Like Father, Like Son - AU M/L MATURE [COMPLETE]

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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dreamangel
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Like Father, Like Son - AU M/L MATURE [COMPLETE]

Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:50 pm

Title: Like Father, Like Son
Author: Nicole
Rating: MATURE
Disclaimer: Roswell does not belong to me.
Note: This was written before Season 3. Banner by Destinee

<center>Image</center>

*I*

He wasn't really aware of anything except her voice, her sweet voice, reverberating in his head. She had told him to wake up. How was he to do that?

So now he was here, staring up at the night sky, the billions of twinkling lights surrounding Earth as well as his home. But wasn't Earth his home? He knew he had tried to make it his home, tried to belong, but everything was falling apart, and now he was lost and confused.

He heard another voice, not her voice, but one he was beginning to find comforting. One that often told him about home, one that helped him see home. The place where he had once belonged. Did he belong there now?

"Max?" He turned his head, near tears, and she was there. She was always there, ready to comfort and sympathize. Like Liz used to be.

But she wasn't Liz. In fact, she was the exact opposite of Liz. Maybe that's what he needed now. Maybe...

Maybe she could help him wake up.
------

The skin-to-skin contact was odd. How had he ended up naked? How had she ended up naked? Why was the floor so damn hard?

He opened his eyes and smiled, Liz was kissing him. Making love to him. He knew it was Liz, it had to be, he wouldn't be loving anyone but Liz.

She smiled at him, brown eyes sparkling, though for a second he swore they were blue, but no...

"Max..." she cried as her orgasm hit, sending him spiraling after her. He remained in the pleasure-shrouded haze for nearly an hour. Was that normal? he wondered as he fell asleep.
------

He opened his eyes, very, very sore, and looked down. To say he was surprised was an understatement. About the biggest understatement since the forming of the Universe.

Tess. Tess was naked. In his arms. What was Tess doing naked in his arms? That wasn't right, Liz should be with him. Only Liz. Why wasn't she here?

Memory hit like a ton of bricks. Liz was in Sweden, very likely exposing them. He was angry at her, had issued an ultimatum. One that hadn't gone his way. He had tried to make her choose between him and the truth.

She had chose truth.

So he had wound up at the observatory and eventually wound up in Tess. That wasn't right. He had been remembering things from his past, and she had been helping.

He remembered how much he had loved her. How much Zan loved Ava. For a time at least.

He remembered how quickly his infatuation with her had ceased, leaving him stuck in a marriage with a woman he didn't love. He had always been kind to her though, never let her think, even for a moment, that his adoration of her had ended.

She woke suddenly, and said, "Morning." He smiled and nodded, waiting until she was clinging to him again before allowing his face to show actual emotion again.

He didn't want this.
------

He felt so awkward. He didn't know how to act around Tess anymore. Before he had acted as though she was his friend, and that had become true.

But how was he supposed to act now? She wanted more, expected more. After all, they had just had sex. A step forward would be natural. Right?

So he took her hand. Trying to forget the difference between being her boyfriend and being Liz's. When he had been Liz's, touching her had been as essential as breathing, but touching Tess...It just wasn't that appealing.
------

Holy shit!

Tess was pregnant with his child. That wasn't right either. Nothing about this thing was right. He couldn't conceive a child with someone he didn't love. Weren't there, like, Laws of Nature prohibiting such an act?

But he had been thinking of his love at the time. He had been thinking of Liz, wishing for Liz, as he had sex with Tess. Maybe the whole thing had just manifested itself into a child.

A child that should be he and Liz's.
------

He loved his son. He did. How could he not? There was a tiny, infinitely precious being that he had helped make. It was a part of him, a better part maybe.

The fault was entirely his own that the boy would have the wrong mother.

Liz. Always his thoughts returned to Liz. She hadn't left. She had stayed, she had been in Roswell while he had been doing what he had been doing with Tess. The thought nauseated him.

He'd yelled at her again. He'd been doing that a lot lately. So much that it didn't seem like it was him. He had hurt her too, grabbed her arm so hard...He hadn't even been conscious of it.

Why was he projecting his self hate toward her? She didn't need that. She had enough to deal with with Alex's death, she didn't need a psychotic stalker too. Especially not one who had betrayed her.

But she had betrayed him, a small voice argued.

He suppressed it instantly. That train of thought only led to more conflict between his heart and head. One arguing what he saw and the other what he knew. He was confused enough. He didn't need that.

What he needed was a focal point. What he needed was a clear truth to concentrate on. And the only reliable thing right now was his son.

He'd focus on keeping him safe.
------

His son was dying! The thought nearly paralyzed him. When he had seen Tess fall...

He hadn't been concerned for her, he couldn't bring himself to be, but the baby...

And now this...

No. God, please, no! Don't take his son from him. He needed him, like he needed Liz. And if he couldn't have both he needed at least one.

God, please...

Why was he praying? He didn't believe in God. How could something he didn't believe in help? He didn't know, but he'd take whatever he could get right now. Too much was happening.
------

Alex had translated the book. She had been right, and she hadn't rubbed it in, she just helped. And now they could go home. To a planet they had never seen before except in blurred memories.

He wasn't sure he wanted to go. Before it had seemed like salvation, but now...Liz was in Roswell. Could he leave Liz?

He had to, for his son. Everything had to be for his son now. Even caring for Tess.

They had a month before he was born, and they had to get off the planet before then. He could die if they didn't, and that wasn't an option. His son had to live.

So they were using the information Liz had provided unhesitatingly and using the Granilith and going home. Where he would be King and Tess would be Queen and they would save the planet from Kivar's tyranny and his son would be safe.
------

He had 24 hours. 24 hours in which to accomplish everything. He had to find a murderer, he had to apologize to Liz, he had to comfort Isabel, say good-bye to his parents, and figure out a way to explain their disappearances.

And he had to tell Liz about he and Tess.

He wanted to die.
------

He told her. Finally. He had felt so sick, and the look on her face…

The betrayal there.

He knew what his face must have looked like when he had seen her in bed with Kyle.

She hadn't slept with Kyle! The joy he felt soared high, so high, above this tiny world, and then came crashing back down. He couldn't do anything about it now.

Tess was pregnant and he had to leave. He didn't want to go. He wanted to stay and do everything over, make everything up to her. But he couldn't.

