Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 57 8/22/20 (WIP)

For stories that are mostly conventional in their couplings, but might explore one UC relationship, or might explore a UC relationship to some degree. It is also for stories where to reveal the eventual pairings in an Author’s Note might spoil the story. It is also for character driven fic that focuses mostly on one specific character. Main character death fics might also be safer here. This is a "read at your own risk" forum. Please read Forum Rules for more information.

Moderators: Anniepoo98, Itzstacie, truelovepooh, Erina, Forum Moderators

User avatar
behrinthecity
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:14 pm

Part 56

Post by behrinthecity » Tue May 12, 2020 6:55 pm

Hi everyone. Thank you so much for your comments. I am so happy people enjoyed the Buffy reference. :mrgreen:

Stefuh- hehe The cuteness is all inspired by my niece and nephew's adorable mischievousness when they were toddlers. Thank you for commenting about the conversation between Fields and Max. I didn't see Max holding a grudge, especially for a man who helped keep his family and friends, especially Michael, safe. Happy to hear it read well. :) Yay for Buffy fan! I loved that episode Jason was in, though more for the fact Jason was in it. I crushed so much on him back then. And oh, I don't know at all about Jason's feelings about vampires, the reference was purely to poke fun at the fact he played a character who obsessed about being a vampire and having eternal life through being undead. Thank you for the comment about Max thinking about the possibility of having kids with Liz. Hopefully, he'll be convinced it's not too dangerous to do so!

keepsmiling7- Glad to hear it. :)

dreamon- Glad you were able to read it! Thanks!


Note: The content of this chapter is a big part of the reason I chose to post this story in the read at your own risk Alien Abyss forum. I tried my best to treat the sensitive topics as compassionately as possible. If anything offends anyone, I apologize, but for this story and these characters, it needed to be discussed.

No previously's for this one.


PART FIFTY-SIX

Max refused to look Liz in the eye after he had come back to the living room.

The tension and strain persistently present in Max’s face seemed to deepen into craggy lines along his jaw. Still he did his best to respond when the others addressed him. He even managed to eat a cookie out of politeness. Liz slightly frowned as she observed the pained sadness in Max’s expression as he watched Xan and Patrick making funny faces at each other as they mostly played with their cookies. Her heart ached for him as she remembered how hard he had sobbed when he had said goodbye to Zan the first time. She surmised it was even harder for him now.

With a surreptitious tilt of her head at Cal, she wordlessly asked if they should leave.

As Max had already discreetly indicated to Cal that he had succeeded, he quickly responded by addressing everyone. With a show of looking at his watch he remarked, “Is that the time already? It really is true how fast time flies when you’re having a good time. I’m sorry that we have to take your leave now. It was lovely meeting you all. Thank you for allowing us to visit.”

Cynthia responded, “Of course. And I’m sure Matthew already said this, but please let us know if you need anything or want to visit again.” She trained her gaze on Max as she spoke; her voice soft and soothing.

Max seemed unable to speak, but he nodded to convey his gratitude at the offer. Cynthia reached out and lightly patted his hand in comfort. Lily then hugged him goodbye. Xan was right by her side at that point, holding his arms up. With a wide smile, belied by the sheen in his eyes, Max gave one last lingering hug to Xan. Matthew had taken Patrick out of the room when he had started to fuss after he had softly explained to his son that they were leaving. A faint wail reached them, “…dun wanna” there was a hiccupping sound, “em go!”

Max looked stricken as he rushed to apologize, but Cynthia assured him, “He’ll be all right. He was too excited about his dad coming back, so he didn’t nap. He’s just cranky.”

“Oh.” Max quietly said.

Cal merely tapped him on the shoulder to steer him back to the door. “Thank you again,” he commented with a brusque nod, his general’s hat tucked under his arm.

Matthew came out with an apologetic face. “He’s fast asleep now.” Offering his hand, he shook their hands in turn, Max last. “Remember, call me if anything.”

Marcus clapped Max on the back, “Same goes for me.”

Max held his back stiff as he expressed his gratitude and then quietly left the house. Liz and Cal followed in his wake.

Once back in the car Max stared out through the window lost in his thoughts. Liz tried to offer comfort with a gentle stroke on his hand. Max momentarily turned to regard her hand, keeping his gaze downcast as he did. But soon he returned to the window, watching as the grassy landscape turned to the tree lined lake.

Not one to be deterred, she attempted to engage him in conversation. Knowing he wouldn’t be ready to speak about Xan yet, she chose instead to comment on the scenery. “It’s so peaceful.”

She saw a muscle twitch in Max’s jaw, as if he was fighting to not respond. She tilted her head to try and face him, peering beneath his still impossibly long eyelashes. The depth of sorrow there took her breath away.

Instinctively, she called out to him, but the sound of his name barely came out, dying as it left her lips in shock.

His hand slipped away as he suddenly ordered, “Stop the car.”

The car had barely rolled to a stop when Max fled from it.

Stunned, Liz watched in confusion as Max strode towards the lake’s edge; his steps becoming increasingly stilted as he approached the water.

Liz spared a glance at Cal who had an equally puzzled and concerned expression on his face.

Then Max collapsed to his knees.

An involuntary gasp escaped Liz, while Cal immediately lurched towards the door.

Quickly regaining her bearings, Liz seeing that Max was still upon his knees, his head bowed, reached out to stop Cal. A hand on the protector’s arm, she murmured, “Let me.”

Looking between Max and Liz, Cal internally debated for a beat before giving a solemn nod in response.

Liz gently closed the door so the sound wouldn’t carry. Her troubled eyes observed Max as she approached him. Part of her almost expected him to run thinking that perhaps he was stuck in a horrible flashback.

Just as she was in reach, she softly called out to him.

She heard Max take a ragged breath.

“Max?” She repeated, her voice beginning to waver. Her hand hovered in the space between them. In reality it was just a few inches, but felt as if it were a vast chasm. It was if she had lost Max all over again.

