Solar Eclipse Book 2 (CC,M/L,MATURE) COMPLETE

Finished Canon/Conventional Couple Fics. These stories pick up from events in the show. All complete stories from the main Canon/CC board will eventually be moved here.

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max and liz believer
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Chapter 7...

Postby max and liz believer » Sun Apr 27, 2003 11:01 am

Thanks to everyone who has left me feedback, and been bumping!! :D :D

Elizabeth

Shari

roswelluver

buffylicious

Jeni

HBGO

LeighAnn

frenchkiss70

kissme4ever123

Lynn

Tea

nusacme

BehrObsession

LizzieEvans




Chapter 7


Roswell, New Mexico, Earth


“We don’t have to do this, Nancy,“ Jeff said to his wife.
“No, it’s okay. I think I need to do this,“ Nancy answered, taking a deep breath as she opened the door to her daughter’s room. “It’s been five years, Jeff. I need some kind of closure.“
“We can always do it later,“ Jeff said, feeling that he himself wasn’t so sure about this.
“I think this is the right thing to do,“ Nancy said. “We have to realize that she’s...gone.“ Her voice hitched in her throat as a sob broke up to the surface at the memory of her daughter’s fate. Raped and then killed, and only seventeen years old. She had to take a deep breath to control the emotions that swirled up to the surface as her husband put his hands on her shoulders in an act of consolation. She had to stay strong. They had to do this. They would feel better after they’ve done it.
“Meg and Stan will be here in a week, and the room has to be ready by then.“
“We can always let them sleep in our bedroom, and we can take the extra mattresses. Or they can stay at the motel like they suggested.“
Nancy turned around and looked her husband firmly in the eyes. Her eyes were shimmering with the moisture of unshed tears, but her face was determined. Jeff knew that expression far too well. His daughter used to have that expression too. Her wife had reached her decision, and that was final. His only child’s room, after being a sacred, almost untouched haven since her death, was to be transformed into a guest room. The decision left them with great emptiness, hurt and sorrow in their hearts, but they knew that they had to do it. It was time to accept the truth. Their daughter wasn’t coming back. They needed to let go of the past.

<center>-------------------------------------------------------</center>

Antar


“Max, I need to talk to you,“ Kira said, walking into the tent.
Max turned around, his fingers still entwined with Liz’s.
“Oh... Excuse me. Did I interrupt something?“ Kira asked, eyeing how Max slowly disentangling his fingers from Liz’s.
“No, we were just trying something,“ Max answered evasively.
Kira caught Liz’s expression momentarily before she turned her face away. She was crying.
“I’ll be right with you,“ Max said, reaching his hand out behind him, grabbing Liz by the hand again.
Kira nodded, and left without a word.

Max turned around, pulling Liz into a tight embrace. “It’s okay, love,“ he whispered to her. “We’ll try later, okay? It was only our first attempt, and we were interrupted as well.“
He could feel her nod against his shoulder, her tears wetting his shirt.
“I can talk to Kira later,“ Max said.
“No,“ she whispered, feeling her voice would quiver. “You should go. I’ll be fine...maybe Kira has some news.“
Max pulled away slightly from the embrace. Liz was keeping her unseeing eyes locked on a spot on Max’s chest. Max put his two fingers under her chin and gently pushed her face up towards his. Her eyes were glittering from her tears and her bottom lip was trembling slightly as she tried to regain her composure. Max tenderly brushed away some of the tears lingering on her cheeks with his thumbs.
“I’ll be right back,“ he promised softly.
She swallowed, a sob hitching in her throat, and nodded. The expression in his eyes gave her the reassurance, comfort and strength she needed. He leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
“I love you,“ he whispered.
A sob escaped her lips and she nodded again.
He gave her a tender smile and then he was gone.

<center>-----------------------------------------</center>

“What is it?“ Max asked as he entered the bigger tent. Kira turned around at the sound of his voice.
“We have acquired some new information.“
“What kind of information?“ Max asked, caution in his voice. He stepped further into the room.

Kira took a deep breath. “On Antar, there’s a whole network of Antarians who are loyal to Zan. They call themselves Loyalists. Their parents were loyal followers of King Zosima - Zan’s father...your father. During their lifetime King Zosima was assassinated, and young Zan was placed on the throne. The followers to king Zosima almost automatically decided to be loyal to the new king as well, and their children grew up with the same belief...even though King Zan was assassinated merely three Earthly months after his coronation. Those children are now adults, and they are more or less active in a secret underground community to re-establish peace on the planet and remove Khivar from the throne.“
“Okay,“ Max said slowly, somewhat overwhelmed by all the instant information, “Do they know that we were sent to Earth?“

“According to the recent information given, rumors have been spread, and they know that you are alive. There are even some rumors about the possibility that you are actually here on Antar.“
“If they know about it, then our enemies and Khivar know too,“ Max said slowly.
“Yes, unfortunately so.“

<center>-----------------------------------------</center>

“Hey.“
Startled by the soft voice, Isabel turned her head towards the opening of her small tent and saw Liz standing there.
She forced herself to smile. “Oh, hi Liz.“
“Are you okay?“ Liz asked.
“You don’t beat around the bush, do you?“ Isabel asked sarcastically, re-focusing her eyes on her hands. The mattress sank down as Liz moved to sit down in front of Isabel, folding her legs into Indian style.
“We haven’t talked much recently,“ Liz said slowly.
Isabel sighed. “Why are you here, Liz? Did my brother send you?“
“No, Isabel. I have a mind of my own, you know.“
“Really, well sometimes it doesn’t seem that way.“
Silence lowered itself over them, like a thick suffocating blanket, and for the first time since Liz had sat down in front of her, Isabel moved her eyes to look at the person her brother would sacrifice everything for. She expected to see hurt in Liz’s eyes, but she only saw compassion. And it aggravated her even more.

“What’s wrong, Isabel?“ Liz placed her hand over one of Isabel’s. Isabel immediately shrugged it off and raked her hands through her hair with a frustrated sigh.
“Liz, I’m not Maria! I don’t need your reassurance, or comforting words!!“
“Isabel, I’m just trying to help!“
“Well, I don’t feel like talking! Okay?!“
“I know that you miss Earth, and everyone there.“
Isabel closed her eyes at Liz’s words, swallowing deeply.
“I know you miss your parents, and Alex…“
Tears started to fall from Isabel’s closed eyelids.
“Isabel, I want you to know that I’m here if you ever want to talk...about anything. Girl power, you know?“
Isabel gave her a sobbing chuckle. Liz smiled compassionately. “Okay?“
Isabel nodded, tasting the salty tears running down in the corners of her mouth.
Liz put her arms around Isabel and pulled her towards her. “Come here.“
Isabel held her tightly, sobbing against her shoulder. “I’m so...sorry Liz. I didn’t mean to blu...blubber all over...you.“
“It’s okay,“ Liz whispered, “Blubber away.“

<center>--------------------------------------------</center>

Max closed his eyes with a sigh, rubbing his forehead. By now, Kira recognized the action. Max always did it when something was deeply troubling him.
“Why haven’t you told us about this before?“ Max asked, his voice a little sharper. They could’ve saved so much time if Kira had just told them about this before. Who knew what had happened to Emma while she had been waiting for them to rescue her?
“We weren’t sure if there were still Loyalists out there-“
“I need to be informed about everything anyway,“ Max said, his voice increasing in intensity. How was he supposed to find Emma and protect Liz if he wasn’t given all of the information?
“I wasn’t sure if I was to confuse you with more details-“

“What?! I need to know everything you know!! I need to have all of the information, otherwise I have no control here. I don’t recognize this world and I don’t remember this world! I don’t understand the language. The information you can give me is all I have. And everything is important. Any piece of information might make the difference! We’re lost without information.“
“Knowledge is power,“ a voice said calmly from the opening of the tent.
They turned around to find Michael standing there.
“What’s going on?“ he asked, stepping further into the tent as he was suspiciously eyeing Kira.
“Good Michael. You’re here. I couldn’t find you earlier, and you should hear this too,“ Kira said. “Where’s Isabel?“
Michael shrugged his shoulders.
“Do we have any contact at all with these...Loyalists?“ Max asked.
“Loyalists?“ Michael asked.

“Antarians loyal to Zan,“ Kira answered shortly, before turning to address Max’s question. “We actually have gotten in contact with one of the Loyalists. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.“
“Wait. There are more Antarians out there who are on our side?“ Michael asked.
“Yes,“ Kira answered.
Michael snorted. “Well, that’s certainly good to know. It never crossed your mind to inform us of this minor detail a little sooner?“
The sarcasm in his voice was sharply noticed by both Max and Kira. Kira was starting to realize that he certainly had made the wrong decision when deciding not to inform Max, Michael and Isabel about this. He met Max’s adamant facial expression, demanding answers, and he sighed.
“You should know that this...uhm…organization has extremely tight security. Just much security as there is at the royal palace. Loyalty to Zan is punishable with death, hence everyone involved are extremely careful about revealing their loyalty. In public they lead normal lives, and even though Khivar knows that there are rebels working against him, he has no faces or names to work with. And the Loyalist would like to keep it that way. The person who has contacted us is the leader of the Loyalists, and my men have confirmed his credibility to me. He is to be trusted. But thus far the attempts to contact us have not been reciprocated from our side and I have come to ask you what we should do, Max.“

“Arrange a meeting.“
The three aliens turned around to see Liz standing in the opening of the tent. Her eyes were tired, but her stance and expression spoke of strength. As on cue Michael and Kira turned their heads to look at Max.
“Liz...“
“Max, I think we should do this. What do we have to lose?“
“Your life, maybe,“ Michael said sarcastically.
“What about Emma’s life?“ Liz retorted.
“We don’t know if we can trust this person,“ Michael protested.
“As I understand it, we know more than we’ll ever know,“ Liz said, “And if there is some chance that there are people out there willing to help us, then I think we should take it.“
“What if he’s a traitor, ready to turn you in when you show up at the meeting,“ Michael pointed out, “Then neither one of you can help Emma.“
A pained expression flashed over Liz’s face.
“Michael, shut up,“ Max said. “Liz’s right.“

Michael sighed, throwing his hands in the air in frustrated resignation. “Of course. Liz is always right,“ he said with venom in his voice.
Max turned to look at Michael. “What the hell’s wrong with you?“
“This isn’t a stupid show off game, Maxwell! You can’t just play your king card, shout orders around and expect everyone to just follow every little movement of your damn pinkie finger!! And now you’re listening to Liz, who knows absolutely nothing about our world or our people-“
“Michael. Stop it,“ Max said, a deadly warning to his voice.
“I’m so sick of this, Max!! I have people here on this planet who want me to be the king! I don’t know why I’m sticking around here at all!“
“What are you talking about?!“
“I’m talking about me being fed up with sitting on my ass and just watching everything pass me by!! Everything’s always about you and Liz! Maybe I didn’t even want to go to this pla-“
He stopped himself abruptly, his heart speaking before his mind.

“Then leave, Michael,“ Max said. He really didn’t need this. He had enough problems as it was.
“No, Max,“ Liz said, stepping closer to the two testosterone-loaded males. “Michael. I’m grateful everyday that you decided to come with us. You’re right; you didn’t have to come here. But no one forced you either. It was your choice. You miss Maria, even if you would never admit it,“ she watched loneliness pass over Michael’s features before they were quickly repressed back behind his stone wall exterior, “I do too. I miss Maria, and I miss my parents, who I haven’t seen in almost seven years. I’m fortunate to have Max with me everyday. We are all hurting in one way or another. You can do as you like, Michael. No one controls you,“ she shot a pointed look in Max direction, who looked very confused by the underlying meaning of her look, “and you can do whatever you want. If you want to go home, I think that Kira can arrange something.“

There was a pause as Michael met Liz’s eyes, reading the sincerity, gratitude and love in her eyes. He swallowed, feeling slightly guilty for his outburst.
“No, I’m staying,“ he said.
Liz smiled, and pulled him into a hug. Slowly, his arms went around her waist, returning her hug.
“Thank you,“ she whispered in his ear. “Thank you for helping us.“
“No problem,“ Michael said gently, not knowing how to control his feelings.

<center>--------------------------------------------------------</center>

“Damnit!“ Nancy cried out in frustration as she stumbled over the bucket of soap and water standing on the floor. The bucket made some stumbling spins before it decided to stay upright and prevent a very wet accident.

However, Nancy’s attention wasn’t on the bucket doing a little balance dance on the floor, but rather on a part of the tile wall that had connected with her elbow, stopping her fall, but sending jolts of pain through her whole arm as the sensitive nerves in her elbow were hit. The tile wall didn’t have a smooth surface any longer as one of the tiles, the one Nancy’s elbow had hit, had been pushed in, revealing its mobile state. Nancy slowly put her fingertips at the sides of the tile and started to pull it outward. With the tile out of the way, a black hole revealed itself to her.

A hole in the wall.

But her sudden surprise and the pounding of her heart in tight anticipation wasn’t due to the fact that there was a small hiding place in the wall, it was due to the brown leather-bound book lying in it.

Her hands were shaking as she reached inside the chilly hole and retrieved the book. Her movements were filled with trepidation as she slowly cleaned off a layer of dust from its surface. Her breathing had quickened. Even though the book lacked a title, she knew who the author was. She had seen that book on countless occasions when her daughter had been alive. It had been on her lounge chair out on her balcony, on her bed, or her desk.

Nancy had never touched it of course, because it was a private book. She couldn’t deny that she had been tempted several times to take a look in it. Tempted during moments when her daughter had been acting strangely. A memory of her daughter climbing through her bedroom window in the middle of the night flashed through her mind. That was when her daughter had also been caught skipping classes and making out with Max Evans. Her need to protect her daughter from the dirty minds of teenage boys and all other troubles she could get herself into made her itch to read that book, to find out if her suspicions were true. But she never had. And she had failed to protect her daughter.

She slowly lowered herself to sit on the edge of the bed, her body feeling numb as her mind was going a hundred miles per hour. She took a deep breath and opened the cover, the only obstacle standing in the way of her and her daughter’s private thoughts. The last thing she had left of the daughter she had felt she had really lost during the last year of her life. She almost dropped the book as her brain processed the first words.
“JEFF!!!!“ she yelled, her voice frantic, on the verge of hysterics. Written with black ink in her daughter’s handwriting were eighteen words that made her world lurch on its axis and start moving in the wrong direction.

Journal Entry 1: I’m Liz Parker, and five days ago I died. After that, things got really weird.


TBC...

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Chapter 8....

Postby max and liz believer » Wed May 07, 2003 6:33 am

Hi everyone!!


I want to say a big THANK YOU to the following people:

girlie_girl

roswelluver

Lynn
Thank you sooooo much for all the bumps!!!

Elizabeth
Thank you so much for editing!

Shari

BehrObsession

buffylicious

Katie

Tea

Kissme4ever123




Chapter 8


Maria nervously knocked on the door to the Parkers’ residence. Why had they been so eager to meet with her? Why did she feel like things were about to change drastically - again? And why did she feel like she was about to reveal something that wasn’t hers to tell?

The door flew open and she was faced with a rather pale looking Jeff Parker. Maria had only seen him like this once before. On the day of Liz’s funeral. Her first thought was that Liz was actually dead this time, but before her mind got the chance to trigger a barrage of uncontrollable, upsetting, and revolting emotions, the logical and cautious part of her (which had become more and more evident since she had found out about the existence of the Czechoslovakians) calmly reminded her that Liz’s parents still didn’t even know that Liz hadn’t died that night five years ago... No, it had to be something else.

However, as Jeff waved her inside and she caught her first look of Nancy Parker, she knew that whatever was going on was something big. And then her eyes fell on the book lying in Mrs. Parker’s lap and her heart almost lurched to a complete halt. It was Liz’s journal. Before she had any more time to contemplate this horrific realization, Jeff told her to sit down. She hesitantly sat down, trying to avert her eyes from the diary and concentrate on acting innocent and ignorant of whatever they had to say. But it was as if the diary had a special impact on her, and it kept pulling her eyes towards it. It was the same diary that Liz had been hysterical about when she discovered it was missing a couple of years ago.

She had arrived at Maria’s doorstep in the middle of the night, telling Maria that her journal was missing. At first, Maria hadn’t thought it was such a big deal. Sure, you write down every thought, every embarrassing feeling in them, but so does every other teenager who keeps a diary. Maria didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation until Liz explained that she had written everything in that journal.

Everything.

About Max. About his, his sister’s and best friend’s unique origin. Unless Liz had pulled out all of the pages from that diary after that incident, Maria was pretty convinced that the book lying on the couch was basically a ticking time bomb. All of her various feelings and thoughts finally summed up to one phrase that kept running through her mind; Have they read the diary?

“Hi, Mrs. Parker,“ Maria said lightly, but the trembling on her voice gave her casualness away.
“We need you to read something,“ Mr. Parker said, giving his wife a nod. Maria swallowed loudly as Mrs. Parker stood up and walked over to her, placing the diary in Maria’s lap and then turning it to the last pages. Maria looked up into Mrs. Parker’s eyes and she felt shivers running down her spine at the signs of despair and hurt she saw there. She took a deep silent breath before she gathered all of her concentration to focus on the last pages Liz had written in her journal five years earlier.


I feel like I’m falling. Falling into a bottomless hole, with no ladders or ropes to help me out. With no light to put warmth back into my dark existence. Ever since Future Max came to me and told me that I had to give up the love of my life, and with that the greatest reason for me continue living, my life lost its purpose. The only remnants of what used to be my heart are painful shreds that are burning and stinging as if they had been drowned in corroding acid, and it gets worse every time I have to tell Max another lie. Every time I have to deceive him I also destroy a piece of what I am and what I believe in. But that’s not even the worst part. Despite the fact that I’m so tired, so very tired, that sometimes I just want to lie down and cry myself to sleep, to not only sleep for a few restless hours, but for an eternity, death scares me as it is now following me around in everything I do. In every painful breath I take.

I’m dying.

I know it. I can feel it deep in the core of my being. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. Last week I fainted from the mere exhaustion my worn-out existence has forced me into. Not even Max was able to bring any light to the dark nightmare that starts in the nights and stretches into the traitorous lights of the next day.

Max.

My efforts paid off, I managed to push him away. I can even live with the fact that I’m dying if it meant that I didn’t have to see that hurt in his eyes. The hurt
I put there. And yesterday, my heart soared as a saw something in his eyes that I hadn’t seen there in a long time. Life.

My mind keeps pushing him away, wanting to protect him. Wanting to protect him from hurt, because truth is,
I’m the one who hurts him the most. But the last remnants of my still-beating heart beg him to listen to me. To listen to that voice inside of him that I’m convinced knows that I didn’t sleep with Kyle. To listen to what we used to be - our love. The love neither one of us can let go off. We are both hurt, and that love has been put through more trials than imaginable, but it still lives on. I can still feel the small fluttering in my heart as I see him, even though my mind is screaming at me to push him away to prevent the end of the world.

Under all of that hurt and despair in his eyes, the eyes that used to hold so much gentleness and warmth but now are so lifeless that they scare me, I can still see a small, although damaged, part of that warm love that used to shine through his eyes so brightly. The light I crushed to death because
he asked me to. A future version of him, but him nonetheless.

His faith in me that he somehow manages to cling to dazzles me. I keep pushing him away, showing him that I don’t need his help. Trying to make him understand that he has a destiny that doesn’t include me, a destiny with Tess. That doesn’t stop him from continuing to spend all of his free time at the Crashdown, watching me as I work. The intense gaze of love is gone, but I can still feel his eyes on me. He watches over me and it makes me feel safe, protected beyond comprehension. It doesn’t matter how much I try to push him away because my heart gives me away. And Max still knows my heart. He always has...and probably always will.

Yesterday I blacked out in the middle of class. Biology class. Which meant that Max was right there beside me. It didn’t take him long to connect with me and search for my lost soul in my mind. And I realized once again how he keeps risking everything to keep me safe. We were in the middle of class and so there were several people around, but that didn’t stop him from entering my mind, falling unconscious as well. That is one of the reasons I still love him and will always love him, for his incredible unselfishness and caring for the people around him - for me. He risked everything for me even when we didn’t really know each other. Starting with dissolving a life-threatening bullet inside of me.

He pulled me back. His love for me lead the way and I was dragged out of the dark pit my mind had ventured into. After class he wanted to heal me. I was so scared of the thoughts of dying that kept invading my body, leaving me in a paralyzed state of numbness. Knowing that he had the power to make everything better, I gave in, my mind for once too tired to object. But as we were in the Eraser room together, the memories of a happier time too strong and overwhelming, the realistic part of my being gained strength and started to come up to the surface. Max was so close. Jolts of electricity I’ve never experienced before went through me as his hands brushed the sides of my breasts as he lifted me up on the counter. I didn’t want his hands to leave me, but we weren’t where we had once been. There were too many conflicting emotions between us, too many obstacles to overcome, too many hurtful memories.

