|"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.
|The night had passed uneventfully and the four of them were sitting at
the table planning their day as was becoming their custom. Max was
really enjoying this close companionship. It was something he hadn't
gotten enough of since his friends had paired off. He had spent far too
much time alone. Maybe when this dissident business was settled he and Liz…|
"Max. Earth to Max." When Alex had his attention he continued, "Is it going to be safe to use our names to rent the jeep? They're also going to want a credit card number even if we pay in cash."
Liz spoke up hesitantly. "Umm. I have a fake ID complete with matching credit card if you want to use it. I mean, the credit card is real. It just uses the fake ID's name and the bill is sent to the dummy corporation that holds the title to this place."
Three pairs of eyes stared at her in amazement and three mouths hung open. "And you would have these because?" Max was the first to regain the power of speech.
"Dave used them when he traveled with Denny. Sometimes anonymity is a good thing."
Alex asked Liz, "In your closet do you have a cape and skintight costume with a large 'M' on the front for when you assume your role as Mystery Woman?"
Max said bluntly and quite seriously, "Alex, do I have to go get the pillow?"
Liz laughed and said, "It's okay, Max. I have an inappropriate sense of humor, too." Then more sternly, "How often do I have to remind you that I'm serious about committing my resources to helping you?"
"I'm sorry, Liz." Max scratched his head and looked at her ruefully. "You keep surprising me. I guess I really am a slow learner. Forgive me?
"This time," Liz said teasingly, then continued on a more serious note. "I also have a stash of cash you guys can use. Cash is anonymous," she explained.
Maria piped up. "I'll be Miss Moneypenny. Liz, you be 'M' and equip our two secret agents here with the proper equipment and gadgets…"
Liz said, "I have a shoe phone…" Then at their renewed looks of amazement she said, "Kidding."
They resumed making their plans. The guys would make their first check in call after they had the rental jeep and were on their way.
Maria and Liz stood on the front porch watching them drive down the driveway in Alex's car. They were both very worried but were determined not to show it. Maria turned to Liz with a gleam in her eye and said, "Let's pretend everything is normal and just go shopping. I believe you said you had some errands in town."
Liz laughed and said, "Let's go."
They disguised Maria again just in case, made sure they had Liz's cell phone, and headed for town. Liz went into the post office and came out with a bundle of mail then drove to a beauty shop. "I have an appointment to get my hair cut. Want to wait inside with me?"
"You're going to cut your hair?? It seems like such a shame."
"Just some of it. It grows really fast and it's gotten down to an awkward length. Once I start sitting on the end of the braid, it's gotta come off. Come on."
They entered the shop and sat idly looking at magazines while they waited for Liz's turn. A mother with a new baby came in and sat across from them. Maria found them endlessly fascinating and her magazine dropped into her lap, forgotten. Liz noticed where her attention was and smiled a secret smile.
Soon it was time for Liz's haircut. Maria said, "I'll stay here. I don't think I could bear to watch…" Liz chuckled and followed the hairdresser back to her area.
Liz returned a short time later with her hair trimmed up to the middle of her back. "All done. Let's get back."
Maria said, "First turn around and let me see. That's a great length, Liz. I can see that it would be easier to take care of." She got up with a last look at the baby. "Yeah, I'm ready to get back."
They drove back in silence and sat in the living room waiting for the check in call. They were both lost in their own thoughts when the phone rang and they jumped and made a grab for it.
Maria got there first and said, "Hello," then cracked up. She hung up and explained, "Alex and Max said to tell you the fake ID worked magnificently they have successfully acquired a jeep. They were using really bad foreign accents."
Liz laughed, then sobered and sighed. Maria decided to distract her. "So, Liz, did you make all those quilts?" At Liz's nod she continued, "They're fabulous. I can do simple sewing, but I've never attempted a quilt."
"It's not hard at all. Would you like to see my quilting machine?" They went upstairs and Liz demonstrated her machine for Maria. "This monster does the topstitching that sews the quilt top, the batting and the lining all together. I use my regular sewing machine to sew the quilt tops together."
"I would love to make a quilt someday."
"How about now? It will take our minds off our 'secret agents'." Liz pulled a couple of quilt books from her shelf and set them in front of Maria. They were books on baby quilts.
Maria looked at the books, then at Liz, her face a mixture of emotions. Liz looked back at her and raised her eyebrows. Maria sat down suddenly. "Is it that obvious? I'm not showing yet. Oh, Liz. I'm so scared."
Liz knelt down beside Maria's chair and said, "It'll be okay, Maria. We'll get through this together. What else are friends for? I only pushed the issue because I thought you needed to talk and…" (teasing now) "I was trying to be subtle."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Liz added drolly, "I'd be the last person to insist you talk about something before you are ready." She watched Maria's face closely to see what it told her.
"What was it like when you were pregnant?"
"Well, I don't remember the first four months…"
"Oh my god. Was that from the attack? Oh Liz, how horrible for you."
"Yeah, it was rough. But do you want to know what was a key factor in helping me get through it all?" Maria nodded yes. "When I could feel my baby move inside me. I think that was the point I began to truly recover. Maria, it's the most incredible feeling." She placed her hand over her flat stomach and smiled gently. "There was this tiny innocent life growing and I could feel the love he projected."
"Was that a Czechoslovakian thing?"
"I think it was a 'mother' thing. Just you wait."
