by Teri Leigh
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the WB, Melinda or Jason.
Basically I own nothing and no infringement is intended.
Summary: My version of what takes place after Destiny. Max is in a bad place.
Category: After Hours
Authors Note: There may be a short 4 part sequel to this one if anyone wants it to continue. The Point of View changes in each section between Max and Liz.
The black silence of his room was like a tomb, and that's how he wanted it. The curtains over his window were pulled tight, not allowing even a ray of light into his sanctuary. He had unplugged his digital clock some time ago, and now had no way to determine the passage of hours or days. From what he could gather by the voices in the house, it had been at least a week since he entered his self-imposed prison.
He left the safety he found within these four walls only when the need to use the bathroom or ingest enough food to remain alive overcame him. Waiting until he could hear no movement outside before daring to venture from his room, he had managed to avoid both his parents and his sister since he'd begun his isolation. Hearing the door to his room slowly creak open, he knew his luck had dwindled.
His sister. He gave a resigned sigh, thankful in some small measure that it was her. His mother would have been much more difficult to deal with. Maybe if he simply didn't respond she'd just go away.
The voice was definitely closer. There was no chance of her leaving without him speaking to her. "I thought I had locked the door." His voice sounded rusty from disuse and unbelievably severe even to his ears.
"You did. I just wanted to check on you, Max. You've been locked up in here…"
"When the door's locked, that means I don't want anyone in here." His voice had lost its angry edge and now just came across as tired. Of course, that made no sense since he slept the majority of the day. Perhaps lethargic was a better way to describe it. That actually described his entire life lately. His thoughts, his emotions, his body, all seemed completely lethargic.
"I just wanted to make sure you were OK. This isn't like you. Locking yourself in your room, in the dark, not talking to anyone, quitting your job. I'm really worried Max."
Hearing the pain in her voice, he knew he should try to find someway to comfort her, something to say. He should snap out of whatever funk he was in and stop worrying the people he cared about. Well, not all the people he cared about. Liz probably couldn't care less about what he was doing. Liz had walked out of his life while he begged her to stay. She hadn't even turned back as he called out to her.
"Go away, Iz."
"Michael's here. He wanted to…"
"I don't want to talk to him. I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to talk to anyone. Just get out. Leave me alone!" God, he was being an asshole. Why, why did he have to be so nasty to his sister? She was just concerned about him, and he could even understand why. Turning so his back was to her, he managed to say in a much calmer, almost pleading tone, "Please, Isabel. Please just go."
Perhaps it was the pathetic tone to his voice, or the way he'd turned from her, but he heard the door click shut and knew she had left.
He hadn't always been this bad. This transition wasn't over night. It all began a few weeks ago, out in the desert. The day he discovered his destiny and the woman he loved more than life had walked away from him. Since then he had been in a trance, walking through his day to day life, but not processing any of it. He would get up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, eat dinner, then lock himself in his room in a mechanical way. It was a slow progression.
It started with skipping breakfast, saying he would grab coffee and a doughnut at work. Then work became a sore spot. Not only could he not concentrate on anything, rendering him virtually useless, but he could see the Crashdown from inside the UFO Center. He was always looking for her, hoping to catch a glimpse of her smiling face, dreading seeing her and being reminded yet again of what he'd lost. Milton had finally pulled him aside and suggested he "take some time off to work through whatever was going on." He had even told Max to come back to work when he felt ready.
Without work, he had no reason to get up in the mornings. He slept most of the day and once he woke up, had no desire to see anyone. They all had questions he didn't have answers to. Lately everyone was trying their hardest to cheer him up, which simply reminded him of how miserable he was in contrast. So, he avoided his family and friends. He ate when no one was around, showered, when necessary, late at night. He was truly surprised at his success with escaping the attention of his over-protective family, and realized that his assurances of "I'm fine" were no longer going to placate them.
"I don't know what to do anymore, Michael. He never even leaves his room. He just lies there all day. He won't come down for dinner, he won't talk to any of us, it's just…I feel so helpless!"
She was crying. If not, then she was close to tears. That made him hate himself just a little more. Where was the Max that was so in control? The Max that could easily shake off this depression and self-pity? Could he have really become this pathetic simply because he couldn't be with Liz Parker? Because his life was not his own and decided for him before he was even born? Apparently this is what happened to a "controlling" person when they no longer had control.
Michael was talking now, making some attempt to calm Isabel. He wondered briefly what was going on between the two of them. Had they given up on Alex and Maria and resolved themselves to the fact that they were destined to be together? Was his best friend…no, his "second in command" now dating his sister? He honestly hoped not, for an entirely selfish reason. If Michael and Isabel had simply accepted their fate, he was sure they would expect him to as well. There was no way in hell that was going to happen.
"I'm getting desperate Michael. Maybe…Maybe I could go talk to Liz."
He closed his eyes upon hearing her name, images of her flooding his brain. She was his everything. Loving her was something he'd done for so long, he didn't know how to stop, didn't want to stop. It seemed one of the only things he could do anymore. Breathe, sleep, eat, avoid people and love Liz. Loving Liz was a part of him, an automated reflex. He knew, without thinking twice, that he would do whatever she said. As long as he could be with her again, he'd do anything she asked of him. Even if she asked him to get off his ass and be the ruler of a group of people he didn't know, had no allegiance to. As long as she was with him, he felt he really could take on anything. Michael must have tried to interrupt Isabel because she began to speak again, very quickly.
"I know things ended badly, but she still loves him. She has to. She may be the only person who can get through to him, Michael, and I'm willing to go to her on hands and knees if I have to, if there's anyway she can help…"
"She's dating Kyle Valenti again Isabel. They started seeing each other a few days after that day in the desert."
He didn't realize there was enough of his heart left to shatter, but apparently so. Hearing that Liz had gone back to Kyle, found happiness with her ex again while he was barely surviving, caused him physical pain. It was so intense, he believed he was dying. Maybe this was how life ended for his people, with this soul-wrenching agony. Was it possible to die from heartache?
"That can't be true Michael. You must have misunderstood or something. Liz would never do that. She loves Max too much."
And what good did loving him do her? He thought back on all the grief he'd inflicted upon her. Telling her they couldn't be together after being the one to initiate their physical relationship. Ruining her blind date with drunken declarations of love only to later say he had no accurate memory of them. Getting her in trouble at school and with her parents when he couldn't keep his hands off of her due to those flashes. Getting her kidnapped by an evil look alike of himself. Forcing her to watch his infatuation with Tess. He had made her cry more times then he cared to remember. All he did was cause her pain. Confuse her. Start things they both knew he could never finish and manage, in the process, to break both their hearts. Perhaps not both their hearts. Hers must still be intact if she was able to give it to Kyle Valenti.
"Maybe you're right Iz. She must have had something lodged in her throat that only his tongue would remove. Maybe his hands on her ass helped that in some way. Of course I couldn't see exactly where her hands were, so who knows?"
He forced himself to shut out their voices, knowing he couldn't bear to hear more. In a way, he welcomed the pain. It reminded him, if nothing else, that he was still alive. But he wondered, as the images of Liz and Kyle locked in a lover's embrace screamed through his mind, if being alive was worth the trouble any longer.
|Index | Part 2
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours