|"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 in respect to Radiohead's song title, either-just a respectful bow of thanks.|
Summary: The story takes place the night of The End of the World and afterward, and imagines what might have happened differently.
| Liz turned the Jetta down another street, her hands trembling against the steering wheel. Thank God Maria had given her a spare car key some time ago. She stole a furtive glance at Marco, who rode beside her, staring coolly at the road ahead. They'd been driving aimlessly for a good ten minutes, and she was running out of time. The problem was, she literally had no idea where she could take him--was simply borrowing time and grasping for some plan.|
The only thing she knew was to keep him away from Max... at least as long as she could. She wondered how well Marco even knew Roswell... had he known where she and Max were living in 2014? For that matter, where had they been living? Was that where he thought she was taking him? She regretted she'd not pressed Future Max for more details... anything would help her now, especially knowing more who she was dealing with.
"We've already been down this street," he snapped.
"No... no we haven't." Liz shook her head firmly.
He grabbed her arm roughly, causing her to flinch in sudden pain. His sheer physical strength was jarring.
"Don't play games with me, Liz."
"You're trying to protect him. It won't work."
Liz chewed her lip, tears welling up in her eyes.
"I don't understand any of this, Marco... You need to help me understand, then maybe I can help you."
"You understand that I want Max."
She began to shiver under his wrenching grip, and forced herself to keep the car on the road.
It was time to take an incredible risk.
"I'm not finding anything, Max." Maria sighed. "Maybe its time to call Valenti?"
"No, not yet," Max murmured. "Keep looking, okay?"
He sat on Liz's bed, head buried in his hands, determined to make sense of the rushing images and emotions.
Liz putting his white roses in a vase... Kyle in her bed... their laughter. And again, the person who looked so much like himself. That single image resurfaced repeatedly, and each time awareness danced closer and closer to him. He just couldn't quite lay hold of what it all meant.
"Max?" Maria called from where she stood by Liz's dresser.
"Hmm... " Max slowly raised his face from his hands.
"Max, you need to see this." Maria held up something small, that glinted in the light.
"What is it?" Max stepped toward her.
"I think it's something important," she said, handing him the simple gold band.
Max took the ring tentatively. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, this appeared on Liz's finger exactly a week ago-or didn't you notice?"
He shook his head, turning the ring over in his fingers. It looked like a wedding band.
"Max, Liz has walked around in a daze for the past week. I can't tell you how many times I've caught her touching or looking at this ring."
"What are you thinking, Maria?" He furrowed his eyebrows in thought.
"Well, I'm wondering why she's not wearing it right now." Maria hugged herself protectively.
Max examined the ring more closely, then something caught his eye.
"There's an inscription on the inside." He held the ring up to the light so he could read the tiny letters.
07-12-02 Sonnet 29:13-14
July 12, 2002. That was a year and a half from now-yet the ring looked very well worn.
"What does it say?" Maria asked, trying to take the ring from him. But he closed it deep in his palm, and turned from her in a daze.
The images were beginning to form a single, haunting thought.
They'd read Shakespeare's 29th Sonnet during the first week of school this year, when she'd been shutting him out so thoroughly. He'd scribbled the last lines on a note and passed it to her during English class. He still recalled the words now.
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings --that then I scorn to change my state with kings.
And he'd meant it-he didn't care about his supposed destiny as a king, or that Tess was meant to be his wife. All he wanted was Liz... She was all he'd ever wanted, and that's what he'd written in the note, too. But she hadn't responded, had just slid it silently into her notebook, without so much as a glance in his direction, leaving his heart thudding dully. He'd wondered that day if he would ever be able to get through to her.
But this ring gave him the idea that maybe he had.
"Well?" Maria stomped. "What does it say, Max?"
He stared at the ring in disbelief, as all the random images began to come into focus. This was their wedding ring... from the future. That's why he'd seen an image of someone who looked so much like himself, and had sensed that same person during his connection with Liz downstairs.
Chill bumps formed on his skin, as he handed the ring to Maria. "Read it," he said, and walked to Liz's window. "And tell me what you think it means."
As he looked out on Liz's balcony, he heard her clear voice, as if she were right beside him.
Don't you know what you are to me? What you're always going to be to me? You're the love of my life...
"Why would this have some future date on it... unless?" Maria asked. He turned to find her staring at him, her face pale. "Oh my God," she whispered.
"Its her wedding ring... that sonnet is something I wrote to her once." Max lowered his eyes. "I mean, I didn't write it... but I put it in a note to her."
"I don't get what you're saying at all, Max." Maria stood frozen.
"I'm saying... we were married. In 2002."
"What do you mean, he's gone?" Marco thundered, pulling roughly on her arm. She nearly swerved into oncoming traffic.
"Stop it! You're going to make me have an accident."
"Pull over right now."
Liz had begun heading out of town on the highway, so she pulled over onto the shoulder, causing dust to fly up around the car. She turned to Marco, whose dark eyes were flashing with anger.
"Now explain what you mean."
"Max from your time is gone... He disappeared a week ago."
"When we changed the future, he just... disappeared. I don't understand why you're still here, either."
Marco placed his hands roughly on both sides of Liz's face and pulled her toward him. "And you're just now telling me this because... " He met her eyes intently and she could almost feel him drawing things out of her, some part of her mind giving way to him. She began to shake.
"I didn't know what to do," she whispered in a small voice, and he tightened his grip on her. Drawing his face within inches of her own, black eyes bore into hers.
"Liz. You are such a disappointment to me. To think how many years I've admired you."
Liz remained silent, as her tremors grew stronger. Who was this man? And what would he do with her now?
He sat in thoughtful silence, clearly considering his next move. His eyes shifted from her's in slight hesitation, and Liz was struck by the odd notion that he was frightened-was disconcerted by his very own existence. In that moment, he seemed strangely vulnerable, and she hoped that was something she could use to her advantage.
"I should not be here if Max disappeared when the future changed," he stated matter of factly. He furrowed his brows in thought. "We didn't understand how to set the granilith precisely... perhaps something went wrong."
Liz suddenly understood exactly what had happened. There was only one plausible explanation for his existence, since the future had been altered and he should have ceased to exist.
"I think I know what might have happened," she offered hopefully. Maybe if she helped him, she could gain his trust, and that could only help Max.
"The only way you could still be here is if you were coming through the tear in time space at precisely the moment the future was altered. That would have somehow prevented your disappearance, since theoretically you would have been existing outside of time at that moment."
"Smart, Liz... very smart." Then a slow smile spread across his face. "And quite convenient for me."
He stared at her, considering his next move.
"So I see now that my strategy has been all wrong. My focus has been on the wrong Max." He slipped his hands firmly onto her head. "And now I will learn all about yours"
Marco closed his eyes, and Liz felt an electric sensation shoot through her mind, then terrible pain. He flinched, and his expressions changed rapidly, as she felt her mind being sucked of something, almost like a giant vacuum were engulfing her thoughts. His eyes flew open suddenly, growing wide.
"You are not Liz Evans," he whispered fiercely. "Not the wife of the leader of the rebellion."
Liz drew her breath in sharply, as he dropped his hands away.
"You are only a seventeen year old girl. And that means Max will be easy to defeat."
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