Everything's Not Lost (UC, Z/L, MATURE) [WIP]

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Applebylicious
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Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2002 8:45 pm

Everything's Not Lost (UC, Z/L, MATURE) [WIP]

Post by Applebylicious » Sat Oct 16, 2004 8:14 am

Title: Everything’s Not Lost
Author: Lindsay
Category: Zan/Liz
Rating: MATURE for violence, language and hot, alien sex.
Disclaimer: The characters of Roswell belong to The WB, Melinda Metz, and UPN.
Summary: Takes place after Panacea. What if Max died…and Zan survived? Liz deals with the grief of losing the man she loves, and the struggle of falling in love with him all over again.

Author’s note: Any similarities to other stories are completely coincidental. If you don’t like something, PM it to me privately. Sucks that I have to say that, but I do. If you post negatively on this thread…I WILL take it to a mod. I don’t mind criticism, but not for my readers. Thanks go out to my wonderful beta, Kay_b and to Liz (LongTimeFan) for her amazing banner that completely captures my Zan and Liz. :) *smoochies*

Updates each Friday...

Winner - Round 7


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Zan

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Liz


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Best Dupe Fanfiction - Round 6

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<center>Everything's Not Lost</center>


Prologue



Vermont, 2002


She knew the exact second he was taken away from her.

It was like a light inside of her was snuffed out, a flicker that she’d tried to keep hidden yet one that still shined far brighter than she would have liked. And now it was forever extinguished.

She sat up, gasping as she struggled to recognize her surroundings. It was impossible through the darkness, but her wide eyes fell on the figure lying next to her. She barely heard the sound of her own ragged breathing, too many thoughts were spinning inside her mind and the urge to vomit was rising inside her stomach.

“Liz?” Maria’s sleepy voice murmured as she sat up hesitantly. “What happened?”

She held a hand to her throat, turning to meet her friend’s baffled gaze in the shadowy attic. Maria’s expression was anxious and grew more worried the longer it took for her to respond.

When she finally did, the words were flat and shaky. “Max is dead.”

“What?” Maria answered, her voice rising as she reached out a hand to shake her stoic friend’s shoulder. “Liz…!”

Maria’s voice faded away as everything inside of her crescendoed in a symphony of pain and anguish. A single tear slid down one pale cheek and caught on her lip. She didn’t register the salty flavor, but then she didn’t feel anything. She doubted she ever would again.

<center>***</center>

Chapter One


New York City, Five years later…


“You were talking in your sleep again.”

Liz Parker glanced up from beneath the shaggy fringe of bangs that fell across her dark eyes. Her gaze caught her reflection in the mirror that hung across the room. She didn’t bother to wince at the shadows beneath her sunken eyes, the wan shade of her complexion. She knew she looked like hell.

“Sorry,” she answered in a husky tone, returning her gaze to the notebook in front of her. Just like that, she dismissed the other person in the room. She wasn’t good at carrying on conversations, but at the same time she knew the consequences she faced when alone.

Liz Parker was haunted by ghosts. Ghosts from the past, taking the shape and form of two people she had dearly loved. And lost. When she closed her eyes she could still see them…one dark and solemn, with golden eyes that shimmered through her soul. The other, laughing and carefree. Or he had been…once.

Aware of the fact that her hand had clenched around a graphite pencil, she repressed the memories and forced herself to take deep breaths. She had thought as the years went by, the pain would lessen. She had thought a change of scenery would do her good.

After Max’s death had been confirmed, she hadn’t gone back home to Roswell. Instead she’d chosen to return with Maria to New York, where she immediately set out to destroy herself. After all, what was left for her? Certainly nothing, and no one, back home. The logical part of her knew that she was behaving irrationally, but the larger, grief-stricken part of her was silently screaming.

Her family didn’t understand her misery, or they chose not to. She was unable to even look her parents in the eye, knowing how they had felt about her and Max. And her friends were too involved in their own personal pain. She’d been able to slip past everyone…

Luckily, she’d stopped herself in time. Or rather, something had stopped her. She could still remember the night she’d stood on the ledge of her seventh story apartment balcony, staring out over the twinkling city below, a flask of alcohol in her hands.

It would have been so easy to let herself fall, frighteningly easy to just let it all end. In fact, she’d planned to do so. She’d raised her face to the darkened sky, staring at the stars that were barely visible through the smog and clouds, and swayed in the breeze.

Tossing the flask behind her, she’d thrown up her arms and closed her eyes. The sudden flash had her gasping and falling backwards, landing on the cold floor with a hard thump. But she’d barely felt it, so attuned to the jolt of feelings coursing through her.

The connection, so achingly familiar yet at the same time different, had surged to life and nearly brought tears to her eyes. In her drunken state she’d screamed his name and reached for the ledge with fumbling hands. Before she could stand, it had flickered out.

After that, the dreams began.

He came to her in the dead of the night, hazy images of pain and loneliness. Betrayal and suspicion. He didn’t seem to realize he’d connected to her, was always surprised and wary of her presence there with him. She desperately tried to cling to him, but always found herself jolting awake, wild-eyed and drenched in sweat.

Maria and the others thought she’d finally snapped. They begged and pleaded for her to come back home, but Liz knew she couldn’t. She couldn’t face them…not yet. Maybe she had lost her mind, but she couldn’t give up the connection. She felt him…close. For whatever reason, Max Evans was in New York. She knew it.

Then days would go by where she wouldn’t feel anything and she’d begin to question herself. Those were the hard times…when she stayed awake all night, tears burning behind her lids as she tried desperately to initiate the bond. Sometimes she’d succeed, only to have it abruptly snapped. Other times she wasn’t allowed inside at all.

Judging from her roommate’s words, last night had been a success. She knew from experience that she only spoke in her sleep when she was communicating with Max. God, how weird did that sound?? Max was by all means, dead. But for whatever reason, a part of him…of their connection had been left behind, and she was determined to discover what, if anything, that meant.

“You look tired,” Candice sighed heavily as Liz continued to ignore her. “Listen, why don’t you take a night off and let’s go out and do something?”

Liz’s lips curved absently, her mind far too entrenched in memories for her friend’s words to fully register. “Hmm…”

Taking that as a sign of approval, Candice perked up and smiled. “Yeah. We’ll go out to a club or two, check out the meat market.” Her tone turned teasing as she referred to the local singles who inhabited the bars night after night in search of someone to spend their time with.

Liz blinked, glancing up as Candice’s words finally sank in. She began to shake her head, an automatic protest already forming on her lips. “I think—”

The pain to her head nearly caused her to collapse from her chair to the floor. She grasped the edge of the desk, a loud gasp spilling forth from her lips as Candice’s eyes widened.

“Liz!”

Behind closed lids, she saw blurred images…a figure lying on the cold ground, being beaten by faceless assailants. She felt each strike as if it were upon her own body. When her eyes flew open, she stared down at her trembling form and expected to see shadowed bruises forming. Only milky, white skin met her gaze.

“My God, what the hell was that?” Candice nearly shrieked, her hands falling to Liz’s shoulders as she lightly shook. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” Liz mumbled, the shock of the moment already fading to be replaced by nervous anxiety. For whatever reason, she’d received that flash and now she had to find out what it meant. She stood shakily, shoving her hair from her eyes as she turned to meet Candice’s bewildered gaze as she sat crouched on the floor. “Let’s go.”

“Go where?” Candice managed.

“Out,” Liz called excitedly, already making her way towards the door. She remembered to grab her coat before throwing open the door and stepping through.

<center>***</center>


Fucking bastards. Fucking cold.

With a grunt, Zan attempted to roll over onto his back as the puddle of murky rainwater began to soak through his thin shirt. He winced as it stung one of his numerous wounds, and he sent out a silent scream of rage at the people whose fault this had been.

Not the hoodlums who had found him, half-asleep and deprived of heat, behind a city dumpster. Even when they had beat him for sport, their mocking laughter spilling from throats hacking from the effects of years of substance abuse, he’d seen different faces looming above him.

Lonnie, Rath. Ava. His fucking family had done this to him, and he’d be damned if he’d let them win by giving them the satisfaction of dying. They already assumed him dead, which was the only advantage he had. He’d managed to keep his lame ass alive for the last six years, he wasn’t about to fade out now just because some crack heads on a high had decided to take a bat to him. Fuck that.

He’d survived being hit by a truck, set up by the only people he’d ever made the mistake of trusting. Later on as he’d lain on the ground, barely breathing, he’d made plans of retribution. Plans he’d damn well carry out. He and his family would be reunited, and once they were…

He pressed his lips tightly together and with a hiss, turned himself over. A pained gasp fled his lips as he jarred his newly dislocated shoulder. He spent several moments lying there, chest moving shallowly as he struggled to banish the spots before his eyes.

Fucking bastards. Fucking cold.

It was his mantra, and it gave him the strength to allow the healing to begin inside of him. His powers weren’t what they had once been, but as the years had passed since his attempted murder, he’d been building them back up. He closed his eyes and felt warmth pass through his body as he gritted his teeth together.

The image of the dark, doe-eyed female threw him off and his eyes flew back open as his breath caught. Damn it, he’d done it again…called out to her. He never meant to, but somehow she was always…there. Searching. Calling. But she never said his name, it was always someone else that she cried for. Max…

Max Evans, his fucking Dupe from Roswell. He’d learned enough from tracking Ava when she’d returned to New York to know all about the Roswellians. He’d learned of the plan to bring Max in as his replacement in the council, to use him as a way to get off Earth.

He resisted the urge to snort, still finding it hard to believe that Rath and Lonnie would have thought it would be that simple. That they had trusted Nicholas…Khivar over him. He refused to let the old pain resurface.

Apparently his dupe hadn’t been as lucky as he’d been. He’d felt the moment Max Evans had died. He’d never really acknowledged the bond he’d shared with his duplicate, but on a cold day in February five years ago he’d felt a severance deep within himself. Then he’d been flooded with images, information that he’d never known or experienced. Among the memories were those of a beautiful brunette who stared at him through soft eyes. Eyes that changed from loving, to solemn, to anguished. He’d been haunted by her ever since.

She had a name…Liz. How he knew, he couldn’t say. But every time he saw her face, the word whispered across his skin like a warm caress. Which was completely asinine, seeing as how whomever the hell this chick was she certainly had nothing to do with him. A broken alien king who slept in the slums.

Heavy footsteps fell on the wet pavement and he grew still, wondering if his attackers had decided to come back for a second round. His lips curled back in a snarl, his fingers clenching in preparation. This time he refused to simply lie there and take it.

“Well, well…” A sneering tone drifted up through the night. “What the fuck do we have here?”

Zan stiffened, already rising despite the ache in his ribs. His mouth opened to respond, when a second voice pierced the night.

“Let me go!”

Everything inside of him went on alert at the soft cry and he came to his feet silently, pushing back the pain and concentrating fully on the darkness. He caught sight of two tall figures and a shorter one being pressed against the side of a building. A growl escaped his throat as he watched one of the two men reach a hand up and slap the petite female across the face.

“Look, bitch…we’ll let you go when we’re fucking done with you, got it?”

“No.” The woman’s voice sounded hard, surprising Zan. He’d expected her to be crying by now, pleading with the men to leave her alone. Instead, she pulled back and spit in the unseen face of the man in front of her. When he fell back in surprise, she lifted her leg and kneed him right in the balls.

Zan winced in shared pain as the man howled and fell to the ground, cupping himself. His ears perked as the other figure lurched forward and drove the woman’s head back against the wall.

“Fucking bitch! Fucking bitch!” he hissed, the glint of steel in his hands catching the moonlight. “I oughta cut your goddamn throat!”

She struggled in his grasp, but he was larger and quicker and managed to get the knife pressed to her throat. She immediately fell still, breathing quickly as he started laughing. “Go ahead,” her voice broke. “Do it then.”

No!

Zan wasn’t aware the word had left his lips until both figures glanced his way. All he knew was that the moon had finally illuminated the woman’s face, and it was her. He stared in shock, raking his gaze across her features as his heart pounded inside his chest. His mind spun, causing his step to falter before he locked his knees and threw up a hand just in time to deflect the attack.

“Fucking freak!” The man fell to the ground, grunting as the knife skidded across the concrete. Zan dove for it, already feeling the lagging effects of using his power as he grappled with the man. A wild punch landed on his jaw and he saw stars before his elbow made contact with the man’s eye.

“Watch out!” the woman cried and Zan turned as the other man hurled himself on top of his back. He howled in agony as his injured shoulder took the brunt of the assault and he paused long enough to allow the other men an advantage. They knocked him to the ground and began shoving his face into the pavement.

He felt his cheeks burn, the coppery taste of blood filled his mouth, but he continued to fight. He caught sight of the knife and stretched out an arm for it just as one of the men rolled him over to sink a fist into his stomach.

He felt the urge to vomit, but he bit it back with a gasp and stretched farther. His fingertips grazed the hilt of the weapon, then closed around it as he lifted his fist and jabbed the steel into the unsuspecting man’s thigh.

“Fuck!” the man screamed as Zan clenched his teeth and twisted the knife before yanking it out. Blood erupted from the wound in a gory fountain and sprayed across his face. The man continued to yowl, “My fucking leg! I’m bleeding! Oh God…”

Zan rolled away and came up to challenge the other man who was staring at his partner’s screaming form with wide, sick eyes. “How ‘bout I cut your goddamn throat, bro?” he taunted lowly, throwing the man’s words back in his terrified face.

The man lifted his hands, turning into a sniveling mass as he backed away. “Dude, I didn’t mean nothin’…I won’t bug ya no more…just lemme go…” he pleaded as Zan advanced dangerously. As he fell back into the shadows, he turned to sprint away.

Zan let the knife fly from his hand, watching with a blank expression as it landed in the man’s back. “Didn’t say please,” he mumbled, not even flinching when the man groaned in pain, falling to the ground lifelessly.

“Oh my God…”

The shaky voice penetrated his cloud of adrenaline and he half-turned to see the brunette watching him through glassy eyes of shock. She was trembling, and Zan knew it wasn’t from the chill in the air. Her lips were parted and her breath was coming quick and unevenly.

He took a step forward, feeling drawn to her even as he frowned darkly in resistance. “Look, you’s fine now, aight? Don’t go walkin’ by ya self no more. These streets ain’t safe.”

He meant to turn around and leave, but his feet stayed rooted to the spot as she continued to stare at him. His mind felt hazy and his tongue was thick. He shook his head, trying to speak again when her eyes rolled back and she uttered one word before collapsing at his feet.

“Max…”


Tune in Friday for the next installment...
Last edited by Applebylicious on Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:54 pm, edited 45 times in total.

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Applebylicious
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Post by Applebylicious » Mon Oct 18, 2004 7:21 am

<center>Chapter 2</center>



Liz came awake slowly, lids fluttering softly against her cheeks. The pain hit her first and she hissed in a sharp breath at the pounding in her head and shoulder.

“Yo, princess…ya gonna open those eyes for me?”

The gruff tone penetrated her dizziness and she lifted her lids to find herself staring into a pool of warm amber. For a moment, her heart simply stopped beating. Then it started back, thudding in double time as she gazed up in shock. “Max…?” The word sounded raw and completely unlike her voice.

His eyes narrowed, hardening slightly as he took a step back. He looked like he wanted to speak, but he merely moved to sit a comfortable distance away from her. He drew one leg up, letting his arm hang over his knee as he watched her.

She slowly sat up, not taking her gaze away from his. She studied his features with alarming concern, noting the subtle differences. His hair was longer than she remembered, falling just to his shoulders. His face was hard and lean, his jaw naturally clenched as a muscle throbbed in his cheek. His eyes were wary and gleamed with suspicion, even as longing heat filled the golden orbs.

His body was more muscled than she remembered and he sported several colorful tattoos along his biceps and snaking up under his tight shirt. She tried not to stare at the rips in the cotton that afforded her tantalizing glimpses of the flesh hidden beneath, but her mouth went dry and her eyes unfocused.

A frown lit her features as she took notice of the bruises covering his body. He was scraped and bloodied, and heavily favoring his left side. She opened her mouth to query over his injuries, when it hit her like a bolt of lightening. She fell forward with a gasp. “Max! Y-You’re alive!”

He watched her stoically, but flinched away from her searching grasp. “’Fraid not, princess,” he answered impassively, and he caught her hand as she tried to touch his face.

“What are you…how…?” Her voice was hoarse as she blinked back tears. “What do you mean? Am I, am I dreaming? Oh God, please don’t let this be a dream…” Her breath caught on a shallow, hopeful gasp and he winced again.

“Ya ain’t dreamin',” he managed, swallowing heavily as she stared at him with those large eyes. “But…I ain’t Max,” he added gently. When she frowned in confusion, he repeated, “I ain’t Max.”

She stared at him without speaking, tears glimmering in her eyes and wreaking havoc inside of him. He growled in frustration, shifting uncomfortably as pain slammed through him. “Shit,” he hissed, hand falling to his ribs where he’d taken a brutal beating.

He didn’t notice her eyes flicker to where he began gently rubbing the wound. He only heard a sharp intake of breath before he looked up to see her watching him with a white face.

“Zan…” Her mouth formed the word, but no sound came out. He nearly expected her to faint again, but she simply blinked in apparent shock. When she spoke again her voice was a mass of trembling nerves. “But you…I thought…you’re dead.”

He stiffened, his gaze growing shuttered as distrust filled him. “What the fuck do you's know ‘bout it, princess?” he snapped, causing her to jump nearly a foot at the antagonism evident in his tone.

“I…” Her mind was spinning. Max was still dead, she was sitting with his New York dupe who was supposed to be dead, and he’d saved her life. It was irony at its most twisted. Once again, she’d become indebted to an alien king. Only, this wasn’t her king. And he wasn’t supposed to even exist. Still feeling numb with a mixture of confusion and grievous disappointment, she found herself blurting out the truth. “Ava told me…she said you were dead.”

His head snapped up, his eyes narrowed. “Ava? Ya know Ava? How? Tell me, dammit!”

His venomous tone pierced her aching head and she pressed a hand to where a solid knot was forming at the base of her skull. Bright spots of color burst behind her lids as pain erupted, leaving her momentarily sickened. “I…what?” she managed, heart pounding.

“What do ya know about Ava?” he repeated, barely softening as she looked at him with pale features and wet eyes. He refused to be affected by her injured attitude, not when she apparently had news of one of his family. He ignored the twinge of protectiveness that arose as he caught sight of her shaking hands. “Where is she?”

