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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.
|At school, Max and Michael were talking with Alex. They all wanted to call
over to Liz's to see how she was doing this morning, but, they figured it
would be too early. Going over at lunch would be soon enough to get a
report on her condition. The crowds of kids passed by in front of them.
They heard small bits of conversation here and there, but they were too
wrapped up in their own conversation to notice any of it.|
Across the way, Max saw Kyle Valenti walking toward them. He looked like he had something on his mind, and Max mentally prepared himself for the confrontation. Before he could reach them, the other boy was stopped two different times by his friends. The first one he ignored; the second one he hauled up by his lapels to shout in the other boy's face, "Shut up, or I swear to god...!" He dropped the other boy who scurried away and continued forward.
Everyone was looking at him by this time, and Michael and Alex were surprised when he'd joined their group. Max just looked at him and waited.
Somehow, he knew he wasn't going to like what Kyle had to say. Not surprisingly, it was, "Evans, what the hell happened to Liz last night?"
"She fainted." Max stated, just as the bell rang.
Alex added, "Yeah, right in the middle of the CrashDown." Around them, kids were scurrying to get to their classes. The four boys just ignored it.
Kyle had heard as much from just about everyone he'd passed. He looked back at Max to ask, "Why?"
Max was making an effort to be civil, after all, Kyle had a right to be concerned. "We don't know. She just said she's sick. The paramedics came out and checked her over, and she's fine, just tired."
"Is that all?" Kyle asked suspiciously. Right about then, one of his friends from the football team came over and threw an arm around his shoulder and congratulated him, "Way to score, man. You go, big daddy."
Catching the look of death Kyle gave him, he amended, "Uh, I mean, um, I sure hope Liz is ok."
With no patience, he threw off the other boy's arm. "There is nothing wrong with Liz, including what you're thinking. Now get out of here before I throw you into next week!"
"Way to score?" Alex asked, not sure he was understanding what that had been about.
"Big daddy?" Michael knew he didn't understand.
Kyle turned his attention back to Max. His eyes widened comically, and he took a step back, throwing up his hands defensively. A couple weeks ago, he'd told Tess that he could sense all this energy coming off her while she blew off some steam over being forced to wait around for Max to come to his senses and accept his destiny. That puny display was a candle compared to the inferno of power he sensed building in Evans' taut body. "Hey, look. It's not what you're thinking. I swear, it's not that."
"You'd better hope to god you're right." Max gritted out from within the greatest anger he'd ever felt. "Get out of my sight, before I do something I might regret."
"Look, if Liz's fainting has anything to do with... what everyone is saying it has to do with..." Kyle stumbled, unable to say the word he knew could bring his instant death, "then I want you to know that I had nothing to do with it. Maybe you and uh... Oh christ! Evans, people are going to notice that!" Kyle was backing away, but Max just kept coming followed by a very perplexed Michael and Alex. The air around Max was beginning to glow.
"Max, what are you doing?" Alex cried, amazed at his friend. In all of the time he'd known Max, after everything they'd been through, he'd never ever seen him react like this before.
Michael jumped between them, and attempted to shield Kyle, "Maxwell! Are you insane?" The second bell rang and fortunately, the hallway was deserted. There was no one to notice that the air around Max Evans was beginning to bend and shimmer.
"Get out of the way, Michael." Max said as calmly as he could. The possibility that Liz was pregnant had never occurred to him. It all made a sick kind of sense. Her tiredness. The fainting. Both were symptoms of early pregnancy. He was going to kill Kyle.
"What's going on here, guys?" Alex asked, his stress level peaking. He really didn't want to witness what looked to be a gruesome murder.
"Look, Evans, I'm telling you that it's not what you're thinking. There's no way that it could be true. You said it yourself, she's just got a little cold. She'll be fine in no time."
"How do you know?" Max let the question hang in the air between them before he snarled out, "There's only one way to know for sure, right? So did you, or didn't you?"
Kyle stared into the eyes of death and damned himself for being taken in by a pair of lovely brown eyes that had looked at him so beseechingly when she'd come to ask for his help. If he confessed to sleeping with Liz, Max was probably going to fry him on the spot. On the other hand, if he chickened out and told the truth, if he betrayed Liz's trust he would have to live with himself for the rest of his life, however long that turned out to be. It could be the longest thirty seconds in the history of mankind...
Michael and Alex were still in the dark. Michael finally asked, "What exactly are you accusing him of?"
Rather than answering the question directly, Max said instead, "You know what reason everyone is giving for Liz's passing out yesterday? They all think she's pregnant."
Alex started to chuckle and two sets of eyes turned to him in disbelief. "Pregnant! Don't you kind of have to have sex for that to happen?"
He chuckled some more until Max said, his voice dark, his eyes unwavering from Kyle's face. "Exactly."
Shaking his head in merriment, he continued, "I mean, Liz is an angel and all, but I don't exactly see her in a 'virgin Mary' role." Alex stopped short and swung his head to look at Max. "Wait, what did you say? When did this happen." He was shocked, and immediately concerned for Liz. "Was it... was it, you know, safe?" Alex asked. Becoming intimate with their alien friends had been a topic of many a discussion prior to the whole 'destiny' thing. That Liz and Max had done it and she hadn't told him surprised Alex. But wait, WHEN had it happened? Liz and Max had been dancing around each other for weeks now.
Max's answer, directed at Kyle, floored Alex. "That's what I'm trying to find out. Well, was it?"
