Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, just borrowing them because the reunion
is taking waaaaay too long and I am desperate to fix
Authors Note: This is spoilerish only in the minor leagues because the epi "Viva Las Vegas" takes place in Las Vegas and Tess and Liz do get into some kind of trouble at the casino. These were old spoilers and shouldn't spoil you much. Everything else is my imagination, and if it's right- it's just coincidence.
|“Calm the storms that drench my eyes |
Dry the streams still flowing
Cast down all the waves of sin
And guilt that overthrow me.”
-Jars of Clay
“Liz, I know you’re in here. Liz, answer me!” His voice was rough, determined. She clenched her eyes shut as the image of the other Max came to mind- older, scarred, determination etched on his face. They were always so convinced of their cause. But then, wasn’t that one of the things she loved about him? A ghost of a smile danced on her face. “Liz?” She almost gasped. He was close, just steps away. Had he heard her breathing? Her hand reached out to grasp the sandstone formation behind her and it shifted beneath her hand. Liz winced. Max stopped walking. He’d heard it. Damn. There was no point in hiding any longer, and she suddenly felt stupid for even trying it. Since when had she ever been able to hide from him? She stood up and faced him. The sight almost took her breath away again. The moonlight struck his face almost savagely, keeping one side bright white while plunging the other in almost total darkness. “What do you want from me,” she managed in a hoarse whisper. He looked surprised by her tone. “I don’t want anything from you. I just...” He shook his head and took a step closer. “Why were you running from me?” “Why?” She wanted to laugh in his face. “Because I can’t do this again.” Emotion welled up in her, despite herself. “Do what, Liz?” She stared at him in silence for a moment, then walked around the small Sphinx to get closer. He turned a bit, so that most of his face was in the light. She didn’t miss the way his gaze flickered over her body before looking back at her face. “Do what?” He repeated the phrase as though her answer was vital. She answered him bitterly. “I’ve done this before. We’ve done this before.” Max looked frustrated. “Done what?” She let her breath out in a loud huff. “This! You, coming from the future, ruining my life. Don’t tell me that you don’t even remember it. It would have been in your past, too.” His shocked expression made her pause. Surely he had eventually found out... or maybe... “Oh.” It suddenly hit her. “You don’t know, because in your timeline, I never told you, did I?” Max stood there a moment, then he shook his head. “I guess I’m stronger than I thought.“ Liz half-smiled and walked over to sit on a bench nearby. She hunched over and rested her hands on her knees. Max slowly followed. As he sat down beside her, she looked over at him. “Want to hear a really sad story?” As he slowly nodded, she looked back out over the wide-open, dilapidated course and took a deep breath. He wouldn’t be any happier to hear this than she would be to tell it, but it was necessary. She swallowed painfully. Maybe, just maybe, when he found out what she had already been through, he would have mercy on her and figure out another way to change the future.
Max sat ramrod straight on the bench. His entire body was humming with adrenaline, every nerve attuned to the words about to come out of her mouth. This was it. Whoever she thought she was talking to, she was finally opening up, and even if he was being dishonest right now by going along, he was going to let her talk. His eyes watched her every move.
