|"Darkness & Light"|
Disclaimer: I do not own them in any way or form! They are the property of The WB, Melinda Metz and Jason Katims.
Summary: The story begins a couple days after Crazy. It would probably help to read the previous parts of this fanfic first!
Authors Note: Feedback: Yes, please! I welcome any kind of feedback! I want to thank everyone for the feedback on the previous parts!! Thanks—you give me a reason to write!
|“Liz,” Max whispered softly to himself, reality setting in. Without even a glance back at Tess, he took off through the doors. |
Liz, her arms wrapped tight around her body, stepped out from the darkness of the school. The shock was hitting her full force now. She could feel the pain welling up from her heart. Tears ran down her checks. Tears of anger, betrayal, confusion and sadness. Bowing her head, to let them fall off her face, she felt a hand on her shoulder, quickly, Liz whirled around.
Max stood face to face with her now. He let his hand fall off of Liz’s body. He didn’t know what to say, how to explain the things he had just heard and felt. “Liz…” He begged.
She shook her head defiantly, “Don’t Max!” She managed between gasps of air, “Don’t even bother to explain; there is no justification for what I just saw! To think I came here to try to work things out, how blind I have been!”
“You don’t understand!” Max pleaded, wanting to reach out for her, but knowing better.
“I understand plenty Max! What more could there be to understand?!” Liz was almost sc! reaming now. Wiping away the last remnants of her tears, she took a step closer to him, staring directly into his lying eyes.
Max turned nervously to the basketball court about 20 feet away, afraid that the guys playing might overhear. Lowering his voice, he searched for any kind of sympathy in Liz’s face, “Liz, there is a reason for all of this.” He paused, taking a deep breath, “Tess is like me, in fact, she was made for me.” He waited for Liz’s reaction, but the response was beyond anything he could have imagined.
The words hit Liz hard. After all they shared, he was telling her it was Tess he wanted, it was Tess whom he thought was his destiny. Part of her wanted to know what she had done—or not done—to push Max into Tess’s arms. But, part of her just wanted to hurt him, like he had hurt her, and that is the part that came out.
Liz slapped him. It was a good, hard open-handed slap that caused her! hand to sting afterward. Max was taken aback. He just stood there in shock, not even reaching up to touch his face, which was now turning red.
Liz took a step back, almost not believing she had done it, but once the rage started to pour out, she could not stop it. “So Max, was it just the thrill of the chase? You know, once you got me, it was all over?” She didn’t wait for a reply, “Kyle was right—out with the old, in with the new. Did you ever really feel anything for me Max—or was it all lies?”
“Liz, you just don’t understand what I am saying, but you have to believe me when I say—“
Liz cut him off, not wanting to listen any more, “Oh I believe you Max, I believe you are a liar, and a manipulator.” Liz took a few more steps back before facing him again. “Then again, I should have known better, I mean, you aren’t even human.”
That did it and she knew it. She saw his dark eyes cloud over. Liz had known that was one of his biggest fears, the way others saw him. She could see the pain in his face. Part of her wanted to run to him, tell Max that she didn’t mean it, but those emotions fell away when Tess stepped out of the school doors. Liz looked from him to her. “Goodbye Max,” she said, her voice starting to crack. Liz turned and, for the second time in two days, began running away from Max.
Kyle watched from the basketball court as Liz and Max fought. Grabbing his bag, he ran off the court, signaling for Pauly to take his place, “I’ll be back in a few minutes!” He yelled, jogging after Liz as she retreated toward the parking lot.
Max watched Kyle go after Liz. He wanted to go after her so badly, but knew it would do no good. Liz’s words had stomped on his heart, exactly what she had planned for them to do, he guessed. He knew they would have to talk, he would explain everything to her—even if he had to hold her down—and then maybe she would come back to him. Right now though, he needed some answers.
Max turned to Tess, his face completely unemotional, “I think you better start explaining right now!”
