|"Always With You - Part Two"|
by Watcher Tara
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Roswell.|
Summary: This takes place two weeks after Always With You. Tess's allies have come to town looking for her, and Kyle is back from basketball camp with issues of his own. Also evil wears a familiar face as dead bodies start popping up in Roswell.
Authors Note: You REALLY should read Always With You first, but if you haven't, here's what you've missed: Tess was evil and not the fourth alien, the gang killed her and Liz discovered she has powers, too. I hope you like part two. Please, please e-mail me with your thoughts.
|The CrashDown Café was closed because of some plumbing problem, and the gang
decided that it was the best place to rendezvous and compare notes. As soon
as he was done talking to Nasedo, Max joined Liz there. He told her about
Hubble's wife, and that the scroll described a powerful alien shield. This
would be what Tess's allies were looking for. He figured he'd save the rest
of the explanation for when everybody else was here to hear it.|
Yesterday, all six of them had discussed Nasedo being in town, and the death of Hank. They also filled Michael in on what had happened to Alex in the cave, his having missed the discussion two nights ago while he was in jail.
Michael agreed to try to locate the symbol on the map, and Max said he'd talk to Nasedo to try to find out what exactly they were dealing with. Max noticed that Liz had remained quiet during most of the discussion. In fact she had started to look uncomfortable as soon as she had heard Nasedo was back.
There hadn't been time to discuss what Nasedo had said about kissing her then, but now, Max wanted to get it out in the open. He took her hand from across the table, and said, "Liz, when you were with Nasedo... when he kidnapped you, did you... you know..." She looked down at the table. "Did you get a flash from him?" She nodded.
The first time she had gotten a flash from Nasedo, she hadn't been able to interpret the images she'd seen. The images she'd seen then were in black and white, and violent in nature. She could hardly express what she had glimpsed and the fact that they were coming from Max... When she had found out that it was really Nasedo that she was with, everything had made sense.
The second time she'd gotten a flash from him, she had known right away who he was. Her stomach turned over in revulsion at the thought that both times she'd gotten a flash from the alien had been when she was kissing him, thinking he was Max.
Max squeezed her hand, and caused her to meet his eyes as he said, "Liz, he told me what happened... what he did to you... I'm so sorry, Liz," he whispered as her mouth turned down, and she looked away from him.
"I thought he was you." She could barely get the words out.
Max moved to the other side of the table so that he was sitting next to her. He put one arm across his shoulders and with the other reached up and caressed her face. "I know. I'm sorry he did... what he did to you. If there was anyway I could go back and stop him from taking you that day, I would. I can't tell you how I felt when we realized that he had you. I didn't stop to wonder what he might do to you other than get you killed. I know that whatever happened, it wasn't your fault." He gave her a reassuring squeeze, and added, "I've told him that he is to stay away from you. I promise you that you're safe from him now, Liz." He forced her to meet his gaze. "I'm so sorry that I wasn't there to protect you from him."
She laid her head on his shoulder and said, "It wasn't your fault."
They spent the next few minutes talking about what they could do about the new aliens in town. Nasedo hadn't been able to supply any information of what, if any, were their weaknesses. They wondered if the rest of the gang was having any luck finding the Shield. Liz was relieved to know that there was a way for Max to protect himself from the aliens, assuming they got to the Shield before the aliens did. Max looked out the window of the CrashDown to the busy street outside.
Suddenly, he stiffened. He pulled Liz's head down toward the table, and said, "Get down." He also ducked down.
"Max, what's going on?" Liz was alarmed. "Just stay down." He watched the alien peer into the windows of the CrashDown. It was the big one, Bubba. The alien that Alex had said could tell when he was lying to them. The same one that Max had confronted in the cave. He was the only one who had gotten a good look at him and his friends the day they rescued Alex from their clutches. "It's the guy from the cave."
Bubba moved on down the street. Max slid out of the booth, intending to follow him. "Max, where are you going?"
"Stay here, I'll be right back."
"No, I'm going with you."
"No." Max remembered what this guy had done to Alex. No way was he going to let Liz be anywhere near him. "Let me have your phone. I'm going to see where he's going. I'll call you as soon as I find out where they've been staying."