No, she thought internally. She said she would stand by him through everything even if she didn’t understand. He had been alone for far too long. Releasing a fortifying breath, she lightly placed a hand on Max’s shoulder, still wary of how he would react.

“I don’t deserve you, Liz,” Max mumbled, his body physically withdrawing into itself, head somehow bowing even more than before.

Kneeling in front of him, Liz guided Max’s head up urging him to look at her. Though he faced her, his eyes stubbornly remained downcast. With a small sigh, she shifted into a sitting position beside him. “What you didn’t deserve is what they did to you.” She let that hang in the air as she mindlessly tugged at some grass near her. “You are the most loving, amazing person I—” Her voice caught as she stifled a sob. “—that I have ever had the privilege of knowing.” This statement finally got Max to look at her, though his gaze kept travelling back towards the ground. “I don’t know how you endured it all, but now… now I will make sure you know that you are loved Max. Being deserving or not doesn’t matter…” she shook her head as she spoke, knowing that in their short lives they both had made mistakes that had shaken the foundation of their relationship but still could not break them completely. “What matters is I love you and will never stop.” She did not waver as she watched him, her whole being willing him to believe her.

He finally met her gaze. The honeyed amber in his eyes appeared to shimmer in the setting sun. A tear fell down his cheek. Max closed his eyes seeming to stem any further tears. When he opened them, the turmoil stared out with raw naked pain.

“What did you see, Max?” Liz’s voice was hushed.

His hands clenched into fists at his side, but with a world weary sigh he lifted one hand to scrub his face. Once the hand dropped back down he uttered, “He’s not my son, Liz.”

Now Liz was truly confused. “Just because you had to give him up, doesn’t mean he’s not your son. You saw—he remembered you. And he clearly is going to be so loved and cared for. I don’t think they’ll let him grow up without him knowing of you.”

Max sadly shook his head. Softly he explained, “he’s completely human.”

“Yeah, we’ve been over this, both your human side and Tess’ led to a fully human baby,” Liz stated with the slightest tinge of irritation unable to fully mask her hostility at the reminder of when she had seen Tess with Zan.

Max stared out at the lake, his voice taking on a faraway quality. “Tess found that baby.” There was an extended pause. “Our child never made it.” Max’ voice adopted a slight monotone quality.

Liz was once more stunned silent. She regarded Max a long time, seeing his sorrow and strain with new eyes. Following his unseeing gaze to the lake it finally hit her why Max was out here. Her voice was thick as she sought to confirm her theory. “You think when he connected to you at the lake—”

Max gave a jerky nod. His eyes remained distant, possibly reliving the moment he had almost drowned. “I keep playing that vision in my mind and I…” the sigh he released sounded so defeated. “I can’t tell if it was just another mindwarp…”

Liz frowned with concern at how Max had bit out the word with such bitterness.

“… to make me” Max’s jaw muscle twitched as he pressed his lips into a tight line and clenched his jaw.

Liz held her breath in trepidation over what Max was going to say.

Releasing another hopeless sigh, Max continued dully, “…make me do what she wanted.” His head once more bowed, he cast his eyes downward, his long dark lashes brushing the upper crest of his cheeks. “Or if...” Max trailed off, the grief and hope in his voice soul-crushing.

Liz entwined her hand with Max’s to offer silent support. Max’s chest shuddered at the touch, his breaths coming out haltingly.

“What if his cry for help was the first and last thing he ever said?” Max expressed his dismay in a quiet and distant voice.

Liz was once more bereft of words. How do you comfort such a loss? Words felt inadequate. She held onto his hand tighter, non-verbally showing that she was there.

She could feel minor trembles down Max’s arm.

Rubbing his hand with her thumb, Liz murmured, “If you want to talk, I’m here.” It was a simple statement, and a typical pat comment, but her sincerity, compassion, and love infused every word of the offer.

A bittersweet smile flashed on Max’s face.

“I…” Max started, but trailed off. He appeared to be internally warring with himself. He extracted his hand, clenching it into a fist to match his other hand. He huffed out a breath, and looked up at the sky— if he believed in God, Liz would have assumed he was praying for strength. Lowering his head, he bit out; his voice drained, “I wish I could hate her.”

Liz stayed quiet waiting for Max to continue.

“After all she’s done… all she’s taken…” There was an odd hitch to Max’s breathing.

Liz bit her lip, apprehensive about where this was going.

“But when I heard her voice… the way she sounded when she found Xan…” Another tear raced down Max’s cheek. “I just pity her.”

Liz nodded sympathetically, though she didn’t fully understand what Max was talking about. But she did know Max needed to express more about what weighed so heavily on his mind. She gently prodded, “What did she say?”

Max stared out at the lake, his eyes glassy. He swallowed as the flash replayed in his mind.

He was once more in the shadowy street. He could hear little whimpers of a baby fussing—Xan he assumed. The pale light above him revealed Tess’ pinched face. She had dark circles under her eyes, but the expression was warm, earnest, and perhaps a bit desperate. Petite hands reached out delicately cradling Xan. As she held Xan close to her chest, Max felt a strong sense of safety, love, and contentment. He felt the rumbling vibrations as she attempted to soothe Xan; her voice quavering as if she fought back tears.

Max blinked a few times before turning to Liz. “I’ll be the mother you lost and you can be my son… together we’re complete… we’re found,” Max recited sorrowfully from memory.

Liz opened her mouth in a shape of an ‘o’, but found no words.

Max once more turned to the lake, his face pensive. “Those words are the only thing to suggest Zan was real at all.”

Liz stayed quiet, her heart breaking at Max’s words. Tentatively, she reached for Max’s arm. Just as her fingertips brushed his sleeve she noticed Max visibly flinch. The distress deepened on Liz’s face as her mind imagined what those monsters had done to cause this reaction.

“Sorry,” she whispered while tucking her hands under her arms.

Max shook his head.

“You should be with someone worthy of you Liz. Someone strong. Someone who knows what they’re doing.” Max’s words came out in a low rumble weighed down with self-loathing.

“What makes you think that you’re not all that?” Liz asked simply, unsure why Max seemed to doubt himself so much.