She found a graceful figure not too far away in the semi-darkness, what looked like a miniature version of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. For some reason, it seemed to anchor her thoughts better and she kept her gaze on it as she began. “I still fantasize about telling my Max all of this, even though I can’t. Just- just bear with me, okay?” A single tear made its way down her face, the herald of things to come. Just thinking of talking about it all was breaking something loose in her. “Okay.” The husky whisper sounded so intimate that she wanted to look at him, but she didn’t dare. This wasn’t her Max and it was futile to even think about him that way. She fixed her gaze back on the arch. “You remember the night of the Gomez concert, right? Well, that was the first night we made love.” She was disturbed by the strangled sound from beside her, but she just nodded. “I know, it was different in your timeline... it was in mine, too. I’ll explain. That night you came to my window and I was just tired of fighting my love for you. You said you didn’t want your destiny and I gave in. And we were together from then on.” A gentle smile curved her lips. She loved imagining this part. “We grew closer and closer and nothing ever separated us again. We even eloped when we were nineteen, to Las Vegas of all places, and got married in the Elvis chapel.” A small snort beside her made her grin. She looked over to see him bent over and looking tense. He apparently didn’t like the thought of getting married in Las Vegas. She didn’t blame him. It wasn’t what she had planned on, either. “Well, from what I heard, it was great, anyway. Probably just because we were together. But after that, things got bad.” She looked back over at the arch for strength. “The closer we got, the worse things got with Tess. She eventually left Roswell and no one ever saw her again. Eleven years after we got married... your enemies found you and they took over the earth. It was easy for them because the four of you work as a unit and you were too weak without Tess, or something like that. Anyway, it was horrible, and in a desperate attempt to keep the Earth from being taken over, we modified the granolith to make time travel possible.” She looked over at him again. “I guess you know something about that, though, right?” Max didn’t answer. His eyes were darting around the room and he was breathing heavily. Liz leaned closer to him. “Are you alright?” “I’m fine. Please go on.” “Okay.” She took a deep breath and found that she didn’t want to continue. It was going to hurt too much. She stood and crossed over to the small Sphinx nearby, touching the scratchy surface delicately. After a few deep breaths, she turned back to Max and found his gaze on her again. “So, about six months ago, that Max showed up on my balcony. He looked like you, only a little different. Black leather instead of brown, same hair. Anyway, he convinced me that he was from the future, which actually took-” “How?” Liz was startled by the interruption, but he wasn‘t looking at her. “How? Um... well, he told me that my Max was going to serenade me just before it happened. He knew the song, how he had learned it, why he did it and that he would throw roses up to me, changing them from red to white. He was talking to me the whole time my Max was serenading me. It was... a difficult moment for me.” She wanted him to look up, to understand. “I didn’t want to believe him, but I knew it was him. I couldn‘t help it.” Future Max looked up briefly and nodded at her. She smiled at him just a little before walking back over to the bench and taking a seat. “That’s when he told me about Tess leaving, and about his plan. He wanted me-” Her eyes cast around the room nervously, dreading the possibility that this Max was going to want the same thing from her. “He wanted me to make my Max fall out of love with me.” She waited for his response, but there was none. Was that a good sign? She shook her head and forced herself to continue. “So, you probably remember, from your timeline, how I set you and Tess up, and how upset you were. That was his idea. He was in Whittaker’s office with me, watching you. God, it was so hard to see her, knowing what she wanted and knowing what had to be...” Tears clogged her throat and she struggled to continue. She wiped at her eyes. “And it didn’t work, so we came up with that speech, that horrible speech that ended with what I thought was the biggest lie I could ever tell, that I didn’t want to die for you.” She turned back to look him in the eyes. He wasn’t her Max, but his Liz had hurt him and she had never been able to tell him why. She would want him to know now. “But I died even as the words came out of my mouth. And I was doing for you because you asked me to.“ He was looking away again. She wiped away more tears and stood. She had to keep moving. It hurt too much to sit still. “I don’t know... somehow I got back home and as much as I’d hurt you, it still didn’t work.” She shrugged. “So he said we had to come up with something else. I told him I couldn’t do it anymore, that I couldn’t stand hurting you again. That’s when he told me about Isabel‘s death- and Michael‘s.” She looked upwards at the painful memory. “He was so devastated. He blamed himself. And I couldn’t turn my back on him, not when Isabel and Michael and the whole friggin’ world depended on it.” She looked back over at his downcast figure helplessly. “I had to find a way to hurt you so badly that you would turn away, to save everyone. I’m so sorry, but that’s when I went to Kyle.” “Kyle,” he mumbled. “Yes, but nothing happened. Future Max had told me that you, I mean, my Max, was going to show up on my balcony that night, and that it was the night things were cemented between us. That night HAD to be changed. So I asked Kyle to set it up so that it-” Suddenly Max jumped to his feet and faced her. “You couldn’t trust me with the truth, but you could trust Kyle?” His flashing eyes and clenched jaw made her weak. She shook her head quickly. “No, no, Max, I didn’t tell him anything. I just said I had to make it look like we were... like we were sleeping together. He just thought I was mad at you or something. I swear, I didn’t tell him anything.” Max turned away. Liz suddenly felt unsteady on her feet. Why was he reacting this way? In the uneasy silence, she decided to continue. “And... it worked. You fell out of love with me.” The admission was so painful that she had to sit, her legs brushing against the rough sandstone of the Sphinx. She had tried to forget about it, but she knew it was so. “Future Max and I were dancing, and he just... disappeared.” She leaned back and covered her face with her hands. “Max, my life has been a living hell since then and I really don’t think I can deal with changing the future again.” She dropped her hands and looked up at his tall, strong form. “So if that’s why you’re here, please just go away and try something else. I just... can’t... do it again. I can‘t.”