He pulled away, but only to ask me for permission to connect with me. His hands protectively cradling my face made me want to escape the harsh reality and seek refuge in those eyes of his that, for the moment, were not cold. The hope shining in them was so clear. I could feel his...essence surround me, his scent filled not only my nose, but every pore of my body, my whole body smelled him. That’s when my mind awoke, filling me with memories of what Future Max had told me about Michael and Isabel dying, and I pulled away. The confusion and hurt in Max’s eyes was too much for me to bear, and I hastily run out of the room - leaving him behind me.

And now I’m more afraid than ever. Will I die alone? Will I die without ever having the chance of feeling Max’s lips on mine again? Will I die without feeling his love wrap around me? Will I die without ever getting the chance of making love to him? My heart cries - bleeds - for the life I’ll probably never have.


Hesitantly, Maria looked up from the pages and she could see the dried stains from Liz’s tears as she had tried putting her painful feelings into words. They knew everything, Maria concluded as she met their intense gazes. She shifted nervously in her seat, their unwavering focus making her squirm. Finally, Maria met their eyes without blinking, wondering how much she should tell them.

<center>------------------------------------------------------</center>

One week earlier


“So, how do we do this?“
“I’m not quite sure-“
“You’re not quite sure. Well, that sounds just great.“
“Michael, let him speak.“
“Sure, Maxwell...“
“Kira, please continue.“
“Well... The Granolith was constructed in such a way that only let it be activated by the king and queen together.“
“But I thought that I was the only who could activate it.“
“Okay...’activate’ is probably not the correct word... um... You, Max, activate the essential parts of the Granolith, but you need your queen to be able to activate the whole apparatus.“
“By ‘queen’, you mean Tess?“

“Yes...“
“Well, that is a problem. Tess is dust.“
“Yes, Michael. I’m quite aware of that. That’s why the Granolith has a backup mechanism.“
“What does that mean?“
“Whoever the king decided to bond with would also be able to activate the Granolith. Since there was always the risk that Ava might perish during the incubation during the journey to Earth or before the memories had gotten a chance to fully awaken, this backup was built in to further guarantee that the king returned.“
“What if Max died?“
“Well, that wouldn’t be good. Without the king, the survivors would be trapped on Earth because the king is the only one that is able to activate the Granolith.“
“Does this mean that Liz would be activating the Granolith with me?“
“Yes.“
“Okay, we should get started. The more time that elapses, the more of an advantage Nicolas gets.“
“Yes, I agree with Max. So, how do we do this?“


<center>----------------------------------------------</center>

“I-I don’t even know where to start,“ Nancy said, her voice trembling.
“Have you read Liz’s diary?“ Maria asked, although she was pretty convinced that she already knew the answer to that question.
Mr. Parker nodded in confirmation.
“I don’t understand,“ Nancy said hoarsely.
Maria swallowed, and took a deep breath.
“Liz isn’t dead,“ she whispered.
“What?!“ Mr. Parker said, bolting up from his seat. Mrs. Parker turned pale and looked as if she were about to faint.
Maria was looking at them, trying to decide what to say as the last thing Michael had said to her before leaving Earth flashed through her mind.

You have to keep our secret safe, Maria, and remember that I’ll come back to you.

He hadn’t said that he loved her, but she knew that promising her that he would return was the same as a love declaration in his book. Michael had always wanted to return to his home planet. He had never considered Earth his home. He had been convinced that he didn’t belong on Earth, but that he was wanted on his home planet. The fact that he was willing to give it all up just to return to her spoke volumes about his love for her. She wanted to keep their secret so much, and she would have, if it weren’t for the fact that the Parkers had obviously already found it out. Now they only needed her to confirm what they had read.

“She’s not dead...but she’s not here either,“ Maria said.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?“ Mr. Parker asked.
“She’s...uhm...away,“ Maria stuttered, her nervousness growing under Mr. Parker’s scrutinizing gaze.
“Maria, please tell us. What’s going on?“ Mrs. Parker pleaded with her. “Jeff and I have spent the last thirty six hours reading the most unbelievable tale. And the most dazzling thing about it is that it isn’t even a fictitious story. It is a description of the secret life my daughter was presumably leading. However, we don’t know if our daughter was going mentally insane or if we should really believe this. You were her best friend, Maria, and you’ve known us since you were old enough to speak. So please, Maria. Tell us what happened to our baby girl.“
Maria looked deeply into Liz’s mother’s eyes, knowing that she owed them the truth. The truth Liz probably had wanted them to know.

“You’ve read about the shooting, about Max healing her?“ Maria asked. The Parkers nodded silently.
“I don’t know what Liz has written in her diary, but knowing her I would guess that she has documented most of it. So I’m gonna start where Liz diary ends. Five years ago Max and Liz broke up. Well, they weren’t really together at the time, but Max was trying to convince Liz that he loved her and that he didn’t care about Tess Harding.“
“The new girl, right?“ Mrs. Parker asked.
“Yes,“ Maria answered.
“Before you continue, I need to know something. Is Max really an...an alien?“ Mr. Parker asked, the disgust evident in his voice.
“Yes. Yes, he is. And so are Michael and Isabel.“
“My God,“ Mrs. Nancy gasped, covering her mouth with her hand.
“Has Max hurt Liz in some way?“ Mr. Parker asked.

“No. Well, at least not physically,“ Maria said, “I strongly believe that Tess messed with Max’s mind somehow.“
“I don’t understand,“ Mr. Parker said.
“It’s complicated. I don’t know how much you know about Tess and her powers.“
“Um...well, we’re still trying to get used to the fact that there are actually aliens around with powers, and one of them was dating our daughter,“ Mr. Parker said.
“Right,“ Maria said and took another deep breath, rubbing her forehead with her fingers, “I guess you should make yourself comfortable. This is going to be a long story.“


__________________________________

And the long story will continue in the next chapter... :D

I would love to hear what you think, because I'm having some problems with inspiration, and writing this fic. So your opinions would help a lot :D :D


Love,

Jo

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Chapter 9

Postby max and liz believer » Mon May 19, 2003 5:54 am

Hey everyone! Image


THANK YOU

BehrObsession

roswelluver

Shari

buffylicious

kissme4ever123

noelani
Hi! Welcome to this fic, and thank you so much for your sweet words :D.

HBGO

Katie

Elizabeth

Lynn

frenchkiss70

LizzyBug
Hi! Welcome to this fic!! :D :D


Thank you all for the encouraging words, and bumps!! :D :D :D



Chapter 9


Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

The rhythmic sound of the clock reverberating trough the room was broken by a sigh escaping from Maria’s lips as she leaned back into the sofa. How did she manage to end up in this situation? This wasn’t her place to be. Liz should be telling her parents this, or at least Max. Not her. Not Maria Deluca, also known as hurricane Deluca. She wasn’t good in these situations. This was Liz’s department. She was calm and collected. She would know what to say. She would say the right things. She would be able to reassure her parents that everything was okay, even if she had been dating an alien, making out with an alien, and eventually having sex with an alien. Maria visibly cringed at the last thought. How did you tell your best friends’ parents that their daughter had been having sex with an extraterrestrial, and that they had created a child? Which now was on another planet. You didn’t tell parents that. Her life was just a big joke. How did she end up in this mess?

Right. She tiredly rubbed her forehead with the back of her hand. She had demanded to know what Max had done to Liz the day of the shooting. Whatever had possessed her to do that? She could’ve lived a normal life, happily ignorant of the fact that there were aliens living among them. But she also knew that she wouldn’t have traded a single second of the life after the shooting. Even if everything was more or less fucked up, she had found some great friends in the Czechoslovakians. In fact, she doubted that she could find better ones anywhere else.

But as she looked up at the Parkers sitting across from her, she couldn’t help but curse whatever forces had put her there. Well, she might as well get it over with. She took a deep breath and mentally steeled herself for whatever would come after she opened her mouth.
“How much of what Liz has written in her journal do you actually believe?“
Mr. Parker cast a glance at his wife before taking her hand and squeezing it lightly.
"Everything she had written in the journal sounded so crazy, but why would she lie in her journal? She must have believed that it was the truth. But she’s talking about alien enemies, kings and princesses, conspiracies, alien hunters, the FBI... And all of this is supposed to have been taking place while she was living in our house, under our roof, and we didn’t even notice it.“
Mr. Parker closed his eyes, a pained expression crossing his features. “If what Liz is saying in that diary is true, then we have failed as parents.“
“Jeff-“ Mrs. Parker voiced softly. Her husband turned and looked at her, struggling with his emotions.
“What kind of parents were we if we couldn’t even protect our child?“

Mrs. Parker dropped her eyes, a strained sob escaping her lips. Mr. Parker gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. He didn’t want to hurt her, but all this was eating him up inside. How could they have been so blind? He couldn’t deny that he had seen changes in his daughter during the year after the shooting in the CrashDown, but he didn’t think more about it. Why hadn’t he? Had his child’s life not mattered to him?
“All those ‘camping trips’ she went on. Why didn’t we look more deeply into what she was really doing? She could’ve gotten...killed.“
“Mr. Parker,“ Maria interrupted. She didn’t want Liz’s parents to break down before they had heard the whole story. “This isn’t your fault.“
“Maria, we are her parents. It was our responsibility to take care of her, to look after her. How could we do that if we didn’t know what people she spent her time with and where she was when she wasn’t at home?“

“Liz got very good at hiding. We all did. It was necessary to lie to you.“
“Why?“
“Don’t you understand?“ Maria asked softly. “We were only trying to protect you. The secret we carried was lethal. We were trying to keep you safe by keeping you in the dark. The less you knew, the better. But we never thought it would get so out of hand.“
“The things Liz wrote in her diary,“ Mrs. Parker said, her voice cracking with emotions, “the way she describes Max Evans. If she only felt a fraction of what she described, the love between those two was far more deep and marvelous than I could ever imagine any love to be.“

She had thought about that a lot. Even though there were some elements of alien conspiracies and FBI in her daughter’s writing, it was still mainly the diary of a teenage girl. And what she had written about her feelings about Max, even without the added alien tendencies, had stunned her mother. She had been intrigued with the love her daughter described. By reading the diary many pieces had fallen into place, and she had gotten an explanation for a lot of things that had happened.

Despite the fact that her husband didn’t seem to believe what Liz had written, Mrs. Parker knew that his daughter’s words had affected him just as much as they had affected her. And no matter how much he tried to rationalize it, his daughter couldn’t have been clearer in explaining what had happened to her. Mrs. Parker looked at the dogged jaw of her husband and knew that the main reason for him being so persistent in making Max into a monster was because he was feeling guilty. Guilty for not being there for his daughter. For not being a part of her whole life, but only the part she let him be a part of.

Maria smiled at Mrs. Parker’s description of what was between Max and Liz.
“Believe me, when you see them together, you know. You know that Max would never intentionally do anything to hurt her. That he would die protecting her and she would do the same for him. I saw them together and I saw them apart, and when they are away from each other it’s like they are two halves of a whole. They complete each other in ways I can’t even begin to fathom. So know this, Max is not a threat. He’s probably more human than anyone you have ever met. I have to admit that I was a little freaked out when I learned that there were aliens on Earth and that I actually ‘knew’ some of them, but after you’ve gotten to know them you will realize that they are no threat. They were raised human and all they want to do is survive. To lead normal lives.“

“Liz mentioned that in her diary. That Max had this deep longing to be normal.“
Maria nodded, a sad smile on her lips. “He wanted to be a normal boy, a boy who could have a normal relationship with the girl he loved without putting her life in danger. It was always about Liz. He would sacrifice everything for her. He would even give her up just so that she could have a normal life, away from him and all of the alieness.“
“Then why didn’t he?“ Mr. Parker blurted out.
“Jeff!“ Mrs. Parker exclaimed.
Maria could understand his reaction. He wanted to keep his daughter safe at all costs. “Like I said, it’s like they aren’t complete without each other. Max could’ve walked away, but that would have been the same as writing him a death sentence. Liz had every chance to pull out, to just say no, but she didn’t. She didn’t want to. She wanted Max.“

“So...Max healed her,“ Mrs. Parker whispered, still amazed and humbled by that miraculous fact.
Maria nodded slowly. “Yes. Please try to put this into perspective. Max, Isabel and Michael had been living their entire lives in fear. They knew that they were different and that if the wrong people found out, bad things would happen to them. They could be tortured or maybe even killed. So they hid. They were always the outsiders. They just blended into the background. But that day in September, when that gun went off and Liz got shot, everything changed. Max could have chosen to stay hidden, to stay sheltered, but when he realized that Liz had been shot, there wasn’t a choice to make. In some ways he gave up his own life that day. But he once told me that if he hadn’t saved her that day, his life wouldn’t have been worth anything. He considered his life worthless if she wasn’t in it. “

Liz parents sat in a stunned silence. It had been difficult to take in everything Liz had written. The feelings she had talked about in her diary were so big, so deep, that they took on surreal proportions. But hearing Maria talk about it, confirming what they had read, somehow made it all more real. Everything started to sink in.
“But Max was captured?“ Mrs. Parker asked, her heart aching as she remembered her daughter’s terrified words describing the event.
Maria looked down at her fidgeting fingers, the memories of those nights flashing clearly though her mind. She had never been more terrified in her life than she had been when she found out that Liz was kidnapped, and it had all spiraled out of control when Max was captured and held by the vicious and cold-hearted Agent Pierce.
“After the shooting, everything snow-balled. First, an FBI agent infiltrated our high school.“
“Ms. Topolsky?“ Mr. Parker half-stated, half-asked.
“Yes. Everything Max, Isabel and Michael had fought so hard to keep hidden was revealed when Max decided to save Liz’s life.“

Mr. Parker shook his head. This whole situation was crazy. FBI-agents! And however much he wanted to, he could still not get over the fact that Max Evans was an alien. That boy had been sitting in their restaurant for as long as he could remember. He had always known in the back of his mind that Max had been in love with Liz. Max had practically followed his daughter around. That’s when it hit him. Why had it never bothered him that Max Evans had been staring at his daughter for years? Was it only because he never did anything, that he didn’t seem to be a danger? No. He could suddenly see it all so clearly. He had somehow unconsciously trusted Max.
“He will protect her. He always has,“ Mr. Parker said slowly.
His wife looked up questioningly at his complete turn-around about Max. “Jeff?“

Mr. Parker turned and looked at her, taking both of her hands in his. “Nancy, for as long as I can remember Max Evans has been...watching over our little girl, and I let him. It’s as if I just knew that I could trust him. Maria, what did they do to him in captivity? Were they studying him?“
“I guess they were,“ Maria answered, “I don’t really know what happened. Max never talked to me about it.“
“Liz didn’t write much about it in her diary either,“ Mrs. Parker said absent-mindedly, “That must have been a horrific experience.“
“Liz was really upset about it and I only saw her reaction. I hope Liz talked to Max about it but I’m not sure that she did since she walked away from him only a day later.“
“She was afraid,“ Mrs. Parker said, trying to defend her daughter’s actions.

Maria held her hand up to stem Mrs. Parker’s protests. “I’m not saying that what Liz did was wrong, I’m not saying that what she did was right either. She wanted to give Max time and space. She wanted him to make up his mind about his destiny and Tess. Also, I think that she couldn’t deal with being there. Max had kissed Tess a week earlier and Liz had just learned that Tess was his bride in his former life. She wanted him to have choices. She didn’t want to force herself on him. She truly loved him and she didn’t want him to pick her because she was around, because she was the safe choice. If he chose her, she wanted it to be because he wanted her, not because he wanted to prove to himself that he didn’t want Tess.“
“Tell us about Tess,“ Mrs. Parker said, “Liz didn’t say much about her in her diary.“

Maria snorted. “I can understand why.“
“What did she do that was so terrible?“ Mr. Parker asked. “If I understand it correctly, Max is just as much to blame.“
“I don’t know about Max and why he did what he did. You’ll have to talk to Max about that. But I do know that Tess was playing mind games. She was good at manipulating - in the human way - but her powers were also essentially about the mind.“
“You keep referring to her in a past sense. What happened to her?“ Mrs. Parker asked.
“She’s dead,“ Maria sighed.
Mrs. Parker took a deep shuddering breath and leaned back in the sofa. They were just teenagers and yet they were dealing with all of these terrible things, things that could kill them.
“What happened?“ Mr. Parker asked. He wasn’t sure he really wanted to know, but if they were already stuck in this he might as well know everything.

“Tess was raised by one of the protectors, Nasedo. He was sent to protect the royal four: Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess. But when he came to get them from their pods, Max, Michael and Isabel were already gone. The only one left was Tess. Now, Nasedo was more or less on the bad side.“
“How could they sent him to protect their royals if he was the man Liz describes?“
Maria shook her head. “I have no idea. The aliens who planned this trip to Earth seemed smart enough to recreate the essence of their precious royals but not smart enough to double-check who they sent with them. The ship even crashed. It just seems as if they should have stayed in the laboratory.“
“So Nasedo raised Tess?“ Mrs. Parker asked.

“Yes, unfortunately. Nasedo taught her how to use her powers more than the others and brought out her alien side. That is how Tess differs from the others. Max, Isabel and Michael were all raised as humans. They instinctively knew that they needed to hide their alien side to stay safe and survive so they never really worked to improve their powers. Max and Isabel both can basically control their powers, but Michael’s emotions were always somewhat uncontrolled and that affected his control. That’s why Nasedo had taught Tess that emotions were a weakness and that’s probably why Tess was always so cold. She couldn’t understand other people’s emotions. She didn’t care. Everything she did was according to an underlying plan to get what she wanted. She definitely didn’t care about humans. I imagine that Nasedo found Tess to be a good student. He really succeeded in devaluing a human’s life in her eyes. Nasedo taught her that she was Max’s bride and so the main objective in her life was to get together with Max. Imagine her surprise when she found Max was in love with Liz. Since Max wasn’t really so eager to cooperate with her, she had to use her gerbil mindwarps.“

“What’s that?“ Mrs. Parker asked.
“She could plant things in your head, make you see things that weren’t there. She could rearrange your memories or even remove them.“
“But it still takes two to tango and as I’ve understood it from Liz’s journal, Max wasn’t completely uncooperative when he kissed Tess.“
Maria shook her head. “No, he definitely wasn’t. I will not defend Max’s actions. I don’t even want to try to justify them, but I know that Tess played a big part in that one too.“
“It seems pretty unbelievable to me,“ Mr. Parker snorted. “I hope Max wasn’t blaming it all on Tess.“
“Well...“ Maria hesitated. Max hadn’t really denied that he had kissed Tess, but maybe that was because he couldn’t since Liz had seen them. Maria hadn’t really thought of that before. Would Max have told Liz that he had kissed Tess if she hadn’t confronted him about it? Or would he have kept lying about it? Maria didn’t know, and it wasn’t really her business.

“Mr. Parker, I can’t really answer that. I could only offer you speculations and bits of what Liz and Max have told me, but I won’t do that because I would probably skew the truth unintentionally. But that incident isn’t really important anymore.“
“It’s important for us to understand what kind of person Max is,“ Mr. Parker objected.
“Max has changed a lot in the recent years. He’s not the same person he was before, so I don’t know if that is even relevant anymore. Tess, on the other hand, was no saint. She worked for the ‘bad guys’, and she was evidently killed by the people she worked for.“
“That’s terrible,“ Mrs. Parker said. Maria could do nothing else than shrug her shoulders. She didn’t have much sympathy left for Tess. Not after all the years she had robbed of Max and Liz, as well as everything she had done after that.
“Maria,“ Mrs. Parker said, silencing her husband with a stern look. This wasn’t really what she wanted to talk about. She wanted to know how this all fitted together. How it all led up to her daughter dying, but not really dying. She was tired of being kept in the dark. She wanted to know about all the things that Liz hadn’t written in her diary. There were five years that she still didn’t know about. What had been going on if her daughter hadn’t been dead? Where had she been, and why hadn’t she contacted her parents?

“Please, tell me. Was Liz held captive by the FBI?“
Maria’s eyes widened in surprise. “What?“
“She was missing for five years, Maria,“ Mrs. Parker continued. “Where was she?“
Maria relaxed some. “In Santa Fe.“
“What was she doing in Santa Fe?“ Mr. Parker asked.
Maria dropped her eyes, fingering one of the buttons on her skirt. “Raising her child.“
Simultaneously Liz’s parents bolted up from their seats. “What?!“



:roll: TBC...

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Chapter 10

Postby max and liz believer » Mon Jun 09, 2003 10:32 am

Thank you all so much for the feedback and a special thank you to Lynn for all the bumps! I don't know where this story would be without you - lost on page 13 or sth I guess... :roll:



End of chapter 9...

”Maria,” Mrs. Parker said, silencing her husband with a stern look. This wasn’t really what she wanted to talk about. She wanted to know how this all fitted together, and how it all led up to her daughter dying, but not really dying. She was tired of being kept in the dark. She wanted to know about all the things that Liz hadn’t written in her diary. There were five years that she didn’t know what had happened. What had been going on if her daughter hadn’t been dead? Where had she been, and why hadn’t she contacted her parents?

