|"Always With You - Part Three"|
by Watcher Tara
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Roswell.|
Summary: Max and Kyle have to team up to save Liz from an unexpected threat.Meanwhile, the rest of the gang returns to Marathon, Texas looking foranswers and finds more than they anticipated.
Authors Note: You REALLY should read Always With You part one and twofirst, but if you haven't, here's what you've missed: Tess was evil and notthe fourth alien, the gang killed her and Liz discovered she has powers,too. They find an alien weapon called the Shield and learn about theexistence of the Sword, another weapon. Please, please e-mail me with yourthoughts.
|The five teenagers were left alone to discuss how Liz could have gotten food
poisoning. They had all eaten together at Senor Chow's the previous evening
before the movie. |
While they waited for their turn to go in and see her, Maria sighed, and pushed her hair off her face. "Well, there goes the trip to Texas." It was hard to hide her relief.
Michael tensed but didn't say anything. He wasn't so insensitive as to complain about Liz's illness delaying their trip for a few days.
After a moment of silence, Max said, "I don't see why."
"Max, I can't just go off and leave her here alone. I wouldn't feel right." Maria couldn't believe he'd even suggest such a thing.
"Me neither," Alex said.
"No, what I meant was that I would stay here with her. You guys go on without us."
"Are you sure?" Isabel asked.
"Yeah. I mean, you guys probably won't need me along. Just be careful." He directed his last remark at Michael.
Michael actually felt a surge of pride and something else at this display of trust on Max's part. 'Controlling Max' would never have let him take on such an important task a few months ago. They had both done a lot of growing in the past year. Suppressing the urge to stammer out something about not letting him down, Michael simply said, "I will."
Shortly thereafter, the Parkers came out of Liz's hospital room. Max let all of his friends go in next, since they were all eager to get on the road. Their departure had been delayed by about an hour as it was. Now that he knew the she was really ok, the impulse he'd had to force his way into her room had passed.
He looked over at Liz's parents. They were discussing how good she looked, you know, other than being so pale and weak with dark circles under her eyes. In any other circumstances he might have smiled at their attempts to give each other strength, but considering what they'd been through for the past nine or so hours, the situation was anything but funny. He couldn't begin to imagine what kind of hell they'd been in today. They'd known Liz all of her life, had a trillion memories of her growing up. She was actually flesh of their flesh. To have her be so close to death's door like that... He loved Liz more than anything but compared to a mother's love or a father's love... He'd barely survived the trip to the hospital, and waiting for the prognosis, and that had only been an hour for him.
They had amazing strength, her parents, he decided. He suddenly had a renewed perspective on parenthood in general, and resolved that when he got home he would tell both Diane and Phillip Evans how much they meant to him and his sister. How he appreciated all the things that they did for him.
Nancy noticed him sitting there all by himself, and came over. "Hi. Max."
Max jumped to his feet. "Hi, Mrs. Parker, Mr. Parker."
"How come you didn't go in with the others?"
"Well, the doctor said to keep the groups small, and five seemed like a lot of people. Plus, the others had plans for today. I'm just going to wait here until she is released." He paused for a second before adding, "If that's ok."
"Well, it's not really necessary. The doctor said she's fine. There's no need for you to hang around here and waste this nice summer day."
"I want to." He looked earnestly into their eyes, and said, "Please..."
Nancy started to object, but Jeff gave her a slight squeeze. "Of course you're welcome to stay. In fact, if she's feeling up for it, we'd like you to stay for dinner at our house. Real food, not CrashDown fare, we promise."
"I don't want to be any trouble."
"It's no trouble," Nancy said. "Please, we would like you to come over. I know it will make Liz feel better."
"Well..." Max couldn't come up with a good reason to turn down their invitation. "Ok."
"Good, well then that's settled."
Sheriff Valenti returned to the waiting room at that time. A minute later Michael, Maria, Alex and Isabel came out of Liz's room. The teenagers said their goodbyes around the room, and then filed out to find the adventure that waited for them down the road.
Finally, it was Max's turn to go see Liz. He could barely keep from jogging down the hospital corridor in his hurry to see her. Max quickly stepped into Liz's room and allowed the door to swing shut behind him. Liz was awake but very groggy from the medicines they'd given her.
