|"A Special Bond"
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: After Hours
|Maria stormed off to try Liz's mother again, leaving the other four in silent shock.
Alex stumbled into a waiting room chair.
Isabel held a hand over her mouth and hugged her stomach as if she were in pain.
Neither said anything.
Michael was as white as a ghost. His eyes were empty and black as if he had already lost his best friend, as he too crumpled into a chair.
Max was still letting the wall hold him up, as silent tears streak down his ravaged looking face.
"No. No. I won't let her go." Max finally mumbled and headed down the hall.
Isabel grabbed his arm. "What are you going to do Max? You can't just do it here! That would be too suspicious! You want to get the FBI after us!?" she asked knowing what he was planning.
Max jerked his arm out of her grasp and almost growled at her. "I don't care!" he bit out.
"It won't do any good." Came a defeated voice from behind Isabel. Max and Isabel turned to see Michael standing there, still looking empty and overcome.
"What are you talking about?" Max threw at him, not liking the beaten look of Michael's.
"I'm saying I tried to heal her once when she wasn't even this bad. It obviously didn't work." Michael whispered, not wanting to be the one to tell them there was no hope.
"So what do we do? Nothing?!" Alex asked. He too had gotten up.
"No! We have to try. I won't give her up! Damn it! I just can't! Why the hell did I yell at her! FUCK! I knew she hadn't betrayed me really. DAMN!" Max swore totally furious with himself, and then turned and punched the nearest wall.
Isabel winced when she heard his hand snap. He had broken it. Only once before had she ever seen Max get angry enough to do that. It was when they were younger and a bully had beaten him up. He had restrained himself from punching the guy back, but later out of frustration and anger, he had punched a wall and broke his hand. Luckily he could just as easily heal it.
Only this time she saw that he didn't try to heal it. He just let it hang at his side, as he leaned his forehead against the wall, still shuddering with disgust for himself and terror at the thought of losing Liz.
Isabel suddenly looked from Max to Michael and started to smile. She knew that they were both just to overcome with emotion to have thought of it themselves.
"Hey…what if all three of us try to heal her together?" she asked softly.
Max and Michael slowly turned around, still in shock, and then they both realized what she'd said and looked at each other.
They all smiled a little, feeling the hope, and headed down the hall once again.
"There's only one problem." Maria called to them as they started toward Liz's room.
They all turned to her with a frown. Maria had come back in time to hear them talking. She was still furious with them, but hoped they could heal Liz. She wouldn't care about anything else if they could.
"What?" Alex asked for them.
"You can't just walk in there and try to heal her here! What if it works right away? How will you explain that to the doctors?" Maria asked, realizing she was the only one thinking straight right now.
"No problem. We'll get her released." Michael shrugged. Now that he had a plan and hope back he just wanted to get Liz well.
"She's a minor. Can she check herself out?" Maria asked calmly as she crossed her arms.
Max's eyes narrowed. Maria was too calm. He knew she must have a plan that would work. "What do you suggest DeLuca?" he asked softly.
Maria sighed and pulled them all closer against one wall. "We will have to take her out of here. I still can't reach her mother and I'm not sure her mother would want her released to die in her house any ways. Her mother is definitely not mother-of -the-year material." Maria bit out in disgust.
"Yeah we know." Both Michael and Alex said at the same time and with resigned voices.
"Okay so how do we get her past the nurses station?" Isabel asked.
"We have to distract the nurses on duty while Max and Michael get her out of here. And we have to do it fast. I don't know how much longer she has." Maria whispered in a frightened voice.
"Will…will she let us take her out of here? Will she even let us in her room without throwing us out?" Max swallowed in misery at the thought of how much he would deserve it. How much they all would if Liz just threw them out.
"Well we can't tell her what we are going to try and do." Michael said with a sigh. He just wanted to get her out of here now!
"Why not? That might be the only way she'll let us get near her." Isabel frowned.
"She would know the risk if I told her we was going to try to cure her." Michael stared them down. "And she won't let us."
