Prodigal Son (M/L M/M MATURE) Complete

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Prodigal Son (M/L M/M MATURE) Complete

Post by max and liz believer » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:56 am

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Title: Prodigal Son

Author:
Josephin

Category: M/L and M/M

Rating: MATURE

Disclaimer: These stories are works of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The characters of Roswell belong to is founder - Jason Katims, Twentieth Century Fox Corporation, Regency Entertainment, and Monarchy B.V.

Summary: Following the alteration to Liz and Maria’s memory, the I-know-an-Alien-Club is forced to live with the consequences and adjust to a life where pretending that two of their friends are strangers becomes reality.

Author’s note: This is the companion piece to Mnemosyne’s Daughter, which I suggest you read if you haven’t since it will paint the picture more thoroughly than reading this story alone. Just like Mnemosyne’s Daughter, I plan to keep this story short.

Thank you’s: Elizabeth, you are my star. Thank you for your excellent editing! Kath, thank you so much for all your help and for coming up with the title!

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

One

The blood rushes to Max’s cheek as he presses his hand against the redness. He looks up at his best friend, his brother, and watches how he paces the floor; his movements are wild and angry. Raw.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Michael grumbles but it’s a roar in Max’s ears.

Max’s tongue sneaks out and he licks the inside of his bottom lip, tasting the metallic tinge of blood. Not really knowing what to expect, but unable to prevent himself from looking, Max looks over at his sister. She’s standing in the corner, darkness surrounding her to a degree that makes it impossible for him to decipher her facial features. Her uncharacteristic silence is making him sad and irritated at the same time.

“Why are you so pissed about this? There’s no winning with you people is there? Have you forgotten how you angry you were with me for healing Liz. I’ve just…I took it back.”

It sounds ridiculous even to his own ears. Sure, Michael and Isabel hadn’t really brought out the welcome wagon when he healed Liz two years earlier, but during those two years, their new humans friends fought alongside them. They protected their otherwordly friends and were loyal in more ways than could be asked from them.

Even though Max hadn’t taken a recent survey of Michael and Isabel’s opinions about the humans’ involvement in the Alien Abyss, he knows that they have grown close. They have accepted that none of them, Liz, Maria, Kyle or… Alex would betray them.

“You fucking bast-“

As Michael looms over him, pulls his fist back and Max prepares himself for another hit, Isabel steps in between.

“No, Michael. He’s not worth it.”

Max swallows, keeping his eyes closed as the feelings of betrayal wash over him more acutely than before. His betrayal.

“He did it to Maria, Is. He did it to Maria.”

Max opens his eyes and looks at Michael and realizes, on a completely different level, the vast ramifications of what he has done. Because this time it wasn’t just Liz. This time he didn’t just change Liz’s life. This time he changed Maria’s as well. And looking at Michael’s dark face and Isabel’s red teary eyes, he is acutely aware of that he has changed Michael and Isabel’s lives as well.

And even though he irrevocably changed their lives that day in September 1999, this time he fears that it is not for the better.

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

Two hours earlier

He feels weird and out of place as he knocks softly on her window. She steps up to the window, her hair wet from a recent shower. Through the windowpane he can see her breath hitch and the tears form in her eyes as her hand moves up to cover her mouth. She stares at him through the window for a couple of seconds with tears accumulating. By the time she bends down and slides the window upwards the tears are falling down her cheeks.

“Max,” she states, trying to be casual while her voice is drowning in sobs. She steps out of the way and lets him in.

“Hey Maria,” he answers softly, nervous about her reaction. From Liz he got the impression that Maria wanted this, but her present reaction makes him doubt his visit.

“She did it, didn’t she?” Maria asks

Watching her closely, Max nods.

She nods slowly, while her bottom lip starts to tremble.

He reaches out his hand to touch her bare arm, but guiltily retracts it as she recoils from the gesture. “Maria… Do you know why I’m here? Liz told me-“

“I didn’t think she would do it,” Maria whispers brokenly. She stares off into the wall and repeats. “I didn’t think she would do it. I mean…” Deep, shuddering breath. “She seemed really sad. She was really upset. Like, really upset. And I thought… I thought that since she hasn’t really been sad about Alex’s…Alex’s death. I thought this was just a phase or something.”

She heavily sinks down on her bed as if all the air suddenly leaves her. She looks up at him, shaking her head in disbelief as she says, “I should’ve known that you would do it. I should’ve known. You could never say ‘no’ to her. You were always eager to protect her, even if it meant that she would not be part of the I-know-an-alien-club any longer.”

He opens his mouth to protest, but she ignores him as she continues. “But I thought… You being an – excuse my bluntness – self-centered bastard these last couple of weeks, that you wouldn’t reach out a helping hand to the person you were at war against.”

He lowers his eyes to the floor, knowing that what she is saying is true. He opens his mouth to say something, anything, but Maria isn’t finished.

“I just agreed because she was so upset. You should’ve seen her, Max. I’ve never seen her like that. When I was talking to her I got this image in my head of us standing on the edge of a cliff. She was ready to jump. She had given up.” Maria sobs brokenly and Max takes a hesitant step closer to her, but she waves him off. “This is Liz Parker we’re talking about. She’s the last person on earth to give up. She fights. She’s one of those fighters.” Her lips are tight now as her sadness quickly turns into anger and Max gets to first-hand witness why Maria has a nickname comparing her to a weather catastrophe. “And you just jumped off the cliff with her.”

“Maria, I-“

She looks up at him, eyes burning and he finds himself taking a step backwards. At that moment he feels very much like a human teenager and not like the powerful alien king of an alien planet.

“And now you’re here to fulfill the other part of her request.”

Slightly intimidated to open his mouth again, he nods dumbly.

She opens her mouth to fling out another line of anger, but stops at the last second, staring at the wall behind him. To Max’s amazement, a smile creeps onto her face, but it’s not a happy one. Far from it.

She laughs, the laugh dripping with bitterness. “I’ve always admired her for her intelligence, you know. How she can just link things together, things that seemed highly unrelated at the time, at the blink of an eye. And all those ideas she has… Her mind is always working. I was impressed by it.”

She looks back at Max, the smile faltering and somberness taking charge. “I guess I’m a bit surprised that one of her ideas would one day lead to disaster.”

As she falls silent, Max sits down next to her and for a long time they stare at the wall in silence, shoulder against shoulder. Maria breaks the silence, looking over at his profile. “So, she’s really gone, isn’t she?”

He bends his head and nods. Maria looks at him, amazed that his love for her best friend never really died. “God, she really did a number on you, didn’t she?”

His head snaps in her direction and she smiles at him softly, remembering with sharpness how she used to fill him in on as much as she could, without breaking girlfriend confidentiality, when Liz went to her aunt in Florida that summer after the aliens found out about their true purpose on earth.

“Cool it,” she says softly. “It was meant as a joke – or something. She didn’t use you, Max. She just didn’t see any other way out… Did she tell you about the…uhm…other you?”

Max nods and Maria gauges his reaction. She knows how terrified Liz had been of telling him. How afraid she had been of his reaction.

“She didn’t tell me much,” Max says and just because he really needs to know he asks, “How long have you known?”

“She told me a couple of weeks after it happened,” Maria says truthfully and she sees the hurt flash in his eyes. It’s painful to learn that you were left out of the loop.

Maria abruptly stands and walks over to her desk, picking up a book, covered in brown leather. “She…uhm…she wanted you to have this.”
She puts the book across his lap and he stares at it, knowing exactly what it is. Liz’s journal.

“She said it might explain why she did what she did. Believe me, I would love to know as well, but I guess it won’t matter since I’m gonna forget soon anyway. Besides, seeing her earlier was enough to convince me.”

“You know, you can just… pretend,” Max halters. If Maria is having doubts about going through with this, he will give her all options at compromise he can find. “You would still be best friends and you would just make up a story about how you met Michael and you could-“

Maria looks at him sadly. “Max, please.” She sighs. “Don’t, okay?”

She lets her fingers run over the cover of the diary. Everything Liz has experienced the last two years, everything that has happened in her life since she was healed by an alien king, is in there. That book is the sole keeper of those memories. Well, except Max of course. Maria looks up at Max, curious of how much of Liz’s memories Max’s saw. Probably most of them, since he had to change them.

“Max, if you were in her mind, didn’t you see the whole Future Max incident for yourself then?”

He shakes his head. “No… I saw the beginning of the memory and I removed it completely. The memories that were not vital to the timeline or to you or Alex, I just removed. The memories that somehow involved you or Alex and that were somehow alien-related, I…tweaked.”

“That’s an interesting word…tweaked.”

Her friend’s mind had been tweaked and now hers was going to be tweaked as well.

“Are you sure about this, Maria?” Max asks.

“I can’t leave Liz alone,” Maria answers. “She’s my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were old enough to talk. I couldn’t live with lying to her face everyday. A secret as big as aliens walking among us; I couldn’t lie about that. I would eventually crack and all of this would be for nothing. Don’t worry about me, Maria. I’m a big girl. I need to go with Liz.”

The question is out of his mouth before he is able to stop it. “What about Michael?”

Maria turns her head away at this and as he watches the back of her head, he recognizes the trembles of her shoulders for what they are.

Barely restrained grief.

When she turns back to him, there’s something in her eyes that doesn’t correspond to the words coming out of her mouth, but he doesn’t call her on it. “I’ve made my choice.” She threads frustrated hands through her hair and mumbles under her breath, mostly to herself, “God…why can it never be easy with you people?”

He takes a deep breath. “Okay… Whenever you’re ready.”

She nods and looks him worriedly in the eyes. “Will it hurt?”

He shakes his head and she inhales nervously. “God, this is just… God…”

He pulls her into his arms then and she gratefully wraps her arms around him, returning the hug. “You don’t have to do it.”

She pulls away, laughing as she wipes tears off her cheeks. “Would you stop saying that? I’m gonna cave.”

“Sorry,” he whispers.

She takes another deep breath and pushes the hair away from her face, straightening her back and looks him straight in the eyes. Trying to exude confidence, but her trembling body is giving her away. “I’m ready.”

“Okay,” he nods and gives her a small smile in attempt to make her more comfortable.

He turns more fully towards her and gently cradles her face in his, as he did to Liz that night at the Crashdown when he needed to prove to her that he was still the same guy she had always known.

She sniffles and closes her eyes. Just before he closes his eyes to make the connection, hers flutter open and she whispers six words that make Max feel like the biggest scum on earth. “Tell Michael that I love him.”

Unable to speak because of the suddenly clogged up throat, Max nods. With the powers he has hated his whole life, cherished only on the day the girl he was secretly in love with teetered on the brink of death, he terminates Maria’s membership to the Alien Abyss.


TBC...
Last edited by max and liz believer on Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:27 am, edited 12 times in total.
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Post by max and liz believer » Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:20 am

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Thank you so much for the feedback and all the analyses!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!


Two

His eyes follow her as she walks away from the table. It is with sadness and regret that he watches his former girlfriend talk to Maria behind the counter. They are not laughing like they used to do while working. Because even if Max successfully removed their memories of alien hunts and paranoia, Alex is still dead.

He falters when he encounters the memories involving Alex. Going through Liz’s mind is like going through a well-organized filing system, which doesn’t surprise him considering Liz’s highly structured personality. Memories are categorized according to events, places or people.

Her grief slams into him so strongly he has to hitch for his breath. But there is something else there, something stronger.

Guilt.

Liz blames herself for Alex’s death. Not only for pushing him into the Abyss by asking for his blood that day Max ended up in the hospital, but for letting him in at all, and especially for altering the timeline. If the other version of Max had not gotten Liz to change the future, the world would’ve ended with them all dying. But with the future changed, Alex died.

And Liz feels every bit responsible.

Having already disintegrated the memory of the long-haired version of himself, he removes all painful and lonely memories of Liz desperately trying to find the truth behind Alex’s death. Having to remove every single memory concerned with Alex’s death, Max is forced to go through them one by one. He never knew. He never knew how much she was suffering when he turned his back on her.


Max hears the door bell chime and looks up to see Michael walk into the Crashdown. Michael really tried to get out of working his shift today not wanting to deal with the reality Max had created.

There is something about the silent explosive energy surrounding Michael this morning that makes apprehension trickle down Max’s back and makes him stand from his booth. Michael reaches the counter at the same time as Max and Max observes how Liz turns around, giving Michael a small smile.

Before Max can intercept she speaks, “Hi Michael.”

“Whatever,” Michael murmurs and Liz’s face falls in barely surprised confusion.

Because it’s not Michael’s words that cause that look of hurt bewilderment. Michael is known for his one-worded blunt replies. No, it’s the tone. Ice cold with a teaspoon of acidic anger.

Max steps in. “Michael, I need to talk to you.”

“I’m late for work, Maxwell,” Michael snaps.

Max grabs Michael’s arm tightly. “One minute more doesn’t matter then.”

He turns to Liz and says, as neutral as possible, “Liz, excuse us.”

Michael might be taller than Max, but Max is definitely stronger and he more or less drags Michael over to the corner of straws and napkins.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?!” Michael bites. “You don’t think you’ve messed up my life enough?! Now you want to get me fired as well?!”

“You can’t treat Liz like that,” Max says.

Michael’s eyes are dark as he stares Max down. “Why not? I consider that nice. You don’t want to know what I really wanted to tell her-“

“You can’t treat her like that because she doesn’t remember,” Max says, his voice lower to not be overheard by interested ears, but not lacking in intensity.

“Then who should I blame, Max? You?! Yes, that actually makes sense. You might think that you did what you did out of love for Liz, but the truth is you did it to soothe your own guilt about pulling her into all of this to start with. You just needed a reason and Liz gladly gave it to you.”

Ignoring Michael’s last words, Max says, “Yes, blame me. Leave Liz out of it. Do you really think that you are going to feel any better after yelling at a person who doesn’t have a fucking clue what you’re going on about?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Michael says sarcastically. “I guess I haven’t made myself clear. You actually think I give a damn about what Liz does or doesn’t know?”

Max’s fists tighten in response and he forces himself to take deep breaths to stop the anger from erupting and making a bad situation worse.

“Alright, I messed up,” Max says, tone of voice dangerously low. “Is that what you want to hear? I messed up royally by not consulting with you first. And maybe Liz’s decision wasn’t the best one, but it has been done and we have to deal with it.”

Michael stares at him. “No, Max. You have to deal with it. I’m not going to go on with this pretend parade just so that Liz’s plan will work even better. I’m not sure, but I think that would make me an accomplice.”

