tell me what happened? Was it a bad dream? It’s ok, I’m here baby, I’m here.”

Tess gripped Kyle’s arm tightly while she tried to stop the screams that had usurped her mouth. She succeeded in her task, only to have painful sobs wrack her body. This was not supposed to happen. Max was a good person, an innocent teenage boy who had an unwanted destiny forced upon him. She met Kyle’s concerned gaze and tried to force a smile on her face while he wiped away the tears that cascaded freely down her face. He was so concerned, so strong, always just what she needed. “Kyle… Max… Max… Max is…”

“Is what Tess? Please, I want to know, I want to help, please tell me.” Kyle asked, afraid that Max had done something to her in her sleep – that she wanted out of their new relationship.

“Max is DEAD.” Tess screamed before collapsing in exhaustion in Kyle’s embrace.

Kyle held Tess to his chest while he shed his own tears for their fallen friend. Max had saved his life, only to lose his own. Max was supposed to be the savior of his people, to grow up and become king of another planet all over again, not die at seventeen.
***
Liz flew up in her bed, suddenly feeling empty inside. One moment she had been having a wonderful dream about Michael and now she felt a part of her fade into nothingness, the part of Max that had been eating at her subconscious since the day that he had healed her. It was like he was gone from earth, from existence, but surely he hadn’t died, Liz reasoned, because it just would not happen, would it? “But maybe…” Liz whispered as she began to feel the bile rise up in her throat. Max had been dying while she was having sex dreams about his second in command, his BEST FRIEND. What kind of person does that? She sat completely still for a moment, focusing inward, trying to see if any remnants of her connection to Max Evans remained, but found none. Silent tears trickled down her cheeks as she began to accept that Max Evans, the boy who had loved her and had risked his own life for hers, was dead. “Max is dead, Max is dead, Max is dead.” Liz repeated over and over again, some how hoping that the repetition of the facts would somehow undo this wrong. Ten minutes later she surrendered the idea that Max was still alive somewhere and decided to visit the one person who probably needed her the most, or that she needed the most, she wasn’t certain anymore, Michael Guerin.
***
Michael paced around his apartment agitated. He had woken up from a wonderful dream where he and Liz were together to the image of Max’s body lying limp in a puddle of his own blood. He felt helpless over the current situation and as much as he wanted to run out there and see what exactly had caused Max to die, he had learned from the experience in the white room that the people who had gotten Max may be after him now too and he needed to protect the group, and he couldn’t really do that if he was dead too. Michael had responsibilities now, ones that didn’t involve breaking down over the death of his friend, as much as he would like to, because of the necessity to remain strong for the group, for Liz. He shook his left arm nervously, a dull pain eating at his side, one that he could not place, for it was different from anything else that he had ever experienced. However, it had started the moment that he had received the flash of Max’s demise and had begun to grow more painful as each second passed.


posted on 5-May-2002 5:06:29 PM
bumpiiing
posted on 19-May-2002 12:08:44 AM
Thanks guys for your FB! We really appreciate it! Here's the new part, enjoy.

Part 7

Alex sighed as he watched Maria start the chorus to a new song that she’d composed. He couldn’t say that it was the Whit’s normal style, but the ways that she swayed seductively on stage and her sultry voice danced as it moved across each syllable, making his desire grow each moment – how could he ever deny this song? He knew it was wrong to be lusting after the impossible, but he was unable to stop. Maria just did something to him that no one else could. With Isabel it was physical, but Maria, Maria had the whole package. Her blond hair and fiery green eyes perfectly reflected her volatile and impassioned demeanor, which he craved. He turned away as the song ended, the knowledge that this could never be weighing heavily on his mind.