"Max..." she started to argue.
"Please, Liz. I need you to stay here. Tell Alex to get one of those cameras that the FBI left here and be ready to use it. Will you wait here for them?"
She reluctantly nodded. Carrying her cell phone, Max slipped out the door and quietly began to pursue the alien down the street.
Half an hour later, Michael, Maria, Isabel and Alex arrived at the CrashDown. "Where's Max?" asked Michael who was carrying the cloth covered Shield. He set it down on the table in front of Liz. She quickly told them about Max following the alien in order to discover where they have been staying. Alex and Isabel immediately left to go to Alex's house and retrieve one of his stolen FBI video surveillance cameras and the monitoring equipment.
Liz and Maria sat in the booth talking quietly, while Michael paced restlessly up and down. Her curiosity brimming, Liz pulled back the covering that hid the Shield. Her breath caught. It was beautiful, whatever it was. She reached her hand toward it, but Maria caught her just in time. "I wouldn't if I were you."
The phone rang, and it was Max. Michael spoke to him quietly for a minute, then hung up. He went over to where the girls were sitting and said, "I gotta go meet Max."
Maria stood up and said, "I'm coming with you."
Michael told Liz, "He's coming right back." Obviously reluctant to leave the newest item in their strange collection, he said, "He doesn't want us to bring that thing along, so..."
"I won't let it out of my sight, I promise." The two of them left, and Liz was once again left alone in the Café. She sighed, and went back to looking at the Shield. She wondered how it worked. She traced a finger across its warm surface. She could feel the energy humming inside of it. The scientist inside her was fascinated. She picked it up and looked at it from all angles.
The circular shape of it with the bar dissecting its center was interesting, and she could feel small grooves which were probably meant to provide some grip to its otherwise smooth surface. It was about the size of a Frisbee, and not much heavier, she decided. She lost track of time as she inspected the Shield, completely absorbed. Max and the others were always very protective with the artifacts they had found thus far that came from their home planet: the Healing Stones and the Orbs. They never really let the three humans examine them, preferring to keep them hidden and safe. It was very unusual that Michael would just leave this shield thing with her, but taking it to where the other aliens were known to be hiding would not have been a good idea. Liz wrapped it back up into its covering.
She slid out of the booth and carried it with her to the counter where she helped herself to a soda. She stood staring out the window, wondering what was keeping Max. The motel wasn't very far away, and he should be back at anytime. She was so afraid that something would happen to him. Every time she remembered the horrible images she'd seen of what Pierce had done to him, she almost fell to her knees. He had been in so much pain... and the fear... She vowed to herself that nothing like that would ever happen to him again.
Max would be upset if he knew, but Liz couldn't help but blame herself for everything he had gone through at the hands of the FBI. If Nasedo had taken anyone other than her, Max would have neither known nor cared. He wouldn't have gone rushing into Nasedo's carefully laid trap so unprepared. And it was all Liz could do to keep from crying every time she remembered the look of pure terror on his face when the FBI agents had captured him and pushed him into the glass that separated them. At the time, she'd thought they'd gotten a hold of Nasedo, and that it was Max who was hustling her out of the maze. She had stood there, looking at him for an eternity, and had done nothing to prevent Pierce's men from taking him away. She had run to safety while they had hustled him into their version of hell. Looking back, Liz wasn't sure what she could have done, but between herself, Valenti and Nasedo, she was certain they could have come up with something.
The sound of the Jeep's distinctive engine cut through her thoughts and she looked up to see Max pulling up across the street from the restaurant. Liz took a moment to study him in the bright afternoon sunshine. He was so beautiful. All of the stress of the past had been erased from his face. He looked so calm and in control. And powerful. Liz wondered why everyone in town couldn't perceive that he was different from them. These past weeks in which they had both been working with their powers had increased the level of energy that he carried around with him. He fairly glowed from the inside out. It was so obvious to Liz, that she couldn't really understand why everyone else couldn't see it, too.
Max had been about to cross the street when something arrested him. Liz watched as he turned, and Kyle Valenti jogged into view. Kyle said something, and Max replied, gesturing to the Café. Kyle shook his head and said something else. To Liz's disbelief, they both turned and began walking into the UFO Center where Max worked. Liz ran to the door, and caught herself in the motion of pushing it open.
She knew what Kyle wanted to say to Max, and she was going over there to stop Kyle once and for all. But she couldn't just run off and leave the thing sitting on the counter. She could picture her dad, walking into her room with it tonight, and saying, 'Honey, what's this?' But where to put it?
She quickly looked around. There really wasn't anywhere that looked safe, and she'd told Michael that she wouldn't let it out of her sight. Torn between needing to guard the Shield, and needing to put an end to Kyle's Space-Invaders-War-of-the-Worlds delusions, Liz compromised. Untucking her shirt, she unwrapped the Shield and stuck the unwieldy thing into the waistband of her jeans. It was surprisingly warm against the bare skin of her belly. Looking down, she thought, 'This in no way looks like you've got an alien-saucer-thing down your shirt.' She grabbed Max's brown leather jacket he'd left in the booth before taking off, and slipped her arms into the sleeves. She was zipping it up on the way out the door. In the UFO Center, Kyle walked over to a table with three of the plastic aliens. They all had tubes sticking out of them. He held one of them up and asked, "Friends of yours?"
"What did you want Kyle?"
He put the display down and began pacing in front of Max. "Look, I know I ought to thank you for saving my life and all, but since it was pretty much your fault that I was shot in the first place, I don't think I will." Max winced. "I just want to tell you that I know what you've been doing to Liz, and I'm warning you that if you don't leave her alone... and I mean if you so much as blink in her direction, I will personally make you regret ever coming to this planet."
Max was confused. "What do you mean, 'what I've been doing to Liz'?"
"Oh, come on, Max, don't you think I know what going on here?" Kyle was belligerent. "I know that Liz is not the same girl she used to be. Do you know when she started turning into someone else? I can tell you the exact day. It was that day that you went up to her and did something to her in the CrashDown."
"All I did was heal her. Just like I did you. Are you saying I changed you, too?" Max's small attempt at logic fell short of its mark, stoking Kyle's anger even hotter.
"There is a big difference between what happened to me and what happened to Liz." Kyle got in Max's face to say, "You haven't been making goo-goo eyes at me since the third grade. You finally got your chance to get her to notice you, and you completely brain-washed her into thinking she liked you. You've been screwing with her head ever since."
"That's not true."
"Oh yeah, which part? Are you denying that you've spent the last six years in love with her, and of course she would never notice a big loser like you. Are you saying that she hasn't been all over you since the day she was shot? That she hasn't put her own life in danger by protecting you? That must have been like a dream come true for you. Admit it, you're finally living a fantasy, because in the real world, we both know she wouldn't give you the time of day. If it wasn't for your stupid science classes, she wouldn't even know you existed."
Max was silent. Kyle was right. Everything he'd said was true. Max was living in a dream world in which Liz Parker, beautiful, popular Liz actually noticed, no, adored him. She'd even told him she loved him. Max thought of the powers she had developed because of him, and all of the times she had risked her life to protect his and knew he couldn't disagree with what Kyle was saying.
Standing to the side, her heart was aching while she waited for Max to deny Kyle's accusations. When the silence lengthened, she knew well enough what direction his thoughts were taking. She stepped forward and said, "It's not true."
They turned to her, stunned.
"What are you doing here? Stay out of this."
"No, Kyle. I already told you what I thought of your ridiculous ideas that Max was somehow using me or coercing me. He's not. I'm with him because I want to be. I choose to be, with my own free will."
"I don't think you have any idea what you're saying. You're going to wake up one day and wonder what on earth has happened to you, and what you ever saw in him, assuming you're still alive after he's done with you."
"Get real, Kyle. I've told you like a hundred times that he's not doing anything bad to me. If I'm changed it's because I'm growing up. I'm supposed to be changing. Not because of anything Max is doing to me. Yes, I said and did some things to you this year that maybe I shouldn't have. I lied about where I was and what I was doing about a hundred times. I've lied to you, Maria, Alex, my parents, your dad, in fact, I don't think there is anyone left in the whole town that I haven't lied to since that day."
