FanFic - Max/Liz
"Darkness and Light"
Part 7a
by Mattia
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!
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
Yawning, Isabel sat up in Max’s bed and stretched her stiff arms as someone gently shook her. Looking over, she expected to find Max, instead, she saw Michael. For a moment, an awkward silence passed between them, then Michael spoke, “Didn’t you get my message? Where is Max?” He asked.

Isabel’s eyes darted around the room, then fell on Michael’s face, “Max was here a little bit ago. We were waiting for your phone call, we did get your message.”

Sliding off the bed, Isabel went over to the phone. Noticing a note pad with Max’s handwriting scrawled on it, she read it and handed it to Michael, who read it aloud, “Isabel, I will meet you at Michael’s. I went to go get Tess. We are going to get some answers right now! See you soon. Max.”

Seeing the red button flashing on the answering machine, Isabel hit it and listened as Tess’s voice came through the machine. Her and Michael listened as Max finally picked up the phone, “I am here Tess.” Max’s voice said as the answering machine clicked off.

“No!” Michael said furiously!

Isabel, getting extremely nervous, turned to Michael, “Michael, you better tell me everything right now!”

Turning to her with worried eyes, Michael told Isabel what he had seen and heard at Tess’s. “I think Max is in a lot of trouble! He should have been back more than an hour ago.”

“Oh God.” Isabel whispered, thinking of Tess and what she might do to him. Running over to her, Michael folded his arms around Isabel as she laid her head on his chest, “Oh God,” she repeated again as she realized how much danger Max could be in.

Every minute of the rest of the night seemed like torture. Isabel and Michael looked everywhere for Max or Tess, but neither could be found. In the morning, Isabel, Refusing to lie to their parents, had told them that she did not know where Max was. Michael and her seemed to be in the same position they had been almost twelve hours ago.

Pacing in her room, Isabel looked over at Michael, both of them starting to get really scared. “I know Tess has done something to him Michael, I can feel it. Something is not right! We have got to do something now!”

“I know Iz,” he replied quietly, taking her hand in his. “We better come up with a plan, and quick.”

“Liz.” Isabel whispered.

“What about her—besides the fact that I am over an hour late for work?”

“Liz might be able to help us! Her and Max have some kind of connection, she might be able to find him. Even if she can’t, we need all the help we can get.” Isabel looked up at him hopefully.

“Do you think she will help, after everything that has gone between her and Max and Tess?” Michael wondered, doubtfully.

Isabel let go of his hand and grabbed her jacket, “she loves Max, and she would do anything for him. Lets go.”

Together, the two left, headed toward the Crashdown.

Sighing, Liz began clearing dishes off of table three. Today was not her day. Stephanie and Michael had already decided not to show up for work, which left her, Maria, Jose and Agnes to pick up the slack. As Maria walked by, Liz tried to keep her head down, even though she knew Maria had already seen her puffy, red eyes. Last night had been the worst night of her life. She had not been able to sleep at all; all she had been able to do was cry about Max. Her heart felt so empty and he was all she could think of. It took every fiber in her body not to start crying every few minutes. Liz never knew love could hurt this badly.

Picking up a tub of dirty dishes, she headed to the back. Sliding them on the counter five at a time, her hands began to tremble as she looked around and remembered all the times she had spent with Max in this very room. Suddenly, her fingers let go of the dishes and several of them went crashing to the floor. Tears of frustration and pure emotion slid down her checks as she leaned down to start picking up the pieces.

“Let me help,” Isabel said, coming through the swinging door. Stepping in front of Liz, Isabel held her hands above the dishes and magically, the pieces began moving back together. A minute later, all five plates sat in a neat stack on the floor. Extending a hand, Isabel helped Liz to her feet and over to the sofa.

Liz looked around the room at Isabel, Michael, Maria and Alex. “What’s going on?” she asked.

Alex shrugged his shoulders, “hey I just came in for some lunch.”

Maria nudged Michael, urging him to speak. “Um, Liz…” he started out uncomfortably.

Liz looked over at him, frowning, “Michael, you realize you are late to work. If you are going to have a job, you probably need to show up.” She scolded, taking some of her anger and sadness out on him.

“It’s Max.” Isabel cut in.

“What about Max?” Liz asked, pushing several long strands of hair out of her face, “if you are looking for him, I suggest you go talk to Tess. Max and I are over.” Sniffing, she tried to hide her true feelings.

