FanFic - Max/Liz
Part 1
by Irene Shafer
Disclaimer: the usual; I bow down to the great and powerful Katim's and company, by whose good graces I mangle these characters. . .
Summary: . . .instead of a summary, I'm just gonna give you a 'why'. Why: Why? Because I just couldn't stand it anymore. . . Made [i]myself[/i] feel better, anyway. Hope it helps a few of you out, too. . .
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
Authors Note: Dedication: To Bella for agreeing to join me in this madness we like to call the fanzine, "Late for the Sky"; to Ash for listening to me whimper on endlessly about those poor kids and never, [i]ever[/i] discouraging me (because she feels exactly the same way); to [i]both[/i] Bella and Ash for helping me to chisel away at the mass of words I throw down onto the paper until it finally makes [i]sense[/i]; and lastly, to Max and Liz for giving me, and many, many others something to . . . dream about. Oh, and a little shameless plug for the nearly completed first edition of "Late for the Sky". Visit our web site at to learn more. . . [embarrassed shrug] Sorry! Couldn't pass up the oppy. . .
Curls. Lifts. Presses.

The slow steady movement of muscle over bone, building power, building strength; erasing thought.

He was concentrating so hard on the feel of his muscles expanding and contracting, so caught up in the sound of his breath as it rushed out of and was drawn steadily back into his lungs, that for a while he didn't hear the quiet staccato of someone rapping on his window.

Suspended by his ankles, he paused, not sure he was interested in who it might be. There was no one he wanted to see right now: not Michael, with whom he always seems to be fighting; not Tess, who wanted more from him than he had to give her in [i]spite[/i] of . . . things; and most definitely not . . .

Drawing himself up, he grabbed the bar and lowered to the floor slowly. He didn't want to turn around.

He didn't want to, but he had to.

He could see her face in the darkness outside his window, framed in the glow of his room's light. For a second, he forgot himself. Felt his heart skip that usual beat, expand in his chest, press against his lungs, cut off his air. . . A split second later and memory slammed in on him; an image permanently cemented to his inner Liz image--she and Kyle, relaxing-[i]post[/i]. . . Her bare leg exposed, mocking him. . . He felt the hope that had unconsciously slipped onto his face leaching away into the air around him.

Deadened, he opened the window and looked out at her silently.

She was fidgeting with her sweater hem, her hands restless and he could see her nails, usually Liz Parker-clean and buffed, torn ragged, the cuticles dry and bleeding.

". . .um, I . . . I need to talk to you. . ." Her voice broke.

"I thought you said we'd [i]said[/i] it all." He wasn't even surprised at how easily it slipped out of him.

Anger was power, too.

He was trying not to notice her eyes, but on some level, some weakened, pathetic part of him, couldn't [i]not[/i] notice the shadows and swelling under them. Or the whites shot through with red. Or the moisture, poised ready for descent.

"I . . . I, um, I can't take this anymore, Max. It's [i]killing[/i] me."

He didn't respond. Just stood watching her fumble, his expression, he hoped, saying all that his voice wasn't.


She shifted, one foot to the other, suddenly seeming uncomfortable to be standing where she was.

"Can . . . can I come in. Please?" She shivered. "It's. . . it's cold out here."

[i]Yeah? It's pretty cold in [/i]here[i], too. . .[/i]

He regarded her for a moment, again without response, then stepped back slowly, his body a gesture to enter. He fought back the usual gentlemanly offer to help. She'd proven she didn't need him to get . . . in, out, [i]anything[/i].

He also had no intentions of putting on a shirt. Not this time.

Once inside, she started to pace, the tears he'd seen trapped in her eyes now freely flowing.

"Look," she began, uneasily. "I know I'm the last person you want to talk to right now, after all the things I've said . . . and done. . ." She looked up at this last, seemed to see the ice in his eyes, looked away quickly as though pained by it. "But I . . I can't [i]lie[/i] to you anymore."

He felt a flair of hope, fought it back for the untruth that it was. He'd been all through those lies over the past few days and debunked them for the empty air that they were.

"So," he said, voice flat, folding his arms in front of him. "Tell me the truth."


He could hear his own breathing, slow and labored, fighting for control. He could hear hers, too, as it caught in her throat. He could almost see the pain and confusion coming off of her in waves and he felt himself responding instinctively, wanting nothing more than to fold her in his arms and tell her he didn't care what she done. . .

[i]Stop it.[/i]

Into the breath-filled, pain-infused silence, she spoke.

[i] "I didn't sleep with Kyle." [/i]

"I know what I saw, Liz. I'll never [i]forget[/i] what I saw. . ."

He heard a soft moan in the back of her throat as she went on. "I just . . . I just wanted you to [i]think[/i] that I slept with Kyle."

