|"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!
|I thought this saying fit the next couple parts of the story very well:
In each of us, two natures are at war-the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose-what we want most to be, we are. |
Liz stared at Max, an uncomfortable silence between them.
"So…" She said quietly, barely able to speak. She had expected this to be difficult, but just saying one word to him was nearly impossible.
He stood for a moment, just staring at her, realizing how much he had missed her in one day. His hands ached to hold her and his lips burned to touch her skin, "I am sorry I wasn't the one to tell you Liz. I wanted to tell you…everything first."
Liz tried to fight her emotion. If only he would stop staring at me like that! She thought desperately. "Well, Tess was pretty thorough." Liz said honestly, wanting to turn away from him.
Max cocked his head and a puzzled look crossed his face, "Tess? I thought Isabel told you."
"Yeah, Isabel did tell me, but I ran into Tess leaving the UFO Museum and she filled me in…about you and her." Liz took a big gulp of air, still trying to conceal her tears, "about your destiny."
"What about it?" Max asked, still confused, "You're not happy about the choice I made?"
Liz pressed her lips together until they started to turn white. She wanted to yell, no I am not happy! I wanted to be with you! But instead she said, "How I feel is unimportant, this is about you and her."
Something was definitely wrong, that he knew. "What did Tess tell you?" He asked, sure that she was the source of this misinformation.
Again, Liz said nothing for a moment. She lowered her head and covered her eyes with one hand. When she looked back up, Max noticed the difference immediately. Beside the fact that her face was unbelievably pale, he could see detached determination behind her eyes. The emotion was gone completely. "I saw you-and her-at the museum this afternoon. I overheard some things; she simply confirmed what I heard. I don't want to make this difficult Max; I don't want you to feel guilty about any of this. I am not mad any more, I understand that it was meant to be, that I was never really meant to be a part of your life."
Max's eyes grew huge, his mouth falling open in surprise. What is she talking about, he wondered. Max took several steps forward, and for each step he took, Liz moved back away from him, "I don't know what you are talking about! Not meant to be part of my life, Liz? You are my life! Whatever you saw this afternoon was not true!"
Liz held a quivering hand up and stopped him, "Max don't make this any harder! I know you are confused, I don't blame you. But I am not going to make you choose between her and me. I lost you once, I can't bear the thought of losing you again, so I am going to walk away and make the decision for you, I think it is the right decision too. Everyone has fought our relationship from the beginning. This goes back further than what I saw this afternoon too. You once said that we were not meant to be, that we didn't belong together-and you were right."
Max's eyes began to mist over and he choked back a sob. With his face twisted in pain, he pleaded with her once more, "Liz, what I want-"
She cut him off again, "That is just it Max, you don't know what you want. I think you need to take some time and figure out exactly what it is that you want, and the last thing you need is me hovering over you, pressuring you to decide."
Moving quickly, Max reached out and gently grabbed her arm. His heart was beating quickly against the pain that had begun to seep into his body, "What are you saying Liz, that we need a break?"
Liz twisted her arm out of his grip, "what I am saying is that we need to break up. You know it is the inevitable." She said quietly, crossing her arms over her chest.
Max was on the verge of losing control. He didn't know how to survive without Liz. "Is this what you want, what you really want-regardless of everything else?"
"What I want is irrelevant, it is what I know now. I know that you told Tess you were her destiny this afternoon, I know that she told me if I don't walk away from you, you'll stay with me, purely out of obligation-and I don't want that." Feeling the tears, Liz looked away from him and ran to the windowsill.
"Liz! That is not true! Look at me! Look in my eyes Liz and you will know that everything you just said is wrong!" He ran after her, prepared to do anything to make her understand.
Quickly, Liz slid through the window and took one final look at the most important person in her life, "Goodbye Max." She said, her voice trembling and cracking. Before he could say anything or make another move, she slammed the window shut and pulled the curtains. Slowly, she slid down the side of her wall, dissolving into tears.