"What…what risk?" Maria looked from one alien to another.
Max finally sighed and raked a hand through his hair. Then turned away to pace and then turned back to Maria.
"When we try to heal someone, we feel their pain. We actually take the pain or problem into us. We could die trying to save Liz." Max said matter-of-factly.
Alex and Maria opened their mouths and then closed them, not knowing what to say.
Maria knew they were right though. She had only known Liz for a little while, but knew that Liz would never let them risk their lives for her. That's just the way Liz was.
"Let me talk to her." Maria said softly and headed down the hall.
********************* Liz heard the door open and sighed when she saw it was Maria. "Maria, I meant it. I don't want to have anyone standing over me waiting for me to die. I just want to go to sleep and not have to worry about anyone else, please?" Liz pleaded.
"How would you like to at least get out of here? Do you really want to die in this cold sterile place? Wouldn't you prefer your own bed?" Maria sat in the chair by Liz's bed. She knew she had to get Liz to agree, and the quicker the better.
"My mom won't let them release me. She wouldn't want me to die in her home. It would freak her out. She already told me that last time I was sick." Liz said quietly.
"Yes but what do YOU want?" Maria stressed.
"Of course I'd rather have my own bed. Be around my own things." Liz bit her lip trying to accept what was going to happen, or to at least show a brave front for Maria.
"Well, then will you let us help get you out of here?" she asked.
"Wait we, Maria!" Liz groaned in fear. She did NOT want to be pitied.
"Liz I didn't tell them. My mother told them where I was and they came here. I didn't tell them honestly. But they do want to help you know. They didn't really mean to hurt you. They were just being stupid and selfish thinking only of themselves." Maria said.
Liz nodded and looked away for a minute. "I know they didn't mean it." Liz said softly and swallowed.
Maria swore silently. Even now Liz forgave them so easily. They didn't deserve her forgiveness, but she wouldn't say anything. She just wanted Liz well again if that was possible.
"So will you let us help you?" Maria bit her lip anxiously.
Liz stared out the window of the cold room and realized how frightened she really was. She didn't want to die surrounded by strangers. She would rather go quietly in her bed with all her things around her. She still had pain medication from the last time if she needed it toward the end. She thought.
"Okay." She whispered.
"Great! Isabel, Alex and I are going to distract the nurses and Max and Michael will help you out of here." Maria smiled and squeezing her hand, she rushed out of the room before Liz could change her mind.
Liz watched Maria go and then sighed and turned to the window again. She would let them help her to get home, but she did NOT want their pity or to have them suffer along with her like Michael and Alex had last time. She did not want to have them waiting and watching and hurting with her. She knew that Michael thought she wanted nothing to do with him, which was why they sent Maria in. Maybe if she let them continue to think she wanted nothing to do with them, then they would drop her off at her house and leave her alone. All she had to do was let them think she didn't like them and didn't want them around.
When the door opened again, Michael and Max stepped into the room and shut the door.
Liz took a deep breath and almost choked when she saw the sadness in their eyes. She did NOT want pity! "Don't you DARE pity me! I don't want your pity!" she snapped. She meant it, but she made sure she said it with enough force that they would think she hated them for the way they had treated her.
"Liz…" Max started to say. He couldn't stand to see her like this. He wanted to hold her and promise her she would be okay.
Michael gave him a look of warning and Max stopped. He saw Liz had turned away from them and he took a deep breath and remembered what Maria had told them. Don't argue with her and don't try to tell her it will be okay. And don't pity her. Just say as little as possible to get her out of there. Max knew that was all that really mattered right now, getting Liz out of there so they could save her.
Michael peered out the door and down the hall at the nurses' station. When he saw the last two nurses leave their station, he moved. Michael grabbed her purse and her clothes, and Max gently picked her up and carried her out of the room.
Max wanted to cry out at how thin Liz was. She was even thinner than before, and she looked so frail and helpless. He knew he would gladly give his life for her. He cradled her closer and couldn't help but rest his lips lightly on top of her head.