“I don’t know,” she answered honestly. “I haven’t seen her in six years.” Her voice only wavered slightly as she forced herself to hold his gaze, to stare into his eyes. Max Evans’ eyes. The thought flittered through her mind and she had to physically restrain herself from running over and embracing him, to feel the strength of his arms around her once again. Oh, God…she ached just looking at him.

But he wasn’t Max. He was the exact opposite of Max, even down to being left-handed to Max’s right, which she’d noted when he’d absently reached down to massage his wounds. He was tougher, built more solidly than Max, and his eyes revealed a hardness that she’d never seen within Max’s soft gaze. Defiance and hostility emanated from Zan’s every pore, and she shivered in reaction.

Yet…she wasn’t afraid of him. She could never be afraid of those eyes, even as they stared back at her with unfriendly aggression. She knew he felt the strange attachment towards her as well, judging by the faint uncertainty that twisted his sensuous lips.

Neither of them spoke and the moment grew charged. Liz licked her suddenly dry lips, her breath hitching as she saw his gaze drop to her mouth. A dark frown pulled the edges of his mouth down, and his gaze flicked back to hers. Accusation warred with desire and burned in his eyes. “Stay outta my head, princess,” he warned, voice huskier than before.

“I’m not doing anything,” she returned thickly. “Stop staring at me like that.” She barely recognized herself anymore, her entire body was vibrating like a plucked string. Despite the fact that she’d only known him mere moments, she needed him with a desperation that should have frightened her. The logical part of her brain seemed to be clouded by raw lust and she forgot everything…the pain and terror of her attack, the ever-present grief. For that moment in time she forgot everything except those golden eyes and that mouth…

Something resembling a growl parted his lips. “This shit ain’t happenin’,” he declared in a hoarse voice. “So don’t get any goddamn ideas. And stop lickin’ ya lips!” He cursed viciously, jumping to his feet with barely a twinge for his injuries. “Can’t believe this shit,” he mumbled, pacing the length of the floor.

She blinked, and for the first time glanced around at their surroundings. She could barely believe she’d been so enraptured by him that she’d failed to even noticed where they were. The area was dark and dank, lit only by a streetlamp that was propped against one wall. A few ratty pieces of furniture littered the floor, but mostly it was cold hard ground. A faint stench filled the air and she struggled not to grimace, ever aware of his gaze on her.

“Where are we?” she questioned softly, needing something…anything to distract her from the potency of the male in front of her. She chalked it up to residual feelings for Max. Of course she would feel attraction when she looked at him…he was Max’s mirror image. But he wasn’t Max – she had to remember that.

Still…he even made the same faces Max had made when he’d been frustrated. His lips pursed, the lower one sinfully full as it overlapped. He blew out a breath and made a face at her before grudgingly giving an answer. “Welcome to my pad. Or, what used to be my pad. As it be, we can’t stay long. Neva know who’s casin' the joint.”

“You mean, this is where you used to…live?” Her voice cracked and her eyes grew wide. Pity consumed her as she took another long look around the place. Her gaze fell on the drainage pipes and clarity dawned. “This is…we’re in a sewer aren’t we?”

“Yeah.”

“You lived in a sewer?” she asked gently, wondering why she felt the need to cry as his shoulders stiffened. His gaze shot to her, full of defiance and insolence. His sexy jaw was thrust forward at an impossible angle. She wondered how it was feasible that he appeared every inch the king, covered from head to toe in torn clothing, bruises, and blood.

“I know it ain’t what you’s used to, Roswell, but it kept ya ass from freezing to death on the street,” he snapped. “But now that you’s up and at it again, you’s can be on ya way back home. And so can I.”

“But…” she trailed off as he folded his arms and muscles bulged. Everything about him was just so…powerful. The mixture of familiarity and the unknown was nearly irresistible in its allure. She took a deep breath and tried again. “But you’re hurt.”

He looked surprised for a split-second. “I can take care of myself, princess.”

“Yes, but…” I don’t want to leave you. The words lay on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to say them aloud. Judging by the gleam in his eyes, he already knew. The connection pulsed strongly between them. She tried for a shaky smile that fell flat. “God, we don’t even really know each other…I’m L—”

“Liz.”

His voice caressed her name like silk across her skin. She nearly shivered in reaction. “How do you…” She had to clear the huskiness from her voice before she could speak. “How do you know my name?”

His eyes narrowed and the corners of his mouth turned white as his entire face tightened. With a frustrated growl he admitted, “I know everything about ya, princess. Which is why I know you’s best get the fuck away from me before shit starts happenin’.”

Liz stared at him out of the corner of her eye, studying the dark scowl twisting his handsome jaw. The distant sound of thunder rumbled outside and above earth, signaling a sudden storm, but down in the dark sewer there was complete silence.

She was almost thankful for the reprieve, seeing as how she’d just lived through the shock of her life. She didn’t know what to say to Max’s dupe, and he’d made it more than obvious he wanted nothing to do with her. She tried not to let that sting, but it did. Despite herself, she felt drawn to him. Drawn to him in a way that reminded her of her feelings for Max, yet edgier. Darker. Lustier.

Her face flamed and she looked sharply away, inhaling softly. God, what was the matter with her? Just because he looked like Max didn’t make him the man she loved. She had no right feeling this…this proprietary way about him. She had no right wanting him. Even when she and Max had been together, she’d never felt this way.

Not true, she immediately corrected herself. There had been one time when she’d felt nearly overwhelmed by her desire for the gorgeous alien king. One time when they’d nearly given everything they had to each other…

Are you scared?

Well, I know I'm supposed to be, but...I'm just going to put myself in your hands…


Her vision blurred along with the memory, nails digging into her palms as a small noise escaped her throat. Before she knew what was happening, she was trembling all over and sobs were racking her body. She saw Zan’s head swivel her way and knew he was staring at her through worried eyes. She could feel his anxiety through their connection, knew he could feel her own inner anguish. But she couldn’t stop.

She hadn’t really understood until that exact moment just how much the crazy thought of Max being alive and in New York had kept her alive. Kept her sane. Now…who knew what would happen to her? God, she’d already lost him once and it had nearly killed her. How would she ever deal with losing him again?

Zan felt a desperation rise inside of him as he watched the tears roll down her face, her small body shuddering with each anguished cry. It was tearing him apart. Damn it, he’d never experienced something like this before. This need to make sure she was safe. Unharmed. Happy. He warred with himself, a muscle pounding in his temple until he couldn’t take it anymore and stood up.

“Look,” he mumbled, feeling shy and awkward as she glanced up at him through tearful eyes. He sighed raggedly and shoved a hand through his hair before he remembered his bruised ribs. He gave no impression of the sharp tug of pain, simply continued staring at the petite brunette as he struggled for words. To his utter shock, he heard himself say, “It’s aight, I ain’t gonna let nothin’ happen to ya. You’s safe down here, Roswell.”

She blinked slowly and he scowled as the effect of those thick lashes wreaked havoc inside of him. She looked so damaged, so fragile. It made him long to protect her from everything and everyone. Including himself.

“He’s…he’s really gone,” she croaked out, her voice breaking slighty on the last word. “Oh God, he’s really gone.”

Instantly he understood, and a vague sense of disappointment came over him as he realized she wasn’t crying over their near brush of death. She was upset over the fact that she’d believed him to be Max Evans. While he’d been sitting in the corner fighting against the urge to do God knows what to and with her, she’d been there lamenting the fact that he wasn’t her precious Max. That awareness had his voice turning gruff and defensive as he replied, “Yah, well we can’t win ‘em all, princess. Trust me, I know.”

She gasped at the callous statement and he bit back a pang of shame as the remainder of color left her cheeks. She immediately looked away, staring at her shaking hands as he cursed inwardly. “Liz…I…” he broke off helplessly, staring at the cold ground beneath him. A pair of dull boots met his gaze. “I’m sorry, aight?” he managed in a quiet rasp. “See doll, this is why ya need to get away from me. I’m no good, Roswell. No damn good. You’d be betta off pretending ya neva saw me.”

He turned around, breathing heavily as his eyes burned with sudden tears. What the hell was happening to him? Had he always been this much of a fruitcake? Had Rath and Lonnie done more than take his pride when they’d tried to kill him? Had they taken his damned masculinity, too? All these questions and not a single goddamned answer.

Where are you? He wanted to shout. Why did you do it? I thought…I thought we were family.

Family. What a fucking joke. But he’d believed in it once. He’d have done anything for them, and how had they repaid him? By trying to make him into a slice of street pizza. Well, they hadn’t succeeded in killing him, but they might as well have. He was a ghost now…haunting the dark streets, surviving only for that moment when he’d look into their eyes and see the surprise, the horrified shock. He’d get his answers then, and his revenge.

“Let’s just ride out this storm and we’ll get on with our lives,” he spoke softly, words intended more for himself than for her. But he knew she heard, could feel the resistance building inside of her just as it tore at him. He didn’t want to never see her again.

“But—” Liz trailed off, biting her lip as she watched his stoic form. The night’s events coupled with her unexpected crying jag had left her exhausted and done in. Her entire body ached and she was shivering from the cold that seeped into her bones. “But what about you? You can’t mean to stay…here…?”

He turned around to face her, face impassive. She sucked in a startled breath at the emotions rioting in his gaze. Those sinful lips parted and his husky tone rang out. “Like I said, I can take care of myself.”

“No.” The word left her lips before she could stop it, and they both stared at each other in shock at the vehemence behind it. Clearing her throat and stiffening her spine, she tried for a certainty she didn’t feel. “Look, I know you’re hurt, all right? And you obviously…you obviously don’t have full control of your powers. I mean, I noticed that you couldn’t heal yourself…unless maybe…you aren’t like, damaged in some way…are you? After all, you’re the duplicate and, well…”

She ended in a breathy tone as his face continually grew darker. Oh Jesus, what had she said?? She couldn’t help that he unnerved her, made her feel clumsy and completely out of her element of control. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d rambled on without any idea of what was coming out of her mouth.

“I ain’t damaged, princess,” he growled dangerously, making her flush as he took several steps closer until they were nearly standing nose to nose. He stared down at her, nostrils flared and golden eyes burning as his jaw ticced. “And I ain’t no fuckin' duplicate, aight?”

She didn’t belabor the point, judging by his expression that it was a tremendously sore spot. And besides, she was too fascinated by the green flecks in his eyes. Had Max had green flecks? She couldn’t remember…suddenly everything was so hazy…

He stared at her for a moment, then made a rough sound. “Stop looking at me like that!” he roared, causing her to jump. His fingers closed around her arms and he tugged her closer even as his eyes narrowed accusingly. “Damn it, I don’t want this, do ya hear me?”

She didn’t have to ask him what he didn’t want. The answer was obvious in the sizzling tension, the connection that flooded through them both as their bodies touched. “I don’t…” she trailed off thickly as his jaw set and he glared down at her through heavy-lidded eyes.

“You ain’t my problem,” he rasped, but he pulled her closer. “I don’t need you…I don’t fucking need anybody.”

“I know,” she whimpered, because it seemed the only thing to say. She didn’t add that at that moment, she desperately needed him, but he seemed to know anyway. Or maybe he felt it, too. Either way, he relented with a curse as he brought his mouth down roughly to hers.


Tune in Friday for chapter three...
Last edited by Applebylicious on Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Applebylicious
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Post by Applebylicious » Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:08 pm

<center>Chapter 3</center>


Chaos crashed through him, his fingers burying in her hair as he dragged her more firmly against his body. Nothing in his life had ever felt as good as her softness against his hardness. And everything about her was soft. Soft hair, soft hands, soft lips…

He let out a growl when she melted against him, opening her mouth for his bruising assault. He knew he was being rough, but he couldn’t control the passion skyrocketing through him. He nipped her lip, then laved the sting away with his tongue while relishing the sweet taste of her. She moaned, pressing against him feverishly as his hands slid from her neck, down her back to cradle her bottom.

He didn’t stop to think about the fact that he barely knew her, that he couldn’t afford any distractions at the moment. All that mattered was the way she made him feel. Complete. Whole. It was as if he’d been looking for something his entire life and had finally managed to find it.

“Princess,” he murmured in a hoarse tone as his lips moved to her ear, nipping and tugging. His tongue slid down her neck, marking her soft flesh. “Ah, God…” His palm closed around her thigh, dragging her leg up to wrap around his waist. The movement aligned their equal aches and the connection sizzled.

She whimpered something he couldn’t understand, her fingers grasping desperately for his shoulders as she buckled against him. Undone, he brought his lips back to hers and sank into her mouth. One hand stroked her through denim jeans, the other snaked up between them to close around a breast. The contact caused her to jerk and moan into his mouth as he manipulated the ripe flesh.

His face drew tight as he pulled back to stare into her bewildered expression. Her eyes were glassy, lips swollen. She looked on the verge of being thoroughly fucked. By him. But he had the strangest sense that she wasn’t seeing him. “Liz?” he whispered gruffly, resting his forehead against hers as their labored breaths mingled.

She blinked languorously, looking up at him while caught in a sexual haze. Her lips parted and her voice rang out, sexy and husky. “Kiss me,” she pleaded, trying to pull him back to her. “Kiss me again…make me remember…”

Warning bells sounded, but he couldn’t seem to recall the important reason why he should stop. He felt as though he was swimming through thick molasses, everything hot and moving in slow motion. He plundered her mouth again, deep and unhurried. The tempo slowed, gentled while fingers caressed instead of demanded. But he stayed hard and hot. Needy.

He could feel her heart beating a thick cadence that matched his own. Their bodies were so completely attuned, it was almost like being inside of her. He knew exactly how to touch her to make her breath catch, to coax a purr of pleasure from her throat. And she could drive him out of control with a simple stroke of her hand.

He was pulling her along towards the bed where he’d slept in another time, another life it seemed. He could barely remember lying there with Ava, cold and lonely even as her warm body pressed against him. She’d never been able to make him feel, never been able to please him. He supposed that was why she’d betrayed him. She’d finally given up and looked for better avenues. She’d finally realized he didn’t love her, couldn’t love her. And she couldn’t forgive that.

He forced the thoughts of vengeance away, his hands curling around Liz’s thighs, levering her up as her legs tightened around him like a vise. They both groaned as he tumbled them onto the bed. Her hair fanned around her head and he paused to stare down at her.

Her eyes were blurred and unfocused, her breath coming shallowly as she gazed up at him. Lips curved sensuously and her arms lifted. “Come to me,” she whispered. And he did.

Teeth and tongues roamed as clothing slowly melted away. When they were naked he raised himself up to plunge inside of her, flesh slick with perspiration despite the cool evening air. He reached a hand down to part her folds, nearly groaning as the dewy flesh slipped through his fingers. She was so ready for him. And he’d been waiting so long for her.

The strange thought flittered through his mind again before he could wonder where it had come from. He felt a tug and glanced down to see her studying the small gold hoops dangling from his nipples. His teeth gritted as she let out a surprised sigh. “What’s wrong?” he managed, voice thick with desire.

“Different,” was all she said, her voice more of an echo in his mind than spoken aloud. He frowned at her words, his mouth opening to question her when she ran her hands down his back and gripped his buttocks. “I need you. Please.” Her voice broke and he allowed her to pull him to her, thrusting gently inside her.

They both jerked and gasped, images flying through their minds as chaos exploded. Zan couldn’t feel anything but her flesh wrapped around him, wild need matching tenderness as he continued to drive himself inside of her. She was so damn tight, he had to bite down on his lip to keep from hurting her. God, if he didn’t know any better…

Her hips lifted to meet his every deep thrust, moans piercing the air as a wildness took over her. He stared in shocked desire as she began to convulse around him, their moans mingling as they rubbed against one another. He bent and lowered his mouth over hers as his climax erupted, needing that small connection more than he’d ever needed anything in his pathetic life.

Liz…Liz… He groaned loud and long, tugging her lips with his teeth. His ears roared, his heart thudded and his body was tight with pleasure. He felt alive in ways he’d never known.

Then he heard her voice meshing with his in that place deep inside of him where they were connected, crying out with glazed desire as she bucked against him. But she wasn’t crying out for him. And he suddenly realized…she never had been.

<center>***</center>


She floated along a river of satisfaction, limbs heavy and lax with the echoes of pleasure. Her blood ran hot and thick as her heart struggled to return to its normal pace. She could feel the sweat drying on her body, raising bumps along her skin due to the chill. Her breasts were tender from Zan’s rough facial hair and between her legs she felt the soreness equated with first time intimacy.

Regardless, she felt incredible…freed from restrictions that had taken her over for years. It was as if she was seeing the world through clear eyes for the first time in five years, maybe longer. Everything seemed brighter, sharper. Hopeful.

Unable to keep the smile from curving her lips she turned to him, prepared to explore this strange new bond they shared. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, knew that there were still things that would threaten to keep them apart. She hadn’t forgotten the circumstances surrounding them, but she believed everything would finally be okay. For whatever reason, he was here, with her. She’d been given a second chance, and she wouldn’t lose Max again.

Zan. The name whispered through her mind and she inwardly cringed before stiffening with resolve. After all, were they really so different? She’d shared a connection with them both, surely there must be a reason why. She’d seen inside of him, she’d been inside of him during those feverish moments. She’d seen that there was anger, dark and brooding. Detachment, mixed with a sense of desperation.

But she’d also glimpsed goodness inside of him. He wasn’t like the others, Lonnie and Rath. She felt a momentary pang of guilt when she thought of Ava, but she forced it away. Ava herself had said that she and Zan hadn’t been close, had never shared a lasting bond. That it had almost been as if he were waiting for someone else. Well, that someone would be her. She would not give him up, not now that she’d just found him.

She studied his closed features and everything inside of her screamed, Mine! She reached out a hand and drew it softly down the length of his abs, savoring the bumps and ridges that made up his muscled body. When he hissed, she smiled knowingly. “Zan?” she whispered, moving to cuddle against him as he continued to stare up at nothing.

His jaw tightened before he glanced her way. They stared at each other for a long, sizzling moment before his eyes narrowed and his mouth opened. She waited to hear what he had to say, reading the uncertainty and natural need for escape in his golden gaze. “You’s a virgin,” he stated flatly.

“Well, not anymore,” she pointed out lightly, drawing a leg across his. He moved away, grunting in pain from his various bruises. Her smile slipped when he presented her with his back and for the first time she caught sight of the thick scar tissue criss-crossing his bronzed flesh. Fighting down a wave of sickness, she studied the pattern, recognizing it as…dear God, were those tire tracks? But how was that possible?

