|"A Stitch in Time - Revised"|
Disclaimer: Dear Ms. Metz and Mr. Katims, can Max and the others come to
my house to play? I'll try to have them back in time for dinner. Thanks, loon.|
Summary: AU Fic. No spoilers. Max had thought just being an alien would fulfil the 'weirdness quotient' for his whole life, but now he had to cope with the concept of aliens from the future. And not just 'good' aliens from the future. There was a whole organization of 'bad' aliens from the future and he, Isabel and Michael had been recruited to help stop them.
Authors Note: Dedication: to Addison, my first fan.
|Max woke to a beautiful sunny day. Alex's bed was empty and neatly made.
He could hear voices downstairs and he smelled coffee. He sprang out of
bed, thankful that his ankle was finally healed. He grabbed some clothes
and hit the shower.|
He entered the kitchen and observed the cozy scene. Alex was reading something humorous from a newspaper to Liz and Maria while they made pancakes. He smiled in contentment. This was a feeling he could use more of. "Good morning all," he offered. He gasped in shock when Liz turned around. That horrible bruise on her cheek was gone!
"Hey Max." Liz greeted him with a shy smile, last night's grief totally concealed. "Maria used her makeup to hide my bruise."
"Yep, the girls are power shopping today. We'll leave you guys here to catch up and do dishes." Maria said with a grin as she set a plate of pancakes on the table. She looked at Liz and said, "No arguments. We cooked, the least they can do is clean up."
Max poured himself a cup of coffee and joined the early risers at the table. A guy could get used to waking up like this. He enjoyed his breakfast and the friendly, casual conversations traveling around the table. Liz seemed to welcome having a full table and showed a carefree side he hadn't yet seen as she and Maria talked about their anticipated shopping excursion. They were going to outfit Maria and Alex for mountain weather; living in a desert hadn't prepared them for the mountains.
Max and Alex were talking about Liz's computer setup. Alex's eyes gleamed with anticipation and he couldn't wait to get his hands on it. Max noticed Liz's amused smile as she listened to the enthused computer talk. He smiled back.
"So, Liz," Alex said. "I'm really looking forward to seeing if Dave's computer is all Max has been telling me. Did he set it up himself or did he have help?"
"Dave did it all." Liz smiled. "He started building his 'dream setup' when he was 12. He kept adding and modifying as he learned more. I think he enjoyed that most. Alex, I know he'd like how you're planning to use his computer. I won't be much use technically, but I can tell you in layman's terms what's there."
Max was dumbfounded but managed to keep it off his face. He just kept his mouth shut; he was getting questions answered and he shamelessly took advantage.
"Was he self taught or did he study computers in school?" Alex asked.
Liz paused a moment, mixed emotions crossing her face. "Dave loved learning. The computer knowledge he just picked up on his own. He was studying mechanical engineering in college. He was a sophomore." She stopped, lost in memory, her face becoming sad.
"Did he his talents from you or his father?" Alex asked.
Liz didn't answer but quickly got up and took her plate to the sink. When she returned, she had a cheerful look back on her face and she deftly redirected the conversation back to their shopping needs.
When Maria was finished, she and Liz disappeared upstairs, leaving Max and Alex talking over the remains of their breakfast. When the girls were safely upstairs Max said quietly, "Okay, what's up."
"When Maria and I got up and came into the kitchen, Liz was already up and she apologized for 'neglecting' us last night and assured us that we were welcome here for as long as we needed to stay. Are you sure she's not a split personality?" He was stopped by Max's frown. "Kidding."
Alex looked thoughtful and continued. "She tried to reassure me about Isabel's safety and Maria about Michael's. She made Maria laugh when she told her about calling him 'Spike.'"
No doubt you've noticed how good she is at not answering questions she doesn't want to." Max nodded in agreement. "Well, Maria told her you'd told us about her son's death and we gave her our condolences. She said 'thank you' and changed the subject."
They heard Maria and Liz coming downstairs and turned to see what they were giggling about. Their mouths dropped open in unison. Liz had French braided her hair and wore a simple skirt and blouse. Maria had on a natural looking shoulder length wig of curly light brown hair. She definitely didn't look like Maria. The girls started laughing at their looks. "Like my disguise?" Maria posed for their approval. "Just in case someone has a picture of me."
