Downfall (M&L / Adult ) (Complete)

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Downfall (M&L / Adult ) (Complete)

Post by Breathless » Tue Apr 08, 2003 3:20 am

Winner - Round 7


Winner - Round 6


Winner - Round 3


Before I post this I want to give fair warning ....

Edited to add:
Since Downfall is still drawing in a few readers, I want to add this warning up front. If you are a Liz Purist, you will not like Downfall. This story depicts Liz as a broken spirit. If you think that Liz should be portrayed as always strong and pure and perfect, stop reading now.

This is a Dreamer fic, but some of you more “Diehard Dreamers” might find parts of it a little hard to read, especially in the first few chapters. This fic is only 11 parts long, so I hope you will be able to stick with me. This story came about while I watched season 2 unfold on the sci-fi channel, and bad feelings were once more brought to the surface.

Because of the nature of this story, I plan to post it quickly. If all goes well, I will update every Tuesday and Thursday, possibly with a Wednesday thrown in there once and awhile.

My thanks go out to my betas on this one, Ari, Carol and Sam. Love you guys!
Last edited by Breathless on Mon Nov 10, 2003 5:21 am, edited 15 times in total.

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Downfall Part 1

Post by Breathless » Tue Apr 08, 2003 3:21 am

Banner art by ChrissyP47

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes
Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with Roswell or anyone associated with it. Song lyrics used in this story are by Trust Company, from the CD The Lonely Position of One. This CD actually played a large part in the writing of this story. So many of the lyrics suited it, and my mood while writing it. No infringement intended.

Summary: Everything up to and through Departure is real. Future Max came back in time to force Liz to change the future. As a result, Alex died, Max slept with Tess and got her pregnant, Tess went back to Antar in the Granilith. Max, Michael and Isabel were left ‘stranded’ on Earth.

This story begins during the summer after Departure. To be precise, it begins the day after Max and Liz’s ‘first date’, that infamous walk on the dock, except in this story, Max never got to the part where he stripped off his clothes and went skinny dipping in the lake.

No, in this story, Liz walked away from him before then . . .


So it’s over now
I’m beneath
And I’m crawling out
On my knees

I can hear what you said
Echoing in my head
I’m losing . . . myself

Now I’m cold on the floor
And I don’t care anymore
Cause it’s over . . . it’s over


Roswell, New Mexico
July 2001

Liz Parker sat on the wooden bench until the last minute, staring at the ticket in her hand, wondering if she was doing the right thing. It was what she wanted, wasn’t it? What she needed? A new start? Away from here? Someplace where no one knew her. Someplace where the alien abyss couldn’t suck her dry anymore.

No more alien themed restaurants. No more UFO museums. No more little green men in store front windows. No more Crash Festivals.

No more aliens.

The overhead speakers announced the eminent departure of bus 2717 for Vermont, and Liz finally rose to her feet. This part of her life was coming to an end, Roswell and all that had happened to her here.

She settled into a seat halfway down the aisle, on the right side of the bus, sitting next to the window, putting her backpack on the seat next to her to prevent anyone from sitting with her. She didn’t want company.

The air brakes whooshed and whined as the bus pulled out of the station. The sun streamed in the window but its warmth didn’t reach her. She was cold inside now, a cold that had frozen her heart and seeped deep into her soul.

When had that cold taken over? There had once been warmth in her heart. When Max Evans healed a bullet hole two inches below her ribs, he’d not only saved her life, he’d opened her world in ways never before imagined.

She hadn’t known at the time that love and hate weren’t that different. They both had the power to destroy you.

Max Evans had told her that he loved her, that she was the one, the only one, and then he’d come back from the future and taken it all away. He’d convinced her that she had to change the present, for the sake of the future, and in the process her world had fallen apart.

Alex was dead now, and Max had gone to Tess, just as that future version of him had said he must. But the result had been far from what she expected.

She’d spent the summer trying to come to terms with everything that had happened since then. Alex dead. Max sleeping with Tess, getting her pregnant. Tess using the Granilith to take his unborn son back to his home planet, followed moments later by his declaration that he had to save his son.

She thought her love for him could get her past it, but sometimes love just wasn’t enough. Especially when the one you loved, the one you would do anything for, the one you would sacrifice everything for, just didn’t love you back. Not the way you needed him to.

It had all become so clear last night, when they were walking on the dock. It was supposed to be their first date. A new start. A new beginning. But he was different now, and so was she. He’d walked beside her, telling her how meeting someone ‘like him’ had attracted him, and it was something he had to ‘find out about’.

And in that moment, it had all become clear for her.

He wasn’t the same Max she had fallen in love with. He wasn’t the innocent boy who had walked the halls of West Roswell High, secretly thinking she was beautiful. He wasn’t the scared introvert who had risked it all to save her life simply because, in his words, “It was you”. He wasn’t the tender young man who came in out of the rain, telling her she was “The one. The only one.”

No, he was someone else now, and the painful truth of it was, she couldn’t feel his love for her anymore. She couldn’t feel it in his touch. She couldn’t hear it in his voice. She didn’t see it in his eyes. His words were only words, with no emotion behind them.

The Max she loved was gone, and she would carry the guilt of his loss always, knowing that he had become this new person because of what she’d done. Seeing her with Kyle had changed him, just as that future version of him had meant it to, and the result was a Max that she didn’t know anymore.

She had walked away from him on the dock last night, and he stood there, not knowing why. Not understanding that the words he said had cut her like a knife. His words had pierced her heart, just as surely as that bullet had once pierced her flesh.

He had the power to save her with his hands, and kill her with his words, and now she was dead inside.

Liz watched the desert take over as the bus hit the open road leaving Roswell behind. She prayed that she could leave all the pain and heartache behind as well, but somehow she doubted that would happen. She listened to the music playing in her headphones, a haunting tune that mirrored the state of her life, or what was left of it . . .

So I’m leaving now
As I slowly drown

I can hear what you said
Echoing in my head
I’m losing . . . myself

So I guess it’s over now
And you broke me down
Now I’m faltering

I can see
I can be

I can leave and shut you out

Song lyrics by
Trust Company

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Post by Breathless » Wed Apr 09, 2003 1:09 am

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes

Summary: Liz leaves Roswell after Tess’ departure, to go to school in Vermont, to start a new life, away from the alien abyss. She thought she could get a fresh start, but some things you can never run away from, no matter how much time goes by.

Excerpt from Prologue, words to keep in mind while reading . . .

He had the power to save her with his hands, and kill her with his words, and now she was dead inside.


I’m shaking deep inside
I’m having trouble breathing
I need somewhere to hide
Away cause I am healing

I’m having trouble breathing

Tomorrow I am healing

Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 1
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The pounding rhythm of the base reverberated in her chest, echoing through her body, a driving force that animated the mass of undulating bodies that surround her. The hot air bordered on steamy, filled with the sound of music and the smell of sweat, and beer, and sex. She danced with abandon, her long dark hair shimmering under the swirling colored lights, the spaghetti straps of her sequined top falling from her pale, exquisite shoulders, her midriff bare, and flat, and taut.

A belly ring glinted in her navel. It wasn’t the only part of her once pure body that was now pierced.

Her hips swiveled and rocked to the music, sensually, provocatively, an obvious invitation to the throng of men who watched her, or danced with her, or simply groped her. Her short skirt rode high on slender, yet well toned thighs. It wasn’t just dancing that kept those leg muscles in shape. Her hands rubbed up and down her thighs in tune to the music, fingers spread, thumbs hitched toward her inner thighs, pointing higher, a not so subtle offering to the man dancing in front of her, watching her show, already envisioning a night of hot, steamy, kinky sex with the dark haired temptress. His nostrils flared with the smell of her.

The music changed, slowing slightly, and she took that as her cue. With a toss of her long tresses she turned away from the dance floor and made a less than steady progression toward the bar on stiletto heels.

“Hey baby,” her dance partner grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back. He slipped his thigh between her legs and rubbed suggestively against her to the beat of the music. “Don’t leave yet. They’re playing our song.”

“I don’t do slow and easy,” she pushed him away. His eyes flared as she walked away, swaying her tight ass in the even tighter skirt. She was a flirt, a ball breaker, a cock teaser, and the best piece of ass in the club. She made her way to the bar and leaned against it, with a flirty smirk on her face.

“You’re burning up the floor, Beth,” the bartender reached for a highball glass to pour her another drink.

“You got any champagne back there, Scott?” she asked. She leaned forward toward the young, dark haired hunk, eyeing his biceps appreciatively, giving him a little extra cleavage to look at.

“Champagne?” Scott arched an eyebrow in surprise. “That’s not your usual poison. Celebrating tonight?”

“I’ll celebrate with ya, baby,” a stud on the make leaned into the bar next to her.

Beth raked her eyes up his toned body, lingering on his crotch with an appraising smile, then up his broad chest, up to his handsome face, framed by thick dark hair. Her smile disappeared and she turned her attention back to Scott.

“No. Not celebrating,” she said over the loud music. “More like eulogizing.”

“Somebody die?” Scott reached for a bottle of Moet Chandon.

“Yeah,” she took the bottle before he could uncork it. “A long time ago. I’m gonna toast his life.”

He offered her a fluted glass and after a long pause, she finally took it. She might have expensive taste, but she wasn’t too good to drink straight from the bottle. She turned from the bar and sauntered in the direction of her table.

“What’s her story?” the stud asked as he watched her walk away.

“Don’t know,” Scott poured a drink and set it in front of him. “But you don’t have a chance.”

“Why not?” he asked. With his good looks and even better looking body, he never had any trouble getting laid.

“You’re not her type,” Scott wiped down the bar. “She doesn’t go for brunettes. Avoids ‘em like the plague. Believe me, Todd, I tried.”

“Too bad,” Todd raked his eyes over her retreating figure.

The loud pop of a champagne cork blasting out of the bottle was immediately followed by Beth’s musical laughter. To the bar patrons who heard it, her laughter sounded jovial, cheerful, even happy. But the man who watched her from the shadows knew different. He could hear her pain. He could see it in her bearing. He could feel it pouring off of her in waves.

He knew where her pain came from. He was the one who caused it.

* * * * *

“What can I get ya, pal?” Scott set a bar coaster in front of the newcomer.

“Just a coke,” he answered. His amber colored eyes watched the masses dancing on the floor under the flashing lights. She wavered in and out among the throng, but even when he couldn’t see her, he could feel her. It’d taken him years to find her.

“You playing designated driver tonight?” Scott asked.

“Something like that,” he answered, just as close mouthed as ever. No one ever knew what was really going on behind those melancholy eyes.

“Look,” Scott leaned forward a little. “I couldn’t help noticing who you’ve been staring at. Let me give you a little advice. Forget about it. Beth’s not interested.”

“Beth . . .”

“Try the blonde down at the end of the bar. She gives great head.”

“Not interested in blondes.” He lowered his eyes to his drink, swirling the ice around with a straw.

“Funny,” Scott poured a beer for a sweaty dancer and pushed it across the bar. “That’s what Beth says about brunettes. Won’t touch ‘em.”

The newcomer took that in with a silent nod.

“How well do you know her?” he turned his gaze back onto the dance floor. His back stiffened at the sight of her gyrating with a tall blond. She arched backwards with her long hair nearly touching the floor, and her legs spread, humping the guy’s thigh.

“Not as well as I’d like to,” Scott answered. A sharp look from the dark haired mystery man made him shrug and point at his own hair. “Brunette. She won’t give me the time of day.”

The music changed, taking on a new pounding beat. Loud. Potent. Primal.

“Do you know what she does for a living?” he asked, watching Beth switch to a new partner, shaking her body at him, an open invitation.

A waitress slid in next to the newcomer, giving Scott an order for table 5. Her eyes wandered over the gorgeous man beside her, but he was intent on Scott, waiting for his answer.

“Not a clue,” Scott replied. “Nobody knows much about her. She keeps her secrets well.”

“I know,” the mystery man lifted his drink to his mouth.

Scott eyed him a little closer, but he left it at that. The newcomer swiveled the bar stool so that his back was to the dance floor and stared at Beth’s gyrating reflection in the mirror behind the bar.

* * * * *

Beth washed the soap from her hands and tore a strip of paper towel from the dispenser. The bathroom wasn’t as steamy as the dance floor, but it smelled just as bad. Sweat and piss and vomit. Some people knew how to have a good time.

She paused to adjust her skirt in the mirror by the door, and once again, she wondered who the girl was staring back at her. She didn’t like much of what she saw, but then, she didn’t like much about her life anyway. Everyone would have been better off if she had died that day, so for the last eight years she’d been killing herself slowly.

She opened the bathroom door and the music hit her full force, washing away her thoughts. The bottle was waiting for her on the table to help her drown. She weaved through the throng of bodies on the make, past pathetic fools looking for a love connection, brushing by the poor saps that hadn’t a hope or a prayer.

Love was for losers. She should know.

“Beth,” an arm wrapped around her from behind and pulled her tight against his obviously aroused body. Hot breath kissed her throat while a brawny hand groped her breast. “You look so fuckin’ hot tonight. What’da ya say we go back to my place?”

She reached behind her and stroked his stiff cock through his jeans. “Not tonight, loverboy.” She pushed away from him without a second thought and made her way to her table.

* * * * *

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in here before,” Scott continued the conversation with the newcomer.