He stiffened when she reached out a hand to touch the puckered flesh, his muscles bunching defensively. She quickly dropped her hand before he turned around and pinned her with an accusing glare. “Ya never got around to fuckin’ my dupe, then?” he wondered harshly. She was still reeling from his words when he added, “Look, I ain’t here to scratch some damn itch ya got for Max Evans. This was a mistake and I’m taking ya ass home now.”

“Zan…” was all she could manage, her throat thick with hurt as he jumped up and began pulling on his clothes with jerky movements. “Wait.” She sat up, brushing tousled hair from her eyes.

“No time, princess,” he muttered. “Fuck!” He paused, punching a support beam angrily as his entire body vibrated with tension. “We gotta get outta here. We shouldn’t even be here. You shouldn’t be here.” He studied his bloodied fist broodingly.

“What’s wrong?” she whispered, fighting back tears at the way her hopes and aspirations seemed to be falling apart. He wasn’t supposed to continue pushing her away. They’d made love…it should be different, they should be planning a future. He should be smiling, not acting distant like a stranger. “Max, wait…” her voice broke when he spun around and stormed towards her with a dark expression.

“I’m not Max!

All that could be heard was the distant thunder as their gazes clashed. Her mind suddenly felt heavy and hazy. She blinked, staring into his eyes as her vision tunneled. “I’m sorry, Zan.”

His jaw worked and he made a rough sound before turning away. He bent to retrieve his shirt, grimacing at the new rips and tears before pulling it over his head. She could feel his mind racing, wondering how to get her away from him.

She glimpsed the scars again and nearly asked him about what had happened. She forced the questions away, determined to find out at another time when things weren’t so strained between them. She started gathering her own clothing, well aware that he was watching her discreetly. She saw him frown, as if he couldn’t help studying her even when it was the last thing he wanted.

“Where do ya live, Roswell?” His voice was gruff as she shimmied back into her jeans. She glanced over and saw him staring intently at her hips. Desire glinted in his eyes, but his expression was unreadable. He was obviously determined to fight whatever was between them.

She told him her address, racking her brain for ideas. It was plainly obvious that he was determined to leave her at the first opportunity and she refused to let that happen. She had an obligation to the pod squad to find out everything she could. She might have forgotten that over the years, but now that Zan had walked into her life...she had an obligation to him, too. She knew he wasn’t evil like the others he’d lived with, and she knew deep down that he needed someone, despite his loner persona. He was dealing with his own phantoms and regrets, same as she. She understood him…they were both broken.

These thoughts tumbled through her mind as they made the trek to the surface and started towards her apartment building. She huddled close to him for warmth, having lost her coat during the earlier attack. He seemed to radiate heat even as he shuddered against the cold evening air. She noticed that he was constantly on the alert, studying their surroundings with narrowed eyes and a body coiled with tension. Even injured he appeared strong and capable as he hurried her along past the dark alleyways.

Before she realized it, they stood at her apartment door. She stared at him, tracing his hard features with her gaze as silence reigned between them. Traffic and other city noises echoed in the distance. “So…” she started softly, suddenly shy under his sharp scrutiny.

“So…” He cleared his throat, an almost regretful expression crossing his face. Then he straightened and took a step away. “Stay safe, princess.” His voice grew husky as they continued to stare at one another, the connection coming alive and acting as an invisible thread holding them together.

“Where are you going to go?” she asked quietly, noting his eagerness to disappear. She couldn’t let him do that. Not only because it was dangerous, but because she still had no idea about the repercussions of what they had done. She and Max had never made it as far as she and Zan had…she had no idea what it meant to make love with an alien.

She knew that Michael and Maria had consummated their relationship years ago, but what if Max and Zan were different? She’d already suffered strange results from the healing before, what if something else happened? Her powers had faded with time, but it had still been one of the most frightening experiences of her life. She didn’t know if she could handle something like that happening again…with no one there to understand what was happening to her.

She hadn’t spoken to the Roswell group in so long that they’d stopped bothering to try to contact her. Since Max’s death she’d put as much distance as she could between them all, needing to bury her pain the only way she could. By dealing with it by herself. The only people who could have helped her were gone, and she couldn’t even imagine going to Maria for help. Not when she and Michael were so happy together. She didn’t begrudge her friend her happiness, God knows they deserved it after everything that had happened. But she just…she couldn’t stand to see it. To realize everything they had, and everything she’d lost.

It was only marginally easier to see Isabel. Although she and Jesse had been married for going on five years, it was plain to anyone who knew her that she was still mourning Alex’s death. There was something seriously lacking in her spirit that even marriage to a man she loved hadn’t been able to cure. Liz understood, even if she didn’t agree with the way Isabel had handled her pain. She didn’t believe that rushing into another relationship was the way to get over severe trauma.

Isn’t that what you’re doing with Zan? A perverse voice whispered through her mind, but she brushed it away. Her situation with Zan was completely different from Isabel’s. And she knew they belonged together…there was no question. Just like with Max. She felt it. She’d never been wrong before when she followed her heart. It was only when she started using her mind that things went to hell.

“I’ll be around,” was Zan’s vague response. She studied him suspiciously, knowing fully well that if he left now, he’d try his best to never cross her path again.

“You’re hurt,” she pointed out again. “And besides, it’s too late for you to find somewhere to sleep. You can’t go back to the sewers.” His eyes narrowed at her words, as if he were surprised that she knew exactly what he’d planned. “Why don’t you stay here until the morning?”

Before he could answer, the door flew open and revealed a wild-eyed and disheveled Candice. “My God, where the hell have you been?” she shrieked, the sound piercing the night as Liz winced and covered her ears. Zan appeared bemused as he began to slink back into the shadows.

“Wait,” Liz snapped, shocking both of them by her commanding tone. “You’re not going anywhere, Zan.”

“Zan? Who’s Zan? Where have you been?” Candice hissed. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been sitting up? You ran out of here, disappeared and didn’t answer your phone for hours—”

Liz tuned her out and focused on Zan. “You have nowhere to go, stay here.” With me, she added silently, holding her breath as he stared blankly during the charged silence.

A muscle pounded in his cheek as he looked past her to the open door. Warmth escaped from inside and the faint aroma of Chinese take-out wafted through the air. He glanced back to her and appeared to be fighting a major battle inside of himself. When he finally spoke, she felt brittle with nervous tension. “Fine, just for tonight. Then I’m outta here.”

She nearly collapsed in relief, ignoring Candice’s demands to know what was going on as she grabbed Zan’s arm and dragged him inside. He simply stood there, glancing around the small apartment as she ran into the kitchen and started scrambling for a kettle to boil hot tea.

“What’s going on?” Candice followed her, shooting nervous glances over her shoulder at Zan. “Who is that guy? Liz…he looks really dangerous.”

“He’s harmless,” Liz answered, filling the kettle with hot water as she kept one eye trained on Zan. “And he’s a…friend. Trust me, Candice, it’ll be fine.”

“I don’t know—”

“You always have random guys here,” Liz pointed out, not unkindly. “Zan has nowhere to go tonight, so I offered him the couch. He got into a fight earlier, and they messed him up pretty badly. Surely you don’t expect me to leave him out in the cold.”

Candice screwed her face up. “He doesn’t look hurt to me,” she mumbled as she watched Zan move to study the various photographs lining the bookshelf. His lips turned down and he folded his arms across his chest, causing muscles to bunch and shift. “In fact, he looks pretty damn able to take care of himself.”

Liz snorted at that, recalling Zan’s own similar words. “Regardless, he has nowhere to go and I’m not about to let him spend the night on the streets when he saved my life.”

That caught Candice’s attention. “What are you talking about?” she whispered frantically. “What happened, Liz? Oh my God, I knew you were in trouble! You always answer your phone…oh my God…”

“Candice, chill,” she broke in. “I’m fine. I just…had a little trouble with some guys earlier. Zan stopped them, and they tried to attack him because of it. I owe him, all right?”

But of course, that wasn’t the reason why she wanted him there. She glanced over and their eyes met in a sizzling stare. Oblivious to the sexual tension mounting, Candice let out a huff and leaned against the bar counter that separated the small living room from the kitchen. “I still don’t know about this. I mean, what do we know about this guy, Liz?”

“I know enough, just trust me.”

Obviously not happy with the answer, Candice reluctantly changed the subject. “By the way, someone named Kyle called for you earlier. Sounded pretty desperate to get in touch with you. I told him you were out and you’d call him back.”

The glass she’d just reached for nearly slipped out of her hand. She spun around and stared at Candice like she had two heads. “Kyle…Kyle Valenti?” Her voice rose as she stared at her roommate.

“Yeah, something like that,” Candice answered absently, keeping her gaze focused on Zan as if she expected him to pull out a gun and shoot the place up. “He didn’t leave a number, so I assumed you knew how to get in touch with him.”

“Did he say what he wanted?” Liz asked, suddenly shaky as she wiped her hands against her jeans. Why in the world would Kyle be calling her…now? Sure, they’d kept in touch with longer than she had with any of the others. But they’d had a falling out the last time they’d spoken, when he’d tried unsuccessfully to get her to return home. That had been nearly six months ago and she’d missed him terribly, but had never found the courage to attempt to renew their friendship.

“No, but he sounded like it was important.” Candice let out a hiss when Zan flopped down on the couch and rested his booted feet on the coffeetable. “No. No way. Is he insane?? That table costs more than—”

Liz blocked out her roommate’s rambling as she methodically poured tea into three cups. Her mind was spinning and she could feel Zan’s hot gaze piercing her back. She knew he could sense the sudden anxiety flowing within her and was curious despite himself. She struggled for a calm she didn’t feel, carefully holding one of the cups as she brought it to him.

“Here, this might help you sleep,” she murmured, handing him the tea as he watched her impassively. “I’ll get some blankets for you.” She turned to leave, but he slammed a boot down on the other side of her, trapping her between his legs. She looked down questioningly. “What?”

He opened his mouth, frowning slightly. “I…nothin’,” he mumbled, dropping his feet and sitting up. He looked away and took a sip of the tea, studiously avoiding looking at her. “And thanks.”

“No problem,” she answered softly, staring down at him and wondering…


Tune in Friday for the next installment...
Last edited by Applebylicious on Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Applebylicious
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Post by Applebylicious » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:52 pm

<center>Chapter Four</center>


Three times he tried to leave. He’d made it all the way to the door, hand wrapped around the knob as he glanced over his shoulder at the silent apartment. But each time, something held him back.

Logically he knew he needed to get the hell away. Things had gone so much farther than they should have, but he had been unable to resist the powerful connection between him and his dupe’s woman. And that scared the shit out of him.

He’d fucked before. Hell, he used to take Ava every which way he could manage, just to get rid of the edge. But he’d never felt anything like what he’d felt when he’d been buried inside Liz Parker. Somehow it was different. At least, it was to him. She’d been imagining her phantom Max the entire time.

The memory of that realization made him frown, twisting something in the vicinity of his chest. He inhaled sharply and grabbed the door handle with new purpose. He had to get away. It would be better all around if they never laid eyes on one another again. He knew he’d never forget the moments they’d shared together, but it could be no more than that.

He had one foot out of the door when he heard the crying. He froze, eyes closing as a wave of anguish flooded him through the connection they shared. His heart beat a thick pulse, his fingers curled defiantly at his sides. No…he had to leave.

He began to run, legs flying as he put distance between them. He ignored the throbbing in his side, limping noticeably as it took most of his strength just to block her emotions from pouring through him. Nearly a block away he fell against the side of a building, breathing heavily as he slid down the brick wall. He held his head in his hands and gave up the fight.

Shuddering, he listened to every cry she made. Every tear that escaped her eyes, he felt. He rubbed his palm down his face, grimacing in agony and the longing to go to her, to make her stop. She wasn’t aware of his presence at the moment, so wrapped in her own grief and guilt. Her own loneliness.

He wasn’t conscious of standing up, of grabbing his side and beginning the short trek back towards her apartment. But every step that brought him closer seemed to strengthen him, until he was freely jogging again, no pain to be felt. He flew up the stairs and without preamble threw open the door. He stood in the living room, panting harshly as he bit back the urge to curse at his hopelessness.

He shut the door, locked it again before heading down the dark hallway towards the whimpering. He stood outside her room for a long moment, listening as she cried. His palm lifted, pressed against the wooden door, fingers splayed. His forehead followed, resting lightly as he squeezed his eyes shut.

Zan, I need you!

His head snapped up as he heard the tortured moan deep inside his mind. He opened the door, revealing a small, femininely decorated bedroom. The window was open, allowing a cold breeze to freshen the air. But his eyes remained focused on the figure lying in the center of a tousled bed, eyes open and staring at him through the darkness.

Arousal simmered, protectiveness stirred as he glimpsed the shiny tears dampening her cheeks. “What’s wrong?” he managed in a gruff voice as he took a step closer.

She licked her lips, blinking slowly as he approached. “Y-You were going to leave me,” she accused softly, her voice hitching. “I could feel you running away…”

Unbidden, pain burst through him at her words. Yet they were truth. He looked away, battling unfamiliar emotion. “I shouldn’t be here, princess. Ya know that, well as I do.” He risked a glance back in her direction and was equal parts panicked and hopeful as he saw she’d moved closer. Forcing a harder tone, he added, “I don’t belong here, we don’t belong…” Together, he finished silently. But he knew she heard him.

“No,” she cried softly. “You’re wrong. We…we do. This all happened for a reason, Zan, don’t you see that? We share a connection that—”

“I don’t wanna hear this,” he interrupted wearily. “Stop.”

As if he’d never spoken, she continued. “—it’s important for us to find out why. Why are you so scared?”

Eyes hot, he stalked towards the bed and slapped his hands down on either side of her. Pressing his nose right in her face, he growled, “I ain’t scared of nothin’. Let’s get that straight here and now, princess.”

She didn’t back down as he’d expected, simply stared at him with wounded eyes. When she reached out a hand and gently trailed it across his cheek, he snarled. Her movements froze, then started anew. “Why do you call me that?”

The new line of questioning momentarily threw him off. He backed away from the heat of her touch, putting a safe distance between them before he did something that would only result in yet another mistake. “Call you what?” he mumbled, dropping into a chair that rested near the window.

“Princess. My dad…he used to call me that when I was younger.” Her voice filled the air, sad and wistful. “He said no matter what ever happened, I’d always be his little princess…” She sighed, and he could hear her moving restlessly on the bed. “I guess neither of us was expecting anything like this to happen.”

He knew she wasn’t only referring to him, but her association with the Roswellians. Feeling her melancholy, he found himself asking, “Did you tell him the truth?”

“No.” Her tone was sharp. Then she sighed and whispered, “He wouldn’t understand…and it’s not my secret to tell.”

He opened his mouth to reply with something sarcastic like, “Damn straight.” But all that came out was, “Oh.”

They sat in silence for several moments, neither really quite sure what to say. Considering the fact that they’d been about as close as possible only hours earlier, Zan was nearly amused by their hesitancy now. But even as he began to speak, she beat him to the punch.

“I’m sorry…about earlier.”

He glanced over, finding her staring at him sorrowfully. His gaze dropped to where she nibbled her lips, a shaft of desire piercing him and making him hard with want. “Sorry?” he managed huskily, thinking at that particular moment that he wasn’t a damned bit sorry.

She seemed to hesitate, then pushed forward in a hurried breath. “I’m sorry about when I called you…Max.”

His smile disappeared, everything inside of him went taut as he stared at her. He couldn’t begin to explain how much it hurt to be reminded of her slip. In a thick voice he replied, “Just forget it, aight?”

“I can’t,” she whispered feverishly. “I-I don’t know what happened, Zan. I knew it was you there with me. It-it was you I wanted, I swear.”

“Right,” he agreed, although he sounded more scornful than placating. Suddenly he was overcome by the need to prove to her just who he was. He stood up, eyeing her like a predator as he moved. She simply watched him, lips parting and eyes darkening at the lust apparent in his eyes.

When he stood in front of her, he dropped slowly to his knees so that their faces were at equal height. She ran her tongue over her bottom lip, breath catching. His eyes followed the movement and he cursed before pulling her to him, capturing her mouth and plundering.

His blood bubbled in a hot stream as their hands flew, as teeth nipped and tongues tangled. God, she was burning him alive…and he couldn’t stop. He fisted a hand in her hair, dragging her head back and staring into her eyes as they both breathed harshly.

“Damn you,” he managed before crashing his mouth back down to hers. She went willingly, moaning as his lips bruised, then scoured down her neck, across her collarbone. His hands shoved her shirt up and over her breasts, revealing them to the cool air and his heated breath.

When his lips closed around one ripe nipple, she nearly screamed, bucking wildly against him as passion consumed. He groaned around her flesh, grabbing one of her hands and forcing it between his legs where he was hard and throbbing. “Touch me,” he begged thickly. “Yeah, just like that, baby…”

A sharp knock on the unlocked door had them breaking apart, staring at each other in dazed confusion. Candice’s suspicious voice called, “Liz? Liz, are you all right in there?”

Her mouth opened, but no words came out. She swallowed, staring down as her hand still caressed him, nails trailing along the rigid length encased in his pants. He felt sweat begin to bead on his forehead, despite the blast of cold that was blowing directly on him from the open window.

“Fuck,” he whistled between his teeth, working his hips against her hand so that she rubbed him. “What the fuck are ya doin to me, princess?”

“I-I’m here, Candice,” Liz finally responded, her voice only cracking slightly as she stared into his hot gaze. “What is it?”

Silence met her words for a moment. Then, “I thought you should know, your little friend seems to have disappeared. I went to get a glass of milk, you know how sometimes I need warm milk to help me sleep—”

“Candice,” Liz broke in before her friend could go off on a random tangent.

“Right. Well anyway, he was gone. Liz…are you all right in there? I thought I heard screaming.”

“I’m fine,” Liz answered through her teeth as Zan bent and drew her nipple back between his lips. She buried her hand in the thickness of his hair, but instead of pulling him back she held him there, dropping her own head forward as he suckled. “And Zan is…” She broke off, unable to hide a mewling moan as he did something extraordinary with his teeth. “He’s fine,” she squeaked.

Zan chuckled darkly, beginning to get into the situation as he laved her flesh again. Oh yeah, he could definitely get used to this. Apparently there was a reason why they wanted each other so damn bad, who the hell was he to fight destiny? Of course, that might just be his dick talking…but then he’d never argued with it, either.

