|"Circles in a Pond"|
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.
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.
Max and Kyle sprang to their feet and ran toward the cave entrance. They stopped to listen, but there was only silence.
"This way!" yelled Max, as he headed toward the wooded area where Alex and Isabel would have gone to look for firewood. When they reached the edge of the woods, they stopped to listen again. Nothing.
"Isabel! Alex!" There was no response.
"Circle left! I'll go right," panted Max as he took off through the trees. "Yell if you find anything!"
Max pushed through the trees, slipping on the bed of pine needles that blanketed the ground. He almost didn't notice the sudden drop as the woods gave way to a craggy precipice. He slid to a stop and peered over the edge, sucking in his breath as he saw the two bodies lying completely still on the rocks below.
"Kyle!" he screamed. "Kyle, over here! Follow my voice. I've found them. They're hurt. I need your help. Hurry! Can you hear me?"
"I hear you! I'm coming!" answered Kyle. Max could hear him coming through the trees.
"Over here! Be careful, there's a huge drop along here."
Kyle flew up behind Max and stopped abruptly. "Holy shit!" he mumbled under his breath. "Are they dead?"
Max whirled around to Kyle. "No! They can't be!" He stared back down at them. "They can't be."
The two boys began to search for a way down the rocks. The woods formed an irregular semicircle around the small cliff, dipping to meet the rocks below on one side. They followed the uneven ground around until they came level with the rocks where the two bodies lay.
"Isabel," gasped Max. He scrambled over the rocks to her side. She had a pulse and a gash on her head. Her arm was bent at an odd angle, but that seemed to be all. That, and she was unconscious. He turned to check on Alex. Kyle was already leaning over him, looking stricken.
"My God, Max. Look at him. There's blood everywhere. And he's still bleeding. What the hell are we going to do?"
Max turned to examine Alex. Kyle was right. Alex was in a bad way.
"I'm going to take care of Isabel's injuries here. Then we're going to get them back to the cave."
"How can you take care of Isabel here? She's got a broken . . . ." Kyle stopped and looked at Max, who was looking right back at him intently. "Never mind. Go ahead. I'll try to bandage Alex's wound and slow the bleeding."
Max turned to Isabel and gently straightened her arm, sending his healing power to her broken bone. He touched the cut on her head until it disappeared. Then he frowned. "She's still unconscious," he mumbled, almost to himself.
"Max!" Kyle whispered behind him. Max turned to see Alex's makeshift bandages soaking through.
"We've got to get him out of here. Can you lift him over your shoulder?"
Kyle's eyes widened and he opened his mouth, but then he stopped. An expression of determination came over his face, and he said, "I didn't spend the year training in Varsity Greco-Roman wrestling for nothing." He bent over Alex and began to hoist him up. It took both boys to position him so Kyle could maneuver his own limbs to make the difficult climb back to the woods, but once he was on his way, he looked stable enough. Max turned back to Isabel, still unconscious.
"Come on, sis. Let's get you out of here." He knelt next to her, gently lifted her torso over one shoulder, and staggered to his feet. Then he turned to follow Kyle up the steep grade.
Once inside the cave, both boys slumped against the wall to catch their breath.
"It sure seemed a lot shorter running to the woods," gasped Kyle. "How's Isabel?"
"I've done all I can. She seems okay, but she's still unconscious, and I'm not sure why. What about Alex?"
"He's bad, Max. Real bad. Isabel has a cell phone, right? We need to call an ambulance."
"No!" Max turned to Kyle, willing him to understand the situation. "We can't do that. I was in a car accident last year and the first thing they did was take blood. If it hadn't been for Liz and Alex, the hospital would have tested that blood and it would've been all over. If they come for Alex, and Iz is still unconscious, they'll take her, too. I can't let them do that."
"Then what the hell are we gonna do? Max, he could die!"
Max thought for a few seconds and made a decision. "You stay here and try to stop the bleeding. I'm going for River Dog."
"An Indian? You're going for an Indian? What's he gonna do?"
"More than you know, Kyle." I hope, thought Max, as he sprinted to the car.
When Max returned with River Dog, Isabel and Alex were still unconscious, and Kyle was nowhere to be found. He had managed to stop Alex's bleeding by elevating his feet and applying pressure bandages, and he had made them as comfortable as possible, but he was gone. How could Kyle leave them like this! An undercurrent of panic gripped Max, but he had to attend to his sister and Alex first.
