|"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.
|After they washed and bandaged Liz's cut feet they ate their delayed
dinner then retired to the living room to talk. Max wouldn't let Liz
walk even that short distance, he insisted on carrying her.|
Max and Alex discussed their dreamwalking scheduled for that night Alex was getting pretty desperate to have contact with Isabel and he was anxious about their success, given the excitement of the day.
"Max," Liz broke in to their conversation hesitantly. They stopped and gave her their attention. "Is there a reason Maria and I couldn't join in the dreamwalking? With Maria and I in the link wouldn't you have more energy? Maybe enough to contact Michael, too?"
Maria sat up, her face brightening. "Michael, too?"
Max thought for a short minute and said, "I don't know, Liz." He looked at her compassionately. "I don't think you could make the connection…"
"Max, thanks for trying to spare my feelings, but this is more important." She looked determined. "There are still things I can help with. I guess it's been established that my adopted mother was Al'Centran." She looked at Maria, amused. "Or Czechoslovakian, if you prefer." Taking a deep breath, she continued, "But we don't know quite what I am…"
"Quack." This quite realistic duck sound was from Alex who earned a friendly smack on the back of the head from Max for his humor.
Liz laughed at him and continued, her face going from amused to determined. "Mom had been teaching me some things, you know… things I could do because of my 'odd duck' status." She paused for a moment, thoughtful. "You know, that's what she called me: her little odd duck. I wonder, if she knew her heritage that would mean she didn't think I was the same…" Liz pulled her hair back away from her face. \\Focus on what's important here, duck girl. Keep your problems out of it.\\
"Okay, back on track here. I know I can still help. I can provide some of the energy for you three to connect. I won't be truly connected, but if someone is brave enough to touch me you can draw energy from me."
Alex said drolly, "Actually, you're lucky you won't be fully in the link. I'd hate to think of the mental damage some of Michael's dreams could do to a little innocent duck like you, Liz"
"Alex!" Maria's face was bright red with embarrassment. She knew all too well what kinds of dreams he was referring to.
The friends all laughed, releasing some tension. Max pretended to scold them, "Children, children. Let's attend to the matter at hand." He turned to Liz. "I don't want to take any chance that you'll be hurt or aggravate the damage that's already been done."
"It will be okay, Max. Mom said I had an abundance of… she called it natural energy. After the… after the attack I couldn’t consciously access it. But you can use it. She did; when she was healing me she had to tap it. I was pretty messed up…" She shuddered in memory and hid her face in her hands. "Cleopatra doesn't want to go there, okay?" Liz looked up, still determined. "I'm stronger than I look. Let's do this."
Max stood up and took charge. "Okay, Alex and Maria. Stretch out on the floor. I'm going to connect and 'encourage' you to go to sleep. It will be easier if you're already sleeping. Liz, don't get up. I'll carry you over here and we'll get started." Max was not going to miss any opportunity to get Liz in his arms.
He got Maria and Alex all settled in dreamland and went over to pick Liz up. He sat down and placed her on the floor between his legs. Then he moved closer so she could lean against him and wrapped his arms around her.
"Uh, Max. I think all you need to do is hold my hand or hang onto my arm to be able to use my energy."
"Hush," Max said, amusement coloring his voice. "This way is more fun." He snuggled his Liz closer and got ready to draw energy from her when a thought came to him. "Liz, what's it like for you when you provide energy like this? Are you sure this won't hurt you? It won't weaken you or endanger you? We can try this without you…"
"Max. Quit worrying. I'll be fine." She leaned back to make eye contact with him. "Let's get started."
Max lost himself in her eyes for a moment, then began the connection that would link Liz's energy, Maria, Alex and himself on the dream plane.
Light mist floated all around, obscuring the distance. Small dream orbs floated randomly like soap bubbles. Billowy white clouds supported the three friends. They had magnificent wings growing out of their shoulders and glowing halos floated above their heads. Max and Alex looked at themselves with amusement.
"Maria!" they both said at the same time.
Maria giggled and the angelic embellishments disappeared. "Oh come on, guys, doesn't the dream plane remind you of heaven?" A pair of horns and a tail suddenly sprouted from Maria.
Alex said, "Those look so much more natural on you, Maria." They all laughed and Maria was just Maria again.
Isabel came running out of the mist and launched herself into Alex's arms. They hugged and kissed, each offering reassurance that they were fine.
Maria looked on wistfully and Max put his arm around her to comfort her. "Michael must be occupied right now. Isabel will tell us how things are going." Then raising his voice he added, "That is, if she can ever get her mind back on the important things."
"This is the most important thing I can think of right now" she said, kissing Alex again.
Max laughed at her, "When you're ready, Izzy. But be aware that we're short on energy and I will not drain Liz unnecessarily."
Isabel broke her kiss off but kept Alex's arms around her. "We have a lot of catching up to do. This Liz— that's the Liz you kidnapped, right? — how is she providing energy. What's going on, Max?"
"That can wait for later. Are you and Michael okay? What is the status of the mission?"