Liz tried to stay stiff in Max's arms, but was too weak to fight him. Finally she gave in and draped her arms around his neck and buried her head in his chest. She just wanted to get home to her own bed and be left alone. That was all she asked.
Liz kept her eyes closed as Maria drove her out of the hospital parking lot. Just the little movement from the hospital bed to the parking lot had worn her out. She couldn't wait to feel her own bed under her. She sighed and dozed.
Maria looked over at Liz and was relieved and worried when Liz went to sleep. Relieved that Liz wouldn't ask where they were going, and worried at how weak Liz was.
Maria drove over to her own house. Her parents were never home, and even if they were, they had such a big house, that Maria had her own entrance and quarters and they would never know that she or anyone else was there.
She looked behind her as she pulled up into her driveway and was relieved to see Max pulling up in his new car with the other three.
Max jumped out and opened Liz's door before anyone else could. His face showed pain and fear as he looked down at her, and he gently lifted her sleeping form up and let Maria lead the way to her own suite of rooms.
The others followed solemnly. Now that they all saw Liz they wondered if it would be too late for them to try to help her, but no one dared voice it.
When Max gently placed Liz on the bed in Maria's guest room next to hers, he kneeled by the bed and held her small hand, refusing to let go of her completely. He was afraid if he stopped touching her she would leave him for good.
Michael sat on the other side of the bed and looked down at Liz's small form with his own pain and anguish. He pushed her hair back from her forehead and took a deep but shaky breath. "I'm so sorry baby. What have I done." He whispered and choked. He didn't even care that the others saw his tears. He was filled with hate for himself and terror for Liz. She had let herself deteriorate so much the past two weeks. And he blamed himself for not being there for her.
Isabel sat at the bottom of the bed, making a circle around Liz and met Max and Michael's eyes. All of them knew what they were risking, and none of them thought twice about it. All that mattered was Liz, sweet, innocent, loving Liz.
Isabel took Max and Michael's hands, as they held onto Liz's, completing the circle. Then they all closed their eyes and focused the combination of their powers on the small form on the bed.
Maria and Alex held their breath and just watched. They both felt helpless. They could lose Liz and they could lose all three of their friends with her.
Alex sensed Maria's fright, and held her to him. Maria gratefully held onto Alex, thankful for his support.
They watched as the three aliens started to shift and their faces started to contort. Maria knew they were taking in Liz's pain now, and she held her breath. Would it work? Would they cure Liz? Would they lose their own lives in curing her? Or would they all die right there in front of Maria and Alex.
Michael felt Liz's pain and sucked in a deep breath. How as she able to stand this much pain! He wondered. He felt as if he would keel over himself from the pain, but suddenly he felt Max and Isabel there with him, helping take some of the pain from him. The three of them could feel the pain starting to drain from Liz and be taken equally into their bodies. But the pain began to build to the point that all three could barely stand it.
Max resigned himself to the fact that he would hold onto Liz and work on healing her, and absorb every ounce of her pain until it killed him if he had to. He didn't care. He only prayed that Liz would live.
Isabel had felt hope when she'd realized that the three of their powers combined was helping them all to deal with the pain, but then it started to overwhelm all three of them. Isabel whimpered. "It's not working!" She didn't care about herself. She was just afraid that they wouldn't be able to save Liz.
Michael just concentrated harder, trying to take all of Liz's pain away before it killed him. If he had to die, he wanted to know that at least Liz would live.
Maria watched them all struggling, and couldn't take it anymore. She didn't know if it would help, but she felt she needed to help. Something was telling her to help.
She walked over to Michael and placed her hand on his shoulder. Then she closed her eyes and concentrated on Liz as well.
Alex followed without question, and placed a hand on Isabel's shoulder. He too concentrated on Liz, and was almost overwhelmed immediately with the blinding pain he felt. He could almost see the pain being pulled from Liz's small frame, and he held on tight, only hoping that they could all last long enough to save Liz if nothing else.
