|"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.
|Liz woke up to a different view than usual. She was on the floor! The
memory of last night's events returned in a rush. She began to stir when
she realized that she was lying on her side, cuddled against a warm
form, with a muscular arm as her pillow. Max! Her movements must have
awakened him because his breathing changed and he brought his hand up to
stroke her hair. |
Liz shifted onto her back and looked up at his sleepy face. She blushed and shyly said, "Good morning, Max."
He looked at her adorable blushing face and realized anew that he had fallen totally in love with her. He leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss. He pulled back and used his free hand to stroke her cheek. "How was your mother able to heal you through your shields." Max really wanted to take that bruise from her cheek."
"She was powerful and she knew some tricks. If I was healing myself I'd be using the same energy— she just did what I couldn't."
Max leaned down and kissed the bruise. "I'm not using your energy. Not after last night." He kissed it again. "Relax, I'm going to try something."
Liz looked up at Max and brushed the hair off his forehead. "I trust you, Max." She relaxed her shields as much as she was able.
Max placed his hand over her cheek and looked into her dark, trusting eyes. He concentrated, trying to find a new way to heal. Soon he was able to visualize how to erase the bruise and he removed his hand to find an unblemished cheek. He kissed it again, thinking about what he had done.
Liz turned her head and kissed him on the lips. "Thank you, Max."
Max kissed her back with growing passion, then stopped and just hugged her to him. Given her history, he didn't think she had had much, if any experience. He would have to take it slow and court her gently if he didn't want to frighten her. Max pulled back and kissed her on the nose. "Sit up, I'm going to heal your feet next."
Liz giggled, "So you're going to work me over head to toe, huh?"
Max caressed the bottom of one foot and said with a gleam in his eyes, "You betcha." \\And I really would love to do just that, although not quite in the innocent way you meant.\\ He got to work and healed the cuts on her feet. It took a lot more energy, but it was worth it. Then he brought one foot up to his chin and tickled her instep with his whiskers.
"Max!" she squealed and jerked her foot away. Then she quickly moved her other foot when he made a grab for it. Max slowly began to move closer, eyes gleaming, thoroughly enjoying teasing her. Liz began laughing as she scooted out of reach, then got to her feet and dashed for the door. "Just for that, I get the bathroom first!"
Max laughed and rolled over on his back amid the tumble of bedclothes. He craned his neck and looked out the open door. His and Alex's door was still shut. Alex must be sleeping in. He heard the shower start as he began to think about seeing Isabel last night. He was so glad she was as safe as she could be under present circumstances and Michael had the situation under control.
Max sat up and looked around Liz's room. She had a quilt on the big machine. It looked like a fascinating contraption. Her sewing machine was by the window. It was a cozy room; part bedroom, part sewing room— lived in and comfortable.
His musings were interrupted by the sound of the bathroom door opening. Liz's voice came out timidly, "Max?" Her head peeked out and she repeated, "Max?" He got up and went over to her. She was blushing again. "I forgot to bring my robe in with me. Would you please get it for me?"
He started chuckling. He fetched her robe and teased a quick kiss from her before he would give it to her. She paid up and the robe disappeared inside the bathroom. In a moment she opened the door, wrapped in the robe, wet hair streaming down her back and announced, "You're really bad." But she spoiled it by laughing as she escaped into her room and closed the door.
Max quietly got his clothes from his room and didn't wake Alex. He took a quick shower, dressed and went back into Liz's room. He knew she would be out on the deck drying her hair and he didn't want to miss it.
Later that morning they all assembled at the dining room table after a leisurely breakfast. The topic of discussion was everyone's plans for the day. Max and Alex were going to continue their detective work, Maria needed to do a laundry and had expressed a desire to sunbathe down by the lake. Liz had email and other office work to catch up on.
"You know, Liz, I don't think I remember what type of work you do," Maria asked.
"Well, I taught school for six years, but now I work from home."
"Must pay well to support a place like this," Alex said.
Maria smacked him on the back of his head and said, "Alex, you simply have no manners."
"I have to agree with Maria, Alex." Max said sternly.
"What I have is more curiosity than ten cats and it's always getting me in trouble," Alex said ruefully. "Sorry if I offended, Liz."
Liz laughed, "Don't worry, Alex. I'm not easily offended. Our friend Denny was like that. He would ask anyone anything, no matter how personal."
"Who was Denny," Alex asked with a grin.
They all laughed at his persistence and Liz said, "He was Dave's middle school teacher and later when I took Dave out of school, he was his tutor."
"Why did you take Dave out of school?" Max asked.
