Disclaimer: All Roswell characters are the property of the WB. Thank you,
Ms. Dickenson, for the use of your poem. |
Summary: Max keeps his distance from Liz in order to "protect" her, but is he in danger of losing her to someone else? Also, my version of how Max and Maria become friends.
Authors Note: Feedback always appreciated!
|Maria was practically whistling as she worked. She felt like she'd made
great headway with Max. She just knew he was going to approach Liz, that he
was going to make things right between them. She'd forgiven herself for the
kiss that wasn't really a kiss, and she felt like she and Max had started
building a wonderful friendship. All was right with the world. |
Maria spotted Liz tallying up her receipts for the night and bounced over to her. "So, Liz, how about a movie tonight? We could get a rental, make some popcorn-"
"I can't," Liz interrupted.
"I have plans."
Maria's heart skipped and she had to struggle to hide her excitement. "Plans?"
"Yeah, a, um, date." Liz glanced at her friend, then returned to her receipts.
"Oh, Liz that is so great! I knew Max would-"
"It's not with Max."
"I'm going out with Kyle."
Maria stopped cold, confused for a few seconds. "Kyle?" she burst out, louder than she'd anticipated.
"Yes?" Both girls turned to see Kyle behind them. Liz smiled, but Maria grimaced. "You have something to say, Maria?"
Maria shook her head. "No. Liz just told me she was busy tonight, that's all."
Kyle gave her one of his famous deadpan looks. "Well, you didn't have to sound so disgusted about it." He turned his back on Maria and addressed Liz. "You about ready?"
"Sure," Liz replied. "Just let me run in the back and grab my purse, then we can be off."
Liz disappeared into the back room as Maria shot Kyle a look. The bell above the door chimed and they both turned to see Max enter. He smiled at Maria, but Maria frowned and shook her head. His eyebrows drew together in confusion as she pushed him back through the door.
Out on the sidewalk, Maria started waving her hands demonstratively. "You don't want to do whatever it was you were about to do."
"What do you mean?" Max asked, looking at her like she was crazy.
"God, you've just got to trust me on this one." Maria was having a hard time coming up with the words to tell him that Liz was moving on without hurting his feelings.
"Look, Maria, you told me I need to straighten things out with Liz, and you were right. So I want to talk to her and-"
Maria grabbed his arm. "No, you don't understand. It's not that simple - "
Kyle and Liz emerged from the Crashdown, Liz's arm looped through Kyle's. Max's mouth dropped open and he felt like someone had kicked him in the gut. Maria hung her head. Liz glanced at Maria, then at Max, but she didn't disentangle herself from Kyle.
"Good night, Maria," she said. "Good night, Max."
Max and Maria watched them disappear down the sidewalk, then Maria let out a frustrated sigh.
"I tried to warn you, dude."
Liz and Kyle sat by the fountain in the park, eating sandwiches they'd picked up at a local deli. Liz picked off her pickles and gave them to Kyle. She remembered from when they'd dated before that Kyle was a pickle fanatic.
When they were done with their dinner, Kyle sat back against the park bench and stretched his legs out in front of him. He sighed and seemed to drift off to some place else.
"You okay?" Liz asked gently.
He nodded, seemed to hesitate for a moment, then continued. Liz had a feeling he was about to talk about the one thing that was the hardest for him. "Liz, how long did it take you to adjust?"
"Adjust? Adjust to what?"
He looked to the sky. "To the fact that we aren't alone." He returned his gaze to her. "To the fact that someone could heal you with just a touch."
Liz put her hand on his arm. "Kyle, I realize this probably hasn't been easy for you."
"You have no idea," he said softly.
She studied him, saw the despair, the confusion in his blue eyes. "I guess the only assurance that I can give you is that in time it gets better. Yeah, I was a little freaked for a while-"
She thought for a moment. "I don't know. A couple of days."
He let out a disbelieving sigh. "A couple of days. Damn, I think I need therapy."
Liz let out a little laugh at his self-deprecation - it had been months since Max had healed Kyle. "I don't know if that's true."
"I think it is. Liz, I have the worst nightmares. I can't sleep. I avoid it. I run and keep myself going to the point where I pass out more than fall asleep. I figure if I am that exhausted, I won't have any energy to dream."
Liz looked at him sympathetically. "What are the dreams about?"
He looked frustrated and stared straight ahead, away from her. "The shooting, mostly. I just keep seeing myself being shot over and over and over. By my father." He looked at her incredulously. "My father shot me, Liz."
"But he didn't mean to, Kyle. It was an accident."
"I know that. But in the dreams he means it. And then I see Max and he's this hideous creature and instead of saving me, he helps my dad kill me."
Liz drew in a little breath. Kyle saw Max as a threat. "Kyle, Max wouldn't hurt you."
"How do I know that?" he asked, his eyes wide. "If he can save a life so easily, how easily can he take one?"
Liz gave him a small smile. "He's not like that, Kyle. You're probably right - his powers probably would allow him to kill someone easily, but I don't believe he'd ever use them for that purpose. I don't think he's capable, Kyle."
"How do you know?"
Liz shifted uncomfortably. "Because I dated him."
Kyle nodded. "Oh, yeah, right." He pondered that for a moment, wondering how Liz had been strong enough to overcome her fear and date the guy, maybe even be intimate with him. "You're a strong person, Liz" he said to her in awe. "You've adjusted to all of this so well."