Max fell silent. The way he pursed his lips, suggested he was done with his confession. His eyes, however, screamed out for deliverance.

Clasping his hand in both of hers, Liz regarded Max with compassion. Fuelled by fear over what he was holding back and what it may lead him to do, she spoke urgently, “You can tell me, Max. I promise you, I am here for you.” Seeing that Max had squeezed his eyes shut, she reiterated in a resolute voice, “I won’t leave.” She needed him to know that she was really there for him. That he wasn’t alone anymore.

Max’s shoulders quaked.

He suddenly doubled over, his hand beginning to slip out of her gentle, but firm hold. She moved one hand to rub circles on his back. His voice trembled when he spoke again, “That night… in the observatory…”

Liz went still.

“She made me think I was with you,” Max admitted in a mumbled rush of words.

Liz wasn’t sure she was still breathing. Having stopped her comforting ministrations upon Max’s back her hands laid uselessly by her side.

“I should have known. I should have fought harder. I should have stopped it.” Max’s self-recriminations were spoken plaintively.

But all Liz could think was the last thing Tess had told her. Every time we were together. Every time we kissed. He was thinking of you.

Liz’s stomach dropped, a coldness spreading in her small body. Replaying the words that she had thought were an olive branch from Tess, she realized they were a confession. The nausea rising in her throat became fuel for an anger she had not felt in a while. That… that… Green began to crackle at her fingertips. The sensation broke through the haze of fury and horror so that she could focus on Max. His entire being seemed to emanate all-consuming self-loathing and guilt. She shifted in place so she fully faced him. Her fingers lightly directed his chin up and towards her so that he would look at her.

With an unwavering gaze, she spoke firmly. “She took advantage of you Max.” Her words were tinged with anger. As she saw him wince at her words, she could feel the little tingles down her arms of power surging and ready to be released. She took a deep breath to calm down. Deliberately, she softened her tone as she added, “It’s not your fault. And it doesn’t make me think any less of you.”

Max’s eyes opened wide with surprise.

Finding his hand again, she tenderly squeezed it. Her voice somewhat monotone, she recited what she had learned all those years back: “A mindwarp can force someone to see and feel things that aren’t there. It can make you do things out of your control.” The first time she had witnessed this she had been too hurt at what she was seeing to listen to what Max was saying… to understand the violation on Max. And she couldn’t help thinking of what Tess had forced Kyle to do with Alex’s body. Like he and Max were her personal puppets. No matter how many times Liz assured Kyle it wasn’t his fault, she knew it still haunted him. And just as she still continued to do with Kyle, she made sure Max knew, “It’s not your fault.” She repeated it one more time: “It’s not your fault.”

The astonished expression on Max’s face made Liz’s heart ache. “I meant it Max when I forgave you. And knowing the full truth…” she paused to search for the right words. How to express the horror she felt while ensuring Max didn’t think she was disgusted by and disappointed in him? Slowly releasing a breath, she completed her thought, “…all I can say, Max… is I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I pushed you away.”

About to say more, Max interrupted her with a rushed denial, “No! Liz, no—”

But she would not let him absolve her of her part. “Tess was able to take advantage because you were isolated. Despite what you said, I thought you needed to embrace your destiny. I mean there was a whole other planet depending on you four.” Her voice had briefly raised as she spoke about his intended purpose. She sighed and shook her head over what they had learned about Antar and the destiny of the ‘Royal Four’.

Morose, she sighed out, “I didn’t listen to you, Max.” In the back of her mind she recalled Future Max whose words she did heed and afterwards, regretted every moment since. “Whatever we face, we’ll face together.” She lifted their entwined hands to her lips and gave a small kiss.

She could see the palpable shock and hesitant relief on Max’s face. But as they continued to hold hands, she saw his expression shift into one of love and trust. His eyes radiated his awe and affection for her. His breaths gradually evened out.

As the sun lowered in the sky, Liz stole a glance back at the car where Cal stood leaning against the door. He casually lifted his wrist which bore his watch indicating that they had to get back. Glancing at Max briefly she could see that his grief was still fully exposed. His eyes lost in the depths of the lake. Holding up her free hand she signalled to the protector to give them five more minutes.

Refocusing on Max, she spied a now disturbingly familiar expression—the same broken expression he had in the video after surrendering. Wondering what to say, she mentally replayed the last few minutes and was finally struck with an idea. Tilting her head, she suggested, “How about we have a memorial service for Zan?”

Max whipped his head to Liz. His expression had been replaced with a mixture of confusion and gratitude. “You don’t have to do that Liz—” Max started, but Liz would not let his guilt hold them back anymore.

“Allow yourself to mourn him. He was real, Max. And…” Liz broke off unsure what else she could say. She knew Max didn’t believe she held any animosity towards Zan, but rather was continuing to punish himself and denying himself what he needed.

Max brought his left hand to swipe at his eyes. “Are you sure?” He asked hesitantly.

She offered him a supportive smile as she nodded.

Max affirmed with a shaky nod and attempted to stand. His legs were wobbly, but Liz was quick to put his arm around her shoulders. Once he was steady on his feet, Max surveyed the area around him. Spying a small alcove of trees to the side, he pointed it out to Liz. “Seems perfect,” she commented, thinking that thankfully they weren’t in the main area of the lake where tourists frequented.

Moving with resolve, Max strode forward—his strides nearly the natural length for his height. Shortly thereafter, he was stooping by the base of one particular tree. There were blue irises dotting the grass around the gnarly roots. Liz thought it truly was a perfect place for remembering the too short life of Zan. Focusing her gaze on what Max was doing she saw him jerkily wave a hand across the lower trunk. As she moved forward for a closer look, she saw Max already standing. He brushed off the miniscule remnants of dirt on his pants.

Softly, she asked, “Do you want to say anything?”

There's a whole other conversation going on
In a parallel universe
Where nothing breaks and nothing hurts
There's a waltz playing frozen in time
Blades of grass on tiny bare feet
I look at you and you're looking at me
Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don't know what I'd say in it
Probably just stare, happy just to be there holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I'm tired of being a fighter, I think,
A minute's enough,
Just beam me up.


