FanFic - Max/Liz
"A Stitch in Time - Revised"
Part 5
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 awoke with a stiff neck from his awkward sleeping position. He stretched out flat on the floor and began to think over his options. His part of the mission was pretty well screwed up. Michael had the whole responsibility now. Additionally, he had to protect Isabel. Max groaned in reaction to his thoughts.

The healing chamber began a soft beeping, reminding Max of its occupant, another of his responsibilities. He got to his feet and studied the readouts on the dials. He wished he knew more about this technology; he had placed his injured mystery woman in there purely in desperation. However, if he understood what the dials indicated, she was as healed as was possible.

He checked the energy levels for the scout ship and was shocked at how low they were. There had not been enough energy for a complete healing and there was not enough energy left for a signal to the main ship until the ship's batteries recharged themselves. At least the ship itself would not be accidentally discovered; it was totally and completely undetectable by present day technology. He located it only because he knew precisely where Isabel had hidden it.

Max groaned again. He leaned against the wall and thumped his head against it in frustration. How was he going to explain this obviously advanced technology in this even more obviously advanced scout ship to her? Well, at least he could keep the future technology a secret from her by moving her before she regained consciousness. He opened the chamber and studied its occupant. Her facial bruises were still painfully visible; he could only hope the chamber had healed enough of her other injuries. He gently gathered her up into his arms again.

He began to walk out of the ship and again movement reminded him that his ankle was still in need of attention. Max hoped he had enough time and had regained energy enough to heal it before she woke up. His 'not from around here' status was another secret he must keep from her until he knew just what she was. He sighed and shook his head as he made his way out of the scout ship and traveled slowly and painfully back toward the racquetball club.

It was early evening when Max arrived at a clearing in the woods near his goal. He stopped and placed his mystery woman on the soft ground. This was a peaceful setting and hopefully it would help him cope as he approached a very difficult situation.

Max sat and absorbed the peaceful calm of the meadow as he contemplated his situation. He had not arrived at any solutions when he noticed his mystery woman beginning to awaken. He moved close to her and studied her as her eyes began to open. He said in a quiet and gentle voice, "Please don't be afraid. You're safe now and I won't let anyone hurt you again."

Liz was still groggy from the actions of the healing chamber and this somewhat cushioned the shock of returning to consciousness. Memories of recent events began to come clearer and she was on the verge of panic when she became aware of the most gentle and comforting voice she had ever heard. Just the sound of it offered safety and security. She opened her eyes and recognized the face that Isabel told her to remember, the face of the man she promised would not hurt her. She sat up and immediately noticed that her ribs didn't hurt anymore. She looked at her companion. He had an air of worry and guilt about him. She saw the worry and concern in his expressive eyes and that concern seemed to be for her.

Max had to say something, had to begin his explanation… "Are you feeling better? You've been sleeping all afternoon." \\Yeah, sleeping. Unconscious is more like it. Great start, Max.\\ He paused to gather his thoughts and hopefully come up with a way to explain everything without giving away any secrets. He did not want her to go screaming to the authorities. Too many questions would be asked for which answers could not be given. "My name is Max Evans. Will you tell me yours?"

Liz just looked at him. \\This is the man Isabel said to trust. Lordy, lordy, WHY do I feel like I CAN trust this stranger? He helped kidnap me in the first place even though I got the feeling he would have let me go if that thug Leon hadn't been around. He helped me when Leon was beating on me in the hall. Is he a 'bad guy' trying to cross to the 'good' side? Is he a 'good guy' caught up in 'bad things'? Isabel was kidnapped too, why did she tell me to trust one of the kidnappers?\\ Liz groaned and buried her face in her hands.

Max was startled and reached out to touch her arm gently. "Are you alright? Are you in pain? Can I do anything?" Touching her reminded him of her unknown status. Why couldn't he read her? Her aura showed that she was stressed. He groaned and buried his face in his hands. He was startled to hear quiet chuckling and looked up quickly.

Liz looked at Max with amusement. "My name is Liz Parker." She shook her head and laughed again. "We're quite a pair, aren't we."

Max laughed and agreed. Maybe this wouldn't be too bad after all.

"I assume that you know more about recent events than I do. Isabel said I could trust you and God only knows why I do. Want to try to explain?"

"Isabel is my sister," Max began. "Did she tell you anything when you were in that room with her?" \\There, that's a better start. Maybe I can find out what Isabel said and go from there.\\

"Well, I thought they were terrorists but she said something about our being kidnapped to help those idiots start a new community somewhere or something like that. I really didn't understand how they thought they could do something like that in this day and age. I'd been smacked upside the head a few too many times to really think about what she was saying. That and I was too busy trying to find a way out to really try to understand the 'whys' of the situation." She looked at him intently. "So clue me in, Max."

