FanFic - Max/Liz
"Circles in a Pond"
Part 1
by Carol
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters except Josh; they are owned by Melinda Metz and the WB (or whomever!)
Summary: This story involves all characters, but centers around Max and Liz. This takes place right after Destiny. Kyle must learn to cope with his new knowledge, and an emergency causes drastic measures to be taken that lead to stunning revelations about the Pod Squad.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I must thank Dee, Sheldon, MyrnaLynne, and Shea, all of whom read this and gave me valuable feedback. You guys are the greatest. This story is born of love for Roswell and speaks of faith for its future.

Sometimes you throw a pebble in a pond, and the circles spread out larger and larger, until you can't see where they'll stop. In a little pond called Roswell, Max threw a pebble when he saved Liz's life. Since that day, the circles had grown bigger and bigger. The small group of aliens and their human friends were losing sight of them by now.

When Max had responded to Sheriff Valenti's desperate cry for help and healed the fatally wounded Kyle, their small, secretive circle had grown by yet another unsuspecting human. That night, Kyle's father had taken him home and watched him carefully for any ill effects, both from the shooting and, truth be known, from Max's healing. Valenti knew his son was alive, and for that he was grateful, but he still didn't fully trust this alien process, and he hovered protectively over his son.

The next day, even as Maria and Alex reluctantly let go of the ones they loved, Liz stayed with Max, determined to remain with him now that the depth of their feelings for each other had finally been acknowledged. It was only after Max, Isabel, Michael, and Tess had activated the orbs and learned of their purpose and roles on Earth that Liz had come to terms with the fact the she was not a part of this future, this destiny. Running down the mountain, she had felt such pain and hopelessness, she had wanted nothing more than to run until this reality was behind her, run until she could forget.

Stunned by the death of Pierce, the astonishing revelation about themselves, and the opening of their bizarre world to another Roswell teen and his father, the four aliens began to regroup. They considered their options cautiously, eliminating possibilities until one ironic fact became clear. They needed the humans. Simple as that. They needed the help, the connections, the cover their lives with them provided. It was logical. Practical. And although they didn't admit it to each other, it was emotional.

"But what about Kyle?" Isabel worried.

"We don't have to tell him anything," said Michael. "He'll wake up tomorrow and won't remember a thing."

Max and Isabel exchanged glances. "You know that's not true, Michael," Max sighed. "He'll remember all too well, and the questions he'll ask have to be answered before he begins to ask them publicly. But who should talk to him?"

"I will," whispered Tess.

The group turned to her with surprise. They had almost forgotten she was there.

"Why you?" Isabel asked.

"Kyle was one of the few people to befriend me when I first came to school, remember? We developed a kind of friendship-I think he sort of had a thing for me. He trusts me more than any of you. He doesn't even like you."

"You're right," admitted Max. "But it can't be just you. Liz should go with you. There needs to be a human there, and Liz is the one he's closest to. He may be bitter over her breaking up with him, but he still trusts her, I think. Besides, she's the only one who has been through what he's just experienced. It only makes sense that he'd want to talk with her about it."

Tess looked pensive. "Do you think Liz will help after what just happened? She said goodbye to you, Max. She's severed that bond. What if she won't do it?"

Max's jaw clenched and he looked intensely at Tess. "That bond exists, Tess. Saying goodbye hasn't changed that. You may not want her help, but she would never withhold it. She'll do it."

Tess looked at the others for support, but found them looking at her coldly. After all they had been through, Isabel and Michael could not argue. Liz had been there for them every step of the way, and they knew that wouldn't change. They also knew Max had to be the one to ask her, and there was no time to lose. Kyle was not a patient guy.


Max approached Liz's balcony nervously. Only hours before, they had said their painful goodbyes. In spite of his words in the pod chamber, he wasn't sure how Liz would react to his presence. He knew she was hurting. And it was all because of him. It was always because of him. He felt so guilty about what he had put her through, and here he was, asking another favor.

"Liz," Max whispered through the darkness.

The time stretched silently as he looked up toward the balcony. Then he saw a shape, backlit by candlelight, peek over the side. "Max?"

"Yeah, it's me. Can I come up?"

"Max, I don't think that's a good idea. I'm not ready to see you now."

"Liz, I know I shouldn't be here. But I have to talk to you. It's important."

Another silence. But then Max heard what he knew he would hear.

"Come on up."

As Max pulled himself over the side of the balcony, he saw Liz settling back into her lounge chair, pulling a blanket around her, almost like a cocoon. He didn't blame her. He wanted to put his arms around her and tell her it had all been a mistake, but he knew he couldn't do that. He didn't believe it himself, much as he wanted to, and he knew she wouldn't believe it, either.