He gave her his pendant, the one that meant home, and they said good-bye, and she asked him if he loved her.

"Not like I love you."

Yet another understatement. Tess was carrying his child, but she wasn't Liz. She'd never be Liz. How could he love her? He couldn't ever love her like he loved Liz. Liz was his everything, his sun, his moon, his sky, his earth, his air, his stars, his love, his heart, his soul, his home...

And he was leaving her.
------

Michael was staying. Good. One of them should follow their heart. Now at least they had someone to protect the others. To protect Liz.

But he was going. He and Isabel and Tess. And his son...
------

Tess killed Alex.

Tess killed Alex.

Liz had told him, Kyle had backed her up, when only a week ago Kyle had been backing Tess. The memory of that confrontation was like a whip to his back. But Tess had been messing with everyone's heads.

Messing with their lives.

Couldn't she understand that life mattered? Everyone's lives...But no. She was too alien, and she expected him to be like that too. She had actually had the nerve to call Liz a bitch.

His sweet, loving Liz a bitch. He had wanted to kill her then. But life was precious, even hers, and she was his friend, the mother of his child.

She was so quick to point that out, even as she informed him of her betrayal. She was going to deliver his son to Kivar and kill him and his family off.

And she expected him to love her?!

She dared him to kill her. He would have too, but he couldn't risk his son. So he had let her go, taking his son with her.

He had to stay for the chance to save him. He needed to live to save him. He had to stay with Liz, he needed her right now.
------

She looked at him, and he looked at her, and he told her the truth.

"I've been really wrong about a lot. But I was right about one thing: To get you into my life, to be around you, to love you."

She let him hold her close, like he'd desperately been wanting to do since last summer when she'd run from him. He'd fix things now.

He was finally beginning to wake up.

"What happens now, Max?"

"I have to save my son..."
------
Last edited by dreamangel on Sat Apr 19, 2003 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:52 pm

*II*

This wasn’t anything like she’d expected it to be. The planet was beautiful, just like she’d remembered it. She’d visited the lake yesterday. She had sat on the out cropping and stared at the thick red water, imagining her beloved Zan smiling shyly up at her.

She had told the story to her son and then she had had another seizure.

They were supposed to stop now. She was home, on Antar, her baby should be safe, but the attacks kept coming. They were so painful. She had thought at first that maybe it was the loss of his father, but that couldn’t be it. Max would have been lost to them anyway.

Kivar had been furious when he discovered that she had not delivered the King, he had been ready to kill her, but then he had stayed his hand. She shivered, seeing the cold smile on his face when he told her she still might hold some use for him yet. He had run a finger over her jaw and then placed one hand over her womb.

She had had another seizure.

She was now suspecting her son was causing them. Not because he was dying, but because he wanted out. Out of her, away from her. He was rejecting her before he even knew her, just like everybody else.

Well she wasn’t going to let it happen. He was her son. Hers! She wasn’t going to give him up, she wasn’t going to stand to be ignored like his father had done. He would love her, love her without her mind games. She couldn’t use those anymore, they caused too much trouble. She saw Max’s angry face flash before her. Too much.

The pain rippled again and she crashed to the floor of her room. Kivar’s guards were there immediately, and they brought her to the medical ward. The healer inspected her in the detached way all doctors seemed to acquire and then nodded at her.

“It’s time.”

Her month was up.
------

She stared at her son as he played across the room. She had named him Bastian. A name. Hah. It was the only thing Kivar had allowed.

They had taken him from her immediately, she had no idea what had happened during that time apart. She had been drugged and was drifting in and out of consciousness. When they had finally placed him in her arms, she could tell something had been done to him.

He looked human, but that had been expected. He also looked exactly like his father. He had a full head of jet-black hair and his open eyes were a honeyed amber. She had felt like crying from joy at the sight of him. But he gave her no sign of recognition, there was no connection between the two of them. He turned his head from her.

And then she felt like crying again.

That had been five months ago, and now she was again trying to connect to her five-year-old son. She felt robbed at what they had done. They had sped up his growth processes, he aged a year every month, he wouldn’t have a proper childhood.

Kivar had told her it needed to be this way. Bastian needed to be prepared to face his father when they landed on Earth, and he needed to be a man to do it. The program would stop when he reached his nineteenth year. He would never need her to kiss his scrapes, or tease him about a crush, or teach him to ride a bike, or anything. He was being trained for war, and that was it.
------

He was doing his schoolwork now, sitting quietly on his bed in their chambers. She saw him frown slightly at the book in front of him. It was a huge book, much too big for a ten-year-old little boy. She had told Kivar that and he had laughed.

“Ava, don’t be ridiculous, knowledge is as important as training. He’ll be fine.”

She barely saw him though. He was always studying or playing war games and going over strategies with Kivar. She stayed in her rooms or went out, remembering her past. She wanted to go back to those days, when she was happy and had Zan’s whole-hearted adoration and love. They had dinner together occasionally, and rare moments like this when they were both at home, in the same location.

“Bastian? Do you need help, sweetie?”

He looked at her, surprised, and she walked all the way in. “What?”

“You looked confused. Are you having any trouble?”

“Oh, no…Mother, thank you. I was just reading an account of a trial from before the revolution. It’s an argument made between the Old King and my father.” She paused, arrested by his dismissive attitude and the terms he used.

Kivar had told him to call him Father, but he knew his real father was Max, or Zan. So which was he referring to? And which Old King? The term could again be applied to Zan or King Ruark, Zan’s father.

She looked at the title of the book and then back at her son. He wasn’t old enough to read about such things as murders and rapist cases and the criminal’s punishments, they would be too severe and icky for a young boy. It was just…inappropriate.

“I have to say, Ruark was a bit dense at time. He completely skipped over a pertinent portion of the evidence. Luckily Father caught it and the situation was remedied. Zan had a brilliant mind,” he commented absently, obviously lost back in his world of politics and justice. She could hardly believe the extensive vocabulary he had acquired in just ten short months. It was ridiculous. She'd never even used half of the words that came out of his mouth.

She nodded, feeling bereft of anything to say, and turned to leave, but she paused at the door and looked back at him hopefully. Maybe she was just a glutton for punishment, but…

“Are you sure you don’t need help?”

“No. I don’t need your help, Mother,” he replied, never looking up.