“I’ve never been in here before,” the mystery man shrugged.

“Refill?” Scott pointed at his half empty coke.

“No,” the newcomer waved him off. He toyed with the ice in his glass and asked, “Does she come in here often?”

“Who, Beth?” Scott shrugged. “She’s a regular.”

His customers kept him busy, but Scott kept an eye on the mystery man, wondering what his story was. Most of the men in this bar were after one thing. A hook up. To bag a babe. A good fuck by the end of the night. Mystery Man seemed a little different, though. That made Scott nervous. Why was he asking so many questions about Beth?

He had no designs on her himself. Not anymore. She’d made her preferences abundantly clear, but he still felt protective of her. He couldn’t help it. She was tough as nails on the outside, and inside as vulnerable as a newborn kitten. He could see it in her eyes.

Scott shot a look at the newcomer, finally realizing why he looked so familiar. He had that same look in his eyes. If he were asked to put a name to it, the best description he could come up with would be haunted.

They both looked haunted.

“Does she . . .” the newcomer cleared his throat, not wanting to ask, not wanting to know. He forced the words past his lips. “Does she have . . . anyone . . . special . . .?”

“Ask her yourself,” Scott nodded at something beyond the stranger’s shoulder. “She’s coming this way.” He watched the man in front of him stiffen and even in the dark light of the bar, Scott could see the color drain from his face.

* * * * *

Beth stepped into the just vacated spot at the bar and pushed the empty bottle of Moet toward Scott. “Aw’ll take another.”

Scott listened to the slur in her voice, looked at the glazed sheen in her eyes, wondering why she did it. Night after night, drowning in a bottle.

“Don’t you think maybe you’ve had enough?”

“Not nearly,” her gaze sharpened.

He’d seen that look before and knew not to cross it. She might be a tiny little thing, but more ferocious when pissed than any man twice her size. She grabbed the bottle from him as soon as he picked it up, and he had to duck when the cork popped and nearly took out his eye.

“Damn, Beth!” The lights must be playing havoc on his eyes. For a second there, he thought he’d seen her hands flickering with green sparks.

“Put it on my tab,” she turned and wobbled back to her table.

She slid into the leather booth and sloshed a generous amount into the fluted glass sitting on the table in front of her. Lifting it high, she toasted it to the heavens. Her eyes focused on the champagne bubbles, seeing the familiar face that still haunted her.

“Here’s to you Alex,” her trembling voice was almost lost amongst the music. “I’m sorry. Sorry I got you involved. Sorry I got you sucked into the abyss. Sorry I got you killed.”

He stood in the shadows, watching ‘Beth’, knowing he couldn’t stay there forever. She knocked back one glass after another, making a hefty dent in the sparkling wine, totally oblivious that he was here. There’d been a time when he thought they were so deeply connected that they’d always feel each other, but he’d fucked that up a long time ago.

His knees trembled at the thought of actually going up to her after all these years of searching for her, but Maria’s insistent voice was ringing loudly in his ears.

‘For once in your life, strap on a set and go after her!’

He stepped out of the safety of the shadows.

“To the sweet hereafter,” Beth raised her glass in tribute to her fallen friend. “May death be a welcome release.”

She knocked back the champagne and slammed the glass down onto the table. She lifted the bottle and filled it again, this time offering a different salute.

“To destiny, and what you make of it!”

She lifted the glass again, but her drunken peals of laughter made her set the glass down before she spilled it all over the table. Wouldn’t want to make a mess, now would she? Wasn’t her life just one big fucking mess anyway?

“Fuck destiny!” she picked up the bottle and decided she could drown herself that way. She raised the bottle heavenward, and declared, “Destiny! The new four letter word! Rates right up there with ‘I Believe In You’ and ‘You’re The Only One’.”

He stood next to the table, feeling the words cut through him like a knife. He’d known this moment would be hard, the hardest thing he would ever do. He was numb inside, seeing first hand the damage he had done. Steeling himself, he reached inside for the courage he needed, and said the name he hadn’t spoken in years.

“Liz . . .”

Part 2 will be posted on Thursday night.

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Post by Breathless » Thu Apr 10, 2003 2:00 am

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes

Summary: Liz leaves Roswell after Tess’ departure, to go to school in Vermont, to start a life away from the alien abyss. She thought she could get a fresh start, but some things you can never run away from, no matter how much time goes by.

Author note: I told myself I was just going to post this story without comment. No moralizing. No justifying. No explanations of my motivations for writing a story like this. But when I read your feedback all these thoughts swirled through my mind that I just couldn’t keep in.

I knew when I wrote Downfall that this story would be difficult to read. Probably many who read Part 1 won’t be back to read this. Most Dreamers, me included, want to see Liz as this pure, sweet, virginal girl blessed with a superior intelligence, who always knows all the answers and always does the right thing. But the truth is she was just a 17 year old girl, forced to accept things no 17 year old should have to face.

This story really has nothing to do with redeeming Max Evans. It’s a story about Liz Parker, who was asked to carry the weight of the world on her small shoulders, and she broke under the strain of it. It’s about a girl who carried the guilt of dead friends and lost loves. It’s about a girl who literally was told her happiness caused the End of the World. How many 17 year olds can handle that kind of responsibility without being crushed by it?

Has Liz Parker really turned into a slut, or is she just a girl who lost her friends, her future, her heart, and herself . . .


I slipped away
Further from you
Trying to find what is real

You’re somebody else
That I never knew
And someone that I can’t feel

I slipped away
Closer to me
The only thing that is real

I’m falling behind
But now I can see
Your absence helps me heal

I shove it away
I keep it in me
Is this what it takes
To keep me alive

Falling Apart
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 2

A familiar voice floated through her drunken haze and Beth lowered the champagne bottle an inch, and then another. She squinted up at the man hovering at the end of her table, closing one eye, and then the other, trying to bring him into focus. Did he look familiar?

He definitely had the bod going for him. A tad on the skinny side, but who was she to complain? Hadn’t her friends said the same thing about her? His legs were long, his stomach flat, his crotch full. So far so good. The important parts were covered. Her eyes rose to assess his muscular chest, enjoying what she was seeing. Did this guy wanna fuck? She could get down with that. The giggle died in her throat when she saw his face.

“Go away,” she slurred and turned away, ignoring him now.

“Liz. It’s been a long time –”

“I don’t do brunettes,” she poured more champagne into her glass, careful not to spill. She suddenly had the urge to covet every drop of the wine. It was all that would send her into oblivion.

“Liz . . .” he sat down across from her. “Talk to me . . .”

“It must be my night for ghosts,” she drained the last drop of Moet into her glass. “Alex. Now you. How the fuck ya been, Max?”

She laughed at that, and Max shifted uncomfortably on the seat across from her.

“How the fuck have you been!” she giggled. “That’s a good one!” The wine was taking over.

If he hated himself before, there was no comparison now. He knew who was responsible for the state of the woman in front of him.

“What are you doin’ here, Max?” she licked at the champagne glass.

“I came to find you.”


“So we could talk. We never got a chance to talk. You left so suddenly –”

“It wasn’t so sudden,” Liz stood up and leaned unsteadily over the table toward him. “You left me long before I walked away.”

“Beth Baby!” a brawny blond pulled her away from the table. “You owe me a dance!”

“Don’t tell me!” she slapped blondie on the chest with a drunken grin on her face. “You’re back on the market?”

“Yep,” the blond wasn’t too sober himself. “You were right. She was a skank. You can always pick ‘em.”

“I try to tell you guys,” Liz refocused on Max and her grin faded. “But you never listen.” He could smell the alcohol on her breath as she leaned closer. “You should have listened with your heart, Max, instead of with this –”

Max jumped when her hand grabbed his crotch in a tight grasp. He almost cried out at the shock of it, but then her hand was gone and she was leaning into the blond again.

“Dance with me, Brad,” she slid her arm around his waist. “Then take me home.”

“Your place or mine?” Brad grinned.

“Yours. Definitely yours.”

Even in his drunken state, Brad didn’t miss the look on the guys face at the table. “Hey, was I interrupting something here?”

“No,” Liz shook her head. “He’s just a ghost. When I wake up in the morning, he’s always gone.”

Max watched her stagger onto the dance floor, watched Brad run his hands up and down her body, watched Liz gyrate her hips in a sexually suggestive way. He felt sick to his stomach seeing what she had become, knowing that if it hadn’t been for him, her life wouldn’t have turned out this way.

“Last call,” a waitress paused in front of his table. “Can I get you anything?”

“Can you turn back the hands of time?” he asked.

“Bar closes in fifteen minutes,” she misunderstood his question.

“No. Nothing,” he shook her off. She moved on and he leaned his head into his hands. No one could give him what he wanted.

* * * * *

Max followed them at a distance, knowing that he shouldn’t be doing this, but unable to stay away. He’d searched for her for years after she left Roswell and now that he’d found her, he couldn’t just walk away.

He might have been able to if she was happy, if she was living the life that she had wanted, that she deserved, but this hell wasn’t what he had envisioned for her. Maria had asked him once, what would he do if he found Liz and she was married, or had a family, a home? He swore that that was all he wanted for her, that he would have left her in peace, quietly slipping away without her ever knowing he was there, but that wasn’t what he found.

Her life had turned into a nightmare of booze and sex, haunted by the memories of the past. The same memories that haunted him. When he sat across from her tonight, she hadn’t even known it was really him. To her, it was just the ghost of him that haunted her.

Max stopped across the street from an apartment building, watching Liz go inside on the arm of another man. He knew what was going to happen in that apartment in a few minutes. Brad was going to take her to his bed, a place it was very evident she had been before. A light switched on in a window on the ground floor, and it didn’t take enhanced alien hearing to know that it was them. If he moved closer, he would be able to hear everything that was going on inside those walls.

He didn’t move. He couldn’t. He was frozen to the spot. He didn’t want to picture Liz Parker, or Beth as now she answered to, in the throes of passion with someone that wasn’t him. It wasn’t logical; he had no claim to her. It wasn’t reasonable; she’d left him years ago and he had no reason to think that she would have kept herself chaste for him.

After all, he hadn’t kept his virginity for her, why should she keep hers for him?

The never-ending pain of losing her swept through him again. He’d been so wrong, about so many things. He’d fucked up so many times, he’d used up all his get out of jail free cards.

The last straw had come that night on the dock, when he said – what he’d said. He still couldn’t explain why he’d even said it. It wasn’t how he felt. It wasn’t what he meant to say at all. It had just come out.

Isabel had a theory, that Tess had implanted things in his mind, so that even if her plan to take them all back to Antar didn’t work, she would still get the last laugh. It sounded like something she would do, because God knows, he hadn’t wanted to be with Tess. He hadn’t fucked her because she was ‘one of his kind’. If anything, he had wanted to stay away from her for that very simple reason. He didn’t trust her, but that night at the observatory, he hadn’t been able to resist her, just like he couldn’t that night outside the Crashdown in the rain. Liz had seen them that night, kissing in the rain, just as Tess wanted her to, and nothing had ever been the same after.

It was his fault for not being stronger, he fully accepted that, but what he couldn’t accept was that his fucked up life had brought Liz to this. The Liz he knew, the Liz he fell in love with, wanted love in her life, and family, and stability. She’d come to his room one night and told him how she wanted to be in love, with normal boys, how she wanted to have kids, and how she wanted her kids to be safe. All the things he couldn’t give her.

She should be living that life now, and if he had found her that way, happy, with a family of her own, he would have walked away. But she wasn’t. And that was his fault. Everything her life had come to was his fault.

Because the Liz Parker that existed before he pressed his hand against a bullet hole below her ribs would never have turned into this. That Liz had dreams, and aspirations, and a plan for the future. This Liz had none. This Liz was as dead as he was.

“What are you doing here?” a hand closed around his arm snapping Max out of his tortured thoughts. His first instinct was to defend himself, by whatever means necessary. Through years of practice, he held that impulse in, long enough to assess the situation, and respond appropriately.

“I could ask you the same question,” Max started at the familiar face.

“I’m here because I think you’re a fucking stalker and I’m gonna make sure you don’t hurt Beth.”

“You care about her, don’t you?” Max said to the bartender.

“Damn straight!” Scott glared at him.

“Even though you’ve been nothing more than friends,” Max felt the man’s emotions surge through him.

“‘Friends’ is the key word there,” Scott shot back.

“She’s fragile.”

Scott softened his stance. “I know.”

“She’s fragile because of me,” Max confided, opening up to a man who was nothing more than a total stranger.

“You’re the one that did this to her. You’re the one that hurt her,” Scott said.

“Yes.” Max accepted full blame.

“Why?” Scott asked. “How could you? You act like you care about her.”

“She means everything to me,” Max answered.

“Yet you hurt her. Whatever you did, it tore her apart.”

“Yes,” Max accepted the blame for that, too. Denying it was a lie.

“So she had a good reason for hating you,” Scott said. It wasn’t a question.

Max sagged. “Yes.”

“And I should probably kick your ass now,” Scott stood tall, willing to do just that.

“I wouldn’t blame you. I’d do it if I was in your shoes.”

Scott stared at him for a long moment, and then asked the question that everything hinged on.

“You being here, will it fix her, or will it hurt her more?”

Max stared at Scott and gave him the only answer he could.

