|"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.
|Earlier that day.|
Liz and the disguised Maria drove down the driveway and when Liz pressed the gate opener, Maria commented, "That's quite a convenience."
Liz looked over at her and smiled. "Especially in the snow." Turning onto the road and continuing towards town, she made idle conversation, pointing out various sights as they entered the town. They found a place to park the jeep, got out and began walking along the line of shops. "This is mainly a tourist town because of the big lake to the east," Liz said. "There are so many strangers it's easy to be anonymous. Once we're more certain the search for you and Alex has been called off you won't need to be a curly haired dishwater blond. Your real hair is more attractive for your face."
Maria looked at Liz's long hair all French braided, with open admiration. "I love your long hair. Is it much trouble to take care of?"
"Actually, my hair is naturally very straight and willful. Keeping it long is easier than trying to control it when it's short."
"Is that why you have this wig?" Maria was curious why a woman who had no makeup in the house would have a wig.
Instead of answering Maria's question Liz said, "Oh look, here's 'The Body Shop'. They have great lotions. You'll need lots of lotion in this dry mountain air." She led the way into the shop.
They continued shopping their way down the street, accumulating the items on their lists. Soon they both were burdened with various sacks and bundles. They were standing on a corner talking as they waited for the traffic light to change. Maria was stunned when Liz suddenly stopped mid sentence, dropped all of her bundles and spun around. She watched as Liz stepped sideways and swooped up a small child who would have run into the path of an oncoming car. The child's distraught mother came running down the street and accepted her child from Liz's arms.
Liz turned and grabbed up her sacks and bundles and said to Maria, "Quickly, let's get out of here."
Maria was still dazed and delayed them long enough for a man to grab Liz's arm in an attempt to stop her from leaving. "Hey, lady. I work for the local paper and I'd love to get your picture and…"
Liz tried to pull her arm away but the reporter had a firm grip. She said firmly, "Let go of me." When he still held on she reached over, grabbed his thumb and used it as a lever to break his grip on her arm. "Thank you." Then she walked rapidly away. When the reporter attempted to follow Maria smoothly tripped him with one of her sacks and further detained him as she apologized profusely.
Maria found Liz sitting in her jeep, pale and shaking. She got in the passenger side and brightly, "Well, that was fun, but its time to get back to the house."
Liz turned to her with a crooked smile and said, "Thanks so much for tripping that reporter. If he had grabbed me again his story would have been totally different." She gave a shaky laugh and continued to sit there for a minute longer then she visibly took herself in hand. "How about having lunch down by the lake? I know a great spot…" She looked back at Maria to see what she was thinking. Maria started to giggle in nervous reaction. Liz joined her and they had a good laugh. Finally, wiping tears from her eyes, Liz said, "So what about that lakeside lunch?"
"Great idea. I'm not ready to go back yet. With one minor exception, this has been a nice break from the mess that my life has become lately."
Liz started the jeep and drove to a deli near the lake. She and Maria went inside to get their lunch. Then they drove along the lake to a trailhead parking lot. Liz looked at Maria's quizzical expression and said "Patience. It'll be worth it." She got out of the jeep with her lunch and a beach towel she always kept in the back seat. She motioned Maria to follow and led the way down the path towards the lake. When she got to the shore she spread the beach towel and sat down.
Maria sat beside her and said, "This is nice, Liz, but that island kinda blocks the view of the lake." Then she saw Liz removing her sandals. "What's up?"
"We're not there yet. Might be a good idea for you to take your sandals off. Don’t want to get them wet." She waited for Maria to follow her directions. Then she bundled their sandals in the beach towel, grabbed her lunch sack and started for the shore. "Coming?" She held her skirt high and waded through the shallow water out to the island.
Maria laughed and followed. "What an adventure! I must say, Liz, shopping with you is not dull."
Liz reached the shore of the island and spread the beach towel again. She dried her feet and put her sandals back on and without waiting for Maria, ran lightly along a path that led along the island shore. "Come on, slowpoke!" Maria splashed her way on shore laughing. She caught up with Liz on the other side of the island sitting on some large rocks. "How about this view," Liz asked, waving her hand at the expanse of lake.