Liz turned to him, prepared to tell him to go away, but found herself running to him and hugging him tightly. She dissolved into tears, letting it all out.
Stunned, Kyle just held her for a minute, then took her to his Mustang. He had never seen her like this before, she was practically in a daze.
“Liz?” He asked, driving out of the lot, “where do you want me to take you? Do you want to go to my house?”
“Just take me home.” She said, not looking up, her voice quiet and gravelly.
Feeling the car come to a stop, Liz looked up to see the blinking Crashdown s! ign. With out so much as a look, she got out of the car and went inside.
“Are you sure you don’t want a ride?” Maria asked, untying her apron.
Michael hesitated, then nodded. “Sure, I mean Iz is suppose to pick me up, but I can catch a ride with you, you wanna go hang out at my place?” He asked nonchalantly.
Maria smiled at him, she knew what he meant, “Sure.”
Michael couldn’t help but stare at her, and she looked back, the same sparkly look in her eyes. Unfortunately, the moment was broken all too soon.
Liz pushed open the Crashdown door and saw Maria standing by the counter with Michael. Immediately, she went to her best friend.
“Oh my God! Liz!” Maria exclaimed hugging her tight. She had never seen Liz so upset. Maria looked over at Michael, who gave a he! lpless shrug. “Liz, what is wrong?”
Liz wiped her face with the back of her trembling hand, “M-Max.” She managed to say, before dissolving into tears again.
Michael, looking around the room, gestured to the back room and Maria half-dragged, half-carried Liz back there, Michael trailing behind them.
Maria firmly grabbed her friend, “Liz, you need to tell me what happened, what about Max?”
Liz took a couple deep breaths and dried her eyes once more. “Max and Tess…”
“What about them?” Michael asked, worrying that the plan had gone wrong.
“They are together.”
Maria shook her head, as if the words were foreign, “What do you mean, ‘they are together?’”
Liz looked at Maria, then Michael, “I caught them kissing. When I asked Max about it, his exact words were, ‘she is like me, in fact, she was made for me.”
Maria stood there stunned. Michael grabbed Liz’s arms, “what else happened? What else did he say?”
Liz shook her head, “nothing else, only that I didn’t understand.”
“Where is he?” Michael asked, his voice desperate.
“At the school.” Liz replied, confused by Michael’s reaction.
Michael looked at Maria as he headed for the door, “I have got to go.”
“Where are you going?” Maria asked, following him out front. It was too late though. He was already out the door and into the Evans’ car. Maria watched helplessly as Isabel and him sped off. Sighing, she walked back to the back room. She knew Liz was going to need a lot of comfort and there was no one for her to lean on now.
Max ripped himself away from gazing at Tess to see Isabel and Michael pull up in his mom’s car. He knew the minute Michael started heading toward him that things were about to get intense; Isabel had to run to keep up with his stride.
Michael gazed at Max, but his eyes locked on Tess. He reached out to grab her arm forcefully, “What is going on? What did you do to him?” Tess wriggled under the pressure.
Max intervened, separating the two, “Michael, she didn’t do anything to me, not really. She is part of us, one of us.”
Isabel’s mouth dropped open as Michael’s mind was trying to process the explosive information. All four of them stood in silence and understanding.
“I think we need to talk about this, now.” Max said, turning toward Tess. They all mutually agreed, although Tess seemed a little reluctant.
As the four of them piled into the jeep, Tess pushing her way into the front seat, Max drove to the cliff.
“Are you gonna tell us or what Tess?” Michael urged, not so gently.
Giving a brief nod and swallowing hard, Tess began, “You all must realize that there was a fourth pod by now, my pod. When I was…born, the three of you were already gone. I was found by a man and some of his…friends. They have been taking care of me ever since. I have been looking for all of you for such a long time!” She looked at the three of them, her gaze fixing on Max.