”Please, tell me. Was Liz held captive by the FBI?”
Maria’s eyes widened in surprised shock. ”What?”
”She was missing for five years, Maria,” Mrs. Parker continued. ”Where was she?”
Maria relaxed some. ”In Santa Fe.”
”What was she doing in Santa Fe?” Mr. Parker asked.
Maria dropped her eyes, fingering on the buttons on her skirt. ”Raising her child.”
Simultaneously Liz’s parents bolted up from their seats. ”What?!”




Chapter 10

Maria took in the freaked out expressions on Liz’s parents’ faces. Oops. Maybe she shouldn’t have just blurted it out like that.
“Liz has a child?!!“ Mr. Parker cried.
“Um...yeah,“ Maria answered quietly.
“Oh my god,“ Mrs. Parker breathed, sinking back down in the sofa.
“Is Max the father?!“ Mr. Parker demanded to know.
Maria swallowed and nodded.
“She had sex with an alien?!“
Maria cringed at how absurd that sounded.
“Mr. Parker, please...“ she tried, looking up into Mr. Parker’s fierce eyes.
“How could he take advantage of her like that? What if he had hurt her?!“ Mr. Parker was now pacing the floor in an upset manner and stopped abruptly once he had processed what he had just said. “God! He didn’t hurt her, did he? Was it he who somehow raped her?“ He raked his fingers through his hair, trying to fit all the pieces together, but nothing fit. “How could he?! I trusted him with my daughter!“

“Jeff…“ his wife pleaded. But he wasn’t listening. Max Evans had slept with his baby girl and he wasn’t even human.
“What does that baby look like? Is she normal?!“
“She’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen,“ Maria said softly.
Mr. Parker stopped.
“Tell us about her,“ Mrs. Parker said, tears shimmering in her eyes.
Maria gave her a faint smile. She wished that she could give them more than just a description, but she would do her best for now.
“She looks just like Liz and she’s a lot like Liz in her behavior too. She’s very caring and quiet. But she’s so smart and so warm. She’s an incredible four-year-old.“

“Is she...normal?“
Maria nodded, her small smile growing warmer. “Yes, she is. She’s perfect.“
They both relaxed and Jeff slowly lowered himself down on the sofa, feeling the anger running off him. “We have a grandchild,“ he mumbled.
“Yes,“ Maria answered, but her smile died on her lips as she thought about what she had to tell them next. That their grandchild was now the one held captive. That would probably tear them apart. When she saw a glow she hadn’t seen in their eyes since Liz ‘died’, she really didn’t want to say anything. She wished she could just say that Liz and their grandchild were just fine. But she couldn’t lie any longer.
“Let me tell you about what happened after Liz stopped writing in her journal,“ Maria suggested.
Silently, Mr. and Mrs. Parker nodded.
“First, you need to know about the Granolith.“

“I think Liz mentioned something about it,“ Mrs. Parker said thoughtfully. Mr. Parker nodded in agreement.
“I don’t know much about it either. Liz was better at understanding that scientific stuff.“
Mrs. Parker gave her a sad smile, a smile that a couple of years earlier would have been a proud one.
“All I know is that it was supposed to get Max, Michael, Isabel and Tess home when they were ready. It is some kind of spaceship, but it can also be modified to become other things.“
“That was the time machine, right?“ Mr. Parker asked.
“Uh-huh. That was really confusing,“ Maria said.
“Yes,“ Mrs. Parker agreed. When she had read what Liz had written about a future version of Max coming back from the future to stop the end of the world, she had really feared that her daughter had finally gone crazy. Why would a world end just because two people loved each other? It seemed highly unlikely. But there it was, in black and white in her daughter’s familiar handwriting.

“As I’ve understood it, the Granolith is very powerful and the enemies of our aliens wanted it, along with Nasedo and Tess. Max is the only one that can activate the Granolith and hence Nasedo and Tess needed him on their side, and preferably together with Tess. The only way they could get Max to let go of Liz was to get rid of her. I don’t really understand their plan, but they didn’t kill Liz. They just made us believe that she died-“
Mr. Parker raised his hand to silence her, confusion draped over his face. “Wait a minute. What do you mean? How could they make us believe that she was dead?“
“Mindwarps. I told you they were powerful. Tess forced images into our heads that made us see Liz as dead.“

“But we buried her, she was in the coffin...“ Mrs. Parker protested, utterly confused.
“It was all a mindwarp,“ Maria stated.
“How could she do that?“ Mrs. Parker asked.
“She doesn’t have a conscience-“ Maria started, but Mrs. Parker cut her off.
“No, that’s not what I meant. How can you mess so much with somebody’s head. How does it work? She must have so much power and…and it was all directed at Liz.“
Maria nodded. “Liz couldn’t defend herself. Nasedo and Tess attacked her that night but they didn’t kill her. They took her to a motel and were planning on keeping her there. After a while Liz regained consciousness. She doesn’t know how long she was out, but when she came to, she was alone. She managed to hide the fact that she was awake from Nasedo and Tess, and then she escaped.“
Mrs. Parker shook her head from side to side, trying to understand what Maria was telling them.

“Why didn’t she come home?“
“She couldn’t remember,“ Maria answered.
“She couldn’t remember?“ Mr. Parker repeated.
“She suffered from amnesia for five years. She didn’t even know what her real name was. She didn’t remember you. She didn’t remember me. She didn’t even remember Max. She was alone, fearing for her life, and pregnant.“
“Oh my God,“ Mrs. Parker sobbed, burying her head in her hands, “She was all alone, Jeff. She was out there on her own. She must’ve been so...so lost and we weren’t even there for her...“
Mr. Parker rubbed her back in an effort to offer her some consolation as he turned his eyes back on Maria.
“What changed? Since you know all this, you must’ve found her.“
“Yes, we found her. We found Emma first and through her we found Liz.“
“Emma...“ Mr. Parker breathed as if the name were sacred, “Is that her name? Is that our granddaughter’s name?“

Maria smiled. “Yes. She was on a field trip in Roswell and she met Max at the UFO center. We found out her last name and then tracked her down in Santa Fe. And then we discovered that Liz was really sick.“
“She was sick?“ Maria cringed at Mrs. Parker’s broken voice as she looked up from behind her hands. Maria wondered how much more she could load on them on one time.
“Well, Max and Liz have this connection. They can...um... melt their souls together. See into each other’s souls. Literally.“ Mr. and Mrs. Parker shared a confused look and Maria decided to just get it out. “When Max healed Liz he didn’t just make a connection with her. He bonded with her. He sort of...married her...“

“He married her?“ Mr. Parker asked incredulously. He wasn’t sure how he was going to react any longer. This just kept getting weirder and weirder and he was afraid that they hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface.
“Well, sort of. But in many ways it’s stronger than a marriage. But this bond, as far as I’ve understood it, makes it impossible for them to live without each other. Since Liz was separated from Max for five years, her health deteriorated.“
“So, what you’re saying is that Max was responsible for her being sick?“ Mr. Parker asked.
God, Maria thought, he’s worse than a lawyer is at twisting words. “No, not really. Actually, if he had been with her, she wouldn’t have been sick.“

“But still, he is indirectly causing her illness by not being there,“ Mr. Parker argued.
Maria sighed. “Max wanted to be there. He was beating himself up for not being there when Liz gave birth to their baby and helping her raise their daughter. But he couldn’t. He thought she was dead just like everyone else did.“
“Jeff, don’t blame Max. I don’t think he understood what was happening either,“ Mrs. Parker said. Maria shot her a grateful look before returning her eyes to Mr. Parker. “If you knew what Max is like, you would know that he is already paying for what happened, whether it was his fault or not. He’s a master at blaming himself and he would have died from kicking himself to death if Liz hadn’t stopped him.“
Mrs. Parker actually smiled faintly and Maria relaxed some. So far, so good. Now it was just the bad part left.

“Umm...“ Maria scratched behind her ear, “As you might’ve noticed Liz and Max aren’t here, and neither is Emma.“
“Yes, where are they?“ Mr. Parker asked, feeling uneasy at Maria’s obvious discomfort. Whatever she was about to tell them was something bad.
“Well, one of Max’s enemies is called Nicolas,“ Maria said.
“Yes, I remember that,“ Mrs. Parker mused.

“He was willing to do practically anything to get revenge on Max and eventually kill him,“ the words were flying out of her mouth now. She wasn’t sure she would be able to get everything out if she didn’t get it out all at once. “Because it was difficult to get to Max, he targeted Liz and Emma instead.“ Maria heard Mrs. Parker gasp, but she continued, not letting anything stop her now. “He kidnapped Emma and he took her to Max’s home planet, Antar. Max and Liz used the Granolith to go after them and that’s were they are now. On Antar, trying to save their daughter.“

Maria anxiously looked up as the unnerving silence enveloped her and was met by two very shocked parents. She chewed on her bottom lip, and sank further down in the armchair. This was not good.

<center>--------------------------------------------</center>

Antar

He gently shook her shoulder, trying to rouse her from her sleep.
*Serena.*
It wasn’t difficult. Serena instantly opened her eyes, her whole body preparing for combat. She was a trained soldier and was ready to fight at any second of the day. She was already half way out of the bed before her mate’s hand stopped her.
*Relax, Serena. Everything’s okay.*
She exhaled a breath that contained a lot of pent up tension. *Where have you been? It’s the middle of the night.*
He stroke one auburn strand of her hair away from her face and smiled. She hadn’t seen him smile in months and it warmed her to her very core.
*They have agreed to meet with us,* he said.
*’They’? You mean, his majesty?*
He nodded. *So we have a lot to do. We have to make this meeting really safe and really plan what we are going to do.*
She swung her legs over the edge of the bed. *Then we should get started.*



TBC...

________________________

Okay, I'm sensing that you might be missing some M/L, but I can promise you that there will be plenty of M/L in the next chapter. I know this for a fact because I've already written it :wink:

Feedback, please... It's what keeps me going :roll:
Last edited by max and liz believer on Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Chapter 11 (Book 2)

Postby max and liz believer » Tue Jun 24, 2003 3:26 pm

Hello :mrgreen:

A huge thank you to everyone for the feedback! And a special hug to Elizabeth for b-reading and to my faithful bumper (you know who you are :wink:) And a big welcome to sally and Liz Parker Evans

So, finally... Some Max and Liz lovin' :D




Chapter 11


As she stepped into the well-lit room, she couldn’t find her anywhere. Confused, she looked around the room, feeling the beating of her heart quicken in fear. Quiet sobs drifted through the air, making her turn her head towards the bed. She quickly walked over there, and looked under the bed. There she was, lying on her side, her knees pulled up to her chin. Serena flinched as she saw the tears moving down the chubby cheeks. What had they done to trigger such a primitive reaction?
“Emma,“ she said softly.
At the sound of her voice the girl curled up even more, trying to make herself as small as possible.
“Go away,“ she sobbed.
“Emma, why are you sad?“
“Go away, I want mommy.“
“Please come here and talk to me. You shouldn’t lie under the bed.“
“They hurt me,“ the little broken girl whispered, “I hate needles. I hate needles. Mommy always holds my hand, but mommy didn’t come. Mommy didn’t come.“
“Emma, sweetie, come here,“ Serena coaxed.
But the girl just shook her head and wiggled further away from Serena’s outstretched hand.
“I want mommy! I want mommy!“ she cried.
Serena flinched at the intensity of Emma’s demand. With a long look at the dark-haired girl, Serena rose and quietly left the room.

<center>-----------------------------------------------------</center>

Liz could feel his gaze caressing her back. She could feel it move from her shoulders, down along her back, over her bottom, and to her legs. His gaze was like a burning fire, making goose bumps spread out over her skin.

She turned her head and found him standing in the opening of their tent looking at her. “See anything you like?“ she teased.
“Uh-huh,“ he answered, and she felt her heart flutter as she witnessed his amber eyes darken. Seeing him standing there, just looking at her without a word made her crave to know his inner thoughts, his inner feelings. The parts of him that were only accessible when they made love. The feelings she usually picked up from him were not there today. He was blocking their connection. But the knowledge didn’t sadden her, but made her heart beat faster in anticipation. She had no clue to what he was going to do, and that heated her body in ways only he could.

“Care to elaborate?“ She stepped closer to him, flirtatiously darting out her tongue and slowly wetting her lips. She watched Max’s eyes move to her lips and his eyes grew even darker.
“Mmm...“ Max said, clueless of what Liz was talking about.
“Mmm what?“ Liz asked, taking a step closer to him.
“You are so beautiful,“ Max murmured, looking down at her when she stepped up to him. Liz felt her face flush from the intense way those words floated over his lips. He could turn the simplest of words into something incredibly beautiful. She looked up into his eyes, letting the love she found there run through her and wrap itself around her essence.
“You look pretty good yourself,“ she breathed, slowly rising on the tips of her toes, moving closer to his lips. Her eyes fluttered closed as he moved his hand to her cheek, his fingertips diving into her dark tresses. Her breath caught in her throat as she felt the heat radiating from the surface of his soft palm into her cheek. The act was so simple, yet made her feel so cherished.

“I love you,“ he mumbled, and she opened her eyes to look into his. She stilled in her movements as she saw how his eyes were shimmering with unshed tears. Her forehead creased in concern and she slowly brushed away the dark bangs from his forehead with her fingertips. The movement caused electricity to shoot through their bodies and Liz leaned closer against his body, letting his body heat flow into her.
“Are you okay?“ she whispered.
“I love you so much,“ he whispered, his voice cracking. She didn’t have time to answer him before his lips softly touched hers. The kiss was so soft, so tentative that it brought tears to her eyes. Their lips softly moved together, sending electrical currents through their bodies. The salty taste mixing into their kiss caused Liz to pull back slightly. Her heart fluttered with pain as she discovered the reason for it. Unrestrained tears were trickling down Max’s cheeks.

“Max...“ she whispered. She slowly kissed his tears away, but he burrowed his hands in her hair and angled her lips back to his. The gentleness of the former kiss had been washed away. Max forcefully melded their lips together. Liz pulled him closer. She could feel the ache in her stomach burning and intensifying. She needed more of him. His tongue forcefully demanded entry into her mouth and she willingly granted him it. Their tongues brushed together, swirled around. Tasting each other, exploring, trying to satiate a need that couldn’t be satisfied. She whimpered as he pulled her closer, devouring her. Her hands crawled under his shirt and restlessly moved over his taut muscles. She moaned impatiently as his lips left hers and started a descent down her jaw line. She pressed more firmly up against him, trying to subdue the ache coiling in her abdomen by desperately rubbing against him.

“God, Liz...“ Max groaned, sucking on the sensitive skin of her neck in a possessive manner. Marking her. Branding her as his. Neither one of them were aware of the fact that they were still standing in the opening of the tent, partly visible to the outside. All they were aware of was the feeling of the other under their fingers, of the other’s taste and scent.
“I need you...“ Liz moaned, “I need all of you.“
Max groaned as he felt her small hand move within his boxers. “Liz...“
“Please Max...“ He knew what she was begging him of. He just wasn’t sure he could handle it. The movements of his hand caressing her bare skin under her shirt momentarily stilled as he was assailed by the images hidden deep in his mind.
“Max?“ He jerked his head to find her looking at him. Her hair was tousled, her lips swollen and red, her cheeks flushed. Her eyes worried. “What is it?“
He shook his head, but she stilled his movements with her confused look. “Talk to me.“

A faint sob escaped his lips before he had a chance to stop it and he buried his face in the crook of her neck. Her heart stung as she buried her hand in his hair, holding him close. His tears were soaking her sweater.
“I’ve failed,“ he whispered brokenly.
He tried to pull away from her, but she just tightened her grip on him. “No, Max. You haven’t failed.“
“They might be hurting her.“
Liz felt the ever-present knife jabbed into her heart twitch. “We’re doing everything we can.“
“No. We aren’t. We could be out searching for her right now. Instead we’re stuck in this place doing nothing. God, I feel so helpless. I’m supposed to be this great king, and I can’t even protect my own child.“

“Max, stop it. This isn’t helping her at all. Someone once told me that she needs us to stay strong. Maybe you should take your own advice, Max.“
“I saw her, Liz,“ Max said, his voice cracking.
“What?“ Liz whispered.
Max pulled back slightly to look her in the eyes. Tears welled up in Liz’s eyes as she saw the devastated and forlorn expression on his face.
“In my dreams.“
“You remember them.“ Somehow she didn’t really want to know what his dreams were about. He was so frightened when he had them. She could hear him crying out in anguish in the middle of the night. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know about something that could frighten him so much. But he needed her. He needed her to listen. And he had been there for her so many times that she couldn’t deny him that, even though her torn heart cried out in protest of being exposed to any more torture.
He nodded and softly placed his hand against her cheek, brushing away her tears as his own were rolling down his cheeks.

“I don’t want to tell you about them.“
“I need to know, Max. I can’t let you take all that on your own shoulders. You have to let me take some of it. You need to talk about it.“
“I can’t...“
“Then show me.“
His eyes widened and he began shaking his head. “No, I can’t show you.“
“Max…“
“No,“ he said firmly, “I don’t want you to see them. Liz, these images have plagued my sleep ever since Emma was taken from us and I don’t want you to have them too.“
“Please, Max. Then tell me. This is eating you alive.“
He dropped his eyes, his fingers idly playing with her sweater. “I love you so much. I would never hurt you.“
His voice was barely above a whisper.
“Max, look at me.“
She put a finger under his chin and forced him to look at her.
“I know you wouldn’t hurt me, Max. I trust you with all my heart. You are the kindest man I know and I love you more than you’ll ever know.“

He nodded, looking at her intensely, as if she would disappear if he blinked and clinging to her with fresh tears streaming down his face, as if she were his only link to sanity.
“Tell me.“
Max closed his eyes and pulled her into his arms again, holding her close. Letting the smell of her essence, of Liz Parker, fill his nose. He could feel the beating of her heart through the connection, could feel the sorrow and concern for him in her beautiful soul. What had he ever done to deserve her?
He opened the connection a little, like a door being left ajar, and he felt her tremble in his arms from the intensity of it. A strangled sob escaped her lips and he moved his hands under her sweater. The need to feel her skin was immense. Overwhelming. And then he started talking.
“I can hear her calling for me. But I can’t see her. I can’t help her. They are all different, the dreams. But in every one of them.... I can’t find her. And it always ends the same way.“

As his voice died in her ears, she whispered, “How?“ Fearing the knowledge.
“There’s this man who laughs at me, and says that she’s...dead.“
Her greatest fears were coming alive. “What if it’s true, Max? What if she’s dead?“
He pulled her closer to him, their bodies almost melting together.
“I can’t feel her any longer,“ Liz sobbed, “What if our little girl is dead? What if she was all alone when she died, hoping that we would save her and we never came?“
“I’m sorry,“ Max said, “I swore that I would protect you, both of you.“
“We have to find her, Max. This is killing me. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this.“
Max lifted his head from the crook of her neck and pushed her hair back from her damp face. Slowly, he started to kiss her face.
“I would die just to keep you safe,“ Max said, kissing the outward signs of her heartache away.

She sniffled, bringing her lips to his. The emptiness inside of her was tearing at her, slowly ripping her apart. He was what kept her together and she needed to feel his love. She needed to have him inside of her, to feel all their emotions blend into the connection, melting their souls together.
“Make love to me, Max,“ she whispered.
Without a word, his warm soft lips moved down her neck and she gasped as his tongue moved out and tasted her skin.
“I can’t wait. I need you now,“ Max whispered.
She quickly started to unbutton his shirt. “Yes...“

He pulled her sweater over her head, releasing her lips only for the amount of time it took him to remove the piece of clothing. Their kisses became fierce, passionate, their hands restless on their heated skin. Liz pushed Max’s shirt off his shoulders and started to fiddle with the button on his pants as Max’s lips closed over her aching breast. She gasped at the contact, momentarily forgetting what she was about to do. Max moved their burning bodies backwards, his body pressing up against hers as their hands continued to touch, trying to calm the raging fire inside. Liz fell on her back with Max on top. Neither one of them felt the hard ground beneath the thin mattress as Max removed his pants, and just as quickly afterwards started to place kisses all over Liz’s flat stomach. God, her taste was intoxicating. A man could get addicted to the scent and taste of Liz Parker. And he was undeniably an addict with a strong need for his fix.

As his mouth continued its travel over her skin, his hands worked on pulling down the zipper of Liz’s jeans. Who said that men couldn’t do two things at the same time? Liz arched up against his hand as the back of it lightly brushed over her aching core. With some otherworldly help, Liz’s jeans were swiftly removed. Liz locked her hands around Max’s neck and pulled him towards her lips. Their bodies pressed together as he lowered himself on top of her, his lips and tongue doing to her mouth what his body wanted to do to her body. Electricity sizzled in their veins and arteries, penetrating every cell as her soft breasts pressed into his hard chest. Skin against skin. Liz pressed her body against his as much as she could, but the frustration erupted within her as their underwear was still an obstacle preventing them from melting into one. They were both too absorbed in each other, in the feeling of each other’s skin, in their scents, that neither wasted a thought of how the underwear magically disappeared from their bodies as Liz’s frustration grew.