Max regarded the tree and then back at Liz. Seeing his uncertainty, she quickly closed the gap between them and once more held his hand. “I’m here, Max.” Lightly squeezing his hand, she urged him on, “Just say what you feel.”

There was an almost sardonic look on Max’s face, but it was gone before Liz was sure she had seen it.

Facing the tree, Max cleared his throat and spoke out into the air. “I still remember when you touched my hand.” He looked down at his right hand. A small sniff escaped him. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you… that I couldn’t protect you.” Liz’s heart sank at hearing Max blaming himself. “However short time you lived, I hope you know that you were l-loved.” Unintelligible sounds escaped Max as he grasped for more words.

Pulling him close, Liz spoke on Max’s behalf. “You are loved, Zan. And we pray—hope” she quickly corrected herself for Max’s benefit, “that your spirit is free of pain.”

Some black birds soaring in the sky,
Barely a breath like our one last sight
Tell me that was you, saying goodbye,
There are times I feel the shivering cold,
It only happens when I'm on my own,
That's how you tell me, I'm not alone


Max leaned towards one flower at the base of the tree. Hovering his hand over it, a golden shimmer glowed beneath his palm. Max closed his eyes for an extended beat, perhaps silently bidding Zan goodbye. As Max stepped back from the flower, Liz observed in wonder at how upright the flower now stood, its petals a brilliant shade of blue. And above it, carved into the trunk, were the words: “Z.E. was”.

Liz held a hand to her heart, the emotion hitting her harder than she expected. Unable to voice her thoughts, she opened and closed her mouth a few times. But finally she offered, “We wish you peace, Zan.”

Moving to Max’s side, their hands once more gravitated to each other. She automatically leaned in, her head brushing against his shoulder, but Max did not flinch this time.

Resting his head against hers, he whispered, “Thank you.”

Liz debated mentally what further words of comfort to say, but ultimately chose to stay silent. There was a sense of tranquility as the two stood there sharing a moment of solace.

Golden rays illuminated the lake as the sun continued its descent in the sky. As loathed as she was to rush Max, she knew that they had been there too long already. She straightened up a little, her head already looking back towards the car.

Momentarily startled, she spied Cal standing just a few feet away from them.

He was staring at the carving on the tree, his expression doleful. His eyes met Liz’s. She was struck by the intense emotion in his eyes. She always assumed Cal was just like Nasedo: cold, ruthless, and unfeeling. Holding his gaze, she noticed his eyes momentarily flicker to Max before returning to hers with the silent question, How is he?.

In that moment she realized that under his brash, seemingly callous attitude, Cal cared about Max. With the slightest downward tilt of her head, she non-verbally assured him, Max would be okay—that she would make sure of that.
Receiving a curt nod from the protector, Liz knew that an understanding had been reached between them. A sanguine smile flitted on her face.

She felt Max stiffen; his body shifting away from her. Turning to Max, she watched him in concern. His face was unreadable, only belied by the pain in his eyes. A barely heard sigh escaped Max; his tongue darting out to moisten his lips. In a thick voice, she heard Max admit, “You were right.”

Unsure what Max was talking about, Liz silently observed him and Cal. Cal shook his head sadly releasing a humorless huff of laughter. “I wish I wasn’t,” Cal remarked somberly.

There was a moment of silence while Max once more regarded the tree where he had carved Zan’s epitaph. His eyes briefly closed, she saw him nod his head seemingly in resignation.

With a hand out, he gestured for them to head back to the car. Following after Cal, she blindly reached for Max’s hand. Feeling the warmth of his palm, she held on tight. She was aware of the slightest tremble in his hand, and so she slowed down enough to wrap her arm around Max’s waist. His arm laid across her shoulders pulling her tight against his side. With one last glance back at the tree, she heard Max tremulously whisper, “Goodbye.”

Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don't know what I'd say in it
I'd Probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I'm tired of being a fighter, I think,
A minute's enough,
Just beam me up…


Line taken from Four Aliens and a Baby
Song: Beam Me Up by P!nk

User avatar
Stefuh
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:55 pm
Location: Quebec, Canada.

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by Stefuh » Tue May 12, 2020 7:45 pm

Even if you did warn that this fic was in the AA because of this chapter, I still didn't see that coming, and now I'm crying. Poor Max, this is so horrible that he had to learn about that. I'm wondering where Tess took the replacement baby... And the fact that he felt disgusted about not being strong enough with Tess, I mean, she did rape him, and he's taking the blame for it. I'm just so glad that Liz is there for him. This chapter was heartbreaking. :cry:
| My Stories (Coming 2021) |
Image

User avatar
behrinthecity
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:14 pm

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity » Wed May 13, 2020 1:52 am

Stefuh wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 7:45 pm
Even if you did warn that this fic was in the AA because of this chapter, I still didn't see that coming, and now I'm crying. Poor Max, this is so horrible that he had to learn about that. I'm wondering where Tess took the replacement baby... And the fact that he felt disgusted about not being strong enough with Tess, I mean, she did rape him, and he's taking the blame for it. I'm just so glad that Liz is there for him. This chapter was heartbreaking. :cry:
Wow, I love how fast you are! Thank you for the feedback. Sending you comforting hugs (much like I have planned for Max in future chapters...) Image

Good question. Since the flash was from Xan's memories, the location is up to the reader to decide-- could be a random alley where he was abandoned or his mother died before she could take him somewhere safer, or could be near a church, where Tess found the baby before anyone from the church did.

keepsmiling7
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 2430
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by keepsmiling7 » Wed May 13, 2020 11:50 am

That was such a tender, emotional and reassuring part.
Of course Liz felt like she lost Max all over again.
Glad Max was honest about the observatory memory......
Liz kept hold of Max and suggested a memorial service.
Hopefully that was the closure Max needed.