"We spent a lot of time talking today," he began. "We have a lot of stuff to sort out, but we have to begin with Kyle."

"Kyle?" Liz frowned.

"Think about it, Liz. Think about how you felt after I healed you. You came to me with questions, lots of questions. And fear, too. You threatened to go to the sheriff if I didn't tell you everything. Well that's how Kyle's feeling right now. His dad's still confused about us. He needs someone else to talk to. Someone who understands what he's been through. Someone who understands us."

He watched Liz thinking. "Will you come with me?" she asked.

Max hesitated. How could he tell her she'd be doing this with Tess? Of all people! He tried to explain.

"I'm not the best person for the job, Liz. Kyle doesn't trust me, and he doesn't like me. In fact, he resents me."

Liz knew exactly what he meant, but it stung just a little, since the relationship Kyle resented was dying a slow, painful death.

"Liz, Tess will go with you."

"What?" squeaked Liz. "Why?!"

"I know it seems like an odd choice at first, Liz, but think about it. Of all of us, Kyle likes Tess best. They became friends, well, acquaintances, at least, when Tess started school here. He likes her, which is more than you can say for the rest of us. She's the best one to go, and so are you. Will you do it?"

"I don't see why Isabel can't go with me," she argued. "Kyle doesn't have any bad history with her. But Tess hates me. She sees me as a threat to her plans for you. For all I know, she'll make me see some vision and make me drive off the road or throw myself at Kyle. I don't trust her, Max. And frankly, I don't think you should either."

"I didn't say I trust her, Liz. But even if my telling her we will never be together hasn't convinced her, she knows that if she harmed you in any way, I would be her enemy-a formidable enemy-for the rest of her life."

Liz looked up at Max and saw the intense look on his face, as if he were ready to do battle. She smiled at him. There was no mistaking that Max's feelings for her hadn't changed; they were just set aside . . . again.

"Oh, Max. This is really asking a lot."

"I know. But think of it from Kyle's point of view," he reminded her. "Tess is the most accessible of us, as far as he's concerned. And remember, you needed another human to talk to so desperately that you broke down and told Maria. Kyle needs that, too. Don't you think you're the best one to help him understand what's happened to him?"

Liz sat quietly for a moment, reflecting on those first few days after Max had healed her and told her his bizarre story. She had been frightened, confused, but intrigued and full of questions at the same time. Finally, she looked up at Max's tense face.

"Of course I'll do it, Max," she whispered. "You knew I would."

Once again, Max fought the urge to go to her. But he couldn't keep the love from his eyes as he gazed at Liz, his Liz. "Thank you," he murmured, and he disappeared down the ladder.


Strange, Liz thought, that she and Tess should form this unlikely team. Once again, circumstances had thrust themselves into Liz's life and dictated events over which she had little or no control. All she could do was navigate them as best she could.

She pulled up in front of Tess's house and honked the horn. As she waited, she wondered what would become of Tess now. Nasedo had left to become Pierce. Mr. Harding no longer existed. Sooner or later, the authorities would realize she was a minor living alone and they would step in. Where would she go? Would she move in with Max and Izzie? God, no, she shuddered. She couldn't think about that.

Tess walked out to the car and climbed in, giving Liz an awkward glance. I guess she's as uncomfortable with this as I am, Liz thought to herself. Good.

They drove to Kyle's in silence, but once they had stopped in front of his house, Liz spoke up.

"Maybe we better just let him ask his questions before we start explaining the whole thing," suggested Liz. "It might be a little overwhelming to hear the whole story at once."

Tess nodded and they headed toward the front door. Jim Valenti had seen them pull up and met them at the door.

"Hi, girls. Uh, Kyle is resting and, well, I'm not sure he's ready . . . ," he stammered.

"Dad, let them in." Kyle stood in the doorway to his room, leaning against the door jamb. "I want to talk to them."

Valenti looked over his shoulder and saw his son's grim face. He stepped aside and let the girls pass.

"Hey, Kyle."

"Hey, Liz. Tess. Have a seat."

Valenti stood looking from the girls to Kyle and back again. The silence was thick with tension and unasked questions.

"Kyle," Liz began, "I'm sure you have a million things running around in your head right now. Tess and I are here to answer your questions. How are you feeling?"

"Physically, fine, thanks. Mentally, I feel like I've entered the twilight zone. What the hell happened to me at the UFO center? Who shot me? What did Max do to me? What do you have to do with any of this?"

Liz giggled. She wasn't sure why, but suddenly it all seemed so absurd, so surreal. Like a grade B movie. Poor Kyle! How were they ever going to explain all this?