Max hard erection brushed against her wet folds and she pushed her body up against him in an attempt to feel him complete her. Max kissed her cheeks, her jaw, her forehead, her neck, her noise, her closed eyelids, before finally tasting the sweet taste of her warm lips as he laced his fingers with hers and slowly started to push inside of her. In the midst of all the unbound emotions, heightened feelings, and heated kisses, Liz felt the deepest sense of inner peace as Max started to slowly move inside of her. Max’s fingers pressed deeper into the back of Liz’s hands as the rhythm was building up between them. This was home. This was where he belonged. Connected with Liz.

They both gasped when the connection flared open between them. Their feelings mingled together, seeking out its partner, becoming one. Liz opened her eyes and met Max’s. It was the most beautiful thing she could ever experience. Feeling Max inside of her, being a part of her, and at the same time be granted a look at his inside and feel all of his feelings. Hear his beautiful thoughts float around in her head.

She was suddenly struck with a deep fear, shooting through the connection like a knife cutting into flesh. Max’s movements stilled somewhat, and he worriedly searched her face. Being so deeply connected with her, he wasn’t sure if the fear was his or hers.
“Please...don’t leave me, Max. Don’t ever leave me,“ Liz said, her breathing erratic from their lovemaking.

A pained expression flashed over Max’s eyes and the feelings that transferred over the connection affirmed for Liz that she had nothing to fear.
“Liz, you are my life. I can’t exist without you.“
She nodded and smiled weakly. “I just needed to hear that.“
He returned her smile and slowly disentangled his fingers from hers, lightly brushing them down her arms that were resting above Liz’s head. The light brushing over the sensitive soft skin of the underside of her arms caused goose bumps to spread over Liz’s body. His warm, strong hands came to rest gently against the sides of her breasts as he lowered himself to gently mold his lips to hers.

“Without you,“ he started to kiss down her neck, “I’m lost.“
“Show me,“ Liz breathed. Max didn’t need a second command. He started to move his hips again, feeling the warmth of her walls close around him.
Liz could feel the pressure building up between them, their energies feeding into their bond, waiting for release. Liz wrapped her legs around Max’s waist in a desperate attempt to bring him even closer. She could feel the ache in her abdomen increasing as Max thrust faster into her, steadily bringing them both to the brink.
“Oh Liz...“ Max moaned as he felt her tightening around him.

“Max...“ she gasped as she felt her insides tighten around him, increasing the friction. Her world spiraled and she felt weightless as release coursed through her whole body. The intense warmth spread all over her body, as wave after wave of intense pleasure racked her, making her tremble under Max. He was not far after, the intense feelings of his own orgasm mixing with hers through the connection. With a deep feeling of contentment and relaxation, Max lowered himself down on her, placing soft kisses over her damp face. Their bodies were still connected, the bond between them fully open.

That’s when they heard it. Whispering at the back of their heads. Their eyes met with shock as they realized what it was.
“Mommy… I’m scared.“
Emma.


TBC...

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Postby max and liz believer » Sat Jul 12, 2003 4:35 am

Thank you every one for the wonderful feedback!!!

youre my dreamgirl and roswellchick03 - welcome to this fic!! :D :D




Chapter 12


“Michael? What are you doing here?“
“We found Emma. We’re back.“
She looked at him with surprise edging her features. He could see that she was having trouble believing him.
“You did?“ There was tentative hope lingering in her voice. As if she was too afraid to hope what she so badly wanted to believe.
“Yes, Max and Liz went over with Emma to the Parker’s. They are probably all meeting now.“
Tears were glistering in her eyes as she watched him with an expression of amazement on her face.
“Oh my Go-“ Her shocked voice was muffled by his shirt as she flung herself in his arms. There lips hungrily sought each other out.
“I’ve“ kiss “missed“ kiss “you“ kiss “so much.“

“I’ve missed you too,“ Maria mumbled against his lips and he felt his heart soar at her words. He had never loved her more than in this moment. She had never looked more beautiful than she had done when she had opened the door, even though her hair was tousled with sleep and she wore old pajamas with pink elephants. There were no words to describe how fiercely he had missed her and that was not just due to the fact that words often didn’t come to him easily. He was, however, planning on using other methods to show her just how much he had missed her. How much she meant to him. How much he loved her. How he couldn’t live another day without her.

There were no words exchanged as they stumbled into the house. Michael swiftly closed the door behind him with his foot, his lips still locked with hers. Her taste was making him delirious, teasing him into wanting even more. He couldn’t get enough of her. His hands sprawled over her back and he pulled her as close to his body as he could. Somehow, they made it over to the couch and fell over the armrest. Maria moaned in disapproval as Michael fell on top of her.
“Michael Guerin,“ she panted between his heated kisses, “Have you gained some weight on Antar?“
“Don’t talk,“ Michael grunted.
“Mr. Smoothtalker,“ Maria said sarcastically. But he knew that she didn’t want it any other way. Her small hands moved under his shirt, pulling at it desperately.
“Too many clothes, too damn many clothes,“ Maria moaned.

He had to agree with her there. What stupid guy had came up with the idea of wearing clothes anyway? Clothes were highly overrated. That’s when having special abilities came in handy. Especially the ability to push molecules apart and make obstacles like these disappear into thin air - literally.

But before he could do anything she was hitting him in the chest.
“Maria? What?!“
“Michael!“
He stared down at her. Her eyes were looking at him angrily. Would he ever understand what the hell was going on in that head of hers? Women...
“Maria! What are you doing?“ he grunted.
“Michael!“
And suddenly it wasn’t Maria’s voice any longer. It grew a little darker and a little more annoyed than angry.


His eyes snapped open and instead of Maria’s green eyes, he was staring into Isabel’s brown ones. He quickly cleared his mind from the dream, but he couldn’t stop feeling Maria’s lips pressed up against his. “What’s wrong?“
“Max and Liz have called a meeting,“ Isabel answered. Her voice was short and he could hear the streak of annoyance that had been following Isabel around more and more the last couple of days. Being on Antar was slowly changing them. Antar was changing them. It was taking away their humanity bit by bit, and without their human counterparts to guide them back, they were getting lost. The only one of them who had been more or less unaffected with the changes was Max. He had Liz.
“In the middle of the night?“ Michael growled.
Isabel pulled away the thin sheet that was covering him. “Yes. Now, get your ass in gear. They’re waiting. And they are not happy.“

Michael growled again, despite himself. This just sucked. What could be so important that they had to wake him up in the middle of the night? In the middle of one of his Maria dreams to be precise. ‘Well,’ he thought as he rubbed his tired eyes with the back of his hand, ‘maybe there might just be some action for once.’

His annoyed behavior was completely washed away though, when he and Isabel entered the main tent. Glowing orbs were placed all over the place, their light trying to break through the thick, sticky darkness. Everyone seemed to be there: all of Kira’s men, Kira himself, and Max and Liz, of course. Michael didn’t even have to look at Max’s face to know that this was big. That something had indeed happened.
“Maxwell. What’s going on?“
Michael met his best friend’s eyes and he had to look away from the intense look he found in them. His eyes moved to Liz who was sitting beside Max, clasping his hand as if it was the only thing keeping her sane.
“There has been a change of plans,“ Max said. His voice was slow, but if Michael was not mistaken, it carried a new strength, a new determination. What the hell was going on here?

No one said anything. Everyone waited for Max to continue. He slowly rose from his seat and, with sinking hearts, they all watched the reluctance with which Liz let go of his hand. He seemed to have the same problem letting go of her.
“We are re-scheduling the meeting with the Loyalists. I want it earlier.“
His voice was firm and it left no room for arguments, but Michael wanted to know the reasons behind this. Kira seemed to agree with him.
“Max, that could be dangerous,“ he said, rising from his seat.
“I know,“ Max answered, looking at him, “But there is no longer any choice.“
“It takes several days for a secure meeting place to be set up,“ Michael said, “Kira told us that earlier, Max.“

Max turned his head towards him and Michael could see in his eyes that there was no use fighting him. He would do this.
“Not if it’s only one person,“ Max said quietly.
“What?“ Isabel exclaimed. Michael could see confusion and fear crossing over Liz’s face. She obviously hadn’t been informed of that little detail either.
“Max, you can’t meet with them alone. You could get yourself killed,“ Michael said in a hopeless attempt to change his mind.
“There is no time to organize a big meeting and I need to meet with them now. I need to see if we can form an alliance with them right now. Time is running out, Michael.“
Michael stared at Max and then turned to Kira for help, but Kira was silent.
“Kira. What do you have to say about this?“ Michael asked. He needed someone on his side to force Max not to do this. This was an impulsive decision and Max wasn’t impulsive. Something always went wrong when Max was impulsive.

“If the meeting needs to be put in action earlier than we had planned, then the same security can’t be established. The only way to be able to create some security in that short time is to make the meeting smaller. Max going on his own is the best solution.“
“What? You’re agreeing with him?“ Isabel asked grimly.
Kira shook his head and turned towards Max. “You can’t do this on your own, Max. You need a couple of guards and-“
“I’m going with you,“ Michael said firmly.
He met Max’s eyes and he could see relief flash in his eyes. “I was hoping you would say that,“ Max said.
“Count me in too,“ Isabel said.
Max looked at his sister. He had already anticipated that she probably wouldn’t want to be left out either and as much as he had tried to let the protective brother side in him win, he knew that if they were placed in possible danger Isabel and Michael were the people he trusted the most and they had been training their powers most together. They were most in sync.

Max nodded in answer to Isabel.
“Max, this isn’t like you. What happened?“ Isabel asked.
Max glanced over his shoulder in Liz’s direction as if he was seeking out her comforting presence.
“They’re hurting Emma,“ he said.
Isabel’s eyes widened and her gasp was drowned behind her hand. “What?“ she breathed. Of course, they should’ve anticipated as much; little Emma was in the hands of their enemies and she was defenseless. However, being faced with the cold certainty in Max’s voice sent chills down her spine.
“How do you know?“ Michael asked.

Max turned his head and looked in Liz’s direction again, this time letting his gaze linger at her face for a longer time, as if he was drawing strength from her. “We heard her. She somehow tapped into our connection.“
“I’ve always had a connection with Emma,“ Liz spoke up. Her voice was so small and weak. So unlike the strong Liz they knew. “But it was stronger from her side. She could always read my feelings through the connection. Tonight, Max and I was connected and she somehow tapped in on our connection.“
“Probably because we are stronger when we are connected,“ Max filled in, “and that made it easier for us to hear her.“
“You haven’t been able to contact her before?“ Isabel asked. The three of them had had sessions where they had tried to use Isabel’s sleepwalking abilities to reach Emma, but it hadn’t worked. Isabel knew that Max and Liz had continued trying on their own, but their efforts been just as unsuccessful.

Max shook his head. “No, it was as if something was blocking her. Blocking her connection to us. But for some reason that block was missing today.“
“Or she was stronger,“ Isabel said.
Max nodded. “Exactly.“
“So, she’s in danger?“ Michael asked.
“She told me that she was scared,“ Liz said, “and then she was just gone. But we could feel...pain as she said the words.“
“We have to do this now, before they do something serious to her,“ Max said.
Isabel nodded. “Yes, let’s get working.“

“Kira, contact the loyalists and tell them that the meeting is off and instead we are going to arrange a smaller meeting. I only want to meet with their leader, but he can have some of his people with him as long as it is safe.“
Max, Michael and Isabel were soon deep in conversation about how to plan the meeting. Liz was standing on the fringes of the group, her mind desperately seeking any contact with Emma. But Emma was gone. If it hadn’t been for the fact that Max had heard her too, Liz might have wondered if she had imagined it all. But they were hurting her and Liz wasn’t going to let anyone hurt her little girl. From the determined glances Max shot in her direction during their planning, she knew that Max was not going to let anyone hurt Emma either. Not if they could help it.

<center>----------------------------------------------------</center>

Serena took a deep breath before she stepped into the palace. She needed to calm down. There was really nothing to worry about. Yeah, right. She was just going to more or less demand that Livenders let her take Emma outside. She wanted permission to take their precious captive out for the day because she knew that Emma was withering away there in her room. Even though Serena had never met Emma outside captivity, she had been able to sense her carefree and joyous spirit on their first meeting. It was like a faint trace of the girl she once was. But lately, Emma had become withdrawn. She hadn’t spoken a word to Serena since Serena had found her crying under her bed. She couldn’t get through to her any longer. Either she was almost catatonic, staring off into the air, or she was crying for her mother.

Serena didn’t know what they did to her while she wasn’t there. From the pieces of information she got out of Emma during her upset crying, she could tell that they were sampling her blood and maybe even scanning her brain. She didn’t know what they were looking for. They already knew that she was human. Maybe there were looking for traces of Antarian in her. Maybe they were trying to determine if she had any connection to the king, to Zan.

As Serena walked through the huge halls and stepped up to the guard, she was more determined than ever to help Emma whether she was Zan’s daughter or not.
The same bulky guard she had met with when she had been assigned to Emma’s case was staring menacingly at her.
*What’s your business here?* he huffed.
She took a deep breath, wondering if he had to follow a certain script when he talked.
*I am to meet with The Livenders.*
*Have they requested your presence?* the guard asked, hostility in his voice.
Serena ducked her head slightly, giving off the impression that she was no threat. *No,* she answered.
The guard frowned. *What is your name?*

*Serena.*
And then the same process as before followed. The guard’s hands hovered over her so he could determine that she was telling the truth about her identity and could look for any trace of deceit. Serena focused hard to block her thoughts about the loyalists. The guards were well trained and their minds’ were powerful, but so was hers and obviously she was able to resist him successfully again since he pulled his hands away and nodded.
*You are free to enter the realm of the Livenders.* With a wave of his hand the door behind him disintegrated and she stepped inside. The only difference from last time was that this time another guard stepped out of the shadows and followed behind her. This time she wasn’t expected.

The man she had spoken to last time stepped out of the Lower Chambers and greeted her with a small nod of his head.
*Emotival Serena.* He waved the guard off with his hand and Serena could sense the guard’s presence moving to the back of the room. He didn’t leave the room, but he gave them privacy.
*Master Leiko,* Serena answered.
*What is your reason for being here?*
*My apologies for interrupting,* Serena said.
*Is everything to your acceptance?*
*Master Leiko,* Serena took a deep breath, *I have something to ask of you.*
*Yes, Emotival Serena.*
*I believe that the little girl, Emma, is in the need of outdoor activities.*

The master nodded. *Yes, I’ve heard some rather disturbing news. Is there any progress?*
Serena shook her head. *Negative, master. That’s why would I consider a change of environment to be of good use.*
Master Leiko looked at her, his expression pensive. *Our interest lies in progress with the human, so whatever can further facilitate a development we fully encourage. However, this is not a decision for me to make on my own. I will consider your request and talk it over with the Elders.*
Serena smiled. *Thank you, master.*


TBC...

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Postby max and liz believer » Tue Aug 12, 2003 1:55 pm

Hiya!!

Thank you all sooo much for the feedback!! I promise you, that's what keeps me going, especially when my muse has abandoned me (which she has on this story). She's been on vacation or sth for about six months now and I really really want her to come back!! :? Well, until then, these chapters will have to do :wink:

LoveIsForever, Lizzie_Parker17 and Razz214 - A big Welcome to you!!

Thank you all for reading - and even more thanks to those of you who leave feedback ::hint:: ::hint:: :roll:



Chapter 13


“Hello, Emma. How are you today?“
The girl didn’t answer. She just kept staring at the wall. She was sitting Indian-style on top of the white bedspread, clutching something to her chest.
“What do you have there?“ Serena asked softly. She slowly approached the girl, afraid that she would frighten her if she moved too quickly. She was afraid that somewhere along the way the confidence she had been able to ignite in the girl had dissipated and now she had to get it back. Otherwise she wouldn’t be able to help her.

Emma didn’t answer so Serena slowly knelt in front of her and looked up into her face. The little girl’s hair had grown and her dark bangs were brushing the upper corners of her large eyes. Her eyes, formerly so warm, had turned vacant, empty. It chilled Serena to the bone to look at the girl and not be able to see her soul anymore.
“May I look?“
Still there was no answer. Serena slowly reached for what Emma was clutching to her chest. Emma didn’t react, didn’t utter one single sound of protest as Serena took the fabric away from her.

It was nothing, Serena noted as she looked down at what Emma had clutched so dearly to her heart. It was only a shirt. A piece of clothing. A white shirt that belonged to the palace, which meant that it couldn’t hold any good memories for Emma, only fear and isolation.
“Emma, why are you holding this?“ she asked, searching the little girl’s face.
Emma wasn’t looking at her. She was looking past her. Serena moved into her line of vision, but still she did not react. It was as though the girl was looking right through her.
“Do you want me to leave?“
Serena was desperate to get some kind of reaction out of her - any at all - so that she would at least know that she was alive.
No answer.

“You want me to get you anything? Is there something you would like?“
No answer.
“I read something about candy. Do you want candy? Or ice-cream?“
No answer.
“Emma,“ Serena gently brushed the bangs out of Emma’s eyes, “I want you to know that you can trust me. I’m your friend. And I’m going to take care of you until your mommy and daddy can take care of you.“
The jerk of Emma’s head in her direction was so forceful she jumped in surprise. Emma’s eyes bore into her very soul.
“Mommy?“ Her voice was so small and lonely, Serena wanted to resort to her primitive reflex to cry, which she hadn’t done since she was a child.

“Yes, honey. Your mommy is looking for you,“ Serena’s voice trailed off, knowing how dangerous it was to talk about this here. She looked into Emma’s eyes and gently, trying not to scare her, pushed into her mind. Emma’s eyes widened as she realized what Serena was doing and she tried to pull away, but Serena hushed her softly. Made her feel safe.

Emma, listen carefully to me. Your mommy and daddy are looking for you and I’m going to help them find you. But first you have to be a good girl, okay?

Emma nodded. Serena could feel her confusion ripple through the connection, but for the first time Serena understood the depth of this girl’s bravery. She was so strong.

The men here are not nice, but as long as you do what they tell you to do they will not hurt you.

Serena certainly hoped that she was giving Emma the truth. Of course, she couldn’t know for sure what the men in the palace would do to Emma, but she knew for a fact that they would be easier to control if Emma cooperated.

You are not alone, Emma. I’m here to take care of you until your parents find you. Do you understand?

Emma nodded.
Serena smiled. “I’ll be back again tomorrow, Emma. Good-bye.“
Emma nodded and Serena could feel her confused, but relieved, eyes follow her until the door closed behind her.

<center>---------------------------------------------------</center>

*Tonight.*
Serena closed the door behind her and frowned at his voice. *Tonight?*
Aldonis stepped out of the shadows of the poorly lit room and took her hand, pulling her further into the house. Cradling her face in his hands he easily formed a connection with her.

*His Majesty has requested to meet with us tonight.*
*So soon?*
*There’s been a change of plans. It’s not entirely safe, that’s why we have to cut down on the number of guards.*
*What triggered this sudden change of plans?*
*I’m not sure. But I got the feeling that things are slowly turning worse. Has something happened to the human child? Because if there is some connection between His Majesty and the child that could be the reason for this abrupt rescheduling.*
*Actually, lately she’s been more withdrawn. I can barely get in contact with her. Do you think that she is somehow communicating with His Majesty?*
*Is she capable of doing that?*
*I don’t know. But I formed a connection with her today and I had no problem doing it. It was as if she was prepared for the connection. I got the feeling that she is used to mental connections. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she was in fact connected to someone.*
*Maybe we’ll find out that tonight.*
*Is everything ready for the meeting?*
*Almost. I’ve contacted Londror and he’s preparing the men.*
*Where?*
*We’ll meet in the Mnordi Forest.*
*Good. I’ll get my things.*


Aldonis pulled out of her mind and Serena casually walked into the kitchen area.
*How was your day?* Aldonis asked lightly.
*Just fine,* Serena answered. *I made some progress.*
*That’s great,* Aldonis said.

