|"Common Bonds "|
Disclaimer: I don’t own nuthin’. (Tho I do now officially own my car, which is kinda cool. Heh.) |
Summary: A missing scene from Destiny. How did Liz and Tess end up in the Jeep together…
Authors Note: So this is the first time I’ve attempted a tag-type fic. I wrote this all in one day, mostly while I was at work. I’ve had writer’s block for three weeks, so this may suck really badly. Thanx, as always, to Addie, who is just the coolest chick on the planet. And thank you so incredibly much to Blanca, whose feedback on the initial draft changed the story drastically (and for the better, in my opinion).
|"…so I’ll head to the Valenti house and deal with the guy Pierce sent there." |
"Are you sure it should be you? Maybe I should…" Michael trailed off, apprehension clear in his eyes. The rest of the sentence wasn’t necessary.
A small smile played across Max’s lips as he squeezed Liz’s hand. "No, I’ll go. We’re drinking buddies, remember?" He was trying to put everyone at ease, playing it all off as a joke. As if Kyle wasn’t the biggest wild card in this whole somewhat dubious plan. No one laughed.
Liz glanced at each of the faces around her. The Sheriff looked older than she’d ever seen him. She could understand. Despite the problems between them, Liz knew that he loved his son deeply. Everything that mattered in Jim Valenti’s world was currently being watched over by men who had proven to have no mercy for people who got in their way. Nevermind the fact that the man’s whole world had been practically turned upside-down in the last two days. Another feeling she knew all too well.
She could tell Michael was tense, despite the seeming casualness of his posture. The arm that was wrapped around Maria’s shoulders was holding her tightly to his body, as if he was afraid to let her go. Maria was trying to look determined, but Liz had known her too long to miss the fear in her friend’s eyes.
Isabel was more openly worried, but she seemed to take comfort in Alex’s presence. Liz almost smiled at the way their hands seemed to find each other of their own accord. She knew Alex was scared and that being strong for Isabel was his way of coping. It had always been Alex’s style to put everyone else’s needs before his own.
And Max… Liz didn’t need to look up at him to know what he was feeling. The tension was evident in the rigidity of his body against hers, in the way his hand was practically crushing hers. That wasn’t the part that worried her. It was the anger. She’d never known Max to be so full of… rage was the only way to describe it. She could practically feel it boiling off of him and it scared her. Not of what he might he might do with it, but at what had caused it. She wasn’t sure she would ever get those images out of her head.
She shuddered slightly as the emotions that had accompanied the visions of Max in that room flooded through her once again. When the terror and rage hit her, she suddenly wasn’t sure if part of it might not be hers. She just didn’t understand how anyone could ever want to hurt Max Evans. And it made her livid to think that they had used her to do it.
Max pulled her closer to him and she knew he had felt the shiver that had run through her. She reveled in the feel of his arms around her. The cold terror and white hot fury of the visions was swept away by the comforting warmth of him. But as she snuggled into his embrace, not caring a bit what the others thought, her gaze fell upon the last occupant of the room. The face she had been trying to avoid. She didn’t miss the look that Tess was throwing in hers and Max’s direction, but Liz was startled to recognize a deep sadness there. It was quickly replaced by something else, something Liz couldn’t quite recognize, but which vaguely resembled determination.
What must it have been like to have been raised by Nasedo? Liz had witnessed first hand his callous disregard not only for human life, but for anything that didn’t serve his purpose. He was single-minded in his determination to accomplish his mission. What the mission was hadn’t been made fully clear, at least to her, but that didn’t seem to matter.
For the first time since Tess had come into their lives, Liz felt almost sorry for the girl. Max had told her that Tess had known only Nasedo. And although Liz tried not to think about it -- because she wanted to hate Tess, really, she did -- she couldn’t help but think that that must have been a tough way to grow up. She knew intimately the intense loneliness that Max had felt nearly every day of his life. But how much worse would that have been if he hadn’t had Michael and Isabel? If all he’d had to hold on to were distant promises of destiny made by an alien with no soul?
The subject of Liz’s musings had remained mostly silent throughout the planning session. When she finally spoke, her voice was firm, as it usually was, but there was a hint of something else. "Someone’s going to have to stay with me," she said, her blue eyes locked on Max’s face.