“Oh,” Candice answered. Then in understanding, “Oh.” She let out a scandalized gasp and added, “Liz Parker!”

“What?” Liz and Zan both growled, then glanced at each other with wide eyes. Liz’s face went bright red and Zan smiled sheepishly as Candice began talking again.

“I can’t believe you! You don’t even know that hoodlum!”

“Candice!” Liz gasped in affront, glancing over to see if he’d been offended. Zan only grinned wider, falling back and stretching his legs out on the floor. She swallowed at the unabashed view of his erection tenting his pants, and she ran a shaky hand through her hair.

“Listen, buddy,” Candice continued. “Put it back in your pants, I’m coming in there and you’re sleeping on the couch where you belong!”

With that warning, the door flew open and revealed a sternly disapproving roommate who glared at Zan, sprawled out on the floor. He simply quirked a brow in answer and she let out a little shriek. “Get up! Liz, we’re going to talk later!”

“But—” Liz’s voice trailed off as Candice managed to manhandle Zan to his feet and out the door. She slumped in the bed, heart still pounding from arousal. But the tears had dried, only to be replaced by hysterical laughter as she heard Zan’s muttered oath.

“Watch ya hands, woman! I ain’t a pettin' zoo, aight?”


<center>***</center>


Liz bit her lip, nerves gathering in her stomach as she dialed the once familiar phone number. She could feel Zan’s gaze on her as he sat on the couch, pretending to watch a football game as Candice hummed beneath her breath and painted her nails in a nearby chair.

After last night, he seemed to have lost whatever was holding him back from her and as a result he was acting a lot less like the hoodlum Candice had accused him of being, and a lot more like, well, like Max. The thought made her feel guilty, even as he offered her a small smile when their gazes met.

Surprisingly enough, he and Candice had seemed to hit it off after she’d nearly dragged him out of her room the night before by the ear. She’d watched them together this morning, seen the way Zan mocked her in the hopes of gaining a reaction from her roommate. And Candice never disappointed, calling him everything from a moocher to gutter-trash. Liz had winced a few times, but Zan only laughed the insults away.

There was nothing flirtatious between them, but it still sent a pang of envy through her at the easiness of their displays. She and Zan were still tiptoeing around one another, as if afraid to get in too deep. Oh, there was heat and desire…several times today he’d cornered her somewhere and kissed her until she had been panting with need. But he always stopped them short of culmination, so to speak.

But right now she had bigger problems than whether or not Zan got her off. She had to call Kyle and find out what had given him a reason to contact her after months of silence. She felt ridiculous when she noted her shaking hands as Kyle's phone rang.

“Yeah?” A husky male voice picked up after the third ring.

Her throat closed up and she clutched it with her hand, forcing out the words, “Kyle? It’s…it’s Liz.”

Silence echoed across the line, then a heavy breath. “Liz. I wasn’t sure if you’d bother calling me back.”

That hurt, even as she acknowledged the blow. She supposed he had every right to think so, considering the way she’d cut herself off from all of them after tragedy had struck. She cleared her throat and replied, “Well, here I am.”

“Yeah.” He sounded nervous himself, and that did nothing to help her. She ignored Zan’s piercing stare, turning slightly away as she waited for her one-time friend to say something. Anything.

“How are you?” he questioned in a stiffly polite tone.

Her eyes closed, pain engulfing her. God, was this what it came down to? She and Kyle had once been close…maybe even closer than she and Maria at one point in time. They’d shared things that no one else on earth would have understood, things associated with being healed by the same alien king. Now they could barely carry on a civil conversation.

“I’m…” She meant to say good, but for whatever reason, she couldn’t bring herself to lie to Kyle. But before she could figure out what she did want to say, he interrupted her with a rough sound.

“For Buddha’s sake…this is stupid, Liz.” He sounded as frustrated as she felt. “What happened to us? Did we really let something so stupid as an argument ruin our friendship?”

A spot of hope lit inside her. “Kyle…I’m sorry about what I said to you. I’m just…” Her voice grew thick and she dug her nails into her palm. “I’m so, so sorry…”

“I miss you, Liz,” he answered gruffly. “I’m sorry for pushing you, but I just want you to come home so damn bad…”

“I know,” she answered shakily. And for the first time the idea didn’t send her screaming into the night. “Kyle—”

“Liz, I promised myself the next time we talked, I wouldn’t mention it. I know how you feel about Roswell…but Liz…something’s happened.”

Hope died to be replaced with a sickening fear as she caught the desperation in his tone. “Kyle. What-what do you mean?”

He sighed again, and his voice grew thick with pain. “It’s Isabel, Liz. She was in an accident. Jesse’s…Jesse’s dead. Isabel’s in a coma, and she won’t respond to anyone. Not even Michael. It’s like she’s shut herself off from the real world. Before she lost consciousness, she said Alex’s name a few times. I think she feels like as long as she doesn’t wake up, she can be with him.”

Liz stared blankly at the wall, hearing Candice’s laughter at whatever commerical had just aired as if from underwater. Her heart pounded, filling her ears with a roaring sound as perspiration dotted her flesh. “Isabel…” was all she could get out before tears clogged her throat. “Oh, God…”

“Liz!” Kyle’s tinny voice came through over the phone and she held it up to her ear again as he added, “Sweetie, I’m sorry to have to tell you this…I just, we don’t know what to do. We need you, Liz. God, we need you so damn much.”

She could tell he was fighting not to cry himself and her vision blurred. Somewhere deep inside she felt Zan’s curiosity and worry probing her, and his strength made her able to reply, “You have me. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

His sigh of relief barely registered. She woodenly said goodbye, promised to keep in touch on her way home and hung up the phone. She fell blindly into a chair, lips wobbling. She began to cry in earnest as everything that she’d held locked up inside of herself for five years exploded in a torrent of grief.


<center>Tune in Friday for the next installment...</center>
Last edited by Applebylicious on Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Applebylicious » Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:36 pm

<center>Chapter 5</center>


“What do you mean, you’re leaving?”

Liz licked her lips and stared at Candice’s bewildered expression, carefully avoiding Zan’s burning stare as she folded her arms across her breasts. Her mind still spun from Kyle’s shocking admission over the phone, and her heart ached at the reminder of just how far apart she’d grown from the people who had once been so close to her.

There had been a time when she would have known without words that something had happened, when she would have felt it within her, no matter the distance that separated them. Now…

“I have to go home,” she repeated hoarsely. “There’s been an…an accident. One of my friend’s is in trouble, and I have to go.”

“For how long?” Candice wondered, eyes gleaming sympathetically. “Oh, Liz…I’m so sorry. Was this what that Kyle person had to tell you?”

“Yes, and I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. But I have to leave right away. Excuse me.” She turned sharply on her heel and began walking towards her room, battling the tears that threatened her vision. She didn’t hear the soft steps behind her, but when she went to shut the door, a hand closed over hers, pulling her back against a hard chest as she closed her eyes. Her breath hitched. “Zan.”

“What’s really goin’ on?” he murmured, his breath brushing her ear and sending a heated shock through her system, despite the pain and confusion. His voice was thready and accusing, his fingers stroking contrarily. “I can feel your pain.”

She bit her lip, a single tear sliding down her cheek as she reached up to brush it away. He glimpsed the movement, turning her around to stare into her eyes as he reached out and caught the tear with his thumb. She froze, pressed against him as he slowly brought his thumb to his mouth, licking the tear away as he held her gaze. “Tell me,” he commanded in a quiet tone.

The intimacy of the gesture shook her, causing her to falter slightly as she opened her mouth. “Zan, I…”

“You want me to come with you,” he interrupted, reading her hesitancy as his gaze hardened slightly. “You think I could help your friend.”

She lifted her face, refusing to look away as his grip tightened on her arms. She felt a slight edge of shame as the connection sprung to life and she realized his anger at what he felt was her intent to use him. It wasn’t far off from the truth. “If you don’t help her, she could die,” she spoke bluntly, licking her lips again as his nostrils flared. “Zan, listen…”

“No, you listen.” He pulled her closer, their mouths a breath apart as he kicked the door closed behind them. Darkness seemed to swirl inside of him, his gaze hard and edgy, but she wasn’t afraid. He sensed this and it seemed to only frustrate him more. “I ain’t a performing monkey, Liz. I won’t be used—”

“I don’t want to use you!” she answered hotly, pulling away and pressing her hands to her mouth. “I don’t, that’s why I wasn’t going to ask…” She broke off with a sob, turning away and stalking away a short distance as she fought to regain her control. She could feel him staring after her, but she couldn’t turn and meet his gaze when she felt so bare. “I knew you wouldn’t agree, Zan. Which is why I’m going alone.”

“And whada ya think ya gonna do?” he returned sarcastically. “Ya forget, princess…I been inside ya. I know ya ain’t got power no more, just like I know there ain’t a damn thing ya can do to save Lonnie’s dupe. You's need me.”

His words dared her to deny it, and she fought the urge to turn and throw herself into his arms, on his mercy. But she couldn’t. She kept remembering the look on Max’s face when she’d asked his help a long time ago, to help heal her grandmother. And then Alex…

Her lips wobbled, her vision blurred as her nails bit into her palms. She felt his answering confusion to her silent response, the gentle probing of his mind within hers. “Stop it,” she whispered weakly. She couldn’t stand for him to know just how much she needed him for this. He would refuse, and she’d only have to face the pain of rejection again. She couldn’t…she wouldn’t…

“Say it,” he answered lowly, his voice closer than before. She hadn’t heard him approach. “Say the words, Liz. Tell me.” His tone took on an almost pleading note that had her turning around. His eyes had darkened to the color of aged brandy, his face tight with an emotion she couldn’t read.

When she didn’t answer right away, he made a sound and closed the distance between them in a blur of motion. She didn’t have the time or the inclination to stop him as he pulled her to her toes and captured her mouth. “Tell me,” he whispered against her lips, his tongue tracing the soft contours as she moaned and tried to crawl inside of him. His hands gripped her bottom, fitting her against him as their breath thickened. “Tell me…”

“I…I need you, Zan,” she admitted huskily, threading her fingers through the thick mass of his hair as his teeth nipped at her neck. “I need you.”

He paused at her words, a shudder running through his body as he panted harshly into her neck. “You do,” he answered, but it sounded more like a question. His arms crushed her closer as their emotions mixed together via the connection. “What the hell are ya doin’ to me, Roswell?”

“What are you doing to me?” she whispered back, just as frightened by the intensity of their feelings for one another. It shouldn’t be happening, not this quickly. She needed him, yes. She wanted him, desperately. But was it possible to fall for someone so quickly, without reason? She had with Max. His duplicate had the same hold over her. Was she simply meant to love them?

What she felt for Zan mirrored her feelings for Max, but…more. Rougher, edgier, like the man himself. But at the same time, she felt closer to Max than she had in the last five years, and she couldn’t help but cling to those feelings that anchored him to her. Zan was different, but he still incited the same feelings inside of her as Max. She couldn’t give that up, not when she’d hungered to feel this way for years. Not when everything inside of her finally felt like it was awakening.

She felt him take a deep breath against her neck, and her arms closed tighter around his shoulders. His hair tickled her nose when he bent to nuzzle her collarbone. “Okay,” he managed in a hoarse voice that made her shiver in arousal. “I’ll go with ya.”

Her eyes flew open, and she pulled back to stare at him. He didn’t smile, didn’t frown…his expression remained stoic and even as his gaze turned to hunger and longing. “You will?”

His jaw grew taut, but he nodded. “Yeah, but I ain’t promising nothin’, princess. Keep that in mind, aight? I don’t know if—”

He broke off as she threw herself at him, tears streaking down her face as she whispered fervently into his ear. “Thank you.”


<center>***</center>


Zan stood by silently as Candice embraced Liz, speaking softly into her ear. He knew he outwardly appeared calm, even detached. But everything inside of him was coiled with nervous tension. He shifted, leaning lightly against the wall as his palms itched to flex.

God, what the fuck was he doing? Agreeing to follow some chick to Roswell, the one place where he’d always been careful to stay away from? He was out of his goddamn mind, that was what. Somehow Liz had put a force on him with her soft eyes and softer body, and now he was being led around by his dick.

Even as he thought the words he winced, knowing how untrue they were. She wasn’t leading him anywhere he didn’t want to go. It was the fact he did that made him so wary. For Christ’s sake, she had been his dupe’s woman. What business did he have screwing around with her? None. He’d seen firsthand the consequences of so-called love, and he didn’t ever want a part of it again.

But his body didn’t seem to listen to his mind, and so he found himself standing there with bags at his feet as he watched Liz and her crazy roommate exchange goodbyes. He glanced down at the carry-ons and grunted. None of this shit was even his. What he owned, he carried on his back.

“And promise me you’ll call, let me know if you need anything,” Candice was saying as she followed Liz over to where he stood. “I can be on a plane like that.” She snapped her fingers, jolting Zan out of his half-daze.

“I will,” Liz answered. “Good luck on the job interview, okay?” She hugged her friend once more, and Zan’s gaze was transfixed on her face as she smiled.

What was it about her that got to him so much? Yeah, she was beautiful, but he’d seen better. Hell, Ava was arguably hotter, but he’d never felt the urgent arousal for her that nearly inflamed him every time he set his eyes on Liz Parker.

Something about her was so damn sweet that it left him aching for her and needing to protect her at the same time. Yet he knew she was anything but helpless. The memories he’d acquired had proven that much. He’d never thought humans could handle half the shit she’d gone through.

“Are you ready?” she asked softly, pulling his troubled gaze towards her. She offered him a small smile, to which he felt himself grow even harder.

“Yeah, whateva,” he grunted, thrown off by the urge to reach out and pull her closer. He was burning to hold her, to touch her, to taste her… He cleared his throat and frowned.

“Hey, gutter boy.” Candice’s voice had him glancing over and he cocked a brow as she stepped forward. “Take care of her, or else you’ll deal with me when you get back. And your pretty eyes and muscles don’t do a damn thing for me, understand?”

“Candice!” Liz gasped in embarrassment, but Zan simply smirked.

“I’m shakin’ in mah boots,” he drawled, but the statement had dissolved enough of the tension inside him that he looped an arm around Liz’s shoulders. She immediately melted against him and he stifled a groan. “Latah, mouth.”

“Later, gutter-trash.”

There was another bout of female hugging and a few tears shed as their flight was called. He reached down and picked up the bags and started towards the gate. He felt Liz’s presence a moment later and glanced over his shoulder to see her surreptitiously wiping her eyes.

His heart ached but he didn’t speak as they filed onto the plane and took their seats. He stretched his legs out, glanced out the small window as he took a deep breath.

This was the first time he’d ever been on a plane, his first time to leave New York. Yet, he didn’t feel as though he were leaving anything behind. Wasn’t that strange? He’d lived there all his life, but it didn’t feel like home. Nowhere did.

The silence ate at him, and he glanced over to see Liz staring at her hands, a forlorn expression on her face. “What’s wrong, princess? Second thoughts?” he asked, his heart pounding at the sadness in her eyes.

She looked up, slowly shaking her head. “No…I’m just…” Scared. She didn’t say the word, but it echoed in his mind all the same. She licked her lips and he crumbled inside.

Before he knew what was happening, he heard himself say, “Ya friend’s gonna be fine, princess. Stop worryin'.”

She blinked at him, obviously surprised since he’d told her not to expect any miracles earlier that day. He bit back a curse, and meant to look away. But her gaze held him riveted and he whispered, “I’m gonna try.”

She nodded, swallowing hard as she broke their gaze. He let out a breath, falling back against the seat as he stared at the airport beyond the window. His fingers tightened into fists.

He’d put off thinking about the fact that in a few short hours, he would be face to face with the people who’d betrayed him. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the Roswellians' fault, but how did he know that they weren’t just as foul? Just as evil? He’d seen pictures of Michael Guerin and Isabel Evans, he’d witnessed images of them from Liz’s mind.

They might appear cleaner-cut than Rath and Lonnie, but who knew what was truly lurking behind those innocent faces? And what if he couldn’t heal Isabel? What if his powers just weren’t good enough anymore? Would Liz hold that against him? Would he hold it against himself?

“Stop worrying,” her soft words echoed his own and he looked back over to see her eyes closed, a gentle smile on her face. Emotion burst inside of him and clogged his throat as he ran his gaze over her.

God, he was in love with her. He couldn’t deny it any longer, just as he couldn’t deny what a fucking stupid thing it was. How could he have fallen in love with her? Was he looking for trouble? Had he truly lost his mind?

It was one thing to enjoy her body. It was something completely different to mix emotion with desire. But that had been his problem all along with Liz, he’d never been able to separate the two. He’d known when he slept with her that it hadn’t been merely to scratch an itch. He’d needed to be that close to her.

He bit back a groan and when he answered, his voice was harsher than he’d intended. “I ain’t worryin' about nothin’.”

But it was a lie. He was worried about himself, and just how much he’d possibly give up for her. And he was worried that she only thought of him as a convenient replacement for her dead boyfriend. Sometimes he’d catch her looking at him, and he knew she wasn’t seeing him. It didn’t take too much pondering to realize she was thinking of Max…and remembering.

Sad thing was, he knew he’d take that. As long as it was he she was touching, he could handle being in the shadow of a ghost. And that’s what messed with his mind. They’d only known each other a few days, but it seemed so much longer. It felt like forever since he’d looked into her eyes and met his fate.

“Okay,” was all she said in response. And he gritted his teeth against the urge to demand she speak more. Anything to distract him from the crazy thoughts whirling about his brain.

But in the end, he stayed silent. He thrust his jaw forward and tried to block it all out as he stared out of the window. A rumble sounded beneath their feet and he gripped the seat as the plane prepared to take off. A hand brushed across his white-knuckled fist and he glanced down to see Liz gently unfolding his fingers. He turned his palm over and she locked their hands together as the ground left them.



Tune in Friday for the next installment...
Last edited by Applebylicious on Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Applebylicious » Fri Nov 12, 2004 8:02 am

<center>Chapter 6</center>



Liz wasn’t exactly sure what she’d expected when she set foot inside of Las Cruces International Airport. Being back in New Mexico filled her with a strange sense of homecoming even as another part of her grew clammy with remembered grief as she glimpsed the desert view beyond the high windows.

She swallowed, pushing a pair of sunglasses up the bridge of her nose as she and Zan walked towards the baggage claim where they'd agreed to meet Kyle. Zan was silent, his entire body coiled in tension as he glanced around at the people coming and going. She knew he was nervous, could feel it inside herself as he scanned his surroundings.