Michael turns to walk away and Max catches his arm intent on stopping him and informing him of just how important it is that Michael doesn’t reveal anything. But Max stills as he finds himself watching the scene that has Michael frozen in his spot.

Maria, breezing past completely unaware of the emotions drowning Michael’s pounding heart.

She sighs loudly when she sees him, throwing her hands up in the air in exasperation. “Michael! What’s wrong with you? I thought you hadn’t arrived yet.” She grabs a hold of Michael’s arm and unceremoniously pulls him out of Max’s grip. “And here you’re standing chatting away your work time with Max. Get your ass into the kitchen. The masses are demanding alien-themed, greasy food and by God, it’s our job to serve it to them.” She halts in her rant, the far-off look on her face having both Max and Michael staring at her.

“Whoa,” she says. “Biggest déja-vu there.”

The men watch her, Max worriedly and Michael hopefully, as she rakes her mind for a memory that has been removed. She shrugs and Max breathes a sigh of relief.

Frowning, she pulls on Michael’s arm. “What are you waiting for? And what is up with your hair? Didn’t you use to have those weird spikes?”

In his efforts at creating new memories and knitting together old ones to a seamless fit, Max had forgotten about a woman’s tendency to remember something like hairstyle. As he watches Maria pull Michael into the kitchen, admonishing him for being stupidly quiet, he remembers that the day Michael decided to wear his hair combed down instead of spiked up, Maria and Michael had a big argument about Liz running away from Roswell to go to her aunt, involving every aspect of the alien club possible. So Max had removed the whole day and obviously all the regular comments, like “Oh, you changed your hair!” and “Did you do something to your hair?” were erased as well.

With Michael’s back facing Max, Max is oblivious to the expression that might be present on Michael’s face but completely exposed to the frustration on Maria’s. “What’s wrong with you? Cat got your tongue?”

Max imagines Michael’s empty expression, his staring eyes and his slightly open mouth. An expression Maria doesn’t remember ever seeing on Michael’s face and which confuses her to the brink of frustrated anger.
Max discreetly shoves Michael in the back, pushing Michael out of whatever dream world that had him entrapped.

“Max, does she ever stop PMS-ing?” Michael asks, his back still towards Max.

Maria’s face falls, but only for a nanosecond before she recovers and smiles in dangerous sweetness. “Michael Guerin, get your ass in the kitchen now or I’ll make sure that they’ll get you fired.”

“Whatever,” Michael says softly, the warmness of his voice in such stark contrast to his casual word that Maria’s threatening look immediately dissipates and she follows his retreating figure until he has disappeared into the backroom.

She shuffles her eyes back to Max and looks up at him questioningly. “What’s wrong with him?”

Max diverts his eyes, staring into the floor where his feet are scuffing back and forth. “What do you mean?”

He resists the tremble in her voice and keeps his eyes glued to the floor as she answers, “He’s different. It’s like…”

Her voice trails off and when she doesn’t continue, Max looks up. “It’s like what?”

She looks him straight in the eyes, “It’s like… No, it’s stupid.”

Max reaches out and touches her arm in a natural act of encouragement, but at the touch Maria pulls away, looking at him strangely. He withdraws his hand, realizing that he’s not allowed to do that anymore. Maria doesn’t know how close they used to be.

“I’m sure it’s not stupid,” he says.

She smiles weakly and shakes her head. “I need to get back to work. Nice seeing you, Max.”

Before he can protest she walks up to the counter and grabs an ordering pad.

“Max? You okay?”

He swallows, recognizing that voice a little too well, and turns to face concerned dark brown eyes. “I’m fine.”

Her smile is hesitant and she nods, “Okay. Did you want to order something?”

“No…” he clears his throat. “I think I’m just gonna head home.”

She must find it strange that he would come into the Crashdown, spend ten minutes there and then leave without putting in an order but he can’t stay here. He feels like he’s suffocating.

“Okay,” Liz says softly. “See you in school.”

He nods. “Yeah…see ya.”

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

Four years later

She stands on his doorstep, looking small and lost in his large jacket. He walks over to the kitchen counter and flicks on a small lamp, which casts a soft yellow light over the apartment. When he turns around and sees her hesitation, he steps up to her, asking gently, “You okay?”

She nods, but her eyes are everywhere but on his face.

“Do you want something to drink?”

“Uhm…”

She looks hesitant, her eyes flicking over the room. He used to be able to read her expressions to figure out what she was thinking. But he can’t anymore.

“I have water, juice, coffee, tea-“

“Tea would be nice,” she answers.

He nods. “Tea it is.”

He watches her out of the corner of his eye as she walks further into the room, carefully closing the door behind her.

“You have a nice place,” she voices.

“Thanks,” he says. “I didn’t feel like living on campus and a friend told me about this place.”

“Okay,” she says, barely audibly.

“Take a seat,” Max says when she stops next to the couch, twisting her fingers uncomfortably.

“Thanks,” she says softly and sinks down in the couch.

The thunderous sound of the boiling water from the kettle fills the room and as the light goes out on the white electronic machine, Max fills the cups with the steaming liquid. He puts teabags into the cups and takes a deep breath as he realizes that his hands are shaking.

“Isabel?”

Max puts the cups onto the wooden table in front of the couch and looks at her questioningly. Her eyes are on the photo frame next to the couch.

“Yeah,” he answers.

It is a photo of Jesse and Isabel six months ago, standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

“She looks different,” Liz muses.

“She cut and colored her hair,” Max explains and sits down next to Liz, careful about leaving some space in between them.

I want to remember had been her words just ten minutes ago, but to her he is still her old lab partner. He doesn’t really know what made her want to remember. What had changed? From their previous conversations he realized that she had started to remember some things, but how much and what?

Her question violently rips him out of his reverie and throws him back in time, to a time when things were still simple but about to become complicated. “Max, what are you?”

He swallows. “What do you mean?”

Compared to the flickering gaze before, her eyes are now fixed on his face; demanding answers in much the same way that she was demanding answers the day after the shooting.

“I know that my dreams were not just dreams. I know that somehow you healed me from that gunshot.”

He reaches for the tea cup and shakes his head to himself for the words he’s about to speak. “Well, I’m not from around here.”

She nods, biting her bottom lip. “Where are you from?”

With her words a frown develops on her forehead and Max suspects that not only he feels the déja vu this time.

“Liz, I’m from another planet.”

The corners of her mouth twitch as if she is about to smile, but her eyes reflect fear and she too picks up her tea cup. He watches as her hands envelop the cup and he wonders why she doesn’t burn herself. Maybe she just doesn’t realize that it’s hot, her mind on other things.

“You’re an alien.”

It’s more of a statement than a question but he nods an affirmative anyway.

“I know I should be screaming and running out of here or just laugh at you, but I know it’s true.”

He waits for her to continue as her eyes scan the apartment.

“We were together.”

“Yes.”

“I loved you,” she whispers, still not looking at him.

It’s difficult to breathe and he puts the cup away. His voice is strangled when he answers, “Yes.”

Her eyes turn to him and she looks him straight in the eyes. “We made love.”

He should’ve counted on Liz of all people to be direct. She had always been straight to the point, especially when she wanted answers. But he didn’t anticipate her to know so much.

“You dreamt that?” he asks, his voice sounding strange to his own ears.

She nods. “It happened just before you removed my memories, right?”

He nods.

Her expression turns slightly inquisitive. “Why did you do it? I know that I…” she sighs, “that I for some reason asked you to, but why did you do it?”

Before he has time to answer, she continues; her voice taking on a faraway tone. “In my dreams, I can feel how much you love me - uhm…how much you loved me… If you love someone that much, how can you agree to something like that? Why would you let me go? Why didn’t you fight me? Fight for me?”

Her voice was anything but accusative, but Max still felt the sting, felt an old anger that had been suppressed in the wake of removing Liz’s memories. An anger to yell at her for asking him to do what he had to do. Because the Liz he had known had known him well enough to use his feelings for her to her advantage. The old Liz knew that he wouldn’t be able to say no to a request like that. She had known that he couldn’t deny her the right to a normal life when a normal life was all he himself had ever craved.

“It’s complicated,” he murmurs.

“If I’ve understood it correctly, it was always complicated with us,” she answers.

He lowers his eyes to look at his hands. “You didn’t ask to become a part of my life. You went through so much to be with me. I tried to push you away so many times but for some reason you wanted to be with me-“

Her hand on his interrupts him. “Max,” she says quietly a soft smile resting on her lips. “The Max I do remember was the nicest, most gentle guy I’ve ever met. If you were anything like that when we were together I’m not surprised I wanted to be with you.”

“Thank you.”

She shakes her head in disbelief. “I still can’t believe I asked you to do that. What went so wrong that I asked you to do something like that?” She looked up at him, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. “You look so sad. Nothing like the version of you I’ve seen in my dreams. Did I do this to you? Did I make you this sad?”

He wants to lie. He wants to assure her that he has himself to blame and that he is sad because life in general did not work out for the best. But the truth was that the reason why his life in general did not work out very well is her. He has never been very good at lying to her and the truth stops him once again.

“Yes,” he says simply.

She nods and looks down. “I’m sorry.” When she meets his eyes again, hers are filled with tears. “I’m so sorry. I should never have asked that of you.”

He smiles sadly, taking her hand in his and squeezing it gently. “You felt trapped. You needed a way out. The whole situation had worn you down. I…I couldn’t recognize you anymore. You were so cold.”

“What happened?” she whispered.

He hesitates before he answers. “Alex’s death.”

She frowns. “Alex?”

“And Tess.”

“Who’s Tess?”

There had been no reason to let Tess remain in any of Liz’s memories. Max’s young alien bride had been completely erased.

“Someone I would like to forget.”

“Believe me, it’s not as fun as it’s cut out to be,” Liz says grimly, “To not remember.”

“Are you sure you want to remember again?” Max asks.

“Everything that happened, everything that I wanted to run away from, happened to you too, Max. Why should you have to live with the memories and I should be spared? I don’t want to run any longer.”

He is relieved, but at the same time afraid of what will happen when she remembers it all. Will the sweet girl sitting in front of him now, the girl so reminiscent of the girl he used to watch for hours in the Crashdown before a heated argument involving guns changed their lives forever, still be there? Or would the access to her old memories turn her back into the girl who had to grow up too fast and who had been forced by circumstances to hide her vulnerability behind a cold hard shell?

Still he answers, “Okay.”

She watches him in silence for so long that he almost begins to squirm under her intense gaze. “But I don’t want to do this if you don’t feel that I have the right to. I don’t want to make the same mistake again and force you to do something you don’t want to do. If you don’t want me back in your life – the old me – then say ‘no’.”

Her words make him think of Isabel and Michael and how he recognizes that he is about to repeat his old mistake of not telling them before he changes some pertinent ingredient in their lives.

“I need to talk to Michael and Isabel first,” he says.

She nods, understanding marking her features. “Of course.” She puts the cup on the table, preparing herself to get up. “I guess I should go.”

He stands, “Yeah. Right.”

He follows her to the door and she turns, indecision written all over her face. “Max?”

“Yes?”

“Should I tell Maria?”

“I want to talk to Michael first, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Maria wants to remember too. She did this for you.”

“You mean she really didn’t want to do it?”

The temptation to lie to shield her emotions pops up anew, but there is no basis to start lying to her now. “She really didn’t want to. She is the most loyal friend I’ve ever met and she would follow you to the grave if it meant that you wouldn’t walk alone. If I were you, I would worship her for the rest of my life.”

She laughs lightly, guilt making the laugh sound unnatural. “I guess I have some groveling to do.”

“Hang on,” Max says and walks over to the kitchen counter where he writes something down on a bright yellow post it.

He grabs her hand, ignoring the electricity that is still there as soon as they touch, and presses the piece of paper against her palm. “My number. “

”Thanks,” she says and starts for the counter. “I should give you mine so you can call me later about-“

His hand on her arm stops her. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll find you.” He doesn’t want to freak her out by saying that he already knows her number.

“Oh. Okay…”

He grabs a sweater that is draped over the kitchen counter and hands it to her. “Take this.”

She looks down at her flannel pajamas and her bare feet, and smiling she accepts the sweater. “Thanks.”

“I guess I’ll see you,” Max says.

“Yeah,” she agrees.

The silence stretches as Max waits for her to turn around and walk out the door, but instead she moves closer to him and puts her arms around his waist. He’s certain she can feel his heart pick up through his sweater as she presses her head in a perfect fit under his chin.

“I’m sorry, Max. I’m really sorry.”

He fights all feelings he wants to feel about having her so close again and instead carefully puts his arms against her back to return the hug. He tries to squash the hope that is suddenly lit but he can’t help but feel that the future is looking brighter than it has in four years.


TBC...
Last edited by max and liz believer on Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by max and liz believer » Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:11 pm

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You're all great!!

Elizabeth, thank you for editing (as always)!


Without further ado...


Three

Ever since it happened - since his powers happened - and changed their world forever, Max has been cautious. His steps are heavy and his head is hanging low as he walks down the school corridor. Teenagers are laughing and talking loudly around him. His steps do not falter as a ball crosses his path just inches in front of him. He doesn’t react to the odd stares he is attracting.

His whole life, he has made an effort to stay inconspicuous; remain behind the tree. But there is no such thing as complete invisibility in high school. Even though Max Evans has never been involved in sport activities, part of putting together the school paper or arranging social events, his presence is nonetheless noticed by a random selection of people.

It is because Max Evans had never been hard on the eyes. His passive attitude towards ordinary high school activities does not disinterest those who would call his shyness mysterious nor does it qualm the occasional burst of jealousy from boyfriends whose girlfriends can’t help but take a closer look at the well-trained muscled body which is hinted beneath the unremarkable grey sweater.

But Max Evans doesn’t notice. Max Evans, son of an alien and sole ruler of another planet, has other things on his mind. The commotion usually created by adolescents the day following an eventful weekend is barely allowed entrance to his conscious. There is only one thing, one person, able to penetrate the shield around him. The unearthly connection, opened to heal her lethal injury, springs to life as he gets closer to her locker. His eyes leave the floor and travel upwards towards a sight he should stop himself from seeing.

Her toe nails are colored light blue and the flip flops are denim, matching her jeans. His eyes travel past her red top and land on her hand as she brings it up to brush away a strand of hair from her face.

As if she can feel his presence – and maybe she can – she looks up from her book and looks straight at him. Her smile is immediate, but shy. The smile from an innocent time when her problems were not on an intergalactic level.

“Hey Max,” she says quietly, the tone of voice she used to reserve for him.

He swallows. Will he ever get used to having the memories of the feel of her lips knowing that she doesn’t?