Liz could feel his pain and confusion. She lifted his chin so that he would look at her. "Kyle, you can overcome this. I know you can. You're a strong person, too. But you can't go through this alone. After I was shot, I had Maria to talk to. And Max. I grilled him for answers all of the time. I even asked him if he was green when he was born. You can't internalize this the way you have been." She touched his cheek, then dropped her hand down to take his. "What can I do to help? Please, Kyle, let me help you."
Kyle met her gaze as a long, uncomfortable silence ensued. Then he tightened his fingers around hers, and for the first time since she'd known him, Liz saw tears well up in his eyes. She released his hand and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, letting him silently weep out his frustrations of the last few months.
During the walk home, Kyle reached for Liz's hand and she let him hold it. When they reached her door, he looked away a little sheepishly, a little embarrassed at his earlier breakdown. But she smiled at him, and he returned her smile. When he moved to kiss her goodnight, she let him do that, too.
Isabel Evans was lying on her bed trying to do her homework, but the steady thump of some object against the floor of her bedroom was distracting her. Her brother Max's bedroom was directly below hers - she had the impression he was tossing something at his ceiling. She stopped writing in her notebook, then continued when the noise ceased. No sooner had she started to work her math problem again than the thumping started again.
"Hey, Max," she yelled toward the floor. "Knock it off."
The thumping continued. Disgusted, she tossed her pencil onto her desk and started downstairs to reprimand her brother. She whipped open his door and stood ready to verbally assault him.
Max was lying on his back on the bed, his headphones over his ears. He was tossing a soccer ball at his ceiling. Thump. Thump. Thump.
Isabel reached out and grabbed the ball before it reached his hands. He shot her a glance as he sat up and removed the headphones. She could hear the music blaring out of them. Reaching over, he angrily snatched the ball out of her hands.
"Get out," he commanded, lying back down and replacing the headphones.
Isabel unplugged the headphones from his CD player. He sat up again, angrier than before.
"What do you think-" he began.
Isabel cut him off. "Knock it off, Max. I'm trying to study and I can't concentrate if you are throwing that stupid ball at the ceiling."
He shrugged and reached to plug the headphones back in.
Isabel waved her hand and the cord moved out of Max's reach. He turned angry eyes on her. She stood her ground.
"I don't know where the attitude is coming from, Max, but all I'm asking is that you not throw the ball at the ceiling. It's distracting me." She moved for the door, but soon turned back to face him. "And why are you so mean lately?" She put her hands on her curvy hips. "What's going on with you?"
He looked away from her, his jaw set stubbornly.
"I'm not the only one who's noticed," Isabel continued. "Mom notices, I'm sure she's said something to Dad. Michael says he doesn't even want to be in the same room with you." The anger left her expression as she approached his bed. She sat down slowly, ignored the brief look of impatience that passed his handsome features. "Max, what's troubling you?"
He looked at her, his dark eyes sad.
"Is it the stuff that Agent Pierce did to you? Because I can understand if it is." Her voice was calm, gentle. She put her hand on his leg. "You're my brother, Max. I care about what happens to you. And if something is bothering you, I want to help you."
Max looked at the ball in his hands. He wasn't sure if he could talk to Isabel about the Liz situation. Isabel had never liked Liz, hadn't agreed with Max's determination to have a relationship with her. Liz was human. Max wasn't.
Isabel reached up and touched his hair. "Please, Max."
He heaved a defeated sigh. "Liz is dating Kyle."
Isabel removed her hand from his hair. For a moment he thought he'd been right about what her initial reaction would be. But she surprised him when she nodded in understanding.
"I'm sorry, Max," she said.
Max tossed the ball to the floor and looked at his sister. "I blew it. I had all of the opportunity in the world, and I let her get away."
Isabel smiled. "Wow - that doesn't sound like the Max I used to know. Defeated so easily?" She wrinkled her nose. "And admitting defeat to Kyle Valenti?"
"What am I supposed to do?" Max asked defensively.
Isabel shrugged. "She hasn't married him yet, Max. Why don't you do the chivalrous thing and fight for her? No girl can resist a guy who's mad for her." She said the last bit with a wide smile. "And you are mad for her, Max. Since the day you saw her." Isabel stood to leave, but not before giving him a sisterly peck on the cheek and a comforting pat on the arm.
Liz grabbed her tray and pushed her way through the kitchen door. As she was serving her table, she noticed Max sitting in his usual booth. That wasn't the astounding part. The astounding part was that he was making eye contact with her…and smiling.
She finished delivering the meals to her patrons, then, wiping her hands on her apron, walked over to Max's table.
"Hi," he said, smiling wider.
Liz wondered if the body snatchers had gotten to Max over night. Recently, he hadn't been able to look at her, let alone be the first one to speak. And what was with the smile? "Hi," she said cautiously.
"How are you?"
She nodded. "Good, you know. Good." Suddenly she felt nervous. Like something just wasn't right. "Look, Max, we're really busy right now."
"I can see that." He was still smiling.
"Can I get you anything?"
He shook his head. "No, I need to get home. I just wanted to give you this." He reached into his backpack and pulled out a rose.
Liz took it, hoping he hadn't noticed her hand trembling as she reached for it. She put it to her nose, then looked at him suspiciously. "Why?"
He shrugged as he slid from the booth. "Why not?" He touched her arm briefly before walking away from her and out the door.
Liz took the rose into the break room. She stood staring at it, confused. Maria, readying for her shift, looked over Liz's shoulder.
"Wow, I didn't know Kyle had a romantic side."
Liz jumped slightly, startled, then turned to face Maria. "He doesn't. It isn't from him."
Maria glanced at the rose, then smiled. "Oh," was all she said. Liz's expression told the whole story.
|Part 2 | Index | Part 4|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|