|"Jagged Little Pill"|
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, etc.
from Roswell just borrowing and giving them back;
Sarah is, however, mine!! :0)|
Summary: Starts moments after the events in "Balance"...
Authors Note: Fanfic challenge: based on "It's a Wonderful Life" (which should receive all credit due to it for the borrowed character of Clarence and the "rules" of guardian angelship, etc. A GREAT movie!!)
|From above, the couple on the roof seemed so drawn to
each other that Sarah couldn't understand the pain in
their eyes. Even from such a great distance, it was
obvious something was wrong.|
"Why is she crying? They're in love, right?"
Sarah heard the laughter in Clarence's voice.
"You have a lot to learn, little one. Sometimes things can get complicated down there. Now, you have your mission. And you have heaven with you. Go in peace. He will make the wish soon."
She drifted down through the clouds, watching the lights get brighter, trying to ignore the thousands of other people living, rushing and dying all below her.
Sarah was here to help one man find an answer. She finally saw him, and her heart melted as his thoughts washed over her.
(Moments after the events in "Balance"...)
Max climbed down the ladder, feeling as though he had just cut out his soul.
There were no words to describe the agony he was feeling, even though he didn't allow a hint of it to show on his face.
When Liz kissed him, it had taken every bit of his willpower not to give in and admit that he was just as scared to take a step back and lose her as he was to continue on together and have his entire life spin out of control. He was desperately afraid. But his self-control kept him going.
Control...Max's life was all about control.
He reminded himself of that as he climbed in the jeep, trying desperately to keep from seeing the picture of Liz his mind was remembering. She had turned to him, in tears, saying that her love for him was the only real thing she had ever felt.
Sarah was now standing beside him, a tear rolling down her cheek. He couldn't see her, but she was drawn to his pain-filled eyes. She appeared in the passenger seat and leaned toward him, studying his profile intently. His mind was a jumble of thoughts...
Liz...she was convinced they were soul mates. He knew that, just as he usually knew what she was feeling.
But, how could she know what might lie ahead?
Max had seen the look on her face as she saw Michael in the cocoon. She was revulsed, horrified, as they all were. And that was a part of Max. Whatever that was, it was a part of him, too.
Max cursed inwardly as he shifted gears.
This was exactly why he had never wanted to encourage Liz to begin with. How could he expect her to deal with something that he fought to deal with himself?
The unknown was a horrifying thing. A black, gaping thing. The only way to fight it was to remain in control of every circumstance they could, so that the unknown didn't take over.
Again and again, control was the only thing that had kept he, Isabel and Michael safe. Everything was riding on it. For him to be with Liz and forget his life's ambition of finding the truth about himself and his home, to lose balance in his life, meant that they would make mistakes. And then, the unknown would swallow them up, with grim consequences.
At this, Sarah gasped and shook her head. She had to be able to do something for him...
The three other-worlders had all come to grips with their own fragile "alien" mortality over time. For Isabel, that meant dealing with the fear that the truth would revulse those she loved most and turn them against her. For Michael, that had meant nightmares about alien hunters and lonely torture chambers. But for Max, the consequences of losing his balance now meant something else entirely. His "normal" existence, the thing he used to prize above anything else, would be over and the running would begin. And then...he would have to leave Liz forever...
"Oh, how terrible," Sarah thought. She reached over to Max and gently touched his face, trying to ease his pain.
Max blinked once, twice. A strange warmth radiated over him. Almost like how he felt when Liz was near. He briefly looked away from the road as Liz's face once again came to mind.
Sarah sighed, then happened to look into the road ahead.
A child darted into the road directly in their path.
Sarah smacked Max on the shoulder.
He looked back just in time to see the child frozen in fear, just ahead of them.
Max slammed on his brakes.
*Where did he come from?*
The jeep slid toward the small boy frozen in the headlights...... and stopped just in time.
Max started breathing again.
Sarah started breathing again.
The boy looked at Max, then at the other side of the road, then back at Max before finally crossing of into the darkness.
Max shook his head grimly.
*Exactly. Control....I can't even drive and think about Liz safely.*
Sarah slumped in the seat. "Great, I just made him feel worse."
Max started the jeep moving again, much more slowly this time.
He never should have kissed Liz. They never should have met at the Rave to begin with. Or gone to the Chinese restaurant.
Max shook his head. That had almost been the undoing of them all. They had almost lost Michael...through Max's own selfishness. He had seen the look in Michael's eyes. He knew that Michael was crossing the line, consequences be damned. Nobody could read Michael like Max could.
But Max's desire for Liz was too strong and he chose to leave Isabel and Michael when they needed him.
Balance. Control. All gone.
He had to find it again, no matter what his personal desires were. Michael and Isabel were his responsibility. They came first.
By now, Max was home. He stopped the jeep and parked outside.
Sarah watched him with a brooding expression. "When is he going to make his wish?"
