Bona Fide (M/L, CC, Teen) 1/1 - 3/31/13

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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Bona Fide (M/L, CC, Teen) 1/1 - 3/31/13

Post by memory_echo » Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:59 pm

Title: “Bona Fide”

Disclaimer: Written for love, not for profit. The characters do not legally belong to me. They belong to: Melinda Metz and Laura Burns who created them, Jason Katims who developed them, 20th Century Fox Television and Regency Television who produced them and the WB and UPN who broadcasted them.

Pairing: Max/Liz

Rating: TEEN

Summary: Set in “The Departure”. The conversation Max and Liz were supposed to have.

Author's Notes: After reading the cut scenes for the “The Departure”, I still wished the conversation between Max and Liz would’ve been longer. There’s one line from “The Harvest”.

Acknowledgements: Thank you so much, fmecs – for your time, for your patience and for your invaluable feedback. I also want to thank behrbabe for the amazing story banner!

Feedback: I'll be glad to read it!


On their way back to Roswell, Liz and Max were haunted by the acrimony that separated them – now more than ever. Despite the whirling thoughts in his head, despite the gulf between them, despite the dimness, Max stole glances at Liz anytime he could, studying her; she resembled a soldier, fallen in combat in a hopeless war… Her words echoed strongly in his mind, bringing to the surface countless sleepless nights he had spent searching for clues that would explain her strange behavior.

He turned off the engine in front of the Crashdown Café and placed his hands on the steering wheel... He couldn't leave Earth with lingering doubts in his mind.

“You didn't sleep with Kyle,” he said, finally sure of himself.

His tone stirred something in her soul. He knows, she thought. A rush of relief cracked through the wall around her heart. It suddenly dawned on her that her sturdy wall had started to crack back when they were in the lab.

“Please, tell me the truth,” he asked.

The primordial struggle in her mind started anew. Yes, Max deserved her honesty (now more than ever!), but what good could possibly come from the truth? She couldn’t tell him just to appease her heavy heart – it would be cruel of her to do it! Liz swallowed hard; she didn’t know how much longer her wall could withstand...

“I’m not sure, Max, it won’t do you any good to-”

“Try me,” he pleaded.

Max's request shook the stronghold she had so carefully built around her heart until it collapsed. But Liz had no idea how to begin telling Max the truth. Would he understand? Would he even believe her? Sometimes, she had trouble believing it all…

“Because I’m all out of leads…” Max said, interrupting her train of thought. “If it weren’t for your outburst earlier, I would have had no concrete evidence that you’ve been hiding something from me…”

Liz looked at him; the confusion and the pain that swirled in his beautiful amber eyes haunted her.

“I’ve always had the strangest feeling that you were leaving ‘bread crumbs’ for me to follow… or maybe it was wishful thinking, I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head.

Maybe I did, maybe this plan wasn’t bulletproof, maybe it’s because I kept hanging around you, maybe it’s because I never stopped loving you like I should have, Liz thought.

“It’s just that nothing made any kind of sense to me… You said you wanted a normal life, you said you wanted to fall in love with a normal boy… but you kept helping us… you kept coming back to me… And when I saw you with Kyle-” Inadvertently, he shut his eyes, trying to exorcise that vision, now that he knew it was not true… but he couldn’t help the shortness of breath, the pain of his still shattered heart… “you didn’t look happy at all, you didn’t look like someone who was moving on with her life…”

Liz couldn’t decide if he felt happy or sad by the fact that she was stuck in life… Strangely, she couldn’t decide what to feel herself!... Max put his head between his hands, helplessly.

“I tried everything to prove that you were hiding something from me, after you said- what you said to me.”

He took a piece of paper from his back pocket and handed it to Liz. She looked at it carefully, and could barely believe her eyes. Max had scribbled every minutia of her behavior on that paper: from tone of voice to eye movement and other details of body language. Everything was there: her overwhelming sadness when he gave her the pocketknife back; when she saved his life in New York City; when she gave him advice and comfort during his Christmas crisis; when she asked him to see the world with her, when she pleaded with him never to stop being her friend; the fact that she was not in a stable relationship with anybody else… Liz’s eyes paused in a particular place: the sentences “I made a mistake. Kyle and I made love. The end. I'm sorry” were underlined three times with a written note on the side, saying “mutually exclusive!! If Liz had made love to Kyle, it wouldn't have been a mistake.”