“I don’t know.”

So you take me
And you break me
And you see I’m falling apart

Complicate me
And forsake me
You push me out so far

There’s no more feeling

Falling Apart
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

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Downfall Part 3

Post by Breathless » Fri Apr 11, 2003 2:54 am

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes

Author note: I probably don’t need to include the summary anymore. Those of you who are still reading know what it’s about. Let me just reiterate here, this fic is not an attempt to redeem Max. It’s not a Max bashing fic either, but sometimes it might sound that way. And like MamaDee, Saint Liz doesn’t sit well with me, either. Max made mistakes, so did Liz, and they both carry a lot of baggage.

Originally I planned to post this 2 or 3 times a week, but that would just drag out the agony. I’ll try to update everyday, except Sunday which belongs to Aftermath.

In answer to LttleMrmade’s question, I do have another story waiting in the wings, and it’s about as different from Downfall as night and day. It’s a romantic comedy, totally AU, not an alien in sight, and doesn’t even take place in Roswell. It should be ready sometime in late May, but in the mean time ---

Parts 1 and 2 were referred to by some as brutal. Some of part 3 will probably be considered even worse . . .


Say a prayer for me
Cause I can barely breathe
I’m suffering
And I can’t take it

Because of me
No one will ever see
This side of me
If I don’t make it

It’s like I can’t wake up
It’s like I can’t get up
It’s like I can’t remember
Who I used to be

Am I running from you
Or am I running from me

Running From Me
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 3

Max sat behind the wheel of his car, blowing into a coffee cup, cooling off the hot liquid. He could have used his powers to bring it down to a palatable temperature, but he needed something to occupy his time while he waited. Activity picked up on the street around him, people leaving their apartments, their homes, headed off to another day of work, or school, or play.

People acting normal.

He didn’t really know what that was like anymore; it’d been so long since he’d lived a normal life. But had he ever, really, lived a normal life? There’d been a time, a short time, when he thought maybe he could. Those few weeks when he’d been with Liz, that magical time when everything had been good, his life had felt normal then.

Then he fucked it up and lost it all. He lost everything. He lost Liz.

He’d tried to blame her for a long time. He’d wallowed in his own self pity, lost himself in the pain after seeing her with Kyle, but on some level he’d always known that she couldn’t have done what he thought he saw. It wasn’t Liz, to have sex with a guy she didn’t love, and even through the pain he knew she didn’t love Kyle.

But he had let himself believe the lie, had believed her capable of it, and his lack of faith in her had stripped her innocence away from her. Because of him, she’d become that person, drowning herself in a life of sex without love.

He saved her once. Could he save her again?

A figure exited the apartment across the street and he almost missed her. The Liz that stepped out onto the sidewalk this morning was very different from the Liz who went inside a few hours ago. Her long hair was pulled back in a knot. Her face was devoid of the makeup she’d worn the night before. Her clothes were lackluster, black slacks, grey silk blouse, grey colorless blazer. Even her shoes, black flats, were in stark contrast to the stiletto heels she’d danced in the night before.

He wondered if she kept a change of clothes at Brad’s apartment, but he found that rather doubtful. It was obvious their relationship was casual. Just sex. Maybe she lived in the same building. Maybe she hadn’t spent the whole night in the blonde’s apartment.

Her words from the night before hit him once again. ‘I don’t do brunette’s’.

He wondered why. Was it a hold over from Tess, because he had been with a blonde and so now, night after night, she did the same, fucking one blond after another, unconsciously mimicking his actions?

Or was it because she hated him so much she couldn’t stand to let anyone touch her that looked even remotely like him. Were all men with dark hair repugnant because of what he’d done to her?

She hailed a cab and he started his car to follow. As he drove a discreet distance behind the cab, he tried to focus his thoughts but they kept drifting. The image of how she looked the last time he saw her, the night before she left Roswell, so pretty in pink, so innocent, warred with what he saw last night on the dance floor. She was so different now. So raw.

So wounded.

Maybe if he’d found her sooner, maybe she wouldn’t be like this now, slowly killing herself. He’d died inside the day he read her letter, telling him she was leaving Roswell – leaving him. He had believed her parting words, that she loved him, more than he would ever know, and as hard as it was to let her go, he gave her the space that she asked for. At the time, he still believed she would come back to him.

He’d learned through Maria where she went, all those years ago. To Vermont. The Winnaman Academy. In the beginning, he thought she would just finish her senior year there, and they could talk on the phone, write letters, somehow work their way back to each other, but he’d only been fooling himself. The one and only time she took his phone call she had ended up in tears. After that, all his letters were returned unopened.

He’d gotten flashes from those letters, painful reminders of what he’d done to her. Her emotions were embedded in the paper. He’d felt her tears. Her despair. Her loneliness. Her spiral downward was already well underway. Drinking in the dormitory attic. Thoughts of suicide. He’d made up his mind to go to her, to try to convince her to come home, back to the people who loved her, but then she suddenly disappeared.

He’d lived in a panic wondering what happened to her. He couldn’t feel her. No one knew where she was. Not her parents. Not Maria. No one at the school. She was just simply gone, and he had feared the worst. Had thoughts of suicide pushed her over the edge? Had she hurt herself in a drunken binge? Had she overdosed on sleeping pills? Had someone, human or alien, harmed her in some way?

He’d driven straight through to Vermont, trying to use his alien senses to trace her. He stayed there for days, hounding the police relentlessly or trying to find his own clues to her whereabouts, but the trail was as cold as the winter landscape. She had shut him out completely, closed down the connection they’d once had between them, and eventually he had been forced to return home without her.

It was a year later when the dreams started. Nightmares really. She was cold in the dreams. Lonely. Empty. Lost inside herself. At first he thought they were just his own nightmares, caused by his guilt and his fear of what had happened to her. Eventually, he came to understand what they really were. Not nightmares. Not his, anyway.

Her nightmares had found a way into his dreams. At first his relief had been immense that she’d found a way to reach him, that she was still alive. But then the truth of it hit him. The nightmares weren’t nightmares at all. They were real. In her drunken binges she let down her defenses, the walls she’d built to hold him out, and that tenuous connection that had once been so strong between them reformed, sending him images of what her life had become. The bars. The men.

She drank to forget and indulged in loveless sex to feel, and it was slowly killing her.

He dropped everything then, and concentrated on only one thing. Finding her. He’d been 19 at the time, and his parents couldn’t stop him. He abandoned plans for college and left Roswell, following the clues he gleaned from her dreams. Searching out the names of bars, tracking the names of men she slept with. He lived out of his car for years going from one city to another trying to track her down, one false lead after another, until two days ago when her dream had given him more than just images of her sweating on a dance floor, sweating on an endless stream of men. This time, her dream had shown him a boldly lighted neon sign announcing the name of a club, a bar she liked to frequent. Her dream had even shown her stumbling to a cab, A Yellow Cab, with a Massachusetts license plate.

Cambridge, Massachusetts.

After years of searching he’d finally found her, and it was just as devastating as he had feared it would be. She wasn’t even Liz anymore, but a shattered stranger named Beth.

Would she let him get close enough to heal her wounds? Would she want to try to heal his?

A car suddenly swerved in front of him, forcing him to slam on his brakes. A jolt from the rear told him the car behind him failed to react as fast.

“Shit!” he hit his palm against the steering wheel. “SHIT!” The cab was getting away. Max wrenched his car door open and frantically motioned to the driver who was stalled in front of him. “Move it! MOVE! GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY!”

“Hey, Mister,” a teenage boy ran up behind him. “Are you okay? I’m sorry! I couldn’t stop! Shit! My dad’s gonna kill me!”

Max slammed his door close and ignored the kid. He started running toward the cab, desperately afraid he was going to lose her. “Liz!” he called out as the taxi picked up speed, heading down Main Street. “LIZ!” He ran full out, trying to chase it down, weaving through the morning rush hour traffic. In desperation, he called out to her by her new name.


The cab disappeared around a corner and he stumbled to a stop in the middle of the road, unmindful of the horns that honked around him. His emotions were in turmoil, not knowing where she worked, where she lived. His only tenuous link to her was a bar on Chancellor Street, and an apartment building on Main, where a fucking blond haired bastard named Brad lived.

“GOD DAMNIT!” he raged in frustration. He stormed back to his car with a murderous fury burning in his eyes and it was only his years of control that kept him from killing the driver of the car that cut him off. He wrenched the driver’s door open and reached inside to pulled the fucker out, but it was only an old man. A frail and frightened old man.

Sagging in despair, he let the old man go and backed away from the car. For the first time since he started getting the dreams, he prayed that Liz would go to the bar tonight.

* * * * *

Beth entered the lab and set about her normal morning activities. She removed her blazer and slipped into her white lab coat, checked the pocket for a pen, and retrieved a clipboard from her desk. She had a number of experiments to check on.

“Morning, Beth,” a pleasant looking man in his early forties acknowledged her as she walked by. He barely took the time to take his eyes off the microscope he was glued to.

“Morning, Sam,” she replied.

She wandered past other workstations on her way to her own, nodding to co-workers and uttering small pleasantries. No one here knew of the different lives she lived. No one knew where she came from, or why she left, or who she left behind.

No one knew of the life she lived when she stepped out of the lab. Here she was the little Miss Scientist, Beth Harper, MIT graduate, studying for her doctorate in Molecular Biology. She’d accomplished her goals and aspirations here at MIT instead of Harvard, and that should have made her happy. It should have been fulfilling. But it wasn’t. So night after night, she drowned in booze and men, trying to forget.

Fortunately, by luck or by design she wasn’t sure, her binges never interfered with her work. She couldn’t help thinking how ironic it was that just a drop of alcohol for Max could send him out of control, yet the byproduct of his healing had left her with a high tolerance. She could drink like a fish, and never have a hangover in the morning.

She didn’t need much sleep either, also a residual effect of his alien touch, she surmised. Maybe someday she’d experiment on herself to learn the true extent of the changes Max had caused in her. If there was time.

“Morning Beth,” another co-worker greeted.

“Morning Serena,” Beth looked over her lab partner’s shoulder. “How’s Charlie doing this morning?”

“Cancer still appears to be in remission,” Serena put the white rat back in its cage. “The latest round of drugs looks promising.”

“Good,” Beth smiled and moved on. They had a busy day ahead of them. She threw herself into her work, trying to hide from the never-ending pain she lived with.

* * * * *

His apartment door flew open making Scott look up in surprise from his cereal bowl. Milk dribbled down his chin. He swiped at it with the sleeve of his shirt.

“Well, you look like shit,” he took in Max’s distraught appearance.

“I lost her,” Max threw his keys against the couch and then collapsed onto it, rubbing his hands over his face and then back into his hair.

“She’ll be at the club tonight.”

“What if she’s not?” his tortured eyes met Scott’s. “You don’t understand . . .”

“I don’t understand what?” Scott sat up straight on the kitchen stool.

“Nothing,” Max closed down again, pulling into himself.

“No. Don’t give me that bullshit,” Scott pushed his breakfast away and rose to his feet. He crossed the room to hover over Max, looking none too happy. “I let you in my home last night. You’re a complete stranger to me, and for all I know, you could have slit my throat in my sleep, but I felt like I could trust you. So I let you stay here. So don’t give me any bullshit about not understanding. I care about what happens to Beth! It’s the only reason you’re here!”

“I know. I’m sorry,” Max tried to rein in his emotions. “It’s just – I’ve been looking for her for years. Finding her, finally, after all this time, I just –”

He couldn’t say anymore. His emotions were too raw. He’d come so far, gotten so close, but fate had never been kind to him. Destiny had said he belonged to someone he didn’t want, someone he didn’t love, while the true love of his life paid the price for it.

“Look,” Scott tried to calm down. “She’ll be there tonight. It’s Friday night. She’s always at the club on Friday night. Except . . .”

“Except what?” Max immediately went on the defensive.

“Well,” Scott hedged. “It’s . . . Friday . . .”

“We established that already,” Max tensed, on edge, not liking the tone of Scott’s voice.

“Friday,” Scott shrugged. “She usually doesn’t come alone.”

“You mean,” Max died a little more inside. “She . . . she brings . . .a date?”

“No,” Scott shook his head. “Beth doesn’t date. She brings someone, but it’s not a ‘date’. She gets,” he drew in a deep breath and laid it out for the guy, plain and simple. “Beth starts early on Friday’s. She’s usually hammered by the time she gets to the club, and . . .”

“And?” Max had to know, no matter how much it was going to kill him.

“And . . .Friday’s . . .,” Scott avoided Max’s intent stare. “She usually comes in with one guy . . . and leaves with two . . .”

Max stopped breathing. His heart stopped beating. His head dropped forward into his hands, trying to shut out the images. He had hoped those parts of his nightmares were just that – nightmares – but apparently not. It was real. All of it was real.

She took two guys to her bed at once, sometimes more.

He had to get her out of this life, because it wasn’t just killing her, it was killing him, too.

Clear a path for me
Cause I can barely see
I’m stumbling
And I can’t shake it

It’s up to me
To save myself from me
My enemy
But I can’t face it

It’s like I can’t wake up
It’s like I can’t get up
It’s like I can’t remember
Who I used to be

Am I running from you
Or am I running from me

Running From Me
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

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Downfall Part 4

Post by Breathless » Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:03 pm

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes

Author note: Are we only up to part 4? Posting this is just . . . exhausting. It was actually much easier to write it, than it is to post it.