She felt guilty for dragging him away from everything he’d ever known and throwing him headfirst into her own problems. But at the same time, he was a part of it, too. She wasn’t sure what his place was as of yet, but he was involved. Their intense connection proved that, as did his heritage.

She wasn’t blind to the darkness that seemed to fill him at random intervals. She wondered if the episodes had anything to do with the scars that covered his body. Why hadn’t he bothered to heal them? Did he carry them around as a grim memory of past betrayals? A way to remind himself not to trust anyone?

She hoped not. It hurt for her to think of him so alone, so full of hatred towards those who had wronged him. She didn’t begrudge him his pain and anger, but she also had firsthand knowledge of what happened when you allowed yourself to become wrapped up in bitterness. She’d nearly lost everyone that had ever meant anything to her because she’d hidden her pain beneath a frosty shell where she couldn’t feel emotion. At the time it had been easier than acknowledging the fact that she’d failed to protect the people she loved.

She didn’t want that for him. She still didn’t know what exactly had happened to him, how he’d been betrayed and left for dead, but she knew enough to guess it had something to do with his fellow dupes. She couldn’t imagine how it would feel to have been deceived by your own family, people who should have been there to protect you. Even when she and Max’s anger at each other had been at its worst, she’d never have put him in a position to be harmed. And deep down, she knew she could expect the same from him.

But Zan…he hadn’t had that luxury. He knew nothing of loyalty. Nothing of love. Ava had revealed enough during her short stay in Roswell that Liz knew Zan was perceived by the others as hard and unyielding. He’d referred to himself as “da man”, and he’d acted the alpha role to perfection.

Ava had wanted Zan, but Liz had also sensed a deep-rooted impression of fear from the petite alien. Ava wanted him, but she was scared to death of him. It had been easy for her to turn her back once Zan had been presumed dead. Easy to accept it as truth and start a life away from them all. She’d mourned him, Liz knew, but she’d never truly known the man who now stood by her side.

She glanced over and was once again blown away by the resemblance of Max Evans. Her body recognized him as her lover and soulmate, but she also knew the differences. His dishevelment drew the attention of the more conservative New Mexicans as they passed by and Liz bit back a grimace as Zan popped his knuckles slowly, the leather bands at his biceps growing taut as his muscles bulged.

A scowl as dark as his clothing pierced his expression, his brows drawn tightly together over narrowed golden eyes. His jaw was tight, his hands clenched in fists as he hulked behind her in a blatant position of protection. He lifted a hand and rested it on the small of her back, inciting a small shiver down her spine before she could hide it. He didn’t seem to notice, too alert to their surroundings as though he expected someone to jump out at them and yell, “Boo!” Or worse.

He looked fearsome, territorial…and completely out of place. The first thing they needed to do was get rid of the punk look and attitude. There was no way he’d blend in with the black clothing, tattoos and piercings that covered his body. He needed to keep a low profile, and sticking out like a bad boy sore thumb wasn’t the way to do so. No matter how sexy she found him…

Someone shrieked across the terminal and he grabbed her, pulling her against his chest as his breath came quick and shallow. “Stay close to me,” he hissed, his voice a low rumble and his arms like steel bands across her waist.

She struggled to breathe, adrenaline and shock coursing through her from his possessive demeanor. “It’s all right,” she managed. “It’s just someone who’s happy to be home.”

She pointed across the way and saw his jaw tic as he observed the woman who was now in the arms of several friends or family members. By degrees he released his tight grip on her, until she was once again standing on her own a few inches away. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse and filled with self-disgust. “Right.” He cleared his throat, refusing to meet her sad gaze as he strode ahead of her and studied the revolving luggage train.

Liz released a shaky breath, unable to keep from remembering the fierce look in his eyes right before he’d grabbed her. She’d seen that expression once before, the night they’d met. He’d looked like a wild animal, pursuing her attackers and therefore protecting her. A lump filled her throat as she realized, that was his life. What he was used to. Protecting himself from being harmed.

She watched in silence as he removed her bags from the baggage claim and turned to face her. His expression was defensive as if he expected her to speak out against his actions. She longed to walk over and wrap her arms around him, comfort him the way he obviously needed. But she knew he wasn’t ready for comfort, at least not from her. No matter how close they’d become in such a short time, she still sensed that it was hard for him to let go of the immediate wariness that shaped his personality. That hard-edged anger and repression.

“Liz!”

She spun around, eyes growing wide as she caught sight of none other than Kyle Valenti moving through the crowd towards her with quick strides. He looked different from how she remembered. Older, wiser. Lines of stress creased his eyes and his face was pale and haggard from obvious exhaustion. The vitality that was everpresent in her friend was missing and a pang of fear touched her inside as she realized things at home must have grown desperate. Nevertheless, his handsome face lit up as she met his gaze and he lifted a hand in greeting.

Before she realized that she was running towards him, she was in his arms. “Kyle,” she whispered, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck as he caught her in a rough embrace. “God, it’s good to see you.”

And it was true. No matter how much she’d dreaded getting on that plane and facing her past, it all dissolved the second she set eyes on him. Tears blurred her vision, her breath hitched as she began to shake. He held her, stroking her back gently as his own thickened voice replied, “I missed you, sweetie. It’s good to see you, too, Liz, you have no idea.”

She finally ended the hug, pulling back and wiping her eyes as she studied him. She wondered why he’d come alone, and a part of her worried over the fact. “How is she?” she asked quietly, deciding to get straight down to business. “I came as quick as I could.”

“I know, and you know how much we appreciate—” Kyle trailed off, his eyes growing large and his face paling even more as he glanced over her shoulder. Liz looked back and finally the gnawing jealousy pierced through her mind and she gasped as she met Zan’s hot eyes.

His gaze dropped to where Kyle held her hands in his and she saw his jaw snap together. He tossed his head, eyes gleaming with obvious disapproval. She felt a whisper in her mind. Mine.

“Holy shit,” she heard Kyle’s voice crack. “Liz…what in the hell’s going on here? Is that…?” He trailed off, swallowing hard as Zan stepped forward.

“This is Zan,” she replied quietly, holding Kyle’s anguished eyes with her own. His gaze sharpened at her words, and she knew he’d thought the same as she had. That Zan no longer existed. “We met in New York. I have some things to tell you. All of you.” She hoped he understood her silent meaning, and waited with held breath until he finally nodded faintly.

“Christ,” he whispered. “I can’t believe this shit.”

“That makes two of us, pal,” Zan sneered confrontationally. Kyle’s head swung towards the voice that mirrored Max’s.

“God, that’s creeping me out,” he answered shakily, taking a step back. “It’s like he’s back from the dead or something.” When Liz flinched, Kyle blinked and his shoulders drooped. “Liz, I’m…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to—”

“I know,” she tried for a smile that fell flat. Inwardly, her mind spun with newly remembered grief as she heard the words spoken aloud for the first time in so many years. Max was dead. God. “Forget it.”

But none of them did. She felt Zan’s gaze in particular as they all walked through the terminal towards the parking lot. She knew she should turn and offer him a smile or something to appease his curiousity, knowing he could feel every ounce of pain that flowed within her. But right now she was still too raw from her reunion with Kyle and the memory of past heartache.

Kyle held open the door to a battered and dust-covered Isuzu Rodeo and motioned for them to take the backseat, obviously realizing the bond between them even if he didn’t understand it. She slid into the seat, listening to the thud of her suitcases as Kyle tossed them into the way back. Zan moved in next to her, the heat of his thigh brushing hers.

She looked over and their gazes snared. Without thinking, she reached down and grasped his palm, tangling their fingers together tightly as her heart began to beat rapidly. She needed any strength he could provide. He held on just as firmly, unable to look away until Kyle slammed the back door. They both jumped slightly.

“What happened to the mustang?” Liz tried for normal conversation when Kyle slid inside and started the ignition.

He snorted, reaching down to fiddle with the radio as the air conditioner began to filter through the car, chasing away the dry desert heat. “Got rid of it a few years back. Needed something a little more durable, you know. With everything that’s been happening…”

“Better to be safe than sorry,” she concluded softly. Their eyes met in the rearview mirror. “Kyle, I’m sorry I left.”

He released a ragged breath, gripping the wheel with both hands. “I know, Liz. I always understood why you did, even if I didn’t agree. There’s nothing to be sorry about, all right? You’re…you’re here now.”

She nodded, swallowing as she looked down at her lap. She didn’t deserve his kindness or his forgiveness. But he’d given it anyway. The brush of a thumb across her hand drew her attention and burning tears filled her eyes as Kyle pulled out of the parking lot, the tires squealing across gravel and pavement. The sound of Tim McGraw’s husky croon filled the air and her throat grew tight as she silently repeated the lyrics.

I stood at the crossroads
Took a long look at me
Sometimes you don't know where
you're from 'til you leave…



<center>***</center>


Zan stared out the window during the drive to Roswell. Nothing but desert stretched along the highway, miles and miles of sand and the occasional sprinkling of small towns. More desert.

He bit back a sigh, settling back in his seat and rubbing the bridge of his nose wearily. There was no going back now, but he’d known that the second he’d gotten on that plane. He didn’t exactly regret his decision, but he was having a few of the second thoughts he’d accused Liz of earlier.

He’d seen the look that had passed between her and her friend at the airport. The man had taken one look at him and staggered as if he’d seen a ghost. . Was this the reaction to be expected every time? Would they all compare him with their lost friend?

Why he should care, he didn’t know. After all, he was the one who was there to help them. They should be grateful. But the idea of being measured against the illustrious, perfect Max Evans made his blood run cold. He’d be found as nothing but lacking. He threw a sideways glance at Liz, studying her as she slept.

Her thick lashes cast shadows across her cheeks, her lips parted to release small puffs of air. The fringe of her hair fell across one eye and he bit back the intense urge to brush it away, just so he could cop a feel of her softness. His hands clenched as his body pulsed in the familiar arousal that burned around her. He turned and pressed his forehead against the window, desperately needing something to cool him down.

Unfortunately, the damn sun was beating down on them like an angry stepfather. He grunted, shifting in his seat as he mentally cursed the desert state. He’d never missed the dank, dark alleys of New York as he did at this moment.

“About another hour to go,” Kyle informed him from the front seat and he sat up in surprise. It was the first time the man had actually addressed him during the entire four hour drive.

He didn’t really know what to say in response. He’d never been that great at being friendly, with his group he’d simply said his piece and expected it to be followed. End of story. He was the king, he was in charge. He’d expected obedience, no questions asked. Of course, now he could look back and see how well that had turned out.

With an inward wince, he flicked a gaze towards Kyle and nodded coolly. “Yeah, thanks.” He knew he sounded anything but, but he didn’t figure the guy would appreciate a false sense of amicability any more than he would. He’d keep it real, and hope for the same in return.

“No problem.” Kyle’s voice was just as distant and cautious. Their gazes met in the mirror before they both looked away. Zan was glancing back out the window when Kyle added, “Just so you know, if you fuck with her you’ll answer to me.”

His head lifted and he found the human male staring at him with barely concealed hostility. He cocked a brow, even as he respected the heat pouring from Kyle’s blue eyes. Still, he couldn’t resist sprawling in the seat and pasting a distasteful smirk on his face. “What makes ya think I’d be scared of a threat from a human?” he drawled in a voice that let Kyle know he was by no means intimidated.

Kyle’s eyes flashed. “Listen buddy. Times have changed, all right? There’s no senor presidente anymore, and even if there was you sure as shit wouldn’t be him. I don’t know you from Adam, and until I find out exactly why she brought you here, just know this. I’m keeping my eyes on you. I heard about you and the others, and as far as I’m concerned, the jury’s still out on you.”

Zan bit back a bitter retort, refusing to let the guy know he’d pierced any part of his emotional armor. It shouldn’t bother him that some random human didn’t trust him, after all he didn’t trust the guy either. But it stung. The idea that this guy thought he was anything like his family filled his mouth with a bitter flavor. But he simply sneered, “Whateva.”

They glared at each other another minute until a horn honked behind them. Kyle cursed, tearing his gaze away and motioning to the other car. “Damn it, pass me then!”

Liz came awake at the commotion, and stretched her arms as she blinked sleepily. “What’s wrong?” she murmured in a husky tone. “Kyle?”

“Some people don’t know how to drive,” Kyle grumbled in response. Zan just snorted which garnered him another hot stare from the human. He simply flashed his teeth.

Liz glanced out the window, then straightened. “We’re close, why didn’t you wake me up,” she accused. “I could have driven some of the distance, Kyle.”

“You looked like you needed to sleep.”

“Kyle.”

“I’m fine, Liz,” he managed a smile that even Zan could see through. The guy was clearly running on empty, sleep deprivation all but obvious in the hollowness of his features. He felt an unwanted pang of sympathy at the shadows that glimmered behind the male’s eyes. Apparently he’d had his share of agony, as well.

He stayed silent as Kyle and Liz waged a war of wills, during which neither spoke aloud, but with their eyes. He wanted to be jealous of the evidence of their closeness, but in truth he just wasn’t. There was nothing sexual about the feelings they showed for each other, even when they’d embraced like long-lost lovers at the airport. He’d been momentarily dazed by the sight of the woman he’d only just accustomed himself to loving in the arms of another man, but when his blood had calmed he’d seen with his own eyes the friendship that lurked there. Nothing more.

Finally Liz fell back with a sigh. “Tell me what’s happened,” she spoke softly, fiddling with her seatbelt as Kyle pulled onto an exit ramp.

Kyle took a deep breath and Zan waited to hear an explanation of what exactly he was up against. “It’s bad, Liz. She isn’t responding to anything. Just lies there, so still and quiet…” His breath caught and Zan saw him swallow hard. “I just can’t help but feel like we’ve lost her. She was awake for a few minutes after the accident, but when Michael told her about Jesse, she just…I’ve never seen anyone’s eyes go that dead. It was like she’d already given up. And then she just…slipped away. She doesn’t want to deal with the truth.”

Zan cocked a brow at the emotion in the other man’s voice. It sounded like more than typical fear for a friend who was in dire straits. If he didn’t know better, he’d think Kyle whoever-he-was had serious feelings for his dupe’s sister.

“Oh God,” Liz breathed. “And her injuries? Where are you keeping her?”

“My dad’s,” Kyle answered woodenly. “He and Amy got married, I told you that, remember? It was right after you left.” He paused as discomfort flowed in the car at the reminder. “Anyway, they moved into a smaller apartment and dad left me the house. I thought about selling it, too many memories, you know?” He and Liz shared a grim glance that Zan didn’t understand. He tapped into the connection he shared with her and caught vague glimpses of curly blonde hair, icy blue eyes. Pain and regret.

“I just couldn’t do it,” Kyle muttered. “Now, I guess I’m glad. She’s staying in my dad’s old room, and Michael and Maria are camping out there for now.”

Liz flinched. “Why didn’t they come?” she wondered in a pained voice. “Should I expect a less-than-stellar welcome?”

Kyle was quiet for a long moment. Zan tried not to look like he was fervently listening to the conversation, but he knew his face gave him away. He was hungry to know everything about her world, it was so dynamically different from his own.

When Kyle answered, his voice was rough. “I don’t really know what to tell you, sweetie. Maria wanted to come, but she had to stay with Isabel. Michael’s taking this really hard, so you might have some resistance on that front.”

Liz let out a heavy sigh and closed her eyes. “What else is new?”

“I have to tell you, this is going to cause some ruckus,” Kyle continued with a veiled look in Zan’s direction. “I assume you want to wait and explain when everyone’s together?”

“Hmm? Oh yes,” Liz answered absently, a faraway expression on her face that left no doubt that she was remembering things that brought her pain. Zan’s stomach clutched at the hopeless glint in her eyes.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Kyle answered softly.

So do I, Zan added silently.

Conversation fell away as they turned onto a pike that read Welcome to Roswell in bold letters, a goofy image of a green alien making up the O. Zan grimaced, caught Liz’s pained expression as they shared a moment grim humor.

“Home sweet home,” Kyle muttered. “Hope you’re ready.” He pulled up in front of a small house moments later, and stopped the engine. Liz visibly tensed next to him as Zan took in the surroundings.

Kyle stepped out, slamming the door behind him as his boots crunched on the ground beneath him when he started for the house. Zan moved to follow, a sense of excitement mingling with wariness as he prepared himself for God only knew what.

Liz’s hand on his wrist stopped him. He glanced over and met her wide gaze. “Listen, Zan,” Liz licked her lips. “Maybe you should…wait in the car until…”

“What? No way,” he whispered feverishly, trying to pull his hand away. “I ain’t hidin’ out, princess. You brought me, now ya gotta deal with it.”

They stared at each other until Kyle called her name from the doorway. Zan looked up to see a head of blonde hair behind Kyle and stiffened. Here it goes, he thought. He snagged Liz’s hand and pulled her out of the car with him.

“Zan, please…” she begged, stumbling after him but not trying to break away. He sensed her wild fear of being rejected by the people she had once called friends. He wished to soothe her, but forced himself to keep moving towards the house.

“I can’t,” she sobbed quietly. “Stop. I have to…I need to…” Leave. The word remained unspoken but they both heard it nonetheless. He stopped and met her bright gaze, releasing a sigh of frustration-tinged-pain.

“Chin up, Roswell,” he stated gruffly. “Ya stronger than this. Don’t ya wanna help your friends?”

She stared at him, swallowing hard before she managed, “Yes, but—”

“No buts. You dragged me here, and now I’m dragging you.” He meant to sound forceful, but his words were softened as he studied her pale features. “Let’s get this over with, aight?”

She licked her dry lips, pushed at her hair and did all but squirm. Finally, she took a deep breath, clutched his hand and nodded. “All right. All right…”

“Liz? Oh my God.”

They both turned at the breathless voice, ready to meet whatever fate planned to throw their way.

<center>Tune in Friday for the next installment...</center>
Last edited by Applebylicious on Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Applebylicious
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Post by Applebylicious » Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:10 pm

<center>Chapter Seven</center>



No one moved. That was the thought that ran through Zan’s mind as he stared at the tiny blonde who was standing frozen on the front step. She appeared haggard and pale, her big green eyes firmly trained on Liz.

“Hello, Maria,” Liz’s voice sounded small next to him, and he automatically moved in closer to offer unconscious support. She was shaking from head to toe, wringing her hands together as she stared back at the blonde.