Realizing she had stopped talking, she cleared her throat and kept going, “Anyway, we were able to uncover a lot about the crash. There are books—although in our native language—it is possible to translate some of it. There is also other information that was found on the ship. I know you guys have one of the orbs, well, we—me and the men that have been helping me—have one too.”
Michael took a step forward, “You have the other orb?! We need to put them together!” After a moment, his eyes became suspicious though, “And how exactly did you get your hands on this orb? Topols—someone else told us they had it.”
Tess gave her best smile, “Michael, I think there are more than two orbs--who knows how many are out there--and we will put them together, all in time.” Confident that Michael was satisfied with her answer, she kept speaking, “I knew I had to find you guys, the four of us—“
Impatiently, Michael interrupted again, “Tess, are you going to tell us where we are from? What this information you got says?”
Both Max and Isabel nodded.
“Alright, here it goes, “ she said, bracing for the shock she knew would come. “We are not pure aliens. The people on our planet are not like us, we were made…special. We are part alien, part human—a mix. Whoever created us tried to make us appear human—only not.”
“What do you mean exactly?” Max asked, excitement building behind his voice. He was finally going to find out exactly what he was.
“Ok, imagine that humans are television sets.”
Michael balked at her analogy, but she kept going. “Humans would be like TV sets from 50 years ago—you know, just a couple of channels, black and white—that sort of stuff. But we are like a TV set from today. We can do all kinds of things that were never imagined back then. We have hundreds of channels, and can adjust the picture and all of that. We have all these abilities, but we look like the sets from back then. Does that make sense?”
Mulling it over and deciding that the synonym between them and TV’s was actually a good one, Michael nodded along with the rest of the group.
“So,” Tess continued, “we are more like a new species—not human, but not like our planet either—although we carry a lot of their traits too.”
“Like what?” Isabel asked softly, wondering what her insides looked like.
“Well, for one, our powers. We have amazing capabilities--most of which we probably don’t even realize. We also inherited their life cycle.” She threw a glance Max’s way, “This is what I was trying to tell you Max. We were made to be partners in life.”
“Like an arranged marriage?” Isabel asked, not understanding Tess’s puzzling words.
Tess shook her head, “no, not like that at all. We do not choose our partners as humans do. With humans, it is left to chance; our mates are predetermined. Our partner is selected in our genes. Before we are even born, we know who that other person is going to be. We are, in the strictest form of the word, made for each other. On our planet, every couple has one pair of offspring. Each of those children is born with a gene that says who their mate is going to be, and their significant other mirrors that gene.”
“I understand that,” Max said, his voice shaking at the truth, “but what do you mean by ‘one pair of offspring?’ Each couple is only allowed two children?”
“Not exactly,” Tess said, knowing the secret she was about to reveal. “It is also predetermined that all offspring are born in twos. The beings from our planet, their bodies are only meant to produce two children. It would be like everyone having twins, it would be the norm. Our planet consists of two sexes, just like here, and there is always one male and one female born. She glanced at Max and Isabel and gestured to them, “Look at you guys. You are that pair. The only difference is that instead of being completely alien, your genes were spliced with human ones.”
Max and Isabel reached down and held each other’s hand. Meanwhile, Michael continued to look confused. “I don’t understand,” He said to Tess, “Where is my other half then?”
Tess took a step forward and touched Michael’s arm. Immediately, he could feel a stream of electricity running through him. “I am your sister Michael,” Tess proclaimed.
She waited for the silence and shock to pass. Michael stood there, at a loss for words. “I have never had any real family before.” He said quietly, emotionally.
“Michael, we are all your family now.” Tess professed. “The predetermined pairs I was talking about, well, there is a reason me and you and Max and Isabel were! sent together. Max is my destiny, as Isabel is yours.”
Again there was silence.
Tess spoke quietly this time, “I also think there was a special reason they sent us four. I think we are very special.”
“So, we are the only ones? What about Nasedo?” Max asked, unconsciously moving to stand between Michael and Isabel.
