FanFic - Max/Liz
"A Stitch in Time - Revised"
Part 4
by Lynda
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.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Dedication: to Addison, my first fan.
Max saw her dive for the ravine and in trying to stop her, fell after her. She had ended up bent around the base of a tree and he slid past her, barely stopping himself from going over the edge by grasping a bush one handed. He could hear shouts from the path. Isabel was crying, Michael was insisting that he be allowed to rescue him. Bart was shouting that they didn't have time to fool with them, the portal wouldn't wait. The voices faded out as they got further away. Max realized with a sinking feeling that the success of the mission now rested in his friend's hands.

He looked at the unconscious woman. Luckily she hit the tree front first; if she had hit back first it probably would have broken her back. As it was, she was bent forward at the waist and draped around the base of tree that stopped her. Blood trickled from her mouth. The bush Max was hanging onto began to pull out of the ground. He slipped a little closer to the edge of the ravine. He knew the fall would probably kill him. If he survived the fall, there was no chance he would escape without severe injury and be trapped down there. \\Not a pretty way to go,\\ he thought.

Carefully using his powers he tried to strengthen his bush's root system. He rested his head on his arm and considered his options. He had just come to the conclusion that he didn't have any options when he heard a weak voice.


He looked up in surprise. The injured woman was looking at him, her face white with pain.

**Grab the rope. I've anchored my legs. (long pause) Best I can do.**

Max saw that she had hooked her lower legs around the next tree, preventing her body from sliding off the tree that had broken her fall. The rope was still attached to her wrists; she swung it toward him with the last of her strength.

With his free hand, Max grabbed the rope. His little bush gave way and he used both hands to hold onto the rope. He looked up at her and was shocked at what he saw. She had blacked out again and there was fresh blood coming from her mouth. The only thing saving both of them from the fall to the bottom of the ravine was the way she had hooked her legs around that other tree. His added weight was causing her to bend further around the tree.

As carefully as he could, Max pulled himself up along the rope. He used his power to help stabilize the rocky soil and provide footholds. He did not want to jerk on the rope any more than he had to; he was dreadfully afraid that the blood from Liz's mouth was from a punctured lung. Finally he reached Liz's tree and was able to use it, instead of the rope, to gain flatter, safer ground. When he was secure he studied Liz's position and tried to determine the best way to untangle her from the trees and get her back up onto the path without causing further injury. The magnitude of her sacrifice was not lost on him.

He felt the psychic surge as the portal closed. Shutting his eyes he cursed under his breath. This mission had not gone to plan. He considered his options again; there were a few more than he had a few moments ago, thanks to that poor woman he had helped capture. He had no clue as to why she had saved him. She had obviously tried to throw herself into the ravine rather than be captured again. And instead of biding him good riddance and letting him fall, she had saved him. She was a mystery. Shaking his head, he got down to the delicate business of getting her back on the path.

He reached down and touched the injured woman. He would try to stabilize her condition before he moved her. Max began the connection so he could heal her. Try as he might, he could not connect through her mental shields. Who or what was she? Unconscious as she was, he should have no difficulty connecting with her, but there was no breaching those shields.

He tried another way. He used his power to stabilize her body as much as possible and then cautiously used it to lift her into his arms. Shocked again at how light she was, Max cradled her as gently as possible. He carefully scooted backward up the hill toward the path. She did not regain consciousness and thankfully the blood coming from her mouth did not increase.

Max was becoming frantic. The injured woman was rapidly going into shock; if he couldn't form a connection and heal her, she would most likely die. Then he remembered the scout ship had a healing chamber. It was her only chance.

Holding her firmly but gently, Max started to stand up. He faltered and almost fell. His ankle was damaged in some way: sprained or broken, he couldn't tell which. Very bad words came from his mouth. He looked down at his mystery woman and blushed. It was a good thing she couldn't hear him.

Max carefully laid the woman back down on the ground and examined his ankle. He attempted to heal it but stopped when he realized that the stress of the last few months, added to the trip out of the ravine back to the path, had depleted most of his energy.

He would have to deal with this another way. He reached for some small tree branches that were nearby. He tore his shirt into strips and created a splint that would have made his Boy Scout leader (if he'd had one) proud.

Maybe it was just sprained or cracked, not really broken. He stood up to test his ankle. Lots of pain but he thought he could manageó he'd have to manage; there was no other choice. Balancing on his good leg, he leaned down and picked up his mystery woman. As he slowly started down the path towards the scout ship he pondered the many questions he had about her.

He had no idea what her name was; he couldn't keep calling her his mystery woman, even if that was what she was. And what was she? Was she human, Al'Centran, some blend of the two, or something totally different? She had to have registered on the dissidents' genetic scanner for them to take her, he thought. No, wait, she had run from the building too quickly to have been scanned. So that question was not easily answered. It just added another one: why didn't the stunner affect her?

Why couldn't he penetrate her shields? It might be that her incredible shields protected her from the effects of the stun. Who knew? Max did know that when she was conscious her aura displayed colors of great distress, but as strong as his telepathic powers were, he could read nothing from her.

And speaking of telepathy, unless he had totally lost it, he was positive she had 'pathed him that message about the rope. Bent around that tree trunk with a potentially punctured lung, she definitely didn't have the air to speak normally.

Questions, mysteries and more questions. These thoughts occupied Max as he made his slow, painful way to the scout ship. Traveling the two plus miles took more out of him than he expected, but he finally reached the scout ship. He entered and made his way to the medical cubby. It was so tiny on the small scout ship that it didn't even qualify as a room. Using his elbow to open the healing chamber, he gently placed his mystery woman inside. He brushed a strand of hair away from her bruised face and looked at her again before he closed the chamber and let the diagnostic computer begin its work. Thank God for future technology.

Max sank down onto the floor next to the chamber, wishing that he had the energy reserves necessary to heal his own ankle. \\I'll just rest there for a while,\\ he thought, as he drifted off into an exhausted sleep.

The healing chamber was programmed to 'regenerate' and so while it repaired the most serious of Liz's physical wounds and restored her energy levels it depleted the scout ship's stored energy. Her surface injuries were left to heal at a normal pace. Due to his inexperience with the future technology, Max had not realized the amount of energy required by the healing chamber. However, being the type of person he was, he would have used the energy necessary to heal his mystery woman no matter the cost. His conscience was absolutely killing him.

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