“Hey.”

“How’s Michael?” she asks.

He frowns. “Michael?”

She looks uncomfortable, biting her bottom lip. “Uhm…yeah. Maybe it’s not my place to-“

It hits him what she’s referring to and he hastens to smooth things over. “No, no, that’s okay.”

She smiles insecurely and looks down, her hair raining down around her face. His fingers itch to touch the brown strands. “He was different yesterday.”

He is not aware of the pounding of his heart as he says, “He had a rough Saturday.”

She nods, “Right.”

She looks up and his breath catches as her eyes seem to look straight into him. When had she stopped looking at him like that?

“Actually, there’s something…” Her voice trails off and he looks at her expectantly. She laughs lightly and waves the words into nothingness with her hand. “No, it’s stupid. Forget it.”

She turns to pick out the book she needs for first period out of her locker, but her hands are shaking.

“Liz, are you okay?”

She nods, still not looking at him. “Uh huh. It’s just the quiz fourth period.”

He wants to believe her, but it is as if all her acting abilities have been erased as well and he can see right through her.

“You’ll do fine. You know this stuff better than anyone else.”

There’s hesitation before she agrees. “You’re right, I shouldn’t worry. I have studied for this.”

“See? No problem,” he assures and she smiles at him.

“Thanks, Max.”

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

He is cautious because he has to be. He threads a fine balance every time Liz addresses him. He cannot mess this up. Liz wanted out and that’s the least he can give her. He finds her watching him and inhales deeply before turning to face her. She turns away while her face turns red. He decides to take the safe route.

“Still worried about that quiz?”

She stills, her eyes glued to the microscope slide. She chances a glance in his direction before shaking her head.

“I lied.”

“You lied?”

She nods. “About the quiz. It’s not… well, it’s kinda about the quiz… I guess I’m just wondering if you’ve ever had the experience that you have information in your head that you don’t remember that you’ve studied.”

His heart stops beating, but she continues. “It sounds really stupid, I know. It’s just… I can’t remember sitting in my room studying this weekend. I can’t remember this weekend at all.”

Max takes a deep breath. So much for the safe route.

“You sure Maria didn’t come by and decided to take your worries off studying by engaging you in some illegal drinking?”

Joking. Joking has to be safe.

But she doesn’t react. The frown on her forehead deepens. “But if I didn’t study, then how come I have the information? If I got drunk and forgot the whole of Saturday I wouldn’t have been able to study.”

He couldn’t really tell her that with everything going on at the time, she had probably studied for the quiz the weekend before. But since the weekend before had entailed her searching for the true reasons behind Alex’s murder he had been forced to erase whole days. Feigning ignorance seemed to be the better option.

“Liz, I’m not sure I really follow.”

She looks at him, a look so intense that he wants to squirm before she discovers his darkest secrets, and then laughs softly. “I’m crazy. Sorry, Max. I didn’t mean to dump this on you. I must be going insane. Maybe I’m getting too little sleep or something.”

He shrugs. “Well, you know what they say; there's a fine line between genius and insanity.”

She smacks him on the arm. “Nice one, Max.”

As she smiles and looks down the microscope, Max closes his eyes and tries to prevent his heart from sinking into the guilt.

Now he knows why Maria decided to follow Liz into amnesia. Before the shooting, Max had wanted to tell Liz Parker about his secrets so that he wouldn’t have to hide that part of himself from her. So that he wouldn’t have to lie.

After everything they had been through, he was now right back to where he started.

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

Four years later

She silently closes the door behind her and shrugs out of Max’s sweater. Sweater in hand, she walks into the bathroom and turns on the light. She turns on the water in the shower and while waiting for the warm water to kick in she faces the mirror. She halts, her eyes moving over the face that she thought she would recognize by now. She brushes the hair away from her cheeks, pulling it back into a bun with her left hand, which makes her cheekbones more prominent and her eyes look bigger.

“Who are you?” she whispers to the reflection.

“Liz?”

She nearly jumps out of her skin and barely stifles her scream of fear.

“Sorry,” Maria murmurs when she sees the shudder go through her friend’s body. “Didn’t mean to scare you.”

Liz looks at Maria in the mirror, giving her a small smile. “That’s alright.”

”Why are you taking showers in the middle of the night?”

“Uhm… I…”

Maria’s reflection disappears as she looks downwards. “Why are your feet dirty?”

Liz takes a deep breath. She promised Max that she would wait to tell Maria until he had talked to Michael and Isabel. She never thought it would come to her having to lie to Maria in the meantime.

“I… I was… It’s ridiculous. I was sleep-walking.”

Maria appears in the mirror again; her face now concerned which instantly propels Liz into a wave of guilt.

“Are you serious?! That’s really dangerous. I’ve seen these documentaries on that. People can really get hurt. You know, some walk out in the middle of the street and get hit by cars and-“

“Maria-“

“-they go and knock on stranger’s doors-“

“Maria-“

“Maybe you should talk to someone. Does this happen often? Why haven’t you told me about this? Maybe I should hide the keys to the front door when we go to sleep so that you can’t get out.”

Maria takes a breath and Liz takes the opportunity to intercept.

“I need to talk to you.”

“You are talking to me.”

“Hang on,” Liz says and reaches in to turn off the water.

“Whose is this?”

Liz turns to see Maria holding Max’s sweater.

“This sweater is a tiny bit too big for you, Lizzie,” Maria says and then smiles mischievously. “Are you seeing someone?”

“Maria, I-“

Maria’s mouth falls open in revelation and she smiles triumphantly. “Elizabeth Anne Parker! You are not sleep-walking. You are sneaking out in the middle of the night to meet with some guy!”

Liz inhales deeply. “You’re right. I wasn’t sleep-walking.”

”Why haven’t you told me?” Maria asked. “You know how much I want you to finally get a life-“

Liz sighs. “Maria, I have a life.”

Maria rolls her eyes. “Right. Girlfriend, staying home on Fridays and Saturday to study cells is not living.”

“You know that’s what I want to do,” Liz says.

“If you’re so devoted to your studying, would you care to explain to me what this sweater is doing in your possession?”

Liz closes her eyes and murmurs, “It’s Max’s.”

Her inner eye can see the expression of surprised delight widening Maria’s eyes and the drop of her chin before she breathes, “Max Evans?”

Wincing in anticipation of the squeal, Liz nods. Maria lets out a high-pitched scream of joy and Liz almost loses her balance as Maria throws her arms around Liz, bouncing up and down.

Liz starts laughing. “I didn’t know you cared this much.”

Maria looks at her incredulously. “Are you kidding? You’re my best friend. I’d do anything for you.”

Her statement cools the joyous mood. “I know. Maria, I need to talk to you.”

Maria smiles brightly. “I will accept nothing less. Spill, girl. Every single detail of all the dirty things you’ve been doing with Max Evans.”

Liz shakes her head and her seriousness penetrates Maria’s excitement.

“Hey babe. What’s wrong? Did he do something to you?”

“I went to Max to talk to him.”

“About what?”

“I went in my pajamas and without shoes.” She shrugs. “That’s why my feet are dirty and I have his sweater.”

“What did you talk about?”

Liz squeezes her eyes shut. “I can’t tell you.”

“You can’t tell me?” Maria takes a hold of Liz’s hands. “Liz. If he’s forcing you to do something, blackmailing you or-“

Liz can’t help but smile. “I think you need to lay off the soap operas, Maria. Max is not out to backstab me or anything like that.”

“Then why can’t you tell me?”

“Because I promised him. I promised him to wait.”

“I don’t understand… So after he gives the signal you’ll tell me?”

“If I’m allowed to.”

“Huh? You’ve got to be kidding me. If this is not blackmailing, I don’t know what is.”

Liz looks at her closely. “It will work itself out. Trust me. I would never hurt you.”

Maria smiles and pulls Liz into a tight hug. “Of course you wouldn’t. I love you.”

Liz swallows and whispers, “Love you too.”

Maria pulls away and looks at Liz sternly, “Just promise me that he’s not forcing you to do something you don’t want to do. We can fight him together. You are not alone in this.”

“I promise you, Maria. Max is not like that.”

Maria nods. “Okay.” She yawns. “Could we go back to sleep then?”

“Yeah. Let’s get some sleep.”


TBC...
Last edited by max and liz believer on Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by max and liz believer » Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:53 am

Hello my pretties!

Thanks to my lovely beta and a healthy boost of inspiration, I'm here with a new part already.

First of all, though, I would like to give a BIG thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Fanatics Awards. Thanks to you I won "Best Supporting Portrayal of Max Evans" for "Mnemosyne's Daughter". I'm incredibly touched and honoured. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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Thank you guys for the feedback! It's what encourage me to keep writing and keeps me on my toes.


Four

“Hey,” Michael says softly and hitches his chin in the direction of the front door to alert Maria about the third presence.

Maria looks towards the front door and finds Liz shielded in the shadows.

“Hi,” Liz says quietly. “Can I talk to you?”

“Sure,” Maria answers and turns to Michael to apologize. He smiles gently and shakes his head, before kissing her softly.

“I’ll get some food.”

Maria smiles gratefully. “Thank you.”

He squeezes her hand before turning and Maria sighs in relief. It has only been an hour since Tess left the planet in the granolith and Michael decided to stay for her, but already Maria knows that things are definitely looking up for her and Spaceboy.

Her smile falls before she turns to face Liz, because she knows that Liz will most definitely throw reality in her face. Liz has been good at that recently. Lately Maria has been wondering if they can ever go back to how things were when they used to be able to have fun together. When they were friends.

“What’s up?”

She takes out the key to Michael’s apartment from her bag and lets Liz inside.

“I need your advice,” Liz says grimly.

Maria sighs and closes the door behind them. Liz’s stoic posture tells her that this conversation is very likely to turn ugly, just like most of their recent conversations.

“Sure,” Maria says shortly. “But if you’re here to tell me to stay away from Michael-“

Liz spins on her heels and surprises Maria with an expression of regret. “No, Maria. How can you think that? I wouldn’t want to destroy anything between you and Michael.”

Maria looks at her closely. Ten days earlier, Liz had started a war with Max and everyone in the Czechoslovakian club had been pulled along, separated into camps against their will. If Michael hadn’t grown up so much the last couple of months, Liz’s arguing with Max easily could’ve caused a rift even between Maria and Michael. Fortunately it didn’t, but Maria isn’t prepared to relax just yet.

“I’m sorry if I ever made you doubt that,” Liz says.

Maria shrugs and sinks down in the couch. “I don’t know what to expect from you any longer, Liz. You are not the person I used to know anymore.”

Liz sits down opposite Maria and nods. “You’re right.”

Maria’s eyebrows rise in silent surprise, but she remains quiet.

“A lot of things have happened recently that I’m not proud of.”

Maria nods.

“Brushing you off is one of them.”

“Are you apologizing?”

“I’m sorry, Maria.”

“Wow,” Maria says unenthusiastically. “Are you ready to let this go?”

Liz presses her lips together and Maria can see the shield go up again. “Tess killed Alex, Maria. I needed to get the truth out.”

“Do you feel more relieved now?” Maria asks.

“I’m not the bad guy here, Maria. Tess is.”

Maria’s shrug is uncommitted, detached. “Whatever you say.”

Liz sighs and leans back in the armchair. “Okay… I…”

To Maria’s surprise Liz’s stone wall crumbles and she bursts into tears. Maria stares at her, her actions paralyzed.

“It’s my fault,” Liz sobs, “It’s all my fault.”

Even though Maria is rejoicing about the fact that Liz is finally letting herself cry, it hurts to hear the heart-wrenching anguish in those tears. She stands and puts a hand on Liz’s shoulder. She never thought she wouldn’t know how to comfort her best friend, but everyone has surprised her these last couple of months.

She finds herself wondering if she should give Liz a hug or remain standing, hand on Liz’s shoulder like a stranger.

“It’s not your fault. Well, at least not all of it. We all messed up.”

Liz shakes her head, tears dripping on her jeans. “I started it. If I hadn’t listened to Future Max. If I hadn’t broken Max’s heart-“

”Liz, you can’t beat yourself up about that. It’s in the past. You thought that Max knew what he was doing. I mean, he was older and he told you that we would all die otherwise.”

“Instead I killed Alex…”

Maria’s heart shudders at the mention of the death of their friend and she scoots down next to Liz, pushing herself into the small space between the arm rest and Liz’s thigh and pulls Liz’s head against her chest. There’s relief in her tears as Liz throws her arms around Maria and hugs her tightly.

“You didn’t kill Alex,” Maria whispers. “Tess did.”

She feels Liz shake her head against her collarbone. “No, if I hadn’t changed the future, Alex would still be alive.”

“Yes, but-“

”Max and I would be together. We would be happy.”

“You don’t-“

“Isabel wouldn’t hate her brother and you wouldn’t hate me-“

Maria pushes Liz away so that she can face her. “Hey! Don’t say that! I don’t hate you. Don’t turn into a martyr on me, Liz Parker.”

Liz wipes her tear-drenched face with the back of her hand, new tears flowing over her palm in the progress. “I’m sorry.”

“You wanna know what I think?”

Liz nods, sniveling.

“Max had no right to come back from the future and ask you to do that.”

”He didn’t have a choice, he-“

“No, just let me continue. In the beginning, I was jealous of what you and Max had. I mean, you had this look-deep-into-my-eyes kind of love and I got… Michael.”

Liz smiles weakly and Maria laughs lightly before sobering. “Max loved you so much, Lizzie. I don’t know what happened in the future, but the Max that risked his secret for you that day of the shooting would never ask you to give up on you two. He would find another way. If you ask me, he blackmailed you into doing it-“

“No, Maria. You should’ve seen-“

“Sure, maybe I would understand better if I had been there when he visited. But maybe I would’ve been able to see through it. Did it ever cross your mind that if he came from the future, from a life of knowing you intimately, that he would know exactly what to say to make you do whatever he told you to do?”

Liz swallows and whispers, “It wasn’t like that.”

But Maria sees the doubt in her red-brimmed eyes. Her voice softens, “You did what he asked you to, because you loved him. You still do. He used your love against you and you couldn’t say no.”

“If that’s the case, I should’ve worked harder. I should’ve resisted him. It all started the night he saw me in bed with Kyle.”

Maria nods. She can’t deny that. That night had been the downfall for the whole group. It had changed the relationship between Liz and Max into something unrecognizable and that relationship had proven to be the cornerstone of the well-being of the group.

“I broke his heart, pushed him straight into Tess’ arms-“

“Where she manipulated him and changed him,” Maria interrupted.