Maria could feel the pain being drawn from Liz's body, and could almost see Max, Michael and Isabel working on healing her blood cells. As she and Alex took some of the pain from the three aliens, they were able to concentrate more on healing Liz. Maria concentrated harder and almost felt the bond that surrounded them all. They were all focused so totally on Liz and their concern and love for her, that they formed an impenetrable bond that sealed them all in that moment. A bond that Maria would later call, a very 'special' bond.
**** As the group concentrated wholly on healing Liz a flash of images ran through their minds.
Liz meeting Michael when she was younger.
Michael, Liz and Alex playing and Alex getting hurt and Michael healing him and having to tell them that he was from outer space as he called it back then, and Liz and Alex shrugging it off and accepting him no matter what.
A flash of when Max had defended her friend Carla who was overweight and made some jerks leave Carla alone.
A flash of her being disappointed when her Mom hadn't cared that she won the 6th grade science fair.
Liz getting teased by a bully in the 8th grade about her shoes having a hole in them and Michael beating the boy up.
Liz watching the cheerleaders her freshmen year and wishing that she could be one of them
Liz kissing Michael for the first time and them laughing about it afterwards, and Michael asking her out.
Sitting in the doctors office with her mother and finding out that she had Leukemia and how devastated she was.
Liz watching as Michael left her room in the dead of the night, crying because he had tried to heal her and didn't know if it had worked.
Liz happy when she found out that she was in remission.
The day she walked into class her senior year and finding out that he was going to be her lab partner. She had been so happy, because now she had a reason to be close to Max.
Kyle trying to grope her and her sending out a signal to Michael which Max had heard.
The day that Isabel and Maria had asked her to try out for the squad and her making it. Then the way Michael had reacted.
Liz figuring out that he liked Maria and not minding because Max had asked her to the dance after the game.
Isabel, and Maria giving her a makeover and the look on Max's face when he saw her standing outside his door. And how good he looked in his boxers and that she had wished he would have pulled her into his arms and kissed her right then.
Then later as she snuggled into his lettermen's jacket and breathed the scent that was Max.
The first game she had cheered for and how good it made her feel, and then happiness that their team had won.
The happiness she felt at the party later on and dancing in Max's arms.
And then the nightmare later on of discovering Isabel torn and bleeding on the grass.
Stopping Max from killing Kyle later on.
Going to the hospital and stumbling upon Max changing the blood samples and then him explaining to her about what he was. And how her immediate thought had been about Michael and that he wasn't alone now.
Liz realizing when Max had left her that he thought she was disgusted by his secret, and she wasn't. She had thought to herself that nothing he did could make her not love him. And realizing in shock that she did indeed love him. And she had rushed off to find him to let him know that she wasn't scared of him.
Liz admitting to him that she didn't think he was a monster and she was sorry about her reaction, and that she wanted to be with him as a couple if that's what he wanted. And then waiting nervously not sure if that's what Max wanted. And then wanting to burst when she realized that he did.
Liz feeling dizzy when Max kissed her for that first, sweet wonderful time. And thinking that she would never experience anything else like it.
The joy she felt when the six of them had started to get closer and spend time together.
The night that Michael had told her that he and Maria had made love and how worried he was that something might have happened to her. And Liz letting it slip that it was okay for aliens and humans to have sex, and to just look at Kyle and Isabel, and then realizing what she had said.
Michael getting mad at her and telling her that she Max meant more to her then him.
Liz having to tell Max that she had told Michael and seeing the look of devastation on Max's face at her words. And Max leaving telling her that he couldn't trust her.
The way they had treated her at school after that, and how other people had followed their example.
How she had felt when she discovered the leukemia had came back and that at least with them all hating her, her death wouldn't be hard on them.
Maria trying to get her to tell what she had done and Liz saying no, and then when Maria told her that Michael said she was dead to him and Liz feeling a piece of herself die at those words.
Liz getting the three aliens together and having Michael show them his powers, and how they had accepted Michael instantly and then pushed Liz away still, and how heartbroken Liz had felt and wanting to die right then.