Maria blushed softly as she imagined Alex’s gaze on her back. She knew that it would never happen, but it was nice to feel wanted, desired once in a while. She knew that they were friends, ONLY friends, but there was that awkward period in freshman year when they seemed to be a bit more than typical ‘girlfriends.’ It was something that she had forgotten in the crazed world of aliens, more specifically, Michael Guerin. Yet, it seemed that as much as she loved the idea of Michael Guerin, he was not who she’d always imagined he would be, when she had no idea of who exactly Michael Guerin was, when she was dealing with her more than amicable feelings for Alex. Yet, now it was Alex who was beginning to erode the Teflon surrounding her heart and she had no idea WHAT she wanted anymore. She looked down at her set list and sighed softly, the last song was a cover of PJ Harvey’s “This is Love”, and Maria, like PJ, could not understand why life had to be so complex. ‘Yeah, well it wouldn’t be if you could figure out what you wanted babe’ she thought to herself as she heard the guitars start up. “One day, I will” she muttered and began to sing.
***
Isabel grinned wickedly as she washed the blood off of her hands. While she could have simply wiped away the evidence, she found a perverse thrill in watching the blood wash off in the water, trickling down her wrists and darkening the clear water as it hit the drain. She had a few minutes until Nikolas arrived and she knew that she had to be ready to give him her warning. It was arguably the most amusing aspect of the entire night, even surpassing her slow torture and the painful death that she inflicted on the Evans, the momentary grief that she felt afterwards was quickly washed away by the thoughts of how they’d always preferred Max, when SHE had tried desperately to be the apple of her parents’ eye. Yeah, well she had grown tired of trying to please them and revenge had consumed her. A year ago, she would have never believed that she was capable of this, but she’d always been jealous and petty, but it was the destiny message that had triggered her violent streak. Somehow the entire process had served to awaken the Villondra within her, and when Whittaker had offered her a chance to accept the sheer force of that power, accept who she was, Isabel had taken it. It was nice to be appreciated for once in her young life, plus revenge was sweet, it always was sweet, but nothing compared to the kill, the bloodlust had usurped her every sense and the kill, the kill was better than the best sex. She dried her hands and walked out, her present perfectly in tact, how she loved her alien powers.

She quickly crossed the distance separating the bathroom from Whittaker’s office; she had to say that the US Government did provide fairly decent work space for their elected officials. Isabel glared at Nikolas, who was smirking at her from behind Whittaker’s desk, as if he thought that she would not complete her task. ‘What a surprise you’ll have’ she mused as she slammed down the bag onto the counter, revealing its contents, Max’s member. “The king has been dethroned.” She spat and smiled wickedly as disgust was reflected on his face.

Nikolas looked at her in amazement, this WAS Villondra after all, not some cheep humanized interpretation as he’d previously thought. This meant that he couldn’t play her for a fool; she was a force to be reckoned with. But Zan’s penis, on his desk? Even Villondra wasn’t that sadistic, which left him both disgusted and giddy at the prospect of an even crueler Villondra on their side, but disgust was weighing more heavily on his mind at the moment. “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS?” He paused and looked down at it, for a king, the scientists had not given him a very large shaft. He chuckled and stated “well, I must say for a king, Zan could have at least gotten an INCH long penis.”

“Yeah, well, we already knew that my dear brother never had any balls, but this is to remind you once and for all not to doubt me. I’ll leave you with your new plaything, it is, after all, the only pleasure you’ll have for a long, long time.” Isabel spat and walked away, the penis dissolving into dust on Nikolas’ hand.

“We’ll see about that dear Villondra.” Nikolas muttered and looked down at the pile of dust on his desk. “Well, it’s good to see that size doesn’t matter after all, Zan did explode on my desk.”
***
Michael held Liz closer to his body as she began to shake uncontrollably, another round of sobs wracking her body. He wanted to know what plagued her mind so, but didn’t dare ask, for she was too grief-stricken at the moment. Michael tried to hide his own grief under the stone wall he’d perfected over the years, but watching Liz only made Max’s death more real to him. His eyes finally began to expel silent tears as the dust that was once Max Evans was picked up by the wind and billowed upwards into the sky. It was real, Max was gone and Michael could have done nothing to stop it. He’d indirectly caused Liz’s pain and suddenly it was like he was eight again with Hank.

Liz was still processing the images that had permeated her subconscious. She knew that Isabel had killed Max, she was planning on taking out the Evans too, and then she would pick them off one by one, subjecting each of them to a unique brand of torture. In her own mind, it made absolutely no sense, Isabel had always acted like she adored her brother, he was her rock, but somehow she saw Isabel’s own thought process. Isabel felt angry and betrayed for what she deemed lack of appreciation, she’d been plotting her revenge for years, and something about the ascension to the throne of Antar, which she figured was why Max, the former king, had been disposed of first. But Liz had trusted Isabel, she hadn’t always liked her icy demeanor, but she thought that Isabel was nice underneath her shell, not vile and perverse. She thought Isabel was her friend, not an enemy who’d planned on giving her to someone named Kivar as sex slave.