Kyle and Tess looked at Liz in bewilderment. Why was she laughing?

"I'm sorry, Kyle. I shouldn't be laughing." Liz composed her face. "I just know exactly how you feel. I know how many questions you have. And suddenly it just seems so crazy, I'm wondering how to explain. What do you want to know first?"

For the next three hours, Tess and Liz answered questions, explained what they knew, and revealed what had happened just the day before in the pod chamber. When they finished, Jim and Kyle Valenti looked dazed. They had run out of questions, or at least Tess and Liz had run out of answers, and there was nothing left to say. The men needed time to digest all they had heard. The girls realized there was nothing more they could do today.

"Call me when you're ready to talk about this some more, Kyle," offered Tess. "We're here for you."

Kyle nodded slowly and the girls let themselves out.

"How do you think it went?" asked Liz.

"'As well as can be expected' is the term, I believe," answered Tess. And both girls began to laugh. Then they sobered. Liz was remembering Kyle's threat to get something on Max that would bring him down. Well, he had it now. This wasn't over. Not by a longshot.


It was a slow day at the Crashdown and Liz was leaning against the counter with her mind in a happier place, a place where she could be with Max. Maria raced in late for her shift and grabbed Liz's hand, pulling her into the kitchen.

"Maria, what are you doing?" complained Liz.

"Liz, you will not believe this. Michael just called me. Kyle called Tess yesterday and they spent time together last night. He still had some questions, but overall, he seems to be coming to terms with all this. They cooked up this idea to go camping this weekend. They want to go out near the reservation and show Kyle the cave paintings. They actually want us to go with them-you, me, and Alex, too! Isn't that wild?"

"Maria, I don't get it. I thought we were supposed to keep our distance now. They have to go fulfill their destiny, and it doesn't seem to include us!"

"Liz!" Maria exclaimed, nose to nose with her best friend. "Michael called me. They want us all to be there. I guess to make Kyle feel like it's okay, like normal people can trust them. His support group, ya know? I, for one, am definitely going. This will be too good to miss. And you, Liz Parker, are going with me!"

"What did Alex say?"

"Haven't told him yet, but here he comes!" Maria ran out front to greet Alex. Liz watched from the kitchen as Maria explained the plan to Alex. She could see a smile spread across his face and she knew there was no fighting it. They were going.

"Don't forget, Maria!" Liz yelled from the kitchen. "We work until closing on Friday night."

Maria frowned. "Well, we'll just go late, that's all."

In the end, it was decided that Max, Kyle, Isabel, and Alex would head out around dinner time to set up the campsite and show Kyle around. Michael, who was working the kitchen that night, would come with Maria and Liz when they finished up at the Crashdown, and pick up Tess, who was waiting for a call from Nasedo, on the way out of town. There was a mixed air of nervousness and anticipation among the group for the rest of the week, no one knowing exactly how this would work out, but each still looking forward to it for his or her own reasons.


Friday seemed days long to Liz. She was so torn about the weekend. She and Max hadn't talked much all week. It was so awkward and stiff between them. They would look at each other and all the love and closeness would rush to the surface. Then they would remember, and the walls would go up. Conversation was agonizing . . . and yet, just the thought of being with him for the weekend made her heart beat faster and her breath come in shallow gasps. She didn't know what had been happening between Tess and Max, and she was almost afraid to find out, but at least this way, she'd see for herself. Better the devil you know . . . .

Fortunately, the crowd at the Crashdown that Friday night was big and noisy and demanding. She didn't have time to think. Neither did Michael and Maria, who had been having similar problems acting natural with each other. Ever since Michael had admitted he loved Maria, only to turn and leave, they hadn't known how to behave toward each other. So many looks passed between them over the kitchen pass-through window. So many accidental touches as they passed plates of food back and forth. So many questions in their minds.

Izzie poked her head through the back door to confer with Michael over the final plans and waved at Liz and Maria over his head. "See you guys later!" she smiled, and turned to leave. She turned quickly back, "Don't forget to throw in a couple extra bottles of Tabasco sauce!"

Izzie hopped into the back of the Jeep with Alex. It felt good to be with him again. She hadn't realized how comfortable and close they had become before that vision in the pod chamber changed everything just a few days ago. The revelations about their "destiny" had been jarring and confusing. She had just started to feel safe letting her guard down with a human. Alex had made her feel accepted, safe, and even loved. It was a wonderful feeling-one she was unwilling to abandon. So even though they weren't "together" right now, being with him made her happy-a state of mind she had rarely let herself feel.

