|"How to Disappear Completely"|
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, either with respect to
Melinda Metz's work and characters, or to the wb and Jason Katims. Nor is
their any copyright infringement intended in regard to Radiohead's work.
Many thanks to all of you for creating such a fabulous world.|
Summary: The story takes place the night of The End of the World and afterward, and imagines what might have happened differently.
|Liz knew it would upset Max to realize just how powerfully their connection
had affected her, so she'd held herself together. But the minute she closed
the bathroom door behind him, she began to sob silently and uncontrollably.
She wasn't even sure how long she stood there, her back shaking against the
closed door, hot tears streaking her face.|
It had been the most intimate, tender experience of her life. She knew now what it must be like to make love, what it would have been like for Max to make love to her. He'd been inside her, and she inside him, and all their yearning for one another had been completely satisfied for just those few minutes.
She'd felt and known everything in his heart--the incredible depths of him, his memories, his love for her...and so much pain it had been devastating. But she wouldn't let him know that because during their connection, she'd also felt Max's worry for her--and a fierce protectiveness she'd never known from him before. Where had that come from? Had he always been that way, but just been guarded about it? Or was it the result of everything she'd sensed about his past fourteen years?
That, more than anything else, was why she cried. She'd felt his deep grief over losing Isabelle and Michael, but nothing had prepared her for how much he ached for the future version of herself. How could she not have understood that even though he was with her, he'd still lost his wife of twelve years when he'd traveled back in time?
And she cried for her Max, and the look she'd seen on his face. She'd destroyed him tonight, and she couldn't even imagine what he was feeling right now. Where had he gone? She had a desperate urge to go find him, to tell him everything--to make him part of this. She wanted to hold him, and take away that look she'd seen in his eyes. But she couldn't do that, not if their plan was going to succeed. No, she had to allow their deception to play out, and in the process hurt someone she knew would never willingly hurt her; in fact, would do anything to protect her.
Liz wiped at the tears, willing them to subside as she reached for a tissue. She glanced in the mirror and couldn't believe how quickly her entire face had become angry and swollen. She was going to have to fix that, or Max would know just how upset she was. She ran cold water on a cloth, and began to blot her eyes. No, Max couldn't know she'd been in here crying like this, so some damage control would be required. She reached for her makeup bag, and began to rummage through it. As she did, Liz reflected that there was something else she'd never let this Max know, something that she would keep from him at all costs. No, that was one secret she intended to keep for the rest of her life--and that suddenly seemed like a very long, lonely time.
Max leaned back in Liz's lounge chair and stared at the night sky. One thing Roswell had in abundance was stars, and tonight was a glorious, clear evening. How many years had it been since he'd even looked up like this? When he'd been a child, he'd stared at the stars for hours on end, imagining where he was from, and if he'd ever find his way home.
Then, somewhere along the line, he'd begun simply to look at them with an incredible sense of wonder--probably when he was about sixteen or seventeen. He and Liz would stare at the sky through her telescope, and she'd tell him all the things she was learning in her astronomy books. Sometimes they'd just sit on her balcony and hold each other, staring up...full of awe. But that was a lifetime ago, and he wasn't sure exactly when, but at some point he had just stopped looking up altogether.
Liz was taking a long time getting dressed, and he wondered if she was alright. He stood and began to pace, exhaling loudly in frustration. Of course she wasn't okay--who was he kidding? He'd give her a few more minutes, then go check on her. Max walked to the ledge, and looked out on the street. He'd always loved that Liz's family lived downtown like this. He smiled softly, remembering their first few months of marriage, when they had lived right in Liz's room. They'd turned it into their first apartment, and while it was cramped with all of them under one roof, it was one of the happiest times he'd ever known.
He looked down over the ledge, lost in the memories...and had an idea. He reached underneath his vest and pulled out a long gold necklace. There was a simple ring hanging on the end, warm from laying against his chest. He slipped the chain over his head and quickly unfastened it, letting the band slide into his palm. He smiled, closing his hand around it.
"I bet our parents wanted to kill us for eloping," Liz laughed softly, as she finished lighting the last candles along her balcony wall.
"No, no...that's not true." Max walked toward her, serious.
"No?" Liz raised her eyebrows in surprise.
"No, your parents wanted to kill me." They both broke into laughter.
"I bet!" Staring out into the quiet night, she grew serious.
"Could I ask you a question, Max? Something that's been kind of bothering me?"
He stepped behind her, just a breath away from her. "Sure."
"We didn't have any children?" Liz asked tentatively, as she and Max looked into the nearly empty downtown street together. He stood right behind her, and she could almost feel his breath on her neck. He was silent for a long moment, and her pulse began to race. Was it such a tough question?
She turned to him, wanting to read his expression, but he was completely guarded. "What, Max?"
He hesitated a moment. "It wasn't possible," he answered finally.
"Oh..." Liz replied softly, turning away so he wouldn't see her face. He placed his hand lightly on her shoulder.
"I don't mean because of our being...different. I don't know the answer to that."
"Then what, Max?"
He began to gently rub her shoulders and she could feel the heat from his hands through her shirt. It was like he was healing her, his touch was so warm and gentle...she wanted to lean back into him.
"It was too dangerous...always. We didn't try at first, we were so young, and then it was too late."
He continued rubbing her shoulders, his calloused thumbs traveling lightly up her neck. For someone who wanted to make sure they stayed apart physically, he was awfully close. Her heart began to race and she felt the connection flicker, then fade. It was like dancing in and out of the light, with each of his soft touches. Did he know how to just let her catch glimpses of it like this? Oh, back into the warm sunlight as he ran his hands down her arms, rubbing softly. He'd wanted babies with her...more than anything. Back into the cool shade, as he pulled his hands away.
Again, thumbs traveling up her neck, warmth, healing....dancing into the brightest sunlight, just touching the connection, more healing. He was healing her.
She leaned back into him and sighed contentedly. He kissed her softly behind the ear, then let his hands drop away, and the sun disappeared behind the clouds again.
She looked over her shoulder at him in surprise. He knew exactly what he was doing, and how to take her in and out of their bond, without letting it catch hold.
"I've been with you a long time, Liz," he smiled, answering her unspoken thought. "I know a lot about you...and me." Very gently, he turned her face away from him.
"But don't look at me...that helps," and he let his fingers linger softly on her cheek. Instantly, she flushed beneath his touch, and the connection flickered to life again. Liz closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of him, so much the same, yet slightly different. Golden shimmers. More healing. What was he really doing to her?
"Shh..." he whispered, as he trailed a radiant kiss across the nape of her neck.
"Just let me do it."
And then she just knew--with every whisper of their connection he was making her stronger, allowing a part of himself to flow into her. She could face whatever lay ahead now, because wherever she went, he would always go with her. That was the real gift he'd given her tonight. And no matter what happened with her Max tomorrow, she knew that she wasn't going to be alone after all.
|Part 1 | Index | Part 3|
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