Liz laughs in doubt. “No, I think that was all me. Tess didn’t even have to do anything after my betrayal. He was all hers.”

“Sorry, babe. I won’t let you take credit for this one. Okay, I admit. Max was vulnerable to Tess after the whole Kyle incidence, but Tess did enough on her own.”

“It doesn’t change the fact that I am responsible for Alex’s death. If I hadn’t pushed Max towards Tess, Tess would’ve left and Alex wouldn’t have gotten in the middle.”

“We don’t know that,” Maria whispers. “Did Future Max ever mention Alex? Maybe Tess used him in the other timeline as well.”

Liz shakes her head. “He said that Alex came to our wedding, but he didn’t tell me anything about what happened after that.” She frowns, turning introspective. “He would’ve told me. He would’ve warned me.”

“Not if he thought that changing the future would stop the need for Tess to use Alex.”

Liz laughs bitterly. “Well, I did the wrong thing then. I trusted Max and whatever you say, that I should’ve done, I can’t change it. I can’t take it back, Maria. I can’t…” she sobs, “I can’t bring Alex back.”

Maria sighs, tears wetting her own cheeks. “Why are we doing this, Liz? We used to have fun. What happened?”

“Aliens happened,” Liz answers simply.

“What happened to you, Liz? You are so cold, so bitter.”

Liz averts her eyes and shrugs. “I tried my best, Maria. I tried to make things right. If I could only make justice out of Alex’s death, maybe that would make me feel less guilty.”

“Did it work?”

Liz sobs. “No.”

“We should be worrying about what clothes to wear, normal guy problems, popularity and all those other normal high school things. We shouldn’t have to worry about aliens attacking, about people arriving from the future or our friends getting killed.”

“Yeah…” Liz whispers.

“We’re just kids, Liz. Just kids. We don’t know how to do this. We don’t know the right thing to do. Hell, not even an adult would know how to deal with mind rapes and how to kill aliens in skin husks.”

“That’s kinda why I’m here.”

Maria can’t help but get afraid from her words. “Yeah?”

Liz wipes her swollen eyes. “I came to say goodbye.”

It feels as if a cold hand squeezes her heart and Maria whispers brokenly, “You’re leaving?”

“Kinda…”

Maria’s heart is pounding loudly in her ears. “What do you mean?”

“I can’t do this anymore, Maria. I can’t live with these feelings anymore. It feels like my heart is dead. It’s either this or… I don’t know. I don’t know what I will do otherwise. I’ve let everyone down.”

“No, Liz. What are you talking about? You’re not…” Maria covers her mouth to stop her sobs of fear from escaping, “You’re not thinking about killing yourself, are you?”

Liz tiredly shakes her head. “No… No.”

Maria relaxes. “Thank God. Then what are you talking about?”

“I’ve talked to Max,” Liz says. “I asked him to block my memories.”

“What?” Maria asks confused. “You mean… Like a mind warp?”

Liz nods. “Kinda like that.”

“What does this all mean?”

“I’ve asked him to remove all my memories of everything alien-related. That would mean that I wouldn’t know anything but normal… I would go back to how I was before the shooting.”

Maria stares at her. “Are you serious?”

Liz nods. “I’ve thought about this a lot.”

“But we can work this out. Together. Liz, don’t do this. Tess is gone now. We can heal.”

Liz shakes her head. “Nothing will be the same again.”

”But that’s the thing about growing, Liz. You might want to go back to the person you once were but sometimes growing is a good thing.”

“I’m being selfish…”

Maria shakes her head. “No, you’re not.”

“I know I’m taking the easy way out and I’m leaving all of you behind, but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to deal with everything. I can’t sleep anymore because Alex’s death is haunting me. All the bad things Max and I have said to each other the last couple of days are running like a mantra in my head.”

“Don’t you think the rest of us have the same thing? We’re hurting too, Liz. But we’re dealing. You can deal too.”

“You think I’m horrible…”

Maria sighs. “No, Liz.” She smiles weakly. “Actually, after everything we’ve been put through to know those aliens why shouldn’t we for once take advantage of their powers? The rest of the world might have to deal with their problems but you have access to the possibility of forgetting them. I guess… You’re no worse than an alcoholic or a druggie.”

“Maria,” Liz objects.

Maria shakes her head. “Joking…”

“No, you’re right.”

They fall silent, each buried in their own thoughts.

“Are you sure about this?” Maria asks a couple of minutes later.

Liz nods. “Yes.”

“Then I’m going with you.”

Liz stares at her, eyes wide. “No, Maria. No.”

“What? You are allowed to forget, but I’m not?”

“That’s not it. I saw you with Michael. You have something really good going on with him. Don’t do this.”

“Who knows how long that’s gonna last for anyway?” Maria tries to joke.

“Maria…”

Maria averts her eyes. “Yeah, I know. It’s just… I can’t leave, Liz.”

“Yes, you can. This is my choice. My life is screwed up and I don’t see it getting any better if I don’t do this. Your life is just getting better and better. Don’t destroy that.”

Maria laughs incredulously. “Have you thought about all the people around you, Liz? Have you thought about how this will affect everyone that cares about you? For your plan to work, all of those people would have to lie to you.”

Liz bites her bottom lip. “I know.”

“Name a single time that I’ve been able to lie to you without you seeing straight through me,” Maria says.

“It’s different now,” Liz protests. “We’ve become experts at lying. I will become naïve again and I won’t be able to call you on your lie.”

”Okay, forget that. What makes you think that I would want to lie to you to start with? I would have to lie to you every day. I couldn’t do that.”

Liz closes her eyes and falls back against the head support. “This is really gonna make them hate me.”

“They’ll get over it,” Maria says. “So Max is going to do this, huh?”

“He hasn’t agreed to it yet, but I wanted to be prepared just in case.”

“Well, if you go, I’ll go.”

Liz sighs, “Maria.”

Imitating her, Maria says, “Liz.”

“I can’t do this to you. I can’t. I won’t allow it.”

”It’s my life, Liz. I’m going with you.”

”Just think about what you’re leaving behind.”

“Only if you think about what you are leaving behind,” Maria counters.

“I’m sorry for not being there for you when Alex died,” Liz says.

Maria smiles. “It’s okay.”

”How can you be so selfless? I’ve treated you like shit and still you’re prepared to give everything up to follow me.”

“I know who you really are, Liz Parker. I know that you’ve been in a dark place and honestly, I feel a bit bad about lashing out at you as well. You were dealing with it your way and I couldn’t be there for you.”

Liz looks like she’s about to protest but then changes her mind. “How did I ever deserve you?”

“You didn’t,” Maria answers simply. “But I have great expectations of the future. You don’t have to do this, Liz. I’ve got your back if you decide not to.”

“I’ve made my decision, Maria. I’m gonna do this.”

Mara looks at her closely. She used to be able to read her friend, but now she isn’t so sure. Her friend seems very determined but will she really go through with it?

A knock on the door interrupts her line of thinking. She smiles in apology to Liz and jumps up to open the door to be faced with Michael.

“Is the coast clear?” he asks gently, looking past Maria at Liz, who is standing up and rubbing her face.

“Uhm,” Maria says. “We just need a couple of more-“

Liz steps up next to Maria and squeezes her arm. “It’s okay. I should get going.”

Maria turns to Liz. “Just think of what I’ve said.”

Liz nods and pulls Maria in a hug. “I love you.”

”Love you too.”

“If you don’t want to, just let Max know.”

Maria grows cold and her hopes of having changed Liz’s mind start to weaken.

“Okay,” Maria whispers and lets go off Liz.

“Bye Michael,” Liz smiles softly at Michael.

“Uh, bye Liz,” Michael says and closes the door behind Liz. “What was that all about?”

In front of his eyes, Maria’s resolve crumbles.

Michael quickly embraces her. “What happened?”

“Just hold me,” Maria sobs. “Don’t let me go.”

“I won’t,” Michael says. “I never will.”

This makes Maria cry even harder. Because she is almost certain that Liz will go through with her plan and Maria will have to leave Michael.


TBC...
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Post by max and liz believer » Sun Jan 21, 2007 4:24 am

Hi there

New part...

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Five

“Michael, it’s me.”

“Max,” Michael states shortly.

“Just…let me talk, okay?”

“If that’s what you want, Your Highness.”

Max sighs. Michael and Max’s friendship was pretty much destroyed the night Max told Michael and Isabel that he had erased Maria and Liz’s memories.

After graduation Michael and Max went their separate ways. They have only met once in the last two years and that meeting ended in a fist fight that Isabel’s husband Jesse was forced to break up. To say that Michael and Max’s friendship is non-existent would be an understatement. Michael regards Max more like a potential enemy.

“Something’s come up,” Max says.

“You’ve ruined someone else’s life?” Michael asks disinterested.

“It’s about Maria,” Max says.

“Is she okay?” Michael asks, emotion suddenly drowning the cold tone normally reserved for conversations with Max.

“She’s okay,” Max answers.

“Then what?”

“It’s about Liz as well-“

“Right,” Michael snarls. “I thought it was something like that. What? You want to give me another one of those I’m-so-sorry-I-screwed-up-your-life-Michael-and-I-really-didn’t-mean-it speeches? Well, sorry Max. I thought I’ve made myself clear. I’m not interested in your guilt trips or your explanations-“

“She wants to remember,” Max interrupts.

“She what?!” Michael erupts.

“Liz started to have dreams of things I removed. I could feel that she wasn’t doing well, so I was keeping a closer look at her and I kinda bumped into her.”

“Great,” Michael snaps. “Fucking fantastic. I didn’t know that we were allowed to make them remember. Isn’t that what you told me, Maxwell? You told me to stay away from the only girl I’ve ever loved and pretend that I barely even knew her. Yeah, I remember that conversation quite clearly-“

“I didn’t mean it like-“

“That’s a hell of a lot what it sounded like,” Michael bites. “You have the right to get close to Liz, but I don’t have the right to get close to Maria. It’s like it’s always been. You make rules for everyone to follow and then you give yourself the privilege of breaking them. Isn’t that what started all of this?”

“I never said that you weren’t allowed to be around Maria anymore,” Max says, getting irritated. He didn’t call Michael to get a lecture.

“How was I supposed to be able to be around her when I couldn’t touch her? I couldn’t invite her into my life again because that still requires me to tell her about my heritage and that’s what she chose to not know about. If I can’t have her, I can’t be around her. You might be into self-torture, Maxwell, but I’m not.”

“I called you to ask you if it’s okay that I reverse the process,” Max says.

His revelation is met by silence.

“Michael?”

“Why do you even bother?” Michael says.

“I wanted to-“

“You’re gonna do whatever you want anyway. Or whatever your soulmate wants.”

“Don’t talk about her like that,” Max warns.

“You know, I was never doing this for you. I’m doing it for Maria. For some reason, she wanted to get out and even though it was Liz’s stupid idea I can’t blame Maria for being loyal. I used to feel the same type of loyalty for you. But then you put a knife in my back.”

“I’m sorry,” Max says. “What else can I say? I don’t know what else to do.”

There’s silence for such a long time on the other end of the line that Max thinks that Michael has hung up. Finally, Michael speaks, “If Maria wants it, give her the memories that belong to her.”

“Thank you, Michael,” Max says.

”I’m not finished,” Michael says coldly. “If she wants my address, give it to her. I want to meet her. But I don’t want to see Liz. And this does not make you and me friends. You hear me?”

“Michael, I-“

”Bye, Max.”

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

“Hey, what’s up?”

“I need to ask you something,” Max says.

“What’s going on, little brother?” Isabel asks.

“I’ve talked to Liz and-“

”Hey hey, wait! You talked to Liz?”

“I met her on campus.”

“I told you it was a bad idea to apply to the same university as her,” Isabel sighs.

“You know why I needed to,” Max says.

“Yes, I know. What did she say?”

“She started to have these dreams; dreams of the shooting.”

“But…but you erased it,” Isabel stutters, fear in her voice.

Max knows exactly what his sister was feeling at the moment, because they have gone through this once before. The day of the shooting. Because even if Liz is an ex-member of the I-know-an-alien club, she is like a stranger right now which has all the risks normally involved with a stranger finding out the truth about them. The risks of exposure.

“I don’t know what changed. I’ve never done this before. This was Tess’ specialty. Maybe I did something wrong. Maybe a time warp like this has an expiration date.”

Isabel sighs deeply on the other end of the line. “So, she remembers.”

“No, she’s had a couple of dreams, but enough to know that they are not just dreams. I think she had a dream about the night I blocked her memories and she knows that she asked for it. She asked me if she could have her memories back-“

“Of course she did,” Isabel snorts. “She hasn’t changed one bit, has she? She’s still bossing you around. Does she remember how she turned her back on us? Does she even have the slightest clue to how much it hurt that she didn’t want to know us anymore? Scratch that, she didn’t even want to not know us, she didn’t want to remember us.”

“Is, please.”

Isabel fell silent, but Max could hear her sniffles of abandonment. Isabel had always been afraid of being rejected and for people not accepting who she was. For not being loved.

While Michael had been angry with Max for healing Liz that day, Isabel had been mostly frightened. She had been afraid that her loved ones would be exposed and that she would be rejected by her parents. But that had never happened and she had let Liz and Maria in just a little bit more with every passing day. Liz’s request had been a betrayal and the sting of rejection had never really gone away.

“She’s not the same person she used to be. I think you would like the person she is now-“

Isabel snorts. “Well, I don’t really feel like getting to know her again.”

“But,” Max continues, ignoring her statement, “I don’t know if she will change when I give her back her memories.”

“You’ve always been blind when it comes to Liz,” Isabel says then. “The way I see it, she’s still the same person. You just want her to be different. If she was different, she wouldn’t claim her life back. As far as I’m concerned, she doesn’t deserve her memories. If she couldn’t live with them before, then why should she get them now?”

“It’s different this time,” Max says. “I’m not forced to do this. She gave me a choice. She didn’t want her request to interfere with my or your lives. If it caused too much trouble or if I didn’t want to do it, she wouldn’t push me.”

“Whatever,” Isabel says, but her voice is weaker.

She wants to believe. She would never admit to anyone that she misses having girlfriends. She has friends now, but it isn’t the same. Not when she can’t tell them about such a large part of who she really is. She is not sure she will ever be able to forgive Liz, but secretly she wants to try. She’s tired of holding a grudge. She’s tired of re-living the past.

“Look, Max. It’s not really my place to say what you should do. The chance of me bumping into Liz is slim, me living in a completely different state. Have you forgiven her? Are you ready for this?”