Max could hardly breathe. Her plea wormed its way into his already ravaged conscience and he forced himself to turn around. The moonlight bathed her in bright white light, and the sight of her miserable, tear-stained face was like a physical blow. It was becoming crystal clear to him that all of her misery was his fault. It was time to end as much of it as he could. “Liz, I’m not from the future.” He was begging her to believe him, but her blank face showed him how hard this would be. She shrugged with a helpless motion. “What are you talking about?” “I’m not from the future. I’m-” She was on her feet in seconds, rushing at him, grabbing at the arms of his leather jacket. He saw desperation and fear swimming in her wide eyes. “But your clothes, your hair...” She shook her head. “I don’t understand.” Max swallowed. “It’s me. Just regular, plain Max Evans... with a really stupid costume on.” She looked dazed as she let go of his arms and took a step back. “It was supposed to be funny,” he almost smiled. “Mad Max ... And the guys said my hair looked wrong, so I... grew it.” Liz looked as if his words had just sucked the life out of her. She barely made it to the bench before she collapsed with a small thump. “I swear, I didn’t know how it would look to you. How could I have known?“ Max watched her shake her head slowly. Then she looked up at him accusingly. “You said you were from the future, didn’t you? You lied to me.” He was squatting in front of her in an instant. “No, no, I never said that. I just- I just didn’t stop you when I realized you weren‘t talking to me.” She looked betrayed, lost, and he was desperate to get that look off of her face. “I should have, it’s just that- it took a while to figure it out. And by then- I’m sorry, I just- I had to know.” His throat constricted so that he could hardly breathe and tears stung his eyes. “I had to know why you were lying to me. Can you understand that? I had to know.” She nodded as tears ran down her cheeks. “I understand,” she whispered, her bottom lip trembling. “I understand.” Max bowed his head. “I am so sorry, Liz.” “For what,” she croaked out. He looked up at the dark, luminous eyes fixed on him. “For asking you to do that.” He had a laundry list, but he didn’t know if he could get through all of them. He bowed his head again. “For letting you do that and then- then for treating you badly when you were just doing what I asked you to. And especially... for not being there when you needed me.” “Oh god, Max,” the despairing tone in Liz’s voice made him look up again. She was looking off into the darkness surrounding them again. “I don’t want you to feel guilty. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t know because I didn’t tell you.” “You couldn’t tell me.” He supplied quietly. “Right.” She looked down at him and shook her head. “Except I just did.” She paused a moment and he could see her trying to come to grips with that fact before she continued. “Max, you sacrificed your life, do you even realize that? The future you, he left everything behind, including his Liz, and came back to change the future. He knew he would never be able to go back to her, even if it didn‘t work. He sacrificed everything- YOU sacrificed everything to save the world. How could I do any less?” Max was frozen, his thoughts moving so slowly. So they had equally sacrificed, been equally devastated. No, his mind insisted, hers had been much worse. He shook his head and looked up at her. “You begged me to trust you... I should have trusted you. How can you ever forgive me for that?” Liz’s mouth twisted in a wry smile. “How can you forgive me for hurting you so badly?” Max shook his head. “I love you, Liz. It didn’t-” “No.” Liz jumped up off the bench, moving away from him. He fell back at the violent motion. She turned and pointed at him. “You can’t. You- you fell out of love with me!” Max stood and followed her. “Liz, I never fell out of love with you.” “But- you said that you did. I remember- it was the day that the Dupes came. I asked you and you said-” He had to stop her. “I know what I said. I was devastated, Liz.” He shook his head. “I lied.” Liz’s mouth dropped open, and then she snapped it shut. “No. You had to have fallen out of love with me. He and I- we changed the future. We were dancing, and he just... disappeared.” Max finally understood. He took a desperate step forward. “What time was it when he disappeared?” Liz looked dumbfounded by the question. “Um... about... 