FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Goodnight Elisabeth"
Part 9
by Anne
Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell or any of the characters. I have no affiliation with the WB Television Network or the author, Melinda Metz.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Authors Note: For Miranda and Gale. Gale, we need to move. I hear California's nice . . .
An hour later, Liz sat perched upon a rock about three and a half feet off the ground, furiously trying to come up with a plan . . .

It was obvious that Isabel had been kidnapped at this point. Alex was almost a basket case. The sanest psychotic she'd ever seen, but still . . . he could only hold out so long . . .

And, Max. Max. He said nothing, but she could feel the devastation pouring off him in waves. He was talking quietly with Alex a short distance away. Maria and Michael were currently baby sitting the intruder. Liz thanked every god she could name for a few minutes alone to think. As she contemplated what would be the best thing to do next, she was surprised to feel a small hand grip hers. Looking down, she observed the boy that could only be "Alex." His eyes were full of grief, but his countenance gave nothing away. Liz held his hand and let the fragile connection between them open and expand. His thoughts and fears were clearly communicated across those delicate lines. Liz understood in a moment all that Alex was trying to silently tell her. She was so entranced by the child that she hadn't noticed Max's approach.

Max had been talking with Alex about the obvious predicament in which they found themselves when his ever watchful eyes had landed on Liz, hovering some ridiculous amount of space off the ground. Abandoning the conversation immediately, he made his way toward her with a purposeful stride.

Strong hands took hold of her waist and lifted her matter of factly to the ground. Liz's startled eyes met Max's upon her descent, changing to pure adoration as he reminded her silently of her condition. Max kissed her forehead then, and waited for whatever she had to say. He could feel her need to talk to him a mile away.

Liz pulled the small Alex to her in a quick embrace, letting him know that she was aware of everything and that he could count on her. He then pulled away and left without a backward glance in her direction. LIz fell into Max's waiting arms, pulling strength from him that he didn't even know he possessed. When she felt able, she stepped back slightly to tell him everything she'd learned . . .

Momentarily unable to speak, she swallowed hard, trying to clear the lump in her throat left behind by that small child's strength and courage . . .

Alex grabbed Liz's hand and held fast even though Max had his arms firmly around her small body. Liz smiled over her shoulder at Alex, willing him to understand how much he meant to her.

Before Liz found her voice to utter the warning the child had given her, the widow, Alex's mother, suddenly appeared behind her. Max's first instinct was to haul Liz behind him bodily, having no care for the outcome. He didn't know why he was reacting so strongly to this woman. It was purely instinctive. Alex just barely resisted the impulse to clock the woman who he was certain had caused Isabel's distressed state before her disappearance.

Maria was all but into a fear-based state of panic as the imposter, Isabel, made her way back to camp. What the hell were they supposed to do now? There was no keeping her away any longer. They'd kept her distracted as long as possible, but now she seemed determined to join the others.

As the two women approached the camp with a quiet, watchful Michael in between them, the first thing that came into view was Liz surrounded by Max and Alex in a very protective posture, and an old widow woman looking on with a malevolent expression that only shone in her eyes . . .

As the three approached they could hear the tail end of a conversation between Liz and the older woman . . .

Liz: "I'm sure I'll be fine, but thank you anyway."

Tess in the guise of the Widow: "You never know about these things. I'll be here if you need anything. Anything at all. I know how hard it is to bring a new life into this world."

Liz: (confusion showing clearly on her expressive face) "How did you even know that I was pregnant?"

Smiling but unanswering, she placed her cold, inhuman hand upon Liz's stomach in a gesture of confident knowledge that came off as nothing but menacing.

At the first whisper of touch, Max lost whatever restraint he'd found earlier as he hauled Liz to the side and away from her venomous hand . . .

As if realizing that she'd been all but discovered, the widow withdrew her hand and silently walked away . . .

Maria ran the last few feet to Liz and almost knocked her down trying to get a hold of her, ensuring that she was safe and no harm had been done. Unfortunately, there was a line. Max almost knocked Maria to the ground as he ran his hands over Liz's petite frame, searching for any sign of injury . . . Michael caught Maria as she fell back and Alex warred within himself about whether or not to shove Max to the side in an effort to ensure Liz's safety. After all, it had been his responsibility for a long time. Old habits died hard . . . But, he had to admit, she was in good hands.

Max: (to Liz) "Are you all right?"

Liz: (knowing she'd had a close call and shaking in reaction) "Y-yes. I'm fine."

Maria: "Are you sure?"

Liz: (unable to stop the shaking) "Yeah."

Alex: "You don't look fine." (concern etching worry into every word)

Liz: "I know. She tried to do something to me, but . . . (her eyes met Max's in profound gratitude)

Michael: (to Max) "We have to do something, Max. We can't wait any longer."

Max: (holding Liz just far enough away from him so he could inspect her face) "I know."

Liz let her hands slide up to cradle his face as the "what ifs" ran rampant through her mind. Her eyes slid shut as the reality of her safety communicated itself to the rest of her nerve endings. Max held her, fully aware of the change in her body as the knowledge that their children were safe settled in her mind. The crisis was over. Both expectant parents took a deep breath and exhaled on a prayer of thanksgiving.

With the focus suddenly off of Liz, it shifted almost noisily and with as much hostility as could be infused into it, to the being trying to pass herself off as Isabel. She was trying without much success to look concerned on Liz and Max's behalf. No one was fooled. Max and Michael shot a quick look at one another, understanding immediately what had to be done. With all the skill he had developed over the past six months, Michael quickly brought the imposter to a subjected position on the ground. With a face full of dust, she sputtered in mock surprise, questioning why *she* was being attacked. The questions quickly turned to vicious attempts to free herself as she realized that every single member of the group was against her. They knew! And even if they didn't kill her, Tess would . . .


Isabel tried to open her eyes slowly, but even so, nothing could stop the violent waves of nausea that tore through her stomach, at her first attempt. Snapping them closed once more, she bit back the groan that was desperate to find a voice. Even with her eyes closed, she knew she wasn't alone. The air fairly crackled around her with fear. Not hers. Someone else's. Someone she knew . . .

Unable to move her body without becoming physically ill, Isabel did the only thing she could do. Opening her mind and her senses with her eyes tightly shut, her surroundings began to make the journey from murky shades of nothing to radar-colored, green and red, images. Images that were horrifying and comforting all at the same time. A small child, huddled near her side, with silent tears coursing down his dirty cheeks. The fear belonged to him. As her conscious mind accepted the identity of the small boy, her heart fractured and threatened to break completely. Alex. Her sweet, little Alex. He was here? In this horrible place? Everything in her wanted to deny the reality of his presence, but at the same time, she couldn't afford the luxury of lying to herself right now. He needed her . . . so badly. The fact that he was here could only mean one thing. Tess was still in control . . .

Reaching out to him with one hand, making sure to keep the rest of her body completely still, she felt five small fingers slide across her palm and interlace with hers. At least now, he didn't feel so alone . . .

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