They left amid 'good byes' and 'be carefuls.' Alex and Max resumed their conversation.
"Max, have you tried to dreamwalk Isabel?" Alex asked, concerned about his wife.
"I seriously depleted my energies during the mission. I couldn't even heal my ankle before Liz regained consciousness. I've been healing it gradually as my energy returned so I'd just look like a fast healer. Alex, I'm sorry I just couldn't save all my energy for dreamwalking Isabel, but I felt I needed to be completely mobile, just in case." Alex nodded to show he understood.
Max smiled gratefully. "I was so drained that if Isabel tried to dreamwalk me from her end I don't think I would have been able to help her make the connection. It takes two cooperating parties for real communication at this distance, you know. I should be able to try tonight. Do you want to link with me and we'll try for a three-way connection? In the long run, that might be the best solution."
Alex's worry and concern was greatly eased at the thought of being able to communicate with his beloved Isabel. "That would be outstanding!" he told Max. "And thanks. I know you're worried, too." Deliberately putting his worry aside he rubbed his hands together and said, "Let's get into that computer!"
Max laughed and opened the French doors wide. He wasn't disappointed in Alex's reaction; it was all he'd hoped for. They set to work and were soon happily involved. After a while Max stood up and left Alex as he was in the process of installing all Michael's files. It would be useful to have access to them; they could get back to work finding 'lost ones' while they were waiting to contact Gregory. Max wondered if they'd find Liz in those files.
He cleaned up the breakfast dishes and then wandered into Liz's office. He smiled affectionately at the oddities and small toys scattered around her computer. Small rubber insects walked along the top edge of her keyboard. Two small toy Godzillas held a picture of a puppy between them on top of her monitor.
Max smiled at the big red wax lips perched next to the printer. He reached down to pick them up and got a flash! He saw Liz and two other women all wearing red wax lips. They were at a restaurant and there were opened presents on the table. All three women were cracking up at each other's big red wax lips. Each time one would try to talk with the lips muffling their words the others would burst into even more laughter. The flash ended and Max put the lips back where he found them. He smiled, then laughed quietly at the memory. He was glad she had such good friends at one time. Where were they now that she needed them?
Max walked into the living room and picked up one of the quilts from Liz's quilt basket. He admired the colors and design and when he turned one corner over he saw an abstract duck design and the words: 'An Odd duck Quilt' stitched on back. He looked at the others; they had the same thing on the back. He folded the quilts and returned them to the basket. A lot of time and care went into those quilts. It said a lot about whoever made them.
Max's wandering feet took him upstairs to the bedroom he and Alex shared; Dave's old bedroom. He shook his head when he saw Alex's bed. Why didn't she just ask for help? Then he answered the question himself: because there had been no one around to help for such a long time that she had forgotten how.
Max reached out and touched one of the colored martial arts belts hanging from the rack. He got a flash of Liz and Dave in their Inspector Clouseau and Kato roles involved in a serious looking skirmish that ended with laughter and hugs. It looked like he was lucky to have gotten away with just a bloody nose.
He walked over to the desk and sat down. Max looked at the books on the desk and noticed a medium sized leather bound book. He looked at it for a while, then feeling like a voyeur but unable to stop himself, Max reached slowly over and picked it up. When he opened the front cover he discovered it was Dave's journal. Feeling incredibly guilty, Max started to close the book but it slipped from his grasp, fell to the floor and the pages fluttered open.
As he reached down to pick it up his eyes fell on the words: 'Today is October 13. My name is Dave Parker and I learned more about the mysteries surrounding my birth today.' \\Oh my god.\\ And then he was the surprised recipient of a very unpleasant flash. He watched as Liz's son Dave, sitting at his downstairs computer, read information that shocked him to his very core. He was reading an article from an online newspaper archive dated nine months before his birth. It detailed the unsolved case of the attack and near fatal beating of a young thirteen year old girl named Liz Parker. He watched helplessly as Dave put his head in his hands and sobbed. Not for himself, but for the pain and loss of innocence his mother had suffered. The flash ended.