Kyle sat in front with Max, still feeling very out of place and unsure of himself and of these aliens. Even Alex was not someone Kyle Valenti would have spent any time with under normal circumstances. What a geek! Kyle felt like he didn't belong here and was beginning to regret his decision to come. But the whole thing had been planned for him. He figured that no matter what he decided to do about this secret, knowing as much as he could was the best strategy. Knowledge is power.

Max was quiet as they rode toward the reservation. He had never felt so unsettled. He didn't know what to say to Liz. All he wanted to do was hold her, kiss her, tell her he loved her. But he couldn't. It wasn't like before when he was taking it slowly, trying to understand how the pieces fit, trying not to make Michael and Isabel angry or worried about his relationship with Liz. Then, at least, he had felt some measure of control, some sense of order. Now? Now he was spinning out of control. Liz was his anchor, his beacon, the other half of his being. Without her, he felt lost and more afraid than he had ever been of being with her.

Then there was this destiny message from a hologram claiming to be his mother. It had handed them an impossible task with almost no information to guide them. It had succeeded in isolating them from everyone they had let into their lives, and made the future dark and uncertain.

And finally, Kyle. Max glanced over at Kyle's strained expression and tried to imagine what he was feeling. When Liz had first learned their secret, she, too, had looked afraid. But Max had never doubted she would come through it as their friend. He wasn't so sure about Kyle. Kyle was guarded, closed off. Max wished fervently he knew what Kyle was thinking.

He sighed. Then he heard Isabel sigh. He glanced toward the back seat and had to smile. Izzie's sigh had been one of contentment, nestled against Alex with her head on his shoulder, eyes closed. Alex caught Max's look and smiled with a slight shrug, as if to say, What can I do? As if you'd change a thing, thought Max with a chuckle.

They arrived at a familiar campsite near the reservation. It was isolated and close to the cave where the cave paintings were. They hopped out of the Jeep and began to unload their gear.

"We should show the cave to Kyle while it's still light," said Max. "Then we'll go on to that wooded area where we can gather some firewood. Everybody game?"

They nodded and began walking toward the cave.


As they entered the cave, Kyle hesitated. He suddenly had misgivings about what the others intended for him. Had this been a ruse to get him alone in the middle of nowhere and make sure he'd never tell anyone anything again? But as Max walked ahead and he saw Alex and Isabel making eyes at each other, his sense of being threatened left him. These were people he had known most of his life, even if he didn't like them much. And his dad knew where he was. They weren't going to hurt him.

Kyle followed Max further into the cave. As Max lit a torch, Kyle looked at the wall. It was amazing. Clearly, these symbols were a language of some kind. They were left as a history or a message for someone. "What does this mean?" Kyle asked. Max shook his head slowly.

"That's the frustrating part. No one knows. Even River Dog, who showed us this place, doesn't know what they mean. I don't think we'll ever know."

Kyle looked at Max and felt the first pangs of sympathy. He had never looked at it from the aliens' point of view, only his own. How lonely and confused they must be, he thought. And how frustrated.

Alex and Isabel entered the cave. Isabel walked up to the wall. She looks so sad, Kyle thought, as he watched her fingers trace the symbols. Alex took her hand.

"Let's go get that firewood, Isabel. Max, why don't you stay and talk with Kyle?"

Max grinned at Alex. "But Alex, wouldn't you like some help?"

Alex grinned back, "No thanks. I think we've got it covered." He tugged at Isabel's hand and they left the cave.

"What happens now, Max?" Kyle asked. Max flinched as those words echoed from a few days before when Tess had asked him that exact question.

"I'm not sure," Max replied honestly. "I guess for now, we stick with school, learn what we can from Tess and Nasedo, and see what happens."

"What about you and Liz?"

Max grew quiet. He looked at the symbols on the wall, the torch, Kyle. "I'm not sure of that either."

"You're not together any more?"

Max sighed and looked at Kyle. He had no idea what to say, especially to Kyle, but he decided to be honest about this part, too. "I love her. That won't change. Ever. But I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know if it will be dangerous. I don't even know if we can stay here. I don't know . . . ." His voice caught in his throat and his eyes started to fill. He stopped and looked away.

Kyle was speechless. This wasn't just a crush. Or even a first love. Max was in love, and in pain, and Kyle started to understand something about the sacrifices they were making-and not just the aliens, it was all of them. Liz and Maria and Alex had all invested themselves in relationships that were more tenuous, more fragile, and yet more dangerous than any outsider could ever imagine. Kyle began to get a sense of the fierce loyalty that bonded this group together, and he had to admit, he admired that.

Kyle's thoughts were interrupted by a piercing scream.

Index | Part 2
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