User avatar
clueless
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 11:54 am
Location: east coast

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by clueless » Fri May 15, 2020 7:18 am

Thanks for another great part! I have to say I wasn’t expecting that conversation at all in this part but I’m glad it happened! As always, I can’t wait to read more!

User avatar
dreamon
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2003 10:10 pm

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by dreamon » Thu May 28, 2020 10:06 am

I just love this!
I have a few dreamer challenges in mind if you are looking for ideas so pm me!

User avatar
behrinthecity
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:14 pm

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity » Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:37 am

Quick update announcement-- as this next part was only partially written before I started posting, I still am fleshing out certain scenes. Due to an online conference I'm presenting in this week, it will be a bit longer for the part to be updated. Will try to get it up in a week.

keepsmiling7, clueless, and dreamon- Thank you for your comments! I am relieved the part was taken so well. :)

User avatar
clueless
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 11:54 am
Location: east coast

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by clueless » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:32 am

Just stopping by!

User avatar
behrinthecity
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:14 pm

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 56 5/12/20 (WIP)

Post by behrinthecity » Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:57 am

Hi everyone. Hope you all are safe and well. Am back much later than intended. I fell ill after my conference, but after some rest and meds, I did my best to write a little bit each day even if it was only a few words. And so I finally present you Part 57.

clueless- Thank you for checking in.

Previously...
[From Part 7]
The Evans came back, Mrs. Evans looking paler and more faint than before as she clutched tightly to her husband who seemed extremely tired. They told them that Max was already dead before he reached the hospital and the doctors had finally removed the bullets. The reason they took so long to talk to them was some identification issue. That’s when Kyle’s dad spoke up. “How could they not know it was Max? We all saw him. There couldn’t have been that many shootings today, he must have had his ID with him and besides, couldn’t they see his face?” His father’s voice had started to take a tone of incredulity.

“No.” Mr. Evans replied. All was silent in the waiting room as they all turned to stare at him. “They don’t know what happened to his wallet, but his face…” he trailed off for a moment to take a breath as his wife held on even tighter, if possible. “Those sons of bitches shot him a third time.” Mrs. Evans was openly crying by now and Mr. Evans did not elaborate.

Maria’s shock from the past hour’s events was beginning to wear off as it turned to anger. “What do you mean a third time? Where?” Her mom and Kyle tried to calm her down a bit, this was hard enough on the Evans without her badgering, but she fought them both off. “No! Where’s the doctor? I want to see Max. I want to see him!” She was screaming by now, and his dad had joined in to stop her.

But the struggling stopped when Mrs. Evans finally spoke. “His face. You can’t even tell…” she broke off as one more sob came out, “It was his face.”

[From Part 24]
Two hours later Phillip stood tensely in the kitchen. He stared intently at his cupped hand, his body shaking slightly with fury. Their bedroom, the living room, and the kitchen. Many of his and Diane’s private and intimate interactions had occurred there, and to think others had been listening in the entire time. He angrily shook his head at the small equipment in his hand. The nerve of those bastards, after all they’d done to them… Unable to control himself he threw the recording devices into their trash compactor and pressed the on button hard. He didn’t let go until the crunching noise had turned into a constant, grinding whine.

Finally, he released the button, shuffling back wearily. As his anger dissipated, he suddenly felt extremely tired.

Though Kyle hadn’t picked up on it in the dream walk, he realized the next day what had upset Max enough to allow him to get through. Once he consciously remembered the sounds in that white room he went to warn Isabel that night, hoping it was just a fabrication. And if it was, he knew where they were getting the voices from.

When he reached the grave, he immediately scoured the small area. He finally found it behind the grave, at the base.

[From Part 52A]
Max held the general’s gaze steady, a sudden fire of determination in his amber eyes. “She doesn’t talk about how she came to be abandoned in the desert, but when she came across me she was clothed. She offered me her sweater, but I didn’t know what it was and didn’t take it. So she threw off all of her clothes to make me more comfortable. She…”Max broke off momentarily looking at his hands. “Once she held my hand she never let go.”


PART FIFTY-SEVEN

Isabel checked her watch for perhaps the fiftieth time in the last hour. The sun had already set with no word from Max, Liz, or Cal. Her mind spun various worst-case scenarios of how Max’s plan to take back the seal could have gone wrong. Despite Michael’s begrudging approval of the guy, the only thing they really knew about this Fields guy was that he used to be part of the Special Unit.

A ruthless and sadistic organization hell bent on eradicating them all.

She briefly observed Kyle reading a Mechanics magazine noting his right leg jumping up and down. Loosing a breath, she pushed back an errant strand from her face, fretting. Where were they?

Panic began to grow within her, her eyes meeting Michael’s concerned gaze. He knew all too well how long removing the seal could take, but it shouldn’t be this long. She clasped and unclasped her hands, her knuckles turning white.

Maria’s phone rang.

Maria’s quick pick up prevented Isabel from pouncing on the ringing cell.

“Chica…where—” Maria started but then began listening intently. She then turned her gaze towards the entrance of the waiting room.

Isabel who observed Maria the whole time immediately followed her gaze and leapt up at the sight of her brother.

If possible, he looked more worn down than when he left. His hat was missing, the tie loose around his neck hung askew. Holding herself at the last minute, she just gently held both of his arms instead of hugging him tightly. Glancing at Liz, she received a small smile and nod indicating that she would explain on the plane. Lightly rubbing Max’s upper arms, she softly asked, “Everything go okay?”

Max jerkily nodded, his eyes refusing to meet her concerned ones. Then in a strained voice he added, “He’s safe… and happy.”

Relieved, she nodded. “That’s good.” As she spoke, she spied Michael releasing a sigh of relief in her periphery.

Studying Max for a beat, she broached the question always on her mind, “How are—”

“We should go,” he interrupted, breaking out of her hold.

But after hours of waiting with growing worry, Isabel would not let him off so easy. She grasped his hand as he began to move away.

Several distressing images rapidly flashed before eyes. It was too quick for her to process it, but the feeling of being unable to breathe was palpable. Her grasp on Max’s hand loosened in shock and he continued to move away.