Isabel recognized 'In Charge Max' and quickly got down to business. "Okay, with Leon gone Michael was able to claim me and have I told you how humiliating it is to be 'claimed' like some prize? Other than that things are going according to the original plan."
"Is Michael okay?" an anxious Maria asked Isabel.
"Yeah, he's doing wonderful. Makes a great dissident. They gave him a promotion and he's in charge of us 'prizes.' He was able to change some things and the actual 'consummating' -she shuddered- part of the scenario will be delayed until they're actually on the way to their new home wherever that will be. I can tell you that there was great relief among the 'prizes' when that news came out."
Max felt a wave of dizziness. "Iz, we have to go now. It's taking too much energy. Tell Michael we love him and…"
Max came out of the dream plane suddenly to find Liz slumped in his arms. "Liz!" Max hugged her tighter and then laid her gently down on the floor to check her. Alex and Maria woke up to find Max looking very shaken, trying to wake Liz up.
"What happened? She said this wouldn't hurt her," Maria exclaimed.
Liz opened her eyes and said groggily, "It didn't. I'm just tired." She started to sit up but Max wouldn't let her. "Max, I'm alright."
Max scooped her into his arms and started to carry her upstairs. "I shouldn't have let you do this."
"Max…" Liz began.
"Hush. No arguments. You're going to bed."
Maria had followed them upstairs and when they got to Liz's room she opened the door and preceded them in. "Wow, Liz, what's that?" She pointed over to a large machine along one wall.
"That's my longarm quilting machine. I'll show it to you sometime, if you want."
Maria nodded and pulled the covers back on Liz's bed. Max laid Liz down on the bed and began to cover her up. "Max, are you going to make her sleep in her clothes?" Maria looked with amusement at Max.
"My 'jammas are in the second drawer, Maria, if you would be so kind." Liz pointed to her dresser. When Maria handed them to her she said, "Thanks, guys. I can take care of the rest by myself. I'm not helpless, contrary to popular belief." She gave Max a little pat on his arm and pointed to the door. "Good night."
"Good night, Liz. We will talk about this in the morning." Max gave her a stern look as he left.
"Sweet dreams," wished Maria as she closed the door.
\\Don't I wish.\\ Liz dreaded going to sleep. Her nightmares didn't happen as often now as they did when Dave first died. Just when she was unusually tired or stressed. She groaned and buried her face in her pillow. \\Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to sleep soundly.\\
She changed into her nightclothes and carefully got off the bed. Wincing, she limped over to the window and sat in her sewing chair. She sat there a while, looking out at the moonlit lake and thinking, then she made her painful way back to bed.
Maria and Max went back downstairs to find Alex leaning back on the couch, deep in thought. He looked up as they sat down on either side of him. "Is she okay? It was great to see Isabel, but I had no idea it would be so hard on her."
"She is stubborn and strong willed and hard-headed…"
"Just like a certain Max we all know and love." Maria laughed. "You guys can stay up all night if you want. I'm going to bed and try to dream of a spiky haired dissident." She hugged them and took herself off to bed.
"Great idea, except I'm going to dream of an angel with long golden hair," Alex laughed as he got up and headed up to bed. "Coming, Max? You need to get some rest, too."
"Yeah." And a thoughtful Max went off to bed.
When Liz's screams woke Max, he wasn't surprised. But he was better prepared, having slept in his boxers and a t-shirt. He ran into her room to find her in that same tangled heap of bedclothes. Alex followed him, panic on his face. Liz was still crying and struggling with her blankets. They stopped and didn't touch her.
Alex said with a shaky smile, "Don’t you find it incredibly ludicrous that we're two big strong men afraid one small skinny woman will hurt us?"
"A wise course of action would be to let her wake up first…" Max said. But he couldn't stand it, he knelt down and took her into his arms. To his and Alex's surprise she accepted him without a fight. Max held her gently and began to smooth her hair away from her face.
She woke up, startled. "Oh god," Liz groaned and hid her face in her hands, "You must think I'm…"
"…a very nice woman who has gone through hell and is doing her best to cope with it." Alex finished her sentence. Max looked gratefully at him.
Maria appeared in the doorway and Alex went over to her and quietly explained, "Nightmare." He ushered her out and closed the door.
"If I was attacked like she was I'd have nightmares, too." Maria shuddered in sympathy. "No, Max says it's something else. God, what could be worse that that."
"How did her son die?" Maria was trying to understand. She had only know Liz for a few days, but she felt like they could be best friends, given a little time.
"She hasn't said." Alex yawned. "Well, I'm going try to get some sleep. Max will take care of her."
"Yeah, guess you're right. 'night."
Max was still rocking Liz in his arms when he realized she had fallen back to sleep. He leaned back against the tangle of blankets she had taken with her when she fell off the bed and found it surprisingly comfortable. He would cheerfully endure far more uncomfortable circumstances in order to sleep with Liz in his arms. He wondered when Liz would tell him what her nightmares were about. Soon he drifted off to sleep, comforted by the quiet sound of her breathing.
|Part 15 | Index | Part 17|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|