Max dropped the journal again and leaned forward and hid his face in his hands. And that was how Alex found him several minutes later.
"Max!" Alex exclaimed. "Are you alright?" He entered the room and put his hand on Max's shoulder, offering comfort even though he didn't yet know what had so distressed his friend. Max looked up, emotion ravaging his face.
"Oh god, Alex. She was raped."
Shocked and dismayed, Alex sank down onto the nearby bed. "The dissidents raped her?" His thoughts instantly sprang to his Isabel. Had she already suffered the same fate?
Even through his distress, Max recognized the direction of Alex's thoughts and hurried to reassure him. "No, Alex. Isabel is safe. Remember Michael is there and he won't let anything like that happen to her!" Alex wiped his face with a shaking hand. Max continued, his emotional pain evident in his voice. "Liz Parker was raped and almost fatally beaten when she was thirteen. Her son Dave was born nine months later."
The two friends sat there in stunned silence, both trying to assimilate the implications of this appalling piece of news. Alex was the first to recover the power of speech. "No wonder she has nightmares."
Max looked up and shook his head slowly. "I got a vague flash from her when she had one the other night. I don’t think the nightmare was about this. " He really didn't want to reveal Liz's private thoughts, but if they were going to help her, they needed to understand the demons that haunted her. "It involved fire and screams and running."
Alex muttered a heartfelt "Shit." He stood up and held out a hand to Max. "Come on, I've got more to show you downstairs. I ran Liz's, then her mother's names through Michael's files." Max accepted Alex's helping hand as he got slowly to his feet, grateful for the physical and emotional support. They went downstairs to the computer room.
"You know, Alex, my mind knows that we have to have this information, but my heart feels like we're invading the privacy of a very private woman. A woman who is coming to mean more to me with every passing minute."
Alex's humor broke through the serious situation, "Kyle would call you worse than a 'wussie' if he could hear you saying that your heart talks to you." He sat down at the computer and prepared to pull up the files he'd found earlier. "Sounds like your single status is in danger, Max." And that pleased Alex who had watched his lonely friend and wished he would find happiness like he had with Isabel and Michael had with Maria.
Max didn't comment, just sat in the chair next to Alex. He looked expectantly and with some dread at the screen. Alex began, "You know, this is just the search results from Michael's genealogy records. When I've integrated the ones Michael and I hacked from the future Al'Centrans we'll find more information."
Alex's eyes gleamed mischievously and he said, "Look here, this entry concerns two full blooded Al'Centrans who registered a child named Jeannie Parker. They must not have stayed in contact because nothing more is recorded."
"What about Liz or Dave."
"Sorry, Max. There is nothing for either of them." Alex looked speculatively at his friend, then continued. "On the other hand, there is the research that Dave was doing…"
Max looked up, startled. "What?"
"Um, well… gee, Max. Don't look at me like that. I know I shouldn't have been snooping in his private files but he's gone and we need answers." Max didn't answer so he continued. "I was just on my way up to tell you what I'd found. I guess you already know that Dave knew about his mother's attack. Well, he also found out more."
Alex looked at Max to gauge his reaction, but Max's face gave him no clues. With a big sigh, he continued. "This guy had quite a way with computers. He managed to get the police report and the hospital's files. Do you find it interesting that Jeannie Parker checked her daughter out of the hospital the very next day against the doctor's protest? Especially since besides her other injuries, Liz had extensive head and facial wounds. She must have pulled a fast one because the hospital filed charges. But no one could find them. Apparently they left town and disappeared. And Liz's hospital records are listed as 'missing.'" Still no reaction from Max. "I also have files concerning the circumstances of her adoption…"
Max spoke up. "She told me about that. So we have no concrete evidence of Liz's parentage, but we know that her adopted mother was full blooded Al'Centran." He snorted in frustration. "You know, before I knew her name I used to call her my mystery woman. Now I know her name and she's still a mystery." He missed Alex's look when he called Liz 'his' mystery woman."
Max stood up and stretched. "Alex, I need some time to think about this. I'm going to take a walk." And he left through the back door and headed up the dirt road he and Liz had ridden on… was it only yesterday? So much had happened since. His head was spinning with all the new information he had learned today.
|Part 11 | Index | Part 13|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|