Trying to regain her bearings, she inaudibly called out to Max, her hand still reaching out. But it was met with only air.

Her mind began to replay the hellish flashes she had just witnessed from Max’s mind—A cloth covering his face as water was poured over him… His head being forced under frigid water… Water pouring in from an unknown corner as he was held down in suffocating darkness… the pull of the lake’s undercurrents… a red image with a silhouette of a fetus…He couldn’t breathe…. He couldn’t breathe!

She released a ragged breath, her own chest feeling tight. The memory of Max first telling her that Zan could not breathe in Earth’s atmosphere easily came to her mind. Her sorrowful eyes followed Max knowing that whatever had happened at Matthew’s house was not something she could easily cheer him up with an impromptu snow fall.

Michael came up to her to check on her. She immediately assured him she was fine but confided her concerns in an urgent whisper. “Something did happen. But I don’t know what.”

~~~~~
Four hours later
Vancouver


The whole flight Max had kept to himself, appearing to sleep. Hoping he truly was resting, the rest of them let him be. Liz filled them in leading to a silent flight to Vancouver, their hearts weighed down by the knowledge of Zan’s passing. But settling into Cal’s stretch limo, Isabel took her chance to hover close to Max.

Max’s head remained bowed and his eyes closed to give the appearance he was asleep. After rejoining the others at the airport, he couldn’t bring himself to talk to anyone. His heart was heavy from what he had learned about Zan’s fate. And though Liz had been so understanding, comforting, and supportive, he knew she should be angry with him. For a full year he had taken advantage of her caring nature to join him on a fool’s errand. He had laid to waste his relationships all to save someone who was already dead. He was a failure. Not only did he not protect his son, he ruined the lives of Liz, their friends, and Cal. He was estranged from his parents and despite the way they had hugged him in the dreamwalk, he wasn’t sure how he could face them.

And so, like the coward he was, he feigned sleep.

But then Isabel gently gripped his hand.

I’m so sorry Max… He heard he soft voice echo in his mind.

Normally, he would resist the connection, immediately pushing her out. But Isabel quickly preempted that by bringing up the memory of him promising that he wouldn’t mentally block her again. With a humorless laugh, he relented to her presence. It had been years since they had communicated only through their linked hands.

Isabel was a warm comforting presence in his mind—a balm to heal his weary soul. The loss of his son had sunk so deep into him; leaving a gnawing ache in his heart. He felt lost. Her hand was a lifeline much like it had been back in 1989. He remembered how she had led them through the desert and reassured him that those bright lights in the road were not a bad thing. That it meant they were found.

The car came to a stop.

Laboriously, Max opened his eyes. The familiar burn of sorrow and shame made him want to shut them tight again. But before he could, he was met with Liz and Isabel, who were sat on either side of him, both giving him a supportive smile. He dipped his head in acknowledgment.

Isabel squeezed his hand. I’m here, Max.

Liz lightly hugged his other arm, her head resting on his shoulder. The constant physical touches helped remind him that she was there and staying.

Max looked at the both of them with deep gratitude, though his eyes still held disbelief that they were willing to be around him.

Through their mental link, Isabel spoke with determination, It’ll be all right. We’re facing this together. He tried to return her reassuring smile, but it faltered and he ended up staring at his shoes. He was grateful to be back in normal clothes, though the sweats he had on made him look more ready for a run. Then again, perhaps the outfit was appropriate. Cal had said the general was still out there. If he knew he was still alive, Max would once more be hunted down. His heart began to beat fast. We won’t let him near you. Isabel fiercely stated.

Having forgotten she could feel everything he was, he looked at her startled. She strengthened her grip on his hand to a firm grasp. You’re safe, Max.

His heart rate began to lower, as he felt the calming assurances from Isabel.

Cal opened the door then. “Follow me. I know your parents are eager to see you all.”

Cal’s statement energized the group. They all quickly slid out of the limo feeling antsy to reunite with their parents.

As they entered the foyer, Cal directed Max and Isabel to wait, while he gestured for the others to head into the living room. Liz gave Max a quick peck before she followed the others.

With no hesitation, Isabel held onto Max’s hand. She mentally cast the image of when their parents had picked them up from the orphanage as she added They love us, Max. They love you.

Max clung onto her hand wishing desperately that that were true. But despite how much he tried to quash the memory, the sounds of squealing tires and metal crunching began to play.

It’s not real, Max. That never happened. They’re okay. They’re safe. They—

Isabel’s affirmations were cut off by Cal’s return.

“I thought it’d be best to not overwhelm you, Max. Everyone is eager to see you, but we can take this as slow as you want,” Cal spoke kindly.

Max mumbled a thank you to Cal as he shuffled forward to the door.

Cal shared a glance with Isabel before he knocked on the door gently and opened it.

It was fitting that Isabel had shared the memory of the orphanage, because like that fateful day, the image of them standing before him and Isabel was surreal.

In 1989, the sun and their mom’s bright sweater gave an angelic glow as she had opened her arms to embrace them. Now, a lamp standing behind her cast a similar ethereal glow, but instead of arms out her hands were steepled over her mouth as she tried to hold back her sobs. Their father seemed to choke back his own sob at the sight of them, but still steadfastly held Diane up.

For a moment, the only sound heard were the tear-filled breaths of each Evans member.

Phillip broke the spell with his plaintive call, “Son.” There was an edge of incredulity mixed in with his desperate hope that this was no dream.

To Max’s ears, his father’s voice sounded similar to how it was in that haunting recording of his parents—weak and wounded but concerned for a loved one. Max subconsciously squeezed Isabel’s hand, his stomach tightening in worry as his eyes roved over his parents for any injury.

Diane broke out of her husband’s hold reaching out to Max. Her aged fingers lightly touched his cheeks as glistening tears fell down her own. “Oh my beautiful boy,” she murmured as she pulled him close. In response, he wrapped his own arms around her, feeling how solid and warm she was. His mother’s frail frame belied the strength of her embrace.

“Mom,” he breathed out. His voice was a torrid mixture of relief, need, and desperation.