She nodded again and shut the door. She leaned against it heavily when it was closed, her eyes shut tight.

He didn’t need her at all.

She ran to her own room and flung herself on her bed, muffling her sobs in her pillow. She couldn’t let him hear. He already thought her a weak fool, she didn’t need to add to that image.

She couldn’t even blame Kivar for the distance between them, because he had done nothing. There was nothing in his programming to cause the detachment she felt from him. Indeed, Kivar had wanted to have them connected to ascertain his position. If Tess had Bastian, then he had Bastian. He was the Queen’s lover, he possessed the Crown Prince’s loyalty, and when he defeated Max he would rule unquestioned.

That wasn’t what Tess wanted. None of this was ever what she wanted. At first she had wanted Max to love her, she wanted to be Queen of her home planet, but now…Now she wanted her son to love her, and she wanted to go home, to the Valenti house, where she had felt wanted.

But she wouldn't be wanted on Earth. Not by Kyle or Jim or Michael or Isabel, and especially not by Max or the humans. Not after what she’d done.

She’d split Max and Liz up.

She’d used them.

She’d killed Alex.

She’d betrayed them, him...

None of them would want her, just like no one here wanted her, not even her son.

He was just too much like his father.
------

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:54 pm

*III*

He woke up in a sweat, the vivid effects of the dream still lingering. He groaned and fell back onto his pillow, beating it until it had formed comfortably around his head. He didn't need this.

He had enough going on with the war games and strategy sessions, not to mention schooling. He didn't need to be going through puberty.

He knew that was what it was. He had read about it in a book from the ship's library and he had been expecting it. He just hadn't expected it to be so...powerful.

He had these dreams every night, about a woman he had never seen before. Indeed, didn't know how she could exist. His planet was full of blondes, not brunettes. He was the only black-haired being in the Universe excepting Earth.

And his father.

He had been contemplating the "threat", as Kivar put it, of his real father. King Zan, now known as the human Max Evans. He knew he looked exactly like him, Tess always said so. Then her eyes would get all misty and sad.

He felt guilty about that. He knew she was his birth mother, accepted the idea, but he just...Felt completely disassociated from her.

Maybe...Maybe he could make an effort. Maybe he could confide in her about the girl in his dreams. It's not like he had anyone else to turn to on this ship. They were in the middle of space, the middle of nowhere, and he didn't have time to make friends.

He was too busy learning to be a Prince.
------

His leg was bouncing up and down from nervousness. He glanced up across the table to Tess, she looked up at him, and he looked down at his plate again. He could do this. He could talk to her. She was his mother after all, it's not like she would just brush him off.

"Um...M-mother?" he managed.

She looked up, surprised and eager. "Yes, Bastian?"

He fiddled with his silverware, not looking her in the eye. "Can...Can I talk to you?"

"Of course!" she enthused, her blue eyes beginning to sparkle, "What about?"

"Well, I've been going through some...um...changes lately."

"Changes?"

"You know," he gestured, blushing furiously, "In my body."

She stared blankly for a moment and then, "Oh."

"Yeah."

"Well it's normal, Bastian, in humans, when they reach puberty, and you are technically thirteen..." She trailed off, her eyes darkening.

He knew she thought it unfair, the way his growth process had been designed. She felt cheated of his childhood, and he supposed he felt slightly shafted at the situation too, but he also believed that he wouldn't have ever grown as close to her as she wanted, even if he had grown up naturally.

He felt sympathy stir within him. It must be hard to have a son only six years younger than herself and gaining quickly. Yeah, he had to start trying to include her in his life.

"Well, I've been having these...dreams-"

"Dreams?" she interrupted, becoming pink herself, "What kind of dreams?"

"Um, well, there's this...girl...in them, with me, and..." He couldn't go any further. His dreams were private, and for some reason, he wanted to keep his dream girl to himself.

"A girl? Anyone I know?" she teased, "Should I be giving you the 'talk'?" He knew she would push it, and he had vowed to try...

"Um, no, Mother, Kivar already talked to me about...that. And I don't think you know her." He felt a dreamy smile cross his lips. "She's like no one I've ever seen. She so small, and she's got this long brown hair and these eyes...They're huge, and so deep, I think I could drown in them."

"Really?" He looked over at her, surprised by her distant voice. She looked faint.

"It's when I'm older," he stammered, "Not now. I know, because I know what my body will be like then, it's like when I'm 18, 19..."

His dream was conjured up again. He could tell his body was more mature, he had grown into his full height, well muscled, powerful...And she was so tiny in his arms, yet she fit so perfectly. He could feel her body too, all soft and warm. Belonging to him.

Her name ran in circles around his brain, begging to be said...

"And does this mystery woman have a name?" Tess asked guardedly.

"Liz," he sighed, not realizing he had let it slip. When he had, he straightened and looked at his mother. He hadn't wanted to share that detail. He had wanted to keep it to himself.

She looked...stiff. That's all he got. Her face was a mask of unemotion, her eyes dark as death. Now she was the one drawing away, a reaction that thoroughly confused him. Wasn't she the one who wanted him to share?

"She doesn't exist."

"What?"

Her eyes were cold, and when she looked at him he knew she was seeing his father, her eyes so unforgiving. "She's not real, Bastian," she told him, "Forget your dreams and settle down with a nice Antarian girl when this war is over."

"Mother, I-"

"Bastian. I am your mother, and I know what's best for you. You have to believe me, sweetie," her voice softened, "Believing in a dream is only going to get you hurt. Your destiny lies elsewhere."

He didn't like where this conversation was headed. This talk of destiny uneased him. He was master of his own fate, not some pre-ordained babble she kept speaking of.

"Besides," she stated cruelly, "Even if she did exist she's probably no more than a tease. A heartless bitch who would keep you on a string until she wanted to toy with you again. She's probably-"

"NO!" he shouted, leaping up from his seat. He stared at his mother, and when he spoke his voice was strident and trembling with emotion. "No, Mother, you're wrong. Do not talk about her that way. She is not what you say, she is perfect. Perfect," he ended in a whisper. Then he left the room.

This was why he never talked to her. She didn't understand anything about him. No one on this damned ship did. He couldn't wait until they landed on Earth. Something was waiting for him down there.

Maybe someone.

Maybe her.

Rage again descended at the insults Tess had thrown at his dream girl. She had had no right. No right at all.