And Liz recognized that the hint of something else was pleading. She suddenly realized that she and Tess had something in common after all: both of them had been waiting their whole lives for Max. The only difference was that Tess had known all these years what she’d been missing, while Liz had had it right under her nose since the third grade and just never noticed.
Maybe she could make Tess understand what she and Max shared. She hadn’t been able to convince Nasedo, but he wasn’t like them. Tess was. She was more human than she wanted to admit, just like Liz’s three. She just wanted to be loved, to have a sense of belonging. A family. It was so clear now that Liz was amazed that she hadn’t seen it before.
"I’ll go," Liz heard herself say, without fully realizing she’d intended to speak. The tension in the room amped up a notch or two as seven pairs of eyes immediately locked onto Liz. If they’d thought Max rescuing Kyle would be awkward, she could only imagine what everyone was thinking now. She felt a wave of giggles threatening to burst forth, but she managed to push it back down with some effort. She didn’t want them to think she’d completely lost it.
Max was the first one to find his voice, mercifully ending the seemingly endless silence that had actually only lasted a moment. He turned her to face him and she could see the terror written in his eyes. "No. You should go to the museum with Alex and Maria."
Liz shook her head, gently resting one hand on his arm and squeezing his hand reassuringly with the other one. "Alex and Maria can handle that on their own. And Michael and Isabel have to play decoy. I’m the only one left."
Max glanced at the rest of the group above Liz’s head. When his eyes returned to hers, there was a desperation in them that tore at her heart. "I don’t want anything to happen to you." His voice was quiet, but Liz didn’t miss the slight tremble in it. She knew he was thinking about that image of her laying dead in the street.
She smiled up at him, warmed by his concern, despite the circumstances. "I’ll be fine. I promise." She locked her eyes onto his, trying to make him understand. She was sure that if she could just talk to Tess, she could make her see. And then things could go back to the way they’d been, when she and Max had been so blissfully happy that nothing else in the world mattered. "I promise," she whispered, kissing him lightly. With even that brief contact, she could feel the now familiar surge of electricity that his lips always brought race through her.
She pulled back and watched as a thousand thoughts ran through those amazing eyes. She could lose herself in his eyes forever. But not just now. They had things to do first. She had things to do first. She knew how hard it would be for him to let her do this. But she needed to. And it wasn’t just about talking to Tess. She’d felt positively useless as she’d watched Michael, Isabel, and Tess file out of the UFO Center yesterday -- was it really only yesterday? -- and she was going to make up for that by participating this time around. Even if it was only to sit in the Jeep while Tess did whatever the hell she was going to do.
Finally, he seemed to come to a decision. He nodded ever so slightly and then pulled her in for a long kiss. She could feel, actually physically feel, his soul-deep concern flood through her whole body. And there was love, so much she thought she might burst. Most importantly right now though, was the sense of understanding. He knew why she felt she had to do this and he accepted it. Just as he had always accepted everything about her.
"Okay," he said, his voice stronger than it had been a moment ago, even though Liz knew he was still worried. After taking another moment to compose himself, Max spoke to the Sheriff. "Are you sure you’ll be able to get Pierce to the museum?"
The man nodded slowly. "I’ll deal with Pierce. You just take care of my son." And with those few words, Liz knew, Valenti was entrusting Max with not only Kyle’s life but his own as well. She felt Max squeeze her hand and knew that he sensed it too, the importance of what the Sheriff was asking of him. And in return, Jim Valenti was offering them the full protection of the office of the Sheriff of Roswell, New Mexico. A chance to live with a sense of security that had been ripped away all those months ago. More security than the four aliens in the room had probably ever known.
A long moment passed as the two men comtemplated each other. "Let’s go," Max said finally.
No one said anything else as they filed up the stairs slowly, into the scorching summer sun of the New Mexico desert.
-- (Proud to be VG #10)
"You're the one, Liz. The only one. I could never be with anyone else." - Max, in episode "Tess, Lies, and Videotape"
"I guess these are the things you do when... when you feel a certain way about someone." - Liz, in episode "Blood Brother"
"Would that be, you know, alien normal, or just plain we're-the-subjects-of-an-FBI-manhunt normal?" - Alex, in episode "Crazy"
"Isabel, I meant what I said... about having somebody. I mean, everything gets easier once you're not alone." - Alex, in episode "Crazy"
|Index | Part 1|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|