<center>-------------------------------------------------</center>

Max gently placed a kiss on Liz’s lips and slowly pulled away from her, his arms still locked around her trembling body. “I’ll be okay.“
“I know,“ Liz whispered, wishing that she could believe it.
“Don’t go anywhere. Stay inside and don’t go anywhere alone.“
“I know,“ Liz whispered again, neither of them really paying attention to what they were saying. Their attention was focused on the feeling of each other’s body.
“You have to do this,“ Liz said, “I wish I could come with you.“
“So do I,“ Max said and they both knew the truth of that statement. Max looked into her eyes, ascertaining himself of the fingerprint of her soul. Burning her image onto his retina, as he had done so many times before. “I love you.“
“I love you,“ Liz said slowly and captured his lips. Her hands moved into his hair and pulled him closer, her whole essence whimpering under him. His warm hands slowly traced the contours of her cheeks as his lips were loving her skin.
“Come back to me,“ Liz said as he pulled away from her. He rested his forehead against hers and murmured.
“I’ll always come back to you.“

“Max,“ Isabel’s gentle voice made Max and Liz inhale deeply with the realization of their separation. Max was only going to be gone for one night, but they were all painfully aware of the risky nature of the meeting. Of everything that could go wrong.
“It’s time,“ Isabel said and watched Max and Liz pull away from each other. Their limbs slowly separated, changing from one whole to two smaller parts. Lastly his fingertips left hers and with one last glance at her, Max turned and walked out of the tent with his sister.
Outside, he captured one of the head guards. “Don’t let her out of your sight for even a second, even if she commands you to leave her alone, don’t.“ Liz did know the seriousness of the situation, but Max knew that she could be very stubborn and very particular about her privacy, “I don’t care if you make her believe that you are leaving her alone and then continue watching her, or if you openly disobey her, just don’t for a second leave her alone. Do you understand?“
“Yes, Your Majesty.“
“Good.“

<center>---------------------------------------------------------</center>

It was a cold night. It was one of those nights when the darkness felt like it was suffocating. It crept into every pore and filled them with utter emptiness. Max, Michael and Isabel were walking in the middle of four guards that surrounded them as they slowly and soundlessly walked through the forest. Max’s senses were sharp as he gazed into the darkness around him. The advantage of darkness was that it was good to hide in, but unfortunately it was also very effective in hiding enemies that could be lurking behind any of the trees.

No sound escaped Michael. His ears and eyes were like that of a hunter. Even though the setting was unruly unnerving, it was the first time Michael had ever really felt content. This was what he was meant to do. This was when his powers became the most useful. He had never had any power that was special to him. Max had been able to heal. Isabel had been able to dreamwalk. And Michael had been able to blow things up. But so had Max and Isabel. He had never really had a power that was his own. They had always figured that it was because he had never gotten the chance to develop his powers as well as Max and Isabel and that was why his personal power hadn’t shown itself yet. But now, walking in this foreign dark forest to a meeting with allies on an alien planet, he really knew why. He had never discovered any power specific to him because there had never been a situation on Earth that had demanded him to use those powers specific to him. They were all about hunting, about protection and about hiding. He noticed that he had no problem seeing through the darkness. His eyes almost worked like those of a cat. He could see better in the night than he could in the day. His hearing worked like that of a dog and he could hear even the faintest of sounds. That was why he, just seconds before Max slumped forward, could hear the buzzing sound erupting from Max’s head.

“Max?!“ Isabel hissed as she watched her brother stumble, his hands immediately flying to cover his ears as if he were trying to block out a piercing sound. But the forest was completely soundless.
“Max? What do you hear?“ Michael whispered.
Max stumbled over to a tree, his face contorted in pain.
“It’s them. They’re here,“ Kira whispered to Michael.
“What are they doing?“ Michael hissed, as his eyes scanned the terrain surrounding them, trying to look for their hidden enemies.
“They are making contact. They are probably verifying his true nature right now.“
“They can do that? Without touching him?“ Isabel asked quietly, her fearful eyes moving over the dark tree trunks that suddenly seemed so much more menacing.
“Yes,“ Kira answered. Just then, Max straightened up. As he looked up at his friends, his eyes were cloudy, but they quickly sharpened as he focused on the people around them.
“They are over there,“ Max said, his voice strained as he pointed towards a point behind Michael. Michael swiftly turned around, his body tensing in apprehension. But he couldn’t see anything.
“Where?“

He barely got the syllable out before he was on the ground, an invisible force holding him down.
“There,“ Max answered and with Max’s words they all watched the air shimmer in front of them. Out of the darkness contours started to take form, morphing into humanoid figures. But from their length and their composition it was clear that they were aliens.
The man at the front of the group bowed his head lightly. “Your Majesty,“ he said in broken English.
Max heard Michael grumble as he started to rise from his position on the ground.
“My apologies for treating you that way, Rath,“ he continued, while straightening up which revealed his intense blue eyes which sparkled in the darkness, keeping a firm gaze on Max.
“Yeah, well...“ Michael huffed, feeling a bit offended that they had caught him off guard.
“Mindwarp?“ Max asked.
“Yes,“ the man answered. “It’s an honor to finally meet you, Your Majesty. I’ve heard a great deal about you.“
Max nodded. “What’s your name?“
“Aldonis.“
“Are you the leader?“
“I am the leader of the Loyalists.“
Max ignored the curious looks from the men standing behind Aldonis. “How do we know that we can trust you?“

“I have information you might be interested in,“ Aldonis said and Max watched to his amazement as a woman walked up beside the man. She was the only woman there. “This is Serena.“
“Your Majesty,“ Serena said, bowing her head. Her eyes were filled with awe as she straightened up and met Max’s eyes. There was a flash of recognition in her eyes. And she knew. She recognized his eyes far too well.
“I work at the palace. I think you would call me a spy,“ she began, her voice low and melodic. Max immediately felt some sort of faith in her. As if she were to be trusted. It was something in the way her eyes moved over his face and the way she held herself that told him that he could trust her. Max remained quiet and let her continue the story.
“A couple of days ago I was assigned to work on a new case,“ Serena continued, “A very special case. They had brought in a human...“ Her voice trailed off as she saw the emotion flicker through Max’s eyes.
“A human?“ he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
“Yes,“ Serena answered, “A child... Your child.“
“Oh God,“ Max murmured. Was it possible that this woman had direct contact with his child? That she met his child on a daily basis. “How is she?“
Serena met his eyes head-on. “Not good. She has become isolated and she’s closing herself off.“
“But you meet her? Every day?“ Max asked. The desperate need to have some hope to cling to was evident in his voice.
“Yes,“ Serena answered.

“Your Majesty-“
“Please, call me Max,“ Max said, his eyes traveling to Aldonis.
“Max,“ Aldonis corrected himself, “How can your child be human? And why isn’t Ava with you?“
Max sighed and anger flashed in his eyes. “Ava was a traitor. She died on Earth, by the hands she had so willingly served.“
“She turned to the enemies?“ Aldonis asked, surprised.
“Yes,“ Michael answered, “And she almost managed to kill Liz.“
Aldonis frowned in confusion. “Who’s Liz?“
“The mother of my child and the woman I love,“ Max answered, possessiveness flashing in his eyes.
“Love...“ Aldonis mused.
“They are connected,“ Kira clarified.
“But she’s completely human?“ Aldonis asked.
“Yes,“ Max answered.
“That’s why,“ Serena said. “That’s why I could connect so easily with your daughter even though she is human. Because of the connection you share with your monrè.“

“Monrè?“ Isabel asked.
“The one you connect with,“ Serena explained.
“We don’t have much time,“ Max interrupted, “I need to know if you are willing to help us get my daughter back.“
“Yes,“ Aldonis answered firmly.
“Then let’s get down to business,“ Max said.


TBC...

__________________________

Please tell me what you think!

*taking off to search for that elusive muse...*

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max and liz believer
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Postby max and liz believer » Thu Sep 25, 2003 3:03 pm

Hi all!

It's been awhile, hasn't it :oops: ? Well, I'm finally here again, with a longer part this time. I'm just gonna drop this off, because I really need to go to bed since I just got home from work after working 14 hours straight and I'm pretty tired (and I need to be rested enough to work 14 hours or more tomorrow too... :roll:).

Thank you so much for the feedback, the bumps and the sweet words about the pain in my hips. You are just the best!

And Lynn... I can't thank you enough for all the bumps!!

panthergirl2002, Maia and OmegaRam1 - It's so nice to "see" some knew faces here! Welcome! :D

I won't stall any longer... Here's the next part. :D




Chapter 14


Max quietly moved into the tent and waved the guard off, who silently left. A soft smile started to form on his lips as his eyes landed on her still form on the mattress on the floor. Pausing by the end of the mattress he discarded his jacket and carefully climbed onto the mattress, molding his body against hers. A peaceful feeling fell over him and he could feel his tense muscles relax.
She stirred to life as she felt his arms fold around her. “Max?“
Max placed a tender kiss on the side of her neck. “Yes, love.“
Liz turned in his arms so that they were facing each other. A sleepy smile claimed her lips as her gaze landed on his beautiful face and that she could with her own eyes see that he was unharmed.
Max responded to her smile with one of his own. “Hi...“
“Hi,“ she mumbled back.

“You are so beautiful, have I ever told you that?“ Max whispered, his fingers tracing a heated trail down the side of her face.
“I believe you have,“ Liz said softly.
“Well, that simple word doesn’t even come close,“ Max said. Liz’s eyes drifted closed as he started raining slow and warm kisses over every millimeter of her face.
“I missed you,“ Liz whispered.
“God, I missed you,“ Max said, his voice breaking somewhat with emotion. Liz’s breath caught in her throat at the emotions she could feel from him tumbling over her. “I missed your calmness, your logic, your support, your love. I even missed your stubbornness.“
Liz opened her eyes and searched his face. “How did it go, Max?“
Max smiled faintly and pressed a light kiss on her lips before he began to talk, “It won’t be long now.“
Tears sprang up in Liz’s eyes. “What?“ she asked breathlessly, her heart slamming in her chest at the hopeful tone in his voice.
“There was this woman at the meeting – Serena.“
“Serena,“ Liz mumbled. Images of Future Max telling her about how she one day would become friends with someone named Serena flashed through her mind.

“Liz?“
“I-“ Liz searched Max’s eyes, “She was the one to modify the Granolith into a time machine so that the future version of you could pass through.
“Max stared at her. “Really?“
Liz silently nodded.
“She’s been seeing Emma every day,“ Max said, holding Liz’s gaze. The tears brimming in Liz’s eyes spilled down her cheeks and Max’s thumb gently brushed them away, his arm tightening around her waist. “She is working undercover at the palace where they are keeping Emma. She’s supposed to try to get Emma to talk.
The tears were flowing freely down Liz’s cheeks now. “Is she- is she...“
“She’s okay. Unharmed,“ Max answered her unspoken question. “But she’s lonely and she’s scared.“

Liz sobbed and nodded before putting her arms around Max and pulling him close, seeking comfort in his warm embrace.
“Who is...Is she to…to...be...“
“She is to be trusted,“ Max answered quietly, holding her trembling body close, trying to fill the void inside of him. “She will take care of her. This is really good news, sweetheart. We have someone working on the inside.“
“Can we somehow...talk to her...contact her in some way?“ Liz asked, trying to prevent her tears from falling.
“Serena will try to work with Emma to help her open up the connection she has to you again. Serena thinks it has been damaged somehow.“
An immense feeling of relief floated through Liz. She couldn’t be there for her daughter, but if someone she could trust, someone that Max trusted, was there with her, it was the next best thing.

<center>-------------------------------------------------------</center>

Serena walked down the long familiar corridors. The walls were still made of glass around her. The guards were still as suspicious as before. The people were as subdued in their appearance as they had always been. But to Serena, everything had changed. She had stood face to face with the man whom she had sworn loyalty to since Khivar’s men had invaded her home when she was just a little girl. She quickly shook the thoughts of her family away. She never let herself think about what had happened that night, when she had become an orphan in the blink of an eye. It was then that she had sworn to bring Khivar down even if she was killed in the process. She would avenge the deaths of her parents if it was the last thing she did.

Khivar had a lot of blood on his hands. Millions of people had suffered horrible deaths because of one of his callous and cold orders. He considered the peasants as inferior creatures. The people who stood above them in the social hierarchy - the soldiers and the wealthy upper class - were allowed to do about anything to those poor people. Once, Serena had been one of them. She had been one of the peasants who had suffered pain under Khivar’s reign.

After King Zan died, the world had fallen apart. War had broken out amongst the people. Neighbors who had been friends since they were old enough to speak were suddenly arguing, betraying and even killing each other. It had not been difficult for Khivar to seize power. Antar had cried out for a strong hand to rule them. They were desperate. However, if they had known what they signed up for, they probably wouldn’t have even looked at the paper. New regulations had been constructed to keep the people on a short leash. People were raped of their personal belongings, only allowed to own the basic necessities like water and bread. Everyone who tried to stand up to the new king was killed, often publicly, to make an example and teach others what would happen to law-breakers.

Serena kept her eyes straight ahead of her, her face revealing nothing of the thoughts swirling in her head. She knew how dangerous it was to be doing what she was doing. If someone found out that she was one of the loyalists, she would be executed. No questions asked. It was vital to play her cards correctly. One slip up and it could cost her her life. But last night her mission had gotten even more dangerous, if possible. She was the only one working on Zan’s side that had close contact with his heir. The heir was the purpose of Zan’s return. Because even if no one had spoken it aloud, it was pretty clear that Zan was not here to free his people, he was here to bring his little girl back. Serena was still unsure of how to feel about that. They had fought long and hard, with a strong, albeit distant, hope in the back of their minds that Zan would eventually arrive and return order to the world. It had slipped out to the Loyalists that Zan, his sister, his commander and his wife had all been sent to another planet to be reborn. They had been sent with all the information they needed, which would be programmed into them as they were grown in pods. Nothing would have changed. They would wake and it would be as if nothing had ever happened. They would still remember Antar and everything that had happened there as if it was yesterday.

But for some reason, Serena wasn’t so sure that was the case. Something must have happened. Something must have interacted with the memory retrieval, distorting it. Somehow, Ava - Zan’s bride - had turned against her own people and instead gave her loyalty to the enemy. And the man Serena had met yesterday hadn’t been Zan. He hadn’t looked like Zan, but for that Serena had been prepared. The rumors said that the DNA of the royal four had been mixed with human DNA. They looked human. That was part of the scientists’ plan because then they would not stand out as different on earth, and they would not be immediately recognized as who they were when they returned to Antar. However, it was clearly not only their outsides that had changed. Their insides were different. They were more cautious. More fearful. More insecure. Not trained soldiers with years of experience. They were just kids. Serena was about the same age as Zan, but on Antar the children had to grow up fast. And now she was entrusted with Zan’s child. Even if he weren’t working to free them, Serena would do everything in her power to keep his child safe. She walked up to the guard purposefully as he squinted cautiously. He easily recognized who she was, but it was still possible that it was someone else disguised as her. Her essence still needed to be verified. Serena stepped up to the guard without a word, waiting patiently as the guard slowly let his hands hover over her body. The guard nodded, verifying her identity and Serena waited for him to let her enter. But when he didn’t move, she frowned slightly.

*Requesting permission to enter,* she said.
*There is nothing to see in there,* the guard answered.
Serena’s frown deepened. What was he talking about? *I am here to meet with the little girl,* she clarified, taking a step closer to the entrance. The guard immediately stepped in front of her, blocking her way with his massive body.*I have clearance to meet with this girl,* Serena said, *Every day.*
*She is not there,* the guard answered.
Serena’s heart skipped a beat. *She is not there?* She forced her voice to remain calm. It would not be good to betray the panic she felt rising up within her at the guard’s words. She was not even supposed to have an emotional bond to the girl. *Has she been moved to another room?*
*No,* the guard answered shortly, as though talking to a wall.
Serena’s face turned colder as she stared at the guard. *Was she taken outside.*
*No.*
*Where have they taken her?* Serena demanded, her voice rising.
The guard stepped closer to her, his body looming over her slight frame. His face contorted in a menacing glare, and he spoke, coldly, *I am not permitted to discuss this. If you need answers, you will have to talk to the Livenders.*
The Livenders? Serena’s heart sank. This was not good. If she had to talk to the Livenders to get information, it meant that something big had been changed. She quickly turned on her heel and headed down the hall to find out what had happened to Emma.

<center>----------------------------------------------------</center>

She slowly lifted her head from the ground. It was pounding intensely, making every slight movement of her head amplify through her body, spreading all over. She could feel it most immensely behind the bone at the front of her skull. A pounding that was crying for attention just by the way it was effectively blocking out the capability to focus on anything else.

There was someone talking. By its hoarseness, she concluded that they were whispering, but when the sounds passed through her eardrum, the pounding in her skull magnified it into loud cries.
“Mommy! Mommy!“
The first thing she noticed when she pried her eyes open was the blindingly intense light. It was so compact it was like someone had pointed flashlights directly into her eyes.
“Mommy!!!“
She forced herself up in sitting position and felt dizziness take control of her senses. Blinking repeatedly against the painful light, she slowly turned her head to take in her surroundings. However, the only result was an increase in her dizzy feelings. The floor was moving, swinging back and forth, and she had to support herself from falling by digging her nails into the floor. As her nails scraped against the hard surface, she looked down, feeling the world tip around her as she did, and noticed that the ground was made out of stone. White, blinding stone.
“Mommy!!!“
She had to get up. Her little girl was here somewhere and she needed her. She wanted to answer her, but she could hardly form any coherent thoughts, let alone could she form any words intelligible enough to be spoken. Her body felt like lead, but as her daughter’s frightened voice echoed through the blinding light once again, it was as if an inhuman force was taking hold of her, and she struggled to her feet.

Windows.
Large windows were surrounding her. A long corridor stretched itself out in front of her. It was so long that she couldn’t see the end of it as she squinted her eyes against the bright light seeping through the windows.
“Mommy...“
The voice of her little child once again bounced off the bare walls, and she started to move.
“Mommy... heeelb!!“
Her heart tightened and she fought back the burning tears. She was here. Her little girl was here somewhere. She had to find her. As she walked further down the corridor, she watched with mounting panic as doors - thousands of doors - rose along the sides. They hadn’t been there before.
Her legs stumbled with fatigue and the pounding grew worse. Her hand stretched out to steady herself. As her hand touched one of the doors a strong current went through her body and she felt herself fly through the air. She landed hard, the back of her head hitting the hard floor. Nausea overwhelmed her and the light gradually began to lose its brightness.

“Mommy...“
And just as the darkness was at its darkest and was slowly eating away all the traces of consciousness, she felt something graze her forehead. Lightly. Softly.
“Mommy, wake ub...“
“Baby?“ she croaked, her voice suddenly returning to her. The dizziness and pounding that had earlier occupied her tired brain slowly dissipated.
“I’s scwared.“
She slowly pried her eyelids up and her heart stopped in her chest. Hovering over her was her beautiful daughter’s face.
“Emma?“ she croaked, hopefully.
The small child fingers continued tracing her forehead. “I don’t wanna be wif the bad men anymore.“
“Oh my God,“ Liz whispered and sat up, her eyes never leaving Emma’s face for a second. She didn’t even dare to blink. She quickly wrapped her arms around Emma’s tiny frame. Tears streamed down her face as she held on to her tightly, never intending to let go.
“Emma, honey. Are you okay?“ Liz sobbed, pulling back to search Emma’s face. She stroke the dark curls away from the girl’s face and brushed the tears away from her cheeks.
“I wanna go home now,“ Emma whispered and her bottom lip started to tremble.
“We are going home, baby,“ Liz promised, with all her heart. If it was the last thing she did, it would be to keep that promise.

“Is we going home now?“ Emma asked, a twinkle of hope in her eyes.
Liz’s throat constricted with sorrow. “Soon, baby.“
Emma’s face crumbled and she started to cry. “I want to go home now. I don’t like it here.“
Liz took her in her arms and pressed her tightly against her. “I know, honey. I know,“ she sobbed.
The silence surrounding them was suddenly broken and Liz fearfully looked up to see two men in dark blue uniforms walking towards them.
“No,“ Liz whispered. “No, no, no!“
She quickly scrambled to her feet, pulling Emma with her. Emma’s arms tightened around Liz’s neck and she buried her tear-stained face against Liz’s chest.
“Don’t let ‘em take me, don’t let ‘em take me,“ she pleaded frantically.
Liz tightened her arms around her little girl, turned and ran. She had never run as fast before. The ground was hard against her bare feet. There was no wind. No sound. Only the stomping feet of the men behind them.

The floor started to tilt and she stumbled.
“No,“ she mumbled agonizingly as she fought to regain her footing. She recovered her balance and continued running but there was no end to the corridor. No hiding places. Her hand let go off Emma’s dark hair and started the never-ending task of trying to get one of the closed doors open. But they wouldn’t open. They were all locked. And before her eyes she could see the doors further down the corridor sink into the walls. Disappearing.
“Please, don’t...“ she sobbed, both to the hopeless situation and to the men chasing them.

Her legs kept moving, but fatigue was coursing through her now, weakening her, and she knew that it was only a matter of seconds before she would fall. She shifted Emma’s weight onto her other hip.
“They’re coming, mommy. The bad men. They’re coming,“ Emma cried.
And Liz fell to her knees. Her legs couldn’t sustain their combined weight any longer. She took a strong hold of Emma and pulled her towards one of the walls. She didn’t dare to look around them. She didn’t want to know if the men were still following, or how close they were. She curled up against the wall and pulled Emma up in her lap. Wrapping her arms around her daughter she buried her face in her hair and tried to shield her as much as she possibly could from the horrors threatening them.
“I’m sorry, Em. I’m so sorry,“ she sobbed into her hair. Emma’s small hand clutched the hem of her shirt, her small body trembling with fear. “I love you. I love you so much. Daddy loves you so much. And we are going to come for you.“
“Don’t give me away. Don’t leave me here,“ Emma cried.
“We are coming to get you. We will soon be together again,“ Liz whispered.
“I’s swcared.“
“We are here, baby. We will come for y- Nooooo!!!“
Emma was ripped out of her arms. “MOMMMMYYY!!!