Max swallows. He hasn’t really thought about it that way. Is he ready to let Liz in again? Is he prepared to trust her again, even trust her with his heart? There is only one answer to that.

“Yes.”

“Then do it,” Isabel says simply. “I’m tired of us fighting about this. Maybe…maybe this can make things better. Maybe this can correct the balance.”

Her words cause him to think about when he broke up with Liz after they healed Michael with the healing stones. When he felt like Liz was disrupting his balance and he needed to be away from her. Maybe it was the other way around. Maybe none of them could heal as long as things were left like this.

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

“Maria, we need to talk.”

Maria pushes the remainder of a donut in her mouth and says around the mouthful, “Sure, wad’s up?”

“I think maybe you should sit down for this one.”

Maria’s eyes go wide, still chewing the donut. “Wad’s wong?”

Liz sinks down on the couch. “You know a couple of days ago when I asked you if I ever got shot?”

Maria nods and licks the frosting off her fingertips.

“And you said that I didn’t.”

“Does this have anything to do with Max Evans?” Maria asks.

“It has everything to do with Max Evans,” Liz says quietly.

“You discovered that you still have feelings for each other, didn’t you?” Maria asks, smiling.

Liz drops her eyes to her hands, which she is nervously twisting around each other. “I did get shot, Maria.”

Maria frowns. “What?”

“That day of the shooting, the bullet didn’t end up in the wall. I was shot in the stomach.”

Maria shakes her head. “No, Liz. I was there. It was a close call, but the bullet lodged in the wall. I saw the sheriff dig it out of the wall. I saw it with my own eyes.”

“You only thought you saw that, because someone made you see it.”

Maria is getting scared and the fear adds a twinge of irritation to her voice, “What the hell are you talking about?”

Liz sighs. How does Max do this? How do you tell someone that there are aliens walking the earth and that you were romantically involved with one of them before another alien changed your memories?

“You know the crash of ’47?” Liz says, trying a different angle.

“You mean, the presumed crash of a weather balloon,” Maria corrects.

“There really was a crash. In ’47. A spaceship, Maria. Not a weather balloon.”

Maria looks at her incredulously. “Aliens?”

“Yes, aliens.”

Maria rubs her forehead. “Okay, Liz. I’m gonna try my best and pretend to understand what you are going on about here. What is the connection between the shooting – which for the record did not hurt you in any way – and the crash of ’47?”

“I was shot but Max Evans healed me.”

Maria stares at her silently for a few seconds before giving a short laugh and standing up. “Uhm… okay.”

“It’s the truth, Ria,” Liz tries.

Maria walks over to the refrigerator and pulls out a juice package.

“Well, it would make sense, I guess,” she says, taking down a glass from the kitchen cabinet. “Why else would I not even remember you being in the hospital for a shot wound? Oh no, wait,” she looks at Liz in utter disbelief, “I guess that doesn’t matter since I seem to remember there being no shooting of best friends at all.”

“Maria, please listen to me.”

Maria slams the glass down on the counter, the juice splashing over the edges, and says forcefully, “No! You’re going to listen to me, Liz!” She takes a deep breath and looks at Liz with complete seriousness. “I think you should see someone.”

“Maria, I understand if it might seem like that, but I’m not crazy,” Liz says.

“Liz, listen to yourself. You’re talking about spaceships and aliens. You are telling me that we used to go to high school with someone – who looked very human to me back then by the way – who is really an alien who healed you. I don’t even know if you’ve met Max or if you’re making that up as well. I just know that suddenly you went all weird and started talking about Michael Guerin and Max and… Alex.”

“Maria, you have to believe me. I’m not making this up. I mean, would I really make something like this up?”

Maria sits down next to Liz. “I want to believe you, I do. But if I was the one saying all of this – which by the way would be more likely – would you believe me?”

Liz looks down and answers softly. “Probably not.”

Maria, seeing the Liz’s ambivalent thoughts playing over her face, considers everything she had ever heard about crazy people and how they can become even crazier if they are not believed and adds, “Okay, if I was part of this as well, then how come I don’t remember it? I might not have the best memory, but I’m sure I would remember something like this.”

Liz looks up at her again and says, wincing as she does because she knows that Maria is definitely going to think she’s crazy after saying it, “I asked Max to alter my memories so that I wouldn’t remember. He did it to you too.”

Maria closes her eyes and leans back in the couch. “Liz, you know I love you…”

“Maria,” Liz interrupts firmly. “I’m telling the truth. Max is reversing the process on me tonight. He’s giving the memories back-“

“How nice of him,” Maria interrupts acidly.

“I know you don’t believe me, but I need you there. Could you come with me?”

“Liz, if you’re part of a sect-“

Liz can’t help but laugh. “I’m not part of a sect!”

Maria holds up her hands in defense. “Okay, okay. Just aliens. Got it.”

Liz gives her a ha-ha-very-funny look before turning serious, “Maria, please.”

Maria looks at her best friend quietly. “Yeah, I’ll do it. I guess someone has to go with you and steer you clear from whatever Max is telling you – if there even is a Max. Besides, I have a reputation to protect.”

Liz looks at her questioningly.

“It wouldn’t be good for my image if it got out that I’m living with a crazy person.”


TBC...
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Post by max and liz believer » Fri Jan 26, 2007 5:27 pm

Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. You have a lot of very interesting opinions and I really enjoy reading your perspective on this slightly morally impaired story.

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Realistic Dreamer



Six

“It really is you,” Maria states as Max opens the door.

“Maria,” Max says, regret saddening his voice.

Maria scrutinizes him with narrowed eyes. “What have you been telling my girl?”

Max looks at Liz and she grimaces apologetically.

“For some reason Liz has gotten it into her head that you’re an alien.”

“It’s true,” Max says quietly.

Maria snorts and steps around Max into the apartment. “Of course it is.”

“I’m sorry,” Liz says softly. “I tried…”

He smiles. “It’s okay. Maybe it’s better this way. Last time you told her she freaked out. At least disbelief is calmer.”

“I guess actually seeing me walking out of there after the shooting as if nothing had happened is standing in the way of her believing me right now.”

“Yeah,” Max agrees and closes the door behind her.

“Nice place you’ve got here, Maxie boy,” Maria says loudly.

“Thanks,” Max replies.

“So, where are the others?”

“The others?” Max asks.

“The other aliens, members of your cult? No wait, don’t tell me. You travel alone. Like E.T., right?”

“Maria,” Liz warns.

Max gently touch Liz’s wrist, skin to skin, which cause tingles to run down her spine. “It’s okay.”

“Tell me, Max, what powers do you have? Because I assume you have powers. Do you fly, freeze things with your breath..? How does Liz look without clothes in your X-ray vision?”

“Maria!” Liz cries, mortification spreading up her neck and across her cheeks in deep crimson color.

“No, nothing like that,” Max says, avoiding to look at Liz.

“Really? Then how about a demonstration of something you can do, Max?” Maria challenges.

He nods, “Okay.”

He reaches his hand out towards Liz in invite. “Liz, would you mind?”

“Hey, what are you doing?” Maria says slowly as Liz places her hand in Max’s. What if he would hurt Liz somehow?

Liz steps up in front of Max and looks up at him expectantly. She can’t deny that she is herself interested in seeing what Max will do. She hasn’t seen any proof of his powers – only the things she’s seen in her dreams. But dreams are only dreams.

Max smiles at her reassuringly. Without a word he raises his hands to the top of her forehead and gently contacts with her skin. If Liz hadn’t been focusing so much on his touch, she would have felt her heart rate pick up. Slowly, he begins sliding his fingers down the sides of her face, tracing the hairline. The warmth from his fingers causes goose bumps to erupt all over her body.

She’s getting lost in his eyes as his eyes remain locked with hers. Unconsciously, she leans into his touch, into his body, and she presses her hands flat on his chest to prevent herself from falling. Unbeknownst to Liz, the warmth she’s feeling is changing the structure of her hair follicles, curling the hair strands. As Max feathery touch slides down her face, the dark strands curl in front of Maria’s eyes from root to tip and she gasps.

“How… What…” Maria stutters. In the time span of two seconds she recovers, strides up to Max and rips Liz out of his hands. “Stay away from her!”

“Maria,” Liz tries, worriedly looking in Max’s direction. But his face reveals nothing of what he might be feeling on the inside.

“I know that this must be confu-“ Max starts calmly.

“No!” Maria yells. “I don’t know how you just did that, or what kind of freak you are, but you are not touching Liz again!”

“Maria, it’s Max. Don’t you remember? He could never hurt a fly. Max wouldn’t hurt me.”

Liz’s voice falters with the insecurity of someone not being able to completely verify that her own words are correct as Max averts his eyes and stares at the floor.

Maria stares at her now curly haired friend and shakes her head. “I don’t know what to believe. But I know this; if he can change the structure of hair with a touch and change memories – as you claim – then we should stay the hell away from him!”

“Michael misses you,” Max says softly.

Maria freezes. “What did you just say?”

He knows it’s a cheap shot, but Maria never really wanted out and he is going to attempt all means of getting her to agree to come back. He owes that much to both Maria and Michael, even if Maria doesn’t know yet.

“He hasn’t been the same since you… left. You loved him. And he still loves you…”

“Michael Guerin?” Maria asks.

“Yes,” Max answers.

“Michael Guerin?” Maria asks again. “Your rude friend that I worked with at the Crashdown?”

Her tone is intended to be sarcastic but her voice comes out barely a whisper because something strikes a tone inside of her at the mention of Michael.

“Yes,” Max confirms softly.

Maria frowns as tears starts to slide down her cheeks and confused she wipes them away. “I barely know the guy. He was always so… mean.”

“It was his way of guarding his heart,” Max says. “It was safer to push you away.”

“I don’t even know Michael,” Maria sobs as she leans back against the wall. Why is her heart aching? Why is she in pain because of a guy that always annoyed the life out of her?

“But you do,” Max insists. “I changed your memories, but I didn’t change your feelings.”

“If I loved him, then why don’t I remember it?” Maria asks, her voice stronger.

“You do,” Max answers gently. “You just didn’t have the memories to back up your feelings so you didn’t let yourself feel it. But you do now, don’t you? You always knew there was something there even though he was treating you the way he was.”

His words make her remember something that happened awhile back. Something that confused her at the time.

”Miss! Miss!”

Maria whips her head around and her voice comes out harsher than she intends, “Just a second!” She slams a plate down in the counter in front of Michael. “Michael, this is cold!”

“It’s not my fault that you invite more customers in here than we are able to serve,” Michael snaps.

“Wow, Michael. I think that was possibly the longest sentence you’ve ever composed,” Maria bites.

“Funny,” Michael says and turns around to grab the plate. He misjudges the distance and his elbow pushes the plate off the counter. The contact with the floor breaks it into pieces.

“Damn Michael!” Maria yells and bends down to pick up the shards.

In her stressed condition she accidentally cuts the side of her palm on one of the larger shards. She cries out and pulls the bleeding hand against her chest.

“Let me see that,” someone speaks above her and to her surprise she looks up to see Michael leaning over her. How did he get from the kitchen into the dining area so fast? And is that concern in his eyes?

“I’m fine,” she bites out and pushes herself to her feet by pressing her back against the counter, her bleeding hand pressed tightly against her chest.

“You’re bleeding,” Michael mumbles, looking at the blood dripping out between her fingers.

“You think?” Maria taunts.

“Sit down,” Michael orders and before Maria has a chance to object, Michael takes a hold of her upper arms and lifts her up on a stool as if she weighed no more than a feather.

“Let me see,” he says and his voice is so soft that Maria finds herself speechlessly holding out her injured hand to him.

She watches his face; how his eyebrows move closer together in a worried frown and how his lips are slightly parted in concentration. She is so focused on the transformation in front of her that she doesn’t notice what he is doing. Until he touches the wound with a tissue. She cries out in surprise and looks down at her hand.

“Sorry,” Michael says.

“Could you be a bit careful?” Maria says, intending to scold him, but her voice is too soft and too bewildered.

“It’s deep,” Michael informs.

The commotion around them has been tuned out and she is completely focused on him. On his touch. On his words. On his eyes.

“I’ll get something to wash the wound with,” Michael says and Maria nods.

The minute he’s absent feels like the longest minute in her life and she becomes aware of the slight throbbing in her hand. The voices of the customers and the clirr of plates and cutlery sneak up on her and she closes her eyes in attempt to shut it out. A large hand pressing against her cheek opens her eyes and she looks up at him.

“You okay?” he asks, the worry in his eyes more palatable. “Are you feeling dizzy?”

She swallows and laughs weakly. “It’s just a cut, Michael.”

She expects him to become defensive, like he always does, and snap at her. But he just nods and gentle takes her hand again. She winces as he starts to clean the wound and she grabs his arm with her other hand.

“Careful,” she whispers.

He looks at where her hand is grabbing his arm and nods. “Yeah.”

Maria looks at him and realizes with a weird feeling at the bottom of her stomach that she has never felt safer. Maybe it is just a cut, but she doesn’t remember a time when someone has been so concerned for her and taken care of her with such gentle care. She definitely hadn’t expected Michael Guerin to be the one to do that.

“Michael, thanks,” she says when he’s wrapping her hand in bandages, gratitude originated from deep inside of her heart.

He meets her eyes and gives her a half-crooked smile. “Sure.”

His response makes her feel exposed and she smiles, knowing that she is blushing.



She thought that things would change between them after that. There had been definite sparkles between them. But the next day it was like nothing even happened. Michael went back to being an ass and Maria brushed the experience off.

But the memory stuck and maybe that’s why Maria agrees with what Max is saying. Maybe that’s why she agrees with Max’s suggestion that there actually was something between Michael and her. On the other hand, what Max is saying is almost a little too detailed. It’s like Max can see inside her heart and knows exactly what’s going on there…

“What are you doing to me?” she says sharply, straightening her back. “Are you inside my head? Can you read minds?”

“No,” Max says strongly. “I don’t read minds.”

“Then how can you know?”

“Because I made the biggest mistake of my life the night I agreed to remove yours and Liz’s memories,” he looks at Liz and adds, “the night I agreed to your request. I should’ve said ‘no’. Liz was upset and I just wanted her to stop hurting. I didn’t think about the consequences. And I’ve lived with those consequences every day since. I’ve analyzed it from every possible angle. I’ve thought about what kind of life my action gave you two and if you were really better off not knowing about aliens. I’ve thought about this every day and thought about it from your perspective. I guess in a way I feel like I still know you.”

“You don’t know anything about me,” Maria whispers. “If all of this is true you stole my life.”

“I couldn’t stop you,” Max says.