And right then and there, he began to hate his mother.
------

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:55 pm

*IV*

He glanced at his foster son through the corner of his eye. Bastian was surveying the provided entertainment with a bored air. He really couldn’t understand the boy.

He was sixteen, well endowed, and had every female on the ship, with the exception of his mother, fawning over him. And yet he showed no interest toward any of them. So he had taken the initiative. He had commanded the all ship’s noblewomen to meet in his parlor room to be reviewed

Now, parading around in front of them, were fifteen young women, ranging from a golden blond to white, buxom to sticks, and yet…Nothing. Not one raised eyebrow or look over. Absolutely no response.

He looked at Ava, who was watching Bastian anxiously, her eyes darting from the women to the young man reading and then back to him. She looked rather at a loss, but she had told him before to expect a lack of reaction on Bastian’s part.

“Bastian? Sweetie, do you like any of them?”

Bastian looked at her and then at the women and then buried his nose into his book. “No.”

“May I ask why not?” he inquired, very much interested. He didn’t see how any man with a pulse could overlook them. Especially the third one to the end…Reminded him of Vilandra…He’d have to make arrangements later…

“They are not what I want.”

“I’m not sure I understand.” He gestured the women away, much to their pouting dismay, and glanced at his consort. Ava was decidedly silent and shut off. This would prove interesting.

He found Bastian and Ava’s relationship disconcerting. He had not expected, by any turn of events, that the boy would end up despising his mother. He had expected to gain Bastian’s loyalty by using a boy’s loyalty to his mother and the man she loved, but in the end it had not been necessary to forge a fake relationship with Ava.

Bastian was loyal on his own.

“There is a specific person I have in mind for my mate, Kivar, I will accept no substitutes.”

“An interesting concept.”

He pondered this for a moment. The boy had some very strange ideas on relationships between people, behavior in war, knowledge one should learn. In fact, if he thought of about…

Bastian was very much like he remembered Zan.
------

He ran a hand along Ava’s smooth thigh. He had adjourned to her chambers after partaking in some of the ship’s more amusing entertainment. She always had a…willing, if not warm, welcome for him.

“You seem distressed, my Queen.”

“What would make you say that?” He watched her draw away from him, grabbing her nightgown and putting it on. He chuckled at her discomfort. She hated to be exposed in his presence.

“Tell me,” he commanded. Her gaze to him was from behind lowered lashes, a gaze he returned forthrightly, telling her he would accept no lies or half-truths. She sighed in defeat.

“It’s the girl that Bastian has sworn himself to.”

“What about her?”

“She’s Liz.”

“Liz who?”

“Liz Parker. Max’s one true love. His soulmate, his dream girl…his everything.”

He contemplated her bitterness, as well as the ramifications of this turn of events. The son was in love with the father’s love. Intriguing. It would, perhaps, help his cause if he fed this little notion of Bastian’s. It might provide an even bigger rift to the conflict he was encouraging between Bastian and Zan.

“Well I guess that human saying is true: Like father, like son.”
------

“But why do you want Max to know where we are?”

He looked at his young second, a sixteen-year-old boy. The husks were uncomfortable as it was, but to be stuck in one as immature as Nicholas was…Well, it had to be tough. Even Bastian was able to age.

He glanced over at the newly eighteen-year-old. He was definitely growing into his own, another month and he would be ready to face Zan.

“Zan wants his son back, Nicholas. He will come after him. The problem is that Zan’s response when he finds his son is loyal to me will be unpredictable. We need insurance. If he and his little rag tag band know where we are, they’re likely to check it out. I want you prepared for this. I want one of their number captured, preferably the brunette. I’m told she is very dear to Zan.”

Nicholas grinned, “Indeed, I have also been told some stories, and even seen it for myself. She will definitely reel Max in, more than any other.”

“Good. You may go.” The boy turned at the door.

“Would you care to have Lonnie sent to your chambers?”

“Ah, Vilandra. Yes, it would please me to get reacquainted with her.” Make him very pleased.

“I assumed so, but if you’d care for some advice, Kivar…The ice princess in Roswell will probably do it for you better. She’s more…what you’d remember.”

He nodded, he’d amuse himself with both until he decided on which would make a better queen. Of course, he’d have to get rid of Ava, but that was not a problem.

“Thank you for your input Nicholas. By the way…Rath. I’d like him disposed of.”

“Of course, your Majesty.”
------

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:56 pm

*V*

She was being torn in two. At least, that's what it felt like. This situation was completely out of control and she needed to get away.

She really, really needed to get away from him.

She loved Max. With all her heart, but he had betrayed her. He had slept with...that blond little gerbil, who had turned out to be her best friend's murderer as well as a Benedict Arnold.

And the worst part was...

He got her pregnant.

Pregnant with what should have been her son. Hers! Not...Tess's.

A shudder wracked her small body, she could barely even think that name without wanting to scream.

The slut had had the nerve to just waltz in and take everything she held dear. Her soulmate, her friend, her future.

And what would Future Max have to say about this little turn of events? Huh? She had no idea, just that that...thing...had become a turncoat more quickly in the other lifetime, probably because she had known she could never carry out her real mission.

To return home with Max's child and deliver the remaining Royal Four.

But she had changed all that.

Was she doomed to cause the end of the world in every lifetime?

Was that her destiny?

First it was because she and Max had cemented and Tess had left, now it was because Tess got together with Max, got pregnant, and then left.

She could blame the whole thing on Tess for being a traitor, but for some strange reason she let it all fall on her.

If she had told Max about Future Max, about the truth, about everything...sooner...maybe they could have worked this out.
------

"No. Absolutely not."

"Max-"

"I said no."

"This is ridiculous."

"You can't put yourself in danger, Liz. I won't allow it."

They were having this argument again. Ever since they had received word that Kivar had landed on Earth with Queen Ava and the Crown Prince to be met by a large group of angry, undestroyed Skins, they had been arguing over the best spying method.

The aliens pointed out that they should do it because they could protect themselves and they had the biggest stake in the matter. The humans counter pointed saying the three of them couldn't risk themselves, and Earth was at stake as well as their own lives.

Then these little side bickerings. Max insisted she stay far away from anything alien saying he wanted her safe. She said she was already too involved and if she did the reconnaissance, she would run the least amount of risk.