She shuddered as the word sex came to the forefront of her mind. Max had died while she was dreaming of making love to Michael in her bed. What sort of person was she to think of her boyfriend’s best friend, what did it mean that Max had died while this had been going on? She was pretty sure that it was nothing, but then again, everything meant something when you were deep in the alien abyss. She felt arms wrap tighter around her as she continued to cry, a new wetness dripping down her face. For a second she thought it was rain, but it felt too warm on her skin. Hesitantly, Liz opened up her eyes to see Michael comforting her while he silently expressed his own grief over the loss of the boy that was the closest thing that he had to a brother and she knew that he was blaming himself for what happened, which made Liz feel even worse. It wasn’t Michael’s fault, it was Isabel’s and if anyone should feel guilty, it was her. “Don’t.” She whispered and brushed the tears from his eyes. “Michael, it’s not your fault that Max died. It’s no one’s fault but Isabel’s and I don’t want you to blame yourself.”

Michael gasped in horror as he heard Liz affirm that it had been Isabel who had killed Max. A part of him would not, could not, believe that his sister had been capable of this, but somehow he knew that she was to blame, and it made him hurt even more. He somehow found himself searching Liz’s watery eyes for a sense of hope, but only found the same disillusionment that he felt reflected back in them. “Liz, he was my best friend, my brother, and I was supposed to protect him. How can I not blame myself? I should have…” he was cut off by a sob that had freed itself from his throat. “I’m sorry.”

“So… so am I.” Liz wanted to say so much more, but another set of tears had begun to cascade down her cheeks while Michael continued to cry softly. The feel of his arms around her small frame offered her some solace, knowing that someone out there cared about her, that someone was just as grief-stricken as she was. She awkwardly met Michael’s eyes and stated, “You couldn’t do anything, you couldn’t have known, you… we trusted her.”

Michael met her intense gaze and breathed, “I know” before another bout of sobs overtook his body, and he grasped Liz tighter, needing to know that she was real, that she was not going to leave him like Max had, he’d already lost his brother, he could not bare to loose the one woman he loved, even if she never did love him in return. It was as if time stood still while the two teens comforted each other in their shared embrace, tears melding together as they fell from their saddened eyes. Neither had noticed that Kyle had left long ago to tell Maria and Alex what had happened to Max.
***
Tess cursed under her breath as tears began to trickle down her cheeks while she thought about how awful Isabel had been to those she loved. Isabel’s own mother and father, who had taken her into their home when they had known nothing about them now laid there, horror and confusion forever marred on their faces. What had they done to do this? Max, who had suffered the most painful death, had done nothing but try to live up to an impossible destiny and love his friends and family. Wasn’t Isabel supposed to be different from Villondra? That was what Necedo had said, but now Tess realized that the two were no different from one another.

She turned away from the gruesome scene and tried to focus on the other people affected by Isabel’s cruelty – her friends. Kyle would need her to be strong, but she really wished that she could break down in front of him, that he would let her be as weak as she felt like and comfort her and tell her that it was ok. But Kyle was still coping with being healed by Max, and now Max was dead. What did that mean for their relationship? Did it mean anything? Would he pull away? Would he cling tighter to her? She bit her lip, the added pressure aiding in hindering the onset of tears that so desperately wanted to be free from her strong exterior.

Her mind then wandered to Michael, who was probably still holding Liz as she cried, while blaming himself for not being more suspicious. Tess knew that Michael’s self hatred was a result of years with Hank, but she hoped that in time, he would realize that he was much more than Hank Guerin said he was. She thought back to the way that Michael had held Liz, the way the he’d growled when Valenti tried to separate them. It was no secret in her mind that Michael was head over heals in love with Liz, but the way that he’d growled, it was like nothing she’d ever seen before. It was another thing that she would have to process later, when she was more lucid.