He stared at her blankly, realization dawning. "Is this supposed to make me feel better?" She worked her jaw, as if to respond, but he cut her off, suddenly finding his tongue and reveling in the power of it. The control. "What? So I was pressuring you, because I [i]loved[/i] you and [i]thought[/i] you loved [i]me[/i], and so you set up that little . . . that little scenario to get me off your back?" His eyes narrowed as he fixed her with all the coldness and recrimination he could manage. "I can't believe I was so [i]stupid[/i]-"

"There's more," she whispered, cutting him off.

"Oh, good. Let's hear it," he said, almost grinning.

He felt great. He felt strong. He felt. . . he felt like crap.

She was fumbling for words again, but he was glad this was so hard for her. It [i]should[/i] be hard.

"I did it. . I mean, I did want you to think I'd slept with Kyle . . . I needed you to. . . I needed you to give up on me. I'd tried everything else and nothing had. . .nothing had worked." She looked dazed, crazed, spent. "There was so much at stake. I . . . I couldn't risk you'd change your mind . . . and try again to convince me that you and I together could work. I knew I wouldn't be able to resist . . ."

"And would that have been so [i]bad[/i], Liz?" he asked, before he'd had a chance to check his resolve and make sure it was still in place. Damning it now, he continued. "I [i]love[/i] you. We can make [i]anything[/i] work."

"Not this." Her voice was very tiny, very defeated. [i] "Not this. . ." [/i]

"What?" he said, exasperated, throwing his arms into the air in frustration. "[i]What[/i]--this?"

She held back again, watching him carefully, as though afraid of his reaction.

"Liz. You came over here to tell me something. [i]Tell me[/i]."

"I know I did. . . It's just that I promised I [i]wouldn't. [/i] I-"

"Who? Who did you promise?"

When she looked up again, her eyes were clear and bright.


"Me. . .?"

She was making no sense at all. In fact, nothing she'd said or done for the past week had sounded like her. A thought crept up behind him and grabbed a hold of his imagination and his heart at the same time. It squeezed hard, but he managed to force a question past the cold dread.

"Who are you?" he asked, through grit teeth. "You're not Liz Parker. You're somebody trying to make me [i]think[/i] you're her. A [i]shapeshifter[/i]."

He saw the corners of her mouth tug up into an almost smile. "That's what [i]I[/i] said when I . . . It. . . it was so crazy, I didn't think anything else [i]could[/i] be true. He had to be a shapeshifter. . ."

A tiny finger of fear started to press down at the base of his skull. "Who, Liz? [i]Who[/i]?"

She bit her lip, continued, trembling. "[i]You[/i]," she repeated, a look of wonder in her eyes.

He did [i]not[/i] hear that. His brain registered what she'd said, catalogued the words, routed out the meanings, but he still came up blank. "What? What are you saying? You realize you sound crazy, right?"

Now she did smile.

"Before I say anything else, I need you to know something." Her voice was steady and calm. [i]Certain[/i]. It sent a shiver up his spine. He knew that tone well. Had come to believe that tone. Instead of caving into it, though, he said nothing, his silence his only assent that she continue.

"[i]I love you, Max Evans[/i]." Her eyes were wide and there were tears glistening in her long, dark lashes. "I have never for a single instant [i]stopped[/i] loving you, not from the moment you touched me in the Crashdown that day and changed me [i]and[/i] my life. I would do [i]anything[/i] for you, Max. [i]Anything[/i]. And . . . I [i]have[/i]--"

"Are you trying to tell me that because you [i]love[/i] me so much, you set up that little scene with Kyle? You love me so much you had to trick me into leaving you alone?"

She was nodding again. "Yes," she said simply.

"Permit me, then, to be confused, OK?"

She flinched, clearly hurt by the tone of his voice and for a moment he felt that Guerin-sized stonewall starting to crumble.

She was just so upset. He hated to see her this way. He hated. . .

"Max. I'm here to explain . . . because I can't stand lying to you anymore. I can't [i]stand[/i] to see that look on your face and know I'm the reason it's there. I can't. . . I can't stand knowing how much I hurt you. I. . . I just don't know where to start. . ."

"Try the [i]beginning[/i], Liz" he said, harshly, and they [i]both[/i] winced at the cold in his voice.

"I could. . . I could tell you the part about Madame Vivian and how she said that you and are were destined to be together. That you choose me. That you choose love. . ."

[i]Madame Vivian?[/i]

"I don't know who the hell that is, but. . . but I [i]did[/i] choose you, Liz. I told you that over and over."

She peered at him from beneath her heavy lashes, a blush coloring her cheeks, throwing the unnatural pale she'd been wearing into stark contrast. She seemed to draw strength from his words.