“Wow, this looks like that panel from ‘The Usual Suspects’,” she said, amazed at all the evidence he had compiled of her behavior since that fateful night.

“It was excruciating to gather all of that... It was even worse to think about it… objectively, I mean.” He looked at her. “You were always more rational than I was...”

Liz noticed that his last statement betokened a beacon of hope that was still absent from his afflicted gaze.

“Well, you did an amazing job at it,” she said, looking at him, wishing she could comfort him.

“I learned that from you,” he said, smiling at her. “Even though my heart was telling me you were hiding something, I just couldn't figure out how to prove it…” And then the beacon vanished again. He lowered his tear-filled eyes, as he said: “At some point… I stopped trusting my instincts. I don’t know why… I should’ve known better.”

Liz felt a pang in her heart, even though Max had not spoken the accusing words that echoed in her head. How could he have ever known, she thought, deductive reasoning would never lead him to the truth. “It’s not your fault, Max,” she said, choked up. “There’s no way you could’ve known,” she whispered. Max watched her, still seeking clues, which would give him the answer to that infernal puzzle.

“I know that whatever it was, it’s still gnawing away at you,” he said. The moments he had spent gathering this information were the closest he could feel to her. I’ve healed a gunshot wound, what could possibly be so terrible that she can’t tell me? He thought. They used to share everything so completely. No questions needed. Now, he yearned to know what was hurting her so. He ached to ease the burden that was crushing her soul beyond recognition.

Liz tried to take a deep breath, but the air never seemed to reach her lungs. Holding the paper in her hand, seeing all the pain Max had gone through over the last months, tipped her over the edge. She tried to focus, tried to mask her own pain behind a calm voice. “When you do what I did... the only way you can live with yourself is if the person you trust the most assures you that you are doing the right thing,” she said, quietly, looking at the floor. She raised her head and faced him. “So I need you to know... that everything I did to you…” She tried to hold back the tears but, without her sturdy wall for protection, she was fighting a losing battle. “I never wanted you to get hurt,” she said, in a whisper of a voice.

Max swallowed hard: it was excruciating seeing her like this. He desperately wanted to comfort her, to hold her in his arms and tell her that nothing bad would happen to her ever again… But he couldn’t. He waited patiently for her to continue.

“The truth is: if I hadn't pushed you away from me, we would've gotten together… Tess would've left Roswell and you, Isabel and Michael would never be powerful enough to fight off the invaders that would've destroyed the entire planet fourteen years from now…”

Max's thoughts whirled fiercely in his head. How did she know all those things; who could have possibly poisoned her heart with such terrible tales? “Who told you that?!”

She looked at him with tear-filled eyes and whispered: “You. Rather, a future version of you used the Granilith as a time machine and came back to warn me... to ask me to avoid an apocalyptic war. And the only way we could achieve that-” She could barely hold her breath; the pain was choking her. “was to make you fall out of love with me.” Max watched, dumbfounded, as silent tears ran down her beautiful face, her words echoing painfully in his ears. “I tried everything I could think of to make you turn to Tess…”

“So, you staged everything: Tess at the Crashdown with Steinbeck’s book, the Romeo and Juliet speech…” Max said, softly, feeling his reasoning come back to him.

“Yeah, that speech… A bunch of truths sandwiched between two lies,” she blurted. “But nothing seemed to be working…”

“Kyle… You knew that if I saw you with Kyle…”

Liz nodded, silent. “When Future Max disappeared, we knew that everything was changed.” She took a deep breath for the first time in months, even though the heaviness in her heart hadn’t diminished a bit. “I know this is all hard to believe.” Liz said.

“No, I believe you,” Max assured her. “Besides, how could you possibly know about the Granilith's power, unless someone told you?” He swallowed hard, struggling against the anguish building up inside him. He tried to smile but she saw right through him, his turmoil growing.

“I shouldn’t have told you, I mean, I know it doesn’t change anything now. I’m sorry, Max.”