“Of course you could,” Maria says. “If you have the ability to alter my memory you are able to do something as simple as walk away.”

”You made a promise to Liz to follow her,” Max tries, but Maria isn’t interested in explanations.

“If you wanted me to keep that promise to Liz, then why did you come back? Why did you look for Liz and start all of this? Don’t you realize that then it will be like you didn’t change anything? It will all have been for nothing.”

“He didn’t come looking for me. I-“ Liz starts, but Max interrupts.

“I didn’t know why Liz started to remember. I’ve been close before and she hasn’t-“

“You’ve been close before?” Liz asks, confused.

“I guess you can’t really trust him, can you?” Maria points out.

Max leans against the wall, rubbing his face tiredly. “Since you don’t remember it’s going to be difficult to explain this. But the things you decided to forget were really dangerous… Lethal. We had enemies. Dangerous enemies who would stop at nothing to…kill us.”

“But you were just kids,” Maria says.

“It’s been a long time sine we were ‘just kids’,” Max says, bitterness apparent in his voice.

Liz takes a step closer to him, but Maria reaches out and stops her.

“By erasing what you know I made you vulnerable to the enemies of our world. We didn’t know if – or when – we would be found. You were my responsibility. I kept track on where you went-“

“You were stalking us?” Maria asks disbelievingly.

“I had to. To keep you safe.”

“And what about Michael? If he still loved me, then why wasn’t he keeping track on me?”

“Michael wasn’t very happy about my decision. He was angry with me and Liz for a very long time.”

Liz shuts her eyes. Had her old self known the ramifications her decision would have? If she had known would she still had gone through with it?

Maria looks between Max and Liz. She looks at Liz’s hair and remembers how they tried to curl it in middle school. It wouldn’t curl. The hair got wavy, but the curls in Liz’s normally amazingly straight hair were as much a miracle as Max’s ability to change it with the touch of his fingertips. She isn’t sure that Max is an alien, because he looks nothing like the image Hollywood advertises, but there is certainly something different about him.

“Maria?” Liz asks and Maria turns to face her curly haired friend.

“Why are you here, Liz? To get your memories back?”

Liz nods.

Maria looks to Max, wondering if she should shut out the voice of reason in her head. The voice that keeps telling her that Max is a good guy and that he is telling the truth. She tries to shut out the voice she normally would not think twice about listening to, because she is not prepared to believe that aliens walk among us.

She turns to Liz and looks her straight in the eyes. “Liz, I know that you believe you’ve lived another life and even if,” she takes a deep breath, convincing herself that she has to do this, “even if I can’t explain how Max just gave you a perm I’m not sure I actually believe he’s not human. But… if you really need to do this then do it and I’ll be here with you. Liz, do you really need to do this?”

“Yes,” Liz whispers, her voice straining with gratitude.

“Okay,” Maria looks at Max, her tone and eyes hardening. “If you hurt her in any way, I will kill you.”

Max believes her. If anything this whole experience has proven Maria’s loyalty to Liz.

“I don’t know how she will react when she gets her memory back,” Max cautions.

“I don’t care what you do, as long as you make sure that she doesn’t come out of this as a crazy person.”

“I’ll do everything I can,” Max promises.

It’s a promise he intends to keep.


TBC...
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Post by max and liz believer » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:12 am

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You are the best!!


Here we go...


Seven


Liz takes a deep breath and squeezes Maria’s hand. Maria meets her worried eyes with a mirrored expression.

“You sure?” Max asks and Liz looks back at him.

“Yes,” she says.

She feels Maria’s hold on her hand tightening and she asks her lifelong friend, “Are you sure about this, Maria?”

“If this is what needs to be done to put a stop to the insanity…” Maria says.

Maria’s afraid. Afraid of what Max is able to do and what will happen if he actually can do it. Mostly she’s afraid for Liz. What if Max can’t do what he says and Liz will go crazy as a result of the failure? But most importantly, what if Max can do what he claims and Liz goes insane because she can’t handle all the memories that were horrible enough to make Liz go to such lengths for forget them?

“Okay,” Max says and scoots closer to Liz on the couch. “I need to touch you.”

Liz mutely nods her permission and he gently moves to cradle her face between his hands. He then starts the process of removing each and every block in her mind, reviving her forgotten memories.

The seven minutes that follow are the most horrible in Maria’s life. While Max holds Liz locked in his grip with his eyes and shuffles through her brain, unlocking memories as he goes, Liz cries, screams and shakes.

Maria is close to ripping Liz out of Max’s hands on several occasions, but something stops her every time. When the minutes have passed, Maria is so shocked by the whole experience that she doesn’t even feel the slightest relieved as Max lets go off Liz. She won’t feel relief until Liz looks into her eyes and assures her that everything is alright. But seeing Liz slump over in the couch, she knows that won’t happen.

“What’s wrong?” she cries fearfully.

Max, sweat droplets glittering on his forehead, bends over Liz. His heart is pounding loudly in his ears as he brushes her hair away.

“Liz?”

“Oh my God,” Liz whispers.

Maria tries to get Liz to look at her. “Lizzie?”

Liz pulls away from Max and Maria, retreating as far into the corner of the couch as she can. “Stay away!”

“Is your head hurting? Are you feeling dizzy?” Max asks, feeling dizzy himself. The exertion from removing the blocks in Liz’s mind combined with the adrenaline and fear rushing through his system at the moment is almost overpowering him.

“I… Alex… You…” Liz stammers.

“Are you okay? Liz?” Maria tries, reaching out to touch her.

Liz recoils and moves out of her way by rolling off the couch. She scrambles off the floor and shakily stands.

Maria starts crying as Liz’s tear-stained face and red eyes look straight at her.

“It hurts,” she sobs. “It hurts so much.”

“What hurts, Lizzie?” Maria asks softly, swallowing the salty tears as they accumulate in the corners of her mouth.

“Everything,” Liz sobs. “Everything hurts.”

Maria looks at her confused, but Max knows exactly what his former girlfriend is talking about. She’s remembering everything that happened. The shooting, Michael almost dying, Max being captured by FBI, Tess, Future Max, Max breaking up with her, her breaking up with Max, being kept hostage by Brody, Alex’s death, Max not trusting her, enemies, lying to her parents, Kyle being shot, risking her life. Everything.

Her head is hurting with information overload and her heart is hurting with emotional overload.

“I need…” Liz blinks some tears away and then spins on her heels. Maria makes a movement to run after her, but Max stops her.

“Let me go!” Maria cries.

“She needs to be alone,” Max says.

Maria whirls around and faces Max with burning eyes. “You said you wouldn’t hurt her! You promised she wouldn’t go insane!”

“She’s not insane, Maria. And I never promised that she wouldn’t hurt. Just that I wouldn’t hurt her directly. The past is hurting her.”

“Then do it to me!”

“What?”

“I want to be able to comfort my friend. I don’t want to be kept in the dark.”

A strong wave of déja-vu floods his senses and he looks at her seriously. “Maria, are you sure about this? You saw what happened to Liz. Maybe you are better off not knowing.”

“Max,” Maria says calmly. “I’m sure that you tried to convince me of not joining Liz when she wanted to forget, because that’s the type of person I remember you to be. But it didn’t work then and it won’t work now. She needs me, Max. She needs her best friend.”

He ignores his exhaustion and nods. He can perform another removal. He has to. Maria is right. Liz needs her and he won’t make Liz wait in pain while he is recuperating. He pulls Maria into a hug and she fights him at first but then relaxes.

“Even if you might hate me after this, know that I truly respect you, Maria. If I ever become half the person that you are, I’d be proud of my life.”

“Thank you,” Maria says stunned.

Max steps back and silently gestures to the couch. Maria inhales shakily and sits down, trying to harden herself against the pain she hears from the bathroom.

When Max is finished, her heart and mind are tired and she is sobbing about the loss of Alex. But the love for Michael and the love Michael gave her during their last year together buffers it all. She feels revived in a way she has never felt before, as if a long search has finally granted her answers. Pieces are falling into place and she feels relieved.

“Are you feeling okay?” Max asks her worriedly.

She wipes the most recent tears off her cheeks with the back of her hand, sniffles and nods. “It’s a really weird feeling. It’s like I was just sitting here with you and you were telling me that Liz had gone through with it. It’s like I went to sleep and had a weird dream and you woke me up. I guess it worked, didn’t it? We really did forget it all. How could we forget it?”

“It wasn’t 100% foolproof,” Max informs.

“How have you been?” Maria asks, seeing Max as her old girlfriend that she used to console a long time ago when he was having troubles with Liz. She sees the dark bags under his eyes and the dull color of his eyes. Dead. His eyes are dead.

Her question surprises him and he fumbles for the words. Maria sobs and pulls him into a hug. “It’s good to be back.”

“You don’t hate me?” Max whispers and the abandoned-boy-who-just-wanted-to-be-loved quality of his voice makes her cry harder.

“You did what Liz asked you too and I love you for it,” Maria sobs.

“Why?” Max wonders, tearing up.

A large weight is lifting from his heart. To be let in by Maria again. The fear of being pushed away has been greater than the fear of having them remember again.

Maria pulls away and smiles gently as she sees the tears on his cheeks. She sniffles as she motherly brushes his tears away with her thumb. “Because you loved her and you didn’t want her to suffer. I guess the others didn’t take it that well.”

“I should’ve told them before I decided to do it.”

She nods. “Probably. But I probably should have told Michael as well so that he wouldn’t have to find out afterwards. There are a lot of things we should’ve done differently, but maybe Liz needed the time to grow and get some life experience on how to deal with this. Maybe we both needed time. Maybe this time around we’ll be able to handle everything. We were too young back then.”

“It’s only been two years,” Max says, smiling in relief about Maria’s reaction.

“And maybe she still needs more time,” Maria says as the soft crying from the bathroom fills the living room.

“Maria, I’m… I’m really sorry.”

“We’ll work it out, Max. Even though some things are painful, I’m glad to have my memories back.”

“But then, you weren’t the one who wanted out.”

“Yeah,” Maria agrees and then looks in the direction of the bathroom. “I need to go to her.”

Max nods. “Let me know if you need me.”

“Yeah,” Maria assures and squeezes his hand.

She finds Liz on the floor in the corner of the shower cabinet.

“Hey babe,” she whispers as she slides in next to Liz.

Liz’s crying increases at Maria’s presence and she gratefully places her head in Maria’s lap. Like they used to do.

“I remember, Liz.”

She nods; her heavy tears preventing her from speaking.

Maria strokes Liz’s curls, leaning her head back against the tiled wall. “It’s strange to come back. It’s like you were never gone. But I’m sure that Michael, Max and Isabel don’t really share that opinion. Isn’t it weird how life has just continued for them and we have been unaware of it? Unaware that we used to be part of that world. Bizarre, isn’t it?”

Liz has stilled during Maria’s monologue but as Maria falls silent, Liz speaks, “I thought that experiencing all those old feelings again would be the worst, but they don’t even come close. I changed their world, Maria. We were in this together and instead of us fighting together after Tess left, I just turned my back on them.”

“It’s ironic, isn’t it?” Maria ponders. “You did this to get away from the guilt, yet it created a new type of guilt.”

She feels Liz nod against her thigh.

“How could I do that?” Liz asks. “After everything we had been through, how could I choose to just run away?”

”You tell me,” Maria says, not a trace of accusation in her voice.

Liz looks up at her friend. “And you. You gave up Michael for me. I didn’t want you to do that, Maria.”

“No,” Maria confirms. “I wanted that. Not to give up Michael, but to follow you.”

“But you and Michael were good together.”

“So we were .”

“They’ll never forgive me.”

Maria grimaces. “Yeah, I can’t assure you they will. We both know that they have major trusting issues and since you more or less crushed them all…”

Her lingering statement has Liz shaking her head in hopelessness. “How could I do that? And why are you not angry with me? Why are you still here, supporting me?”

“Because you didn’t force me to go with you. You told me not to.”

”That doesn’t change that circumstances forced you to make that choice. I trapped you. You couldn’t lie to me so that only gave you one choice. I should’ve thought it through. I should’ve thought about what my decision would do to everyone around me.”

“You were in pain, Lizzie. You weren’t thinking very clearly.”

“That’s no excuse,” Liz sighs. “I was selfish. So incredibly selfish.”

“I guess I felt a bit responsible as well,” Maria says slowly.

Liz frowns. “What do you mean?”

“I didn’t listen to you either. When you were on your quest to find out the real reason behind Alex’s death, I yelled at you. I wasn’t being a very supporting best friend and after we found out that Tess killed him I felt bad. I felt really bad for not believing in you. I guess, in a way, I wanted to make it up to you.”

“Maria, don’t-“

“What I’m trying to say, Liz, is that we all made some bad choices back then. Who could blame us? Everything we went through changed us and the people we were becoming scared us. If you ask me, it was all Tess’ fault.”

“Maria…” Liz says, a part of her wanting to find a scapegoat to remove her guilt. But she knows now that that she has to owe up to it.

“Seriously, Liz. We were just fine up until Tess arrived. That’s when all hell broke loose.”

“I shouldn’t have divided the group. When I said that Alex’s death might’ve been caused by aliens I forced everyone to take a side.”

“Okay,” Maria sighs. “You know what? We all made mistakes. We can choose to go over it again and again or we can take this second chance and make the best out of it.”

“What about Michael…and Isabel?” Liz asks.

“Michael wants to see you, Maria,” Max says from the doorway.

At the sight of Max, Liz feels her heart automatically harden, a defense mechanism which has survived from their fighting two years ago.

“Just me?” Maria wonders.

Max looks at Liz apologetically. “He’s not ready to see Liz yet.”

“Come on,” Liz says weakly. “Just say it. He never wants to see me again.”

“That’s not true,” Maria says. “If he’s anything like the Spaceboy I taught him to be, he’ll come around.”

Max and Liz share a look which clearly translates what they both feel; Michael won’t come around so easily this time.

“And Isabel?” Liz asks hesitantly.

“She’s with Jesse, in North Carolina,” Max answers.

“She’s okay with this?” Maria asks, surprised.

“She’s hurt,” Max says.

Liz closes her eyes, pushing up from Maria’s lap. She feels Max’s eyes on her the entire time and she finds herself fighting against the connection that is there; simmering just beneath the surface of consciousness. She opens her eyes to find him looking at her intently.

She swallows back the tears of guilt and whispers, “And what about you?”

Max holds her eyes for another couple of seconds before dropping his gaze. “I’m fine.”