“Look what I found, Maria,” Kyle aimed for a light tone that was desperately underachieved by the nervous crack in his voice. He cleared his throat, taking Liz’s arm and trying to steer her closer to the house.

She went along like a zombie, unable to look away from the doorway as Zan trailed along behind. He had a momentary resentment at feeling like a trained dog, but pushed it down deep out of compassion for what Liz was obviously going through at the moment.

The blonde “Maria” seemed to snap out of her daze and in a flurry of motion flew off of the step and pulled Liz into a bone-cracking embrace. “Liz…my God…”

“Maria, I’m so sorry,” Liz was crying now. Both women were crying, leaving Kyle and Zan standing there in uncomfortable silence as the tears raged on.

“I should have n-never left you guys,” Liz was whispering in a husky voice. “I should have n-never left…”

“Oh, shut up,” Maria hissed, pulling away only to wipe beneath her eyes with the hem of her shirt. “You needed to get out of here. Do you think none of us understood that?”

“Don’t make excuses for me, Maria. I was only thinking about myself, I was—”

“You were devastated, sweetie!” Maria reached out and shook Liz’s small frame. “My God, we all were. But Liz, no one blamed you for needing to get away.”

“I bet they do,” Liz whispered, her eyes filled with meaning. There was no doubt to any of them just who she was referring to. When Maria simply shifted on her feet, unable to meet her eyes, Liz’s shoulders slumped. “It’s all right, Maria. I…I was expecting as much.”

“Listen, babe…everything is going to be fine. I’ll deal with Michael, all right? He’s just being prickly because deep down he was really hurt by you leaving and—” She trailed off as Zan finally stepped out from behind Liz and Kyle. Her eyes grew wide as saucers and she let out an ear-piercing scream.

Zan covered his ears, flashing them both a dark look as Maria continued screaming. “God almighty, woman!”

“Liz, Liz…do you see…oh my God! He talked to me! Liz,” Maria was babbling, looking back and forth between her best friend and Zan, obviously unwilling to allow her eyes to leave him for very long. Kyle stood further back, stifling a snicker as he watched Maria’s dramatics.

“Maria!” Liz grabbed hold of Maria’s shoulders, forcing her gaze to her own. “Look at me. It’s all right. Do you hear me, it’s not really Max.”

“Not really Max?” Maria parroted in a clearly unsure voice. “Liz, what the hell is going on? I thought he,” she lifted a shaky hand and pointed at Zan, “was dead!”

Liz grimaced. “Well…not exactly.”

“Not exactly?!”

Kyle and Zan both winced at the shrill exclamation. Zan stepped forward, intent on helping. “Look, I ain’t Max, aight? And I ain’t dead. These assholes I used to hang with, they wanted me dead so they could use your precious Maxie to get off this godforsaken rock, but in the end they couldn’t pull that shit off. So…here I am. And would ya please stop yelling? Damn!”

“Thank you, Zan,” Liz muttered dryly as Maria stopped screaming and stared at him, lashes blinking rapidly. Liz turned towards her and sort of shrugged. “Basically…he’s right.”

“Wait a minute,” Maria managed. “Did you say…Zan?”

Zan rolled his eyes, shifted his feet and mumbled to Kyle, “Are all chicks from this town complete twits?”

Kyle choked, then tried to cover it up with a cough as he turned half-away. His face was turning red with the effort not to laugh as Maria glared at Zan.

“I heard that, you know.”

Zan smirked. “Well, la di fucking dah.”

Steam practically poured from Maria’s ears. Liz quickly stepped forward to distract her friend before she really went off on a tangent. She was shocked by the fact that what she really wanted to do, was fall on the ground in hysterics. Whenever she’d imagined the trip back home to Roswell, laughing had never entered the equation. But with Zan here…shaking things up just by being himself…oh God, she was going to laugh! And at such a bad time.

“Listen here, buddy,” Maria was moving forward and shaking a finger maniacally in Zan’s face as he stood there with one brow raised. “I don’t know what you’re doing here, but—”

“Maria,” Liz forced a light tone. “Leave it alone for now, all right? I’ll explain everything inside. Come on.”

“Did you hear what he called me?” she hissed in response, narrowing her eyes on Zan.

“I heard,” Kyle offered helpfully.

Liz glared at him. “Let’s just…go.”


<center>***</center>



Once inside, they all settled in the living room as Maria brewed some iced tea in the nearby kitchen. She was still sending Zan vague glances of mistrust, but had lightened up considerably as Liz explained her story. When she told how Zan had saved her from attack, Maria nearly bobbled the saucer as she turned to stare at her friend.

“You’ve gotta be shitting me.”

Kyle leaned forward, too. “Are you telling me that you’ve been saved twice by this guy?” he thumbed towards Zan, who was being unusually quiet. He appeared uncomfortable discussing the events that led up to his saving Liz, and had only relaxed when Liz inconspicuously took ahold of his hand where it lay on the couch beside her.

“Zan is not Max,” Liz stated in a quietly firm tone, looking from Kyle to Maria. “So no, he hasn’t saved my life twice. That was merely…coincidence.”

Maria turned away, mumbling, “If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck…” She glanced over her shoulder pointedly to where Zan was currently staring at Liz with an intense expression that did indeed rival that of Max Evans.

Liz bit back a sigh, rubbing her temples as a sudden headache began to approach. “Is that tea ready?” she wondered.

Maria was about to reply when the front door slammed open and a tall figure filled the doorway. Silence descended upon the group as Michael stepped forward and ran a hand through his hair. Dust covered his entire body and he appeared hot and frustrated. “All right, where the hell is she?” he demanded.

Liz felt her heart skip a beat as she shakily stood to her feet. Michael’s eyes immediately went to her and his jaw grew tight as he glared at her darkly. It was obvious this wouldn’t be a pleasant reunion. Still, she attempted a smile and lifted a hand in a wave. “Hi, Michael. It’s…been a long time.”

Michael stared at her, unblinking. When he answered, his voice was dangerously soft. “Go to hell, Parker, or I’ll send you there myself.”

Maria gasped, Kyle cursed and stood up, and Liz simply dropped her hand weakly. Zan, however, flew to his feet with fists clenched. “Watch your fucking mouth, prick,” he growled, bristling with indignation as Michael’s gaze swung to him.

“Look, asshole…” Michael trailed off, stumbling back as the blood drained from his face. He stared at Zan with an expression that nearly made Liz burst into tears. It was a cross between disbelief and stark hope. “Shit…M-Max?”

Zan thrust his jaw out and let his muscles ripple as he lowered his fists. Although he was still obviously angered, Liz also felt pity stirring inside of him as he watched the emotions cross Michael’s face. But just as soon it disappeared, his face growing tight and closed-off. “Rath.”

The word was filled with loathing so intense that it made Liz shiver. Kyle and Maria stood by like catatonics, unable to do anything but watch as Michael blinked slowly. The two aliens stood less than five feet apart, but there seemed to be a chasm of enormous proportions that separated them both.

“You fucking murderer,” Zan breathed hoarsely, his golden eyes glazing over as he began to shake. “I should tear your goddamn throat out…I should…” He let out a pained howl that brought tears to Liz’s eyes.

Michael was in shocked confusion, and not a little bit of pain himself. “What…what’s he talking about?” he whispered huskily. “This isn’t…?”

Max. The word went unanswered, but it was in the air all the same. Liz shook her head sadly when Michael glanced her way and managed in a thick tone, “Michael, this is…this is Zan. Max’s dupe.” She turned towards Zan, who was still breathing shallowly as he stared at the vivid image of one of the people who had betrayed him.

“Zan, look at me,” she whispered, ignoring the burning gazes of the others as she tried to catch his attention. She reached up, touching his jaw in a soft caress. He flinched away on a soft hiss of breath, but Liz didn’t let herself feel rejected. She stepped closer, wrapping her arms around his stiff body and hoping he could feel what was inside of her. “Zan…”

Slowly, he began to relax. His bright gaze lowered to hers and his muscles began to uncoil as his expression slackened. His lips trembled, hurt emanating from his eyes as he whispered, “He’s…bad, Liz. He tried to kill me.”

Liz ached at the pain in his tone, but shook her head. “No, Zan. He’s not Rath. You’re not Max, and he’s not Rath. He’s Michael…you remember me telling you about Michael, right?” She waited until he nodded, then released a breath. “He’s not going to hurt you.”

Immediately he stiffened. “I’m not afraid of him,” he snapped in a low voice. “It ain't me he threatened.”

She frowned in confusion until Michael’s words played back in her mind. Go to hell, Parker, or I’ll send you there myself. Instantly she understood, and her arms tightened around his middle as she buried her face in his neck. “He’s not going to hurt me,” she swore in a thick voice. “He’s just upset. Please, Zan…”

“What the hell is going on?” Michael asked in a choked tone. “Someone tell me what the fuck is going on!

“Michael,” Maria quickly crossed the room, taking his arm and pulling him into the hallway. Their voices were still audible. “You knew Liz was coming…I told you she was—”

“And I told you we didn’t need her!” Michael shouted. “Damn it, Maria! Do you ever listen to me?”

“Not when you’re being a stubborn ass!” she answered vehemently. “For God’s sake, Mikey…Isabel needs—”

“Isabel needs me!” Michael hissed, jerking away from Maria. “She doesn’t need someone who left us at the first chance she got! Shit!

“That’s not fair, Michael,” Maria’s voice was quiet now, and Liz knew her well enough to know that the Isabel line had affected her. Maria had always been a little insecure of the bond that existed between the two aliens. “She was mourning, just like you were.”

I didn’t run away from my obligations,” Michael stated hotly. “Does she really think Max would have wanted her to run off to New York and do whatever the hell she was doing up there? Leave us all here? How do we know she hasn’t switched sides? Huh?”

Liz felt that remark slice through her, even as she acknowlegded the justification of Michael’s anger. He was right…to an extent. Max would not have wanted things to end up this way. But she hadn’t stopped to think about that, she couldn’t because at that painful time the mere thought of Max was enough to make her want to die.

The sharp crack of palm meeting cheek echoed through the house. Then Maria’s angered voice, “How. Dare. You.”

“I want her out of this house,” Michael answered in a shaky tone. “And she can take that…that freak with her. What the hell was she thinking, bringing one of the dupes in here! We know what they’re capable of! They tried to kill Max and Tess before…”

He trailed off and Liz pulled away from Zan, cold with anger herself at the reminder of the petite blonde traitor. She’d managed to go months without thinking about Tess, but now that she was back in Roswell and in the Valenti home, memories of her were everywhere.

Kyle looked sick, too. He murmured a soft apology and wandered dazedly up the stairs and out of sight. Liz vaguely wondered if he had ever gotten over the ghosts that probably haunted him, as well. She guessed not.

Maria and Michael continued arguing, but she blocked it out as she stared at a crack in the wall. She felt Zan come up behind her, but didn’t turn around. Her hands were shaking, her eyes wet, and she felt like she could start screaming at any provocation. Things had gone from bad to worse.

Home Sweet Home.

“Liz,” Zan’s quiet voice was closer than she’d expected and sent a pleasant chill through her despite her tumultuous emotions. When he mirrored her earlier actions by wrapping his arms around her stomach, pulling her back against his chest, a soft sob escaped her throat and she turned and threw herself at him.

“Shh…it’s aight, princess,” he whispered in a subdued tone as he stroked her back with strong hands. “It’s you an’ me. Remember that. You an’ me. We don’t need nobody else.”

The words were comforting, even as she knew they weren’t true. Still, she allowed herself to wallow momentarily in the strength she garnered from being with Max again. With Zan. She frowned at the mistake, but quickly shoved it out of her mind when she heard Michael and Maria approaching.

She turned, meeting Michael’s hard gaze. She didn’t speak, but grasped Zan’s hand tightly, presenting a united front that was unmistakable as Michael glanced down at their joining.

“We don’t need you,” he repeated firmly, expression fierce and protective as Maria came up behind him. Liz held her breath as his gaze switched to Zan. He wavered, fleeting emotions moving across his features before he managed calmly, “Can you heal?”

Liz expected Zan to come back with some kind of rude reply, but all he said was, “I don’t do nothin' without Liz.”

Michael snorted. “What else is new?” he mumbled beneath his breath, but nodded sharply. “Fine. Sit tight for a little while, then I’ll take you up to see her. But remember this…you’re the visitor now.”

His words were aimed at Liz, who looked down and nodded without speaking. She understood Michael’s need to punish her, and she would allow it for now. She’d do whatever needed to be done to help Isabel so that she could leave.

Again.
Last edited by Applebylicious on Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Applebylicious » Mon Dec 27, 2004 1:45 am

<center>Chapter Eight</center>



She looked like she was sleeping. Waves of blonde hair, once shiny and thick, now lay limp and tangled across a single white pillow. Golden lashes brushed pale cheeks, the faint scar of a newly healed wound marred what was once a perfect complexion. She was so still…too still.

Kyle swallowed hard, falling heavily into the chair pulled up to Isabel’s bed. He studied her for a long moment, emotions roiling inside of him as he heard Michael’s angry voice on the floor below. He blocked it out, reaching a shaky hand forward and closing his fingers around Isabel’s wilted wrist. Her pulse was thready but stable, and it was all he could do not to cry out in relief.

Every day they feared the worst. Every day that passed and they were unable to reach her, powerless to help, seemed to coalesce until there was nearly no hope left. Maria had given up; Kyle knew. He could see it in her foresty eyes, bright with tears every time she looked Isabel’s way. She had yet to speak it out loud, knowing just what Michael’s reaction would be.

The other alien refused to accept the possibility that they might not be able to save Isabel. He ignored the fact that his own powers just weren’t capable of healing Isabel’s fractured mind, of healing her broken body. Kyle marveled at Michael’s strength even as he failed. He had yet to see the other male shed a single tear over the death of his best friend, or the consequent tragedy of the woman who was for all intents and purposes, his sister.

Kyle wasn’t nearly as brave. He cried almost every night, deep shuddering sobs that racked his entire body in the darkness and privacy of his bedroom. He put up a front for the others, feigned optimism and cheer for every newfangled idea Michael came up with, but deep down…he knew they’d lost her.

He’d been the first to find her after the accident. He’d told Liz otherwise, but it was the story that they’d all decided upon for the time being. Kyle hadn’t argued, wanting nothing more than to forget everything he’d seen.

Michael had known first, through the unique bond shared between all the hybrids, but Kyle had been closest when the news had come through. She hadn’t even recognized him, hadn’t responded to his desperate cries as he tried to keep her conscious and aware of her surroundings. Jesse was already dead, his neck snapped on impact. He laid nearby, a few feet away, bent at an awkward angle and eyes wide open to reflect the grim knowledge of death.

Isabel, covered in blood and not looking far from death herself, was shaking and mumbling beneath her breath. He’d seen the aftermath firsthand, had heard the last thing she’d said before darkness had taken her away from them. For the rest of his life, he knew it would haunt him. That hint of wonderment in her voice as she stared with unseeing eyes somewhere over Kyle’s shoulder. And then, a name, barely more than a whisper, but more than discernible.

“Alex…there you are.”

She’d slipped into oblivion with a smile on her face, and they hadn’t been able to reach her since. And although this wasn’t the first time tragedy had struck their group, Kyle couldn’t remember ever feeling so empty and hollowed out. He’d grieved Alex’s death, mourned when Max had been killed. He hadn’t really known Jesse, but his loss had affected him, and he’d had a quiet moment for the man who’d been so new to their way of life. He didn’t want to think about Tess, because that wound was still too fresh and easily agitated.

But Isabel…he’d only just begun to realize the truth. They’d managed to form a friendship together years ago during the rough period of time when Max was so estranged from anyone and everyone. That friendship had built and grown over time, until the first person Kyle thought of in the morning and before he went to bed, was Isabel Evans.

She was different from the others. He’d always felt uncomfortable around Max; not intimidated, but there was an underlying tension they’d never really been able to overcome. He and Michael got along better, but only slightly. It was Isabel who had truly made him understand and appreciate the hybrids. She’d understood him better than anyone else, even Liz to a point. But before he had been able to put a label on those burgeoning feelings, Jesse had come into the picture and he'd been forced to stand by and watch as she married the newcomer.

It hadn’t stopped him from falling in love with her. Every smile she gave him, every time she cracked a joke at his expense, he worshipped her that much more. And he was ashamed that a small part of him, nearly infinitesimal but there nonetheless, had actually rejoiced when he’d learned of the death of her husband. What kind of person did that make him?

He pushed back the conflicting emotions and licked dry lips, blinking as he leaned forward to look upon her peaceful expression. With trembling lips he whispered, “Izzy. I know…I hope you can hear me.”

He waited, watched her chest rise and fall with shallow breathing. Other than that, there was no movement to prove that she was even aware he was there. His breath escaped in a ragged whoosh, and he laid his head down against the mattress. “For Buddha’s sake, Iz. You’re…you’re killing me here, you know. You have to be okay…”

He broke off when his voice began to crack, pushing away and shoving a fist in his mouth as he stared out of the window. The familiar sights did nothing to ease his pain. For the first time in years, he wished for his mother. Not that Michelle Valenti was capable of comfort. And his father…he was doing his own grieving. Kyle knew enough about the Valenti men after the Tess fiasco to understand that their grieving should be done alone and away from each other.

The sound of the door opening with a soft click had him turning around, plastering a blank expression on his face as he caught sight of Liz’s all-knowing concern. He saw her eyes flick towards the bed where Isabel lay, and she wrapped a hand around her throat. He wondered at the faint pang of satisfaction he felt at her obvious anguish. If she hadn’t left…but no, he’d forgiven her for doing so. He hadn’t lied about that, he even understood her need to stay away. It was only his emotions running wild. He had to get out of there, away from…

“My God,” Liz’s soft voice broke as she took a single step inside. “Oh, Isabel…”

Michael pushed through the door, shooting Liz a distrustful glare before looking Kyle’s way. Something in his eyes softened slightly as he noted the chair that Kyle had warmed only moments before. “Anything?” he asked quietly. Kyle could only shake his head, watching and understanding as Michael’s expression fell.

A faint crackling in the air signaled a change of the energy in the room, and Kyle caught sight of Zan's hesitant approach. His eyes were unreadable, as was his expression as he stared at Isabel’s prone figure on the bed. But uncertainty emanated from him, his fingers twitching as he stopped just beside Liz.