He could feel his sweatshirt dampening from her tears but paid it no mind as he pulled her closer to rest his chin on her shoulder. His eyes squeezed shut to revel in the irrefutable proof his mother was alive. He felt a hand tenderly brush his hair. Involuntarily, his back tensed and his eyes flew open seeking the source of the touch. Spying his father hovering by them, Max reached out one arm to pull his father into the embrace. His hand clutched his father’s shirt as he heard him marvel in a hushed tone, “How? How?” Max’s eyes stung as he thought the same, unable to fully believe they were actually there—that this was real. Before his thoughts could dredge up his doubts and fears, he felt a soothing warmth spread in his mind. We’re home, Max.

Isabel’s words were what she had spoken in 1989, but Max had been doubtful back then. Something in him felt that there was no home—until he saw Liz. From that point on, the restlessness within him abated replaced with a sense of calm. Knowing such wonder existed in this world made him hopeful. He became resolute Isabel and Michael were his home and that that was enough. He vowed to look out for them—to ensure he did not lose his home again. But after saving Liz, the notion of home had changed. And after graduation it was merely the dream of a dying man.

But now, reunited with his loved ones, embraced by his parents and sister, home was once more tangible. Incredibly, everyone was alive, and he had been given back his parents. Holding tightly, he vowed he wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again. Isabel was right—they loved him and her unconditionally. They were home.

All four Evans held on for minutes with no one speaking a word.

The warmth of everyone’s embrace enveloped Max, easily chasing away any remaining chill in his body. He was tempted to sink into it as he released a sigh. But before he could allow himself to enjoy being reunited with his family, he had to know one thing.

Straightening up, Max broke the embrace. Meeting the wet gazes of his parents, he did a quick visual scan again for injuries. Tripping over his tongue, he asked thickly, “D-did they… hurt you?”

Diane stifled a sob at the question. She was still drinking in her son’s face, pushing away the memory of ‘identifying’ the bloodied faceless corpse.

Being still mentally linked with Max, Isabel heard his unspoken question of why his mother kept touching and staring at his face. The disturbing answer came just as his father responded with a tight, “Not physically.”

Appalled over the news that his replacement “corpse” had been shot in the face, he once more held onto his mother. He repeatedly spoke in her ear, “I’m so sorry.” Internally, his guilt compounded under the knowledge of the emotional torture his parents had suffered at the hands of the Special Unit.

He heard his mother’s breath hitch before she sadly shook her head. But she seemed unable to voice her thoughts, her body trembling under the weight of her emotions. Instead, Phillip spoke.

“No son, we’re sorry. We should have protected you.” Phillip drew in a sharp breath remembering how intensely he had investigated Max, as if he were a common criminal. “I should have tried harder to get you to trust me—”

Max cut him off, “You didn’t do anything wrong.” Holding both his parents’ teary gazes, he continued, “I did. I….” he trailed off as he attempted to calm his rapid heartbeat with a few deep breaths. With a brief glance at Isabel, he turned once more to his parents, “Isabel wanted to tell you as soon as you adopted us. But… I was afraid. I… didn’t even know what I was… couldn’t fathom that you could love whatever… I actually was.” He gestured to stop them refuting his words so that he could finish. “And I never wanted to endanger you.” His tongue nervously darted out to wet his chapped lips. “I tried to get them to leave you alone.” His voice was a plea for them to understand that he never meant for them to be hurt. “But…” his eyes roved desperately over his parents once more searching for any lingering injuries. Despite himself, his breath hitched as he asked, “Were you in… any car accident?”

His father looked at him stunned. His confusion at the question lasted for only a brief moment as he suddenly realized the purpose of the listening devices around their home. They had played Max manipulated audio files as a form of torture, he presumed. And taking in the gaunt form of his miraculously revived son, he could only imagine what else he had endured in the past year. Curses filled his mind over what those sick FBI agents must have done to his son.

“No, son. We were not in any car accident.” Phillip firmly assured Max that whatever news he had been given about them was only a fabrication. His voice was a low rumble barely concealing the fury and pain he felt. Unable to hold himself any longer, he pulled his son in for a hug. He briefly raised his eyes to the ceiling in a silent prayer of thanks for getting his son back and for strength for them all to heal.

At his father’s words, Max felt as if an invisible chain around his chest had snapped. His breath came out in a shudder under his emotions of relief and disbelief. What he had fervently hoped for in that room was actually true. He hadn’t caused his parents deaths.

But then the sickening voice of his head tormentor added in his mind, Yet.

Desperately, pushing away that taunt, Max clung to his father. His body began to tremble.

Worried Max was going into shock or even about to collapse, Phillip ended the hug. Placing his hands upon Max’s shoulders he took a proper look at his son. He could see haunting shadows etched into his haggard face. Barely an adult, yet weariness emanated from his entire being. Phillip could feel tiny prickles in his eyes as he assessed his son. He mentally berated himself, What kind of father was he that he let this happen to his son?

The mental echo of what Max had said about himself replayed in Phillip's mind, compelling him to correct him. “You are our son. And nothing will ever change that.” He spoke firmly, but the tiniest waver still came through.

Max hesitantly met his father’s gaze.

The wrinkles on his father’s face were deeply set and there was an aged tiredness dulling his eyes. Max’s stomach once more tightened in the face of the pain inflicted on his parents. His head weighed down by shame at his failure to protect them, he returned his gaze to the floor. He knew if his parents heard the full truth about him—about what havoc he wrought on those around him—it would change.

His father gently tilted his head back up, so that they faced each other once more. Blindly reaching out to Diane, his hands grasped hers as he spoke, “We mean it son.” His eyes closed as the memories of sorrow from the past year overtook his thoughts. When he opened them again, his eyes were red. “I—we—can’t lose you again.”

The statement was quietly spoken, but the words shook Max to the core.