"How do you figure that?"

"Face it, Max, we haven't exactly been the closest this past year and a half. We've been keeping each other at an arms length trying to keep each other safe and to save the world...We're completely estranged. If you were Kivar who would you capture?"

"You."

"Max think about what I'm saying. You're a devious usurper who has just landed on Earth with barely any knowledge of your enemy's personal life except for...Tess," they both winced, "Who has no idea of what has happened while she's been away, and your faced with a choice. You know you're not going to get a chance at your real nemesis, so you have five people to potentially capture. His sister and your former lover, don't make that face, you're supposed to be thinking like Kivar, his best friend and second, a human who he confides in, another human who's away at football camp and who he doesn't trust anyway-"

"I trust Kyle," he interrupted.

She gave him a look. It was a look that said 'yeah right'. Max still was angry at Kyle for the deception even though he had forgiven her immediately and had begged for her forgiveness in return.

It had taken her awhile though, she finally knew what Max must have gone through when he thought she slept with Kyle. She understood a little bit what would have caused him to turn to Tess, because she had turned to Sean more and more. The knowledge that he had been with her...

It had nearly driven her insane.

They had finally sat down and talked about everything that had happened and reached an agreement. They would be friends.

Just friends.

"A sheriff who's half out of the loop, or the old flame who now seems like an acquaintance not a friend. Who would you pick?"

"Isabel."

"And if you don't send Isabel or any other close companion, just me, they won't believe that I have any leverage on your life and I'll be fine or I'll get captured and I'll be able to smuggle secret plans and stuff out."

"Or you could get killed."

"Max..." She was suddenly enfolded in his arms, a light kiss brushed across her lips. The just friends thing was having a little trouble succeeding due to the unrequited love factor.

"No. I'm not going to put you through anything else that could put you in danger. You've been through enough, Liz." He had taken the blame for losing his son, too. Maria said it just proved yet again who compatible they were.

"I want to help you get him back." She looked up at him earnestly, "He should be mine, Max, I need to do this."

He looked at her for a long moment, foreheads resting against each other.

"Fine."
------

She was leaving, starting on the surveillance and rescue mission. Michael was waiting impatiently in the new Jeep, Bob Jr., as Bob Sr. had been beyond help, to take her away.

"I love you," Max whispered, holding her tightly. She kissed him deeply, suddenly unwilling to leave the shelter of his arms. They hadn't even made their new relationship public yet, as evidenced by Maria's whooping.

She was drug away from him before she had a chance to respond and soon Michael was driving across the desert to the drop-off point.

She was alone now, and she had a job to do.

She had to save her son.
------

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:57 pm

*VI*

Some deep shit was going down in that cornball town. She could feel it. As far away as she was, she could feel it.

She’d have to go back.

It’s not like backpacking across Europe had been all that thrilling. She’d had to mind warp a lot of people to get around and had a constant headache to go along with the constant guilt and the pain in her heart.

She missed Zan.

She missed Liz.

The only two people on this hunk of rock that ever cared about her, one was dead, which was partly her fault, and one she had left behind, which was totally her fault.

That had been a mistake. She should have stayed in Roswell and maybe started to earn an honest living, but no…Miss Independent had to prove she could live on her own and booked herself overseas to the Continent. These people were messed up. Europe was such a bust.

She’d have to go back now. Someone was needing her, she could feel it.

It was a strange feeling, being needed. Before, she had always been the needy one. Needed Zan to shower her with love, needed Lonnie to live, needed Liz to be her friend, needed an escape from her problems.

But now she was going to have to be the adult. She was going to have to take care of someone.

She felt like somebody’s freakin’ mother.
------
Last edited by dreamangel on Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 1:57 pm

*VII*

She was definitely well and truly caught. Good. Phase One complete. She was in, now to get her and Max's son out...That might take a little doing.

She struggled against the two large guards holding her, it would be a good idea to put up a pretense of resistance, so they didn't suspect anything.

A door in front of them boomed open and she was unceremoniously thrown inside, the door began booming the other way.

Liz picked herself up and dusted herself off. Straightening, she finally deigned to glance around.

The first person she saw was Nicholas, the boy wannabe. He had dyed his hair blond. She suppressed a giggle at the sight. He looked ridiculous.

The next person she saw was somewhat of a shock to her. Isabel's eyes stared at her, filled with disgust. Lonnie sat back, her obviously expensive dress had had its sleeves torn off to reveal her foursquare tattoo, her piercings and general sewer rat look totally ruined the effect the pale pink fabric was trying to convey. Again laughter welled up in her, barely held in.

Then her eyes fell upon one bronze-haired man who she knew instantly to be Kivar. She felt an irrational stab of fear.

It was irrational because he seemed rather harmless. True, she knew he was responsible for the previous death of her love and was here to kill him again, but he just didn't look the type.

Standing, he would be taller than Max, but less built. He was more lean than muscular, and his presence just didn't command her attention. If she didn't know who he was, she would have overlooked him as a threat entirely.

That must have been the problem in the aliens’ previous lives, his unassumingness. Liz wondered idly why Vilandra and Isabel were always attracted to the underdog.

But Alex was gone, and Liz had to do her best to keep Izzy away from Kivar.

She met the gray gaze head on, refusing to back down, and he smiled. The smile of a predator. Stab.

"So this is Zan's lover?" His tone was light, musically mocking. She flinched at the sound.

"Yes." The answer came not from any of those facing her, but from behind her. Apparently the doors didn't always boom. It was an angry hiss, revealing depths upon depths of jealously and hate and rage. She knew that sugary sweet voice anywhere.

Tess approached Kivar slowly, her eyes never leaving the small, innocent looking girl standing in the middle of the parlor.

Liz Parker hadn't changed a bit in the nineteen months she had been away. She was still slim, still quiet, still Max's only one. Still worthless.

This was the girl responsible for taking away both her husband and her son.

This was the girl she hated.

Bottomless brown eyes met hers, as filled with animosity as her own. The tension in the air was thick and swirling with malice.

"No."

"No, what?" Kivar asked her.

"No, I am not Max's lover."

She wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the statement. Of course she was Max's lover. He wouldn't have gone a year and seven months without trying to win back his precious dream girl.

"Do not lie to me," Kivar warned her.