Max tried to get to the window before she shut it, but he was too late. He knew he could open it if he really wanted to, but decided against that. He watched helplessly on the other side of the window as her eyes filled with pain. Then, she pulled the shades and she was gone. He sat there, on her balcony, waiting for her to open the window, to reconsider, but she never did.
Barely able to pull himself to his feet, he began walking toward the edge of the balcony to climb down. It was then that he saw her backpack next to the lounge chair. For a moment he tried to decide if he should just let things go, but his heart screamed No! at him. As raindrops fell from the sky, Max pulled Liz's diary from the bag. He flipped through the book until he came to a blank page. Not meaning to, his eyes caught some of the words on the last written page, which had been dated earlier that night. Tears ran down his face mixing with the rain as he read her words:
…may I find the courage to do what is right. I know I must let him go, even though he means everything to me. He once saved my life, now I must try to do the same for him. I love him that much…
Max removed the pen stuck between the pages, his hand shaking. Trying to keep the page dry, he hovered over the tiny book, holding the pen tightly in his fingers. Slowly, he began to write, words pouring out from his heart. *****************
Max walked home in a daze, not even noticing the rain that soaked his clothes. He had never felt so alone and empty. As he walked into his house and then into his room, Max's sadness turned to anger. He wasn't sure when the transition had occurred, but he could feel rage rising to the surface of his skin. He was mad at himself, but mostly he was mad at Tess. Max tried to rationalize his anger, knowing he was directing it at Tess because she was the obstruction between him and his ultimate fate: Liz. As he thought of the day's occurrences, he convinced himself more and more that Tess was to blame. Max knew she had had to say something to Liz in order to get such a strong reaction.
Making a quick decision, Max picked up his phone and began dialing a number that he knew, but had never actually called before. He waited, dripping wet, as the phone rang. He counted four rings before a familiar voice picked up.
Max skipped the pleasantries and headed right to the point, "What did you tell Liz?" He demanded.
"Max?" Tess questioned her voice hesitant, "Max what are you talking about, what is wrong?"
"What is wrong?" he reiterated in a barely controlled voice, "What's wrong is whatever you told Liz! I know Tess! I know she was at the museum this afternoon. What did you say to her?"
There was a long pause before Tess answered, her voice still timid, "Max, I just ran into her for a minute, I just-"
"Tell me!!!" Max screamed into the receiver, losing his patience.
Tess was taken back by the violence in his voice, "I told her the truth Max." She said, matter-of-factly.
"Whose truth Tess, yours or mine?" He asked, lowering his voice level, but not the severity of his tone.
"I told her what you are afraid to say. I told her what you are afraid to admit!" Now it was Tess's voice that began to rise.
"And what is that?"
"That you are an al-ie-n! You are never going to be human Max! Yet, you still try to deny who and what you really are! Until she lets you go, you are never going to be able to move on!" Tess spoke passionately, firmly believing that her words were truth.
The line was silent for a second, but then Max recovered from her statement, even angrier than he had been before, "I don't want to move on! I love Liz and I am never going to feel one fraction for you what I feel for her! Maybe I don't need you Tess; maybe none of us need you! You have done nothing but upset everything!" Max took a quick breath, making up his mind that instant, "In fact, maybe we should part ways and pretend that you never happened!"
"Do you think Michael is going to agree with that," Tess asked, her voice quiet, yet venomous.
"Don't try to use Michael! Don't even try to pretend you are his family! We are his family-not you!" Max gripped the phone so tightly his knuckles began to turn white and his voice quivered with anger.
Tess knew he was going to explode, she knew there was nothing she could say, that there was no way to do damage control. "Max I can't talk to you when you are like this. You are being unreasonable and unfair. I will talk to you when you decide to make some sense." With that, Tess hung up, not waiting to hear any more.
Max held the phone in his hand, shocked by the dial tone. He had never expected Tess to hang up on him. As he put the phone back in the cradle, he could not help but think that Tess had gotten the last word again.