“You don’t understand!” Isabel said, her voice rising. “This is important! I know you still care about him! You are not fooling anyone!”

Standing in the middle of the room, Isabel told the others everything. She even told them about the private conversation her and Max had—minus the part about her and Michael kissing. She couldn’t help but look at Liz as she recounted his words.

As Liz heard Isabel’s story, tears ran out of her eyes. She did not bother to wipe them away. Max did love her! Everything with Tess had been a lie! But, Liz did not feel relief; she felt guilt and fear. Whatever happened to him was all her fault. Instead of setting him free, she had sentenced him, maybe to death. Max awoke completely disoriented, his eyes were heavy and his head was splitting. Every breath made his rib cage ache. Finally, after a few unsuccessful attempts, Max’s eyes fluttered open. The shock of the bright light made him blink repeatedly, until his pupils contracted. Still, the light made him squint. Max turned his head, first to the right, then to the left. All he saw was white—white walls, a white sink, a white toilet and white linoleum. Pulling his head up, he noticed the far wall was not white, it was…glass? Max could see it—it was there: a clear partition, separating the room in two. On the other side was a table with several chairs.

Max could feel his heart start to pound. Breathe, just breathe, he told himself. Max tried to roll over, and pain shot up his right arm. Looking next to the cot was an IV and inside the drip bag was an odd bluish liquid. Immediately, Max went to rip the IV from his arm and discovered he could not. Again, he tried to move—his arms, his legs, his abdomen and found that he was restrained.

Craning his head painfully to one side, he saw his body, and was terrified. He had been strapped naked to a bed and covered with a thin sheet. More horror than he had ever felt hit him. He tried to struggle as his mind went crazy. Every cell in his body began screaming with insanity.

Sucking in his breath, Max screamed out, “NOOOOOOOOO!” as violent seizures began taking over his body. Squeezing his eyes shut, Max welcomed the darkness and faded back into unconsciousness. “What are we going to do?” Liz whispered, looking tearfully at all her friends, “we have to find him.”

“Don’t you think we know that?!” Michael spat out.

“Whoa, everyone just calm down! I know emotions are running high, but getting upset is not going to help find Max.” Alex said, moving to stand between Liz and Michael. Taking a breath, Michael nodded an apology to Liz. “You said the message from Tess is still on his answering machine, maybe we should all listen to it, maybe it will give us a clue to his whereabouts.” Maria suggested, untying her apron and dropping it on the couch.

“I think that is a good idea.” Isabel said, not looking at Maria because she still was feeling guilty about the intimate moment she had spent with Michael--although she knew this was not the time to even be thinking of that.

“Right, lets go.” Liz jumped up from the chair and headed toward the door. Isabel grabbed her hand.

“Why don’t we give you and Maria a few minutes to change. We will meet you downstairs.” Motioning to Alex and Michael, the three of them left.

“Three minutes!” Liz called, practically running to her room, Max her only thought. As the five of them entered the Evans’ home, they immediately heard voices from the living room and headed in that direction. Isabel stopped dead in her tracks as she saw her parents sitting on the sofa, with Sheriff Valenti and Deputy Hanson next to them.

Diane looked up to see her daughter and her friends, “Honey I am so glad you are home!” Holding back her tears, she opened her arms, waiting for Isabel to come over and hug her.

Pulling out of her mother’s grip, Isabel looked around the room terrified as she glanced at some of the papers Valenti was holding, “what is going on?”

“We found your brother’s jeep a couple of hours ago. It was out on Highway 285. Do you know where we might find him?” Valenti asked, a look of genuine concern in his eyes.

Isabel shook her head, “Do you know what happened?” she asked softly.

Pursing his lips, the sheriff held out several papers to her, “I am afraid we don’t. There is no sign of a struggle, but it looks as though the jeep has been rifled through. That is a list of the items we found in it. We need to know everything you can tell us about Max and the last 24 hours.”

Looking around at the kids in the room, Valenti knew they were not going to volunteer any information, if they even knew any, which he figured they probably did. Letting a moment of silence pass, he started his questions, “I need to know who saw Max since last night and when.”

Both Liz and Isabel stepped forward. “I saw him yesterday evening, probably around nine.” Liz volunteered.

“I talked with him after he got back from Liz’s. In fact, I fell asleep in his room. When I woke, he was gone. That was probably around eleven, maybe midnight.”

“What did you two discuss with him? Did he say anything about leaving…” Valenti prodded.