"River Dog, is there anything you can do for him?" Max watched anxiously as River Dog examined the nearly lifeless body.
"He's lost too much blood, Max. He needs a transfusion or he'll die."
"A transfusion! But from whom? There's no one here . . . but you." He turned to River Dog, a silent plea in his eyes.
"I can't give him my blood, Max. I have hepatitis. Last year, there was a hunter . . . he fell from the same ledge as these two. I gave him first aid, but I had no gloves." River Dog shook his head sadly. "Transfusing Alex with my blood would infect him. Maybe even kill him. It will have to be you."
"It can't be me," screamed Max. "I don't have the same blood as a human. You should know that. We don't know what could happen! Besides, how can we even perform a transfusion here?" His face shone with sweat and fear. This was a nightmare.
"I have supplies at the reservation's clinic. I'm one of the few with any medical training on the reservation, but I'll need your help. You are young and healthy. We know he won't survive my blood. Yours is the only choice. Do you know his blood type?"
Max looked from River Dog to Alex and back to River Dog. He was right; there was no choice. Max nodded. "Last year, I wrecked the jeep. They took my blood at the hospital, and Liz got Alex to substitute his blood for mine. I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for him. Anyway, when the test results came back, the blood was AB+."
"Good," said River Dog. "A universal recipient. That makes him much less likely to have a bad reaction-with human blood, at least. But we'll have to hurry. He's in shock. His breathing is shallow and his body temperature is dangerously low. He could be dead in an hour."
Max knelt next to Alex and looked at River Dog uncertainly. "I've never tried this before."
River Dog nodded reassuringly. "You care for your friend. You can do this."
Max placed his hand over Alex's chest and closed his eyes in concentration. His hand began to glow red with heat. A hint of color appeared in Alex's cheeks, and his shivering subsided.
"Good, Max. That will buy us some time. Keep him warm until I get back."
"What will happen if the blood isn't compatible?"
River Dog sighed. "I don't know exactly. Coagulation is a danger, but I don't think we can predict what effects your blood could have. We'll know quickly, though. His reaction would be almost immediate. It's possible, Max, that this may actually help him heal. All we can hope for is that between his AB+ blood and your obviously strong immune system, the transfusion will save him."
"Take the Jeep. I'll stay here with them." He handed River Dog the keys and watched him drive away. How? How did this happen?
It seemed like hours, but when Max heard the Jeep approaching, he looked at his watch. Only 20 minutes. Alex was still breathing, but barely. God, Max thought, help him hang on. Please don't let this kill him!
River Dog returned to the cave with IV equipment. Alex's face was ashen again. "Max, Alex's body temperature needs to be brought up to normal again. Then we'll need to jerry-rig this IV tubing to serve for the transfusion."
Again, Max placed his hand on Alex's chest until a trace of color returned to Alex's cheeks. River Dog felt his head. "Better, but the respirations are much too shallow. We don't have much time."
River Dog and Max hurried to set up the equipment. When it was ready, River Dog instructed Max to lie next to Alex and extend his arm. Max did as he was told, and River Dog sterilized his arm. Turning to Max, he said, "It's up to you now." Max concentrated, putting his free hand on the needle inserted in his forearm. A white light shone around his hand, and the blood began to flow. All they could do now was wait.
Max had his eyes closed when he heard movement at the cave entrance. He started to sit up, terrified of being discovered, but River Dog stopped him, "Lie down, Max. You can't move around."
"Someone's coming!" he hissed.
Just then, Kyle, laden with firewood, came through the opening.
"Kyle! Where the hell have you been?" Max glared at him before he registered that Kyle was stacking an impressive pile of firewood.
"Max, there was nothing more I could do for them, but they were so cold. I felt the best thing was to go and get wood for a fire to keep them warm." He looked at River Dog, and then noticed the tubes connecting Max and Alex. "What are you doing?"
"A blood transfusion. It's the only thing that will save this young man," said River Dog softly.
Kyle stared at Max. "You have human blood?"
Max glared again. "No, I don't. But River Dog's blood can't be used for transfusions and there was no one else around!"
Kyle digested this piece of information with horror. "But what will your blood do to him?"
"God only knows," sighed Max. He was feeling so tired. He closed his eyes again.