“I’m glad you told me. Please, don’t be sorry, Liz,” he said eagerly, while his fingertips tried to catch the tears that ran freely down her cheeks. He wasn’t lying. Despite all the pain they’d been through in the past few months, he was amazed by her strength. “I’m proud of you, Liz!” He held her gaze. “And if you had succeeded in making me fall out of love with you, I would’ve had plenty of other moments to fall in love with you all over again.”

She felt a rush of tenderness in her heart, instantly recognizing the tone he was using – the exact same one he had used when he reversed the connection, just two years earlier, when he let her see into his soul.

“I’m sorry I didn’t figure it out earlier,” he said in the same tone. Liz shook her head slowly, but she knew that Max would never change his mind about this.

“I’m sorry I caused you so much pain,” she spoke simply, trying to make him understand that it hadn’t been his fault. For a moment, silence took hold of them, even though it was clear neither of them wanted to be the first to move away. After Max’s brain caught up with his emotions, he couldn’t prevent a faint smile from illuminating his face.

“So... in that other life... we would’ve really been together?” He asked, with a mixture of fear and curiosity that Liz recognized immediately. She just nodded and returned his smile.

“Yeah... happily married for fourteen years,” she said with a dreamy look.

Max was stunned. He knew happiness was not something he could afford to feel, but he couldn’t prevent the smile from growing wider on his face, imagining the possibility. “Happily married...” he mumbled. The light vanished from his face in the same instant. The vision of Liz – twirling in his arms, sharing their second kiss as husband and wife – passed before his eyes.

“It was true,” she said, matching his tone.

“What was?”

“The vision you had in Vegas…” She confirmed.

Max’s breath caught in his throat. How easy it would be to give in to the despair after the pressure of the ropes that had strangled him for so many months. But how could he, possibly?! Watching this girl (apparently exhausted), seeing her strength, her tenderness, her unquestioning love and devotion, made him want to wrap his arms around her and never let her go...

“What you did for all of us... mortgaging your happiness... to keep this secret... How can anyone go through that alone?!”

“I wasn't alone... You were with me every step of the way.”

Her words transported him back to that world where there was nothing but those two teenagers, gazing at each other lovingly, giving their hearts to one another. Why couldn’t they have that back?!

“I should’ve known… I mean, I knew it, I could feel it,” Max repeated, bowing his head in shame, feeling the weight of the pain that threatened to suffocate him.

I should’ve kept my mouth shut, Liz thought. “Please, Max, don’t do this to yourself…” She said. Her wish was sincere, but she knew full well that the anguish and pain that welled up inside him was impossible to contain.

“It was a no-brainer all along, wasn’t it?… We love each other – that’s the way it’s been from the start… that night I saw you with Kyle… was an unfortunate but necessary exception to that rule. You keep telling me that I couldn’t have known, but I knew it, Liz…” Max said, grabbing her hands. “My heart knew it!” He whispered.

“You just couldn’t prove it,” she added, knowingly.

“I can’t explain it… It was like… all the lights went out in my mind…” he said, slowly massaging his temple with two fingers. “I don’t really understand anything very well…” He said, trying to unravel the tangle of thoughts and emotions that populated his brain. “After everything that happened between us… I ran out of questions… I ran out of answers… I ran out of hope! And lost myself in the lies...” Max tried to explain it in his own words, but it felt like keeping fog in a jar. “I just lied to myself, thinking I had to move on with my life, thinking you just didn't want me in your life anymore... It was the worst thing I ever did... And now I can't take it back!” He said, feeling the despair hammering in his throat.

“I know…” Liz mumbled, quietly.

Max was shocked by the lack of anger and accusation in her tone. “I wish we could start over… there are so many things I want to change with you. With us.” He said, choked up. Max's heart skipped a beat when he noticed a distinguishable glow in Liz’s gaze. Her eyes brimmed with love and an anticipated longing. He felt as if he was gone already…

“Me too!” She said, matching his tone.

