FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Finding Our Normal"
Part 23
by LivE
Disclaimer: Sadly nothing Roswell is mine!
Summary: This is a sequel to The Experiment. It was supposed to be less angsty, but the plot has overtaken me! Here are the basics: Max and Liz are back in Roswell. Itís nearing the end of their summer holidays and one (or maybe more) of the aliens from the opposing race has found them. They are also trying to conduct their relationship under the watchful eye of their parents.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: Recap of The Experiment (Post Destiny fic): An alien from their home planet (Nick) took Max, Isabel and Michael to a camp where a group of survivors from their destroyed planet stays. The aliens also brought Liz, Alex and Maria there to observe the interaction between them and the pod squad. Max and Liz exhibit a strong connection: they "feel" the otherís presence/location and share dreams. While in the camp, Max and Liz go through a bonding ceremony (alien equivalent to a wedding) and Max asks Liz to marry him when they graduate. They also make love for the first time. Nick tells them that their parents perished along with their planet and that they now have to integrate with humans to survive. He also says that the other alien race that destroyed their planet was on earth with the purpose of destroying M/M/I/T (and would also eliminate their human partners to reach their goal).
They were in three cars, Max wasnít taking any chances. They would go into Roswell separately to ensure that they didnít cause any unnecessary suspicion. Max had also phoned the Sheriff to check on anybody named Eric (not that knowing his first name helped a lot). They had to tryÖ

Michael kept throwing side-ways glances at Max. Max had been calm for a while after talking to Liz, but now he seemed frantic. He was staring out of the window, his hands clenched in fists on his thighs.

"MaxwellÖ"

"Just drive, Michael. Please donít ask anything." Max didnít want to discuss anything about his feelings in front of Tess who was sitting silently in the back seat. He was trying to keep himself together, but it wasnít easy. Something was seriously wrong with Liz. He sensed a mixture of fear and anger from her that made his heart pound in his chest. What was he doing to her? If her hurts her Iíll kill him.

They met Jim Valenti in front of his office. He watched with concern as Max got out of the Jeep. "Are you okay, son?"

Max nodded mutely, but Jim saw through him. Maxís body was racked with small, almost imperceptible tremors and the Sheriff marveled again at how intense the feelings between Max and Liz were. Max could say what he liked, but Jim knew he was quietly going out of his mind about Liz.

"Letís talk in my office." Valenti led them inside. The discussion went quickly. The bottom-line was that they needed to find Sarahís Eric and convince him to help them. He was the only one that might possibly know where Liz, Nancy and Sarah were kept.

"Well, I have three guys under surveillance right now that may be this Eric guy. One of them was hanging around the Crashdown a lot and one of the waiters called asking us to check him out."

Max jumped up. "Then letís do it!" He was getting more desperate to find Liz by the minute.

Everyone followed Max out of the door, but halted when Max made a strangled sound and grabbed the doorframe with a shaking hand.

~*~*~*~*~*~

"No Tim! Please donít do this!" Sarah cried. She was cuffed to the wall, he hands above her head. Tim had made sure that she was cuffed first, wanting to humiliate the human that wormed herself into his race as much as possible. He had held Nancy by the throat while busy with Sarah, thereby ensuring that Liz didnít try anything. Then he had cuffed Nancy to the cot. He had no real use for her, but her presence kept the fear of the other leaderís mate on an acceptably high level. Of course Liz had made a fuss when he worked on her mother, so he had to silence her for a while. He looked at Liz lying crumpled on the floor, blood trickling from her lip where the back of his hand had caught her. What is it about these pathetic women that so ensnared Eric and Max?

Nancy was crying. She seemed to do that a lot lately, but right now was the first time she truly realized how much her daughter had gone through during the last year. She had listened to some of the stories of what had happened to Liz, but now she saw.

Liz was only out for a few seconds. She moaned softly as she came to. "MaxÖ"

"No, your precious Max has not pitched up to save you yet. Methinks you have too much trust in him." Tim dragged her upright roughly, his fingers bruising her upper arms. "Now, letís get you all trussed up for the feast."