"Yo, Duke, peaches ain't scammin’ ya." All eyes turned to the trash sitting on the sofa, who was calmly peeling an orange. "I been watchin' da cornballs for months. She an' Maxie boy doan speak all dat much. They's nevah together, 'cept at school an' stuff."

"Well, that presents a slight problem doesn't it?" He reviewed his options. She really wasn't that valuable then. So, keep her as a whore, or kill her? Which would it be? Maybe he could give her to Bastian. Maybe the boy would actually take notice if the girl had once been his father's.

The doors boomed open again, the enteree obviously not concerned with stealth as Ava had been. Kivar found himself looking at his heir, who only seemed to have eyes only for the brunette.

Interesting.
------

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 2:03 pm

*VIII*

The summons had been an annoyance. He had climbed out of his room’s hatch and was sitting on the slight ledge of the ship outside his room. The cloaking device prevented anyone from seeing the ship, but it did not prevent occupants from looking out.

He had wanted to look at the stars.

He could see Antar from here, see his home, but it seemed like the sky was so much clearer out in this earthen desert. It seemed like he could see further, see more. The air was fresh and crisp, he took in deep breaths, filling his lungs.

He thought he might like this planet, maybe he could keep Kivar from destroying it.

Maybe his dream girl was near.

“Prince Bastian?”

He turned toward the timid voice. A scared-looking girl was peering out the hatch at him. She had large brown eyes and thick blond hair. Her attire proved her to be a servant, not a guard, and he assumed his mask of indifference again.

“Yes?” His voice was ice cold, provoking no pleasantries. He was supposed to be remote, inaccessible, emotionless. The girl winced.

“Kivar has ordered you to attend him in his parlor, your Highness.” Her voice, if possible, was even softer than the first time she had spoken, and she dropped into a curtsey as he came back into his room.

“I will be there presently.”

“Yes, Highness, I’ll go inform-”

“No,” he cut her off, “There is no need to inform Kivar, I will get there when I get there. You may go,” he dismissed.

“Yes, Highness,” she rose from her submissive position and fled toward the door, head still down.

“Wait,” he commanded and she froze. He really didn’t have the heart to let her leave terrified. “Look at me.”

Those huge eyes rose again, reminding him, with a start, of his dreamgirl’s. “What is your name?” he inquired.

“Kendy, your Highness,” she told him, finally meeting his eyes. She appeared to be trembling.

He gave her a soft smile. “Thank you for relaying the message Kendy.”

Her eyes widened and she clutched at her skirts, giving him a tremulous smile in return. “Good day, Prince Bastian.” And then she ran out of the room. He stared after her, slightly amused by her departure, and then when out the door himself, wondering what Kivar wanted him for.
------

Kendy ran breathlessly back to her cot in the servant’s wing, and flung her self upon it. The other girls sharing the room gathered around her in anticipation. They all wanted to know what the future King was like.

“Well?” Sidra prodded her friend.

“Well, what?” she responded.

“What was he like?” Raina wanted to know.

She looked around at the shining eager faces of her three friends, and was somewhat reluctant to speak. For some reason, that brief interlude of friendship with the Prince, was not something she wished to share.

“What happened?” Vala asked, “Did something happen?”

“Hush, all of you, and I’ll tell you.”

They hushed and waited for her to begin.

“At first, I was afraid. I went to his quarters as bidden and knocked once, twice, three times, and I got no answer. So I opened the door-"

Startled gasps interrupted her story. “You didn’t!” Vala gasped, “How did you dare?”

“Of course I did, I always follow orders. Anyway, his room is huge! And the bed…I’ve never seen anything like it…The room was obviously empty, or I wouldn’t have looked around, and I was going to leave to tell the head messenger that the Prince was not available, when what did I see?”

“What?” Raina asked.

“An open window.”

The girls all looked confused. Kendy was having a blast toying with them. She knew they just wanted to know about Prince Bastian, they had heard stories, but had never met him, and now they were on Earth and one of their own had been assigned his personal servant.

In most cases female servants were treated as whores by their ruling masters, but no one knew what to expect from his Highness. He was a man cloaked in mystery.

“A window?” they repeated dubiously.

She nodded. “An open window, so I went over to shut it and there he was. Sitting outside, just staring up at the sky.”

The memory was imprinted in her brain. Her first glimpse of her lord and master, of her Prince and future King. Her first glimpse had not revealed what she had expected from a Prince. She saw nothing of a coddled, arrogant, mean-spirited man.

She had seen a young man, just out of boyhood, his dark hair ruffled by the wind, blending with the night, his profile outlined by the moon, strong jaw and straight nose, and starlight reflecting in his eyes.

She had felt an overwhelming sense of awe for him.

“I called out to him and gave him the message and left,” she finished, ignoring the obvious letdown in her friends’ faces.

“Yes, yes, but what did he look like?” Sidra demanded.

“Well, he wasn’t very tall, but taller than me, and he had black hair and brown eyes.”

“Black hair?” Vala wrinkled her nose, “Who ever heard of such a thing?”

“Is that all you can tell us?” Raina spoke up.

“He seemed very cold, but then…I don’t know, I don’t think that’s who he is inside.”

They looked at her, puzzled by her cryptic response, but she added no more and they had kitchen duties to attend to.

Kendy lay down, hugging her pillow tightly to her, confused herself about Bastian. In all her seventeen years, she’d never experienced the rush she had got when she looked into his amber eyes and saw his quirking half-smile.

He was going to be something special.
------

Liz couldn’t believe her eyes. Max was standing in front of her. A tightly, leather-clad Max. Very nice. But a little too Future Max for her.

“Ah, Bastian, you took long enough.”

Bastian? Who was he talking to? Certainly not Max. And what was Max doing here in the first place? He could be killed!

“So sorry, Kivar,” Max said, not taking his eyes off of her. The expression in them was strange, as if he were just seeing her in the flesh for the first time.

“Well, yes, allow me to introduce you to Ms. Liz Parker of Roswell, New Mexico. Liz this is the Crown Prince Bastian, Zan’s son.”

Zan’s son? Max’s son.

This was Max’s son.

Oh God, this was Max’s son!

But he was so old! Okay, not old old, but older than one-and-a-half. Like eighteen years older.

And he looked exactly like Max.
------

He couldn’t tear his eyes off the young woman in front him. It was his dream girl, his Liz. Flesh and blood before him.