"Outstanding. Awe inspiring. Beautiful." Maria laughed with delight and joined Liz on the rock.
They ate their lunches and enjoyed the view. When Maria was finished she looked at Liz and asked, "Liz, how did you know that kid was going to run into the street? You were facing the street but you turned around just in time to stop him. You saved his life."
Liz sat a moment, then said, "Oh, it was his lucky day, I guess." She hopped down from her rock and gathered the remains of her lunch. "Hey, let's take the long way back around the island. It'll be good exercise for us." She began walking along the beach.
Maria frowned, and hopped down from her rock also. She soon caught up with Liz. Liz glanced over at Maria as she opened her mouth to ask another question and spoke up quickly. "How did you and Michael meet?" Maria's mouth stayed open as she tried to regroup her thoughts. Liz chuckled and asked, "Catch many flies that way?"
Thoroughly distracted, Maria laughed and Liz joined in. They walked along for a little while then Liz prompted her again, "So, you and Michael…"
"…met in high school." Maria continued with a recounting of her tumultuous relationship, leaving out the Czechoslovakian references.
They had walked the rest of the way around the lake by the time she finished her story. They took their sandals off again. Liz picked up the beach towel and they waded back across the water. When they sat down on the beach to dry their feet and replace their sandals Maria asked, "Liz, does it upset you to talk about your son Dave?"
Liz looked surprised at this turn their conversation had taken. She said slowly, "No, it doesn't bother me. Sometimes it makes me sad, though. I miss him. My brain knows he's dead, but in my memories, in my heart, he'll always be alive."
Maria looked at her with sympathy. "If I hug you will you 'kung fu' me like you did Alex?"
Liz laughed ruefully, "I'll probably never live that down." She walked on toward the jeep, avoiding answering Maria's hug question.
After they had driven for a while Maria said, "I cannot imagine what it must have been like to lose a child; a life you carried in your body." She put her hand over her womb, deep in thought.
Liz said quietly, almost to herself, "I wish I could have died in his place."
"How old was he when he died?"
"He was 17."
"I thought someone said he was in college…"
"Dave was… highly intelligent." Liz sighed sadly. "Such an incredible waste." She turned to Maria, trying to lighten the conversation up. "Such an warped sense of humor. He was a master of subtle expressions and body language. He could make me lose control so easily."
"Sounds like you two had fun together."
"Oh yeah." Liz laughed softly in fond memory. "But he had a weakness: he was squeamish. And squeamish people are soooo easy to tease."
"Alex is squeamish, too. I had great fun at his expense when we were growing up." Maria laughed.
"So you, Michael, Alex, Isabel and Max all grew up together?"
"No, Alex has been my buddy since fifth grade. We became close to Michael, Max and Isabel in high school. Did you have close friends in high school?"
"Not really. I'm pretty much a loner. And I was home schooled from grade eight on. My mom was a great teacher. She made learning things so much fun."
At this point, they turned into Liz's driveway. She pushed the gate release and drove through, grateful that the scanner detected no tracer. The gate wouldn't have opened if that had happened. She concealed her relief and drove up the driveway.
They gathered their purchases and entered the house. Liz went upstairs saying, "I'm going to put my loot away. Back down later." Maria went on through the living room and said 'hi' to Alex as he came out of the computer room. He followed her back to her room. Her 'Maria-sensors' told her he was very upset even though he was trying to hide it.
"Alex, what's wrong. Did you find out something about Isabel and Michael?" Maria started to get upset, herself.
"No. No, it's not that. Max and I are going to try connecting and dreamwalking Isabel together. It's about Liz. Max and I found out some things. Some very upsetting things."
Maria heard Liz coming down the stairs and she cautioned Alex, "Ixnay on the estionsquay." She motioned out toward the kitchen to let him know Liz was out there. He nodded and they both went out to the kitchen.
Liz had changed back into her baggy jeans and T-shirt. She was getting a glass of water when they came in. "Where's Max?" She was getting an uneasy feeling.
Alex said, "He went for a walk earlier." He thought for a moment, then continued. "You know, he's been gone a long time. Hope nothing has happened."
Liz's uneasy feeling crystallized into a bad feeling. Something had happened to Max. She looked at Maria and Alex. "Max needs our help. He's in trouble."
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