Sometimes a story just flows. An idea forms and the story almost writes itself. It was that way when I wrote Pieces of the Past. The idea sprang into my head, I wrote it in a week, and spent the next month fine tuning it until it was ready to post. I had to post that one fast too, because everyone was ready to kill me for having Liz with ‘Xan’ instead of waiting for Max to come back. Downfall came about almost in the same way, and when a story flows like that, you have to let it take you where it wants to go.

A common thread in the feedback is that the Liz in this story is out of character, she’s too strong for this, she would never act this way. Yet, thinking of the Pilot, and End of the World, Liz Parker was never above using sex as a means to an end. In the Pilot, she led Kyle on, coming on to him with sexual flirtation to get him to meet her at the Crash Festival. She wanted him there to defer attention away from Max, and she was willing to use whatever it took to safeguard Max. In End of the World, she used sex once again, using Kyle again, to push Max away from her. She might have kept her virginity intact, but she still used her body as a means to an end. In Downfall, when the bottom fell out from under her, it wasn’t a stretch for me to see her sinking to these depths.

I’ve seen Liz written in fanfic a multitude of ways. I’ve seen her strong, and weak. I’ve seen her as a gum chomping, wise cracking punk, a victim of physical abuse, a suicidal teen, a teenage mother, and yes, I’ve even see her written several times as the meat inside a Max and Michael sandwich. I guess some three-ways are just more palatable than others.


I feel boxed in
And trapped inside
Feels like the worlds closing in
And there’s nowhere to hide

I feel strapped down
While you feed the disease
I’m lying face on the ground
For the whole world to see

This time nothing feels right to me
I’m sinking deeper within
I’ll wait for you to lose sight of me
Before I suffer again

Drop To Zero
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 4

Max watched the crowd, clutching a glass in his hand while he waited, praying that Liz would walk through those doors. The frenzied dancers churned together on the dance floor, a mass of bodies driven by the music blasting from the speakers, the sound overpowering, reverberating, building them into a seething fever.

The waiting was the worst, wondering if she would come tonight. The watching was the easiest. He’d been watching crowds for years trying to find her face. The praying was new. He’d once told Liz he didn’t believe in God. Now he had to, because God was the only one who could save them.

“I told you,” Scott took the watered down cola out of Max’s hand and handed him a fresh one. “She’ll be here.”

Max nodded and accepted the freshened drink, hoping he was right.

“Hey, Scott,” a beautiful raven-haired vixen leaned over Max’s shoulder, pressing her breast into him. She eyed Max seductively, eagerly, wantonly, while shoving an empty wine glass toward Scott.

“Was that the Woodbridge or the Kendall?” Scott disposed of the dirty glass and retrieved a fresh one. He noticed Lisa was eating Max with her eyes.

“Kendall,” Lisa purred. “Who’s your friend?”

Max stared into his drink, not interested, closing off from the unwanted attention. He’d been in a lot of different bars over the years, in a lot of different cities, but the girls were always the same.

“One Kendall, coming right up,” Scott uncorked a bottle of chardonnay and splashed it in the glass. He pushed it across the counter toward her.

“Anything else . . . coming up?” she licked her upper lip at Max.

“I think your friends are waiting for you,” Scott motioned toward her table, telling her to move on.

“Care to dance?” she purred at Max, ignoring Scott.

“No,” Max met her gaze. His look was cold.

“Too bad,” she pouted and headed back to her table.

“You must get that a lot,” Scott wiped the bar off with a bar towel.

Max leaned forward, rubbing his forehead with his hand. The music was giving him a headache. “Yeah, I guess –”

He stopped suddenly when he felt her presence enter the room. He bolted upright and turned quickly, with his eyes glued to the temptress coming in the door. Scott followed his line of sight, with his brow creasing in a frown, wondering how he knew. Max hadn’t even been looking in that direction when she walked in, yet his reaction had been instantaneous.

Beth prowled into the club dressed in skintight leather. Black leather. A skirt hanging low on her hips, so short it barely covered her ass. A leather sleeveless top, laced down the front, exposing more than just cleavage. Diamonds in her navel glinted in the bar light. Leather stiletto boots came up above her knees, giving her four inches of extra height, making her look like a Vargas girl.

“Liz . . .” Max whispered her name with a look of desperation on his face.

Her dark hair flew wildly around her porcelain face and pale shoulders. Her movements were fluid, feline, fiery, a torrent of feminine sexuality blazing the air around her. Men watched her lustfully, already vying for her attention, and she’d only just entered the bar. Two men entered behind her, both looking possessive, territorial. She deposited one at her usual table, pushing him into the seat and leaning forward to kiss him, while blond #2 stepped up behind her, pressing his crotch against her barely covered ass. His arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her tight against him, while his hand slithered under the front of her short skirt.

She laughed and pulled his hand free, and Max could see how wet the guys fingers were. He paled, suspecting that under her skirt, she was wearing nothing at all. She pulled the blond onto the dance floor, closing her eyes and moving to the primal sound of the music.

“God . . .” Max turned back to the bar and closed his eyes. He had to pull himself together. Seeing her like this was tearing him apart, yet at the same time his body’s reaction to her was strong. Even from across the room, he could smell the scent of her sex.

“You okay?” Scott asked in a low voice.

“It’s just . . . seeing her this way,” Max watched her in the reflection of the bar mirror. “She –” he swallowed hard and looked down into his drink. “She wasn’t like this . . . before.”

“Before?” Scott abandoned his bar duties. He could see Max’s tension increasing by the minute, and his own anger was rising. “Just exactly how did you hurt her? Did you get too rough with her? Is that why she goes for the –”

“I never touched her,” Max said so softly Scott could hardly hear him.

“You and Beth didn’t . . .” Scott relaxed a little. Even though he’d just met the guy, he didn’t think Max was the type to rough up a woman for sex.

“No . . . we never . . .” Max said the words slowly. “Things between us were just . . . so . . . complicated. She was the best person I ever knew. Pure . . . in her heart. In her soul. She gave up everything for me, and I was too blind to see it.”

Scott didn’t have any idea what Max was talking about, but it was obvious these two people had just about destroyed each other. They both carried the guilt of it on their faces, in their actions.

“You gonna go talk to her?”

“I have to,” Max watched her dance again. She was sandwiched between two men now, bumping and grinding them both. He’d have to wait. Get her alone. Convince her to go with him somewhere so they could talk. Somewhere he could get her to sober up.

* * * * *

Max pushed into the men’s room, following behind the shorter of the two men who had come into the bar with Liz tonight. He moved over to the sink to wash his hands while blondie sauntered over to one of the urinals and unzipped.

“Hey, Jack,” the guy at the next urinal smirked at the blond. “I saw you out there with the sex kitten. Is she as good as they say she is?”

“You have no idea!” Blondie pissed like a horse. “She fucked the hell out of me in the car on the drive over here. I swear, Wes creamed his pants just watching us!”

Max closed his eyes to hold his rage in. He had to separate from his emotions to keep from blowing up the place. Couldn’t any of them see how much she was hurting? Couldn’t they see the pain in her eyes?

“Why don’t you introduce me to her? I’d like to get me some.”

“Sure,” Jack leered. “She’s like the Energizer Bunny. She just keeps fucking and fucking and fucking!”

The taller man laughed and moved to the sink to stand beside Max. He glanced over, seeing Max’s pale face and closed eyes and asked, “Hey Buddy, you okay?”

Max opened his eyes and looked at him. He spoke softly, but in a commanding tone. “Wipe your hands on a paper towel.”

The man wiped his hands.

“Now get out,” Max spoke again, softly, so no one else could hear. “Leave the bar. Go home and stay there for the rest of the night. Don’t ever come here again.”

The man left the bathroom quietly, without saying a word. As soon as the door closed behind him, Max sealed it with his powers. He walked up behind Jack and put his hand around his throat. Jack startled in surprise, but froze when Max began to speak into his ear.

“Your night’s over,” his voice was filled with venom. “You’re going to leave now. You can sleep in the sewer tonight. You will never mention Beth’s name again. You will never speak of her again. You will never think of her again. If you violate any of these rules, you will step in front of a bus and let it run you down. Now go,” Max lowered his hand. “Leave the bar. Don’t ever come back.”

Max released Jack and unsealed the bathroom door. The blond walked out without a backward glance, and left the building.

* * * * *

“What’ll it be?” Scott asked Beth as she leaned into the bar.

“Sex on the beach?” she smiled teasingly.

“One Sex on the Beach coming up,” Scott reached for a glass. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Max exiting the men’s room, and one of Beth’s blonds leaving the building. Had Max threatened the man? Scared him off? He reluctantly handed Beth her drink and watched her staggered back to her table. She was well on her way to getting hammered, and he thought he should probably cut her off, even thought there’d be hell to pay. She set her drink down at her table and pulled Wes back onto the dance floor.

Instead of returning to the bar, Max followed Beth into the mass of convulsion bodies dancing under the revolving lights. She was humping the blond’s thigh now, rubbing her sex against the rough material of his jeans, right there on the dance floor. Max walked around behind Wes and put his lips near his ear.

“Leave,” he spoke harshly above the sound of the music. “Now.”

Wes turned to the intruder ready to tell him to fuck off, but one look in his eyes drove the words right out of his mouth. Max didn’t have to use mind control to scare the shit out of him. Wes backed off and quickly left.

Beth danced alone in front of Max, running her hands up and down her thighs, up to her hips, up her ribs to brush over her breasts, oblivious to those around her. Her hair swayed over her face, hiding her features like a curtain. Max stepped forward, taking her arm to lead her from the dance floor.

“Beth. Come with me.”

He couldn’t force his control on her. She had to be willing to come with him. She had to be willing to leave this behind, or it would have no true meaning. She slid her arm out of his grasp and stepped closer.

“Dance with me,” she wrapped her arms around his neck.

Max closed his eyes, feeling her body moving against him, rubbing against him. He hadn’t been this close to her in eight years, more than that really. That last year in Roswell had been hell.

“Even your ghost smells like him,” she sighed into his throat. Her movements lost their sexually overt tone. Her hips slowed their frantic gyrations. She melted into Max, and Max melted into her.

Scott watched from behind the bar, seeing something that he never thought he would. Out on the dance floor, Beth leaned into Max, gently swaying to a different kind of music than was blaring from the speakers. Max wrapped her in his arms, holding her close, stroking his fingers through her hair, touching her in a way Scott had never seen anyone touch her before. Her head rested on his chest, he pressed his cheek to the top of her head and they dance like two lovers, two souls who had found each other, who were only whole when they were together.

Their feet barely moved, turning in a small circle on the dance floor, heedless of the frantic movements of the dancers around them.

It all came rushing back to Max as he held Liz in his arms. The first time he kissed her. Their first date. Their first dance together. They’d been so innocent then. Could they ever be that way again?

Liz tensed in his arms suddenly and pushed him away. Her eyes rose to meet his, both sets reflecting years of pain and suffering. Over the music, he heard her say, “I don’t do slow and easy.”

She turned and walked off the dance floor.

He followed after her with his heart plummeting to the floor. “Liz –”

“Liz?” she turned on him. “Didn’t you know? Liz is dead. Liz died when she ran away from a cave in the desert and the love of her life just let her go. Liz died when a man from the future made her give up all her dreams. Liz died when a murderous bitch killed her best friend, and the one person she thought she could always count on, wouldn’t believe her. Liz died when the only man she could ever love fucked someone else because she was ‘one of his kind and he had to see what that was like’.” Beth stepped closer, with her face just inches from his. “Don’t call me Liz. Liz doesn’t live here anymore.”

Max closed his eyes, knowing everything she said was true. He had let her go when he should have run after her. He had asked her to have faith in him, and then turned around and had no faith in her at all. He had believed Alex’s death was suicide, instead of the cold-blooded murder that it really was. He had fucked Tess in a moment of weakness and self pity, completely irresponsible for the consequences. He had no excuses.

“Beth,” Max opened his eyes, calling her by her new name. “Can we please go somewhere and talk?”

“We always talk, Max,” Beth stared at him. “You just never hear me.”

She turned from him and made her way to the table where she picked up her drink without bothering to sit down. She slammed it back, draining the glass. Max watched her head to the bar to get another and moments later he followed in her wake, just in time to defuse a major confrontation.

“You’re cutting me off?” Beth raised her voice at Scott. “I don’t think so!”

“Beth,” Scott kept his voice low. “You’ve had enough . . .”

“Who the fuck are you to –”

“Go ahead,” Max said calmly to Scott.

Against his better judgment, Scott mixed her another drink and handed it to Max. He carried it back to the table for her, holding it tightly. His hand glowed briefly, nothing anyone could see, but the act was enough to remove the alcohol without altering the taste of the drink. She wouldn’t be getting any drunker tonight, not if he could help it.

Beth paused at the table, for the first time noticing she was missing someone. Two someones. Where the hell had they gone? She wasn’t done with them yet.

“What?” Max paused behind her, knowing who she was looking for, but asking anyway.

She eyed him up and down, letting her gaze linger on his face, then took the drink from his hand. “Ghosts shouldn’t carry things.”

“I’m not a ghost, Beth.”