He had found her.

She was looking at him, big brown eyes wide, full of surprise mixed with a shocked amazement and disbelief.

He had finally found her.

“Bastian!” The sharp tone of Kivar’s voice was ordering him to face his King, so he did. It took a lot of effort, but he managed to look away from his fantasy toward Kivar.

“What?” His stonewall was up again and he hoped he hadn’t betrayed too much in that timeless instant of connection.

“We’ve been trying to decide what to do with the girl. The debate is between killing her,” he felt his heart stop, “or keeping her.” He stared at Kivar from behind hidden eyes, not liking the speculative gleam in his gray eyes as he looked at Liz. Neither option was viable. “Of course…” Kivar trailed off, smirking.

“Of course, what?”

“You could always take her.”

He could have her. Kivar was giving him his dream girl. The thought was daunting and exhilarating and just…WOW.

He saw his mother jump out of her chair through the corner of his eye, her obvious protest cut off when Nicholas shoved her back down.

“Very well,” he looked back over at her, trying very hard to keep his eyes unreadable as he looked at her, “I’ll take her.”

He didn’t see Kivar’s smile widen he was so focused on her. Or the way her facial expressions were changing rapidly, she was looking around, confused and lost, then her eyes fixed on his. Asking a question. One he couldn’t answer at the moment.

“Guards!” Kivar roared, and immediately the door boomed open and in marched two large, intimidating men, they grabbed Liz roughly by the arms, and Bastian wanted to cry out against their harshness in dealing with such a delicate being. “Take the girl to his Highnesses’ chambers.”

Her eyes widened, gazing at him imploringly, and he let his mask fade for a second, giving her a slight smile as reassurance. She relaxed instantly and went with the guards without another struggle. He watched her go and then turned back to the people who ran his life.

Three of them were watching him knowingly, and the fourth had an expression of dread in her bright blue eyes. “Bastian,” she begged, “don’t do-”

“Thank you for your gift, Kivar. Good night Mother, Aunt Vilandra.”

“’Night Duke. Jus’ ‘member, yous da man. Show peaches who’s da King.”
------

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 2:04 pm

*IX*

Okay, yes, he was nervous. He was incredibly, incredibly nervous. But who wouldn't be in this type of situation?

He was about to walk into his bedroom, in which, his dream girl had been brought, in who knows what state, waiting for him. The thought was enough to send him soaring into the atmosphere.

He took a deep breath and opened the door slowly, afraid this would be another dream.

But it wasn’t.

She was sitting in the middle of his bed with her legs curled up beneath her, apparently studying her dress. She looked up when she heard the door close and gave him a sheepish smile.

“They gave me new clothes,” she told him.

“Um…yeah.” Why couldn’t he talk?

She was staring at him strangely, and as thrilled as he was with the attention, he wasn’t sure what the look was about.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said, wondering if that was the reason for the question behind her eyes. Her expression turned to one of surprise and she gave a little laugh.

“I never suggested you would.”

“You were looking at me funny,” he explained, blushing.

“You surprised me,” her brown eyes clouded over, “You look a lot like your father. Exactly like him, in fact.”

She knew his father, he had never considered that. “Tess says that, too.” He watched her carefully, trying to capture every motion and emotion of her, so he didn’t miss her wince at his mother’s name.

“Tess? You don’t call her Mom?” She sounded intrigued with the prospect. Yet another thing to wonder about her.

“I do when I’m with her, but she’s never actually seemed like my mother.” He shouldn’t be telling her these things, but he couldn’t help it, she was so easy to talk to, and she was his dream girl. He could tell her anything.

She was nodding, expression sympathetic. “I don’t really get along all that well with my mother, either. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love her, and I know she loves me, but...She’s always trying to run my life.”

“Yeah, Tess is always talking about destiny and stuff. She doesn’t understand it when I don’t want to do everything she and Kivar want me to do.” He walked over to the bed and she scooted over to make room, her legs swinging off the bed as he sat. She had really cute feet.

“What destiny does she have in store for you?” Liz was curious. Did Tess ever think about anything except destiny?

Bastian crossed his legs, looking at her as if he weren’t quite certain she were real. She figured he didn’t have a whole lot of people he could really talk to.

“You can trust me, you know, I won’t breathe a word to anyone.”

“I know,” and, because he had to ask, “How do you know you can trust me?” She blinked, as if she had never had a question about trusting him. He found it daunting. The people around him were always looking at him as if he had a hidden agenda, or as if he couldn’t live up to expectations.

“I don’t know. Maybe because you are so much like Max.”

This was a new topic, she knew his father. His father as he was now, not the Prince in the history books. “What’s he like?”

“Max?” He nodded. “Max is Max.” She wrinkled her nose. “Sorry, that probably made no sense to you. Um…He’s very…there. He’s hard to describe. He’s the person everybody listens to, who everybody looks up to, he’s our leader, and then there’s the little boy inside he doesn’t show to most people.”

Bastian leaned back on his pillows, his eyes never leaving her animated face. She was so beautiful.

“He can be very insecure sometimes, very protective, and he always demands unswerving loyalty. He’s the sweetest guy in the universe or your worst nightmare.” Liz smiled to herself, remembering the past three years she’d been in Max’s confidence, “He’s a king. You can’t look at him and NOT know it.” She glanced at the young man on the bed, appearing so much like his father that she reached over and brushed the dark hair away from his forehead.

“You have that same air about you, Bastian. When I look in your eyes…I know I can trust you, with my life if necessary.”

She was touching him.

She was actually touching him, and her skin was really soft.

He opened his mouth, wanting to tell her about his dreams, about his feelings, about everything that ever happened in his short life…

Knock. Knock.
------

“Prince Bastian?” she called through the door. She smoothed down her dress feeling jittery. She had put on her best outfit, hoping to gain a compliment or something from the Prince.

She wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted from Bastian, but as soon as she got it, she’d be the happiest seventeen-year-old in the galaxy.

He was just so…different…from everything and everyone she’d ever known.

The door opened and suddenly she was confronted by her dark Prince. She felt her eyes widen and she accidentally met him stare for stare before remembering her inferior status and bowing her head. She curtseyed properly, trying to remember what she was supposed to do.

“Good afternoon, your Highness.” Lame, lame, lame, she berated herself.