"And [i]that's[/i] why I had to do it. [i]Because[/i] you chose me. . ."

[i]Enough! [/i]

If he heard one more cryptic statement, he'd pull a "Michael" and throw something.

Taking a very deep, very calming breath, he grabbed her hands, touching her for the first time since she'd come through his window. Ignoring the current that always ran between them, he led her over to the desk chair, directing her to sit.

"[i]Talk[/i], Liz," he said as softly as he could. "I'm not going to yell at you. I'm not going to call you crazy anymore. I just want you to say to me what you came over here to say."

She took a deep breath. "OK."

She looked him in the eye, and it took all his control to maintain that look, to hold steady, to hold true to everything that he was feeling right then. And not cave in. Her face was raw with pain. He watched her shiver as she began.

"One week ago, I had a visit . . . A very [i]strange[/i] visit. I didn't want to believe it at first, but then I couldn't deny it and . . ." She trailed off, seemed to realize she was babbling and then went on, more focused this time. "Max, a week ago [i]you[/i], a [i]future[/i] version of you, came to me from the year 2014 to tell me that our being together . . . brings about the end of the world."

He wanted to laugh. It should have been funny. In a normal world, it would have been. But this world he lived in had never been normal and it was becoming less so every day. Every minute.

[i]The end of the world. . [/i].

Something in the tone of her voice sent a shiver up his spine.

"I . . . I didn't want to believe you. I mean, the future you, but. . . but you said things and knew things. . ." She shook her head, as if hurrying herself on with the story. "What's important is that our being together, our getting married, made Tess finally realize she had no chance with you. And she left town. Left Roswell for good."

The chill had spread to his fingers and toes and was slowly creeping up his legs and down his arms. He was too dumbfounded to grab the t-shirt off the bed and put it on. That would have required moving . . .

This was insane. This [i]should[/i] have been insane. So why did it feel so true . . . ?

"And, Max, what you all found out, too late, is that the four of you were created as a unit. You're [i]stronger[/i] together. Without Tess, you weren' t able to fight the Skins when they invaded the Earth. And so they took over. They killed millions of people everywhere. They killed Isabel. They killed Michael. In the end, they killed me and. . . and in way killed you, too." She paused to wet her lips and he knew she'd caught him staring at her in wide-eyed wonder. He knew, too, that she'd seen that moment he'd been fighting since she'd come.

Because the wheels were turning and it was all starting to make a kind of sense.

In that one moment, he knew he believed, understood, and [i]forgave[/i] everything.

Before she could continue, and perhaps to spare her from having to, he took up the thread. "So I . . . I told you that in order to stop all of that from happening, you had to do something to change my mind about you? You had to make me fall out of love with you?"

She nodded, smiling through her tears, then she shook her head, vehement. "I didn't want to do it, Max. But . . . but what else could I have done? I couldn't let it happen. I couldn't . . . I couldn't be the reason for that. Not when I could stop it."

A week's worth of pain and internal torture came thundering down on him. He felt his stomach seize up and his face was suddenly wet. Back against the wall, he slid to the floor at her feet, instinctively reaching for her calf.

He shuddered as he felt her fingers tentatively wind into his hair.

What she'd done. What she'd done and [i]why[/i]. It was too much. This was too much to bear.

He wanted to erase the whole last week, all but that giddy moment beneath her balcony, Mr. Delgado's nephews strumming their guitars behind him while he made a mess of that beautiful old Spanish love song. . .

The rest of it, though. . . From the moment he'd climbed her ladder that last time and. . . and seen her lying so comfortably with Valenti. The argument in Copper Summit when she'd said those. . . those words.

All lies. All lies she hadn't wanted to tell.

All for the sake of others.

In an instant, he had risen to his knees and surrounded her with himself. A tiny sigh, tinged with relief and longing, and she buried herself in his arms, face pressed against his neck, her tears silently rolling down the bare skin of his chest.

"You should have come to me," he whispered into her hair. "You should have told me what you were trying to do. We could have found a way to make it work. Somehow."

He felt her nod against him, once again in awe of her quiet strength and her willingness to put her own personal wishes aside for the good of others. His love for her filled the dried and empty spaces in his heart and threatened to burst through his chest. And when he felt her lips pressed to the skin there, he shivered, felt himself responding, and drew her away for both their sakes.

"I love you, Liz Parker," he said, brushing her lips softly with his own.

"I love [i]you[/i], Max Evans," she breathed, then kissed him, deepening it quickly. He lingered for a moment and then again drew away.

He wanted [i]more[/i]. He wanted it all: her heart; her mind; her lips; her sweet body pressed against his. . .

There would be time for that later, though.

First they had to work out the "how". . .

Fini. . .

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