“We just discussed our relationship.” Liz said, hoping Valenti would be satisfied with that; he wasn’t.

“What about it?”

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Liz tried to control her quivering voice, “we decided to spend some time apart.”

“Do you think he might have been so upset about the two of you breaking up that he would have left?”

“Absolutely not!” Isabel said, shaking her head and crossing her arms, “In fact, in the morning Max told me he was going to go back and talk to Liz. He would never have left anyway, that is not Max, Is it?”

Everyone in the room with the exception of Valenti and Hanson shook their heads to confirm their beliefs about Isabel’s statement.

“She is right Sheriff” Diane interceded, “Max would have never just left, especially alone. I think something awful has happened to him.” Starting to shake, she leaned against Phillip for support.

“Is there anything else—anything at all—that any of you can think of?” Valenti asked, looking around the room.

Liz wanted to say something so badly; she wanted to tell him more. They needed his help, but one stern look from Michael was enough to keep her quiet for the moment.

“Well, I will need statements from all of you and I would appreciate it if you would not go into his room until Hanson and I have checked it for any possible leads.”

Stepping forward to give her parents another hug, Isabel nodded along with the others. Then, they all headed up stairs. While everyone piled into Isabel’s room, she quickly slipped away into Max’s room to fetch the answering machine tape and rip off the paper with the note on it.

Grabbing the items she needed and looking sadly back at her brother’s room, she closed the door and snuck back into her own room.

While everyone waited, she slid the tape into a player and ran the message for everyone to hear. Liz couldn’t help but shiver when she heard his voice. As the tape clicked off, Isabel passed the note around.

“Something is not right.” Liz said, letting her fingertips move over his writing, “Valenti said the jeep was found on Highway 285, but in the message, Tess says she is stranded on the old highway.”

“You think someone moved the jeep?” Michael asked.

Slowly Liz nodded, “Yeah, I do. Whoever has him, must know people would look for him. What better way to throw us off of his trail.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Michael headed toward the door, “so far it is the only clue we have and if Tess really did lead him there and no one else knows that, then maybe there is still some clues out there.”

Following Michael’s lead, everyone filed out of Isabel’s room and headed for Maria’s Jetta in the driveway. As Liz passed Max’s room, she couldn’t help but stop and look in. She found the Sheriff staring back at her as he stood near Max’s bed. Looking away, Liz hurried to catch up to the others. Although none of them said a word, the silent prayers running through their thoughts were evident. There was nothing but silence in the car as Maria drove while the others looked out the windows. “How far are we going to go?” Maria asked, slowing down so the others could scan the landscape.

“We are never going to see anything from here.” Michael mumbled, rolling up his window, “the radio tower is just up ahead, why don’t we park there and look around. Then, we can drive a few more miles and look again.”

Nodding, Maria began pulling off the road as the radio tower came in sight.

“What exactly are we looking for?” Alex asked, stepping out of the car and moving so Liz could slide out.

“Anything that will help us find Max,” Liz answered, heading out into the desert. Valenti looked around Max’s room, searching for anything that might help him. Funny, he thought to himself, a few months ago he would have torn the room apart looking for proof that the boy was not of this earth, but now all he wanted to do was find him. Valenti couldn’t help but think of his own son and how the Evans’ must be feeling.

Making it over to Max’s desk, he picked up the phone and punched *69 to retrieve the last number dialed. Frowning, he pushed the receiver as an automated voice informed him the number was unavailable. Next, he pushed the redial. The phone on the other line rang and eventually Michael’s machine picked up—no help there. Putting the phone back in the cradle, Valenti tried the answering machine. The machine beeped at him and then went silent. Again, he pushed the play button and got the same response. Frustrated, he lifted the cover to reveal that there was no tape inside the machine. Now he was sure that Isabel and the others were hiding something. Looking around, he picked up a pad of paper next to the phone. The top sheet was blank, but it looked as though the previous sheet had been ripped off hastily. Picking up a pencil from Max’s desk, Valenti began rubbing it over the pad and slowly, words from the ripped off page began to appear. Reading Max’s letter to his sister, Valenti carefully ripped off the piece of paper he had filled in and stuck it in his pocket. Somehow, he had to get them to tell him what was going on. He was not sure who Tess was, but he was going to find out. Wiping sweat from her brow, Liz continued to look around the barren desert for anything that might be a clue. She was so frustrated, scared and exhausted, she wanted to just fall on the ground and cry, but knew she couldn’t. Liz had to be strong for Max. Shutting her eyes for a minute, she let her mind drift to Max. She thought only of him; his smile, his loving arms, his smooth voice…her thoughts were broken by Isabel’s shouts, who was standing about 30 feet from her, frantically waving something in the air. Liz, along with everyone else, began running toward her.