Max awoke to the sound of another car approaching. He tried to get up, but his head started to spin and he fell backwards immediately. Kyle leapt to his feet. "It's probably the others. I'll go see."
Max looked over toward Alex and found Isabel cradling his head and stroking his hair. She looked at Max, tears in her eyes.
"Iz, are you okay? What happened to you two?" asked Max.
Isabel looked away, pressing her lips inward, as she always did when she was annoyed or embarrassed. "We were looking for wood," she began, "you know, just walking along. Then Alex stopped and touched my shoulder. When I turned, he kissed me, and . . . I don't know, Max. We were just kissing, and suddenly the ground shifted underneath us and we lost our footing. Alex grabbed at me, trying to shield me with his body . . . ." A sob escaped her lips, and she started to cry. "He was trying to protect me, Max. I think he broke my fall. O God, Max, will he make it?"
There was such desperation in her voice, such agony on her face. Max's heart went out to her. He knew how he would feel if this had been Liz. It had been Liz once, and he had risked everything to save her, even before she knew he existed. Poor Isabel.
"Max, why were you the one to give him the transfusion? Why not Kyle?"
"I didn't know where he was. Turns out he was getting firewood to try and keep you guys warm. We had no choice. How is he?"
"Feverish. Max, I'm so scared!"
At that moment, Michael, Maria, Liz, and Tess ran into the cave.
"Max!" cried Liz and Tess in chorus.
Both girls began to run toward Max. Then Liz pulled up short. With great effort, she walked past Max and knelt by Maria at Alex's side. Michael was standing behind Isabel, looking at her with concern.
"Isabel, how is he?" Liz asked.
"We don't know," she sniffed. "He's got a fever. I don't know what to do for him." She looked at Liz, silently pleading with her for an idea, a word of encouragement. All Liz could do was stare back, horrified as she grasped the seriousness of the situation. She looked up and glanced at Max. Tess had her arms around him, whispering words of comfort. But Max's eyes were on Liz. Would this pain ever stop?
With River Dog's blessing, the eight teens set up camp in the cave. Kyle and Michael built a fire, and everyone stretched out their sleeping bags. Liz watched as Max picked a spot for his sleeping bag and went to talk to Isabel. Tess followed him with her eyes, and as soon as he crossed the cave floor, she arranged her own sleeping bag next to his. Michael just stretched his own out next to Izzie and Alex, never glancing toward Maria. This was not what Maria and Liz had looked forward to. Michael was a fifth wheel, watching Isabel watch Alex. Tess was catering to Max, even though he kept telling her he was fine, and Kyle looked like a trapped animal. All in all, the weekend couldn't have started worse.
Everyone felt drained and exhausted. Worried about Isabel's possible concussion, Liz told her to lay down and let her take a turn watching over Alex. Isabel resisted briefly, but she was still shaken and a little lightheaded, so she relented and lay down on Alex's far side. Liz was putting cool cloths on Alex's forehead and trying to get a little water down his throat every few minutes. Beyond that, there was plenty of time to think.
Liz leaned her head back against the cave wall and surveyed the scene. Max walked toward his sleeping bag and noticed Tess's laying beside it. He hesitated, glanced toward Liz, then picked up his sleeping bag and moved it next to Isabel's. At Tess's questioning look, he simply said, "I want to keep an eye on Izzie tonight," at which point he lay down and closed his eyes. He looked anything but relaxed.
Everyone took a turn watching the patients. Alex's fever was high and he slept fitfully. Toward dawn, however, he quieted and seemed to fall into a deeper sleep. Everyone else followed suit, sleeping well into the morning.
The first to stir was Max. He sat up slowly and looked around the cave. Alex seemed to be sleeping well. His gaze fell on Liz. She was breathing evenly, her hair across her face, her tiny hands curled around her pillow. How beautiful she was. How he longed to hold her, kiss her, tell her he loved her, promise her that his destiny was with her. If only he knew that to be true. His heart told him it was, his gut told him it was. Only the motherly hologram-and Tess-told him differently, and he didn't yet know what was true.
Gradually the group awoke and prepared for the day, not really knowing what it would bring. To a person, they felt the need to get out in the sun, out of the dark cave so heavy with tension and worry. They drifted outside and gathered to discuss what should happen next.