"Well, Dave was a highly intelligent young man. And this is not just parental pride speaking, although I do have that in abundance. The school system didn't have the facilities to challenge him and he was really bored. Do you know how much trouble a highly intelligent bored teenager can get into?" Liz rolled her eyes and laughed at her memories. "So I talked Denny into 'retiring' from public school and taking the job of being Dave's partner in crime. We moved here to Colorado and they whizzed Dave through high school in two years. He started college when he was 16; he was studying mechanical engineering at CSU."
Liz got to her feet and said briskly, "Well, if anyone is interested, I'll give a complete tour of the grounds after lunch." She looked at Max and smiled. "It'll be a lot more complete than the one I gave you when you first got here."
Max laughed in memory. "Yeah, that was an extremely short tour." Maria and Alex looked confused. "I was on crutches at the time and— how did it go, Liz? 'Bathroom and office down that way. Hall door goes down to the basement; laundry in basement. Garage and barn out back. Mountains, trees, lake'?" Max pointed in the direction of each as he recited Liz's quick tour.
Liz laughed at Max's teasing. "I forgot you were a gimp at the time. I promise this one will include walking." She opened the basement door and said to Maria, "I'll show you where the laundry is and then I 'm going to say good morning to the lake before I get to work."
Max and Alex open the French doors to the computer room and began to their work. After a time Alex looked over at Max and said, "Did she talk about her nightmare?" At Max's look he quickly added, "Sorry, I'm at the mercy of my curiosity bump. It's killing me. You know, Max, I don't know how you three handled the unanswered questions all those years."
"It wasn't easy. But we couldn't just start asking questions. We just had to find out things on our own."
"Find out things on your own, huh?" He hesitated and then said, "Want me to share the things I've found out on my own?" He raised his hand to stop Max's reply. "This information is from the Internet search I did yesterday morning. I just didn't have time to go through it all."
"Alex." Max stopped and tried to sort through his confused reaction to this information.
Maria appeared in the doorway. "Max, she needs us. I know she is trying her best to work through her troubles, but I think she has buried some of them so deep she can't get at them anymore."
Max rubbed his face. "I think I'm being double-teamed." He looked at them. "I'd really rather wait until she tells me herself."
"I don't think she will, Max. Since her mom died she hasn't had anyone to lean on. When things happen like when Alex startled her, or when she saved the little boy and our big boy here, or like her nightmare last night— she doesn't deal with them. She changes the subject and pretends like it didn't happen."
"That sounds like my Cleopatra."
"What?" He'd lost both Maria and Alex.
"Cleopatra, Queen of Denial. I've called her on it several times and she'll admit that denial is how she deals with some things but she still won't talk about them. So you really think I should ask her instead of waiting for her to tell me?"
"Yes, I do, Max." Maria was adamant.
"Well, I have here an article from the local newspaper dated about 6 months ago." Alex looked at Max to see if he wanted him to continue. Maria didn't hesitate and moved over behind Alex to read over his shoulder.
"Oh my god, Max. This tells about a fatal house fire in town. Two people were killed: a Dennis Harrison and a David Parker." She put her hand over her mouth and her eyes filled with tears. "Ohhhh, poor Liz."
Alex hit the print button and handed Max a copy when it came out. Max paled as he read the article.
"Max, this was an arson fire." Alex was reading from the screen.
Maria gasped, "It says that the house was fully involved when Liz came running up and tried to go inside to save them. She disabled two firemen and one bystander when they tried to stop her. They knocked her unconscious while they were trying to restrain her." She looked at Max. "What are we going to do?"
Max said firmly, "What we're going to do is let Liz tell us about this in her own time." He sat up straighter in his chair. "Put yourself in her place. She has been isolated most of her life and been forced to endure tragedy and sorrow all alone. Now suddenly she has a house full of relative strangers and although she has welcomed us, I think we need to respect her privacy."
Maria spoke up. "Now, Max, I know you mean well, but I've had more experience dealing with troubled teens…" Max looked at her and opened his mouth to say something. "Yeah, yeah, I know she's our age, but she does look like a teen. Max, she trusts you and whether or not she'll admit it she needs help. It's not healthy for her to suppress things like this. We should all concentrate on giving out vibes that say we're here to listen whenever she's ready, but Max… Max, I'm serious here. If she doesn’t dig those traumas out and deal with them really bad things will happen. Help her, Max."
"Alright. I'll see what I can get her to tell me. But Alex, no more probing into her past on the net. If she finds out she will very likely consider it a highly inappropriate invasion of privacy." Max looked sternly at his curious friend.