Out of breath, they all stood around Isabel, their hearts beating in apprehension as they waited for Isabel to announce what she had found. Looking directly at Liz, she pointed to a spot in the sandy ground next to a small bush and then brought her other hand out from behind her back to reveal a book.

Liz couldn’t believe it, it was her biology book! Taking it from Isabel she began to flip through the pages as Isabel explained, “I thought we might find that. It was not on the list Valenti gave me and I knew Max had it in the jeep, he had planned on giving it back to you days ago.”

“So, he was here.” Michael said, looking around the bush and picking up a pen that had been stuck in the book.

“Oh my God!” Liz screamed, the book trembling in her hands.

“What?” Alex asked, rushing to her side. Liz said nothing, but the look on her face spoke volumes. Taking the book from her, Alex looked at what she was staring at.

Color drained from his face as he looked back at the group, “it is a message from Max,” he said pointing to the hastily scribbled note on one of the pages. Clearing his throat, Alex read it, “’Help, captured! Tess and Pierce working together. Max’”

Instantly, Maria ran to Michael as she saw him start to crumble. “Pierce…” he whispered, leaning in close to Maria, glad she was there. Alex stood behind both Isabel and Liz as the two girls embraced, both of them sharing the same pain for Max.

For a moment, the entire group was surrounded by fear, each one trying to imagine what was happening to Max at the moment. Max felt his body begin to awaken again. He thought of the nightmare he had had earlier, but reassured himself that that is all it had been, just a nightmare. He knew he would wake up in his room with Iz just a door over and his parents downstairs. As soon as he had breakfast, he was going to go talk to Liz, tell her that he loved her. Brushing away the horror of his dream, Max opened his eyes to find himself back in the nightmare.

The florescent lights, the cage, the abysmal whiteness, it was all there, all real. To his relief though, he realized the restraints and the IV had been removed and that he had been dressed in a dingy hospital gown. Pulling himself to his feet, he walked the length of his small cell and then went to the glass wall to inspect it. The clear wall looked to be about four inches thick and ran the entire length of the room. Max noticed that, besides the chairs and table on the other side, there were two cameras built into the ceiling. One was aimed at his cage and the other was angled at the table and the door to his cell.

It was then that Max saw the door leading out of the room. It was white, just like the room and faded into the walls with the exception of a small window cut into it. Unfortunately Max realized the glass in it was one-sided, so he could not see out it, only people from the other side could see in. Taking another look around the room, he realized there were no windows, no clock, nothing. Max wondered what day it was, what time it was—he began to pace like a trapped animal. Strangely, he couldn’t help but sympathize with all entrapped creatures. He too had become the hunted, and now, the captured. Max began to pace faster, his heart beating in pure fear. The five of them sat Indian-style in Michael’s living room, trying to calmly assess the situation.

“So, the question is how are we gonna find him?” Michael said, looking around the circle.

“Tess.” Liz whispered, still holding on to the Biology book. “We have to find Tess.”

“Even if we find her, and she is probably long gone by now, she isn’t going to tell us anything.” Alex interjected, holding his head up with his hands.

“Oh yes she will!” Michael said fiercely, a blazing look of hot, white anger flashing through his face. “After all, she is my sister.” He said more quietly, the look in his eyes turning to a dull stare.

“What other choice do we have except to find Tess?” Maria asked, “right now, she is the only connection to Max we know of. Besides, they don’t know that we know!”

“Maria is right.” Isabel agreed, trying to find the courage to look her in the face. “We need to move quickly. The first thing we have to do is find her.”

“Her house.” Maria said, rubbing Michael’s hand in between hers, “I am sure they will be getting ready to leave as soon as possible. My guess is Tess will want to get some of her stuff first.”

Michael nodded and continued what Maria started, “Which means we probably have twenty-four to forty-eight hours. The house will be under complete supervision all the time. We can watch it in shifts.”