“Liz! Honey, wake up. Wake up.“
Liz bolted upright in the bed, looking around herself frantically. “Emma? Emma?!!“
“She’s not here, sweetheart,“ the voice beside her said softly, guiltily.
She turned her head and her eyes adjusted to the darkness and focused on the person beside her.
“Emma,“ she whispered brokenly, lost.
His warm and comforting arms surrounded her, but they couldn’t give her any comfort tonight. She felt cold and hollow. Like she had lost her little girl all over again.

<center>--------------------------------------------------</center>

Max eyes traveled over her curled up body. She was curled up against his side, her arms and hands tucked between the side of his chest and her stomach. Her hair was spread out loosely over her back, in stark contrast with the deep frown on her forehead. He lifted his hand and softly traced the crease with his finger. She had been crying all night, finally falling asleep due to exhaustion early in the morning. Even in her sleep, he could see the tension in her body. And her sleep was troubled. She was whimpering and sobbing. Crying out the name of their daughter. Even though she had been too upset to tell him what she had dreamt, he knew that it had been about Emma, and it had been something that had shaken her to the core.

His hand followed the side of her face, down her cheeks. She had lost a lot of weight since they had arrived on Antar. Since Emma had disappeared. Her spirit was tired. He could feel it. He could feel how she was struggling every day to move on, to keep her head up and not break down. He wanted to help her. He wanted to shoulder some of her burden, even if he already carried the same burden himself. He would do anything to ease that troublesome wrinkle from her face.

His finger traveled down the curve of her neck, unable to stop himself from relishing in the soft feeling of her delicate skin. Sometimes he would stop and think about how lucky he was to have her in his life. He had almost lost hope when she had disappeared. When he had thought that she had died. But now she was here, lying beside him. The love of his life, curled up next to him. He felt a sting of sadness in his heart when his thoughts fled to their beautiful daughter, the person who was missing from their life, preventing it from being perfect. He had always known that revealing himself to Liz all those years ago would be dangerous; not only to himself, Michael and Isabel, but to Liz as well. He had always watched her from afar like a dream he could never reach. And when she had accepted him, loved him, danger had crept back into his life. He had tried so hard to push her away. To make her stay away, because he knew that there were so many things she would have to give up to be with him.

A small smile grazed his lips. His hand caught one of her dark silk strands in his hand and he let them caress his fingertips. She hadn’t let him push her away. She hadn’t let him give up on them. She was a stubborn woman, but he thanked his lucky stars every day for it, because if she hadn’t been so stubborn about showing him how much she loved him and that they belonged together, he would have been miserable right now. Miserable and alone.

His eyes jerked to her face as a vulnerable whimper escaped her lips and he put his arm around her and pulled her closer. She snuggled up to him, holding on to him as she always did. Seeking strength from him, as he did from her. They were really incomplete without each other. Unable to function separately. Unrestrained, his thoughts traveled to Emma, their special little girl. So smart, happy and carefree. But only before he came into her life. Just being her father had caused her problems and now someone had taken her. He had failed to protect her. Failed to keep his little girl safe and Liz happy.

He missed her. He missed Emma terribly. He hadn’t gotten the chance to really get to know her, but in the short time period he had been with her he had fallen in love with that innocence, that happiness. Emma was so much like he remembered Liz to be when she was younger. When he had watched her playing on the playground with Maria. She had been so happy then. She had been happy all the time. She had been happy on that fateful day in the CrashDown. But after that she hadn’t been happy. Not like she was before. She was weighed down by his secret. And he had never wanted to burden her with it.

“Max...“
Her soft voice broke him out of his self-blame and his attention immediately focused on her beautiful, albeit tired, face.
“Hey,“ he said softly and lightly moved some errand strands away from her forehead, “How are you feeling?“
“Please don’t blame yourself,“ Liz said slowly, her dark eyes meeting his.
“I wasn’t,“ Max said lightly. But he was already kicking himself for letting his feelings get the upper hand. Sometimes he forget how closely connected he was with Liz. She had enough to deal with with her own feelings right now, she really didn’t need his too.
“Max,“ Liz said, the warning clear in her voice.
“I’m sorry, love,“ Max said, placing a lingering kiss on her forehead.
Her eyes were closed as he pulled back and directed his eyes back to her face.
“Do you want to talk about it?“ he asked gently.

Without opening her eyes, she slowly shook her head and emitted a tired sigh.
“You should get some more sleep,“ Max said.
She nodded and her body relaxed some, sagging into him. Her breathing evened out and Max laid back, intending to close his eyes when her voice reached his ears.
“Just five more minutes,“ she said, her voice sounding so defeated he felt his heart crush under the weight of her feelings of anguish ripping through the connection. “We don’t have time to sleep...“
“Five more minutes,“ Max said, fighting against the tears burning behind his eyelids, and his arm tightened around her, pulling her even closer.

<center>----------------------------------------------------</center>

*I need to talk to His Majesty,* Serena insisted.
*His Majesty is still asleep,* the soldier replied, standing his ground.
*This is urgent. If I cannot speak to His Majesty, at least let me speak to Rath,* she persisted.
“What’s going on?“ a voice interrupted, just as the soldier was about to answer Serena.
Both Serena and the soldier turned their heads to see Michael moving up to them. Serena visibly relaxed.
“Rath,“ she said and slightly bowed her head.
Michael raised his eyebrows at her manners. “Michael,“ he corrected. “It’s Michael.“
“Michael,“ Serena said, her stoic stance softening some.
“So, Serena was it?“ Michael asked, stepping closer.
“Yes, sir,“ Serena nodded.
Michael dismissed her courtesy with a wave of his hand. “What do you want?“
“I need to see His Majesty,“ Serena said.
“He’s asleep,“ Michael said.

Serena restrained a frustrated sigh. It was of high importance that she got to speak with Zan.
“But you can tell me and I’ll inform Max,“ Michael said when he saw the disappointment flash over her face.
“I apologize, but I can not do that,“ Serena said.
Michael frowned.
“I’m Max’s second in command. If he is not available, you speak through me.“
“I need to speak to His Majesty directly,“ Serena said.
“Look,“ Michael’s irritation was increasing by the second, “Liz had a rough night and Max has been up all night worrying about her. They both need to sleep to regain their strength.“
“I understand that,“ Serena said, her voice softening at the fierce protectiveness she could trace in Michael’s voice. “But this is about the princess.“
“The princess?“ Michael’s confusion was apparent. But only a fraction after he had asked the question, it struck him what she meant. “You mean Emma? What about Emma? Has something happened?“
Serena nodded. “Yes, sir. This is what I need to discuss with His Majesty.“
Serena yelped in surprise as Michael took a hold of her elbow and pulled her with him. “Come here.“

<center>---------------------------------------------------</center>

Serena was patiently waiting where Michael had left her, a couple of feet outside Max and Liz’s tent. Even though it was still early morning, the area was already buzzing with life. Soldiers were up, either standing guard on the fringes of the camp, or eating and talking amongst themselves. It was clear that His Majesty and his friends were safe here. At least, as safe as they could be in the precarious situation they were in. Kira had trained his men well and they all seemed focused on what they were doing.

“Serena.“
Serena snapped out of her thoughts and saw Max stepping out from the tent. He looked tired. She hadn’t been able to really see him when they had first met. It had been too dark. But here, at the dawn of a newborn day, she was able to see all the signs of fatigue on his face. Some she was sure had been there for a long time. She had a feeling he was someone who took a lot on his own shoulders, someone who felt responsible for everyone around him. And it seemed as if it was slowly wearing him down.

Serena’s eyes traveled to the small figure standing next to Max. She was immediately taken aback by the similarity between that woman and the little girl she had been observing over the last week. The woman looked tired and she wore the same signs of worry as Max did. But it was her eyes that instantly won Serena’s respect. It wasn’t the strong similarity to Emma’s eyes, but the strength and determination in them. The woman’s body looked weak, small and worn out, but it was only a facade. The woman had a strong soul and it was shining clearly in her eyes. Serena’s gaze fell on their entwined hands and she had no problem at all understanding why Max would choose her as his mate. She was strong. She held her head high, even though she had every cause to break down.
Serena bowed her head. One time for Max and one for the woman standing so close to him that they almost looked like one.

“His Majesty,“ she said. “My Lady.“
“Please,“ Max said. Serena raised her head to see his reassuring smile. “You don’t have to do that.“
Serena nodded in compliance. She could feel the curious and interested glances the woman was giving her.
“Honey, this is Serena,“ Max said, “Serena, this is Liz.“
“It’s nice to meet you,“ Liz said and stepped forward, holding out her hand for Serena. Serena looked at it, wondering what she wanted her to do with it.
Liz smiled warmly at her confusion and then stepped up to the woman and gave her a hug. Serena was so surprised she completely lost her tongue. She just stood there, feeling the woman hug her.
Liz pulled back and Serena noticed that she had not let go off Max’s hand, not even when she hugged her.

“Nice to meet you too, milady,“ Serena said slowly, still taken aback.
Liz looked up at Max and Serena saw mutual understanding flashing in their faces. As if they had just agreed upon something.
“Let’s sit,“ Max said, gesturing towards some trunks of trees positioned on the ground.
“Thank you, sir,“ Serena said and sat down.
Max and Liz shared an amused expression and sat down across from Serena.
“Max told me...“ Liz started, but choked on her words. Max squeezed her hand and Serena watched her lean close to him, as if drawing strength from him. “Max told me that you have contact with Emma.“
Serena nodded and Liz took a shaky breath. “How...how is she? Is she okay?“
Serena dropped her eyes. She couldn’t handle this. Liz’s feelings were so strong, she could sense them rippling through the air. The anguish, the sorrow, the fear, it was all coursing through her in violent waves.
“Serena,“ she heard Max say and she looked up into his apprehensive face. “Has something happened?“
Serena took a deep breath. They seemed like such wonderful people. They really didn’t need to hear this. But she had to tell them.

“Serena?“ Liz whispered, fearing the worst.
“There has been a development since our last meeting,“ Serena said slowly.
“What is it?“ Max asked with a fearful note in his voice.
Serena looked up into Liz’s eyes and saw the tears of fear roll down her cheeks.
“Please, Serena,“ Liz said. “What have they done?“
“Khivar wants the royal seal,“ Serena said, not sure of how much they knew.
“Yes, we know that,“ Max said, remembering one of the many things Kira had taught them during the voyage to Antar.
“Your seal is shared with the one you mate with,“ Serena continued, “which means that Liz has the royal seal too.“
Max nodded. He knew this already. He could feel Liz tensing beside him, as if preparing for the worst.
“Your seal is transferred to your heir, your first born. Emma,“ Serena said slowly, “And Khivar wants the seal. He has Emma.“

Serena knew the exact second it dawned on Liz what she was trying to say. The fear Serena saw on Liz’s face was enough to make her want to break down and cry.
“I was to visit Emma yesterday, but she wasn’t there.“
“Where was she?“ Liz whispered, although she already suspected. “Where was she?“ she sobbed.
“They had taken her to... I guess you would call it a laboratory.“
“No,“ Max whispered, and as he felt Liz sag against him, his voice took on another strength. “No!“
“They are trying to find a way to remove the seal from Emma and transfer it to Khivar. And if they succeed... They will have no use for Emma any longer, except for maybe a way to make you comply to their wishes.“
“The seal is incorporated into her DNA,“ Liz whispered, her voice cracking with restrained tears. “How are they going to be able to remove it?“

But they all knew the answer to that question. By taking her apart. By going through each and every one of her cells and removing that part of her DNA.
Serena looked at the devastated and fearful faces of that little child’s parents and said, “If we don’t do something quickly they might kill her.“


TBC...

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max and liz believer
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Postby max and liz believer » Sat Oct 04, 2003 3:06 pm

Hi! :D

I'm back... Can you believe it? :wink: It seems as if the muse who is held accountable for most of this story has returned. Let's see how long she decides to stay... :roll:


Lynn wrote:I'm a tad confused. I just had this with Biology all over again, and we learned that every cell has the same DNA, and that it can only differ due to mutations and such. Can't they just take one cell and use that DNA? Or has the seal been spread over her body, and has every cell a different 'piece' of it attached to her DNA? Or is it like a mutation?


You are completely correct, Lynn. The DNA is the same in all cell, it's just that not the same part of the DNA is "activated" in every cell, making the cells specialize in different functions. So they can basically take the imprint from the seal on the DNA from just one cell in Emma, but the thing is that they have to remove all traces of there being any seal in her to begin with. That way no one can ever claim that she is the righteous heir to the throne... And what you said about the a different "piece" of the DNA being attached to different cells is very interesting. Thing is... DNA is still a very unexplored area, so that's very possible. I guess I can decide that that's true if I want, since I'm the author... :roll:


And Elizabeth, thank you sooo much for editing! I know that you are busy so just take your time. There's no hurry. Thank you!!!



Chapter 15

Two days later

“Liz, are you okay?“ Isabel asked for the seventh time.
Liz swallowed back the nausea rising in her throat and forced herself to nod. “Yes,“ she said hoarsely. “I’m just fine.“
She could feel Isabel’s eyes regarding her with disbelief. Isabel didn’t believe her and truth be told, she didn’t believe it herself either. She had tried to not acknowledge the nausea and the dizzy spells, but they were becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. Fear was building inside of her that her previous condition had returned. When she had been so sick that she had barely been able to get through the day. Before Max and she made love and the connection opened again.

She forcefully forced the overwhelming nausea down. She couldn’t get sick. Not now.
“Liz,“ Isabel said, the warning note to her tone making Liz look up at her, “I promised Max to make sure you were safe. And you getting sick isn’t going to make him any happier. Don’t try to fool me. I can see that something is wrong.“
Liz met Isabel’s gaze head on. “It’s nothing. I’m just worried about Max.“ Her eyes dropped and she added quietly, “And Emma.“

“Liz, I’m sorry,“ Isabel said regretfully, “I didn’t mean to...You just look so pale. Maybe you should sit down for a second.“
“Isabel,“ Liz said firmly, “Stop it, okay? I appreciate that you are trying to look out for me and all, but fussing over me is not your highest priority-“
“According to Max it is,“ Isabel interrupted.
“Well, Max isn’t here right now, is he? Besides, we both know that even though Max would never admit it, he needs help. I cannot leave him to fight for himself.“
Isabel shook her head, the determination in Liz’s eyes scaring her. “Liz... You aren’t thinking about-“
Liz turned away from looking through the bushes and met Isabel’s anxious eyes. “Max wants me to stay away because that’s the only way he can keep me safe. And I would comply with his wishes, if it weren’t for the fact that he is risking his life out there! How can I just sit here and wait to see if he makes it back alive or not, when he wouldn’t be able to do the same thing if it were me out there? And you... You have valuable powers, Isabel. We can help him. He needs all the help he can get.“
Isabel looked at her with a mixture of fear and trepidation. “Liz, we can’t do this! I know that Max probably needs more help than he admits, but we are not prepared to get out there-“
“We aren’t just going to run out in the middle of everything,“ Liz said, “We are going to stay in the shadows and if they need our help, we will be there. If they are handling it on their own, we just stay away...“

Isabel shook her head slowly. “I think this is a really bad idea, Liz.“
Liz surprised her by stepping up to her and taking both her hands in hers. “Iz, please,“ she pleaded, her voice cracking with emotion. “I have this feeling that something bad is going to happen.“
“How do you...?“ Isabel stuttered.
“I just know,“ Liz said, her teary and fearful eyes hitting something deep within Isabel. There was something about Liz in that moment that told Isabel that it was in fact a question of life and death if she listened to Liz or not.
“Did you have a premonition?“ Isabel asked, thinking back to the time when Liz had ended up almost dying in the bathroom of that warehouse because she’d had a vision of the future.

A future filled with death.

“No, I can’t explain it. It’s a… feeling,“ Liz said slowly.
Isabel regarded her closely before answering her with a whisper, “Okay.“ She desperately hoped that she wasn’t going to regret her decision.
“Thank you,“ Liz whispered.
Isabel nodded and pushed some errant wisps of her blonde hair behind her ears. “Okay, we need a plan.“

<center>----------------------------------------------------------</center>

*You okay?*
*Yes. How many are there?*
*Twenty, thirty.*
Pause.
*That’s a lot.*
*Serena, we can make this. We have been preparing for this all our lives.*
*This is really it, isn’t it?*
*Yes.*
*Then why does it feel like something is about to go terribly wrong?*
*Nothing’s going to go wrong. We are prepared for this. We have trained for every possible scenario. Just stay levelheaded and calm.*
*Right.*
*And no telepathic communication from now on.*
*Got it.*
*Serena...*
*What is it, Aldonis?*
*Be careful.*
Pause.
*I will. Besides, we still have that house to build, remember?*
She could hear the smile on his voice as he answered, *Nothing could make me forget.*
*I can see His Highness now.*
*All right. This is it. Rena, see you later.*
*Yes...*


Serena turned around to see Max walking towards her, his steps cautious and as silent as they could be against the stone ground.
“Ready?“ she asked somewhat breathlessly.
“Where’s Emma?“ Max asked in a hushed tone as he came closer.
Serena pointed towards one of the windows in the large building towering up in front of them. “In there. At least, that’s where she was the last time I met her.“
“What if they’ve moved her,“ Max asked.
“Then we have a problem,“ Serena watched Max’s face fall slightly, even if he was trying very hard to hide the fear, and she hurried to reassure him, “But, not too big of a problem. We just have to change the plans slightly. It will take some more time. We would have to find her new location. But we’ll manage. According to the schedule I was informed of, she should be in her room tonight.“
A shadow fell over Max’s face. “Have you met her since they took her to the laboratory?“
Serena shook her head in negative. “There has been no time.“
She didn’t want to tell Max her suspicions about Emma’s condition. She hadn’t told Max how Emma had been before she had been taken for “examination“ and she was truly afraid of what had happened to Emma’s fragile mental state after that visit.

She didn’t want to upset Max any further. He needed to remain focused on what they were doing. In any other case, she and Aldonis would never let anyone as close emotionally tied to a victim as Max was be the main decision-maker, because it was risky. There were too many emotions in play to keep a clear and focused head. But Max had made it impossible for them to deny his involvement. Also, he had shown that he had the capability to bury his emotions and focus solely on the task at hand. However, even though he seemed stable enough, on the outside, there wasn’t room to take the risk of saying anything that could ruin that balance. Everything hung on a thin thread now. Every small detail had to be followed to the letter, or else everything could collapse. There were too many ears listening. Too many eyes looking. Not even their thoughts were secret, if they stood too close to people who were able to read brainwaves. Max, Liz, Michael and Isabel had all been trained to block their thoughts, but if they got close to someone who used their interpretation of brainwaves professionally, they would be in danger because Langolists, as they were called, were very efficient at spotting Antarians who were disloyal in their thoughts to their King. Disloyal to Khivar’s reign.

“Twenty minutes?“ Max asked.
Serena nodded. “Twenty minutes.“
Max took a deep breath as he let his eyes momentarily drift close. Soon.
Soon he might be able to hold Emma in his arms again. Soon he might be able to take her home. To Liz.
“Your High- Max,“ Serena corrected herself, “Are you all right?“
Max opened his eyes as he nodded and answered with fierce determination, “Yes.“
His fists clenched as he looked up on the large building. He was so close, yet so far away from his daughter.
“Let’s go over the plan again,“ he said, pushing his emotions back to the back of his head and with a snap he shut the low simmering connection to Liz.

<center>--------------------------------------------------------</center>

Liz stumbled as she felt the connection with Max die. It wasn’t gradually. It was like a door was slammed shut in her mind.
“Liz?“
Isabel had stopped beside her and her hand was resting on Liz’s arm.
“Max...“ Liz whispered.
“What?“ Isabel asked, her voice filling with dread at Liz’s pained whisper.
“He’s...he shut me out,“ Liz said.
“What?“
“The connection. He’s blocking me.“
“You sure?“ Isabel asked. Somehow she had trouble believing that. “Why would he do that?“
Liz stood still, barely breathing as she tried to find Max. Tried to push through his block.
“Has something happened to him?“ Isabel voiced her fears when Liz didn’t say anything.
“He’s... “ Liz stuttered. He wouldn’t shut her out like this. Why had he shut her out?
“Has he told you that he would do that?“ Isabel asked, even though she already knew the answer, because otherwise Liz’s reaction would make no sense.
Liz took a hold of Isabel’s arm and started to pull at her. “Let’s go.“
“No, let’s stay calm,“ Isabel said.
Liz looked at her firmly. “I am calm, but I need to know what’s going on. We need to find Kira.“
“Liz...“
“Isabel,“ Liz said seriously, “If something happened to Max I would know. But I don’t want to feel that. Ever. I have to know that everything’s okay.“
“You cannot see Max,“ Isabel said.
“I understand that. That’s why I need to see Kira. He has the information I need.“
“Okay,“ Isabel agreed, somewhat reluctantly. She had a suspicion why Max would block his connection to Liz. Because if something did happen to him, he didn’t want her to feel it. He didn’t want her to live through his death if it came to that. Isabel was pretty sure that Liz knew this too and that Liz wasn’t going to allow it.