"Michael doesn't know about the baby. He left to go play dissident right before I found out."
"How do you think he'll feel about the baby," Liz asked cautiously.
"Michael didn't really have a family when he was growing up. He bounced around the foster family system until he petitioned for his emancipation when he was seventeen. We talked about it once and he finally admitted he'd like lots of kids. But we never thought we could have kids together. You know, because he was hatched…." She laughed affectionately. "He's going to make a great daddy."
She placed her hand over her growing baby. "Did you ever want lots of kids?" Then Maria stopped and realized that might not be a tactful question. She peeked at Liz to see how she was reacting and found her looking into space, a closed look on her face.
"I can't have any more babies so I guess it's a moot question," Liz said quietly.
"Oh Chica, what happened?"
Liz looked up and met Maria's eyes firmly. "Don't be scared of having babies. The process of labor isn't that big screaming production that television and movies would like us to believe it is. It's a natural process and you shouldn't be afraid of it. What happened to me… what went wrong happened after Dave was born.
"I hemorrhaged and to save me Mom had to… use her powers to alter my uterus to stop the bleeding. We couldn't just go to a hospital. She cried when she told me later what she'd done, what she'd had to do. It broke her heart that she didn't have to skill to save my life and my ability to have more babies. Poor momma."
Liz signed sadly in memory. Then she shook herself and looked at Maria. "You aren't going to have any difficulties with this baby. I just have a feeling things will work out great"
"You know, Liz. I just think I'll trust that feeling of yours." They gave each other a hug and started planning Maria's quilt.
They were happily occupied when the phone rang and Liz answered. She listened and said, "Come back safely. Bye." She turned to Maria. "They are almost to the meeting place. Their next check in call might be delayed and they don't want us to worry."
"Fat chance." Maria snorted.
Liz nodded her agreement and they resumed working on Maria's quilt and chatting like old friends. After a time Maria asked, "I was always afraid it would hurt our relationship because I couldn't seem to get pregnant. Did it ever affect any of yours… the fact that you couldn’t have babies?"
"Never had any so I never had to face that," Liz admitted.
"What??!!" Maria was shocked. "Never had any relationships? Wouldn't your mother let you date in high school? But surely once you were on your own…"
"Maria, think about it. I was home schooled so I didn't have a lot of contact with kids my own age. Besides, what teenage boy wants to date a girl who has a baby? Unless he thinks he'll score easier and I could pick up on that easily enough. Even most grown men would consider me to be, what is the phrase… damaged goods."
"Liz, I realize that teenage boys can be awfully immature about this whole baby thing, but most grown men don't expect every woman to still be a virgin!" Liz blushed from her toes to the roots of her hair. Maria looked at her in amazement. "What are you blushing for?"
If possible, Liz got even redder. "Oh Maria, if you only knew…"
Maria turned to face her friend, crossed her arms and waited with a determined look on her face. "Liz, I hate to have to break it to you at your age, but you've had a baby— you can't possibly be a virgin!"
"I'm really embarrassed to tell you this."
"Come on. Give. Friends don't keep secrets. Especially ones that could make a thirty-one year old woman blush like that."
"Do you remember what it was like to be fourteen? Hyper-sensitive and at the mercy of your hormones? Well, add in a pregnancy, a difficult convalescence and then an even more difficult birth. I was a real mess. I don't remember a lot from that time, but mom told me later I was a very difficult patient.
"The healing had to be done in stages over a period of time. She had to tap my energy to help heal me and it left me exhausted most of the time. I used to get horribly upset about the oddest things… poor Mom. Well, once I got upset about not being… well, not being a virgin anymore." Liz continued is a small voice. "So she fixed it. And I still am one."
"What?!" Maria's voice ended in a squeak.
Liz raised her head and gave a small laugh. "We laughed about it later, and she called me a 'born again virgin', but at the time it was really important to me. It's kind of embarrassing now."
"Oh, Liz, I'm speechless. You mean you've never made love?"
In an effort to direct Maria away from that subject, Liz continued, "I really was a crabby patient. I hate to tell you some of the other things she did to try to make me feel better." She laughed, determinedly cheerful. "She gave me permanent eye makeup once when I was fussing about how ghastly I looked." Liz tilted her face and closed her eyes for Maria to see. "A truly useful modification, wouldn't you say?" Maria still looked as though she might pursue the other topic so Liz continued, "And one of my favorites… she made the hair on my legs and under my arms quit growing so I wouldn't have to shave it."
"Now, I'm really jealous about that one!"
They sewed together in silence for a while until Maria said, "Well, I think my back is telling me I've done enough for one day. Let's grab something to eat and veg out in front of the TV. It'll occupy our minds until the guys call back. What say?"
"I'm for it. Maybe there'll be a chick flick on. Dave never would watch with me. Maria, you have no idea how much I enjoy having you be my friend." Maria didn't say anything, but it saddened her to think how lonely Liz must have been.
They went downstairs and tried to keep each other's minds off their mutual worries. Taking their sandwiches into the living room they tried to find something on TV that was interesting. Liz left her sandwich untouched and paced between the living room and the dining room windows.
"Liz, babe. You have to eat something. You're nothing but skin and bones."
Liz looked at Maria and nodded. "I know. I lost a lot of weight when Dave died and I haven't been able to been able to get it back." She sat back down and made herself eat her sandwich.
|Part 19 | Index | Part 21|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|