Then there was Liz, the girl that Tess secretly admired. Liz, who was the girl that had sacrificed so much to save her relationship with Max Evans, only to wake up from her dreams with the knowledge that her boyfriend lied mangled and bloodied in an alleyway. Tess had known about Liz’s secret attraction to Michael ever since she’d dream-walked her a few weeks ago, trying to see if there was actually a possibility that the two could become friends. The answer had surprised her, not only was Liz willing to become friends with her, but she’d secretly wished that she was able to get to know Tess better. Liz’s kindness was one of the things that Tess admired about her, along with her strength and selflessness. It hurt her so much to witness Liz’s reaction to Max’s death, not only because it was so saddening, but because Tess felt as if some of the best parts of Liz’s demeanor would be taken from her by a cruel bitch, who had never cared for anyone other than herself.

The thoughts of how Isabel had managed to take everyone’s innocence without a second thought caused the floodgates to break and Tess began to cry loudly as she continued to think of each and every way that the confusing world of aliens and humans had been affected by the insanity of one sibling and the death of another. The world was supposed to make sense, it had always made sense before, but now, tonight, she knew that she had no control over anything, she never did and it scared her. Before Tess lost all control, she remembered her job and quickly waved her hands over the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Evans, dissolving them into nothingness, then rushed out of the room, out of the house and into the car, where she broke down into uncontrollable sobs.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 19-May-2002 12:10:12 AM ]
posted on 20-Jun-2002 4:32:14 PM
Ok, look, it got an update. I know that you're amazed.
=D
-G
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Part 8

Kyle cursed himself as he approached Maria and Alex, his face hardening with every step that he made. Although his mind was filled with the many different ways that he could make the news less harsh, he knew that it was going to be torture to tell the two best friends that one of their own had been killed, in the most gruesome of ways. The image of Max just lying there in a puddle of his own blood yet again came to the forefront of his mine and he shuddered at the image then stopped for a second to force down the bile that was quickly rising in his throat – he had to be strong right now. Breathing in a large amount of the smoke filled air he continued his trek towards his two friends, wishing that he had been the bearer of better news.

Maria felt sad, pained eyes on her back and turned away from Alex, who was in the middle of an amusing tale, to see Kyle’s grief-stricken face staring back at her. It looked as if he knew that someone close to them had – no, that wasn’t possible, she reasoned, because Max was a healer and would have saved this person’s life, no questions asked. However, if it wasn’t a death that haunted Kyle’s normally animate, exuberant face, then what was it that plagued him, finally finding her voice she asked, “Kyle, what happened?”

Kyle looked from Maria to Alex then met Maria’s green eyes, which were filled with concern, again. “Uh, Maria, Alex, I’m not sure how to say this, so I’m just going to say it. Max is dead; he was murdered earlier tonight and Dad and Tess are over at the Evans and Michael and Liz are together at the Crashdown – they’re both really shaken up and won’t talk to anyone else. I just left from watching them to tell you about this and so now you know so I’m going to go.”

Alex moved closer to Maria and gently wrapped his arm around her petite frame as soon as he caught sight of her struggling to maintain balance, and as if well scripted, she immediately fainted in his embrace. “Kyle, I really am worried about you and don’t think that you should be alone right now, since my parents aren’t home, and I doubt that anyone wants to be alone right now, the three of us could all spend the night there.” He stated sincerely, his eyes wet with unshed tears and filled with concern for both Kyle and Maria.

“Thanks Alex, I appreciate it, but I should really be at home tonight – Tess, she needs me. I’m really worried about her, you know, she just lost Necedo, who was her father figure, and now her former husband is dead and as strong as we all know that she is, I can’t help but feel worried that this is too much. So, I’m going to go… ok? Whitman, just take good care of Maria for me, she’s uh sort of like the sister that I never had.” He stated and watched Alex nod in compliance with his wishes before rushing out of the club, leaving Alex to care for an unconscious Maria.