Suddenly, Max felt loneliness washing up over him again. Not wanting to be alone, he quickly changed and headed to Isabel's room to take solace in his sister's company. ****************
Isabel laid her head on Max's shoulder, soaking in the closeness between them, enjoying the only moment of peace she had felt in days.
"Iz, are you going to tell me what is wrong? I can feel it, your pain, you know." Max told her quietly.
Lifting her head, Isabel looked into her brother's eyes, "I can feel your pain too. Well, I guess I will tell you mine if you tell me yours."
Max gave a brief nod in agreement.
"Michael and I kissed tonight." She blurted out. "We just wanted to know how it would feel."
"And?" Max urged.
"And I don't know!" Isabel said, exasperated. "I mean, it feels right and wrong all at the same time! I am so confused! I love Michael, as my brother, I never thought he would be anything else and now, I just don't know."
Max pressed his sister's head to his shoulder and held her tight, "I think you should follow your heart Iz. Maybe Michael is what is in your heart, maybe not. All I know is that this whole destiny stuff has turned our lives upside down, Tess has turned everything upside down."
"Now you tell me Max," Isabel said grabbing her brother's hand. She sat in silence as he recounted his day to her. When he was done, Isabel looked almost as angry as he felt.
"So neither of them will listen to you! What are you going to do?"
Max swallowed and sucked in a deep breath, "the only thing I can do Iz is try to make Liz understand. I need her now more than ever. Whatever this destiny thing is, it is not for me. I may be alien, but I am human too. Why should I just listen to my alien side? I know that Tess is behind most of Liz's doubts and I have to find a way to make Tess understand that there is nothing she can do to change my mind. I am so angry right now!" Max admitted, clenching his fist. "Tomorrow I am going to talk to Liz, and have a talk with Tess too! This has got to end, I can't lose Liz, and I think I might if I don't do something now. I suppose you think I should give Tess a try…"
Isabel shook her head, "I think you should do what you think is right. I know you love Liz; I know you always have. Of course I am curious to find out our alien side and I want Tess to be on our side-I mean she is Michael's sister-but not at the cost of your happiness. I will support whatever decision you make Max. So, if it is Liz you want, I say go after her."
Max smiled at his sister and gave her hand a squeeze before heading to the door.
"You do love her don't you Max? I mean, you could never feel complete without her, right?" Isabel blurted out as he turned the handle.
He turned and smiled again at his sister, "Yes I love her, without Liz, my life has no meaning, alien or otherwise." His words were quiet and Isabel knew by the sound of his voice that he really believed what he was saying.
"Then I say forget destiny."
Max ran back to the bed and gave Isabel a quick hug. "Thanks, " he whispered, "Your support means a lot. You will get through this too. Things will work out, for both of us." With that, he shut her door and walked back to his room, already planning what he was going to say to Liz--and Tess. ******************
Michael moved through the darkness quickly and approached Tess's house quietly. As he headed for her front door, he thought of Isabel and their kiss. It had been…nice. There was only one problem with it, that Isabel wasn't Maria. And, although deep inside the moment with Isabel had felt right, his heart had screamed out that it was wrong. What he needed now were answers--Michael hoped that Tess would have some for him. After all, she was his sister. He shook off the strange sensation he got when he thought of her as his sibling and walked up Tess's front steps.
He felt odd, standing on her porch. His hand quivered next to the bell and he pulled away before ringing it. He could hear Tess's voice inside and stepped back off the porch and cautiously walked around the side of the house. Although most of the house was dark, one window glowed with light. Michael, standing up on his toes, peered into it. He could see Tess standing in the kitchen with a man he guessed was her "father". Curiosity piquing his interest, he listened to their conversation through the open window.
"So, what you are saying is that it has to be soon." Mr. Harding said, sitting across the table from Tess.
"Yes! I thought today would make things better, but it didn't! Max still won't let go of Liz and as long as he has her, he will never follow me." Tess paused and then slammed her fist down on the table, "damn her!" She shouted.
"Is there anything else we can do…" Mr. Harding suggested as Tess shook her head.