"No, you're wrong. I've lied to Max, too."
"Yeah, about what?"
Ignoring the question, Liz continued, "The point here, Kyle, is that I'm doing these things not because he's making me, or forcing me, or has me under some kind of spell. I'm with him because I choose to be. The only thing he did to me that day was risk his life to save mine. He's lived here for like ten years, and no one ever suspected a thing until then. I would be dead if it weren't for him, and in return, he's been hunted, shot at, terrorized... I owe him... everything." Her voice broke, and she stopped to gain control of her emotions. Softer now, she continued, "You say he's been using me because he's been in love with me since we were kids... I've got news for you Kyle, I've had a crush on him since the first year we were paired up as science lab partners. That was seventh grade."
She looked up at Max and said, "You didn't know, but I used to rush into the bathroom every day before science class. I'd spend like five minutes just brushing my hair and I did like everything I could to get your attention, you know? Everyday for like a year, and you never noticed. When that didn't work, since you were so smart, I studied extra hard so that you would think I was like really smart, too. You know, you never even said 'hi' to me outside of class." Thinking back to that depressing time, she felt a little sadness well up in her. "I finally decided that you just weren't interested in me, and gave up. I never stopped wishing that you would change your mind, though. Ask Maria." She said to Kyle who was staring at her in disbelief. "The day I got shot, Max was sitting with Michael in the CrashDown. Just before everything happened, Maria was saying to me, 'Don't look now, but Max Evans is staring at you again.' I didn't believe it for a second, so of course I had to look. He was talking to Michael. I told Maria how it was totally unlikely that he would even be watching me, that she was wrong. She knew even though I tried to hide it that I still had a total crush on him. We both knew that if Max paid even the slightest attention to me it would be over, and it would be just like I was right back in seventh grade, with him."
Liz reached out and touched Kyle's sleeve, "Kyle that was before the gun went off. Before he ever even touched me."
"But... but you were dating me." Kyle sounded hurt.
"Yeah. I know. I'm sorry, Kyle, but that's the truth."
Ok, Kyle thought, this was a major set back to the get-back-together-with-Liz plan but his original intentions were still valid. "Ok, fine, be his friend, or whatever, but Liz, you have to stop dating him."
"No. I won't. You are just going to have to get used to it: I'm with Max now, and nothing will change that."
"Kyle," Max said. Whatever Max had been about to add was left unsaid as Mr. Skinny and his two goons jumped him from out of nowhere. They had seen Liz outside and one of them had recognized her from the day at the cave. Kyle stood looking confused for a second, then seeing that they were mostly interested in Max, grabbed Liz by the arm and began tugging her out of the way.
For Liz, it was like a nightmare revisited. Max was being captured again, and she was being pulled to safety, again. Well, this time, she wasn't confused about who had her and who needed her. She jerked her arm out of Kyle's grasp, and ran back to help Max. She caught up a folding chair and brought it down hard on the head of the man nearest to her. He didn't fall to the ground as she had hoped. Instead, he turned on her, and yanked the chair out of her hands. Their eyes met, and she could tell he recognized her from the cave. She had bashed him over the head that day, too. With a growl he came after her. Suddenly afraid for her life, she started to dodge out of the way. He easily outmaneuvered her. He had just caught her by the arm when Kyle appeared out of nowhere and tackled him.
While they were wrestling, Liz looked around for something else that would make a better weapon than the ineffective folding chair. She never found it.
Max looked up from where his attacker had backed him into a corner, and saw Liz get hit by one of the aliens. As she crumpled to the ground, he nearly went berserk. When the three of them had jumped him, he'd spent the initial rush of adrenaline trying to get free. He'd seen Kyle pulling Liz to safety, and had felt a flood of relief. She must have come back in after him. Now she lay on the floor unconscious. The two aliens were having a hard time restraining him, but it was only a matter of time. Especially since he could see that Mr. Skinny had just finished off Kyle. There were too many of them, and the fight was over within seconds.