"Come on, Max, what are you saying? You think that Kyle and Liz..." Michael couldn't even bring himself to say the words. "Come on. That's ridiculous. You know that. Liz would never..."
"Yeah, that's what I thought, too. Imagine my surprise to discover it was otherwise." Some of the fight went out of Max and he pulled his energy back in. If Liz were pregnant, it would certainly end the uncertainty he'd lived with recently. And the dim hope that it had all just been an elaborate set up.
"Max, Liz passing out does not automatically equal a baby, for crying out loud. There's lots of things that could have set her off. Not eating, fatigue, hormones. Those are some of the downsides to being a female," Alex reasoned. Man, I spend way too much time with the girls, he suddenly thought to himself.
Max just ignored him, all of his attention focused on Kyle. "I'm still waiting for an answer."
Feeling braver now that Max had reigned in his temper and powers, he said, "What makes you think I'm going to give you one?" Kyle stepped closer to push, "I saw you Max, and I know you saw me. Now what do you think? Did I look like I was knitting a sweater? I'd say the question is redundant. As far as the rumors flying, if Liz is feeling down because of certain consequences from that night, she hasn't seen fit to make me aware of it. Now, if you don't mind, I have a test to get to."
Defeated, Max let him walk away without another word.
"Maxwell, what the hell was that all about?" Max sighed wearily and looked at his two friends. It was going to be a long morning. Lunch was still hours away. The boys skipped first period, and Max filled them in on the whole Liz/Kyle situation as he saw it, leaving out none of the details. In the end, Alex volunteered to infiltrate Camp DeLuca. He knew that whatever the truth was, Liz had probably confided in Maria, and Maria would confide in him. If that didn't work, then he was out of ideas. Confronting Liz directly didn't seem like the best approach, since Max had already asked her about Kyle several times by this point and had gotten the same response: a resounding if unbelievable 'Yes'.
The next couple of hours seemed to drag by for Max and all he could think about was lunch and seeing Liz. He just wanted, no needed, to know that she was ok.
* * * * *
Liz had awakened to the sound of Maria and Isabel talking. The two of them rarely found anything to discuss, and so it was kind of strange to see them huddled together on her balcony. She got up and went to the window. "Hey guys. What are you doing here?"
They swung around. After a restless sleep, filled with strange dreams and nightmares, Liz didn't look much better in the harsh morning light than she had the night before.
"Hey, chicka. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine." Liz said for what must have been the hundredth time. "What are you guys doing here?"
Isabel answered, "Making sure you don't go anywhere today."
"Yeah, especially like to school."
Liz opened her mouth to argue, and decided it probably wouldn't be worth it. "Can I at least take a shower?"
"Sure. You're not a prisoner, you know."
Liz turned away mumbling, "I'm not? How can you tell?"
A full half an hour later, Liz finally turned off the hot water and stepped out of the shower. She was feeling better, and was looking forward to taking some time from life. Spending the afternoon with her friends wasn't going to be so bad, though she would have to do some studying to make up for skipping class.
At twelve fifteen, the door to her bedroom opened and the three boys trooped in, carrying a couple of large pizza boxes and a two-liter of Coke. Plates, napkins and glasses were passed around, and soon they were all having a picnic on her bed. After a while, Liz became aware that the boys were watching her eat. Their expressions ranged from worry to speculation and concern.
"What?" she blurted.
Alex asked, "Umm... Isn't that your fourth slice?"
"No. I only had... wait, umm, yeah, I guess it is. Wow, I must have been hungry."
"I guess," Max said while nudging Alex, wanting him to get on with it.
"Uh, Maria, I'm having a problem with something that's going to be on our test on Friday. Could you look at it for me?"
"Great. My book bag is downstairs. Do you mind if we go look at it now while I'm thinking about it, you now, in case I forget later."
They got up, and Michael covered their exit by asking Liz, "So, are you feeling better today?"
Liz smiled at him. Getting any kind of emotion out of Michael was difficult, and she appreciated his concern. "Yeah. I feel better. Which is weird, cause I didn't sleep all that great last night."
"Why? Did Isabel's snoring keep you up?" Max asked, throwing a teasing glance at his sister.
"You rat!" Isabel threw a pillow at him. "I do not snore."
"That's what you think." He tossed the pillow back.
Liz smiled, enjoying their banter.
"When have I ever snored?"
"Well, there's the father campout last year."
"That's not fair. My head was all stuffed up from all that fresh air, and not getting any sleep the night before, what with traipsing through the woods for half the night."
Not wanting to remember that particular weekend, Liz hurried to interrupt, "No Isabel wasn't snoring. I was just... restless. Strange dreams, I guess."
"They couldn't have been stranger than mine," Isabel stated.
There was a lull on the conversation when suddenly from downstairs, they heard Maria screech, "WHAT!?!"
The bedroom became deadly silent as Alex said, "Maria, Maria, wait." Then there was the pounding of feet on the stairs. "Maria!"
There was a thump as Alex apparently tackled her. "Let me go! ALEX, put me down."
Liz started to get up, but Michael, said, "Stay here. I'll see what's going on."
"I'm coming with you," Isabel stated.
Liz started to get up to follow them out, but Max stopped her with a hand on her arm. "Liz, can I talk to you for a minute?"
Torn between wanting to see what was going on with her friends, and wanting to give in to the pleading in Max's eyes, she paused. Max's hand was warm where it was touching her, and his presence was calling out to her like it always had. She gave in to him without a fight and sat back down. "Yeah, what is it?"
|Part 3 | Index | Part 5|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|