“There were others on our ship Max, people that were actually from our planet. I think there must be more of us too, although I can’t be sure. This other alien—Nasedo—I don’t know who he is. You three are the only ones I have met.”
“Why are we here?” Max asked, almost pleading for the answer that he had wondered about for eight years.
Tess shook her head, “I don’t know exactly. I know our planet is in trouble. I don’t know anything else, I am hoping that maybe the orbs will tell us. I think the four of us have immense power and should be able to use them with no problem.”
Michael finally spoke, his voice hoarse, “What makes you think we are so powerful Tess? I mean, to be honest, I am not that good at using my powers.” He looked to the ground, almost embarrassed.
“That is because you don’t know how to use them. I have learned all kinds of things I can show you guys. We are powerful Michael.” Tess stopped and moved to stand directly across from Max. “Close your eyes,” she demanded, shutting hers. As soon as they all did, each one of them felt a cord connecting them, power surging all around them. Finally, Tess’s lids fluttered open, “You could feel it huh? We complete the four directions.”
Max was confused for a moment, but then a strange understanding came over him. He looked to his right, where Michael was standing, then to his left, where Isabel was. Finally he looked at Tess directly across from him. North, East, West and South,” he said, pointing to himself, Isabel, Michael and Tess.
For a moment, they all just stood there, but, feeling almost overwhelmed, Max stepped back, breaking the connection. “What else can you tell us?”
“Not much.” Tess replied, walking over to Max’s side. “I know our powers work best when we are all in harmony.”
“What about these guys that found you, raised you, what do they know?” Michael asked abruptly.
“They know I am an alien. They have been helping me the last eight years. They are not out to hurt anyone. But don’t worry, I won’t tell them about you guys until you feel it is safe.”
Isabel gently leaned on Michael, all of the surprises of the day taking their toll. Awkwardly, Michael held her close. Taking notice, Tess moved in to touch Max. She brushed against him, hoping he would hold her.
Max stood there for a moment, absorbing everything he had learned. Finally, he knew something--it was a start at least. Inside, his emotions fought his alien genes. As Tess hugged him, he stepped away from her. Yes, he could feel a connection with her and the power the group emanated was amazing, but it just felt so wrong. She just didn’t fit in his arms like…like Liz did.
The memories from earlier in the day began attacking his mind. For the briefest moment, while Tess had been giving them their history lesson, he had forgotten about her, about what happened; but now the memories flooded his mind. It was too much to take in. He needed some time to deal with all of this, sort everything out. Standing alone, he finally spoke, “I think I need some time to soak all this in. I need some time to think. It has been a really long day, I think maybe we all could use some time.”
Everyone but Tess nodded. Michael, his hands on Isabel’s shoulders, guided her back to the jeep. Max began walking behind them. He realized after a few steps, that Tess was not following. He turned to see her frozen in her place, a lost look on her face. They stared at each for a moment and Max waited while Tess caught up to him. Together they walked to the jeep. Max knew Tess wanted him to take her hand, but something inside of him violently rejected the idea.
Once inside the jeep, Max drove away from the cliff, knowing that the point of no return had been reached. Now, there was no going back, his past was just about to meld with his future and he had to learn all he could. Tess broke his train of thought.
“So, I suppose we should get together, see what we can do, what else we can find out.”
All of them nodded, but her gaze was locked on Max. When she spoke, it was directed toward him, “I will get in touch with you tomorrow and we can set something up.”
Max just nodded, still not fully over the shock--none of them were.
Michael looked at the girl in the front seat and couldn’t believe it was his sister. He also looked at Max and Isabel. Tess was right, he did finally have a family. Michael knew things were about to get complicated--he hated complicated.
“Hey, am I interrupting?” Isabel asked, entering her brother’s room.
Max looked up, shaking his head and patting the bed. Isabel took the invitation and sat down next to her brother. He knew she needed to talk, and he did too. After they had dropped Tess off, Max had given the keys to Isabel and urged her and Michael to talk about their supposed destiny. Max had walked home, hoping it would clear his thoughts.