Maria spoke first. "We need to get him to a doctor. Isabel is fine now. We don't need to worry about them testing her, but Alex should be in the hospital."
"Maria, he was transfused with Max's blood! We can't take him to a hospital," yelled Michael. "We have to watch him here."
"He could die here, Michael. You and your precious secret could kill him!"
"If we take him to a doctor now, the four of us will die! Is that what you want?"
Maria froze, looking at Michael, and started to cry. "No. No, of course that's not what I want. I just want Alex to . . . ."
Michael looked at Maria dissolving into tears. Maria. The one human who cared about him. The one who fought with him, loved him, took him in when he had nowhere to go. The one who told him to just be himself. He found himself walking toward her, enfolding her in his arms, kissing the top of her head. She clung to him, not caring that they weren't together. Not caring at all.
"Isabel! Where are you?"
Seven heads turned toward the cave. Alex! They stampeded into the cave. Isabel was instantly at Alex's side. "Alex, you're awake! Are you okay? Does anything hurt? How do you feel?" She kissed his forehead, his cheek, his lips. She couldn't tell which one of them was shaking more. All she cared about was Alex was awake!
"Whoa, Isabel. Take it easy," Alex whispered. "I think I'm okay. How are you?"
"I'm fine, Alex. Max healed me, but you lost so much blood, you needed a transfusion. River Dog helped us. Are you sure you're okay?"
"I think so," Alex said, flexing his limbs. "Who gave me blood?"
The group fell completely silent, as Alex looked from one guilty face to the next. "What's going on here? What? Did you give me animal blood or something?"
"No," whispered Isabel. "Max gave you his blood."
Alex's jaw dropped at he looked at Max. "Why? Why yours?"
"I was the only one here at the time, Alex. It was that or let you die."
"Then, thank you, I think." Alex mumbled. He flexed his limbs again, felt his face as if he expected it to feel different from yesterday, and took a deep breath. "I think I'd like to stand up," he said.
Isabel and Maria supported him on each side and began to help him up. Almost immediately, Alex felt faint. "Wait! Help me down again. I can't do this yet."
They lowered him back to the sleeping bag and Maria handed him some water. "Just rest, Alex. Don't rush this."
"Really, I feel okay. Just very weak. Why don't you all get some air. I'm just going to rest a while. I could use some quiet."
Michael put his arm around Maria and steered her toward the cave entrance. Tess tagged along behind Max. Isabel leaned up against a tree with her eyes closed. As Liz came out, she noticed Kyle standing off around the side of the cave. Max threw her a look, nodding toward Kyle. He wanted her to talk to him.
"Kyle? This is not the weekend we had planned for you. Are you okay?"
"Hey, Liz. Yeah, I'm okay. I've just been thinking. In fact, that's all I've been doing these last few days. Thinking. Everything's turned upside down, Liz. Everything I thought I knew about the world, about you, about my dad. Nothing is like I thought it was. I'm not sure what it all means. What am I supposed to do with this information? Where do I fit in?"
Liz smiled at her friend. Yes, she could call him friend now. He'd had a pretty wild shock, but he was handling it. He really hadn't done badly at all.
"I know what you mean, Kyle. It's a lot to deal with. But for what it's worth, I think you're doing great. Anything you want to talk about?"
"Yeah, actually." He looked embarrassed. "You've been Max's, ya know, girlfriend. Isn't it strange? I mean, are they the same as human guys? Weren't you weirded out to kiss him . . . or whatever else you did?"
"I don't know whether to slap you or laugh," Liz giggled. Then she got very serious. "Kyle, from the moment Max touched me, I knew there was something special for us. Of course we've kissed, and it's been completely normal . . . if you don't count the flashes."
"Well, yeah. When Max and I kiss, we see each other's thoughts, memories, feel each other's emotions. It's pretty intense. But the love, Kyle? The love is true and deep. It doesn't matter that he's . . . different. He completes me." She paused. "As for the rest, Kyle, I don't know yet. I may never know."
"Liz, Max told me earlier how much he loves you. Now you tell me you love him. What I don't get is why aren't you together?"
"We told you about the hologram-Max and Isabel's mom telling them about their destiny. I can't stand in the way of that. It's bigger than we are. It's something we have to live with. I just wish more than anything that I didn't have to."
Just then, a squad car pulled up.
|Part 1 | Index | Part 3|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|