Maria looks between Max and Liz, the air growing thicker around them by the second. She’s not sure if it’s a good thickening or bad, but she does not have the energy to find out. Smiling at Liz, she knows that either way her friend will be fine. Liz needs to work things out with Max now. And Maria has her own alien to work things out with.

She stands and walks up to Max. “I want Michael’s address.”


TBC...
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Post by max and liz believer » Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:19 pm

Okay, here's the thing. This whole thing started (as you know) with "Mnemosyne's daughter" which was supposed to be a short story. I never expected it to stir up such discussions. Feeling like I couldn't leave you in that state, I decided to write "Prodigal Son". Thanks to your interest and heated discussions along the way I've become increasingly fonder of this story myself and it more or less writes itself at the moment.

However... The reason for me not intending to start a long story (like the 60+ parts I usually write), was that I'm starting fourth year veterinary school in one week and according to rumors it's bound to be the year from hell. I'm trusted with sharp objects on living animals and I'm supposed to know all this stuff about diseases and treatments. In other words, reality is checking in. In exactly seven days.

And I have to be honest with you. I could write an end to this story right now, but I'd feel like I won’t only be cheating you, but also myself, out of a fair ending. And I won't have time to write at all during this year.

I know it's a strange request, but it's the only solution I find instead of abandoning you for a year. If you were to hint to me things you would like to see resolved in this fic (I'm planning on a meeting between Michael and Maria - of course, but that's about it) that would enable me to write an ending within two or three parts and I wouldn't completely cheat you out on the ending. It might be wrong for me to ask this, since I'm the writer and I should probably be in charged of these kinds of things. But in the whirl of packing and preparing for school, I won't have any time to contact my muse.

I appreciate your support here more than I can ever say in words. I love your opinions and that these faulty characters can lure out so many different viewpoints. And I would hate to make this into a Hollywood happy ending. Because in my opinion, fluffy pink clouds and happy music doesn't fit this story...

After this whole rant, I'll now post the next chapter. My plane from Sweden to Australia takes off tomorrow and when I get to my apartment Down Under I won't have access to internet for I don't know how long. I need to sign up for a telephone plan first. But I'll be back. Count on it...


paper, mareli, Flamehair, begonia9508, tequathisy, Emz80m, xmag, nibbles2, clueless and hazz

- You rule!

All lurkers... thank you for reading and don't be afraid to leave a note. I would appreciate it a lot. When I was reading Dee's stories and they started the same kind of discussions I see here, I was a lurker too. But it’s enough if you just drop me a line to let me know that you’re reading. If you don't, that's fine - big wave and hug to you anyway :D



Eight

One year and a couple of months earlier

A red-haired girl swings the door open. Her eyes shamelessly travel down his body and her eyebrows rise in silent approval. “Yes?”

“I think I’m at the wrong place,” Michael murmurs, already turning away from the door.

Her fingers curling around his arm stops him. “Are you sure about that?”

He sighs and turns around. He never was a very patient guy. “You don’t look like a guy.”

She frowns while her lips curl in amusement. “Well, that’s a relief.”

Michael sighs again, audibly this time. “I’m looking for Sam.”

She nods. “Right. Sam.”

He imitates her nod and says slowly. “Yes. Sam. So obviously I’m at the wrong place.”

“Yes,” she agrees solemnly. “Unless, of course, you’re looking for a Samantha.”

He eyes her, irritated. “Look. I’m sure you have something else to do with your time. I know I do. So how about we say goodbye now and pretend that we never even met?”

“If that’s what you want…” she starts.

A door opens further down the hall and a male head peeks out to look in their direction.

“Hey Sam, did you get that message about the apartment meeting?”

The girl smiles sweetly at Michael. “Excuse me. One sec.”

As she makes some arrangement with the guy, Michael hopes that faith is not that cruel to tell him that the person he was planning on living with has a little bit more estrogen than planned on.

The guy in the hallway disappears and the woman offers her hand to Michael. “I’m Samantha. Michael Guerin, I presume?”

“You’re not a guy,” Michael says stonily.

“Wow, are you in college? Because you are really smart,” Samantha says sarcastically.

“I’m meeting a guy,” Michael says evenly.

“Ah,” Sam smiles. “The wonders of technology mixed with some healthy old-fashioned assumptions. You never really asked me if I was a guy now did you? And email correspondence doesn’t really reveal that kind of information now does it?”

“Maybe you should’ve offered the information,” Michael snaps.

“Testy,” Sam says without a hint of the intimidation tries inflicting on her. “Okay, genius. How about you just take a look at the apartment? I promise you, I won’t bite.”

Her tone of voice is anything but reassuring, but maybe that is why he chooses to take a look. He has never been the one to back down from a challenge and this girl appears to think that she can win this argument.

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

Four months later

“Great,” Michael murmurs as Samantha flops down next to him on the couch. She had come home twenty minutes earlier; drunk as a skunk.

“Whatcha watching?” she says and Michael grimaces at the loudness of her voice.

“What does it look like?” he says, keeping his eyes trained on the TV and not on the girl that smells way too good for just having come home from a club. He can’t deny that she’s an attractive woman either. But he would rather die before telling her that piece of information. Her ego is big enough as it is.

“Some boring sport,” she states and he can feel her eyes on the side of his neck.

“Go to bed,” he grumbles out.

“Only if you come with me,” she says huskily and he feels her long nail drag along his arm.

He moves away from her. “You’re drunk.”

She sits up somewhat straighter. “You’re quite the observant guy, genius.”

“Stop calling me that.”

“Why?” she asks softly. “It’s the truth.”

“You know I barely passed high school, right?”

She huffs. “Please. High school? Doing badly in high school doesn’t say anything at all about a person.”

“Colleges seem to think so,” Michael says snidely.

“Do I hint some bitterness?”

Michael swallows. She hit a sore point. But then again, finding a topic that can make him think of Maria isn’t that difficult. It has been a little over two years since the mindwarp but he can’t forget her. He has been telling himself that his unwillingness to forget is a result of always having Maria around. Because even if she doesn’t remember them, she still works at the same place as him and she has been a constant reminder of what they used to have. He kept telling himself that her presence made it impossible for him to forget but considering his inability to pay any attention to girls whatsoever even after Maria left for college he is starting to think that it’s him. He doesn’t want to forget her, or them.

College makes him think of where he would be if Maria and he still were together. Would they be attending the same school? Would he still choose to not attend college or would she convince him of otherwise? Then again; red sneakers, incense, cars, even ice hockey also makes him think of Maria. To be honest, everything makes him think of Maria. He grumbles. He always considered Max whipped, but he is just as smitten.

“I can’t figure you out.”

He rips out of his thoughts and looks at his roommate. “Huh?”

“You come off all big and scary. Well, at least that’s what you try to be-“
He glares at her but she just smiles. “You wanna know what I think?”

“Not really,” Michael mumbles.

She smoothly ignores his statement. “I think you’re actually a softie on the inside.”

“You’re drunk.”

“But you try to hide it. You try so hard that it becomes transparent that you’re scared – or something. I’m not really sure about that one.”

“How about you leave me alone? You’re bugging the hell-“

“Then there’s this girl that keeps calling you. Is she your girlfriend?”

Isabel. No one else but Isabel calls him.

“Yes,” he snaps.

She shakes her head forcefully. “No. I don’t believe that. You want to know why?”

Michael sighs loudly, looking up at the heavens for help. Why? Why do you like to torture me?

Not bothering with an answer, she continues, “Because she sounds like your mother. I can hear that she’s more our age than middle age, but she sounds like an older sister or something. She’s your sister, right?”

“You stink,” Michael says and switches the channel.

She sniffs her shirt. “I don’t.”

“You stink of cigarettes and alcohol.”

“So what? You want me to remove the shirt?”

Michael answers by turning up the volume on the TV.

“Fine,” she screams, trying to be heard over the noise.

He notices her rising from the couch out of the corner of his eye. Then the left field of his vision detects movement very similar to undressing and he turns to look at her just as she pulls the shirt over her head and throws it at the TV screen. Baffled, he stares at her neon orange lace bra.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asks, but his voice is too low to be heard over the TV.

“And another thing I don’t understand,” she screams, “why haven’t you tried to screw me yet?”

He frowns and starts to rise from the couch. “Sam…”

She stares at him angrily. “Any guy would jump on the opportunity. You’ve lived with me for four months and you haven’t even made a move. Are you gay?”

“I’m not gay!” he yells back.

“Turn off the fucking TV!!”

He flicks off the power button and a deafening silence lowers over the room.

“So you’re not gay,” she says, “I’m just not attractive enough.”

Maybe he will regret it later but at the time he doesn’t really think.
He roughly grabs her neck and presses her lips hard against his. She whimpers in surprise, but quickly recuperates and takes a firm hold of his head to keep him in place. His hands skim over her naked skin and the kissing grows more urgent. His tongue invades her mouth while his hands work to unclasp her bra. He feels the softness of her breast press up against his chest as the bra falls to the floor.

Her head falls backwards as he starts kissing her neck.

“Maria,” he moans.

“Michael?”

“Maria…”

The warm body pulls away from him and he looks at her confusingly through dazed eyes. “What…?”

Sam looks at him calmly, her face devoid of any emotion, her voice disturbingly even, “Who’s Maria?”

“What?” Michael croaks.

“Maria. Who’s Maria?” Sam repeats.

Michael stares at her as he feels anger, fear, and concern rip through him all at the same time. There’s fear on her face as he harshly grabs her arms and shakes her. “Who are you?! Where did you hear that name?!”
Is she an enemy? Has she been spying on him the last four months? Is she holding Maria captive? Does she want him dead in exchange for Maria?

“From you,” she screams, her voice breaking in fear.

“I’ve never spoken to you about… about her! You’re lying! Where is she? What do you want?!”

“You’re hurting me,” Sam cries, the fear of what the wrath in Michael’s eyes may do to her having sobered her up.

“If you’ve hurt her-“

I don’t know who she is!! You just spoke her name! You said her name, Michael!

He stills and the red haze of anger becomes somewhat transparent, displaying a very frightened version of the feisty girl he has up until now referred to as his roommate. His grip on her arms loosens.

“You said her name,” Sam sobs.

His hands fall away from her arms and she brings her arms up to shield her naked upper body, her hands moving to cover the angry red marks which turn black the next day. He takes a step away from her, his head screaming in guilt and shame. Without a word, he turns and heads for his bedroom.

“Michael!” she calls after him, but he doesn’t hear as the slam of his door drowns out his name.

He slowly steps up to his bed and stares unseeingly at the bed cover. Not really aware of what he is doing, he sinks onto his knees and pulls out a photo frame from under the mattress. He stares at the green-blue eyes, the blonde hair and the full lips as his hands shake with unnamed emotion.

With a scream he turns and throws the frame into the wall. The glass barely breaks as the back of the frame hits the wall and it falls to the ground. Before it touches the floor, a bolt of unearthly power hits it and the object crumbles into grey dust which rains down on the wooden planks.

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

Present time

Max puts the steaming tea cup down on the tiled floor next to Liz.

“Thanks,” she whispers.

He sits down on the outside of the shower stall while she remained on the inside.

“You really hurt me,” Liz says after five minutes of silence.

He looks at her, surprised to hear her speak. “So did you.”

She nods, staring down in the tea cup. “I know.”

“Is that why you wanted to leave?”

“That was part of it.” She takes a deep breath. “You were my soulmate, Max. You were supposed to support me and believe in me. Why didn’t you?”

“I was afraid.”

“Afraid of what?”

“That you might be right. That who I was had something to do with Alex’s death.”

She looks at him sadly, her heart aching not for herself but for him. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. You went in there to get Alex back and you couldn’t. When you came out I just pushed you away. I was so disappointed, but mostly angry.”

Max nods, her words confirming his guilt of not being able to save Alex.

But Liz reads him like a book and interrupts his self-blame. “No, Max. I wasn’t angry with you. I was angry with me. Because I hadn’t told him that I loved him when I was with him earlier that day. Because I hadn’t spent as much time with him as I should’ve. Because I couldn’t protect him.”

“I tried to reach out to you, but you were so cold.”

“I know. I know. But I couldn’t let you in since you didn’t believe me.”

”Would things have been different if I had?” Max asks.

“Yes,” Liz answers truthfully. She didn’t want to add to Max’s guilt, but they needed to be honest with each other from now on. “But then again, I was not letting you in. I needed to figure it out on my own. So maybe even if you had believed me, it wouldn’t have changed my behavior.”

He stares at the wall, his mind filled with what-if’s and should’s.

“Do you hate me?” Liz asks, her voice small.

While he traces her facial features with his eyes he carefully considers her question. There was a time when he hated her. For leaving him and everyone he loved behind. For not fighting for him. For giving up. But even though he searches, he can’t find a single thread of hate in his heart.

“I used to,” he says honestly. “But the years gave me time to think. I guess, in the end I loved you too much to hate you.”

A heart-wrenching sob is ripped from her throat at his words. “Do you still? Love me?”

He looks down at a small stain on the floor and traces it with his eyes. “I don’t know, Liz. I don’t know.”

“Okay,” she answers and as he looks up she gives him a small smile, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. “Will you ever forgive me?”

“I will forgive you before I can forgive myself,” Max answers.

Liz shakes her head. “Don’t Max. I’m the monster in all of this. Not you.”

He starts to try and remove the stain on the tiled floor with his nail. “We were never really good at being honest with each other, were we?”

She agrees with a shake of her head. “We hurt each other so much. We were good at using the love between us against each other.”

”Yeah, I’ve thought about that a lot.”

“We have to stop doing that.”

“Yeah.”

She takes a deep breath and moves closer to him, only the threshold of the shower cabinet separating them. “Is there any hope for us, Max? Do we have a future?”

He gives her a weak smile and catches one of her curls between his fingers, feeling the soft texture against his skin. “Maybe. Maybe.”


TBC...
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The End

Post by max and liz believer » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:25 pm

Hello my pretties,

I know I said I probably had 2-3 parts left of this one. Well, I started writing and I basically said most of what I wanted to say in only one part. So...this is the last part of this story. In a way, it would be nice to make a triology out of this and write a third part, but I'm pretty satisfied with it ending here. Of course, if there's a large uproar and you'd really want to see a third story (there's enough groveling for Liz to do to fill I story...), I guess I could write one :wink: But that would have to wait, since I'm (as mentioned over and over again :roll:) extremely busy in school and I still have two other stories that I need to finish.

I can't thank you enough for getting so involved in this story. Thank you so much for all your opinions and compliments. I hope I didn't cause you too much emotional distress, but looking back I realised that this story couldn't be anything less than an emotional rollercoaster. Some stories just write themselves and I never really had much control over "Mnemosyne's daughter" or "Prodigal Son".

