|"How to Disappear Completely"|
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, either with respect to
Melinda Metz' work and characters, or to the wb or Jason Katims. Many thanks
to all of you for creating such a fabulous world. Also, no infringement is
intended regarding Radiohead's song title--just a respectful bow of
Summary: The story takes place the night of The End of the World and afterward, and imagines what might have happened differently.
|Wrinkles. Not just wrinkles, but gray hairs. Max frowned, and turned away
from the bathroom mirror. Liz had been denying it for months, whenever he'd
asked if she could see them. Why did he care that she had commented on them,
when such monumental things were at stake?|
Maybe the problem was that lately he'd started to feel less than young. Not old--just not so young anymore. That's what fourteen years of fighting did to you. It wore you down, bit by bit. And now this. Seeing Liz again at seventeen, when she was not yet fully his, and when there'd been so much promise for their future. When they might have become anything together. The worst part, was that seeing her again brought it all back, and even though he shouldn't, he wanted her.
He could hear them in the other room... what was she saying? She was asking something about Max... and visions. He didn't like the idea of her in bed with Kyle, platonic agreement or not. He frowned remembering just how lovely she'd been tonight, when she'd asked him to look away while she undressed for Kyle. He wished he was the one in her bed right now. Ah, what he'd do to her, but this Liz wouldn't exactly know what to make of that. At least not at first, but he could deal with that.
He looked into the mirror. Grey hairs and... . scars. So many battles and what had been the point of any of them now? What he wouldn't give just to be seventeen and at Liz's window again. To be making love to her for the first time again.
Suddenly, he felt a shudder, something deep within him. It was him. He was close-whenever his younger self was near, he could feel it, almost like a vibration through his bones. He was outside now. Deep pain, like he'd never felt. It was happening now, because he could remember it. He could remember how it had felt to see Liz with Kyle. The betrayal of it all. What was she doing? Why was she there?
And yet he had never seen it with his own eyes. But it was part of his memory now, etched into his deepest marrow forever.
He shuddered again. He could almost feel himself splitting in two. He didn't have much longer, because he couldn't take much more of this. Then he could feel Liz reaching to him--not just him, but his other, younger self. He could feel her heartbeat, no matter where she was, no matter what was happening, and she was hurting. He had to make it better some how.
"Max." She was outside the bathroom.
"Yeah?" He closed his eyes, trying to beat out the pain.
"He's gone," she whispered softly through the closed door.
The door opened, and her sweet face looked up at him, concerned for him. After what he'd just made her do--what he'd just done to her. He shook his head, trying to knock that awful memory out of his mind. How bizarre to remember something he'd never seen. She stepped into the bathroom, wrapped only in a towel. He couldn't help but look.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
He sighed and looked back into the mirror. Tired. Old. She smiled, touching his face lightly, as she gazed at his reflection. "You have a beard. That's still just... .different." Her eyes widened, then she looked down nervously at her towel. He'd broken her heart tonight, in asking her to do this. Again, he felt the grief shoot through him, as if he'd just seen it all himself.
He turned toward her, running his fingers over the top edge of the towel. He knew his hand was wandering dangerously close to where it shouldn't be, but he didn't care.
"You don't have to be shy with me, Liz." His hand trailed across bare skin, then wandered back into her hair. "I mean... . I know you." She dropped her eyes at what he was implying. "All of you," he said.
She flushed, and kept her eyes lowered. "Yeah, I know. But... it's still kind of weird, you know?" Then she looked up into his eyes. He saw so much pain in them.
He had to make it better, to find a deeper connection with her, and he could feel that there wasn't much time. She needed more from him with all that was ahead of her.
Max pulled her into his arms, and held her, softly stroking her hair. "Is this weird?" he whispered into her ear.
"No," she sighed, wrapping her arms around him "this is... just right."
Lightly, he kissed her forehead, "How about this?" he breathed, as he trailed the kiss downward, and his lips met her's.