***

Tess forced down another bout of tears as she focused on the former Evans residence and all those around her who depended on her to get this job done correctly. She exited the car and gently shut the door behind her, then headed to the spot where Jim had been vomiting and cautiously placed a hand on his pack in reassurance and understanding. “It’ll be ok” she whispered, despite not believing in those words herself and then led him back to the car, opening the same door that she had exited from moments before. “You can just sit here, ok, while I go and burn the house, make it look like a fire and then we can leave.” She sighed, releasing some of the tension that had built up within her, as he nodded his head silently and wondered to herself when she had become so methodical, so uncaring, Necedo had been wrong about emotions and hoped that when this was over; she would be able to feel again. She shut the door for the sheriff and walked back to the house, then whispered “I’m sorry” before pooling her energy into her hands and focusing it on burning the house. As she watched the vibrant flames grow and the black smoke billow up into the night sky, she looked upward towards the stars and stated “you’ll pay for this Isabel, I promise you” before returning to the safety of the car.

***

Michael felt her breathing slow as she continued to lie there on the pavement in his lap, and he reasoned that she must be cold and that it was hardly appropriate for anyone, especially Liz, to sleep outside in the ally. He shook her gently, her raven hair spilling across him, and he smiled in contentment, forgetting for a moment the circumstances that had caused this arrangement. Her dark eyes looked up into his and she whispered an almost inaudible “I love you” before collapsing again in a heap on his lap. He looked down at the serene expression on her face and then, lost again in his own world, where only he and Liz existed, Michael wrapped his arms possessively around her petite frame and looked upwards at the night sky, the v formation shining down on him.

Then as quickly as it had come, his reverie was snapped as pain wracked his body, shocking him back into reality as his free hand grabbed at his head, while his other entwined itself with Liz’s hair. As if she, herself, had been affected by the pain inside of him, she shot up and met his gaze, her eyes wide with concern and fear. “Liz, it’s all right, let’s just get you into bed, ok, you must be freezing, I’ll take care of you.” He watched her nod demurely; he frowned at her expression – all traces of the contentment on her face moments earlier had disappeared. Certain that she could not walk, he wrapped his hands around her lithe body and cradled her to him as he made his way back towards the Crashdown and her bedroom.

Liz felt herself being lowered into her bed, and although she was uncertain of how she had gotten there, she was content with the knowledge that she was in her bedroom, where nothing bad ever seemed to happen. The covers slid upwards, warming her trembling body, and she opened her eyes to see Michael hovering over her, his eyes filled with concern for her well being. She shut her eyes, trying to convince him that she was asleep, when she felt his lips brush against her forehead, and she sighed, yet again back in the land of sweet dreams and happily ever after. She heard him turn to leave and she turned towards him, her eyes wide with fear, she couldn’t be alone, not now. “Michael, stay, please, I can’t, just stay here, hold me.” She said in a panicked tone, her hands grasping at air. Moments later, she felt the added weight of Michael's body on her bed and she spooned herself against him while he wrapped his arm possessively around her and the two of them fell fast asleep
posted on 15-Jul-2002 12:06:34 AM
Sorry it took so long, writers block sucks like that (for both of us :( )

But thanks for the FB guys, I'm glad you like it =D
-G
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Michael cursed himself as another pain shot through him, then gripped the kitchen counter for balance. He was trying desperately to make Liz breakfast, but every few minutes another pain hit, he had no idea what was happening, only that the one reprieve that he’d experienced had been lying in bed with Liz last night. However, he reasoned that it was inconsequential and even if it ended up being something, he wasn’t going to tell her – she didn’t need him screwing with her life, especially not even twenty-four hours after Max died. Michael felt the pain subside and lifted up the spatula, picking up the pancakes and laying them delicately on the plate, it was the least that he could do for her.

Liz awoke to the smell of eggs and bacon wafting through the doorway. Momentarily forgetting last night she got up and walked to the kitchen, expecting to see her father slaving away while her mother read the morning news, but when she saw Michael rummaging through the refrigerator, it all came back. “He’s really gone” she whispered then bit her lip, forcing back the tears that were welling up in her eyes.

Michael turned to see Liz wrapping her arms tightly around her small frame and he sighed, she looked so vulnerable there in an oversized t-shirt, he reached for her just as another pain hit and he recoiled, gripping his head as he closed his eyes.

“Michael?” Liz asked, laying her hand gently on his back only to be brushed aside, “Michael, please” she breathed and tried to hold back her tears as she added, “I can’t lose anyone else.”