“Of course you are,” her eyes filled with utter sadness. “Max would never come for me.”

Max grabbed her drink back and dropped it onto the table. He couldn’t stand there and listen to her say that, knowing she truly believed it. He desperately cupped her cheeks with his hands, wishing she wasn’t drunk, wishing she wasn’t in a bar, wishing she wasn’t Beth.

“I am Max,” he stared into her eyes, “and I did come for you. I’ve been trying to find you for years, Liz. Years. I promised everyone at home that I wouldn’t quit until I found you, no matter how long it took.”

“Home . . .” Beth’s eyes shimmered with the beginning of tears. She hadn’t thought about home in so long.

“Everyone’s waiting there for you to come back.”

“Everyone?” her voice was barely more than a whisper.

“Everyone,” Max brushed his fingers over her cheek. “Maria. Michael. Your parents. Jim. Kyle. Isabel. Everyone.”

“Not Alex.”

“No,” Max couldn’t hide the painful hitch in his voice. “Not Alex.” His heart broke a little more watching her eyes flood with tears.

“I killed him,” she sagged and Max grabbed her shoulders to hold her up. “I changed things and I killed him.”

“No,” Max pulled her into his chest trying to comfort her. “That wasn’t your fault.”

“Don’t,” she pushed at his chest. “Don’t.” She didn’t want comfort. She didn’t need comfort. She just needed a drink.

“Liz,” he grabbed her hands. “If you want to blame someone, blame me. I’m the one who made you change the fut –”

His voice cut off in mid sentence when he saw the green sparks of energy rippling through her hands. He jerked her back to him so no one could see.

Scott watched Beth from the bar, seeing her tough outer shell collapse. Max looked just as wounded as she did, but when he saw Beth push away from him, and Max jerk her roughly back, he reacted quickly, throwing down his bar rag and rushing to her defense. Maybe Max was a fucking stalker after all.

“Hey!” he grabbed at Max’s shoulder and pulled him roughly away. “What’re you do –” Scott paled at the sight of Beth’s glowing hands. “What the fuck . . .?”

“It’s getting worse,” Beth stared at her hands.

“I have to get her out of here,” Max pulled her into his chest, hiding her hands between their bodies. He darted his eyes around them, checking to see if anyone else had noticed. “Liz?” he leaned in close to her face. “Where do you live? I’ll take you home and we can figure this out.”

“What’s going on here?” Scott stared at them both. “Who are you?”

“Believe me, you don’t want to know,” Max held Scott’s gaze for a moment, then turned back to Liz, urgently saying, “Tell me where you live.”

“The Crest,” she whispered, pulling into herself, fragile and lost.

Max looked at Scott in dismay, not familiar with the area. The bartender looked back and forth between the two, uncertainty flooding his face. “14th and Lexington,” he finally said. “Just a few miles from here.”

“C’mon,” Max gathered Liz close and turned her toward the door. Scott stood rooted to the spot, watching them leave.

This time nothing feels right to me
I’m sinking deeper within
I’ll wait for you to lose sight of me
Before I suffer again

Drop To Zero
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Note: For those of you who didn’t get the reference, Alberto Vargas was a famous painter who created what came to be known as the Vargas Girl. His paintings of “pin up girls”, called Varga Girls, were famous in World War II, popular with GI’s around the world. The images were copied from Esquire magazine and decorated aircraft, battleships, and even uniform jackets. In the sixties and seventies, Alberto created the Vargas Girl for the pages of Playboy magazine; rich, detailed watercolor paintings of beautiful scantily clad women in erotic and/or alluring poses.

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Downfall Part 5

Post by Breathless » Sat Apr 12, 2003 11:05 pm

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes


Fear in me so deep
It gets the best of me
In the fear I fall
Here it comes, face to face with me

Here I stand
Hold back so no one can see
I feel these wounds

Am I breaking

Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 5

Max drove with one eye on the road and one on Liz, headed to what he hoped would be the safety of her apartment. She held her hands in her lap with ribbons of green energy flickering under the skin, lighting the interior of the car.

“So . . .” she broke the heavy silence that hung between them. Her eyes remained fixed on her hands as she asked, “It’s really you? You’re not . . . just a . . .”

“Ghost?” he finished for her when her voice trailed away. She nodded slightly, seeming to grow smaller and smaller, hunkering down inside herself. “No. No ghost. Just me. As real as you are.” He hoped she would look at him, talk to him, but she just stared at her hands.

“Does it hurt?” he asked.

“Sometimes,” she raised them up and Max quickly pushed them back down so no one could see from a passing car. The sparks flared brighter as soon as he touched her and he pulled his hand away quickly when she let out a painful groan.

“I’m sorry,” he said, feeling powerless. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“You always hurt me, Max,” she looked out the side window, watching the streets pass by.

“I never meant to . . .” his stomach twisted to see her like this. “I –”

“Did you find your son?” she turned from the window to meet his gaze head on. They were only inches apart, but to Max; the distance that spanned between them was more than miles, more than years.

“No,” he dropped his eyes away from hers, facing forward now, to concentrate on the road.

“Never found a ship to take you home?” she asked. Her voice was cold, without emotion.

“I never looked,” he admitted.

The green sparks in her hands dimmed. “Why?” she asked, with her voice becoming softer.

His eyes met hers again, and he told her the unvarnished truth. “I’ve spent the last eight years looking for you.”

Her chin dropped and she turned her head to look out the window again. “I never asked you to do that.”

No, not in words, Max silently agreed. But every night she called to him in his dreams, telling him, showing him what a nightmare her life had become. He doubted she was even aware that she did it. She projected her mind to him in their sleep, much as she had projected her image to him that night on the mean streets of New York City, when she saved his life.

They were still connected after all these years, but now the question was . . . was that connection still based on love, or had it turned to hate?

* * * * *

Liz opened the front door into her darkened apartment and headed straight for the decanter of amber fluid sitting on a credenza against the far wall. The leaded glass clinked as she removed the stopper and splashed a generous helping into a highball glass.

Max followed her inside and quietly closed the door behind him. Even in the dim light he could see her apartment was oddly impersonal, not at all what he would have thought for Liz Parker, but then, she wasn’t much like the old Liz Parker anymore.

At home, back in Roswell, he’d always thought her balcony and her bedroom were warm and inviting in an eclectic kind of way. A combination of femininity, with scented candles and tea lights, right next to telescopes and science journals, the trapping of a budding young scientist.

But here, her apartment was almost colorless. Black leather furniture against plush gray carpet. Glass and chrome end tables. On the wall above the couch was the only ornamentation in the room, a large still-life painting in a simple frame, of a basket of white roses against a black background.

It was the only object in the room that reminded him of the girl he’d fallen in love with so long ago.

With concern, Max watched Liz pour herself another drink and lift it with a shaky hand. She tossed it back quickly and lifted the decanter again.

“Liz –”

“What are you doing here, Max?” she asked, keeping her back to him.

He wasn’t sure what to say. He felt like he was walking a tightrope, and one false word would send him crashing to the ground. He’d found her through his dreams, but he had no idea what her life really entailed now. She didn’t . . . use her body to make a living, did she? He was confused between the risqué way she looked tonight, and how conservative she looked this morning when he saw her getting into the cab.

“There’s unfinished business between us, Liz,” Max answered. “When you left –”

“Unfinished business?” she cut him off. Her hands worked at the laces on her top and as she turned around to face him she stripped it off and let it drop to the floor. “This kind of unfinished business?” she asked, standing stiffly in front of him with her breasts exposed and her legs spread apart.

Max dropped his eyes, but not before he’d seen what she was showing him. Nipple rings pierced her once pristine flesh. A tattoo of a broken heart colored the skin below her left breast.

“Liz . . .”

He couldn’t help looking as she walked toward him on unsteady legs. The alcohol was flowing through her system again. Her hands touched her stomach, her ribs, rubbed up and over her breasts, stimulating her nipples.

“I left before you got a chance to touch this, Max,” she took his hand and pressed it against her breast.

“Liz, please . . .” Max wanted to pull his hand away.

“Or this,” she shoved his hand under her leather skirt. He’d been right earlier, she wasn’t wearing underwear. She stroked his hand between her inner lips, showing him that her nipples weren’t the only piercings on her body.

She released his hand suddenly and stepped around behind him, plastering her front to his back. “And I never got a chance to do this,” she reached around his hip and grabbed his crotch.

“Don’t do this . . .” he closed his eyes, a part of him sickened by what she was doing, another part wanting her to do more.

“You don’t want this, Max?” she stroked his growing erection. “You don’t want to fuck me?”

“No,” he said softly, forcing the word out. His hand covered hers and pulled it away.

“Of course not,” she turned abruptly away from him, covering her breasts with her arms. “I’m not good enough,” her voice trembled. “I’m not pretty enough,” she moved into the shadows of the room, whispering words that cut straight through his heart. “I’m not blonde enough.”

“Liz, it’s not like that at all.” He couldn’t swallow through his tight throat. He was always saying the wrong things to her.

“Go away, Max,” her voice barely reached him. “Go away and let me die alone.”

Max quickly unbuttoned his shirt and stripped it off. He moved over to Liz and hastily wrapped it around her shoulders to cover her nudity. He enveloped her in his arms, pulling her into his chest, saying with near panic, “Don’t say that. Don’t ever say that.”

“I never wanted you to see me like this,” she cried into his naked chest.

“Come home with me, Liz,” he pleaded with his lips next to her ear. He buried his fingers in the silken strands of her hair, holding her tighter than he had in more than eight years.

“I can’t,” she sobbed against him. “I can’t ever go home.” She broke down completely and sagged against him, crying harder than he’d ever seen her cry before.

“Shhhhh,” he tried to soothe her. “Hush.” He held her while her tears spilled onto his chest, and in desperation, dying inside from the sound of her pain, he took the easy way out. “Hush now,” he cupped the back of her head with his hand and whispered softly in her ear. “Go to sleep, Liz. Go to sleep.”

Her sobs fell off and she went limp against him. He gently scooped her into his arms and carried her sleeping form through the apartment, finding her bedroom just down the hall from the living room. As soon as he crossed the threshold he saw a sight that caused him to come to a rapid stop. In the middle of her neatly made bed was something he hadn’t seen in years. Something that looked thoroughly out of place for the woman she was now.

A brown plush teddy bear sat propped between the pillows on her bed, sporting a purple sash. He’d won it for her at a county fair years ago, back before Tess ever came to town. They’d taken their picture together in one of those silly photo booths. He remembered how happy they’d been that day, their laughter so free, so innocent. Things had changed so much since then.

Max pulled the covers back and laid her gently on the bed. He unzipped her leather boots and pulled them from her slender legs, then touched her leather skirt with his hand and turned it into a pair of pajama shorts. She reached for the teddy bear in her sleep and curled around it, holding it close to her chest.

“No dreams tonight, Liz,” he gently brushed her hair away from her face. “Sleep peacefully.”

He stood beside the bed and watched her for a long time, until exhaustion finally forced him to seek a resting place of his own for the night.

* * * * *

Max lay quiet and unmoving in the darkness of the unfamiliar apartment. The silence of the night was occasionally broken by the sound of the refrigerator clicking on, or the leather couch squeaking beneath him, or Liz’s soft sigh beside him. Her scent filled the air around him, the fresh, clean, nostalgic smell of vanilla. He’d never known anyone else to smell as sweet.

He’d sought refuge on her couch earlier in the night, when he’d been too tired to stand vigil over her bed any longer, but as exhausted as he was, sleep had come slowly to him. After years and years of searching for her, he’d finally found her, but his naïve dreams of sweeping her into his arms and whisking her back to Roswell had come crashing down to reality.

The naked truth of it was, he didn’t know if he could convince her to come home, and he didn’t know if he should. She was so changed from the girl who had left so many years ago; would she be able to readjust to the small town life of Roswell? Would she want to?

Would she want to give him another chance? Could she, after everything that had happened between them? Could she risk opening her heart to him again, when he’d broken it to pieces so many times before? And if she couldn’t, what was he to do?

He didn’t know what was right, and what was wrong, but he couldn’t leave her here, not like this. This ‘life’ was slowly killing her. She was drowning, and he was drowning with her.

He’d eventually fallen into a light slumber, but the creak of a floorboard startled him awake and he went on alert. He’d trained himself over the years to react quickly, to be ready with a rapid response in case of an attack. Kivar was still out there, and Tess, and no one knew if, or when, they might decide to strike.

As he lay in the dark, tense and waiting, the sound of hesitant footsteps padded across the floorboards, growing closer. He held his breath when the sound stopped, sensing Liz watching him from the hallway. He could just barely make out her shape in the shadows, standing there with a blanket draped around her like a cloak.

She stood there, silently watching him, as he had watched her earlier. Maybe it was to convince herself that he was really here, and not just a drunken hallucination. Maybe it was to reassure herself that he hadn’t walked out in the night, disgusted by the condition he had found her in. Maybe it was because, even after all the hurt they had caused each other, they couldn’t stand to be apart. He waited to see what she would do.

She stepped closer, hesitantly, like a skittish kitten, and he closed his eyes, pretending to be asleep. She silently padded over to the couch and hovered just above him, just staring down at him in the darkness. He heard her whisper his name softly and then, like a kitten fearing rejection, she eased down to the couch, curling up beside him into a little ball.