And then Liz running away and passing out from pain, and then coming in and out of consciousness and thinking when she was lucid enough that she was going to die right there in the park, she had cried then, because she was so young and would never experience life, saddened at the thought that she would never eat dinner in a fancy restaurant, that she would never walk on a beach hand in hand with someone she loved and then realizing that the only one that she wanted to do that with was Max, then crying even more because she would never feel his soft lips on hers again, she would never feel his arms wrapped around her, she would never fell the ultimate gift of sharing yourself with someone, she would never lay underneath Max as he touched her in ways that she had only heard or dreamed about, she would never walk down the aisle to a smiling Max and have him take her as his wife, she would never tell Max that she loved him, she would never be watch their children playing while they sat together hugging on a bench swing, she would never grow old with him, and she would never be able to apologize to any of them for betraying their trust.
She wouldn't be able to do any of that because she was dying and it was to late for her.
And these thoughts ran through her mind once again as well as theirs as she felt herself being pulled, being pulled away from the darkness that was slowly consuming her towards a bright light, a light so bright that all she wanted to do was walk towards it.
Liz gasped as she opened her eyes and she felt her whole body tingling.
The others opened their eyes with a start and looked around, all of them amazed at what had just happened.
Liz looked around at the people gathered around the room, "Am I dead?"
Max looked at her in horror, "No! Why do you think that?"
"I saw my life flash before my eyes, and then I don't know it's like I felt myself being pulled away from this darkness towards a beautiful white light, and then I opened my eyes and your all here."
Michael grabbed her hand tears pouring down his cheeks, "Oh God Lizzie, I thought you were going to die, I'm so sorry, sorry for everything that's happened and that I've done to you. Please forgive me Liz, I don't know how I can make it up to you but I'll do whatever it takes. Just please don't hate me."
***** Liz looked around the room at the others with dazed eyes, the impact of what just transpired crashing into her. They had just saved her! She couldn't believe it. She looked back at Michael and burst into tears.
"Michael," she said, her voice cracking. "You don't have to do anything, there is nothing to forgive. You all just saved me, that's enough to make up for it. And besides, I understand why you were so upset."
"It's not enough," Max said firmly, causing her to pull back from Michael who stood up and moved to look out of the window. "We were irrational, we expected too much from you and weren't there for you when we should have been. I don't see how you could ever forgive us, any of us," he whispered in wonder. "Except Maria of course who stood by you no matter what. We were so blind..." he voice trailed off as he swallowed thickly. "Liz, I almost lost you!"
"Please don't cry," she whispered, reaching out for him. "You didn't lose me, Max. You all saved me. I can't think of anyone more deserving of my forgiveness."
"But we could have lost you because we were all too stupid to listen to what you had to say," he argued, wrapping her tightly in his arms. His hands encountered her ribs and he gasped. She was so thin! It only made him cry more at the realization that she had been wasting away right before their eyes but they had been too wrapped up in themselves to even see it. How could he ever make it up to her? An idea occurred to him and he began to formulate plans in his head. He would make it up to her and then some.
She pulled back from him and looked at Maria. "I'm so sorry," she choked out.
Maria's face reflected confusion. "For what?" she gasped.
"For pushing you away. You have done so much for me Maria. It's all because of you that I'm not going to die and I feel so bad about the way I reacted to you when you told me they were there. Please forgive me."
Maria smiled but her chin was quivering. "I'll forgive you this time Liz," she joked and then leaned over to and held her as well. "God Liz, I'm so glad you're going to be okay."
Isabel turned around and joined Michael at the window. She didn't feel that she deserved any forgiveness so she wasn't going to ask for any. She had never felt more horrible in her life. Maria had been right, if she had been a true friend, she would have immediately seen how unreasonable she was being. She had preached to Maria how if Liz had been a real friend to she and Max, she would have kept their secret and then if she had been a real friend to Michael, she wouldn't have kept that secret from him. Either way, Liz couldn't have won with her. She had planned to never forgive Liz until she had found out she was sick. She was despicable and she didn't deserve Liz's friendship.
