Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in anyway with Roswell. (Roswell Quotes is
all mine, however. Come visit me at www.roswellquotes.com.) Shameless, I
know but had to do it. :-)|
Summary: Post JTNY. Liz is getting sick, and her friendships are tested as the gang struggles to help her. No one is getting any sleep as Michael and Isabel start having strange dreams.
Authors Note: This was written before ARC, based on what Max said about not being able to just heal people in LN. As always, your feedback is much appreciated.
|Liz tiredly popped another one of Maria's vitamin supplements into her mouth
and washed it down with cold water from the faucet in the back room of the
CrashDown. She swallowed with a grimace and turned off the water. For the
past week or so, she'd been fighting off some bug that seemed determined to
kick her in the butt. Between working at the restaurant, studying for
finals and trying to keep her relationship with Max alive, she was afraid
that she was getting emotionally and physically run down. The only thing
she knew for sure was that getting out of bed each morning was getting more
and more difficult with each passing day.|
With a sigh, she went back into the dining room. The café was a little busy, and her short absence had been noted by a few of the people inside. Maria hurried over. "Hey, I took the order for the guy at table twelve, and table seven wants their check."
"Thanks." Liz said, not able to force a smile to her lips. She trudged over to table ten where some of the kids from school were sitting. "Hey guys, how was everything?" she asked, setting their check on the table. She barely heard their response. Functioning on autopilot alone, she nodded at them and went to the next table in her area. It was two hours to closing time, and there would be an hour of clean up after that. Then she would have to study her math textbook for an hour followed by a few more chapters from her English lit book. Did they have to be reading Walt Whitman right now? Sitting still with a novel had never been her strong suit, and Leaves of Grass was enough to put anyone to sleep. It would be eleven thirty before she would be able to relax. Then to decide if she wanted to shower tonight or in the morning. It could be twelve thirty before she was able to get to bed for some much-needed rest. She just hoped she made it that long. For now, it was all she could do to focus on the task at hand.
In Maria's section, Alex was sitting with Isabel. They were waiting for Michael to get off work and join them. There was a big test in their Social Studies class at the end of the week and the three friends were helping each other study. They watched Liz walk by for the fourth time without acknowledging them in any way, and Isabel asked with a frown, "What's up with Liz?"
"Nothing. She's just got that flu virus that was going around town last month or something. It's no big deal."
"Well, she looks terrible," Isabel stated. Her eyes followed Liz's slow progress across the room worriedly.
Alex frowned at her, taking offense at her blunt assessment of his friend, but he bit back the short retort when he realized that she wasn't being critical, just stating a fact. He turned around and really looked at Liz, studying her face for the first time in a while. Isabel was right, Liz did look terrible.
He got up and walked over to her. "Liz, why don't you go on upstairs? Maria can handle closing the store."
"What? No, Alex, I'm fine. I'm just a little..." Liz brushed a few stray hairs away from her face and made an effort to look up at his face. The concerned expression he gave her warmed her in some small part of her heart. "You know, I'm just sick is all. I'll be fine."
"If you're sick, that's all the more reason for you to take it easy."
Behind them, the door jingled as Max entered the Cafe with Tess in tow. He sat down next to Isabel, causing Tess to slide in the seat across the way.
He said something to his sister, which Liz couldn't make out from over here, but at her reply, his eyes swung in her direction. For his sake, Liz forced a smile to her face, and directed it at Alex. "I'm fine. We'll be going on Christmas break soon, and I promise I won't do anything but sleep for a week, agreed?" He wasn't moved: Christmas break was still two weeks away and she was all worn out right now. Liz placed a hand on his arm. "Please," she begged him. She glanced at Max out of the corner of her eye. He was still staring at her in concern. "Please, Alex, just go sit back down and let them know that I'm ok. It's just a cold. I'll be better in the morning."
Seeing that he was just making her more uncomfortable by drawing attention to her, he reluctantly nodded. "Thanks," she whispered in relief before he turned away.
For the next hour, Liz forced herself to shake off the fatigue that had been constantly plaguing her. For Max's benefit, she acted like everything was fine. She stopped by their table and traded short remarks with the four of them every ten minutes or so. The effort it took to keep up the pretence would have surprised her if she'd had the energy to question it. Soon the strain threatened to break her and she started looking for excuses to disappear from under their watchful eyes.
Alex was taken in by her game. "See, I told you. She's fine, just like she said."
Isabel and Max exchanged glances. They each wondered at the wisdom of saying aloud what they were thinking. That Liz wasn't ok, but they couldn't pin point the exact reason for their thinking so. They weren't sure why they were so certain themselves, but each had a feeling that there was more going on here than a simple cold.
When Liz disappeared into the back for the fourth time, Max shifted in his seat. Each time she left, her absences grew longer. Or maybe it just seemed like that because he was impatient for her return. After two years of watching her work, he had her routine down to the second, and these absences were very odd. He was starting to get a feeling... It started in his heart and settled like a heavy stone in his gut. Something told him there was something very wrong.
Max was fighting with himself to get up and confront Liz. Their new relationship was so fragile that he didn't want to make a wrong move with her, and cause her to back away from him again. Ever since he'd returned from New York, where she'd saved his life and they'd declared a truce in the war they'd been fighting with each other over Kyle, Max was afraid of doing anything that might upset her, or cause her to regret giving their friendship a second chance.
