|"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 from a peaceful night's sleep to find Max gone. She could
hear the shower running and she rolled over into the warm spot Max had
left. She smiled and 'pathed, **Morning, Max.** She stretched and
thought how natural it had felt to sleep in Max's arms. Habit forming.|
**I said 'Morning, sweetie.'** Liz could hear him laughing in her head. **Don't you think the guy who cradled you in his arms all night has the right to call you sweetie?.**
**I wouldn't dream of arguing with you. You're much bigger than I am.**
**And don't you go near the kitchen this morning. I'm going to fix breakfast for everyone.**
**Okay, I'll stay up here and work on my quilt** She paused a moment and added, **Max.**
**Thanks for guarding my sleep.** Liz didn't know if it would work but she sent him a telepathic kiss.
**Why, thank you.**
She felt him chuckling so she guessed it worked. She looked over at her quilt and felt it saying, 'Get to work on me. There's a child out there somewhere who needs me.' "Yes, you're so right. I have neglected you shockingly. I promise to work on you more often."
"You talk to your quilts?"
Liz squeaked and spun around. Max had come in unnoticed. She stuck her chin up and admitted, "Yes. Sometimes they are quite fascinating conversationalists." Pointing to the one she was working on, she continued. "This one is anxious to find its child. It's convinced that there is an orphan out there needing its love and comfort."
She tilted her head slightly to one side and held out her arms. "Want a good morning hug?" she said with a shy smile.
The smile that lit Max's face was blinding. He took a quick step forward and swung her into his arms. He buried his face in her hair, overcome with happiness. **Love you, Liz.**
**Love you, Max.**
After a time, Max set Liz down and said, "Breakfast. I promised to cook you breakfast. Do you have any preferences?"
Liz just shrugged. "Cook's choice."
"You asked for it. Don't come downstairs until I call." He gave her a quick kiss and went downstairs.
Liz stared after him and pondered the changes her life had undergone. Smiling to herself she took a quick shower and began working on that nagging quilt. It was right to nag her. She needed to finish it and send it off with the other three that she had already finished. Project Linus was such a cute name for one of her favorite organizations. They collected quilts and blankets for distribution to needy children. Sometimes Liz liked to imagine what the children who received her quilts were like. She hoped the hugs her quilts gave them helped them through the rough spots in their young lives.
She was quite happily occupied when she looked up and saw Maria in the doorway. "Morning," she smiled at her. "Did you have sweet dreams?"
Maria blushed and stretched out on Liz's bed. "Oh yeah."
"Were you able to tell Michael your news?"
"Well, I'm sure he knows something is going on. Dreams can be surreal at times. Max told me he'd bring me fully into the dream plane Monday night. I'll be able to tell him then."
"I'm so happy for you two, Maria." They shared a tender smile at the thought of Maria's baby. "Something smells good downstairs."
"Oh my! I was supposed to be bringing you down for breakfast not laying on your bed mooning about Michael! Don't tell on me, please. The guys will tease me unmercifully."
Liz giggled with her. "You haven't been up here that long, I'm sure they won't notice." And they went downstairs to enjoy Max's breakfast of bacon and eggs.
After breakfast the conversation turned to the dissidents, Gregory's group and their current responsibilities. "So we have five more days before the portal will function again, is that right, Max?" Max nodded. "Since we don't have any pressing responsibilities what would you say to declaring a day of rest, fun and relaxation?" Alex suggested.
"Oh yeah, I saw a flyer advertising a blue-grass music festival in town. The resort sponsors it so there is no admission charge. Think of it, Max. Music, good company, food, beautiful lake views— how could you resist it?" Maria was starting to get excited about this idea.
"What do you say, O Fearless Leader?" Alex said with a salute.
Max laughed at their enthusiasm. "Well, that sounds like a relaxing way to spend a day." He turned to Liz, "What do you think?
The idea of spending so much time in close proximity of that many strangers was giving Liz an uneasy feeling, but she was reluctant to spoil their plans. They sounded like they were really looking forward to a vacation from the stresses that had filled their lives lately. She'd just have to do the best she could with the situation.
"Blue-grass music is nice." She worked on burying all her misgivings and keeping a pleasant expression on her face.
**Are you alright, sweetie?** Max 'pathed to her.
**I'm okay, Max.** "Which of you big strong men want to come with me to get the lawn chairs? There is rarely enough seating at those festivals and if you sit in the grass, you're liable to get stumbled over."