Another tear rolled down her cheek without permission. Max reached out to her and wiped her tear with his thumb, without thinking. He ignored that little voice in his mind that said he had no right to touch her anymore. He gasped at her reaction: she leaned into his hand in dire need to feel him. Impulsively, he took her in his arms, allowing himself to comfort her. His fear that she would push him away, enraged by his boldness, never materialized. Liz relaxed in his embrace, resting her head on his shoulder. Her body was lacerated by a sob; she only had enough time to hide her face in Max's chest.

Max nestled her in his embrace, swallowing back his own impending downfall. The boy focused his attention on comforting her, but he couldn’t help it – his heart soared with contentment to have her in his arms again. It was as if time had stopped and he was back in the van, after his rescue from Eagle Rock. She looked after him on that tenebrous night, following his captivity, as her unbounded love, patience and generosity lulled him to sleep. He held on to that memory as he held on to this girl he loved above all things.

The more cradled Liz was in Max’s arms, the more tears ran from her face. She was prepared for the confrontation, for the anger, for the hatred, even – that was the price she knew she had to pay for keeping this secret from him – but not for this. She imagined this conversation so many times in her head, but this scenario never once crossed her mind. She looked at him, her eyes still brimming with tears. Why did he have to smile like that, she wondered, why couldn’t he just be angry with her?… That would be so much easier to handle.

With an ever-present smile, Max focused his attention on the stream of tears, wiping it clean. He took a deep breath and Liz mimicked him, losing herself in his sorrowful gaze, enjoying the soothing sensation of his hands caressing her cheeks.

With no regard for how late it was getting, Max leaned over and kissed her forehead – his lips lingering on her skin, breathing her familiar fragrance in. His tender gestures felt like a balm to her tortured spirit. They gazed at one another and saw that familiar blaze flaring in each others' eyes. After countless months of unendurable pain, they welcomed the fire that coursed through them like a warm breeze, whisking them away from their current predicament. It was the only certain thing they had left in their lives…

His lips descended on hers and they shared a passionate, desperate kiss. As they deepened the kiss, they felt the familiar surge of their connection. They were immediately transported into the flashes – image after image passing before their mind's eye. From their first hug to their last dance and nearly every emotion in between, Max and Liz savored their kiss, reveling in the memories, even the most agonizing ones. Their souls naturally intertwined, as they had done in simpler times – neither of them tried to fight the momentum, their need to take comfort in each other…

When they finally broke the kiss – his eyes still closed, feeling her soft breath caressing his face – a wicked thought crossed his mind: tell Tess to vanish with the baby and return to where you belong. The words bubbled in his brain and on the tip of his tongue ... Oh, to just let them out!... It would be so easy to stay there. With her. Forever! Until… Until when, he asked himself, until the morning you look into Liz’s eyes and start silently resenting her, poisoning her life with your putrid conscience? He backed away from her and shuddered at the thought of two innocent people suffering from his mistake.

“Is it time?” Liz whispered, dismayed. Max nodded an almost imperceptible yes, not wanting to believe it, not wanting it to be true.

“You’re gonna be happy, right?” Liz asked. Max’s heart hammered in his chest. Her question wasn’t a question, it was a wish: she wished for him to find happiness with his new family. The boy felt the tears prickling his eyes, and feared he would lose his composure in front of her. Don’t add that burden to her shoulders, he ordered himself. But he couldn’t lie to her.

“I’m gonna be okay,” he whispered, caressing her cheek with his thumb. Liz could see the wave of tears in his eyes, threatening to overtake him and the way his adam’s apple bobbed dreadfully… That’s when his words sank in.

Liz offered him one last smile (just to let him know that she got the message). She wanted to take his pain away, but felt powerless for the second time in her life…

Silence covered them like a cold blanket. There was nothing left to say…

Liz got out of the jeep, before she lost her nerve. Max felt the jeep shake slightly and become insufferably lighter, as he watched Liz drift away from him. She turned around one last time and Max returned the smile she had blessed him with earlier. After she finally crossed the threshold of the Crashdown Café, Max allowed himself to bow his head and let the curse of destiny swallow him whole, with the tears running down his face as his only solace…

After a while, he gathered himself, he put the key in the ignition and turned the jeep around. Time to face his future. Forever in pain… Forever alone.
Last edited by memory_echo on Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
∞ Max & Liz – The most sublime Love story ever told! ∞

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