“So, what’s up?” He asked, not wanting to push.
Isabel sighed, her eyes full of concern, “Michael and I decided to tell Maria and Alex. I mean, they deserve to know. Besides, they would find out sooner or later.”
“So, you and Michael have decided to be…together, you have accepted your alien destiny?”
Isabel shook her head, “No. I mean, I love Michael, but not like that, I mean, maybe I do. I am not sure what I feel. But I know how he feels about Maria. I don’t want him to feel obligated to be with me because of this destiny thing, if he wants to be with me, I want him to really want it, you know, in his heart. Plus, there is Alex to consider, I do like him…” she let her voice trail off.
“So, you are going to tell them, I think that is a good idea. I mean, they already know about us, they are going to figure out Tess sooner or later.” Max said the words, but his sister knew his mind was somewhere else.
“Liz.” Isabel said, stating his thoughts.
At the sound of her name, Max’s eyes fell to the floor, “Isabel, I have really messed things up.”
She took his hand, holding it tight, “Max, it isn’t your fault. You didn’t know about Tess, about any of this! How do you feel?” She prodded.
“I know I feel…something for Tess, I mean it is there, inside of me. But it is like an instinct, not really an emotion. But with Liz…”! He looked directly into Isabel’s face, “I love her.” He said quietly, confirming what Isabel already knew.
“I know you do Max. I know she feels the same way too. I think you should go talk to her, explain what is going on, explain about Tess. I am sure Liz will get over her pain and anger and come back to you.” Isabel paused for a moment, “if she doesn’t, she is a fool Max!”
He said nothing.
“Max, Liz is who you want, right?” Isabel questioned.
He vigorously nodded, “Yes! Liz is my whole world Iz. I just don’t want to hurt her and I wonder if this whole alien-human thing can really work. I don’t want her to waste her life on me.”
Isabel got up from the bed, heading toward the door, “Well, brother, that is her decision to make, although you will never know if you don’t go talk to her and work this out.”
“I will talk to her, tomorrow after work.” Max vowed.
“I wonder how Tess will take this.” Isabel thought aloud.
Max grimaced at the sound of her name, “I don’t want to hurt Tess either, but I still think we can be just as powerful without being…involved.”
“Max, I see the way she looks at you, I don’t know if she will accept that--I hope she will. I think the four of us could learn all kinds of things together, plus, I mean, she is Michael’s sister. I have never seen him so full of hope.” With that, Isabel left Max to be alone with his thoughts.
He laid on his bed for a long time before falling asleep. He was so conflicted. Max wanted to do what was best for the group, but could not stop thinking of Liz. He knew he would be no good to anyone if he lost her. She completed him, not Tess. He also figured if Michael could stay in a relationship with Maria and still be able to connect with Isabel, he coul! d do it too, or so he hoped. He prayed for a moment that Liz would understand and forgive him for today. With that, Max drifted off to sleep, trying to only think of Liz.
As the day continued on, Liz’s thoughts drifted toward Max. She had been up all night thinking and crying about him. She could not get the kiss out of her mind. She had hoped Isabel or Michael would tell her something, but they hadn’t. She couldn! ’t help but glance out the window and look over at the UFO museum. She knew Max was there, she had watched Isabel drop him off. Something big was going on, she just wished someone would fill her in. It seemed every beat of her heart whispered his name. Of course she was still angry and upset, but now she was also confused. Max had always seemed so loyal and dedicated to just her…
Liz’s head snapped up, her thoughts broken for the moment as Maria came into the Crashdown, looking completely dazed. Michael followed behind her, a frown frozen on his face. Behind him was Isabel and Alex was no where to be found. Maria walked by Liz, squeezing her arm as she made her way to the back, Michael still following her. Now Liz knew something was definitely going on, and no one was telling her a damn thing! She reached out and grabbed Isabel’s shoulder. “What is going on?!” She demanded.