“Good afternoon.” The blond head was still bent. She seemed frightened of him. “Kendy,” he started, as her name popped up in the forefront of his mind, “what are you doing here?”

He remembered her name! “I came to clean your rooms, and to see if you needed anything else.” She finally looked up, but not at him, at his bedroom.

Who was that girl???

Kendy felt a stab of something twist in her heart. It wasn’t jealousy. There was no reason to be jealous of a girl in Bastian’s room. On Bastian’s bed…

She was…suspicious. Yeah, that was it, suspicious. The girl had brown hair, obviously not an Antarian, but her dress was of a Lady’s quality, but the only ladies on board ship were Queen Ava and Princess Vilandra. So who was this?

“Hello,” the girl said. She got off the bed and walked over to them, long skirts brushing the floor. “I’m Liz,” she held out her hand, which Kendy looked at, not sure what was going on. Liz dropped her hand, smiling nervously. “Are you Bastian’s girlfriend?”

The Prince choked and she, herself, was no doubt turning red from the scandalous suggestion, she could feel the heat. Liz looked between them, confused.

“NO!” Kendy finally got out, nearly shouting. She took a deep breath and lowered her tone. “I am merely Prince Bastian’s personal servant, Liz.” She refused to call her Lady.

Liz frowned. “You have…servants?” she asked Bastian, though he looked confused himself.

“I didn’t know I had one.”

The small blond seemed surprised. “Kivar ordered it when you got you own room, Highness. I am to take care of any needs you have.”

“Oh.” Bastian belatedly recalled the information about how lords had been using their female servants as sex slaves, Kivar had probably been hoping he would take up the practice. He gazed down at the tiny blushing girl who was avoiding his eyes.

The girl was pretty, definitely his type when he though about it, and if Liz hadn’t been a factor… but Liz was here and Kendy was very much an innocent.

“Well, I don’t have any…um…needs…right now, at this moment, so…you can have the day off.”

Velvety brown eyes blinked up at him. “As you wish, your Highness.” She curtseyed again, gave Liz a once over, and left.
------

“They are all afraid of me,” he said as he shut the door.

“Who?”

“Everybody.” He made a wide, all-encompassing gesture with his arms as he flopped down on a lounge chair. Her eyes followed him from where she stood at the doorway.

“Why?”

“Because they’re supposed to be, because I act like a self-absorbed superior jerk in public.”

“Why?” she repeated.

“Because I'm supposed to.” He gave her a quirky grin. “That’s part of the big “destiny”. Be alone, be aloof, be King. I’ve been taught since my birth to hate everything my father was and is, to be opposite him in everything, to want to possess everything that is his.”

He met her gaze head on, judging her reaction. She was still watching him, an eyebrow raised.

“Do you?”

“No.” He laughed a bit, “In fact, the older I get, the more like my father I become.”
------

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Post by dreamangel » Sat Apr 19, 2003 2:05 pm

*X*

Okay, this was what she wanted. “How old are you?” she asked.

“Nineteen,” was the precise reply. She stared at him, doing the math in her head. Year and seven months…nineteen…didn’t add up.

“Is time different on your planet?” she queried, confused, “Because Tess hasn’t been gone nineteen years.”

Bastian gave a little laugh and shook his head. “No. Antar’s time frame is the same as Earth’s. When I was born, Kivar had some scientists do some genetic engineering on me. He had them change my growth process. I’d age, like, a year every month until I reached nineteen, which I am now. He wanted me ready to go to war as soon as possible. He’s not a very patient man.”

“Fascinating,” Liz murmured, engrossed in trying to discover the means of such technology. Bastian watched her face, unable to stop his wonder at the emotions playing over it. To be free enough to let your feelings show like that… “Fascinating concept. Do you know how it works?” She looked up abruptly and Bastian looked down, blushing, ashamed to have been caught staring.

“Um…No. Science wasn’t one of my main subjects. I know the basics, but Kivar focused my education more on history and politics…war stuff.”

“Oh.”

They stared at each other. Bastian wanting to kiss her and Liz wanting to find a way to let him know about her and Max and how he was supposed to be her son.
------

“I just don’t like not being able to connect with her, Isabel.”

“Max, Liz is more than capable of handling the mission. We know she got in, you know she’s alive, and you know she’ll get herself and my nephew out. Now calm down before I hit you.”

He glared at his older sister before giving her a grin he hoped would reassure her that he was all right. She wasn’t fooled, but she left anyway, giving him a hug and kiss on the cheek on her way out.

Max scrubbed his face with his hands, not able to calm his nerves. Isabel was right, he knew Liz was alive and okay, he could feel it in her presence. It was a light, tingly hum through his bones.

The problem was, they couldn’t deepen the connection between them without help. Liz wasn’t likely to get much help where she was and therefore, he didn’t know what was exactly going on and he couldn’t get any information on Kivar’s plans.
------

“So you want me to help you contact Max?”

Liz nodded, “That’s about it.”

He just gaped at her. “How?” he demanded.

She smiled at him, making his insides turn upside down. “We make a connection-”

“Wait…A connection, like see each other’s thought and feel each other’s emotions kind of connection?” He couldn’t do that. What if she saw..? He couldn’t handle that, not right now, he wanted time, needed time…

“Well, yeah.” Then it looked like she had an epiphany. “Oh. Can you not do that? I mean, is it not one of your powers?”

“I can’t…” He trailed off, not looking at her. If she saw his eyes she’d know he was lying. Connections…healing…they were his main powers. But he couldn’t do it, not now, not with her.

He was afraid of what he might be inside.

She was frowning, biting her lip in the most adorable way… He had to get out of here. He’d give in if he stayed…She was too irresistible.

“I need to find some way to get through to Max. He needs to know what’s going on.”

“I’m sorry I can’t help.”

She gave him a startled look, as if she had forgotten he was in the room, but then she smiled gently and patted his hand. Making the pang in his heart disappear. “It’s okay, not your fault. It's just been a week since...He’ll just be worried. We have to-”

“I have to go,” he interrupted, “I have training.” He walked quickly to the door. “You can stay here or maybe Kivar will let you wander around…But I have to go, I’ll try and find some way to help, but…Not now.”

Liz watched him go, heard him stutter over the excuse, watched the blush spread across his cheeks.

He was just as bad as Max at lying.
------

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