Kyle sat back down, taking hold of Isabel’s hand as he watched Max’s dupe. He didn’t notice the look that was exchanged between Michael and Maria at his action, but was solely trained on Zan. Just because Liz trusted him…

But Zan only continued to stare, seemingly unaware of everyone’s eyes on him. When he spoke, his voice vibrated with emotions that Kyle couldn’t quite identify. “Lonnie. Look what’s happened to you…”

“She’s not Lonnie,” Michael snapped, pushing past him and shielding Isabel from view. “She’s nothing like the bitch you knew, all right? So get that into your head right now. Can you help her or not?”

Zan frowned at Michael’s tone, but refrained from snapping back when he caught sight of Liz’s pleading glance. He swallowed, clenched his fingers into his palm and gritted through his teeth, “Move outta the way, dickhead.”

Michael bristled, but complied. Zan moved forward until he was positioned directly next to the bed, staring down into the face that was so similar to the one who had betrayed him. For a single moment, his fingers itched to wrap around her throat and finish the job. She was evil, a murderer. She deserved to die.

As if reading his thoughts, Liz stepped forward and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Zan, please try,” she whispered in an aching voice. “Please…”

All breaths held as he tightened his jaw and reached out a hand. It hovered over her chest, and a strange feeling began to surge inside of him. It was incredible, and filled him with a sense of power he’d never before encountered. He gasped, jerking forward as his hand was drawn towards her. He placed it between her breasts, over her heart as bright lights flashed behind his eyes.

It was like being struck by lightening, with all of the sublime feelings that came along with it. He couldn’t look away from her closed eyes, but saw things before him that didn’t make sense, yet he somehow understood them all. He saw flashes of pods, similar to the ones that he and his family had emerged from in New York. But these were located somewhere different. He saw a flash of two naked children, hands entwined, walking down a lonely street at night. Lights flared and they turned.

They were coming faster now. He trembled as images of a beautiful young woman who resembled Lonnie laughed, throwing her neck back in a show of emotion that he’d never seen from his icy sister. Then he was hugging her, standing on a rocky desert face as the afternoon sun sparkled across the lake behind them.

I just...I just wanted her to know. I wanted it so bad.

I know you did. We have each other. We're gonna be ok, Iz. We're gonna be ok.


Kyle yelped, causing them all to jump and Zan broke away, sweating and staring at Isabel’s form in shock.

“H-Her fingers, they moved. Oh Buddha, she moved!” Kyle cried out, holding Isabel’s arm up to show everyone. His eyes traveled towards Zan and he blinked. “What happened?”

All eyes flew to Zan, who was standing by in latent alarm, and not a little fear. “I didn’t do nothin’,” he declared vehemently, backing away and nearly running into Maria. “I didn’t see shit. I can’t help you. I-I can’t.”

“Zan!” Liz’s voice followed him as he lumbered across the room and down the stairs. He made it outside before the sobs took hold of him, and he fell against the side of the house as the wild emotions overcame him. Head in his hands, he shook violently from the memories. They weren’t his, but they seemed so real.

He – Max – had loved his sister. Loved her more than Zan had ever even thought about Lonnie. Before her betrayal, when she's left him for dead, Zan had always considered his sister with a sort of detached emotion. He didn’t love her, but then he didn’t really love anyone. What was love, anyway? He cared for her, didn’t want to see anything happen to her…but he’d never felt even an ounce for her of what Max Evans bestowed on his family. Was that what had driven Lonnie away from him? Had he been unable to show his appreciation for them? Was it all his fault?

He felt her presence seconds before she approached. He knew how he must look; huddled against the wall in broad daylight, crying his eyes out like a pansy-fucker. He attempted to turn away from her compassionate gaze, not wanting her to touch him. “Get away from me!” he managed hoarsely, stumbling to move away as she continued to draw near him.

“Zan,” she whispered tearfully. “Let me—”

“No!” he roared. “Get the fuck away from me!”

“It’s okay.” She was crying now, too, and not trying to hide it. Despite his attempts otherwise, she caught his face between her hands and forced him to look at her. Instinctively, he brought up a hand to blast her, but was stilled when he met wet brown eyes. His hand fell limply to his side, and he pulled her towards him with a groan. Their lips met through a violent flow of passion and pain, and they both used each other as a sedative.

The flashes began again, as they always did whenever he was this close to her, but he ignored them all as his fingers buried in her hair and dragged her further into his lap. He pulled his mouth away, resting his head in her neck as she continued to cry softly. They rocked back and forth, and this was how Michael found them.

Zan glanced up, sensing the other alien’s presence and watched as stunned anger took over Michael’s expression. He tensed, readying himself for the battle that was sure to follow. Sure enough, Michael stormed closer, his voice thick with grief and aggression.

“So this is why you brought him?” he accused, glaring at Liz through pained eyes. She snapped up, only now realizing Michael’s presence. Her eyes widened, her lips trembled as she pulled away from Zan.

“Michael…I…this isn’t what it looks like,” she began lamely, nibbling on her lip as she tried to appeal to him. Zan watched silently, taking in the relationship between the two.

Michael shook a finger in her face. “Bullshit, Liz. God! Don’t you see what the hell you’re doing? He’s not Max, Liz!”

“I know that!” she shrieked, surprising Zan as he stood up and began brushing dust and dirt from his pants. Liz was practically vibrating on her feet now, glaring hotly back at Michael as the two stood toe-to-toe. “God, Michael…don’t you think I know that?”

“Do you?” he shot back, both of them speaking of Zan as if he weren’t even there. He was bemused to find he wasn’t bothered by this fact, but rather fascinated at the byplay between them. Michael continued in a huff, “I come out here and find you two making out on the ground. I guess since Max is dead, it’s the next best thing?”

Zan growled at that, starting forward but Liz beat him to the punch. Literally. He watched as if in slow motion as her tiny fist flew through the air, connecting with Michael’s nose as the sharp crack of cartilage snapped.

Micahel let out a surprised grunt, falling back an entire step and holding a hand up to his nose. He immediately pulled it back, glanced down, and stared at Liz. “You broke my damn nose,” he muttered nasally. Blood was dripping from his nostrils, catching on his lip as he furrowed his brows. “Where the hell did you learn to hit like that?”

Liz held her ground, all five-foot-three-inches of outrage. “From Alex,” she answered between her teeth. Zan didn’t recognize the name, but it was more than obvious that Michael did.

Some understanding passed between them, and Liz relaxed slightly, dropping her balled fists. They stared at each other until Michael inclined his head. “He could throw a mean right-hook,” he replied wryly.

Liz opened her mouth to answer, but her lips began to tremble and she turned away from them both in an obvious attempt to gain control of her emotions. Zan wondered who this Alex person was, and why he had even stony Michael Guerin near tears. When Liz turned to face him, all she said was, “Can you heal him?”

Zan glanced towards Michael, who scowled. He matched his dark look. “Do I have to?” But he walked up and shoved the other man's hands away from his injury, waving a hand across his nose and easily healing the broken cartilage.

“Thanks,” Michael grumbled, obviously anything but grateful. They eyed each other warily, but in the end Michael conceded first. He glanced away and shifted his feet. “Look, I think you should come back upstairs. I don’t know what happened up there, but…apparently it made a difference.”

Liz spun around, stark hope lighting her features. “Is she…?”

“No,” Michael was quick to answer. “She’s not. But she hasn’t responded to anything we’ve tried. When he,” he shot Zan another glance, “touched her…I dunno, something happened.”

“I told you, I can’t do it,” Zan immediately denied. “Last time she tried to pull me in, it was fucking crazy. No way I’m doing it again.”

Liz started to protest, but Michael hushed her with a single look. Turning fully towards Zan, he spoke quietly but firmly. “Look. I don’t like you, and you don’t like me. That’s fine. But that girl upstairs…she’s my family. She’s…all I have left of that part of me,” his voice was a rough whisper now. “If having a jackass like you around helps bring her out of this, then I’ll damn well tie you to her bed. Liz trusts you, and I trust Liz.”

Liz turned at this, surprise evident on her face. Zan wondered if she knew just how vulnerable she appeared at that moment. Had she never heard that from her friend? Once again he wondered at the extent of the relationship between Rath’s dupe and Liz Parker.

Not even looking her way, Michael took another step closer. Blood stained his collar, and his eyes were hard and unyielding. “I guess that means I have to trust you. But if you fuck up, there won’t be anywhere you can hide. Got me?”

Zan opted for a smirk. “Ya think that’s gonna get me to do anything for ya? Whateva, duke. Shovel that shit someplace else." He turned to walk away and took all of two steps before Michael spoke again.

“I know you connected with her.”

Freezing in mid-step, he turned around and stared at the other alien. He didn’t respond, but caught the satisfaction burning in Michael’s brown eyes. “I did it once, right after the accident. I didn’t tell anyone, mostly because it wasn’t much of anything. I just got sucked in for a second or two, and then she shoved me back out fast enough to make my head spin. I’ve been trying since, but…nothing. She wasn’t expecting you, and I think that’s why you got in.”

Zan listened silently, intrigued despite himself. “She’ll know I’m not Max,” he pointed out, glancing over as Liz winced slightly. He wondered if she would ever stop tensing when she heard Max Evans’ name. It hurt more than he wanted to admit.

Michael shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. But maybe you’re wrong. We won’t know for sure unless we try. You’re connected to her, whether you like it or not.” Zan immediately bristled. “I can see you don’t like that, but it’s the truth. She’s just as much yours as that bitch Lonnie. And Isabel’s nothing like her. For that matter, I’m nothing like that freak Rath. Best you get used to that now. I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, because right now I don’t have any other choice. But I swear to God, if you don’t help me, I’ll stalk you down and run your ass over myself.”

“That a threat?” Zan asked in a dangerously soft voice.

“Michael,” Liz warned.

“Damn straight,” Michael ignored her and continued staring at Zan. “It’s a fucking promise, and I’ll write you a receipt for it.”

Zan remained quiet as he considered Michael for a long moment. He glanced over at Liz and found her watching him with pleading eyes. He wanted to tell them both to go to hell, he’d do what he wanted to do! He’d lived his life doing what he wanted, and he’d be damned if some testosterone moron and pretty woman made him change his mind. But he knew he’d already made up his mind, had made it up the moment he’d gotten on that airplane and left his home with Liz.

So he affected a bored expression and played with the piercing in his ear. “You can shove ya fucking receipt up ya ass. I’ll be upstairs.”

He missed the subtle sagging of Michael’s shoulders as he exhaled in relief, because the other male straightened as soon as he turned back around. “And lemme tell you something, bro. You want me up in this shit, then we do it my way. I’m pulling rank.”

Michael looked ready to argue, but in the end chewed it over and swallowed back whatever sour reply he had in mind. “Fine,” he agreed gruffly, and stuck out a hand.

Zan stared at it for a moment, conflicting emotions warring inside as he glanced back up into Rath’s face. No, not Rath. Michael. Determinedly, he thrust his palm out and grasped the other alien in a firm grip. He was immediately assailed with images.

Say goodbye, Max.

I can't.


Not again, Zan thought on a gasp. But his fingers tightened on Michael’s, both of them jerking forward as the flashes continued. This time, he was inside of a plush hotel room the likes of which he’d never seen before.

Without you, I'd be lost, Michael.

Whoever sent us down here was smart, you know? Because they sent us together, and as long as we stick together, we're gonna make it.


Something pricked behind his lids, and he pulled away sharply from the connection. Michael stared at him in something akin to mystification. His eyes were shining, and they both took deliberate steps backwards before looking away. Zan didn’t feel much like talking about what had happened, so he simply turned and headed inside.

Maria and Kyle fell back from the window where they had obviously been eavesdropping as Zan entered the house. Neither of them met his gaze, but followed him up the stairs towards the room where Isabel Evans was kept. When Zan laid eyes on her again, he stiffened his shoulders and trudged across the room towards the bed.

“What are you…” Maria trailed off when Zan sat on the bed next to Isabel, and placed his palm over her stomach. Michael and Liz entered quietly.

“No internal bleeding,” Zan reported in an even voice. His palm drifted higher, brushing up and over her chest as he concentrated. “Heart’s working fine, a little slow but that’s normal since she’s out like this.” He frowned, resting his hand against her forehead. He jerked in sudden surprise as the connection sprang forth, then slumped against Isabel in a dead faint. Michael started, but Liz and Maria held him back and Kyle watched in trepidation.

Zan felt like he was sinking, clawing his way through heavy mist that tried to swallow him whole. He heard the distant sounds of laughter, tinkling and merry. It seemed to be just beyond his reach. He pressed on, studying his surroundings warily. He knew he’d been sucked into Isabel Evans’ subconscious, but he wasn’t quite ready to become a permanent member. He had to be careful.

He turned around, and she was there. Healthy and beautiful, staring straight at him with her arms wrapped around the waist of a lanky, goofy-looking guy with brown hair and smiling eyes. Zan paused, watching her as she stared at him. Her mouth worked, but she couldn’t seem to speak. He took a chance.

“Isabel?”

His voice sounded rusty in this dreamy location, but it seemed to snap her out of whatever daze she was in. She dropped her arms and stepped forward as tears brimmed in her eyes. “M-Max?”

He started to protest, then thought better of it and changed his mind. He straightened and nodded carefully. “Yes…it’s me. Max. You need to come back now, Isabel.”

She appeared confused, and turned to the man standing beside her. “Come back? But…why would I leave? You’re here now.”

“What about the others?” Zan tried gently. “There are some peeps – people – who are real worried about you, Isabel. I think you should come back with me.”

“He’s right,” the tall man agreed, capturing Isabel’s chin and turning her towards him. “You’ve stayed with me long enough, Isabel. It’s time to go now.”

“Alex, no!” Isabel protested sharply, reaching out for him. “No…don’t leave me again, please.”

“I never left you, sweetheart,” Alex answered affectionately. “Don’t you know by now? I’m always with you. But right now, there are others who need you more than I do.”

“I need you,” Isabel’s voice cracked and Zan felt a tear inside his own heart at the obvious display of tenderness. “I’ve missed you so much, Alex. Oh God…this isn’t real, is it? It’s not real, it can’t be real.”

“No,” Alex replied sadly. “It’s not real. But what’s waiting for you out there is, and you have to go now. Go with Max.”

“Max is dead!” Isabel cried out, tears streaming down her face. “Jesse’s dead, you're dead! Everyone I love…no, I can’t go back. This is real enough for me.”

“What about Michael,” Zan attempted desperately. Isabel paused, and glanced his way. “He’s real upset, doll. Don’t ya love him?” Something shifted in her expression, and he knew he was getting through to her. “And there’s this other guy who’s wandering around like someone cut his balls off. Miserable, keeps talking to this fat statue dude.”

“Kyle,” Isabel whispered, a faint smile lifting her lips.

“Yeah, Kyle. And there’s that wacky Maria girl, and Liz, don’t ya want to see them all again?” Zan wondered.

Isabel’s expression sharpened. “Liz? No, Liz is gone. She left us.”

“She’s here,” Zan corrected. “And she’s just as afraid as the rest of them.”

“Liz always comes back,” Alex murmured softly.

Isabel wavered, torn between loyalties as she glanced between Alex and Zan. He held his breath as she opened her mouth. “I…I just…who are you? You’re not Max, you talk funny. And God, my brother would never wear those pants.”

Zan scowled, wondering if he should be offended. What the hell did Max the Saint wear? “What’s wrong with my pants?”

“It’s time, Isabel,” Alex repeated. “Go with him. We’ll see each other again someday, but not now.”

“Alex, I—”

“I know you do. And I love you, too. So does someone else, and he deserves everything you have to give,” Alex answered mysteriously, then vanished into the mist, leaving Zan and Isabel behind. She stared at the place where he’d been only moments before, then looked up into Zan’s gaze.

“I…I can’t stay. I’m already coming out of it,” she whispered sorrowfully. “Take my hands.”

Zan didn’t hesitate, already feeling the ground shifting beneath his feet as the air seemed to swirl around them. He stared into her eyes, the familiar sinking feeling pulling at his stomach.

“Goodbye, Alex Whitman,” she whispered, and then there was nothing.

When he next opened his eyes, he found several figures standing over him with varying degrees of anxiety. His throat felt parched, his head light. His vision cleared to reveal Michael and Liz standing by with similar expressions of concern. He tried for a smug smile. “Did it work? Am I da man or what?”

His answer came from the figure lying next to him on the bed, both arms propped across her chest and voice husky with sleep. “It worked. As for who you are, that’s something I’d like to know.”
Last edited by Applebylicious on Thu Feb 10, 2005 7:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Applebylicious
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Post by Applebylicious » Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:14 am

Hey guys, how about an update? :D Sorry it's short, but the next part's longer. *smooch* to all of you for being so patient...

hugs, Linds



Image

Chapter Nine



“How are you feeling?” Liz asked quietly, coming to sit beside Isabel as she stared emotionlessly into a bowl of soup. “If you don’t like the soup…”

“It’s fine,” Isabel interrupted, not unkindly. When she didn’t make a move to speak again, Liz bit her lip and debated on just leaving the room. The looming threat of Michael’s wrath if she did so quickly quelched that desire. She bit her lip and struggled for a smile.

“If you need anything, just let me know. I’ll be downstairs.” With that, she stood and made her way towards the hall. She hated how out of place she felt among the group of people who had once known her every secret. They’d once been a family, despite all the problems that had plagued them from day one. Now they were lucky to treat one another as polite strangers.

She passed by Kyle’s bedroom and paused, her attention caught by the figure studying the shelf where all of Kyle’s school athletic trophies stood on display. She detoured, entering the room and coming up behind him quietly. “Whatcha doing?”

She wasn’t surprised when Zan didn’t jump. It seemed like he was always one step ahead of her, always knew when she was there. She’d yet to master that technique with him, although afterwards she always felt a sort of tingling sensation that said he’d been there.

He took his time turning to face her, shadows coloring his features as he watched her warily. “How is she?” he wondered grudgingly, moving away and crossing his arms across his chest as he put space between them.

Liz sighed. The day before had been rough on them all, but Zan had yet to even speak of the miraculous thing he’d done to save Isabel. He’d run out on them all after coming to, returning only later that night when Liz had been sure she’d never see him again. She’d been too overwhelmed with gratitude upon his return that she hadn’t dared to set him off again by questioning just where he’d gone.

She’d helped explain to Isabel about Zan’s appearance and what that meant for all of them, but she wondered if any of it had gotten through at all. Isabel seemed to only hear what she wanted to hear, and that was that Max was back. Or a version of him, anyway. It was heartbreaking to see the way she yearned for Zan’s attention, even as he did everything he could to stay away from her.