Liz glared at him. She would not give him the satisfaction of crumbling. She could feel Max was closer and the knowledge kept her going. She closed her eyes and bit her lip as Tim cuffed her to the wall too.

MaxÖ

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Michael grabbed Max, holding him upright. "Hey Maxwell!"

Max gripped the doorframe so tightly, that his knuckles turned white. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths. The others watched as he pulled himself together with effort. "We have to hurry. Please." He spoke through stiff lips, his voice low and urgent. Hold on, Liz, Iím coming! Michael and Jim glanced at each other, knowing that something had happened that Max wasnít sharing with them. "Max--."

But Max was already moving out towards the Jeep again. It felt like a white-hot knife was twisting in his gut. Only he wasnít sure if it was as a result of fearing for Liz or the hate he was starting to feel for the guy hurting her. For she was hurt, of that he was sureÖ

~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz felt the cuffs biting into her wrists as she basically hung from them against the wall. She was still a little dizzy from that backhand Tim had dealt her, but the sight of her mother close to losing it made her doubly determined to remain strong. When Max came she would give in to the blackness trying to overwhelm her. But only after she was sure he was safeÖ

"Mom, it will be okay. I promise."

"How can you say that?" Nancy sounded choked.

"Because I believe in Max."

There was a flicker of hope in Nancyís eyes. "Liz, I can see how much you trust in Max, but did you see how easily this Tim killed Marcus? He didnít even touch him! How is Max going to withstand that?"

"Tim was a warrior on Ericís home planet. They are deadly, killing machines. Thatís why he was sent here. To be the one to finallyÖ kill Max." Sarah sounded tired.

Feeling the blackness coming closer again, Liz closed her eyes and concentrated on breathing again. A few silent minutes later, her eyes snapped open. Thatís it! Soldiers needed a war to feel useful. The soldiers were revolting against Ericís pacifism. "How many soldiers came with Eric?"

Sarahís eyes were fluttering closed, she was obviously not going to be conscious for much longer. "Sarah, please! Itís really important! How many soldiers?" Liz was close to yelling, hoping to startle Sarah back. It worked partially.

"Wh-- What?"

"How many soldiers?" It hurt to talk by now, because her lip was starting to swell. And every time she spoke the cut in her lip started bleeding again.

"I thinkÖ I think ten? But Iím not sureÖ"

Think, Liz, think! Knowing she had to let Max know about the soldiers somehow. But she was feeling faint, they not eaten all day and being beaten didnít help much either. But I have to help Max.

Nancy watched in growing admiration as Liz fought to stay conscious. Her face showed the signs of Timís assault, and she could see red welts starting to form on Lizís wrists. All this for Max EvansÖ "Liz, honey, are you okay?"

"Have to talk to MaxÖ" Liz mumbled.

Nancy thought fleetingly that Liz was delirious, but then she remembered how earlier Liz had seemed to talk to Max.

Liz felt herself slipping away from reality. NoÖ have to warn Max! Warn him thatósomething important. Warn himÖ But he was waiting for her, in that dream world where she couldnít feel the pain. He stood there as beautiful and strong as ever, holding his arms open for her to run into. She flung herself into his embrace and whispered: "Hold me, Max." And because this was her dream, he said: "Always. My Liz."

~*~*~*~*~*~

In the end it was laughably easy to find Eric. Max and Michael both saw him at the same time. He was sitting on the edge of the pavement across the street from the Crashdown and, ironically, right in front of the UFO Museum. The others stood back, watching as Max approached Eric. Michael kept a watch out for Ericís men. Surely they couldnít be far awayÖ

Max halted a few feet away from Eric. He knew that he should hate him, but just like with Tess, he felt nothing. He remembered nothing. All he saw was a guy with sadness lining his face. Max saw the moment Eric became aware of his presence. His body tensed perceptibly and he slowly stood up.

The others watched, holding their breaths, as the leaders of two alien races faced each other on a street in front of a cheesy alien museum in a small town in New Mexico.

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