"No, there is nothing else! And he keeps building up his guard! You know, with the pills it use to be easy to get inside his head, but now he is starting to be able to unconsciously block me! Maybe if you guys had given me the dosage that I had asked for, I would have been able to control him better!" Tess glared across the table and pushed back her chair. "But now it doesn't matter! Mind control is not going to work forever! Some of the things we need him to do must be willingly."
"And you're sure he won't help us in any way?" Harding questioned.
Frustrated, Tess put her hands on her hips, "No he is not going to go along with us! In fact, after the phone call I got from him this evening, it will be a miracle if I can get him to even trust me even a little bit. We are in trouble, serious trouble!"
"What if we did give you more pills to increase your abilities, would that help to break him down?"
Again, Tess shook her head, "I don't think that is going to matter any more! Even if I can control him again, it won't be long enough to do us any good. Besides, Max has already started to distrust me, so I don't even know if I could control him anymore! What are we going to do?!" Tess asked desperately. "Without Max, everything is ruined! We need him! I need him! I am not going to let the person I have been waiting for my entire life slip away! You guys promised that if I helped, Max and I would be together in the end!" Tess's voice began to rise and tears glistened in the corner of her eyes.
Harding held up a hand to calm her, "the plan will not be ruined. One way or another, we will get Max Evans. You know that after we make him understand, that he will be yours, so just calm down! I know that we are running out of time and that things are not going as planned. I think it is time to call you-know-who."
Tess nodded and reached for the cell phone in her pocket. She dialed quickly and waited for the voice on the other end to pick up.
"This is Tess, we have problems. Let me put Bello on the phone." Tess passed the phone to the man Michael thought had been Mr. Harding. Quietly, he tried to move closer to the window to hear the phone call. Peering up into the window, he jerked his head down as Tess looked over.
Tess, goose bumps popping up on her skin, looked toward the open window. She almost felt as though someone was watching her. She tried to probe the environment around her, to see if she could pick anything up, but without medication to strengthen her powers, she could sense nothing. Still, she felt a chill and moved over to the window and closed it with a thud. Then, she went back to listening to what Bello was saying on the phone.
Michael ducked below the window as Tess closed it and stood frozen until he was sure she was gone. Michael thought how odd it was that he could almost feel Tess's paranoia through his own skin, he wondered if Max and Isabel had the same connection. Waiting for the coast to clear, Michael snuck out to the street and began jogging to the nearest pay phone. He had to call Max and Iz and tell them what he had heard. The information was finally sinking in and Michael was practically in shock. Tess was nothing like she had been appearing to be. She had been lying to him this whole time, as so many others had in his life before her. Family she definitely was not, and now that he knew that, he needed to protect those that were the closest thing to family he knew. ****************
Max heard his answering machine beep as he entered his room. Pressing the rewind button, he couldn't help but hope for Liz's voice; instead it was Michael's that filled his ears.
His voice sounded urgent, "Max, this is Michael! I just came from Tess's and I overheard her talking with some guy. Max all that stuff she is doing to you; it was mind control. She is using some kind of drug to enhance her power! She said that they are going to have to move forward with their plan-whatever that might be-very soon! She says she can't control you any more and Liz is messing things up! She is definitely not what she appears to be! There is more, I think we all should have a little talk with Tess--and soon--she is up to something! I will call as soon as I get home, I think you guys better come over tonight!"
Max listened as the machine began rewinding. Running to Isabel's room, he grabbed her as she protested and made her listen to the message. As it clicked to an end, she looked up to her brother, fear covering her face, "oh my God Max."
"I know." He said quietly. "At least now we do know." He said nothing for several minutes before he slammed his hand against the wall, "mind control!" He yelled, no longer able to hold in his anger. "Everything I thought I was feeling was a lie! And Liz-" He stopped in mid-sentence pain gracing his face.
"I know Max!" Isabel said, taking his hand in hers. Together, they both stared at the phone, waiting for Michaels call. ****************
Max jumped as he heard the answering machine click on. Glancing at his watch, he realized Isabel and him had been asleep for the last hour. Looking at his sister quietly sleeping on his bed, he headed to pick up the phone and froze.