Liz knew he felt drawn to Isabel and at the same time felt conflicted because of Lonnie’s betrayal. Zan had moaned and thrashed through his sleep, reliving the intense memory of the night his family had deceived him. As he cried out his sister and Rath’s names over and over in a voice so filled with agony that it nearly broke her heart, she’d traced the tire marks across his back, silently grieving for everything he’d been through before he awakened and pulled himself away, not wanting to be touched.

As if he suddenly felt her soft emotions, he stiffened and pinned her with a steely look. “I ain’t goin’ down there,” he hissed defiantly. “I told ya, I don’t want nothin’ to do with ‘em. Any of ‘em.”

Liz reached out a hand, waiting patiently as he automatically flinched away from her before relaxing. As she stroked his forearm, she drew closer until she could bask in the scent of him. “What, are you planning on hiding up here every day?” she returned gently, tightening her grip as he scowled and tried to move away. He didn’t try very hard.

“No, ‘cuz I ain’t gonna be around here much longer,” he answered, thrusting out his jaw and daring her to argue with him. “I did what I told ya I’d do. There ain’t no reason to stay. She’s healed.”

How about needing time to heal, yourself? Liz wondered to herself. Outwardly she sighed. “I’m not letting you leave me,” she fluttered her lashes coyly, resorting to the only guaranteed weapon in her arsenal.

She could feel him softening, even as he struggled to sneer down at her. “What makes ya think yous could handle me, princess?” he said gruffly. Then cursed and dragged her closer, breathing harshly in her ear. “Come with me. Let’s get outta here, babe.”

She hated that she was tempted. A part of her wanted nothing more than to ride off into the sunset with him, leaving behind all the turmoil and pain that beleaguered them here in Roswell. But she’d done that once before, and it hadn’t made anything better.

She shook her head, nuzzling his neck as she gripped the ragged loops on his jeans. “I can’t,” she whispered. “They’re my family, Zan. I have to help them. I…I belong here.”

His jaw twitched as he stared down at her. “I don’t,” he clipped off finally, turning away so that she couldn’t read his expression. But she felt the waves of frustration and conflict pouring off of him. “I don’t belong here, Liz. And I can’t stay.”

“Why not?” she blurted out. “Zan, no one wants you to leave—”

He let out a snort at that. “Yeah, right. Rath, Michael, whatever the fuck he calls himself…he’d be glad to see my ass gone. And what about ya friend Kyle? He doesn’t trust me—”

“He doesn’t know you,” Liz corrected. “Please, give them a chance.” Give me a chance, she added desperately. “They’re nothing like Rath and Lonnie, Zan.”

He spun around, eyes blazing. “What do you know about it?” he snapped. “It’s all bed of red roses for ya, ain’t it, princess?” He sneered, then added, “Make that white roses. Fuckin’ hell.”

She ignored his previous comment. “How do you know I like white roses?” she questioned in a small voice.

“That’s just the question of the damn day, ain’t it?” he returned sarcastically. This time he didn’t even bother hiding his frustration, throwing his hands in the air. “How do I know any of dis shit? How did I know I’d find you in that goddamn alley that night? How did I know you’d be in my head ever since?”

She reeled from his words, her eyes rounding as he continued thoughtlessly, tugging at his hair and pacing. “How’d I know exactly where to find Isabel when I got in her mind? I saw shit, Liz. Shit I neva shoulda known. Same with Michael. And God, don’t get me started on yous. I know stuff about yous that don’t make no damn sense at all. Roses? You wanna know how I know about white roses? How about how I know that if I touch ya right here—”

He walked over and abruptly yanked her shirt up, exposing her flat stomach to his gaze. Something shifted in his expression, his eyes darkening. “This is where he healed ya,” he murmured hoarsely, stroking a section of her skin just above the waistband of her pants. He glanced up, hunger mixing with confusion in his eyes. “How do I know that?”

She couldn’t speak, simply stared at him through blurry vision as his touch raised goosebumps across her flesh. Her hand closed over his, squeezing as their fingers interlocked over the exact place where Max Evans had once healed a bullet wound in her abdomen. “Zan,” she choked out.

“Yous was dying,” he continued in a dreamy voice, seeming to stare straight through her. “I’d neva seen so much blood…it was everywhere. God, Liz, your blood was everywhere and I…I had to stop it. I had to heal you, no matter what it cost.” He didn’t notice that his accent had disappeared, but she did. And she wanted to cry.

“I was so scared,” he licked his lips, eyes shifting wildly as he brushed their hands away and studied her flawless skin. “Michael was so angry but, I had to do it. You know why I had to do it, don’t you? God, I loved you so much. You were…you were everything to me, Liz.”

She stifled a sob, pressing her hand to her mouth as similar words floated through her memory. But you mean everything to me…

“When I saw yous in that alley and those men pulled a knife on ya, I couldn’t let ‘em kill yous. Not you,” Zan stated gruffly, switching back to his own voice as she continued staring in bewilderment. “I dreamed about ya for months, heard ya voice in my head so often I was sure I was goin’ straight-up mad…” He trailed off, grabbing his temples and swearing colorfully. “Christ, what’s happenin’ to me?”

“Come here,” she begged him, refusing to let him pull away as she moved into his arms. She wrapped herself tightly around him, burying her face in his shoulder as he held himself rigid. “Hold me, Zan.”

“I don’t wanna feel dis way about anyone,” he admitted roughly, even as his own arms closed around her back. “Damn yous, why?”

She answered without words, lifting her face to his mouth as he slammed his lips down to hers. There was nothing sweet or tender in his embrace, nothing like what she’d experienced with Max. It was pure…heat. Pure Zan. The difference had been there from the beginning, but he still felt so familiar. It was all she could do to hold on as he spun her around and pinned her to the wall, gripping her hips and pulling her legs around his waist.

“Damn yous,” he growled again, attacking her with urgency as she threw her head back and moaned loudly. “Yeah, let me hear how much ya like it, princess. I ain’t your precious Max. Open ya eyes.”

“Oh, my God!”

Kyle’s voice barely even registered as they ground against each other, but Liz lifted her head and stared at her friend through glazed eyes. The expression of embarrassed horror on Kyle’s face would have been funny at any other time.

Zan didn’t even bother to look his way, staring at her with a look so feral and hungry that she momentarily wondered if she was safe doing this. “Get the fuck outta here,” he growled, not even bothering to wait for the sound of Kyle’s retreating footsteps before he captured her lips again.

“Zan,” she managed on a gasp. “Zan, we can’t…we have to stop…”

“No.”

“Yes,” she tried again, avoiding his mouth as he began licking the shell of her ear. “We…we need to talk.”

“Fuck talkin’,” he answered succinctly.

“This is important.” She somehow managed to escape, quickly buttoning her shirt as she turned half-away from him, cheeks flushed and desire throbbing through her body. “I think…I think something’s happening to you.”

“Ya think,” he chuckled darkly, and she glanced over to see him arrogantly shift himself in his pants, uncaring that she was watching. Her cheeks burned brighter. “I know the cure,” he added in a voice so erotic she caught her breath.

“Zan, listen to me,” she took a risk cupping his unshaven jaw. His nostrils flared, but he didn’t make another move as she hurried on. “I think I might know why you’re having these…these feelings about me.”

“Oh, yeah? Why’s that, princess?” He seemed amused. And horny, God help her. She wasn’t used to dealing with such blatantly masculine males. Max had always been quiet, reserved…not lacking in his passion, but not being overt about it either. She couldn’t quite decide which one she preferred. Maybe both. Oh God.

“Somehow, when Max died, his memories transferred to you. Maybe even his powers,” she said, excitement beginning to take shape as the scientific part of her mind she’d buried for so long sprang to the fore. “Oh, my God, Zan. That has to be it. There’s no other way to explain it. You both share the same DNA, you both—”

“Hold the fuck up,” Zan interrupted. “God damn it! This is all about Max?”

“Zan, just listen to me! I’m connected to Max. When Max died, that connection moved to you. You’re the same, Zan. It had to have been some kind of failsafe, in case something happened to one of you. The other gains everything. That means you’re—”

“It don’t mean shit,” he snarled. “Stop weaving fantasies about me, Parker. Damn it, just…stop. This ain’t a fuckin’ fairytale, and I ain’t gonna become ya Prince in Shining Armor just because Max Evans ain’t around to do it for ya anymore.”

“But that’s not it at all, I just—”

“I know what ya about,” he hissed, raking her with a look full of rage and, yes, hurt. She understood one, and felt guilt for the other. He turned on his heel and stalked from the room, but she knew he wouldn’t go far. Because once he thought about what she’d said, he’d realize the truth for himself. And knowing Zan, he wouldn’t be happy about what that meant.

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Applebylicious
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Post by Applebylicious » Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:11 pm

Yes, this actually IS an update, lol. I should probably warn you guys that it's short, but most of the parts from here on out are going to be short...and I figured you guys wouldn't mind the length so long as I update again regularly, right? Right?? I hope so, lol. Anyway...thanks for all the waiting, and I hope you all enjoy the new installment. If not, we can blame it on my long absence that has convinced me I've forgotten how to write. :?

hugs, Linds



Chapter Ten


Why had he never noticed how similar her eyes were to his own? Zan pulled back from Isabel’s bedside as she slept, all at once feeling exposed and defensive. The memory of her unwavering stare continued to torment him.

He still wasn’t sure what had made him come into her room. He’d told Liz he wanted nothing to do with her friends, yet something wouldn’t let him stay away. God only knew he’d tried. He released a soft oath, sinking onto the floor and letting his head fall against the wall as he continued to keep watch over the silent bedside figure.

Despite what he’d told Liz, he couldn’t deny that he’d felt a certain…satisfaction after successfully healing his dupe’s sister, but the heavy feelings now roiling through the house were as foreign to him as the slums of New York had been to a small-town girl like Liz Parker. He was completely out of his element among these people. It wasn’t something he wanted to admit, even to himself.

He could sneak out and be on his way to Nowhere’sville before any of them even missed him. As for Liz, well…she’d soon realize she was better off without someone like him. He had things to do, people to get even with. He just didn’t have time to swap starry eyes with some chick, that was the bottom line.

“Max?”

The voice was soft, more of a croak than a whisper, and Zan glanced up to see Isabel staring straight at him in the darkness. A muscle jumped in his cheek as he studied the woman who looked so like Lonnie, yet at the same time so different. Softer, kinder. Gentler. More vulnerable.

He opened his mouth to speak, unsure of what exactly he planned to say about being caught in her bedroom, but she shook her head and slumped back against the bed. “No…you’re not Max, are you?” she shut her eyes, an expression of pain fleeting across her features. A choked laugh escaped her throat. “I lost him a long time ago.”

Zan wasn’t sure how to respond, so he settled for shifting uncomfortably on the floor. “Look, I’ll go,” he mumbled with more than a little hostility, pushing up on his hands and preparing to leave. He was absolutely not moved by the grief painted on the blonde’s face.

Unfortunately for him, Isabel had other ideas. “Don’t go,” she begged quietly. He stiffened, looking over his shoulder to see her gaze fixed on him as she sat up. “Please. I…I need…” She trailed off, the moonlight catching on tears in her eyes.

“Why are ya doin’ this to yourself?” Zan exploded quietly, unable to take anymore of the damned feelings these people kept shoving off on him. “It’s hurtin’ you to look at me. Why the fuck would you ask me to stay?”

She seemed at a loss for words at his exclamation. Zan made a sound of disgust and turned away. “All of ya are fools. Hangin’ onto shit that’ll neva be fixed. Ya lived all happy once, and it all went to shit. So what? I’ve lived in shit my whole damn life and I ain’t cryin’ bout it.”

As soon as the hot words of frustration had left him, he felt low and guilty. Jesus, is this what he was coming to? Antagonizing everyone around him, no matter how frail or fragile? Maybe he was just looking to be kicked out, because it was becoming embarrassingly obvious he couldn’t leave on his own otherwise.

“You’re really different from him,” Isabel commented after a moment of tense silence. “But the sight of you still makes me feel better than I’ve felt for five years. I don’t want to lose that, Zan, no matter what. Can you understand that?”

He turned to meet her eyes, begrudging respect rising in him at her honest confession. It made his voice gentler, even as his features hardened. “I ain’t what ya lookin’ for, Vilandra.” He noted her reaction to his pointed use of her true name. “I don’t belong in your world.”

For the first time, anger flared in her gaze. “And who says I do? For God’s sake, I’ve lived my whole life here, trying to be normal. Wanting so much to just…exist.” Her voice broke as tears began to stream down her pale face. “What has it gotten me? Michael was right all along. This isn’t our home. For all I know, we don’t have one any longer. But damn it, I’m trying to do the best I can! I’m trying to be happy!”

“Are you?”

He wasn’t aware he’d spoken the words until she blinked, staring at him in shock. Something unknown rose inside him and he pressed on. “Tryin’ to be happy, are ya? Then why were ya livin’ inside your mind and refusin’ to wake up, clingin’ to some dead guy like a vine? Hate to break it to ya, doll, but that ain’t existin’. That’s denial. Yous ain’t tryin’ to live, yous tryin’ to let go. Because ya think all of it – the pain, the fear – it’ll stop once yous ain’t around to feel it no more.”

“How can you look so much like him and be so cold-hearted?” she cried out. “Max would never—”

“I bet he wouldn’t,” Zan interrupted angrily. “But what yous and ya friends can’t seem to understand, is that I ain’t ya sainted brother, woman! I don’t wanna be anything like the fucker! We don’t share nothin’, and I’m gonna jack up the next fuckin’ idiot who suggests otherwise. Fuckin’ hell!

“Can’t you think of any adjectives besides ‘fuck’?” Isabel hissed. “You sound like you came from the streets…” She broke off, blinking rapidly as Zan stared at her open-mouthed. “I-I mean…oh, fuck.”

The moment suddenly seemed ridiculously funny, or maybe he was just so goddamned tired that he was going crazy. But Zan began to laugh, unable to control the hysterical bubble of mirth crawling up his chest. “You-you…I’m losing my damn mind! I sound like I came from the streets…oh jesus!

“What the hell’s going on?” Kyle suddenly burst in the room, bare-chested and disheveled as he looked around wildly. “Iz? Are you okay?”

“Oh, she ain’t aight!” Zan choked out, holding his stomach. “She’s fucked up in the head, man!”

Kyle frowned, starting towards Zan with blood in his eyes. “Watch what you say, you son of a—”

“Kyle, no,” Isabel jumped up and caught his arm. “You don’t understand…it’s okay, I promise. Zan and I were just talking and things got a bit out of control.”

That seemed to placate Kyle, even though he still watched Zan suspiciously before turning to Isabel. In a gentler voice, he reached out to tuck her hair tenderly behind her ear and whispered, “Do you have any idea what time it is? You should be resting, Izzy. Now’s not the time to be inviting…Zan or anyone else to your room for a heart-to-heart.”

Zan waited for her to bust him and tell the jock that he’d been the intruder, but Isabel merely nodded, appearing demure and apologetic as she spoke quietly to Kyle and easily maneuvered him out of her room. It amazed him, the actions so opposite from the high-spirited and passionate woman he’d fought with moments before.

Not for the first time he wondered exactly what Isabel Evans might be hiding beneath her passive behavior. And just how like Lonnie she truly could be. He moved to slip unseen into the hall, but she turned and pinned him with those eyes that were the mirror image of his own.

“I won’t let you off that easy, Zan,” she murmured. “No matter what you think, you’re here for a reason. And as much as it pains you to realize, you’re my brother, too. I lost Max, but I’m not going to lose you, too.”

He opened his mouth to make a sharp retort, but found his throat was tight. “You ask too damn much,” he managed, turning away and leaving her standing there in the dark. “You’ll neva get what ya want from me.” It was a vow he’d made the night his family had betrayed him, and one he planned to keep. No matter what.

He made his way blindly to the room where he’d left Liz sleeping, breathing harshly as her words from earlier echoed in his mind.

It had to have been some kind of failsafe, in case something happened to one of you. The other gains everything. I’m connected to Max. When Max died, that connection moved to you. The other gains everything.

He hadn’t wanted to hear it then, and he still didn’t now. But at that moment, with his emotions sky-high and so jumbled he felt like he could rip something in two, he couldn’t help but wonder if she was right. If something was happening to him. If he was being controlled by objects he couldn’t destroy or control.

King. That was the bottom line, wasn’t it? All that talk about seals, powers being transferred…it had to mean that Liz thought he was taking Max’s place as King. Zan had never told anyone, especially Rath and Lonnie – who had considered his so-called royal card their only ticket out of Earth – but he didn’t want to be a fucking king. When it all came down to it, it sounded like a jacked-up sci-fi movie on late night cable.

He was da man, but he wasn’t a goddamn king of anything. Liz had to be wrong.

With these thoughts roiling tumultuously in his mind, he entered the room and gazed hungrily at her sleeping figure. He was no king, but he wanted to rule this small woman more than he wanted to take another breath.

As if she truly was connected to him, her lids fluttered, revealing dark eyes just as needy as his own. Her lips trembled, but she gazed at him with encouraging approval. Immediately the thought struck him that this is what it would feel like to be Max Evans, on the receiving end of one of those starry-eyed looks. It rankled, but he determinedly pushed it away.

She didn’t speak, simply waited for him to make the first move, as if knowing it was something he needed to do. He growled low in his throat, sinking onto the bed beside her and pulling her into his arms.

“I want you. No fuckin’ questions asked,” he demanded in a dark tone. She shivered, but her expression was welcoming as she licked her lips and nodded. He groaned and captured her lips in a bruising kiss. Her arms came around him, the sheets falling down her body and revealing her nakedness. A shudder passed through him as he pulled back to stare into her bright eyes.

“How is it ya damn me to hell, but take me to heaven?” he wondered feverishly. “I shouldn’t want this, but fuck me if I don’t take it.”

“Take it,” she whispered excitedly. “Take everything you need from me, Zan. I want you to, I want you to. We’ll talk about everything tomorrow—”

He silenced her with his mouth and hands, glorying in the release from his demons that only she could bring.

Somewhere in the darkness, far away from where two tormented souls brought each other relief, a lone figure lurched up from sleep, heart filled with pain and grief as visions of a haunting dream from long ago echoed through her mind. A scream was on her lips.

To Be Continued...

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