<center>--------------------------------------------------</center>

Max coughed as he staggered through the thick mist of raspy smoke. His arm bumped into someone and he immediately raised his hand to defend himself.
“Michael?“ He let out a sigh of relief when he found the person he had just bumped into to be his life long friend.
“Maxwell, are you okay?“
“Yeah,“ Max coughed again. Michael rubbed some of the black soot from his face and eyes.
“Where’s Serena?“
“I lost her,“ Max said. “You have any other men here?“
Michael shook his head.
Max looked around him with hasty movements, trying to see anything through the smoke.
“I would try to make the smoke disappear, but that would only exhaust my powers even more,“ Michael said, voicing Max’s exact thoughts. Max wasn’t sure when his healing powers might be needed. He had already healed two small wounds on two of their men and healing took a lot of energy. Four hours had passed since the fight had started. The building where Emma was being held was filled with smoke and Max feared that the source of the smoke would be a fire somewhere. He had to get Emma out of here. He could feel the situation quickly slipping out of his control.

“Have you seen any of Khivar’s men?“ Max asked.
“No,“ Michael answered, “It’s like they’ve vanished.“
This is not good, was Max’s immediate thought.
“What do you think they’re up to?“ Michael asked, voicing Max’s concerns.
“I don’t know,“ Max answered, constantly scanning the area around him in a almost fruitless attempt to see through the curtain of smoke surrounding them on all sides. “But Khivar’s men are well-trained and many more in numbers than we are. We couldn’t possibly have defeated them already.“
“Exactly,“ Michael murmured.
“We have to get Emma,“ Max said.
“You know where she is?“ Michael asked.
“Serena was going to show me the way, but she showed me which window belonged to her from the outside. I think maybe I can find my way.“
“In this smoke?“ Michael asked. He didn’t want to shatter Max’s hopes, but from where he was standing, the situation seemed hopeless.

“Are you with me or not?“ Max asked, almost sternly. Michael immediately recognized the look on Max’s face and nodded mutely.
“Let’s get your girl back,“ he said.
Max felt his heart constrict at the protectiveness he heard in Michael’s voice and the need to reopen the connection to Liz and again feel her calmness and reassurance overwhelmed him for a second. But he refused to give in to it. It was safer for Liz if he didn’t have the connection open. If someone would be able to plug in on their connection, they would not only discover Max’s identity, but also Liz’s and what she meant to him. And that would put her in immense danger.

Together, Max and Michael blindly headed down the smoke-filled corridor. Max’s hands flew over doors on the sides, trying to feel something. An energy and essence belonging to Emma. If he had the connection to Liz, he might’ve been able to use the connection she had to Emma to find Emma. But the risk of opening the connection was too great. He would only consider opening it if there were an emergency. That’s when he felt it. A soft tickling in his fingertips as his fingers brushed over one of the closed doors.

“Michael!“ he cried.
In an instant, Michael was by his side.
“Here,“ Max said, and without any further communication, Max and Michael fused their powers together to work on opening the highly secured door. It proved to be more difficult than they thought, but suddenly the door slide to the side and blinding white light hit their eyes.
They both squinted in the sudden brightness, Michael putting up a hand to shield his eyes from the light.
“Emma?“ Max asked, not even stopping when the light had tried to immobilize him. It took some time for his eyes to become accustomed to the different light, but he didn’t let the temporary blindness hamper his search.
“Emma?!“ He pushed the bed to the side and his heart lurched up into his throat.

On the floor lay a ball of fragile limbs. Her dark hair was shielding her face, but because of the stark light, it was not difficult to see her trembling from where he was standing. Max’s inhaled sharply and then quickly walked up to her, sliding to his knees beside her small frame.
“Emma?“ he whispered.
She didn’t answer. Didn’t even acknowledge his presence. The relief and joy of finally finding her again was quickly being replaced with fear over what had happened to her.
“Baby, it’s daddy,“ Max said softly. He vaguely registered that Michael had knelt beside him. Max reached out with his hand to brush her hair away from her face so that he could see her. His hand quickly recoiled when she jerked back from his touch.
“Max,“ Michael said impatiently.
Max’s hand was hovering above his daughter’s body and he was already on the verge of trying to form a connection with her to see if she had been hurt. Michael seemed to have sensed his intentions before Max was even aware of them.
“Max, we don’t have time. We have to get out of here. There might be a fire.“

Michael’s voice broke through the mental bubble Max had formed around him and his daughter. It was words of reason and Max knew that they had to keep going. Taking a deep breath he brought his hand back to Emma’s white face. This time her reaction was not as strong, but still it cut through Max’s heart to see her recoil from his touch the way she did. Like he was a monster.
“Baby, it’s going to be all right now. We are going home. To mommy.“
Not even the mention of her mother stirred a reaction in Emma and Max could feel the dread expand in his heart.
“Max,“ Michael said and there was a desperate urgency in his voice, which snapped Max back into focus.
He tucked his hands under Emma’s thin body and lifted her up. She was stiff in her arms, but she didn’t struggle. It was as if she didn’t even care what happened to her. He cradled her close to his chest, feeling tears burning in his eyes as her familiar scent flared around him.
“Blanket,“ Michael said, and Max automatically accepted the blanket Michael handed him and wrapped it around Emma’s stiff body.
“Let’s get out of here,“ Max said. With Emma safely tucked under his chin, her legs hanging loosely against his hips, he and Michael hurried out of the white prison that had been Emma’s hell for two weeks.

<center>-----------------------------------------------------------</center>

“Let me take her,“ Serena said as Max came running through the darkness. It was pitch dark outside. Not even the light from the planet Xerios could be seen.
“I’ve got her,“ Max said. His breathing was strained and he really needed to sit down for a second, but he wasn’t ready to let Emma go. She had been unresponsive ever since he found her and that frightened him. He didn’t think handing her over to someone else was going to help the situation. Besides, it felt safer if he knew where she was. In his arms.
“Where have you been?“ Max demanded as he got closer to Serena.
“There were some of Khivar’s men,“ Serena said shortly, her focus still on the stiff bundle in Max’s arms, “Let me take her.“
Even in the dark darkness, she could see his arms reflexively spasms as he tightened his hold on the little girl.

“There are some men coming up on the east side. We need to get you out of here.“ Serena looked at Max and reached out with her arms, hoping that he might understand that it would be for the best if she took Emma.
“You are tired and you need to recuperate all you can,“ Serena added, “If something unexpected were to happen...“
Max quickly thought over the situation. Emma was like a dead-weight in his arms, but still she weighed hardly anything, so it would be no difference in that way if he carried her or not. The difference would be that he had his hands free if something did happen. But then, if he handed Emma over to someone else he wouldn’t be able to keep track of where she was.
Serena could see the hesitation flicker over Max’s face and she worriedly glanced over her shoulder. The air was filled with agonized screams and the dull sound of energy hitting bodies. Other than that, the wind was holding its breath. It was as if the wind and the light from the Xerios had abandoned them in their fight. Pulling away to a safe place.

“Give her to someone you would trust with your life,“ Max said as he made his decision and reluctantly handed the little girl over to Serena. Emma didn’t say a word during the transfer. She didn’t even move.
“Of course,“ Serena said, and drew a sigh of relief.
She turned around and said something in Antarian to the person standing next to her. In no time another person appeared and Serena handed Emma over, marking the transfer with more unintelligible words. The recipient nodded and then they were gone. Max had to take a deep breath to will his emotions down over not being able to see Emma more. She was going to some place safe. She was going to some place safe.
“What’s going on?“ Max asked Serena, his role shifting from protective father to focused warrior in the fraction of a second.
“Khivar’s men are advancing. They were hiding, but some have been spotted. I think they are planning an attack.“
Max nodded and Serena stepped closer to him, her eyes catching his. “Max, this is it.“
Max clenched his jaw and nodded. This was finally it.

<center>-----------------------------------------------------------------</center>

“They have her,“ Kira said to her left.
Liz felt her knees go out under her and she sagged against Isabel who caught her.
“Liz?“
Liz tried to take deep breath. They had found her. Her baby girl was back in the right hands. The world started to slowly spin, the nausea doubling.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,“ Liz reassured breathlessly.
She felt Kira take a hold of her other arm and trying to get her back up on the feet which were very reluctant in sustaining her weight. She rather felt than saw the concerned looks between Kira and Isabel over her head.
“Where are they?“ Liz asked.
“Emma has been taken towards one of the emergency camps. Max is out there.“
Liz raised her head and followed the line to where Kira was pointing. Out there in the middle of the battle field. She closed her eyes and tried to draw strength from taking deep and slow breaths. She could feel the dizziness simmer down and the nausea calming. With some effort she straightened her spine and lifted her head.

“How much closer can we safely get?“ she asked.
Kira frowned and cast a worried glance in Isabel’s direction.
“It is better if we stay he-“
“How much closer can we get?“ Liz interrupted, her tone forceful.
“Liz, we shouldn’t get any closer,“ Isabel said behind Liz. But Liz wasn’t listening. The voice of cold foreboding which had settled in every part of her body was still whispering of death. She had to get to Max. That was all she knew. Somehow she had to get to Max.
“How close?“ she asked again, through gritted teeth.
“Pretty close,“ Kira answered. “You would be able to see him.“
Liz nodded. “Take me there.“
“Liz, if Max finds out he’s going to kill me,“ Isabel said.
“If I don’t go there, Max is going to die,“ Liz said and felt a shiver pass through her body as she finally spoke the words aloud.
Kira nodded and turned towards his communicator, speaking through it in Antarian.
“What did you say?“ Isabel asked as he stopped.
“I called for reinforcement. If we are going to move Max’s mate closer to a war zone, we need higher security.“
Isabel relaxed some. She was afraid that Liz was going to get hurt due to her stubbornness. But it had always been like that when it came to Max and Liz. They couldn’t stand to be apart and they wouldn’t be able to survive if the other died.

<center>------------------------------------------------------------</center>

The air was filled with death. The malice and coldness of death reeked through the bodies that had caught fire, where the smell of burning flesh filled the air. It reeked through the screams of death and the deadly stares of the people crawling over the cold ground with death rattles whispering over their parched lips.

It was like she was suddenly in the middle of a nightmare. Her eyes still tried to accustom themselves to the darkness, as she fervently searched the battered bodies after Max. Her focus was on the living people, fighting further away, but her eyes couldn’t stop from wandering over the masses of dead people she had to walk over to get forward. Instinctively, she knew that she would be able to feel if something happened to Max, but still she couldn’t stop herself from looking everywhere for him.

She came to a sudden halt as a hand snaked around her arm and pulled at her to stop. With a look of bewilderment on her face she turned to see what was going on. Kira had his hand tightened around her upper arm, his fingers digging into her flesh. When she met his eyes she knew that something was wrong. Her heart slowed down in her chest until it almost came to a halt as she waited for Kira to say something. He brought up the small communication device, a round apparatus similar to a stone, to his mouth and some Antarian words were transmitted through the device.
“What?“ Liz asked fearfully, even though Kira was still talking in the communicator.
Kira lowered the communicator and held her eyes. “Khivar has been spotted. He’s headed right towards Max and Serena.“

And her heart came back to life with a violent slam. It sped up and started beating erratically in her chest. Khivar. She had heard so much of Khivar in the last couple of days, none of it good. What had scared her the most were the stories about his immense skills. He was a powerful person who could do almost everything. She also quite vividly remember how Kira had informed Max to stay away from Khivar for as long as possible and let the others who were more secure in their abilities take care of Khivar. She also remembered that Kira had said that if Max would stand face to face with Khivar, Max would probably not survive.

And now Khivar was heading towards Max.

Liz watched the battle playing out in front of her, black coldness seeping into her every cell. Something was about to happen. She knew so with an ice-cold certainty. Just as another dizzy spell hit her and she had to struggle not to pass out by the intensity of it, she felt something shift in the air. Like something pulled energy from around her. Sucked the magnetism out of the air. Her eyes automatically traveled to the black figure that she without the shadow of a doubt knew was Khivar. She didn’t know how she knew. Maybe it was the way he moved or the way he dressed. Or maybe it was the almost unnatural great power surrounding him like a force field.

It wasn’t difficult to figure out that Khivar’s power was directed at Max and Serena.
“Max,“ Liz whisper. Because she could see that Max and Serena had yet to turn their heads and discover the threat. Khivar had moved up from behind them and Liz couldn’t see any of their men close by. Some had discovered Khivar and reported it to Kira, but it appeared as if everyone was at least at the same distance as Liz was, or they were involved in their own fight with Khivar’s men. Liz knew, at the pit of her stomach, that by the time Max and Serena would be warned it would be too late.

Isabel cried out Liz’s name in a loud hiss when Liz suddenly left the hiding place, stepping out on the battlefield. Kira thrust out with his hand to grab a hold of Liz’s arm, but his hand groped in the air.
“Stop her!“ Kira commanded in both English and Antarian to his men. But Liz was too quick and the men stopped on the border between the hiding place and the open battlefield, unsure if they should draw more attention to themselves by running out on the battlefield. With sinking heart they all watched the small woman run over the dead bodes, zigzagging between the fighting men, towards something that would be her definite death.

Liz wasn’t thinking. She knew that Khivar had set his aim on Max and that he would be releasing the energy he had been summoning any second now. It was just pure instinct to get to Khivar and push him out of balance. She would have moved towards Max and tried to warn him in time, but he was too far away. Her feet carried her lightly over dead bodies and small ankle-high bushes. She was transported by air. Her heart was pounding wildly in her chest and then her body impacted with Khivar’s hard and muscular body.

<center>----------------------------------------------------------</center>

“Max!“
His heart stopped in his chest, because he knew that voice. And she wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near him right now. He didn’t have a chance to think another thought before he was thrown to the side. A figure loomed over him as he blinked repeatedly. He felt weird.
“Max... Max, are you okay?“ Serena asked.
“Liz...“ he croaked. “Where’s Liz?“
Serena jerked her head away from his and looked at something. Max tried to get up to see what had happened. But he couldn’t move.
“No,“ he heard Serena whisper. Then he heard Liz crying. But he could still not see her.
“Ah, Your Highness, delivering your wife to me I see?“
The voice was loud and cold. He had never heard it before, but still he knew. He knew. Khivar was here and Liz was with him.

Serena slowly stood up, her gaze fixed on Khivar, Max presumed. The only thing he could see was the black sky.
“Max?“ It was Liz and she sounded so frightened.
“Shut up, bitch. Now, Max,“ Khivar said and Max could hear the smirk on his face, “How much do you want this woman of yours back? I was planning on just killing you, but it seems I’ve only succeeded half way in that, since you are still breathing. But this is actually much more fun. Let’s make a deal.“
Serena looked down and met his eyes, inconspicuously shaking her head. The feeling was beginning to return to his body. It was tingling all over, like when a limb has been in the wrong position for too long. And he could feel how he was getting hot. Too hot. He summoned all the power he could and turned on his side.

Khivar was standing about twenty feet away. He was everything Max had anticipated him to be. Big, dark and cold. And now he had Liz. He was holding her close to his body, one hand firmly around her waist and one around her neck. Tears were running down her cheeks. A look of relief flashed briefly over her face when he met her eyes before a mixture of guilt and fear replaced it.
“So, what do you say?“
“What do you want?“ Max croaked, his voice sounding strange to his own ears. He could see Liz jerk at his voice and her eyes move to some point on his body. Where the heat was the most prominent. He briefly wondered what had happened to his body.
Khivar eyed him with a pair of stone eyes as he answered, “I want to have the kid back. And I must say that it’s a good deal. I’m being extremely generous. One person in exchange for two.“
Both Max and Liz’s eyes widened in confusion until realization dawned over Liz’s face.
Khivar smiled smugly. “What? You didn’t think I would know?“ His hand slowly snaked down Liz’s abdomen, her body freezing at his touch. Max desperately fought to regain control over his body.

“Don’t touch her!“ he growled out.
“She hasn’t told you yet?“ Khivar said, his hand coming to a place right over Liz’s stomach.
Max’s eyes locked with Liz and still crying she whispered, “I’m sorry.“ But he could hear it as clearly as if she had been standing next to him.
“So, what do you say, Your Majesty?“ He snarled the title out with a condescending hiss.
Max was looking at Liz and even though he could see that she was afraid, he could see that she was pleading with him not to give Emma back to Khivar. She was willing to give her own life to save her daughter from that torturous fate. But Max was as unwilling to sacrifice Emma as he was to sacrifice Liz. The decision was impossible to make, yet he had to make it.
“Can’t decide?“ Khivar asked with a malicious grin. “I’ll make it easier for you.“
The hand that was painfully gripping around Liz’s throat moved up to her forehead. And to his horror, Max saw white light starting to surround Khivar’s hand. Liz cried out in pain as the power exploded through her head and Max’s roar mingle with hers as he tried to get up on his feet to get to her.
Noo!!

Somehow he managed to get to his feet, but stumbled when his legs were refusing to keep him upright. Serena caught him before he fell and he leaned on her heavily. Tears of fear, rage and guilt spilled down his cheeks as he watched Liz’s head fall forward, shielding her face from him as her body slumped together. Max’s hateful eyes were directed at Khivar’s emotionless ones.
Khivar raised a speculative eyebrow and asked with the easiness of a businessman merely proposing the prospect of building a new apartment complex, “What’s your decision?“
“Don’t hurt her,“ Max whispered. It wasn’t only a desperate plea, but also a forceful warning. If Khivar did, Max wouldn’t be responsible for his actions.
“If you don’t take me up on my offer, I could always just keep your mate,“ Khivar continued as if Max hadn’t said a word. He slowly moved his hand to Liz’s head and took a hold of the hair close to her scalp and pulled her head upwards. “I could always find some use of this one.“
Liz’s eyes were closed and she seemed only partly conscious as her face came back into view. Khivar slowly moved his hand down Liz’s throat towards her breasts.

“I must compliment you on your taste in women,“ Khivar said as his hand grabbed Liz’s breast.
Max’s body plummeted forward, but his inability to move stopped him even before Serena reached out and snapped him backwards.
“She sure is something,“ Khivar continued, his hand moving lower along Liz’s body, coming to a stop over her stomach. “So, what do you say, Max?“
Light had begun to simmer out of Khivar’s palm again, illuminating Liz’s stomach as it shone right through her clothes.
How could Max choose between Liz, their unborn child and Emma? He couldn’t.
“It’s really me you want,“ Max said. “I have the seal. Remove it from me and do whatever you want with me. Just don’t touch my family.“
Khivar looked at him with mock compassion. “Oh, that’s so touching. And you actually make a really good point. But you see, Max,“ Khivar stepped a little closer, dragging Liz with him, and spoke a little slower as if speaking to a child, “You see all these men behind me?“ Max tore his eyes away from Khivar and Liz and looked around. Through the darkness he could see men, dark men, glaring at him menacingly, and he couldn’t help but wonder with cold fear where his own men were.

“You’re a smart man, Max. Considering the absence of your own men, it wouldn’t be so hard for you to figure out that it wouldn’t be too hard for me to capture you with or without your consent. I will get my seal, Max, and I will reign over this planet. And nothing is going to stand in my way. Not you. Not your bitch and certainly not your children. So I think you can see where I’m going with this. I might be taking the long road to accomplish my motives, but this is just so much more fun.“ He grinned at Max. But he didn’t let Max see his rage over the fact that Max had not seemed affected by his speech at all. He had not reacted in the way Khivar wanted him to. Instead of shrinking together and begging him on his bare knees, he had if possible just straightened up even more, and there was a fire in his eyes that disconcerted Khivar to some degree.
“Well, it’s been fun,“ Khivar said lightly, “But I have a planet to reign, so I really don’t have the time to chat any longer. Time’s running out, Max.“
Liz had started to regain consciousness and Max desperately wanted to reopen their connection to see if she was okay. But he couldn’t risk that. Serena had explicitly warned him from having the connection open, especially close to Khivar. He could use that connection to get access into Max and Liz’s heads and change things around to suit his own needs.
Liz’s half-closed eyes met Max’s gaze and he could see that she was prepared to sacrifice herself. She was willing to give her own life up so that he and Emma would be safe.
“You have no use for them,“ Max said.
“You’re absolutely right,“ Khivar agreed, “But this is the exciting bonus. To see you suffer. Trust me, I’ve been looking forward to this, but I never thought the opportunity would present itself as well as it has. Even though your mate is easy on the eyes, she isn’t very bright, is she? Running out here in the middle of a battle? I gotta applaud her for her courage though, or is it just foolhardiness?“

Max never saw the men creep up on the sides. His attention was completely on Liz and on being prepared to protect Liz if Khivar did something. Khivar never saw the men creep up on the sides either. He was too immersed in his own vindictive satisfaction over how everything had turned out to his benefit. Besides, what could happen when he was surrounded by his well-trained and well-prepared men? But Liz saw them. She fought through the thick mist of pain in her mind to capture Max’s eyes. They were the last thing she wanted to see when she died. That was when she saw them move almost inconspicuously up through the bushes on the sides, their bodies blending almost perfectly with the darkness. And she knew what they needed to make it all work. They needed a diversion and she was the only one who could give it. She met Max’s eyes and mouthed “I love you“. She saw fear in his eyes, but before he could react on her good-bye she took advantage of the loosening of Khivar’s grip on her body. With the grace like that of a cat, she moved away from his claws and reeled forward. Max’s men reacted immediately, aiming at Khivar and his men. Commotion erupted and cries of death filled the previous eerie silence.