Liz woke up in a darkened room. The door was solid wood, and there weren't any windows that she could see. She took a mental inventory and decided that aside from a pounding headache, she'd live. Kyle, still unconscious, was next to her. Her hands were bound with twine, and they were tied tight enough to cut off her circulation. She sat up and scooted over so that her back was to the wall. Twisting her arms painfully, she was able to position her hands so that one palm was in contact with part of the binding. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on conjuring up the feelings that opened the door to her powers, and focused them on transforming the twine. After a moment, the section of twine she could reach had turned brittle and the strands broke apart with very little effort. She quickly tried to bend forward to untie her legs. The Shield digging into her belly, under her clothes, prevented her from being able to reach, so she swung her legs to one side and twisted around. Within seconds she was free.
She tossed her bindings into the corner and crawled to Kyle. He was groaning, beginning to come to as Liz quickly went to work on his twine knots, hoping he didn't notice when she transformed one that was being particularly stubborn. "Kyle," she whispered. "Kyle." She shook his arm.
"Oh my head," the battered teenager said, holding his aching head. Liz could empathize, but if they felt like this, how bad was Max? Was he still alive? Or had they killed him as soon as they got their hands on him?
"Kyle, are you ok?"
He peeked one eye open and glared at her. "Yeah, I'm fine. No thanks to you."
She wasn't going to get back into it with him, not with Max in danger. "Listen, Kyle, we need your dad. I need you to get away from here and get him. He'll be able to help us."
"Liz, if I can get out of here, then so can you."
She set her jaw, "No. I'm not leaving Max." Stubborn was written on her face in capitol letters.
"Don't be stupid! We don't know who these guys are or what they want. Max can take care of himself. Now we're getting out of here, the two of us."
"Kyle, you don't know what's going on, but we do know who they are, and what they want is to kill Max." From what Kyle had said, it sounded like the sheriff hadn't told his son about Michael and Isabel, and if that was the case, Liz wasn't going to clue him in, so she left their names out of the list of people the aliens wanted dead.
"Good for them."
"Kyle!" Liz was shocked. "You don't mean that."
She was right, he didn't want the guy dead, just away from here and away from her. "Come on," he sighed, "let's go get my dad."
"You go, I'm staying here."
"Liz, I'm not leaving you here."
"You're going to have to. I'm not leaving without Max, not this time."
Kyle looked into her face and knew he was wasting his time arguing. They sneaked over to the door and Liz opened it, positioning her body so that he couldn't see how the handle glowed red for a second.
"Geez, they didn't even lock it?" Kyle's voice was heavy with disgust.
"Yeah." Liz agreed with an inward smile. They pulled the door open a crack and Liz peered out and down the hallway. There wasn't anyone around. Kyle stepped around her. He looked down at her, but didn't waste time with pointless arguing that she come with him. He slipped down the hallway and within moments was streaking down the streets of Roswell as fast as his All-Star legs and pounding headache would let him.
Liz closed herself back in her prison and watched five minutes slowly, agonizingly tick away on her watch. If she was spotted looking for Max, she wanted Kyle to be as far away as possible. Finally, unable to wait a second longer, she cracked the door open again. Listening intently, she thought she heard sounds like voices. She stealthily made her way in their direction, but before she'd taken more than a few steps, approaching footsteps arrested her progress. She didn't make it back into the room before one of the aliens rounded the corner.
"Hey!" he said before he ran after her.
Knowing it was useless to try to out run him, Liz stopped and stood her ground. He roughly grabbed her arm and asked, "How did you get out of there?"
Mutely, she shrugged her shoulders. He shook her once, then opened the door to see that Kyle was also gone. "Damn it! Where is the other one?" Again, she refused to answer. He held tight to her arm and dragged her exactly to where she wanted to go: the room where they were keeping Max.
Anticipating she'd only have a tiny opportunity, she cranked up her powers during the short walk. Her plan was to free Max if he was bound and somehow give him the Shield. They just needed to hold the other aliens off until Kyle returned with Valenti. With the Shield to protect Max, she would just need to either sneak away, or come up with an alternative plan. The only thing she needed to do was make sure they couldn't use her to force Max to give them the Shield. That would be worse case scenario.
|Part 9 | Index | Part 11|
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