9:30, I guess.” Max smiled briefly. “He didn’t disappear because I fell out of love with you. At 9:30 I was sitting in the park, trying to figure out what in the hell had just happened and Tess showed up-” Liz flinched and Max reached out to touch her arm reassuringly. “She showed up and asked if I wanted her to leave. For the first time, I didn’t push her away. I let her stay. And that was the beginning of our friendship.” He stepped closer to her and leaned down to see her face. “You did that, Liz. If you hadn’t done what you did, I never would have let her stay. You did change the future, but not because I stopped loving you.” He reached out and caressed her face. Tears spilled out of her eyes as she closed them. “I didn’t stop- I couldn’t stop loving you- not for one second.” A slow smile grew on Liz’s face and he reached out to pull her into an embrace. She was stiff at first, but then she just collapsed against him. He swept her up and held her small, cold body against his chest, closing his eyes in pure bliss. He was holding his Liz again.
Liz was completely spent. She was still feeling light-headed and fuzzy and her mind refused to think any more. Finally, there was no more fear, no more pain. Just Max. His warmth stole into her and she found herself wanting to get closer. She lifted her head and nuzzled his neck. It was smooth and warm, and the smell of his cologne excited her senses. She slid her outside hand around his neck and his lips lowered to hers. In that sparest of seconds before they touched, she trembled as though her very life hung in the balance. Then his lips caressed hers, gently, reverently, and she gasped from the sheer pleasure of it. His hand slid up into her hair, holding her steady as his mouth became more demanding and passion began to rule. She felt her love for him come alive, teased into full flame by the way his mouth captured hers- with possession, with need, with tenderness. After months of being shut out of his life, it was bliss. He had forgiven her. “Oh god, Liz-” His lips were on her neck, his hand sliding down to taste the bare skin of her side. She shivered and felt the need to get closer. There was so much leather in the way. She needed to feel him again. Sitting up slowly, his kisses still making her breathless, she eased his jacket off and raised up the coarse shirt underneath to touch him. His skin was warm and soft, and his muscles as taunt as she had remembered. He groaned into her mouth and suddenly, she saw flashes:
Looking up at her balcony to her smiling face, feeling that there was hope in that look-
Her face as she turned down his desperate invitation to the concert. She felt his confusion, his pain-
More pain tore into her as she saw distorted images, she and Kyle in bed, smiling-
In Copper Summit, as she weakly defended her actions to him, feeling the last shreds of hope die as the words “we made love” echoed-
Then she pulled away. She had to. Sobs racked her body. She was barely aware of his arms pulling her close, of her voice whispering endless apologies, promises... She felt him shake beneath her, and suddenly realized the flashes probably went both ways. He wouldn’t look her in the eyes. “Max?” He shook his head, his voice clogged with tears. “I am so- so sorry, Liz. If I had known, I never would have said those things, or looked at you that way-” Oh god, he had seen everything. Liz wrapped her arms around him and waited. “I love you, Max. And if you love me, believe me when I say that I understand why you doubted me. Honestly, I couldn‘t believe you were so kind and caring in spite of what you thought I had done.” Max shook his head. “You are amazing. I don’t know anyone else who could do what you did.“ Liz smiled and ran a hand over his long hair. “I do.“ He looked up in surprise at her words, and she stared at him pointedly. “If only the world knew what it owed you, Max Evans.” Max looked down briefly. “I think I owe it a great deal more than I could ever pay.“ He looked up with his eyes full of love. “It gave me you.” Liz smiled, a flood of happy tears spilling out of her eyes. The light in his eyes was back and in them, she could see forever.
THE END (or should I say, THE BEGINNING)
Rain, rain on my face
|Part 2 | Index|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|