"Hey. How are you doing?"
"Other than feeling awful, I'm great." She smiled at her own joke.
"So, I guess we won't be going back to Senor Chow's anytime soon, huh?"
She shook her head saying, "No, I guess not."
He tenderly stroked her hair away from her face, and said, "Why didn't you call me? If we hadn't bumped into your dad, I wouldn't have had any idea that you were sick."
"Max, I didn't want you to see me like that." She touched his hand where it lay resting against her cheek. "And besides, there wasn't anything you could do for me, right?" Liz looked at him with her dark eyes.
"I could have held your hand, like now." He took her hand in his. "I could have distracted you until you were feeling better. I mean, I may not have been able to do anything about the illness, but maybe just by being nearby I could have helped you." He gazed at her with so much concern that it took her breath away.
"Well, I am feeling a little better with you here."
"There, you see?" He kissed her forehead. "When your dad told us that you were sick..." He shuddered, and she squeezed his hand comfortingly.
They talked for only a few more minutes. Max didn't want to tire her out, but he did tell her that he would be waiting for her when she was released. It wasn't long before the medications started pulling at her, and she asked Max to stay with her until she fell asleep. He was happy to oblige.
Back out in the waiting room, the three grown ups were discussing Max Evans.
"Sheriff, what do you think of Max?" Nancy asked.
"I think he's a good kid. He's serious, and not flighty like so many of the boys his age in this town."
"He seems to genuinely care about Liz."
"Oh, I have no doubt about that."
"Really? Why do you say that, Sheriff?"
Valenti couldn't give then the actual reasons why he knew that Max was dedicated in his feelings to Liz, the vision of the two of them standing within a shining blue wall of light protected from the two evil aliens who were intent on destroying them flashing across his mind. Along with about twenty other examples of the two young people's devotion to one another, that is. "Oh, I don't know. Just the way he is with her, I suppose."
"Yeah." Jeff agreed.
"I don't know..." Nancy sounded hesitant. "I sometimes still think about what happened last spring, when they first started dating."
"Oh Sheriff, it was like a parent's nightmare. First, there was the night you'd caught them at that party and arrested her. We knew she was there with him that night. Then Liz was sneaking in and out of her room late at night to meet him. Heaven knows how long that was going on. When I caught her in the act of sneaking back in one night, she wouldn't even talk to me about it. Then, that very same night, she snuck out again, and they stayed out until morning. I didn't know what to think.
Jeff added, "When we discovered her missing, we called her friend, Maria, but she didn't know where Liz was. Then we called the Evans' and woke them up. Max was missing, too. Then, the two of them just showed up at the restaurant at eight in the morning."
"So, where'd they say they'd been?" the sheriff asked.
Jeff answered, "They said they'd gone star-gazing and fell asleep." Nancy just exhaled noisily.
"Nancy was ready to ground Liz until she turned twenty, but actually that was the last time they ever did anything like that." He scratched at his chin and added, "I think that was the day I decided he was an ok guy. The two of them just walked into the front door of the restaurant where Max's parents and the two of us were waiting, and made no excuses. They both apologized for having worried us half to death, but they didn't try to skirt the problem, or avoid it, or turn it into a big scene like you might expect. I had to admire the kid's guts. I couldn't have done it." He shook his head and smiled at the memory of something similar that had happened to him before he'd met Nancy. He hadn't handled the situation with as much maturity as Max had.
"With Nancy, here, though it was a different matter. You know what they say about first impressions. She's still gets nervous every time the two of them go out anywhere."
"Well, I'm sure there's no reason to worry. Max is a good kid."
They chatted for a few minutes more, and then the sheriff took his leave. It was long past time that he returned to work.
That night Liz climbed into her bed exhausted. Her body was completely drained after everything that had happened to it today. At some point, her mother must have left the hospital to come home and clean up the mess she'd made on the floor of her room last night. Liz was deeply grateful for her thoughtfulness. She couldn't bear to be reminded of what she had gone through. Food poisoning was terrible. She had total sympathy for anyone who had ever had it. Sinking into her pillow, she drew her covers up to her neck and fell into a deep, healing sleep.
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