Michael turned towards her, lifting her chin and looked into her watery eyes, “Liz, I’m not going anywhere I promise, don’t worry about this – ok? I uh, I made breakfast, opened the Crashdown and called the absence line, I don’t think you should be in school today.”

“Thank you” Liz whispered and lifted her fork, picking at her food in an attempt to eat, but was unable to put it in her mouth.

“Liz, you have to eat” Michael stated as he watched her movements with concern, he knew that she was still troubled by yesterday, hell, who was he kidding, he was just as disturbed, but he would not let her waste away like this, he couldn’t bare it.

She sighed and glanced downward at her food, it did smell delicious and Michael put all this effort into it, but she didn’t feel like she deserved it, she was alive, Max was dead, “I know but I can’t.”

“Liz, it’s not wrong to eat, you need to live” Michael began before gripping his head as another pain hit him it seemed like they were getting stronger as time went on and he wasn’t sure if he could conceal them from her for very long.

“MICHAEL!” Liz screamed as she watched in horror as he fell into his Tabasco and maple syrup covered breakfast, unconscious.
***

Maria paced around Alex’s living room, trying desperately to fend off the urge to call Liz up and tell her off for stealing her sometimes boyfriend. She knew, deep down, that it wasn’t true, but it was much easier to focus on the little things than on the fact that Max was dead. “I swear that Liz and Michael are fucking” she ranted unable to conceal her jealousy over Michael comforting Liz instead of her any longer.

Alex groaned inwardly and got up from the lay-z-boy, stepping in front of Maria, effectively halting her movements. He gently placed his hand under her chin, lifting her head upwards and stared into her green eyes. “Maria, you really need to stop, Michael and Liz are doing nothing and you know it, just let them be ok?”

Maria sighed and forced back her tears while Alex wrapped his arms around her. “I know” she whispered “it’s, it’s just that it hurts, I mean Max is, he’s dead and Liz and Michael don’t want me around and it hurts because I mean who needs me, if they don’t.”

“I need you.” Alex muttered as he continued to stroke Maria’s back, sighing slightly as he felt her warm tears on his skin, maybe she felt something for him after all.

***

Tess jumped as the phone rang, startled at the sudden noise, she’d been up all night reflecting on Max’s death, somewhat humbled by the calm of the house during the night, “hell, hello?”

“Tess, um, it’s Liz, Michael, he, uh, I, uh, I know, uh, um” Liz rushed out while trying to wake Michael up, shaking him forcefully as she juggled the cordless phone on her neck.

Immediately concerned by Liz’s call, they were hardly friends so it had to be something major and probably alien related, “Liz can you explain it to me, slowly?”

“MICHAEL FAINTED and I need help” Liz shouted into the phone as she struggled to pull him upright, silently cursing herself for not trying harder in gym class.

“I’m coming and bringing Kyle” she replied quickly as she shot up from her position on the couch and rushed into Kyle’s room, they could use the extra help.

“Ok, hurry” Liz replied and slammed down the phone before turning back to Michael, who was now lying on the wooden table. She ran a hand through his hair and whispered, “don’t die, please, don’t die.”

***

Isabel smirked as she looked at herself in the mirror, glad that nothing had changed while she slept, she was still the tall beauty, except now she also carried the seal and was going to get the respect that she deserved – starting with Nicholas. “Oh Nicholas” she called mockingly as she ran her hands through her long blond hair, straightening out the few kinks that had occurred during the night.

Nicholas grumbled as he walked into Villondra’s bedroom, knowing that she would exact her revenge on him, but smirked as he realized that there was an absence of power in her presence, she didn’t carry the seal. “Yes Villondra, what do you want, are you missing something important?”

“Do not mock me, I am queen now and you will address me as such” she ordered, staring down the shorter man, amazed at his insolence.

“Ha, my what an ignorant fool you are, Villondra, you don’t have the seal, so you are not queen – you failed and we both know how much Kivar hates failure” Nicholas taunted and headed for the door.

“I, but, I killed him, how is this possible” she asked, astonished that she had failed in her task, despite killing off Max last night.