He hadn’t thought how hard his death would have been on his parents when he had taken the stage. But after learning the truth about Zan, he now knew the persistent gnawing ache they must have felt. And now, his father was imploring him to not leave.

Though him staying away would best protect them, he couldn’t bring himself to inflict such heartache upon his parents again.

The wound of losing Zan burned through him, robbing him of any other thought. All he could do was shakily nod in response.

In a daze, he was barely aware of his family moving him to the sofa. Isabel clasped his hand, and his mother tenderly rubbed circles on the other. His father poured him a glass of water and gently urged for him to sip it slowly.

After a few sips, Max placed the glass on the coffee table. “Thank you,” he feebly said.

Phillip asked, “How are you?” The question felt woefully inadequate, but in the face of his son’s resurrection he didn’t know what else to say.

“Better,” Max answered. It wasn’t a lie—the water had certainly helped him to regain his senses. And being surrounded by his family in Cal’s palatial mansion was a significant improvement to his isolation in a white tiled cell.

Phillip and Diane shared a significant glance.

Placing Max’s hands in hers, Diane soothingly spoke, “It’s all right to not feel okay, Max.”

Max slowly turned to his mother. Extricating his hand from Isabel’s he placed it over his mother’s. “I know.” He stated simply.

Diane offered him a reassuring smile. “Whenever you want to talk, we’re here, Max.” She knew the therapy never worked for Max, but she still hoped that now that he was no longer hiding his extra-terrestrial origins from them, he would be willing to share some of his burden with them.

Max’s lips curved into a small smile of gratitude, though the tension around his eyes gave it a pained look.

The silence stretched on as Max sightlessly looked at his and his mother’s stacked hands. Internally, he was lost to the memory of hearing his parents’ voices in there. Just as his mother’s scream started, he cleared his throat. “I heard you in there.”

His voice was hesitant like a child waiting to be chastised.

Diane’s eyes widened, briefly sharing another weighted glance with Phillip before focusing in on Max. Before she could prompt him to continue, he spoke again.

“You were speaking at my grave.”

Phillip, Diane, and Isabel all wore matching startled and sympathetic gazes. They couldn’t be totally surprised at the revelation itself remembering what Kyle had discovered all those months ago.

Max forged on, “It was good that you left Roswell.”

Diane’s hands loosened around Max’s from her shock over his words. Deciding to leave Roswell had been one of the hardest decisions she ever made. Max though kept a steady hold as he continued.

“I never wanted you two to get trapped by…” Max paused searching for words. “I once told you my secret wasn’t dangerous, but after that day... it was. Just being who I was meant those around me would be in danger… and I never wanted that to happen to you. You both welcomed me into your home… and I destroyed it.” Max’s gaze was once more locked on the floor. “I thought if you didn’t know the truth, they wouldn’t go after you. That you wouldn’t be hurt. But they did and what’s worse my lie hurt you more.” A ragged breath escaped Max. With great effort he forced himself to look at his parents as he uttered, “I’m sorry.”

After his confession, Max hung his head heavy with guilt. His hands slipped from his mother’s grasp to cover his face—a pitiful attempt to hide the shame etched there.

He felt warm hands on his shoulders. “Max.” His father’s voice was thick with emotion.

But Max couldn’t bring himself to face his father.

His father released a heavy sigh. “Max, we understand why you did what you did.” Max’s head slightly lifted indicating he was listening.

“We may wish you didn’t have to hide all that, but we don’t blame you.”

Max’s eyes were opened, watching warily.

Phillip lowered himself so that he was eye-level with Max. Patting Max’s knee, he sighed one more time. “What hurts is that we couldn’t protect you. That we were helpless, while you were hunted, persecuted… tortured.” Phillip’s voice caught on the last word.

Max instinctually tried to downplay how bad it had been, but the stern expression on his father’s face stopped him.

“We still cannot believe our prayers have been answered—that you’re both here alive. Phillip’s last word was but a mere breath, his throat tightening. He reached for both Diane’s and Isabel’s hands as he held his gaze steady on Max. “We’re together in this. You’re not alone, Max. Let us be there for you.”

His father’s words replayed in his mind—a life preserver thrown in to pull him from the tumultuous thoughts drowning him. You’re not alone, Max. Mentally, he clung to the words as the head agent’s words harshly washed over him—

There’s no one to go back to.

For too long those agent’s words were all he knew of reality. Each word cutting invisible wounds into him where the scars never healed.

Looking at his father, mother, and Isabel in turn, Max choked down a sob. He could feel the warmth of their presence around him, hear their breaths, smell the familiar scents of their cologne and perfumes. His senses were demanding to be believed. His father’s words were a tantalizing call beckoning him from his isolation. Hope and desperation mingled as they echoed once more in his mind. More haunting words joined the echoes—

We’re really here, Max, his sister tearfully assured him.

They’re gone, Mr. Evans, his head tormentor cruelly reminded him.

He shied away from the taunting statement, trying to focus on the words of comfort from his family.

We are stronger together, Michael affirmed.

Whatever we face, we’ll face together, Liz vowed.

Max erratically nodded, unable to speak. His captors’ jeers whispered through the cherished memories of his loved ones casting doubts on what was real.

Fortunately, his parents and Isabel accepted his nonverbal response without question.

Phillip and Diane shared matching melancholy smiles. They were still unsure on what to do, but having their children back infused them with verve. The Evans family was no longer lost and separated. Phillip and Diane were resolved to do whatever was necessary to ensure that never happened again.

Seeing Isabel place her arm around Max, Phillip and Diane completed the group embrace; their hands linked the whole time.

Isabel’s soothing voice entered Max’s mind. We’re here, Max. We’re really here.

keepsmiling7
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 2430
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:34 pm

Re: Scars of White (AA, CC, MATURE) Part 57 8/22/20 (WIP)

Post by keepsmiling7 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:11 pm

Welcome back......sorry about your fall.

Thanks for the previous parts/reminders. That helps me.
Max seemed a bit overwhelmed by the support of loved ones.
Now he knows his parents true feelings, I hope he will talk/share more with them.
I loved the group embrace........a family together.

Post Reply