Liz didn't answer, couldn't answer, because the moment they kissed, there was an explosion of energy between them that he knew she'd never felt before.
She didn't understand exactly what he'd meant by "cemented." That he was implying a lot more than just making love... that they were bound together in ways she didn't know existed. And that bond transcended time and space, so it existed even with this version of Liz.
Liz pulled away, gasping, "What was that?" He closed his eyes, fighting to regain control. "That wasn't a flash, Max."
"Don't say you can't tell me, Max!" Tears sprang to her eyes.
"It's difficult to explain."
"That's never happened between us before. Why now... with you?" He reached for her again, trying to pull her into his arms, but she pushed him away. She still looked so angry.
"Liz, I love you, just know that. I can't explain what you just felt, but we'd better not kiss again because if we do... "
"Then what?" she asked.
"Then things are going to really change within you." She deserved an explanation, yet what happened if he gave it to her?
"Liz, the flashes were always... .just a hint of what could happen. Sort of like flipping through a radio dial," he took her hand in his, and lightly kissed her palm. "Just a glimpse of what could happen between us."
Liz looked incredulous. "But they're so amazing."
Max stared intently into her eyes. "Yes, and that's... "
"The problem," Liz finished for him, suddenly understanding.
Max nodded slowly. "When we made love, we tuned into each other permanently."
"But you, " Liz flushed, "this version of you--and I have never... "
"No, but it's still there... somehow. Ever since we made love, the connection is just always there... anytime we touch or kiss," this time Max dropped his eyes. "or are physically intimate, it's there."
Max kissed Liz's hand again softly, then whispered "Sort of like this." Then in one breath, he closed his hand around her's, and allowed the connection to explode. Liz stumbled backward against the sink, and Max reached to steady her, still holding her hand tightly in his. He felt it, too, but he'd had fourteen years to get used to their bond. Gently he pulled her into his arms, still clasping her hand tightly in his.
"Don't let go," she breathed against his neck.
"I have to, Liz. But first I want you to understand."
Liz began to tremble in his arms, her small frame shivering against him. "I feel you... your soul... or something." Liz could hardly speak.
"Yes... our souls are touching, actually." Max held Liz as tightly as he could, their ragged breaths falling into a single rhythm.
Only silence spun out between them, because there were no words. Memories, emotions, thoughts... and heat. He could literally feel Liz's body growing hot against him. If he didn't stop this soon, they were both going to be in trouble, but he couldn't seem to make the break. How could he, knowing it would be so final. No, he definitely didn't want to stop this--what he wanted was to deepen it even further, but he was dangerously close to transferring the bond permanently. She pulled back slightly and looked up at him. Had she heard his thoughts?
"Max, you've always wanted to make... " she took a gasping breath "all the rules." With that, she drew her lips within a mere breath of his, then stopped. He was lost in her eyes. What did she want him to do?
"But maybe this time I want to make them." Softly, her lips met his with the sweetest and gentlest of kisses. "I love you, Max. I will always love you." With that, she slowly released his hand from hers, and the roaring blaze faded to cold embers in one swift instant.
"I made the break because you couldn't," she whispered, stroking his face lightly.
He rested his forehead against hers. "I didn't want to leave you in 2014, either. I shouldn't have done what I just did, Liz--I'm sorry."
She took his face firmly in her hands. "Max, you just gave me an amazing gift." Her eyes pooled with tears. "I know everything now... about us, about you. And I understand why we had to do this tonight."
He nodded, and softly stroked her cheek. There was nothing more he could tell her that she didn't already know, not when she had been inside his heart and mind. Should he tell her that she was the only real home he'd ever known, and that leaving her had killed him? That tonight had killed him?
No, words would just feel empty now. He let his hand drop. "I'd better let you get dressed," he smiled wryly. "I don't think it's such a great idea, me being around you and that towel right now."
He stepped past her with a soft smile.
|Index | Part 2|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|