“Goodbye Villondra” Nicholas stated and exited the room, leaving her dumbstruck.

“DAMN YOU NICHOLAS!” Isabel cursed and threw her shoe at the door, vowing to not only kill him, but her former friends as well for her failure.

***

Tess burst into Liz’s apartment without even bothering to knock, to see the petite brunette hovering over an unconscious Michael Guerin, “Liz” she began only to be interrupted by Kyle’s entrance. Her crystalline blue eyes were again focused on Liz and wordlessly she walked over to her before continuing, “Liz, how did this happen?”

She sighed, her brown hair falling forward, but paid no mind to it, “he was in pain and I had no idea what, what to do so I called you and Tess, I’m so scared.” She choked out, her doe eyes searching Tess’ for some sort of reassurance that Michael would be fine, that this happened all the time, but found none.

“Liz, I don’t, I don’t know what to do, um I’m going to try to make a connection with him and see what it is, why he’s in pain. Um, Kyle can you maybe uh move him to the couch?”

Kyle nodded then wrapped his arms around Michael’s waist and struggled to carry him over to the couch, “Guerin ever hear of eating less” he muttered as he laid the other boy down, “he’s all set.”

Tess sighed and walked slowly into the living room, Liz following quietly behind her, then looked towards Kyle, her eyes silently begging for him to comfort the other girl. She smiled slightly in relief as he nodded and led Liz to the loveseat adjacent to the couch then looked back to Michael – it was time.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Jul-2002 12:06:59 AM ]
posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:38:47 PM
Part 10
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It had been almost two hours since Tess had connected with Michael and Liz was lying on the couch, her lithe body had given out a half an hour ago, having paced up and around the small apartment in an attempt to lose herself in the spinning, or to control it all, she wasn’t sure. Kyle had just sat there, watching stoically on the opposing chair, as if he had seen all of this before, but really his expressionless face was merely concealing the doubt and fear surmounting underneath.

Liz stirred, her eyes opening warily, afraid of what she would see. Her dark eyes met Kyle’s and she searched them for some sort of assurance that it had all gone well, but found none. “Anything?” she asked finally, her voice tired and filled with pain, hoping that he had good news, in spite of his sad eyes.

“Um, you fainted and got up, but nothing else, I’m sure that something will happen soon.” Kyle replied, mustering up all of the confidence that he had left, in an attempt to ease Liz’s fears, although he didn’t for a second believe the words that came out of his mouth.

“Oh” Liz replied – her monotone resembling Kyle’s, then sighed before an uncomfortable silence settled over the two of them, each one wrapped up in their concern for the others. Minutes passed by slowly and finally Liz whispered, “Michael don’t die” as she bit back her tears, she couldn’t bare to see anyone else die, already haunted by the images of Max and, although she had only seen it in flashes, the gruesome image of a butchered Diane Evans and a dying Phillip Evans using his own blood to spell out of his assailant had plagued her ever since last night. She wanted nothing more than to erase these images, to lose herself in the dark recesses of her mind and never break out, but something refused to satisfy her need for escape and it frustrated her. Without another word she got up from her seat on the couch and walked over to Michael and grabbed his limp hand, then began to rock back and forth quietly repeating her plea over and over again.

***

Tess felt herself drifting further into Michael’s subconscious, still unable to find what ailed him. Before, she was so certain that she knew what the problem was, that his body was merely readjusting after receiving the seal, but now she wasn’t so sure and that scared her. She liked consistency, a known course, it made everything much easier in times of crisis – Tess didn’t respond well to change, something that had been instilled into her throughout her time with Necedo. She was Ava, she was to marry Max Evans, who was Zan, king of Antar, his sister Isabel was Villondra, his second was Michael Guerin who was Rath, but when it had all gone wrong the first time, she learned the hard way that the Robert Burns quote displayed prominently in her English classroom, rang true – the best laid plans of mice and men oft times go ary. And now, Max, the king, was dead, Isabel, the princess, had sided with the enemy, Michael, the second, was lying unconscious while she, the queen, summoned the courage to save him.