He laid there unmoving at first; still pretending to sleep, but her presence was too strong for him to hold back. He wrapped his arm around her small figure and pulled her closer to him, sharing the warmth of his body with her trembling one. Without saying a word they huddled together, Liz a fragile wounded soul, and Max a woeful shell of a man without her.

Her breathing slowed as sleep reclaimed her, while Max lay awake listening to her sounds. She held his arm the way she’d held the teddy bear earlier, curled tightly against her chest, and he wondered if she was unconsciously trying to keep his ghost from disappearing. She didn’t need to worry about that, though. He wasn’t going anywhere, not as long as she was willing to let him stay.

He didn’t care how many men she’d been with. He didn’t care about anything she might have done over these last eight years. He just wanted to have another chance to make things right with her, to make them both whole again. Because no matter what she may have done, or who she might have been with, in his heart he knew she had been just as lonely, just as empty, just as miserable as he had.

Once, a long time ago, he stopped believing in what his heart was telling him, and their world fell apart. He wasn’t going to repeat that mistake again.
Last edited by Breathless on Sat Apr 12, 2003 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Downfall Part 6

Post by Breathless » Mon Apr 14, 2003 2:10 am

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes

Author note: My thanks to all of you who have stuck with this. I hope by the final chapter, you’ll understand the reasons why I wrote this.


I’m getting through it now
I guess it’s plain to see
That everything I am
Is not everything you need

I’m standing here alone
Can’t tell if I’m awake
Reality is gone
In a dream I will escape

Slipping Away
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 6

Liz slowly became aware of her surroundings, and for a moment she wondered where she was. She wasn’t used to waking up on the couch in her living room. The furnishings were stark and bare, but she didn’t need them to be any other way. Her life was just as devoid of feeling as this room was, and she wanted it that way.

She gathered the blanket around her and sat up, lamenting the loss of her dream. More often than not, her dreams were bitter reminders of the past, or nightmares of what her life had become, but last night, for the first time in a long time, her dreams had been good.

Max had come for her in her dream, something that she knew he would never really do. He’d not only come for her, he’d stayed, even after he’d seen what she’d become. The real Max would never do that, either. The real Max hadn’t been able to forgive her for what he thought she’d done with Kyle; there was no way he could ever forgive her for the life she lived now. She contemplated lying back down and never waking up again, but a biological imperative forced her to get up. The bathroom was calling her.

She drew the blanket around her and rose to her feet, but stopped as a familiar scent tickled her senses. The blanket smelled like Max and a fleeting thought crossed through her mind. Her powers must be getting stronger, creating olfactory phantoms to accompany her dreams. What would Max say if he knew just how much he had changed her?

Liz walked toward her bedroom, glad that one of those changes was never having to suffer from a hangover, no matter how much she drank.

* * * * *

Max stood in Liz’s bedroom facing her open closet, surprised by the meager contents. He had expected to find it full. Judging by Maria and Isabel, he thought most women had tons of clothes, but all he found here were a few blouses, a couple of dresses, and a pair of slacks. He couldn’t see any club attire at all, no leather anywhere. He wondered if she kept those things someplace else. The few pairs of shoes on her closet floor looked suitable for a day at the office, or maybe at school, not a stiletto heel in sight.

A gasp from across the room made him turn quickly to find Liz standing in the bedroom doorway, swaddled inside a blanket, with her hand covering her mouth. Her face might have looked sleepy if she hadn’t look so stunned.

“Good morning,” Max said, feeling awkward and exposed, standing in her bedroom wearing only his pants. “I was looking to see if you had a shirt that might fit me . . .”

The way she stood staring at him made that sense of exposure grow. He awkwardly crossed his arms over his naked chest, then uncrossed them. He rubbed at the back of his neck while switching his weight from one stocking clad foot to the other.

“I thought it was a dream . . .” Liz whispered. Her heart began pounding in her chest, shocked that he was here, in the flesh. His ghost had haunted her nights for years, but until now, he’d always been gone by the morning.

His hair was longer than she remembered, his skin more aged, but his eyes still looked the same. Still the windows to his soul. He took a step toward her causing her to bolt skittishly away. She moved across to stand near her bed.

“Liz . . .?” Max could see how tense she had become.

Liz parted the folds of the blanket and saw that she was wearing a man’s shirt. The scent that drifted up to her left no mistaking who it belonged to. He’d given her his shirt last night, so he wouldn’t have to look at her.

“I’ll . . . just . . . give yours back,” she said haltingly.

She dropped the blanket on the bed and her hands went to the small white buttons, unfastening them one by one. She hesitated suddenly and looked up, seeing his eyes glued to her.

“Can you . . . turn around?”

“What? Oh. Sure,” Max stumbled over his words. He turned his back to her, feeling heat spread through his face, his body. When she finished, she wrapped the blanket around her again and walked up behind him.

“Here,” she held the shirt out for him and he quickly turned around. He took it from her, with their fingers almost touching, then she pulled her hand back. “I’m sorry it’s not clean . . .”

“Its fine,” Max clutched it in his hand. “I can . . . just . . . take the wrinkles out.”

“Right,” she flashed a brief smile, so quick if he had blinked he would have missed it, but in that one second, it made the whole world shine.

“I’m just going to,” Liz pointed to the bathroom door behind him. “I need to . . . shower.”

“Oh, right,” Max nodded. “I’ll make us coffee. Do you like coffee?” They’d been apart for so long; he didn’t know her tastes anymore.

“Yeah,” she nodded and self-consciously skirted around him, moving toward the bathroom.


She turned around quickly, but her heart plummeted when he spoke.

“We have to talk, about what I saw last night.” He stood staring at her, looking as raw, and wounded as she did.

“I know,” she looked down, dying inside. She clutched the blanket tighter, certain he found her disgusting now.

“No, I mean,” he stuttered, sensing her withdrawal. “Your hands. We need to talk about your hands, and what’s happening to you.”

He could see how Liz was struggling with this, seeing him again after all these years. For him, he’d been looking for her for so long; it was a relief to finally be standing in front of her. He had to keep reminding himself that this was hitting her differently. He’d suddenly just appeared out of the blue. No wonder she called him a ghost.

“I’ll just go start that coffee,” Max took a step backward, giving her space. He moved into the hallway, realizing he was still holding his shirt in his hand. He lifted it to slip it on, but the scent that drifted upwards made him stop in his tracks. He brought the shirt up to his nose and breathed deeply, smelling her rich scent in the fabric. His eyes drifted closed for a moment, just relishing her scent, then slipped the shirt on and made his way to the kitchen.

* * * * *

Liz stood in the bathroom looking at her reflection in the mirror, seeing herself the way Max must have seen her last night. Glitter still sparkled on her face. Mascara still coated her lashes. Her lips still looked a fiery shade of red. She waved her hand across her face to remove the evidence of her current lifestyle.

The nipple rings were the most obvious indicator of what her new life had become. Good girls didn’t pierce the private parts of their bodies. Maybe that’s why she’d done it, to prove to herself that she wasn’t the good little Liz Parker, who always did what was right, no matter how much it hurt her. When she changed her name to Beth Harper, she left that good girl behind, determined to take what she wanted this time, and to never let anyone close enough to hurt her again.

And now Max walks back into her life and turns it upside down again, just by saying her name. She always melted inside every time he said her name.

“I won’t get sucked back in,” she told the mirror, but even as she said it, she cupped her breasts with her hands and the nipple rings disappeared.

* * * * *

Max found the coffee easily in her neat and tidy kitchen, and set about opening cupboards to find the coffee cups. He noticed that the shelves were nearly as bare as the rest of her apartment, reinforcing his fear that she wasn’t taking very good care of herself. Would she let him do that for her now? Would she let him pamper her the way she deserved?

“How did you find me?” Liz said softly from the doorway.

Max spun around and tried not to react to the way she looked. She had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, and her skin looked fresh and flawless. Her silk blouse, in a rich shade of red, was a color he hadn’t noticed in her closet, as were the denim jeans that covered her legs. She looked just like the girl he fell in love with, only her eyes showed her haunted loss of innocence.

“Coffee’s ready,” Max reached for the carafe and poured two cups. His hand was unsteady, seeing her again after all these years, wishing there wasn’t still so much distance between them. If only things could be like before. Turning to look at her again, he asked, “Cream or sugar?”

“Both,” she opened the refrigerator and reached inside. “You probably want this.”

She held out a bottle of Tabasco sauce and a small smile tugged at his lips. After all these years, she still remembered.

“Thanks,” he reached for it. When their fingers touched sparks flew. Emotional sparks, a remnant of the feelings that still flowed through both of them, just barely below the surface.

Liz pulled her hand away quickly. Seeing him again was like her ultimate nightmare wrapped up inside her ultimate dream. In the beginning, she had thought that time would heal her, that the pain would lessen, but over the years it had only grown worse. She dreamed of seeing him again, of somehow going back and making things right, but it simply wasn’t meant to be.

“Are you going to answer my question?” Liz picked up one of the coffee cups and took it to the table. If she kept her back to him, she wouldn’t have to see his face.

“It was the dreams,” Max followed behind her. They sat down across from each other, both holding their coffee cups in their hands. “Why did you leave?”

“What dreams?” Liz avoided his question.

“You send me dreams in my sleep.”

“What kind of dreams?” she had to ask, even though she was afraid to know the answer.

“Doesn’t matter,” he shook his head. “I knew I had to find you, to try to convince you to come home.” His hand slid across the table, letting his fingers brush lightly against hers. She pulled her hand back, afraid to let him touch her; afraid of what he might see.

He lifted his coffee cup and took a sip, to cover the pain it caused to see her pull away from him. “Are you going to answer my question now?”

“What question?” she couldn’t look at him.

“Why did you leave Roswell, Liz?”

“Didn’t you get my journal? I sent it to you, right before I left the Winnaman Academy. It explained everything.”

“Everything except why you left,” Max said softly. And why she never came back.

“I had to find myself again,” Liz leaned her head into her hand. “I was suffocating. So many things had happened; losing you, and Alex, and then everything that happened with Tess. I thought I was strong enough to get passed it all, but that night on the dock, I realized something.” Her eyes slowly lifted, showing him the depth of her pain. “I couldn’t be second best anymore. It was killing me.”

“I didn’t mean to make you feel that way, Liz,” Max felt his chest tightening. “You were never second best. Not to me.”

“But that’s the way it felt,” she dropped her eyes from his, fighting to keep her voice steady. She didn’t want to fall apart. Not again. “I know that I . . . pushed you to be with Tess, but I thought I was doing the right thing. But when I tried to talk to you about Alex, I’d pushed you so far away; you couldn’t even hear me anymore. In the end, you chose Tess over me, and it was only when the truth about her deception came out that you sent her away.”

“Liz –”

“No. Let me finish. That night on the dock you tried to explain about you and Tess, how she was one of your kind, and you had to experience that, and I realized I could never be what you needed. You told me you were staying on Earth because the Granilith was gone and you weren’t going anywhere. But it wasn’t because you wanted to stay; it was because you couldn’t go. You were settling, Max,” her tear filled eyes met his devastated face, “and I couldn’t be the one you settled for. It hurt too much. It was better not to have you at all, than to only have a part of you.”

“It was never that way for me, Liz.” Max desperately wanted to take her in his arms, to hold her, to make her understand, but he didn’t have the right. He’d lost that right a long time ago. “You could never be second best. Not to me. I can’t explain the things I did and said to you. I only know that I lost myself when I wasn’t with you, and I turned into someone even I didn’t like. Tess brought out the worst in me, and you brought out the best.”

“None of it matters now, anyway,” she shook her head sadly. “It’s all in the past. We have different lives now.”

“I still love you, Liz,” Max couldn’t hold it in any longer. He knew it was wrong, to lay this on her like this but he couldn’t help it. He had to make sure she knew how he felt, even if she didn’t feel the same anymore.

He reached for her hand again, hoping she wouldn’t pull away from him. He knew, sensed, felt in his heart that a part of her wanted things back the way they used to be just as badly as he did, but her heart was afraid of being broken again and how could he blame her? She’d borne the weight of the world on her shoulders while the people around her, the ones who should have believed in her – didn’t.

“We can’t go back, Max. Too much has changed. We’re not the same people we used to be.”

“We could start over,” Max curled his fingers around hers. “Take things slow, just one day at a time. If you don’t want to go back to Roswell, I can look for work here. I’ll find an apartment and we can see each other once in a while –”

“Max, there’s thing about my life you don’t know. Things that –”

“I don’t care about that, Liz,” Max wrapped both his hands around hers. “I just want a chance to be with you, and if it’s only as friends, then that’s what I’ll take, because even a small part of you is more than I deserve, and more than I can hope for.”

The phone rang then, saving her from a response. She couldn’t allow herself hope. She knew there was no future for her.

“I – I better get that . . .”

“Sure,” Max reluctantly pulled his hands back.

Liz rose to her feet and crossed the kitchen to the phone on the wall. She lifted it on the forth ring, tucking her hair absently behind her ear in a gesture that filled Max with bittersweet memories.


Max went on alert as soon as he heard the name of the person on the other end of the line.

“Serena?” her brow furled. “What’s wrong?” Liz held the phone close to her ear and turned back to look at Max. Had he recognized the name? “Turn on the TV? Why?”