She waited while Alex and Max arm wrestled for the job. Maria laughed at Alex when he lost and laughingly consoled him. Max stood up and flexed his arms, posing for them. The three of them were in high spirits. Liz was faking it for all she was worth. Crowds gave her the wiggins.
They all piled into Liz's jeep and Max drove but Maria insisted on pressing the gate button again.
Soon they were all settled in the shade, listening to the music. Liz was doing her very best to handle the crowds of boisterous music lovers but it was a serious strain on her. She could sense the beginnings of a 'feeling' and she didn't think it was a good one. The good ones generally just presented themselves to be enjoyed. It was the bad ones that lurked around the edges, making her uneasy until they sprang out to surprise her.
Max was enjoying himself until he glanced over to say something to Liz. The smile on her face didn't reach her eyes and her aura was streaked with greasy gray swirls. He reached over to take her hand but when he touched her she startled so badly she almost fell out of her chair. She tried to make light of it but Max didn't buy it. **Liz. Tell me what's wrong.**
She turned to him and smiled a surface smile. **I'm okay, Max.** She turned back to the music and wouldn't meet his eyes.
Max studied her profile for a while, worried, but didn't want to press the issue here. He'd wait and talk to her when they got back home where she'd feel more secure. Home. Liz’s house did feel like home to him, unlike his apartment. That was just the place where he slept and ate some of his meals.
Maria leaned across Max and asked, "Liz, want to go get a coke?" She looked at Max and Alex. "Ask nicely and we'll bring you some."
Max grabbed her, flipped her onto her back and dipped her across his lap. He looked deep into her eyes said, "Please, Maria my friend, save Alex and I from our parched throats which have made us too weak to travel the great distance to the concession stand." Alex had removed one of her sandals and was rubbing her foot.
Liz laughed and stood up. Alex replaced Maria's sandal and got some money from his wallet. "My treat, ladies." Maria took the money and they set off for the concession stand.
Alex sat down and looked at the crowd around them. He nudged Max and said quietly, "Hey, isn't that Gregory over there?"
Max casually looked over where Alex indicated and saw that it was Gregory. He seemed to be trying to find someone without being too obvious about it. **Gregory, it's Max.**
He didn't turn toward Max, but still scanned the crowd. **Greetings.**
**Is there something Alex and I can do for you?**
**No, there is no need. I just seemed to have misplaced my assistant. I'll contact you later if necessary.** And he moved on, still scanning the crowd.
Max turned to Alex and told him about the conversation. They shrugged at each other and then relaxed and listened to the music.
Maria led Liz toward the concession stands. There was quite a crowd and Maria grabbed Liz's hand and began to pull her among the lines of people waiting. She found the line she wanted to be in and they were quickly surrounded by more people getting line behind them. Turning to talk to Liz she was shocked to see her friend's pale sweating face. Liz was standing frozen, breathing in shallow pants and looked one second away from a full-blown panic attack.
Maria started to say something but an impatient man reached out to grab Liz's arm and pulled her roughly out of his way. In a flurry of silent motion the man was suddenly lying on the ground and Liz was gone. Maria stood there in shock.
The man got to his feet and began to bluster about filing assault charges. Maria decided the best defense was a good offense. "What did you do to my friend," she yelled at him. "I saw you grab her! What did you think you were doing?"
She moved forward and got in his face. "What makes you think you can go around grabbing innocent women. YOU CREEP!! What do you mean YOU'LL file charges? You grabbed her first!" Seeing that she had him thoroughly on the run she made a quick exit and went to find Liz.
Looking through the crowd and seeing no sign of Liz, Maria ran for the guys. Reinforcements were definitely in order. When she got there she was in such a state that she could hardly make sense. "Max. Liz. Oh my god. How could I. I'm so stupid. She had all the signs. Max. We've got to find her. She…"
At this point Max grabbed her by both shoulders and shook her gently to get her to focus on him. "Maria." He concentrated on her, trying to send calming vibes. "Focus here, Maria. Where is Liz?"
"She… she… this man… she…" Maria closed her eyes and tried to take a deep breath. Alex hugged her from behind, offering his support. Maria opened her eyes and looked into Max's alarmed eyes. "She totally freaked out in the crowd. Oh, how could I have been so stupid as to drag her in there?."
Max shook her again. "Maria! Tell me where Liz is!"
Maria wailed, "I don't know! A man grabbed her. She knocked him down. She ran away. It happened so fast I didn't even see which direction she ran." Maria took a deep breath and gathered what was left of her self-control. "Let go of me now, guys. We have to find Liz."
|Part 22 | Index | Part 24|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|