Her mind wandered further before it was suddenly imbued with Michael’s most private thoughts and although she felt guilty for the invasion, she couldn’t rid herself of them. She saw and felt countless instances in which he had taken verbal and physical abuse from Hank, his step father, believing each and every last declaration of his worthlessness to be true, even now, years later. She saw images of Liz as a child, eating lunch with him when no one else would dare and felt the mixture of heartbreak and elation that he had harbored when Max and Isabel came to school, showing him that the others had survived, but saddened that this discovery would force him to end all communication with Liz, because Max had said that they were monsters and Michael believed it. In spite of this, however, he had kept every last thing that Liz had given him in a shoebox, under his bed in the trailer.

Tess then learned about the shooting, that fateful day in the Crashdown, Michael had held Max back, not because he wanted her to die, but because he knew that Max liked Liz as well, and Michael wanted to save her instead. He had loosened his grip in the end, because he doubted his abilities as a healer, although he had healed every last bruise that Hank had inflicted on him, and didn’t want Liz to die. It was better to admire her from afar, he reasoned, than not at all.

Then fantasy after fantasy flowed through Tess’ subconscious, each and every last one about him and Liz – in the kitchen of the Crashdown, on her balcony, in his apartment, in the rain, during class, in the eraser room, it didn’t matter where they were, just as long as Liz was there. Tess, although slightly startled by the absence of Maria from his most private thoughts, reasoned that if there was one thing that might bring Michael out of this, it was Liz.

***

Maria paced impatiently around Alex’s living room, only momentarily deterred by Alex’s proclamation earlier, she needed to do something to pass the time, she was worried sick and Alex’s request to leave Liz and Michael alone was hardly what she wanted. A part of her was still jealous, but mostly she wanted to make sure that Liz was ok and bury herself in Michael’s arms. While he had made it perfectly clear that they were over, she couldn’t help but find comfort in his strong arms, the power that Michael wielded always seemed, in her mind, to wash away whatever bad things had happened and she liked that, even though she knew, deep down, that they were so wrong together. “Ugh this is so frustrating” Maria huffed and reached for the phone, intent on calling Liz, only to be stopped by Alex. “Alex, I can’t take this waiting, I know that they’re hurting, I’m hurting and you’re hurting, but it huts me that THEY are hurting together.”

Alex sighed and wrapped his arms around Maria as she cried in his arms – it didn’t surprise him that she would focus on something else to forget what had happened to Max, but it was painful to watch Maria hone in on her usually invisible jealousy of Liz, yet again. He knew that Liz and Michael were attracted to each other, he’d seen it constantly over the years, and while Maria had appeared oblivious to it before, he knew now that she suspected something and he wanted, more than anything, for everyone to get along, especially in wake of this tragedy. “Maria, you and I know that Liz and Michael aren’t going to want to open up to the entire world about their grief, it’s not their way of handling things. I think that it’s good that they’re together right now, they can relate to each other’s pain in ways that we can’t, Michael lost a brother and Liz lost the guy who saved her life, the one she thought, for a time anyway, was her soul mate. And I know that you deal with grief by focusing on other things, other people, but Maria, Max is dead and the person that you should be concerned with right now is you, because if you don’t you will make up some insane story about how Michael and Liz were together and making mad love and you’ll believe it, then lose your best friend to your assumptions. You know, deep down, that Liz and Michael are simply doing what we should be doing – dealing with their grief.”

Maria, always quick to notice little slip-ups in a conversation, honed in on Alex’s admission – that they, not she, should be dealing with grief and suddenly she realized that Alex was not only hit with grief, but dealing with the repercussions of falling for Max’s sister and murderer. “Alex, it’s not your fault, what Isabel did to Max, and you couldn’t have expected her to be crazy, I don’t think that any of us did. Alex, you have a good heart, it’s one of the things that I love about you and you always want to believe the best in people and there is NOTHING wrong with that.”

“I know Maria, it’s just that, god, she was the first girl that I thought that I was in love with. I realize now that she wasn’t, I just was in awe of her, the way that most guys fall for supermodels and playmates, but it’s just that for a time I thought that she was it, she was the one and that scares me.”

“Shhh, Alex, it’s ok, it’s ok” Maria whispered as Alex began to cry, still locked in their embrace, then added quietly, in a voice almost inaudible over their tears, “you know I’m glad that we’re together right now too.”