"If it comes up in conversation, may I offer to help her find out her past?"
"Don't pressure her about it."
"Max, I think you're forgetting who we're dealing with here. I've never run into anyone besides you who is as stubborn. And she's pretty good at not answering questions when she doesn't want to."
Maria piped up, "Yeah, Alex. If you're not careful, she'll 'kung fu' you again." She looked out the front window. "Scatter and act natural. Here she comes!" And she dashed down to the basement to tend her laundry.
Liz came in and said, "Hi, guys" as she went back to her office. Looking very innocent, Max and Alex got back to work. They could hear Liz and Maria's voices as they talked in the other room. After a short time Maria walked by on her way out to sunbathe. Things went smoothly and quietly for the rest of the morning.
Maria came in around noon and she and Liz fixed lunch. Instead of sitting down with them she said, "You guys go on and eat. I'm not hungry and I still have some work to finish."
Max objected, "Liz, you need to eat."
"Max, I had a big breakfast and I'm not hungry." She smiled at them all and started walking by the table on her way back to her office. Max leaned out of his chair and attempted to grab her around the waist but she easily eluded him, laughing, and went on into her office.
Alex leaned close to Max and said very quietly, "Don't pressure her." And then laughed at the look Max gave him.
After they had eaten lunch and cleaned up, Max walked down the hall to Liz's office. He heard quiet laughter and he entered the office to find Liz at her computer. "What's funny?" he asked curiously.
To his amusement, Liz blushed. She closed down her computer and said, "Ready for that tour?" She tried to walk around him but he moved to playfully block her way.
"Are you going to tell me or are you going to make me use one of my turns when we start question trading again?" He gave her one of his best pleading looks.
Liz put her finger to her lips and said "Shhh" then moved a few steps back and crooked her finger at him. He walked away from the door and leaned down so she could whisper to him. Then she zipped around him and escaped out the door. He could hear her laughing as she went down the hall.
"That was sneaky!" he hollered after her.
"The grand tour is starting! Hurry or you'll miss out." She hollered back.
When all of her guests were in the kitchen she mischievously gave them Max's short tour. "Bathroom and office down that way. Hall door goes down to the basement; laundry in basement. Garage and barn out back. Mountains, trees, lake," as she pointed in the proper directions. Then she laughed and said, "Kidding. Follow me and I'll introduce you to the barn. I think all of you have met the lake already." She led the way out back. "Denny used the barn to store his toys and he and Dave had a shop out here, too, for some of their bigger projects." She struggled to open the large door.
Max and Alex stepped up and gave her a hand. Max leaned down and said quietly in her ear. "Thought you were supposed to ask for help when you needed it."
She ducked her head slightly and said, "Oops." She entered the barn and turned on the lights. "Maria, this is where we get to watch the guys drool." Liz walked over to a large cloth covered object. "This was Denny's pride and joy," she announced as she revealed a gleaming Harley Davidson motorcycle.
"A Heritage Softtail Classic! Wow." Alex was obviously impressed. He and Max began to inspect the motorcycle while Liz and Maria shared a private laugh about boys and their toys. "Did you ride with him?" Alex looked over at Liz. "I'm trying to picture you in black leather…" From the expression on Max's face he was, too.
Maria laughed at Liz's blushing face as Liz said, "No, no, not me. Dave was his riding buddy."
Liz showed them around the rest of the barn and then led the way out again and walked towards the garage. When they got to the garage Max took the tarp off the ATV and started it up. "Sorry guys, I'm kidnapping Liz. You'll have to explore on your own."
"What, again? Max, you need some serious therapy. This kidnapping of small defenseless women is becoming a habit." Maria laughed.
Max held out his hand to Liz and she said, "Oh, alright." She climbed on behind him and he gave Alex and Maria a mock evil grin as he drove off.
Maria and Alex watched them drive off up the mountain road. "They make a cute couple, don't you think, Alex?"
"Matchmaking, Maria?" He ducked as she tried to swat him. "However, it would make me very happy to see him finally find someone. Isabel worries about him, too." He put a friendly arm over her shoulders as they walked back toward the house. "Do you think this 'kung fu when touched unexpectedly' thing will cause them trouble if they do get together?"
"Guess you hadn't noticed, except for that one time she doesn't have trouble when Max is the one doing the touching. She avoids contact with everyone else as a general rule." She laughed. "That pushy reporter almost lost his thumb. The look on his face was priceless when this 'skinny little woman' broke his 'big strong manly grip.' Looping her arm through Alex’s, they continued to explore the area.
|Part 16 | Index | Part 18|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|