As a plan and a glimmer of hope began to form, Michael silently felt the fear running through him. He knew either way he was going to have to lose someone, either Max or his sister. He thought about all the nights he had prayed that he would find his family, he just never imagined it would be someone as evil as Tess. Standing at a crossroads, Michael knew he had already made his decision, he knew that it wasn’t about blood, it was something beyond that. Standing up, Michael made his choice, probably the easiest one of his life, “I will take the first shift.” He volunteered. Liz sat in her room, restless. Looking over at the clock, she waited impatiently for the amber letters to change. She still had half an hour before her shift. Although Michael had agreed to take the first shift, they thought it better that they keep watch in pairs. Michael and Maria had taken the first watch, followed by Isabel and Alex. Michael agreed to pull a double and was going to be by soon to get Liz for their four-hour turn to survey Tess’s house.

So far, Liz had heard nothing. The night had been silent, which only made her worry more. Deciding now would be a good time to take a shower and clean up, she headed for the bathroom, turned the water on and was about to strip her clothes off, but stopped. Reaching out a quivering hand, she picked a bottle of bubble bath up from her bath caddy. Opening the lid, she inhaled deeply then pressed the bottle to her chest. Sitting on the ledge of the tub, she hugged herself, the bubble bath still in her hand. The tears came, as she knew they would.

Liz sat there for a while, gently holding the bottle between her hands and crying. Every thought was of Max. She thought of every moment she had ever spent with him. She remembered the day not so long ago when he had given her this bottle. Before Tess, before Pierce, before she thought there would ever be a reason for them to be apart.

Wiping her nose and rubbing her eyes. Liz walked out of the bathroom and looked around for her backpack. She spotted it in the corner. She had remembered leaving it outside, but her mom must have brought it in. Still holding the bubble bath with one hand, she unzipped the bag and pulled out her journal. Flipping through the pages, she found the last entry, which was marked with a pen laid between the pages. Pulling out the pen, she looked over the entry and gasped. It was not her writing! Someone had seen her journal! As she began reading the writing, she began to sob out loud, her tears falling on the already raindrop stained pages.

Liz, I just can’t stand here and let you walk away. Without you there is just an empty space. There is so much I need to say to you. You are the only one who ever really knew me at all. You said you wanted me to follow my destiny, but that path leads to you. I know being together is against the odds, but that is a bet I am willing to take. Please don’t give up on me; I will wait for you forever. Not only does my heart belong to you, but my soul as well. Please trust in us, I will make things right. Again, my life is in your hands. Love, Max Michael climbed Liz’s balcony and was about to slide in the window when he heard her cries. A million thoughts began racing through his mind. He dashed through the window only to find Liz sitting on her bed, a book and a bottle filled with a light purple liquid in her hands.

“Liz?” Michael questioned walking over and leaning down next to her, “Liz, what is it?” he asked urgently.

Turning to him, all Liz could manage were a few gasps; finally she turned the book toward him to let him read the passage. A moment later, Michael knew why she was in so much pain. Gently prying the bubble bath and the diary from her hands, he sat down next to her and she fell against him, tears staining the front of his shirt. Not knowing what to say, Michael just held her for several minutes.

Finally stopping her tears, Liz leaned up, her face red and puffy. “I am going to go clean up.” She said, taking the bubble bath with her.

While Liz was in the bathroom, Michael read the entry again, looking for any kind of clue. There were none, except for the obvious fact of how Max felt about Liz. Michael felt a tinge of jealousy. The way they felt was so clear; he wished the decision was that easy for him. At that moment, Liz emerged from the bathroom much to Michael’s relief. Now he could stop dwelling on his matters of the heart. Silently, the two of them slipped out of Liz’s room and into the night, but not before Liz grabbed her journal at Michael’s insistence.

Meeting Isabel and Alex at the Jetta parked down the street from Tess’s, Michael and Liz crawled in the back seat. The four discussed the evening’s events: apparently there was more of the same at the Harding house--nothing. Liz passed her diary up to them as she told them about the entry.

Isabel, holding her hand up to the dashboard, made the lights glow bright enough to read Max’s words. After letting Alex read it, she handed the book back to Liz and the lights grew dim again. Both girls shared a glance as their pain became apparent. “Are you going to be okay?” Isabel asked.

“Are you?” Liz said, her voice still scratchy.

“WE are going to find him.” Isabel reassured her, stepping out of the car with Alex.

Repositioning herself in the front seat with Michael, Liz silently looked through the binoculars at Tess’s dark house. Letting her fingers brush over Max’s writing in her diary, Liz silently prayed for the hundredth time that hour that somehow they would find him. They had to find him; there was so much she needed to tell Max, especially how much she loved him.

Part 6 | Index | Part 7b
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.