The battle was over quickly. Everything cooled down to a deadly stillness. In the middle of the battleground sat a young man with a young woman cradled in his arms. Half of his body was covered in blood and her body was covered in blisters, her skin burned to an almost unrecognizable crisp.
“Liz? Liz! Don’t leave me, don’t leave me!“ His voice echoed through the darkness as people started to move towards his rocking body. Death clogged the air and they all knew by the devastating sound of his heartbreaking howls that the woman in his arms was either dying or already dead.



TBC...

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Postby max and liz believer » Tue Nov 04, 2003 3:49 pm

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for the feedback! Judging from it, I can understand that I shocked you...just a little :roll:

But just to remind you. This story (like all of my stories) is Dreamer Insured. Scout's honor! :wink:


out of this world and maxnlizbeliever4eva - Welcome to this fic!!! :D :D


And just in case you have forgotten, I'll post the end of the last chapter first and the new chapter right after that.



End of chapter 15


Max never saw the men creep up on the sides. His attention was completely on Liz and on being prepared to protect Liz if Khivar did something. Khivar never saw the men creep up on the sides either. He was too immersed in his own vindictive satisfaction over how everything had turned out to his benefit. Besides, what could happen when he was surrounded by his well-trained and well-prepared men? But Liz saw them. She fought through the thick mist of pain in her mind to capture Max’s eyes. They were the last thing she wanted to see when she died. That was when she saw them move almost inconspicuously up through the bushes on the sides, their bodies blending almost perfectly with the darkness. And she knew what they needed to make it all work. They needed a diversion and she was the only one who could give it. She met Max’s eyes and mouthed “I love you“. She saw fear in his eyes, but before he could react on her good-bye she took advantage of the loosening of Khivar’s grip on her body. With the grace like that of a cat, she moved away from his claws and reeled forward. Max’s men reacted immediately, aiming at Khivar and his men. Commotion erupted and cries of death filled the previous eerie silence.

The battle was over quickly. Everything cooled down to a deadly stillness. In the middle of the battleground sat a young man with a young woman cradled in his arms. Half of his body was covered in blood and her body was covered in blisters, her skin burned to an almost unrecognizable crisp.
“Liz? Liz! Don’t leave me, don’t leave me!“ His voice echoed through the darkness as people started to move towards his rocking body. Death clogged the air and they all knew by the devastating sound of his heartbreaking howls that the woman in his arms was either dying or already dead.





Disclaimer: The text in italics at the beginning is the lyrics to ”My Love” by Lene Marlin.


Chapter 16


Please come and find me my love

”Liz, baby, please open your eyes.”

I’m ready now to come home

”Get a medical woman over here!! Max, you have to let us look at your injuries.”

Please come and find me my love

”No! Get away! Liz... Don’t do this. Please, don’t do this. I need you.”

Let’s leave this place

”Did I tell you that we have Emma, honey? Our little angel is back. You have to fight, Liz!”

Let’s leave no trace

”Open your eyes. Liz, please open your eyes, love... Liz... LIZ!”
”Max, you have to let us see your injuries.”
”Don’t worry, honey. I’ll make you okay again.”
”Max... Max?! Michael, what the hell is he doing?”

Can you hear me my love
I’m shouting in the wind
Can you hear me


”No, Max! You can’t do that. You are too weak!”
”Maxwell, you are going to end up dead!”
”Leave us! Baby, don’t let go. Liz, stay with me. Stay with me!”

Can you see me my love
I’m drawing in the sand
Can you see me


”Max?! Stop that, Maxwell!”
”No, Max...”
”He is unconscious.”
”Do something damnit! They are both dying!”
”I’m sorry...”
”What?! You’re sorry?!”

I hope that I’m still with you as you are with me
You always will be


”Isabel, get over here! You, you, you, you and you, sit down around them and form a circle.”
”Do you have the healing stones?”
”Michael, it’s too late. They are not breathing.”

Please come and find me my love
I’m ready now to come home


”Give me the damn healing stones! Max is not going to quit on me like this! Do you hear me, Max? This is not it!”
”There is no pulse.”
”Water. Michael, we need water.”
”Do someone have a bowl of water?”
”Here.”

Please come and find me my love
Let’s leave this place
Let’s leave no trace


”Take each other’s hands. You have done this before, I presume.”
”How are we going to be able to heal them if they are not breathing? They are dead.”
”Don’t you dare say that! They are not dead.”

Can you feel me my love
I’m hurting so bad
Can you feel it


”Shut up and concentrate.”

Can you tell about my thoughts
I wish that you were here

Do you know it
The time that I’ve had don’t need any more
You’re the one I wait for


<center>---------------------------------------------------</center>

It was so quiet.
Even the silence seemed hushed.
Was this death? Was this what it felt like to be dead?

There was a devoid of presence. Like being put in a big plastic bubble where no sounds were permitted entrance. The mind felt numb. Yet, as it was at a loss of feelings, something was awakening. Slowly. Gradually. Like water dripping from a tap, which had not been fully closed.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Soft dark hair. Flowing. Billowing.

Drip.

Deep brown eyes. Laughter.

Drip.

A hand. A touch. Slender fingers. Tears.

And it all came flowing back. The plastic bubble imploded and noise filled the deflating interior.

Lips. Kiss. Arms. Smile.

I love you, Liz.

Liz.

Liz.

I love you so much.

Coldness. Fear. Grief.

Don’t leave me!

Liz... Liz?!


Liiiiizz!!!
”He’s awake.”
”Max, lay down.”
”Liz!”
”Oh my God. Max! How are you feeling?”

Panic. Fear.

”His pulse is quickening.”
”What’s happening?”
”Move to the side, Isabel.”
”He’s going into shock...”

<center>------------------------------------------------------------</center>

Agonizingly slowly, he opened his eyes and began blinking repeatedly against the bright light.
”Max?”
He blinked slowly before carefully, numbly, turning his head to the side towards the source of the voice. Isabel was looking at him with red-brimmed eyes. Her hair was a mess and her face carried stains of soot. She looked like she hadn’t slept in years.
”Can you hear me?” Isabel asked teary. She was looking at him intently, like he was going to disappear if she let herself blink.
He nodded mutely.
A sob escaped her throat. ”How are you feeling?”
Max opened his mouth to answer her, but only a hoarse croak came out.
”Here, have some water,” Isabel said, handing him the glass. He emptied the glass greedily before returning it to Isabel.

”What...what happened?” His voice was barely above a whisper due to the strain it took to just formulate the words and have his dry lips and throat produce them.
Isabel dropped her eyes and Max’s eyes moved to where her fingers were fidgeting with the edge of the covers. He absently registered tears falling on her hands.
”Khivar showed up,” she whispered, ”You almost died, Max.” She looked up, ”You were dead.”
But Max had stopped listening after the first sentence.

Khivar showed up.

Khivar showed up.

Suddenly, he couldn’t breath. The air in his lungs came out in whizzing sounds as he gasped for oxygen.
”Liz?” he whimpered. Liz had been there, in the middle of the battlefield. Khivar had been holding her and...
”Where’s Liz?!” He more or less bolted up from the bed, only to have Isabel force his beaten body back down against the pillows.
”Max, I’m sorry,” she murmured.
Max stared at the tears running down her cheeks. What was she saying?
”No!” he cried out and forcefully shook his head. ”No. Where is she?”
Isabel brushed her tears away with the back of her hand and quickly laid a comforting hand on Max’s shoulder. She suddenly realized how that might’ve sounded.

”She’s... she’s in another tent,” Isabel clarified hoarsely.
”Is she... is she...” Max took a deep trembling painful breath before thickly asking, ”...dead?”
Isabel swallowed back some of the tears. ”No.” She took a hold of Max’s hand, trying to give him some warmth. But he didn’t return her squeeze. His hand was just as cold and limp as when he had been unconscious. ”But the medical woman can’t do anything more. We tried with the healing stones, but they aren’t working.”
”Take me to her,” Max ordered, dangerous determination blazing in his eyes.
”Max, you are too weak,” Isabel protested weakly. It was so painful to see him like this. She ached to help him, but she had done everything she could. She could only support him now.
”I need to see her,” Max said. He wasn’t really asking for her permission. He was already halfway out of bed and even though he’d just woken up after being in a comatose state for two days, he suddenly had an almost inhuman strength. Strength to get to Liz.

<center>----------------------------------------------------</center>

Serena looked up when she heard noise from the other side of the thin tent wall, just in time to see Max appear in the opening.
”Your High- Max?!” she cried out with surprise. Isabel was at his side and he was leaning heavily on her, letting his sister support his still weak body.
”What are you doing up?” Serena asked, glancing at Isabel who just gave her a helpless shrug. But Max’s attention wasn’t on Serena at all. It was on the still figure lying on the mattress on the floor. He suddenly moved so quickly forward that both he and Isabel stumbled with the sudden change of speed. Max tiredly fell to his knees next to the mattress. Serena shot Isabel a worried look, as Isabel moved away to give Max the privacy he needed.

He could hardly recognize her. Her whole body, even her beautiful face, was covered in white bandage.
”Honey?” he said hoarsely, his hand moving to her hair, which was about the only thing that was the same. He didn’t know he was crying until tears started to fall on the bandage of her chest, making small circular spots form on the white covering. His eyes moved down her body and moved up again to come to rest on her close eyelids.
Without tearing his eyes away from her face he whispered, ”I want all the details of her condition.”
Serena looked at Isabel questioningly and Isabel nodded. There was nothing that could stop Max now.
”She’s...” Serena croaked and had to clear her throat, ”About 94 % of her body has third degree burns. The rest is second.” She paused and took a deep breath as her eyes was fixed on Max’s hand moving tenderly through Liz’s dark hair. ”She has internal burns as well. On the lungs, on her heart...” Serena looked at Isabel again. Should she really continue this?
”What else?” Max asked quietly.

Serena took another deep breath and continued, ”On the liver, the kidneys.”
There was a pause as Max’s eyes slowly traveled down the length of Liz’s body before coming to rest on her abdomen. ”What about the baby?” Max asked throatily.
”The amazing thing is that the baby seems to be doing perfectly fine. I don’t know why, but it appears to be unharmed.”
”If we are fortunate, we can keep the mother alive long enough for the fetus to grow into an agreeable size for it to be put in a pod,” the physician on the other end of the tent said.
Max tore his eyes away from Liz’s face and glared at him. Serena, seeing the murderous look, hurried to continue, before Max could open his mouth.
”She is being kept alive by the healing crystals.” Max turned his head and noticed that a large transparent prism was hovering over Liz’s head, its creation originating from two bright crystals positioned on both sides of Liz’s head.

”What did he do to her?” Max whispered, the anguish dripping from his voice.
Serena dropped her eyes and stared at Liz’s unresponsive figure a couple of deadly silent seconds before lifting her head and giving Max an answer.
”He shot a ray of pure energy into her, turning her skin into fire and making her insides heat up.”
An anguished groan tore over Max’s lips and Serena shuddered at the sound.
”I’m so sorry, Max. We tried to stop him, but everything just happened too fast. We couldn’t predict Liz’s actions. We had no idea she would do that...that sacrifice.”
Max nodded, doomed. Slowly, he lifted his hands and let them hover along Liz’s body.
”Max... What are you doing?” Serena asked apprehensively.
”I want to be alone with her,” Max said woodenly.
Serena looked at Isabel for support. Isabel stepped forward and put a tentative hand on his shoulder, which he immediately shrugged off.

”Max, you can’t do that,” she said, her voice trembling with the weight of the sacrifice her brother had to make and the grief and fear of what her brother would do to save his loved one.
”Yes, I can. What good are my powers if I can’t save her?”
”Max, you’re too weak,” Serena warned. She couldn’t let him do this. He would get himself killed.
”Leave me,” Max ordered, raising his head to stare directly into Serena’s eyes. Serena shivered at the pure animalistic possessiveness she saw in his eyes. Unconsciously, she took a step back.
”Max, you could die,” Isabel cried. ”Think about Emma! Do you want her to lose both of her parents?”
”The Antarian people can’t lose their king again,” Serena pleaded, desperate for him to understand, desperate to prevent him from sacrificing the happiness of his people.

Max sprung to his feet, his body swaying slightly with weakness and anger. ”Damnit! Don’t you understand?! Without her I am as good as dead! Without her you have no king. She is my heart, my happiness, my soul, my everything!” His voice softened as he tiredly sank to his knees again, taking Liz’s bandaged hand carefully and added in a broken whisper, ”She is my life.”
”Max, I know that,” Isabel said gently, ”But think about Emma. You can’t put yourself at this kind of risk. She needs you. Do you want Liz’s sacrifice to be for nothing?”
Max snapped his head up to Isabel’s face. ”She wasn’t even supposed to be out there! Why didn’t you stop her, Isabel? I trusted you to keep her safe!”
Isabel actually snorted, which caused Max’s eyes to darken with building anger. ”It’s Liz, Max. When has anyone ever been able to tell her what to do? Not even you have been able to do that.”
”You weren’t even supposed to be near the battlefield,” Max accused.
”She felt something. She felt that you were in some kind of danger,” Isabel said, her voice hardening, ”Besides, she probably wouldn’t have done something as drastic if you hadn’t blocked the connection without telling her you would.”

Isabel regretted the harsh words the moment she said them. Knowing Max, he was probably already being eaten up with guilt without needing to have her beat him over the head with the harsh facts.
Max turned his face away from Isabel. Her words echoed in the empty silence.
”There is no need to assign guilt,” Serena said calmly and paused shortly before continuing. ”But Max, I really think that you should rest before you try something.”
”Will she live that long?” Max asked quietly.
Serena swallowed. Considering the damage Khivar had caused on Max’s body he needed a long time to recuperate and at best he should heal himself first before having enough strength to heal Liz. But considering the fact that Liz was more or less balancing on the border between life and death every second, time was really a survival factor. Even if she would live long enough for Max to heal her the damage would gradually deteriorate her body with each passing hour. A small legacy Khivar had left behind. But Serena couldn’t tell Max that he was racing against time in more ways than one. That would really provoke him into doing something rash.

”No,” Serena answered honestly.
Max nodded, his eyes fixed on Liz’s closed ones.
”I need to be alone with her,” he repeated.
”What about Em-” Isabel wearily protested, but Max cut her off.
”I’m not going to do anything, okay? I just want some time alone with her.”
There was a pause as both Serena and Isabel weighed Max’s request. Isabel knew from experience that there was nothing that could stand in the way of him protecting Liz and if he had to lie to his sister to do it, he would.
”Max, promise me that you won’t do anything foolish,” Isabel pleaded.
”I won’t, Iz.”
”Okay,” Isabel sighed tiredly.
She and Serena silently left the tent, leaving Max and Liz on their own.

Max tenderly let his hands move through her hair. It was filled with twisted knots and one side was mixed with dry blood. He realized that it might be his own blood. He was starting to remember the numbness in his own body. He wasn’t exactly sure what Khivar had done to him, but it wasn’t really of any importance. Liz was all that mattered now.
”Baby...” he whispered gently. His eyes were fixed on her closed eyes as if expecting her to actually open them and he would be staring into those deep beautiful dark pools again. She would probably reprimand him for getting out of bed. Max smiled faintly to himself, his thumbs gently tracing her bruised eyelids.
”You are so brave, sweetie,” Max said softly, ”But do you have to be so stubborn?” He closed his eyes and fought back the tears. ”I’m just gonna check you out, okay?”
He paused for a minute, looking at her covered face, before taking a hold of the covers and gently pulling them down from her body.

Bandages.

That was all he could see. Everywhere.
Max let out an anguished sob. ”Liz...”
How could someone do this to her? To his beautiful Liz with her big heart, her warm smile, her twinkling eyes, her playfulness. Her love.

He started taking deep breaths to calm himself down and focus. As his eyes slowly drifted closed, his hands moved to hover on each side of her head.

Pain.

Pain so blinding it almost pushed him right out of the connection. But he fought against it, trying to move pass it. It was so intense that he could barely do that. His head was already throbbing, his lungs aching for oxygen. His heart was beating erratically, in sync with the unsystematic beating of her heart. And he was barely scratching the first layer of their connection.

He worked through layer and layer of pain. Piercing pain. Throbbing pain. Numbing pain. Dull, stifling pain. Then his mind gained clarity, like coming out of a thick mist, and he was able to focus. He methodically went through every millimeter of her body, registering what was wrong and what needed to be done for it to be healed. He forced his own emotions to the back of his mind. They would make it impossible for him to stand this. The damage was extensive, almost complete. There were barely any areas of her body unharmed.

Except her uterus. Miraculously, it was completely untouched. Max mentally inhaled deeply when he felt the pure life force under his fingers, in his mind, of his unborn child. It was alive and it was, as Serena had told him, unharmed. He forced himself to move on. He could feel his energy quickly draining. He lingered some in the warm presence of their baby, before he continued to scan the rest of Liz’s body.

He came out of the connection gasping for air. Remnants of Liz’s pain mixed with his own feelings of raw fear and panic. He felt completely helpless. His whole body trembled as he carefully laid his head on her stomach. It had hit him just how weak he was. Just looking through her body, which normally barely took any energy at all, had left him completely drained. His body rocked with sadness as the bandage covering her stomach became wet with tears. He could feel her slipping away from him. He now knew the extension of his own injury and with that also came the realization that there was little he could do for Liz.

Max gently stroke her bandaged abdomen, feeling the life tickling beneath his fingers. There might be little he could do for Liz, but he would do it. He would give her every amount of energy he had. Even if it killed him.

<center>----------------------------------------------------------------</center>

Max quietly moved into the tent. It was illuminated with the soft light from lucidas, randomly placed around the tent area. Lucidas were more like candles than anything else, although they did not burn. Instead they used stones that collected and reflected the light from the Xerios planet outside back in the room.

He gave the guard a short nod and he stood up and left the tent, just as silently as he had been watching over the child.

Max slowly moved towards the mattress, his eyes fixed on the small bundle curled up in the middle of the vast mattress. He felt some kind of peace settle over him as his eyes moved over his sleeping daughter. She actually was back with them, safe. He hadn’t had the chance to be informed on how Emma was doing since he had woken up. The only thing he did know about what she was feeling about everything, was what he had been hit with when he had taken her out of the palace. She had been almost catatonic then.

He slid to his knees beside the mattress. She was sound asleep, her arms and legs pulled up close to her chest, making her seem smaller than ever. His eyes fell on her chest. She was clutching something tightly to her chest. He carefully reached out with his hand to move her small hand so that he could see what it was. He barely had the chance to touch the material, though, before she whimpered. His heart froze at the helpless sound and his hand changed direction, moving to her face. She jumped at his gentle touch, but she didn’t wake up and soon she settled down under his ministrations.

Her thick black lashes rested against her cheeks, which once had been round and flushed with the red color of health. They were now sunken in, the skin stretched over the cheekbones. His hand traveled to her hair, once bright and soft, now lifeless and tangled up. She was still dirty from the escape and Max briefly wondered why they hadn’t cleaned her up. Was it because they didn’t want to disturb her, or was it because she wouldn’t let anyone near to do it?

A lonesome tear rolled down Max’s cheek as his finger began tracing the frown lines on her forehead. She was too young to look so afraid, so restless, especially in her sleep.

How would he be able to explain to Emma why her mother wasn’t visiting her? How did you explain to a four-year-old that her mother was so ill that she couldn’t walk or even open her eyes? How did you explain that she might never wake up again?

Max brushed away the flow of tears now freely streaming down his cheeks in frustration. His hand came to rest on her small hip.
”I’m here, honey,” he whispered, his voice clogged with tears, ”You’re safe now. You’re safe now.”

<center>--------------------------------------------------------</center>

Isabel walked in later to find her brother asleep on his knees besides his daughter’s mattress. His head was resting next to Emma’s pulled up legs, his hand curled into Emma’s shirt. Isabel swallowed back the tears forming in her eyes and stepped further into the tent, retrieving one of the blankets and carefully spreading it over Max’s exhausted body. With one final look she left the tent, letting Max, for the first time in a month, be in his daughter’s presence.



TBC...


___________________

Hopefully the next chapter will be up shortly...

Take care!

- Josephin xxx


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