"Is someone there? Max, if you are home, please pick up! Please!"
It was not Michael, but Tess. He continued to stand there as she kept talking, "Max, I am stranded out on the old highway! I think someone is following me! Please Max! If you just help me, I will do what you want! I will-"
Max picked up the receiver, keeping his voice quiet, as to not wake Isabel, "I am here Tess."
"Max!" She sighed, "thank God!"
"What do you want?" He asked.
"I need you! I need you to come get me! My car broke down out on the old highway by the radio tower. This car keeps driving past me, I think they are following me!" Tess's voice began to get louder, and Max knew she was about to panic.
"What were you doing out there in the first place?"
Tess was silent for a moment, then answered quietly, "I was thinking-about you and me, about what you said earlier."
"You are right Max." She answered in a whisper, almost so softly he couldn't hear. "About Liz, about me, about everything! What I did was so wrong! Max, I just want you to be happy! If Liz makes you happy, then I guess that is who you should be with. I was hoping we could stay friends Max, good friends."
"Really?" Max asked doubtfully, Michael's conversation running through his mind, "when did you suddenly have this change of heart? Why should I believe anything you say?"
"Max, please! I promise I will explain everything to you! I don't want you to hate me! Just give me a chance to explain! But please, will you just come get me? I am scared and I have no one else to turn to."
Max was going to say no, even though she sounded like she was on the verge of tears. He wanted to help her, but couldn't forget about what he had learned. Forming a plan in his head, he made up his mind, "Tess, I am on my way. You have a lot of explaining to do! I will be there shortly."
"Thank you Max! What about Isabel, is she coming?"
"Should she?" Max questioned.
"Oh, no! I would prefer it if it was just you. It is going to be hard enough to explain to you, I don't think I could stand Isabel hating me too. Maybe once you understand, we could tell her and Michael together."
"Fine." Max said, trying not to let the anger inside him seep into his voice.
"Okay, well, please hurry Max! I knew you would come."
"Goodbye Tess." Max hung up the phone, glad to no longer hear her voice echoing in his ears. Picking up a piece of paper next to the phone, he wrote Isabel a short note, instructing her to go to Michael's and wait for him bring Tess. Grabbing the keys to the jeep, he swept back a piece of his sister's hair from her face and left the room. ****************
Max saw Tess standing by the road immediately. The glow from the full moon almost made it light enough that he didn't even need his headlights. Pulling off the road, he jumped out of the jeep and walked about 15 feet to where she was standing.
"Lets go, get in the jeep. We will come back for your car tomorrow." Max said quickly, reaching for her hand, but then changing his mind and just motioning for her to follow.
"No Max!" She protested, reaching out to grab his arm, "we need to talk first, right here, right now. I need to make you understand."
"You can make me understand in the jeep, lets go."
Tess shook her head and pulled his arm tighter. "No! Please Max! I know you are really mad at me, because you think I ruined things for you and…and Liz, but I didn't. You were meant to be with me. It is our destiny. Together we can be stronger than ever!"
"Tess, just stop! STOP! We already talked about this, we-"
"NO Max! I know you felt it! You know we were meant to be together! You even admitted that you felt our connection!" Tess reached out to grab his other arm, but Max turned suddenly to her and grabbed her forcefully.
"Mind control Tess! You put everything I felt into my head! I know!" Anger poured out of him, and Max began to lose complete control.
"What are you talking about?" Tess asked.
Holding her with one hand, he dug his other hand into her jeans and in the second pocket, pulled out a little green pill. Tess tried to fight him, but once he held the pill, he pushed her away. "I know what this is!" Max yelled at her, squishing the soft tablet in his hand.
"No Max! It wasn't all mind control! I just had to make you see! The connection we felt at the lab that day--that was real! We have so much power together! And those pills can do wonders for your powers! The men who raised me have learned amazing things! They can help you! I can help you!"
