|"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.
|Alex's encryption program was waiting for them when they returned and
checked the email. So was a message from Ceci informing Liz that their
purchases were down in the shed by the road and thanking her for the
cookies. Liz made lunch while Max set the encryption program up and sent
Alex an email telling him what had happened. They were eating lunch when
the computer quacked and announced the arrival of an email message.|
Max looked up, startled. "It quacks?"
"Dave always said it was appropriate," was Liz's response.
Max went over and opened the email then turned to Liz, "There's trouble."
Liz immediately went over and sat in the other computer chair, waiting for Max to tell her what had gone wrong.
Max scrubbed his face with his hands in frustration and turned towards Liz. "Alex and Maria are in danger. Someone has been making inquiries about them and then Michael's office was broken into. Maria scared the intruder away before any files were taken. She and Alex secured Michael's files and left town. They've been traveling randomly to confuse anyone trying to follow them. Alex has been using his laptop and cell phone to check his email in case one of us tried to reach him." Max looked stunned.
Liz asked, "Where are they now. Are they sure they are safe?"
"They're in Leadville in a motel. They're pretty sure no one has followed them."
"Max, do you want them to come here? No one knows about this place. A dummy corporation holds the title so even if the terrorists did know my name, they wouldn't associate this house and land with me. We should all be safe here."
Max reached out and put his hand on Liz's arm. It was an unconscious, impulsive gesture and only after he had done it he realized that she hadn't drawn away or seemed upset. "Liz, I cannot tell you how much you offer means to me. If there is any chance of bringing further danger to you, we'll all leave. But this offer of sanctuary could save their lives." Max was overwhelmed and his face expressed the depth of his feelings.
Liz reminded him, "Max, I told you I would help you any way I could. I know you still have to keep some secrets, but I trust you. Your friends are welcome here."
Max said simply, "Thank you."
"Can you give them directions to meet us in town somewhere? They should be able to get here this afternoon. We can meet them there and make sure no one has followed them before we come back here."
"If someone has followed them…" Max began.
Liz interrupted and finished his sentence, "…we'll all lead them away somewhere else and come back here when it's safe. The good guys have to stick together against the creeps of the world, you know."
Max sighed and wondered what he had done to deserve such good fortune. He gave Liz a grateful smile. "I'll send Alex the directions and then we can finish lunch." He turned back to the computer and Liz returned to the table.
When Max returned to the table, Liz said, "So, Max, these terrorists know where your family is, or was. Alex and Maria got away safely. Will your dad be in any danger?"
Max was amazed at her concern for someone she’d never met. Her slender frame held a large, compassionate heart. "My dad's retired and is currently traveling in Europe. He has no knowledge of our connection with the group trying to stop the terrorists and will be safe enough. He is not expected to return for at least a year and he uses email to reach us for casual communication. Thanks for asking, though."
"Let's go pick up our packages from the shed and go to town early. We can find a place to watch and see if anyone strange is hanging around."
"But Liz, your face is still bruised… You can't be seen in town that way." \\Oh, if only I could heal it.\\
"Rats! I forgot about that. And I don't have any makeup that would disguise it. I could stay in the jeep…"
"You could stay here," Max corrected. "If worse comes to worse and we have to run, I want you safe and out of the way." Max was adamant. "There will be no argument." He gave her a stern look.
Liz sighed but accepted the situation. "Well, I'll go get your clothes and the groceries." When she got back up to the house she took the packages inside and gave Max his new clothes.
When Max came back downstairs after putting away his things he found Liz in the kitchen. She turned to Max and said, "I need to show you something on the jeep." Max looked at her curiously as they walked out to the jeep. "Look here, Max. See where the lighter usually is? That's the gate release; just press it and the gate will open. You press it again and the gate will close. However, the gate posts have a scanning unit that will detect any sort of tracking device in the jeep or in your friends' car, and if it finds one the gate will not open. If that happens use the intercom on the post by the gate to call me and I'll tell you what to do then." She looked at him, her face unreadable. \\I have secrets of my own, Max.\\
Max looked at his mystery woman. "Boy, am I going to have a doozie of a question when we resume question trading."
Liz gave him a crooked smile and said, "I'll have dinner waiting. Come back safely." Then she went inside and didn't watch as Max drove back down the driveway.
After a while she came back to the porch and sat in her rocker. She had known Max for less than a week, but she realized that he had found a foothold in her heart. \\If things were different… If I weren't the way I am… If wishes were horses…\\ Liz got up and began the preparations for dinner. She started two loaves of bread and put the chicken on to cook for stew.
While she was cooking she deliberated on where she would be housing her two additional guests. When Dave was younger he'd had two twin beds in his room for when his friends slept over. Then when he'd gone off to college they had disassembled one bed and put it away. She would have to get the extra bed from storage and put it back in Dave's room. The two guys would have to bunk together and Maria could sleep on the daybed in her office.
Moving that bed from the basement to the second floor was an enormous task for Liz to undertake by herself, but she honestly didn't even think of waiting for help. For most of her life, there had been no one to help so she had gotten used to just doing things herself. When she was finished and all the sheets had been changed she was quite sweaty. She took a quick shower and sat on her deck to dry her hair and do a bit of thinking.
Liz was seriously concerned about her ability to tolerate two strangers around for an indefinite time. Dave was the only person (before she met Max, that is…) that she could tolerate unconditionally. Even Denny, whom she had liked and respected, made her uncomfortable after a time. Her ability to be around large groups of people had diminished as she had matured. Her mom had told her this would probably happen, and it had. It was ironic for a person to be so lonely and yet not be able to tolerate the company of people who would ease that loneliness. Liz sighed, fighting a melancholy mood.
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