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Thank you so much for the incredible support!!


And of course, big hug to Elizabeth for editing. You're the best!


love,

Jo



Nine


They say that time heals all wounds.

What about the wounds left forgotten? Does not remembering equal erasure? Does the act of forgetting bend time into insignificance?

Two hours ago, Max Evans returned my journal. Two hours before that, I was broken, falling into pieces on a bricked bathroom floor. Two hours before that I lived in another reality where I could still tell myself that Earth was the only planet in the universe inhabited by intelligent life.

What is time? A way of measuring a continuum? Or maybe a collection of moments, the creamy yummy part within the seconds?

Not too long ago, an alien king – whom I have been in love with for most of the time I’ve known him – filled my seconds with visions, memories. Images of a past I’ve run away from.

In the process, I did not only retain all my gaping wounds, but my surroundings snapped into mind-numbing clarity. Moments of tears, fear, anger and disappointment rushed through my mind, but also laughter, love, safety, belonging…


A girl, wearing nothing but a man’s shirt, opens the door and Maria freezes. “Uhm… I’m looking for Michael Guerin, but maybe I’m at the wrong-“

But before the girl has a chance to answer, Michael walks into Maria’s line of vision, wearing nothing but boxers and bed hair.

“Sam, what…” His eyes land on the visitor and he falls silent.

In that same moment, Maria puts two and two together and all nervousness about meeting her old boyfriend leaves her mind to be brutally replaced by jealousy. The rational left side of her brain makes a feeble attempt at informing her that she has no right to be jealous because she has been absent from his life for a long time. But the emotional right side of her brain fights back strongly. Because in Maria Deluca’s world, she was together with Michael just yesterday. Her world was just paused.

Ignoring acquiring permission to enter, she walks straight past the under-dressed girl, heading for Michael with fresh anger.

“I can’t believe you! Okay, maybe I left you, but I thought we had something more than something you could easily forget about. Sure, I’ve dated,” she stops in front of Michael, jutting her well-manicured finger into his chest, “but at least I didn’t remember you-“

She stops talking as Michael laughs in that half-crooked way of his. Offended, Maria stares at him angrily, while her heart is beating heatedly at the sound of his snicker. He never stopped having an effect on her.

“And what about this do you find so damn fun-“ Her voice trails off as he falls quiet to just observe her.

“I…what…uhm…” Maria stutters, confused under the intense scrutiny of Michael’s dark eyes. She swallows loudly before pulling herself together. “Michael Guerin, I asked you a question.”

“Annoying,” Michael murmurs and Maria frowns in bewilderment.

“What? The girl is annoying? What? What are you talking about?”

He huffs and says evenly, his eyes barely blinking as he watches her. “You’re still so fucking annoying.”

She feels the urge to smack him at the same time as she wants to press her body up against his and have him kiss her senseless. “Gee, Michael. I see that those years apart haven’t taught you anything about your tactlessness.”

A shadow passes over his eyes and he takes a step back. “Well, that’s too bad. Next time I'll be sure to make our time apart an interesting learning experience.”

She startles at the venom and sarcasm in his voice, but even as the left side of her brain is calmly analyzing the situation and informing her that Michael has every right to be angry with her, the right side grumpily enlightens her that she does not deserve to be treated this way.

“I don’t regret it.”

Anger flutters through his hand as he waves it in the air in front of him. “Good for you.”

She sighs. “I mean, I couldn’t leave Liz alone.”

“She’s a big girl. She could’ve handled it.”

Maria raises an eyebrow. “Oh, just like you’re handling it?”

“She wouldn’t have known, because she asked for her memory to be erased, remember?”

“Yeah,” Maria says sharply. “I remember. I lived that life.”

“Whatever,” Michael murmurs and takes another step back. As he is about to turn away from her, Maria grabs a hold of his arm.

“Don’t run away from me-“

He swivels around, anger making his eyes glow. “You ran away from me! I thought we had something-“

“We did-“

“I thought we had something…real…” he bites his teeth together and takes a deep breath before resignedly breathing, “You didn’t even say goodbye.”

She feels her heart plummet and shreds into pieces on the way. Suddenly the air feels humid and heavy and she stares at him with building tears in her eyes. “That’s it, isn’t it? It’s not because I left you for Liz. No, you would understand why I did that, because you used to have the same loyalty for Isabel and Max. It’s because I didn’t say goodbye. It’s because you had to hear it from Ma-“

His eyes are averted as he interrupts her, “Why did you do that, Maria? If you had only given me a chance to say how much…”

As his voice grows tired and withers into nothingness, she answers, “Because if I’d chosen to say goodbye to you, I never would’ve been able to go through with it.”

The world falls silent around them and Maria is weighed down by the things she wants to say but doesn’t dare to. Afraid that it’s not her place to say it any longer and that she will only get hurt by putting herself out there. Afraid that he doesn’t care for her any longer. Afraid of what role the girl who opened the door plays in Michael’s life.

Her fears are stomped to the ground as Michael looks up and glistening dark eyes meet hers. Her body starts trembling under his unwavering gaze and for not the first time she wonders what is running through his head. It is getting increasingly difficult to breathe and she imagines that she can hear his breathing getting more labored as the room seems to shrink around them, disintegrating the surrounding world.

They seem to rush towards each other at the same time, hands touching, bodies pressing and lips caressing. She whimpers with pleasure as he hungrily devours her mouth. There is nothing gentle about that kiss. It’s hard, wild and passionate – everything she remembers him to be. His hands tangle in her hair and he harshly pulls her into his body while his lips desperately pull on her lower lip.

And just as suddenly as it started it stops. Maria stares up at him, her chest heaving with shallow breaths and her swollen lips parted in speechlessness. Her whole body is breaking out in goose bumps as his intense eyes travels across her face.

“Why did you come back?”

She swallows as the need to be honest tempts to suffocate her. Her voice is trembling from the intensity of the kiss they just shared, but also from the fear of his response as she answers, “Liz wanted to remember.”

She sees the piercing hurt in his eyes and she feels him move away before his body does.

“Michael…” she says softly as his back turns towards her.

“Did I mean anything to you?”

His voice is so raw, so bleeding, that she forgets how to breathe.

“Of course you did.” She fumbles for the words, not wanting to make more damage than the mere situation already has. “You still do.”

“I don’t know, Maria.” He steps into his bedroom and she awkwardly follows. “You decided to forget about us in the blink of an eye and then your decision to come back…” He turns around, his eyes burrowing into hers. “I could’ve forgiven you for leaving me, but the fact that you didn’t even come back for me – you came back for her.”

“Spaceboy, are you jealous at Liz?” Maria asks incredulously. There is a hint of amusement in her voice, which makes Michael snap.

Yes!

The air whirls around them and comes to a halt, as the pressure seems to build up around them, pressing to be released in an explosion. Maria swallows. Her question was meant to lighten the situation, not make it more difficult.

“I didn’t mean it like-“

“She might be your friend, Maria. But she took you away. And in my book, everything that takes you away is something for me to be jealous at.”

She stares at him, dumbfounded, not sure if his comment is good or bad. “She needed someone with her-“

“You didn’t have to forget to be with her!” Michael roars.

She takes an automatic step backwards at the intensity of his emotions. Michael has always been the hothead in the group. He has always let his emotions run wild. But she has never seen him like this. So raw, so hurt. In so much pain. The guilt of realizing that she did this to him makes her knees go weak and she sinks down on the edge of his unmade bed, her entire body trembling with pain.

“I’m sorry, Michael,” she whispers, a single tear running down her cheek. “I’m so sorry.”

“Sorry isn’t good enough,” Michael mutters.

His casualness at her emotions ignites her anger and she stands up. “Damnit Michael! What do you want me to do? Grovel? Kiss your feet? Be your slave for the rest of my life?! I can’t change the past! I can’t make it undone. It’s done, okay? It’s done!”

“Did she remember him?” he asks heatedly.

A heavy sigh expels the last ounce of energy from her body and she sinks back down on the bed. “What?”

“Is that why she wanted to come back? She remembered him, didn’t she?”

Maria stares at him, perplexed. As far back as she can remember, she has been the one who wanted a deeper connection with Michael. She has been the one envying Max and Liz for their ability to see into each other’s souls. Now her aloof act-before-he-thinks ex-boyfriend is standing in front of her, insinuating that he is hurt because they didn’t have that connection. Hurt about her not remembering him.

“Well, if you had actually been around, like Max was, you might’ve prompted some memory retrieval in me as well,” she bites out.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he says, irritated.

“It means, Max was always looking after Liz – even though she decided to forget about him. He was making sure that she was safe. It was his presence there that prompted her memories. I’m not so sure it was about their connection at all. So, if you had only been around, maybe-“

“Damn you, Maria,” Michael grovels, strides out of the room and slams the door behind him.

Maria looks at the reverberating door in confusion, surprised by his abrupt dismissal, before getting to her feet and ripping the door open. Michael has already flicked on the TV and is watching some rerun of a basketball game.

“Don’t you walk out on me, Michael Guerin,” Maria threatens.

“It’s not that fun to be walked out on, is it?” he says calmly, his eyes fixed on the screen.

The air hitches in Maria’s throat. Her fists clench at her sides and the words are pressed out through clenched teeth, “You can’t blame me for not remembering you. That’s just stupid, even for you! I couldn’t even remember!”

“And whose fault was that?”

His casual tone makes her stomp over to the TV and press the power-button. The screen goes black and Michael ignites in front of her. Maria can’t stop the heat from spreading in her body as desire rushes through her at the site of him. Then his words rip at her.

“I was there! I’ve been there every single minute of your life!”

The anger gets stuck and she stumbles helplessly over it. “What?”

“You think that Max is the only one who cares? Just because Max has a way with words and knows how to swoon a girl doesn’t mean that he is the only one capable of caring for someone.”

Of course not,” Maria cries empathetically.

“I’ve been there, ever since you left Roswell. If I haven’t been able to keep track on you myself, I’ve asked someone else-“

Not knowing how to respond to his obvious declaration of love for her, she responds the only way she knows how to when it comes to Michael. “You’ve had me followed?!”

“You’re fucking unbelievable,” Michael grumbles. “When Max follows Liz it’s romantic. When I follow you, it’s stalking.”

She rolls her eyes. “You’re being ridiculous.”

He throws his hands up in the air in a gesture of complete resignation. “Why do I even try?”

“You’re throwing a tantrum, Michael.”

He sighs and closes his eyes. His voice is suddenly weary as he says, “If anything ever happened to you, I would never forgive myself.”

Maria inhales deeply and averts her eyes to the ceiling to prevent sudden intruding tears from falling. Why did he have to say something like that when she was trying to be angry with him?

Silence follows and Maria’s eyes rake over his face, taking in the changes in him. He looks tired. He looks like life has aged him prematurely. Her heart flutters. But God, he still looks gorgeous.

“I did remember,” she says softly.

He opens his eyes and looks directly at her. “What?”

“You. I did remember you.”

Something she can’t really interpret flutters in his eyes before he masks it. Seems like the hard lessons of life have finally taught him how to hide his feelings. She’s not sure that’s such a good thing.

“Before I got my memories back, Max told me that you and I used to be together and…” she huffs “even though I didn’t want to acknowledge it, I could feel you.”

He’s looking at her with open awe and air abruptly becomes an issue as the oxygen seems to get sucked out of the room. Her breast is heaving with strained breathing as she tries to continue to form words and sentences under the blaze of his heated stare.

“Not…feel you feel you, but I could feel what you meant to me. It wasn’t really a memory, it was more a…feeling. A strong feeling. Of…home.”

His body shudders with a shaken sigh. “You’re lying.” But his voice is weak and without conviction.

She shakes her head. “I still do, you know. I still feel like you’re my home.”

She can see the pride making his body hesitate, but then he takes one large step and pulls her into his arms. Relieved, her arms tighten around him, his arms holding onto her almost desperately. Her tears land on the skin of his neck and she shivers with desire as he places a kiss on the uppermost part of her exposed shoulder.

“I want to hate you,” he whispers into her hair. “But I can’t.”

“I’m so sorry,” she says, her voice muffled by regretful but relieved tears.

“Don’t ever leave me again.” He is trying to make it sound like a joke, but the honesty and seriousness of his tone is far away from amusement.

“I won’t,” she promises. “As long as you won’t either.”

“Deal,” he whispers.

The ground is covered in land mines. One inch in the wrong direction, one wrong choice, and you might be obliterated. I don’t know if he will ever forgive me. I don’t know if I will ever forgive me. The irony of it all is that Max seems to think he’s responsible. That it’s his fault that I wanted out and his fault that he put the lives of his loved ones in jeopardy. But I know it’s just as much my fault. Or just as little.

I used to have this need to be perfect. My life was under constant scrutiny from the prying eyes of the outside and I was acutely aware of the expectations. I was the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect friend… I breathed perfection and everyone else started to depend on my next breath. After that, I couldn’t mess up. I’ve worked myself into a corner. I couldn’t be imperfect.

Everything changed the day I was shot. I started lying to my parents, my friends, the police… My grades started slipping and I didn’t spend every night in my own bed, in my childhood room. Yes, it would seem to the outside observer that Max was the decisive factor in my life falling apart. But I don’t see it that way. I wanted to fall apart. I wanted to escape perfection. I wanted to breathe new air, to feel new ground beneath my feet. I wanted to live. Max did that. He brought me back to life…and not just literally.

But then Alex died and I was drowning. Because my road back to perfection, to
knowing what to do, had been distorted. I couldn’t return to the perfect daughter, the person with anticipated reactions and grieve for the death of my friend like everyone else around me was doing. I didn’t know how to do that. I felt in the core of my heart that I needed to fight for Alex, because I was the reason he died. I never knew that I would have to do it alone. I never knew that I would need my friends around me. I never knew until I was standing there alone. That’s when my head sank under water.

I know that Max feels responsible. I’ve seen into his heart. I’ve seen the thoughts in his head. I’ve heard him whisper my name in guilt. I’ve felt his tears against the side of my neck. And I will spend every second of the rest of my life convincing Max that he is not responsible.

Because I’m done running.

I turned my back on my friends just like I felt they had done when I was trying to find truth in Alex’s death. It was revenge. It was low. It was selfish. And I don’t want to be that person anymore.

Max brought me back… from death and from loneliness. Now I will return the favor.

This is Liz Parker - attempting life.


<center>THE END</center>
Last edited by max and liz believer on Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unbreakable (M/L, AU)
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