"Well, first of all I want to tell you how sorry I am that you were involved in this."

He looked at Liz with such guilt in those expressive eyes that she was moved to offer comfort. "Wrong place at the wrong time, I guess. Keep talking."

"Okay. Isabel, my friend Michael and I found out about your 'terrorists' \\that's as good a name for them as any\\ not long ago and were trying to get them to lead us to their base so we could call in reinforcements and stop their operation." Max looked at Liz to see how she was accepting this limited version of the truth.

"Why didn't you just go to the police or the FBI or something?" Liz asked.

Max looked at her in genuine alarm. "No! We suspect they have infiltrated some local authorities and we couldn't take a chance. Our group must work secretly if we are to succeed." This was true, they did not know how far into present day society the dissidents had spread and how many present day Al'Centrans were involved. "Please don't go to the authorities! It will only make the situation worse. Michael and Isabel are still with the terrorists…"

Liz interrupted, with concern showing in her face and voice. "Isabel didn't get away? Oh, Max, I'm so sorry." She got to her feet and began to pace. Max began to speak but she gave him a small smile and said, "Give me a minute, can you? I've got some thinking to do."

She turned her back on him and stood there for such a long time that Max began to be concerned. He started to get to his feet but caught the sticks of his splint on his pants leg and gasped in pain. Liz whirled around and helped steady him so he could stand. "Are you alright, Max?" He nodded. Liz continued, "Are we safe here or will the terrorists be looking for us."

"I'm not sure; we probably would be wise to find a place to hide while we decide what to do. I can't contact my group right away." Max was amazed at how well Liz was coping with what had to be a surreal experience for her. She didn't panic or get hysterical; she just went directly to the most pressing concern they had: immediate safety. Who was rescuing whom? He chuckled ruefully to himself. "I'm not from around here \\in more ways than one\\ and I'm not familiar with this area but we do need to find a safe place as soon as possible. We're not far from the racquetball club…"

"My jeep is parked near there. Can you make it that far with your ankle?" Liz knelt down and tried to see how badly it was injured. She peeled down his sock and saw extensive swelling and bruising.

Max was almost speechless at this sudden change of roles. "Liz, I don't want to put you in any more danger. I have enough on my conscience as it is…"

She stood and glared up at him. "Oh hush up. I want to stop those terrorists just as badly as you do and my reasons are just as personal as yours." She put her hands on her hips in exasperation. "Besides, your ankle may very well be broken!"

Max looked stubbornly back at this totally determined woman. She asked, "Will you let me help you?" Liz could see a 'no' coming and spoke up quickly before he could say anything. "We can use my jeep to get out of the immediate area. Then I have more questions."

Max could only look at her with amazement. "I'll answer yours if you answer mine," he bargained.

"Let's get to a safe place first," she agreed and started toward her jeep. She looked back to see him limping along. She picked up a stout tree branch and offered it to him as a crutch. He smiled his thanks and followed her. It had been a rough week and Max was so exhausted he could barely think straight. It had gotten darker while they talked and Max stumbled over a tangle of grass. Liz turned back to him and studied him for a moment. She seemed to prepare herself before offering him her shoulder as an additional crutch.

They made it to her jeep. Liz pulled her keys from her pocket and opened the passenger door. She reached into the Wrangler and slid the seat as far back as it could go. Then she turned and helped an exhausted Max inside. "Put your ankle up on the dash. Maybe if it's elevated, some of the swelling will go down." Max only had enough energy to do as she said. He reclined the seat and closed his eyes.

Liz got in the jeep and began driving. "Okay. I need to know some things." She glanced over at Max. "How did the terrorists choose their victims. Do they know who I am or where I live?" Max still had his eyes closed, trying to focus enough to answer her questions. She reached over and poked his arm. "Wake up, Max. This is important."

He rolled his head to the side and looked at her. "They wanted young and healthy women; that's why they chose the racquetball club. Other than that their choices were random." \\With a little help from the genetic scanner, that is…\\

She was quiet for a minute then continued, "So, Max, are we okay to assume that my house is a safe place?" He nodded, closing his eyes again. "Well, can we take you to the emergency room to have your ankle taken care of?"

Max opened his eyes at this. "No. They'll want too much information. They can't know who I am." \\What I am.\\

Liz just looked at him, then continued driving. "Go to sleep, then. We'll be at my place in about two hours." She didn't want to drive directly to her house on the off chance that they were being followed. So she began driving around the city, watching in her rear mirror for any vehicle that made the same random turns she did. Eventually she was satisfied that they were safe and turned onto the highway that led up into the mountains.

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