Max followed Liz into the living room, feeling the hackles rising on the back of his neck.

Liz turned on the television, and as the image swam into focus, as her mind comprehended what she was seeing, a gasp escaped her throat. Her legs gave out, sending her to her knees. She knelt in front of the television with the telephone forgotten in her hand.

The disembodied voice of the news reporter confirmed the horror they were seeing on the screen . . .

“The first ship appeared above Roswell, New Mexico, at 6:25 this morning, Mountain Standard Time. Reports are coming in of more ships appearing over the major cities of the world; New York, Washington, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Tokyo, Sydney, Mexico City, Buenos Aries, Johannesburg, more than twenty in all, silently hovering at 40,000 feet above ground.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a spoof, or a reenactment of H.G. Wells ‘War of the Worlds’. This is real.

First contact has arrived, and the aliens don’t look friendly.”

“Oh God . . .” Liz sagged to the floor. She covered her face with her hands, whispering, “It’s too soon. I’m not ready yet.”

Max moved quickly to kneel beside her. She looked at him with fear and horror and defeat in her eyes. “It’s happening again. Everything I did, everything I gave up, none of it mattered.”

Max gathered her in his arms, but he couldn’t stop the tremors from coursing through her body, or his own either. He didn’t understand everything she was saying, but the nightmare that he had read about in her journal, the nightmare she had given up everything to prevent, the nightmare that had torn their lives apart, was happening right in front of their eyes.

Aliens were marshalling forces in the sky above them and the end of the world was at hand.

Note: I know this seems like I’ve taken a left turn, but I really haven’t. Things will become clear in the next couple of parts.
Last edited by Breathless on Mon Apr 14, 2003 3:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Downfall Part 7

Post by Breathless » Mon Apr 14, 2003 10:35 pm

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes


Fall back on me
I’ll be the strength I need
To save me now
Just come face to face with me

Stay in place you’ll be
The first to see
Me heal these wounds

Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 7

Max sat beside Liz on her living room floor, too stunned by what he was seeing on the television screen to even move. The sound of the announcer’s unbelievably calm voice filled the room.

“For decades the military has denied the crash of 1947 was anything other than a weather balloon, but the appearance this morning of what is undeniably extraterrestrial spacecraft over the skies of Roswell, New Mexico seems much more than merely coincidence. The military is on full alert, all commercial flights have been grounded, citizens are being told not to panic, but to stay in their homes . . .”

Liz bolted to her feet suddenly and announced, with her eyes still glued to the screen, “We have to go. Quickly, before it’s too late.”

“Where?” Max stared up at her. She looked as scared as he felt, but there was something else there, too. A sense of determination about her. It didn’t surprise him. She was Liz Parker, after all, and even though he hadn’t seen her in years, he could see that she hadn’t changed that much. She always had to have a plan. She stared down at him and said the words he had prayed to hear from her for years.

“We’re going back to Roswell.”

“I’ll help you pack,” he rose quickly to his feet.

“There’s nothing here I need,” she said without emotion and turned from him, headed straight for the door.

* * * * *

Max maneuvered the car through relatively empty streets. People were heeding the warnings to stay inside. The sight of military vehicles speeding through the streets of Cambridge made the reality of the situation frightfully clear.

“What’s the best way to get to the freeway?” he asked.

“We have to go to MIT first,” Liz said, sitting stiffly in the passenger seat next to him.

“MIT?” Max jerked in surprise. “As in . . . MIT?”

“Yes,” she met his questioning gaze. “There’s something there I have to get.”

“And that would be . . .?” he asked. When she didn’t say anything, he pressed for more. “We’re just going to waltz into MIT, in the middle of a global emergency?”

“I work there, Max,” she weakly smiled at his surprised gasp. “At Whitehead, actually. Molecular Biology Division. I won’t have a problem getting us in.”

“So,” Max absorbed that. The way she looked yesterday morning made sense to him now. “You became the scientist you always wanted to be.” He was proud of her for that. At least he hadn’t ruined all of her dreams.

Her smile disappeared and she looked away, staring at the road ahead of her. “I had to.”

He wondered what she meant by that, but she was closed lipped, and now was not the time to force her to say things she wasn’t ready to say. They had a long drive to Roswell coming up, and maybe she would let down her defenses, and open up to him along the way.

* * * * *

Max stood nervously beside Liz as she signed them in at the security desk in the foyer at Whitehead. Military personnel milled about with rifles slung over their shoulders, and his reflex for self-preservation warred with his sense of caution, urging him to run, to flee, before they found out what he was. If even one of them were to discover he was an alien, he had no doubt they would shoot first, and ask questions later.

“It’ll be okay,” Liz took his hand and led him to a bank of elevators. The contact soothed him, enough so that his nervousness wasn’t evident on the outside, but inside, his stomach was churning.

“What are we here for, Liz?” he asked in a whisper while they waited for the elevator to arrive.

She watched the lighted numbers above the elevator doors, watching to see which one would open first. “I have to get my journal.”

“Your journal?” he couldn’t hide his consternation. Why did they have to come here, just to get a journal of her thoughts and feelings –

“A scientific journal,” Liz leaned close to him, with her voice low. “It has all my notes.”

“What notes?” He was more confused than ever.

“Not now,” the elevator opened and they stepped inside. “We’ll talk about it later.”

* * * * *

They stepped out on the fourth floor to the sight of people scurrying back and forth in disarray. Panic was in the air, which was no surprise. The world was getting its first up close and personal contact with ET. For Liz, who walked through the halls calmly, ET was old hat. In fact, a part of her had been anticipating this day for some time. The threat of it had been eating away at her for years.

“How much further?” Max whispered. He had to hustle to keep up with her long strides. For a short person, she sure could move fast.

“Just up here,” she grabbed his arm and led him into an efficient looking lab. “Just stay with me so no one will question why you’re here.”

“Not a problem,” he remarked. He felt like a fish out of water here. No way was he going to let Liz out of his sight.

“Beth!” a female voice cried out. A young woman came running at them, throwing her arms around Liz.

“Serena,” Liz hugged her lab partner back.

“Serena?” Max looked down at Liz, with a chill shooting down his spine. He’d read the name in the journal Liz sent him. “Is she . . .?” he whispered.

Liz looked up at him with a myriad of emotions playing across her face. They hadn’t even had a chance to talk about the things he’d read in her journal. Time Travel. A future version of himself coming back to make Liz do unimaginable things. His future self must have been insane to think him being with Tess would save the world from destruction.

“Beth,” Serena hugged her tightly. “This can’t be real! It must be a nightmare.”

“It’s real,” Liz held her out at arms length. Serena glanced at the handsome man standing beside them, and Liz made quick introductions. “Max, this is Serena. Serena, Max.”

Max nodded at the girl and mumbled a greeting. She didn’t look any older than Liz, and it was almost incomprehensible that she might have once helped create the power to change the future.

“Hi,” Serena frowned slightly. Liz had never mentioned a Max before.

“I need our notes,” Liz pushed past Serena while Max stood silently watching in confusion. What notes?

“They’re setting up a shelter in the basement,” Serena rushed to tell them. “We can stay there –”

“No,” Liz pushed past her, headed toward her workstation. “Max and I have to go back to Roswell.”

“Roswell? What do you mean!” Serena’s tone was full of panic. “We’re being invaded – by ALIENS!”

“I know,” Liz opened a locked box and removed a set of leather bound journals.

“The aliens are in Roswell!” Serena blurted out.

“I know that, too. We have to stop it.” She turned to face Max and said pointedly, “We have to change it.”

‘NO!’ Max screamed silently in his head. Change it? Change it? She couldn’t mean . . . she wasn’t telling him . . . she wasn’t suggesting that he repeat his past mistakes, was she? He couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t do it. She couldn’t ask him to, not after how he’d fucked it up the last time.

“Liz,” he balked. “You can’t possibly want me to –”

“It’s not what I want, Max.” Liz cupped his cheek with her hand, the first intimate gesture she’d given him in years, but the softness of her touch couldn’t quell the anguish of her words. “We have to do this.”

His mind suddenly filled with images so horrendous he stumbled back from her, shaking inside from the vision she’d sent him. Cities in ruin. Death and destruction. A plague upon the world. Genocide. His mind screamed to deny what he saw, while his heart told him it was all true. How long had she lived with this knowledge of the future hanging over her head, waiting for the downfall to arrive?

“You see now?” Liz slowly lowered her hand from his face. “We have to. We don’t have a choice.”

* * * * *

“So you knew?” Max paced back and forth in the elevator on the way down to the ground floor, trying to come to terms with what Liz was saying.

“I wasn’t expecting it yet,” she held herself in check. She couldn’t let herself feel. She had to hold it all inside . . . just for a little while longer . . . just for a few more days.

“You’re telling me, you can see the future . . .” he raked his hands back into his hair.

“In a way,” she stood with the journal clutched to her chest, watching the changing numbers on the elevator wall as they descended. Time was counting down.

“So what I saw? It might not be real?” Max pounced, looking for a ray of hope.

“No, it’s real,” Liz hunched in on herself. She’d never shared this with another living soul. She’d carried it inside her for years, silently suffering, letting it consume her until there was nothing left.

It was hard to carry the death of the world on your shoulders. She hadn’t saved the world when she pushed Max toward Tess; she’d given Earth a death sentence.

“The images I get always come true . . . unless I do something to change them. That’s how I met Serena. I had a vision of her getting hit by a car. I didn’t know who she was, or where it was going to happen. There was nothing I could do. Then one day I saw her across the street from me. I could see everything happening in slow motion, her stepping down from the curb, the car coming straight at her, and I knew my vision was coming true. I reacted instinctively and pushed her backwards. She fell back against the curb, and it wasn’t until I helped her up that I learned who she was.”

“Liz!” he grabbed her in a panic, pulling her close to him. “You could have been killed! The car could have hit you when you pushed her out of the way!” His reaction was instinctive, just the thought of losing her made his knees shake.

“I wasn’t in danger,” Liz said into his chest, then raised her head to look directly at him. “I was across the street when it happened.”

“You –” he started to say, and then her meaning became clear.

“I used my powers to push her out of the way.”

Max stared at her unable to say a word. A thousand unanswered questions swirled through his brain. Why did Liz’s hands sparkle with green energy? Where did the visions she received come from? How could she have . . . powers! The answer, of course, was obvious, but it still hit him like a ton of bricks. He’d changed her when he healed her, and all these years he’d never known.

“We’ll talk later,” Liz said as the elevator doors opened. There was no time for chatter, no time for delays. The world as about to end, and they still had miles to go before they could sleep.

* * * * *

Max’s Chevelle burned up the highway as he sped through the countryside. The speedometer pushed past 80, crept above 90, inched past 100, unmindful of the posted speed limit in his haste to return to the place where it had all started. Roswell was still hundreds of miles away, and according to Liz, time was not on their side.

“Liz,” he broke the silence that had been permeating the car. “What I saw, when did you develop –” he stumbled over the words, not sure how to ask her. “How long have you had powers? Why didn’t you let me know? I could have helped you. We could have worked on this together.”

“I didn’t want to work on it with you,” Liz said flatly, trying to keep her eyes focused on the road in front of them.

A pang of guilt sliced through her at the way his body suddenly stiffened. She might as well have slapped him across the face.

“Look, Max,” she softened a little. “Maybe it was just supposed to be this way. I couldn’t stay in Roswell. I couldn’t be around you anymore, not after . . .”

Max died a little more inside, hearing the somber tone of her voice. There was no easy fix for the things that had gone wrong between them. They both had a share of the blame, but it didn’t change the fact that Liz was offering him no hope for reconciliation between them. Not that it mattered now, with the ships hovering in the skies above them, but he could face anything as long as he had her with him. Even the end of the world.

“It started at the Winnaman Academy,” Liz stared out the window as she spoke. Max deserved to know why she left. Why she never went back. “When I first got there, I thought it was exactly what I needed. I had structure in my life again. Rules. I threw myself into my schoolwork, and my grades were improving. Not good enough for Harvard yet, but I had a whole year ahead of me, plenty of time . . . I thought.”

Max watched her as he drove, trying to keep his face blank, but doing a horrible job of it. Listening to her talk about how great her life was – without him in it – was tearing his heart apart.

“I was moving forward one day at a time, making a new life, or trying to, but you wouldn’t let me go,” Liz dropped her head forward, concentrating on her hands resting on her lap. The green sparks were flickering again, just under the surface. “You kept sending me letters, and every time I picked one up I’d get a flash. I didn’t even need to open them to know what was written inside. I could see it the flash. At first I thought it was your fault, that you were sending the flashes to me, but then I started getting them from other things, and I knew it wasn’t you. It was me. I was causing the flashes.”

“We could have helped you, Liz,” Max spoke around his constricted throat. “I can understand you not wanting anything to do with me,” he faltered, but he had to face the truth. He hadn’t just hurt Liz all those years ago, he’d nearly destroyed her. “But there was Michael, and Isabel. They could have –”

“They never wanted us to be together in the first place,” Liz cut him off. “I was vulnerable, Max, and Michael and Isabel had never been on my side. How could I turn to them?”

Max was at a loss for what to say. They’d all abandoned her after Alex’s death, right when she needed them the most, and the scars of it were written all over her face.