"I don't want your help! Or theirs!" Max spat at her, as the green liquid from inside the pill ran down his hand, "I don't want to be something I am not! How can you even pretend to care about me and do this to me, to Iz, to your own brother-if that is even true!"
Tess reached out to touch Max, but he pulled away. Walking straight up to him, she looked into his eyes, "I have never lied to you Max, never. I want to help you. My friends want to help you. There is so much you can learn, so much you don't know. I can lead you."
"Like I would follow you!" Max answered, being brutally honest. "If helping me makes me end up like you, I want no part of it. I don't care how much power I can have."
"Max please!" Tess begged. "You know, I picked you. I could have chosen Isabel or my own brother, but I chose you to tell, to help first because we were meant to be. If you would just give me a chance, I could help you see and feel things you never thought you would! These men can help you. Trust me. It will make things so much easier. Together, them and me can give you everything! You will know everything."
Max stood for a moment, saying nothing. He took a long look at Tess and whispered one word, "never!" With that, he turned from her in disgust and began walking back to the jeep.
"Max, they are going to get you one way or another! It will be easier if you would let me help you! Please reconsider!" Tess called after him, jogging over to catch up with him.
Max kept walking.
"Max please accept my offer! This is your last chance!" Tess yelled out, keeping an even pace with him. Without so much as a look, Max kept walking. Tess stopped and let him get about six feet from her, "I tried to help you! I would have done anything to help you! Now it is out of my hands!" She threatened. A minute later, Max understood what she meant.
Two men seemed to come out of nowhere. The next thing Max knew, they were forcefully holding his arms behind his back. He struggled against them until he saw a third man carrying a syringe head toward him. For a moment his body went limp, then he began fighting against his captors. Chaos seemed to be everywhere. He felt the syringe enter his arm and reflexively, he pulled back, knocking the needle to the ground, liquid still pouring out of it.
"Did you get enough in him?" The man to his left asked, breathing heavily as he tried to keep Max restrained.
"I think so!" the doctor snapped, pulling the needle from the ground. "I will be waiting back at the van. Bring him quickly, I don't know how long the solution will work."
"Wait!" Tess protested. "I want to talk with him! Maybe I can still get to him before Pierce gets here!"
Max's head flipped up to look at her, "You and Pierce are together…" he asked, astounded.
Tess walked over to him, gently smoothing his bangs, "Pierce is not bad Max. He just wants some answers. He can help us! He helped me. They just want to run some tests, try to help us figure out who we are."
"Dissect us you mean!" Max spat back, still unable to grasp the concept that she was working with Pierce.
"No Max! He can be an ally. He can help you with your powers, maybe even help us with the orbs. He can protect us!"
"Protect me from who?! I need protection from him!" Max said in disbelief, "Tess, he wants to hurt us! Control us!"
Tess took a step back, but kept a hand on Max's shoulder, "Eventually you will see that you are wrong. There is no point in discussing this, Pierce will be here any minute. Max, I am doing this to help you, to help us. This would all be so much easier on you if you would let me help!"
Max shook his head violently as Tess frowned and began to walk away. He watched as her eyes followed a car driving up, leaving a trail of dust along the road, "Maybe you will change your mind Max. I will be there when you do. I will do my best to comfort you after Pierce starts the…well, after you start the tests. I love you."
Max felt the two guards loosen their grip as he stopped fighting them. Feeling his strength return, he knew he had to make a run for it. Counting to three, Max pulled free and began running, his life depending on it.
"Get him!" Pierce barked, stepping out of the car and pointing toward Max. Immediately, the agents began closing in on him.
Max ran as fast as he could, still feeling the drugs from the injection pumping through his system. Looking around, he knew he was trapped, unless he could get to the jeep. Running towards it, he reached in his pocket for the keys. Searching frantically, he pulled his empty hand out of his pocket. Turning quickly, he saw the agent to his left smile as the keys dangled in his hand.
Jumping into the jeep, he tried to use his powers, but all he could do was make the ignition spark. The drugs had messed them up! Reaching over, he grabbed Liz's Biology book and took off running again as the agents began closing in behind him.
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