He still wasn't sure what he believed: did Liz sleep with Kyle or was it a deception for his benefit? Everything he knew about Liz, everything he'd ever felt toward her told him not to believe the lie, plus there was her mysterious knowledge of the granilith. And here's the kicker: how did Liz know that the granilith was powerful, and potentially dangerous and above all, WHY COULD SHE NOT TELL HIM ABOUT IT? He was her soulmate, her protector, her lover and more: he was the leader of their small group. If there was anything to know about the granilith, he should have been the first person to know anything about it. But whatever secret she was hiding was something she couldn't tell him. And the fact that she found out whatever she'd learned about the granilith right about the same time she'd started pushing him toward Tess and climbed into bed with Kyle was just too convenient. On the other hand, she'd looked him dead in the eye and told him she'd slept with Kyle at least three times now. Could she lie to him? Why would she say something like that to him, knowing that it killed him to hear it each time if it wasn't true? Which was he to believe?
She still hadn't returned to the dining room after several minutes, and Max was just about to get up and look for her, whether it was a good idea or not, when he'd spotted Michael handing Maria an order through the pick up window. He nudged Isabel with a sudden idea. She looked at him, and he pointed toward Michael. Her brow furrowed as she tried to catch what he wanted. Max touched her arm and looked at her then back at Michael. They had always had a bond, right from their first moments of life, and through it, she was able to figure out what he was asking of her.
Without a word, she took a deep breath, then closing her eyes, concentrated. Dreamwalking someone awake was difficult enough as it was, and trying to get into the mind of Michael Guerin was an exercise in the bizarre, but it only took seconds before she was in.
*Michael*, she whispered in his mind.
From the kitchen, there was a deafening sound of a stack of metal pans being dropped on the floor followed by "Jesus Christ!"
Everyone in the restaurant was looking toward the pick up window. Arrested by the noise, Maria ran toward the kitchen just as Liz appeared in the doorway. "Are you all right?" they asked in unison.
Michael was dying to shout across the restaurant at Isabel for scaring the crap out of him, but the urgency in her tone warned him that something was afoot. Plus, there was the fact that she'd never tried to contact him in this way before.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just slipped," he answered them before bending down to clean up the mess he'd made.
They both stooped to help him. He did his best to keep his mind clear, and Isabel continued, *Is Liz right there?*
He frowned and answered in his mind, *Yeah. Maria, too. What's going on, Iz?*
*Keep an eye on Liz.*
Unthinking, he answered aloud, "Liz?"
"Yeah?" she looked up, and the harsh light in the kitchen brought out all of the signs of exhaustion on her face. The dark circles under her eyes were prominent, as was her overall pallor. She looked like death.
"Uh," he had to think of something, but he was shocked. He hadn't noticed before the state she was in. He cast his mind around for something to say to her. "Ummm... Maria and I can get this if you could bring over the broom."
"Are you sure?" she asked, looking at the dishes scattered everywhere.
"Yeah. Thanks," he said to her, before asking Isabel, *What the hell is going on. She looks sick, like really sick.*
*We know. Max and I are worried. She won't leave and go upstairs... Just keep an eye on her when she's back there, ok?*
*Yeah, sure. And Isabel, couldn't you have just asked me? Out loud? You nearly gave me a heart attack!*
*Sorry, it's just with Alex and Tess sitting here...*
Michael caught on. They didn't want to alarm Liz's friends, and considering their history, anything involving Max and Liz was none of Tess's business. *Right. I won't say anything to Maria, either.*
Back in the restaurant, Isabel put her hand over Max's which was still on her arm. She gave it a small squeeze and smiled at him. He let out a small sigh of relief, but through it all, never took his eyes off the swinging door that was separating him from Liz.
In no time, Michael and Maria had stacked the dishes back on the sink, and Maria returned to her customers in the dining room. Liz still hadn't returned with the broom, and Michael went looking for her. He rounded the corner by the lockers and nearly plowed into her. For some reason, he found even that surprising, and filed it away to puzzle over later.
He opened his mouth to say something, but shut it again. Liz was standing still as a statue, her eyes open and staring straight ahead. The broom was in her right hand while the left one was against the side of the lockers, apparently holding her upright. If it wasn't for the slight rise and fall of her chest, Michael might have thought she was standing there dead. He reached out and softly touched her arm, saying "Liz."
Startled out of her daze, she gave herself a mental shake. "Oh, um, Michael. You scared me."
"Sorry. Are you all right?"
"Yeah. Of course I am. Why does everyone keep asking me that?" She was staring at the floor as she spoke, another thing that raised a red flag in his mind. He couldn't remember a time when she had ever spoken to him while not looking him in the eye. She handed him the broom, and said, "I have to get back to the front." He watched her walk away with a frown. Isabel was right. There was something strange happening here. And anytime there was something strange involving Liz Parker, Michael knew it usually spelled trouble for the rest of them. Swearing, he took the broom back to the kitchen, but caught himself repeatedly looking out the pick-up window for Liz's small form as she moved wearily around the dining room.
|Index | Part 2|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|