Isabel looked at Liz, a sad smile on her lips, I think you should come to the back Liz.” Was all she said before disappearing through the back door. Liz signaled the other waitress to take her table as she slid the apron off and followed Isabel. Liz needed answers, she just hoped they were the ones she was looking for.
Isabel stood in the center of the room, with both Michael and Maria sitting on the couch in Liz’s living room. No one said anything for a moment, but then Isabel spoke, her voice shaky. “I take it Max has not been here to see you?”
Liz shook her head, her heart feeling a stab of pain just from hearing his name .
Isabel continued, “Well, everyone knows now, except you and we can’t wait any longer for Max.” Taking a deep breath, Isabel told Liz everything. Looking over at Michael and Maria, she even told Liz that they had decided not to follow their destiny.
Liz listened in a detached shock. Max’s words made sense now. She was, technically, made for him. Trying to accept the words coming from Isabel’s mouth, she just sat there, almost unable to move.
Maria, letting go of Michael’s hand, went to her friend, “Liz, are you okay?”
“I don’t know…” She said.
Maria smiled, “Well, that is a lot better than how I reacted!”
“How did you react?” Liz asked.
“I was scared, and angry and upset and…Liz, Michael and I are going to try and work things out, if there is hope for us, then you and Max should be a sure bet babe.” Maria smiled at Liz, giving her friend a warm hug.
“I don’t know Maria…” Liz whispered, drawing her legs up around her in the chair she was sitting in.
Isabel looked at both Michael and Maria, her eyes moving from them to the door. Michael got the hint. He moved to Maria, took her hand gently and urged her to leave Liz and go with him. She fought him at first, but then after he whispered in her ear, she nodded. Maria patted Liz’s cheek, “Everything will be okay.” She said reassuringly. Then, she left Liz alone with Isabel, hoping whatever she was going to say would fill Liz with hope and life once again.
Maria couldn’t help but feel bad about what she had said about Max yesterday—could it have just been just yesterday? She wondered—it was not his fault, not really. It was destiny. As she looked up at Michael, and then once more at Isabel before leaving, Maria wondered if it was possible to fight destiny, She didn’t know, but she was going to try. She hoped Liz would try too.
Once Isabel was alone with Liz, she cut right to the chase, “I think you should go talk to Max.”
Liz sat in silence, still trying to take it all in, “I just…don’t know Isabel. I mean, that kiss…”
Isabel moved next to Liz, kneeling down next to the chair. She stared right into her eyes. “Liz, Max wants to talk to you, but he is scared too. He doesn’t want to hurt you any more. But as far as Tess is concerned—he is probably going to kill me for telling you this—you have nothing to worry about, at least I don’t think so. When I talked to him last night--I mean he is confused--but you are the only one in his heart. It has always been that way, I don’t see it changing any time soon.”
“Really?” Liz asked quietly, a glimmer of hope shining in her brown eyes.
“Just talk to him. This whole thing is really…complicated. It always has been, it is just more complicated now. But now that you know everything, don’t you think he deserves a chance to explain what he is feeling? Max would never hurt anyone on purpose--we both know that. I doubt that eight years of feelings are going to be erased in two days. Please ! give him a chance and talk to him!” Isabel urged, helping Liz out of the chair.
“Okay,” Liz said, her voice still a little shaky, “I will go talk to him.”
“Now?” Isabel urged, “He is working until close tonight.”
Liz glanced over at the front door and thought about the restaurant.
“I am sure Maria and Michael can handle things.” Isabel said, reading her mind.
Finally, nodding, Liz gave in. She took off her apron and antennas and walked out the door, Isabel behind her. Isabel waited while Liz talked to Maria and then walked out of the Crashdown with her. Getting into the Jeep parked outside, she watched Liz make her way across the road to the UFO museum. Here is you chance Max, Isabel thought, don’t screw it up!
|Part 3 | Index | Part 5|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|