“I got my first vision right before Christmas that year. Nothing spectacular, but they were different from the flashes. The visions were things that were going to happen, future events, and they always turned out to be right. That’s when I ran, trying to get away from the flashes, and the visions, and everything that had anything to do with . . . you.”

Max drove down the highway feeling numb inside. He’d once told her that he never wanted to hurt her, but in the end, that’s all he’d done. There was nothing left in her except the pain.

“A year later, the visions took on a new tone. An ominous tone, and I knew there was nothing I could do to stop what was coming.” She looked skyward, and Max realized she’d foreseen this day in a vision.

“You knew? You knew Kivar was coming, and you never told us?”

“Yes,” Liz turned to meet his shocked face. “I knew. I didn’t tell you because I hoped I was wrong. I hoped it was all just a nightmare, but if it wasn’t, there was nothing you could do about it. How could you and Michael and Isabel stop an entire fleet of ships from invading Earth?”

“But we could have tried to do . . . something!” Max cried out his frustration.

“I was doing something,” Liz said with detachment, sliding into the emotionless void she’d lived with for years. “The only thing that will make a difference.”

“No . . .” Max tried to deny what she was implying. It couldn’t happen again. It was impossible. They’d changed the future once, and now the Granilith was gone. They couldn’t do it again.

“I know what has to be done. I saw it in a vision,” Liz’s tough veneer cracked. Her eyes reflected the pain of the ages, pain that she’d tried to drink away for years, but it never disappeared. It was always there, waiting to squeeze the life out of her. She’d foreseen the end of the world, witnessed her own death, not to mention everyone she had ever loved. The events that would trigger it all were already happening.

Max nearly drove off the road from the shock of her next words.

“Tess is back. She brought the Granilith with her.”

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Downfall Part 8

Post by Breathless » Tue Apr 15, 2003 10:39 pm

Author: Debbi aka Breathless
Category: Max and Liz
Rating: R for language and adult themes


I won’t let you down
The words you said to me
It’s echoing the sound
Of what would never be

I’m standing here alone
The memories remain
The same familiar home
But nothing looks the same

I’m standing here alone
Can’t tell if I’m awake
Reality is gone
In a dream I can’t escape

Slipping Away
Song lyrics by
Trust Company

Part 8

Max paced up and down the side of the road trying to deny the things Liz was saying. He wouldn’t believe it, he couldn’t. It was too horrible to contemplate. There were no spaceships hovering in the air above the major cities of the world. Tess was not back on earth to trigger their impending end. Liz was not suggesting – make that insisting – on a plan so horrendous he could barely breathe just hearing her say it.

“No,” his hands rubbed at the headache behind his temples. “No, I’m not going to listen to this –”

“Max, it’s the only way –” Liz kept the tremor out of her voice. She’d come to terms with it a long time ago, but she’d never had to say it out loud before.

“No, Liz,” he spun around, looking at her with tear filled eyes. “I can’t. Don’t ask me to. I finally found you, after all these years, don’t make me –” The sob in his throat choked back his words, rendering him speechless.

“Max,” Liz kept a tight rein on her emotions. “We don’t have a choice. I don’t have a choice.”

Liz walked up behind him, wanting to touch him on the shoulder, wanting to slide her arms around him, wanting to tell him how much she still loved him, but knowing that she couldn’t. If she let down her defenses, if she opened her heart and let him in, she wouldn’t be able to go through with it, and the end of the world really would be her fault.

“The first time we had fourteen years together, Max, but the world died because of us. The second time I gave you up to prevent the downfall of my planet, but that sacrifice wasn’t enough to change the outcome. This time, we have to do it right. We won’t get anymore chances –”

“NO!” Max whirled around, pulling her into him. He cupped her face with his hands, refusing to believe. “Liz,” he choked on his words. “I love you. I’ve never stopped. For years, the thought of finding you was all that kept me going. You can’t ask me to give that up –”

“Max, you have to do this,” Liz fought back her own tears. “You have to.”

“I’ll go to the government. I’ll go to the White House. I’ll go up to the fucking President if I have to. We can work with the top scientists to find Kivar’s weakness. We’ll bring the ships down –”

“Max, this is why I never came home. It’s why I changed my name so you couldn’t find me. I knew you’d insist on finding another way, you’d make me cling to a glimmer of hope, but believe me, there isn’t any. It’s all ready too late.” She touched his temple with her fingertips, showing him why.

“No,” he fell to his knees on the dirt shoulder of the highway, wanting to deny the horror of what he was seeing. “No!”

“I’ve lived with this a long time, Max,” Liz sank down beside him, giving in to the need to hold his trembling body in her arms. “I worked diligently during the day to find a way to stop it, to prevent it, and drank the nights away trying to forget it, to pretend that it wasn’t real. But it is real, Max,” she felt his tears drip onto her shoulder. “And there’s only one thing left that we can do.”

Max pulled his tear-streaked face back from her shoulder and looked deeply into her tormented eyes. He cupped her cheeks with trembling hands, asking in a quivering voice, “What am I going to do without you, Liz?”

“You’re going to make sure the world keeps on living.”

* * * * *

Liz drove on in silence, watching the miles fall behind her. She listened closely to the news reports on the radio, and even closer to the sounds Max made in the passenger seat beside her. His sleep was fitful, restless, and it was no wonder after the things she had told him. She’d known what the future held for them for years, but knowing it, and seeing it unfolding before her eyes were two different things. She thought she was prepared to face this moment, but now that it had arrived, she knew she’d only been fooling herself.

Was a person ever really ready to face their own impending death?

“Where are we?” Max’s strained voice cut through the dark interior of the car. It was still hours before dawn.

“We just crossed over into Oklahoma,” Liz checked the gas gauge. Operating gas stations were becoming harder to find. Panic was sweeping the nation, with frightened citizens hording food and fuel. “We’ll cut across the western panhandle, and be in Texas soon.”

“What’s the latest news?” His voice was starkly lacking in emotion, as if he knew he could seek no comfort there.

“Pretty much the same,” Liz answered. “No movement from the ships yet.”

“Why do you think that is?” Max turned his face to Liz. In the light from the dashboard, his face looked haggard and strained.

“They probably want to find you first,” Liz told him, watching the pained expression flicker across his face.

“What if we run, Liz?” Max grabbed at the only thread of hope he could muster. “Kivar wants me. If he can’t find me, maybe he won’t do it. We can go underground, into one of the military installations. They’re self-contained. Their own air, water, food. Maybe it will give us time to develop an antidote–”

“We can’t stop it, Max,” Liz spoke softly. “I wish we could, but we can’t. Sometime in the next week, those ships are going to release a toxin into the air that will kill every human on this planet.”

“But if we went underground –”

“Max,” Liz took one hand off the steering wheel and placed it gently over his. “We can’t develop an antidote for an alien toxin we’ve never seen. Once it’s introduced into the ecosystem, it will spread quickly. I’ve seen it in the visions. I know what it’s going to do. Even if our best scientists got a sample of it, it would take months, maybe years to find a counteragent. We don’t even have a week.”

“But . . .” Max choked on the words he wanted to say. He knew he’d never be able to convince her to save herself, not while everyone else was left to die. Finally, reconciled to the fate they were about to face, he cupped her hand in both of his and told her the only thing that he could. “I’ve made up my mind, Liz. I can’t go back. I’d rather die here with you. If all we have is a week, then we’ll have to live a lifetimes worth in that one week.”

Liz slowed the car, unable to drive any further through her tears. Even now, he still didn’t understand. She pulled to a stop on the side of the road and clasped both his hands in hers.

Her voice trembled as she told him, “You’re not going to die, Max. The toxin won’t harm you. You were made to survive on Earth, and on Antar. The alien cells in your blood will filter the poison out.”

“Oh, God,” Max collapsed into her. It was all becoming too much for him to take. No matter what he did, he was facing a life without her.

“I’ve looked at this from every direction,” Liz leaned close to his ear. “What I’m asking you to do is the only way. You have to go back and fix the mistake. It’s the only way to ensure that everyone lives.”

“Everyone but you,” Max let his tears run freely again. “Everyone but us.”

“It was my destiny,” she brushed a tear off his cheek. “I’m ready to face it now.”

“But I’m not, Liz,” his head fell to her shoulder. “I’m not.”

“You will be,” Liz soothed him. “We’ll face it together.”

Liz felt Max clutch at her, holding on to a love that was never meant to be. He’d told her that once, that he was afraid to let their relationship grow into something more than just friendship because he knew they weren’t meant to be together, and he was right. But it wasn’t just that. She was never meant to be. Max had changed her destined fate one September day on the floor of the Crashdown, and the whole world had changed because of it.

Now it was time to set things right.

* * * * *

Max saw the flickering lights first, high in the dark sky above Roswell. He drove on, in a near state of shock, stunned by the size of it. The ship was huge, menacing, hovering above Roswell like a malignant beast. Any hope he had secretly been harboring plummeted to oblivion at the sight of it. There was no way he could challenge a thing like that. All the firepower in the world wouldn’t be enough.

His speed dropped off, too stricken by the sight of the ship to concentrate on his driving. His fingers tightened around Liz’s hand, both of them finding comfort in the contact, just as they had years ago. In that innocent time, their hands had fit together like two interlocking pieces of a puzzle, and after all the time they had spent apart, it hadn’t changed a thing. When they touched, they became something more than just two separate individuals. Their synergy transcended the limitations of a man and a woman.

Max drove into the empty streets of Roswell just as dawn broke in the east. The town looked deserted at first appearance, until they noticed the military vehicles amassed near the town center. A jeep painted in camouflage green sped in their direction, with the blare of a bullhorn squawking at them.

“You have entered a restricted zone. Stop your vehicle or you will be fired upon!”

Max’s natural inclination was to run, to hide, but none of that mattered anymore. It was too late to worry about inconsequential matters. He pulled the car to the side of the road. The jeep angled in front of the Chevelle to block its movement while a soldier aimed a rifle directly at Max’s head.

A second soldier, with the letters MP stenciled on his helmet, climbed from the jeep and cautiously walked up to the driver’s side of the car. He scanned the interior thoroughly, shining a flashlight in every corner, every nook and cranny, directly into their eyes nearly blinding them, before addressing Max.

“State the nature of your business.”

“Is there a problem, sir?” Max asked.

“Roswell is under Marshall Law. Citizens are under a 24 hour curfew until further notice. Violators are subject to immediate arrest. Step out of the car.”

“We were just –”

“I said step out of the car,” the MP rested his hand on the butt of his holstered pistol. Max could tell by the intensity in his eyes that he would shoot first, and the hell with asking any questions later.

“You don’t want to do that,” Max said in a calm, controlled voice. “Take your hand off the weapon.”

The MP dropped his hand to his side.

“We’re not a threat,” Max stared into the soldier’s glazed eyes. “We’re just trying to get home.”

“Go home and stay inside,” the MP waved Max off. The soldier in the jeep lowered his rifle.

“If you see us again, you’ll let us pass without question,” Max gave his final instructions and put the car into gear. He drove off, feeling Liz’s gaze boring into him.

“When did you learn to do that?” she asked in a tight voice.

“A couple of years ago,” Max avoided looking at her. He still remembered how Tess’s mind control had affected them all, and how threatened Liz had felt by it. “I only use it when I have to,” Max drove through the deserted streets, stopping in front of a large apartment complex. He turned to face her finally, swearing, “I would never use it on you.”

“Never?” her eyes held his, forcing him to look away.

He knew it was a lie; he’d used the power on her two nights ago, in her apartment when he urged her to sleep for the night. She’d been hysterical, and he’d only done it for her own good, but that didn’t change the facts.

“Promise me,” Liz grabbed his chin in a harsh grip and jerked his head back, forcing him to look at her. “Promise me you will never use mind control on me again!”

Max stared at her, shocked by her violent reaction, but he shouldn’t have been. She had always fiercely protected her independence, her self-governance. Of all the powers his kind had ever shown, mind control was the one she couldn’t tolerate.

“Promise me!” she demanded.

“I promise,” Max covered her hand with his, hoping she wouldn’t pull away. “I will never use it on you.”

“No matter what the circumstances,” she insisted. “Swear it to me!”

“I won’t break my promise, Liz,” he swallowed hard, knowing what his pledge meant. She was the one in control, and no matter how much he might hate it, no matter how it might tear him apart, he had to follow her rules. Maybe if he had listened to her before, their lives wouldn’t have come to this.

“Why are we here?” her tone softened and her hand loosened the harsh grip on his chin.

“Michael lives here now. Well, Michael and I. He lets me crash here when I’m in town.”

What he didn’t say was that he was rarely in Roswell anymore. Up until two days ago, he’d spent most of his time on the road, trying to find her.

“I thought we’d rest up here for a bit, talk to Michael and Isabel . . . figure out . . . something . . .”

Liz stared at him, knowing he was clinging to the idea that they could do something to change what was coming. She knew that they couldn’t, that the only way to change this future was to change the past, but she’d had more time to come to terms with it than he had. She could give him a few more minutes to believe in the impossible.

“Okay,” Liz agreed, much to Max’s relief.

“Good,” a brief smile flashed over his face. If he could just get her to open her mind to other possibilities, maybe they could change the outcome without resorting to the drastic plan she was hell bent on following. He led her to the apartment, and what he hoped would be a new start.