"Isabel?" Liz whispered.
Isabel turned around slowly. "Yes?" she asked, biting back bitter tears of self-revulsion.
"Are you still mad at me?" Liz asked quietly, looking down.
Isabel gasped and look sky ward, trying to hide the tears in her eyes. "God no," she replied, swiftly raising her hand to wipe away the tears streaming down her face. "I just...I...can't do this!" she cried and ran out of the room.
Max jumped up to follow her but Alex grabbed his arm, stopping him. "I'll go," he told Max and then leaned over to Liz, kissing her on the cheek. "Can we talk later?"
"Yes," she nodded. "Go, she if she's okay." Alex nodded and followed Isabel.
Everyone was quiet for a moment, not sure what to say. Michael turned from the window and broke that silence by asking if Liz needed anything?
"No, I'm fine," she smiled at him.
"No, you should eat," Max argued.
Liz shook her head. "But I'm not hungry."
Max gave her a teasing grin. "Well, I don't think that makes much difference. We've got to get some more meat on your bones. Do you want anything particular?"
Liz squinted, realizing that food was beginning to sound very appealing to her. Her stomach rumbled for all to hear and she blushed. "Okay, maybe you're right. How about something high in fat and grease?"
"I think I can manage that," Max nodded. "I'll be back in a little while." He leaned down to give her a kiss and Michael cleared his throat.
"No, let Maria and me go," he said, causing Maria to look at him sharply. He glanced at her quickly and then turned back to Liz. "That way I can go stop off at your house and get you some clothes and see if the hospital contacted your mother. Besides, I thought you two might like some privacy."
Max walked over and shook Michael's hand. "Thanks." He truly was dying to be alone with her. He then handed Michael the keys to his new car and pulled a $50 out of his wallet and told him to get enough for everyone. "I think everyone should probably eat as well."
Michael tried to refuse the money but Max was too firm on the issue. "Maria?" he called, nodding her towards the door. "Let's go."
Maria sighed and leaned down to give Liz one more hug before finally joining Michael.
Once they were gone, Max walked back to bed and sat down. They just stared at each other for a moment before he took Liz's frail hand in his and laid the gentlest kiss on it. Liz felt the familiar current run though her, tingling in her nerves and leaned forward to bring him into her arms again. He hesitated before wrapping her tightly in his arms and weaving a hand through her hair. "Liz," he murmured against her shoulder, nuzzling against her neck.
She whispered his name as well and then pulled back just enough to brush his lips with hers. Max's eyes opened for a mere moment before they closed again and he completely took her mouth in an impassioned kiss. He continued to kiss her until he felt a wetness brush his face and he looked up in horror to see that she was crying. "Liz? What did I do?" he asked, pained.
"Nothing," she sniffed, smiling. "It's just...I never thought that I would ever get to feel you in my arms again or kiss your lips. When I collapsed in the park, all I could think about was how I would never get to do so many things with you. And now, it's just..."
He raised his hands to her lips and whispered, "Shh, I know. I saw it all Liz. I felt what you were feeling, your sorrow and it broke my heart to think that you would ever have to feel that way. But now, you'll get to do it all and I'll be right by your side. I promise with all my heart and soul never to leave you again."
She beamed in his arms and then kissed him again, feeling that for once, everything in her life could only go uphill as long as she was with Max.
Alex caught up with Isabel sitting on the steps outside, crying. He sat down next to her and reached for her hand. "Are you okay?" he asked awkwardly.
She shook her head. "No."
"Why did you leave?"
She turned to look at him, and sniffed. "I couldn't do it, Alex. I couldn't ask her to forgive me. It's because of me that we were almost too late."
Alex was appalled that she would find herself responsible for all of this. "What are you talking about? That's not true!"
"Yes it is," she argued. "I knew that they were ready to forgive her and it was me who talked them out of it. Max wanted to invite her to the party and I told him no. If it hadn't been for me, he would have gotten hold of her and found out earlier what was wrong but I wouldn't let him. It's all my fault."
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