Max doubted that Isabel was asleep, and he dreaded talking anymore tonight. He was too haunted, too out of control. She would never understand.
He grabbed the keys out of the ignition.
Liz was the only one who understood him...
Sarah sat up. "We understand, Max. We all do." Of course, he couldn't hear her.
Max gritted his teeth and climbed out, willing himself to push Liz out of his mind again.
He looked up and his eyes were drawn to the "V" cluster of stars, their stars. And as they winked at him, the turmoil grinding inside him suddenly found a focus.
Sarah appeared beside Max, gazing up at the sky, too. She was watching and waiting...
*If only I were normal...human...* Max wondered.
Life would never be easy, but how much better would it be if he and Liz could be together?
"The wish!!! Yes! Now we'll see some power!" Sarah did a little angel dance.
It was not a new wish for Max, but the fervor that accompanied it was fierce and rash.
Sarah stopped dancing and looked at him with concern. He was sending out waves of anger and...
He felt keenly the pain he had caused everyone by his selfishness, and the weight of the lives that were depending on him.
He suddenly hated everything he was, everything that kept him from going back to Liz.
Sarah looked up at heaven. "Come on, he said it. What are you waiting for?"
Max's life stretched out before him, an almost endless time line of sacrifices and frustrated desires, and he wanted no part of it. So that leaves...
Sarah turned to him with fear in her eyes. "No..." she whispered.
Death...the largest part of the gaping unknown.
What if he were to welcome it?
...to desire it?
...to seek it?
His logical mind immediately found the cons, but there were only a few.
Max shook away the thought. She'd be fine. Isabel was stronger than she thought, stronger than Max in some ways.
And he'd make sure that there was nothing left to be found by Valenti. Nothing left to be autopsied. With Max gone, Valenti would end the chase.
And Michael would be there for Isabel.
*Michael will probably be more responsible with me out of the picture.*
Max knew he enabled Michael to be careless by cleaning up after him. He'd just been doing it so long that he couldn't stop himself.
They'd be fine. Upset, but fine. And they'd understand...maybe.
"You can't do this!" Sarah shook her head, frustrated that he couldn't hear her. "You're my first assignment!"
Irreconcilable differences. He and life just had irreconcilable differences.
Max got back in the jeep but hesitated.
Max set his face and started the engine.
*They don't even know the truth. They don't know me.*
Sarah slipped back into the front seat, praying for a miracle.
Max pulled out cautiously, careful even in his most erratic moment. Feeling numb, he drove on automatically.
Sarah didn't dare try anything. Somehow, this was part of the plan...she just watched his beautiful face and prayed for deliverance for him.
After a few minutes, Max turned onto the highway, accelerating slowly. There was a little canyon with a river about 10 miles down the road. Perfect for disappearing...
The wind whipped around him and Max's thoughts turned to Liz. Control gone--forever.
He wanted to be with her, to touch her everywhere, to be her first lover, her only lover, to be able to promise her forever....like a normal man.
His face burned, but in his honesty, his soul finally acknowledged the truth behind his passion. He was her soul mate. The world was cruel to keep them apart.
Sarah was so envious of his love for this Liz. "What a beautiful, passionate man. Surely he will get another chance." She looked up to heaven with pleading eyes.
He turned onto a side road, bumping his way across the ruts to the scenic overlook. The guard rail was old, and rusty. Beyond that was a sight that took his breath away.
Space...and in the distance, a cliff wall. Below that, he knew there was a river winding its way through the canyon. Hundreds of feet below.
He doubted his courage....his reasoning...his desperation. He had told Liz the truth tonight. There was no doubting it now.
He was completely off-balance.
One last doubt plagued him.
Would this hurt her more? He couldn't tell. He didn't think so. How could her heart hold any more pain that when he had left her tonight? He had seen it in her eyes. It had blown over him like a gentle hurricane, taking with it everything he had been living for.
He put the jeep into gear and slammed his foot on the gas.
Sarah touched his face one more time, then appeared on the edge of the cliff. She watched the jeep as it hurtled toward the ravine, certainty settled on Max's face.
Death rather than life without Liz. His last act would spit in the face of the great mastermind behind life, whoever decided that it would be a good trick to have an alien and a human fall in love and live their lives in pain.
Tears rolled down Sarah's face.
The jeep broke the guard rail...and Max looked upon the gaping unknown.
His eyes grew wide and fear caught at his throat.
As he fell, Max planned on using his powers one last time...
to heat the jeep until it simply exploded into thousands of pieces...his body fragmented along with it.
But up on the edge of the cliff, one bright angel saw the power that stopped his fall and saved the man so bent on destruction.
She wept as she watched him gently borne upwards, back to the cliff. He was laid down right where she stood, unconscious but unharmed.
She looked up and smiled her thanks.
And heard two words in return, "Get busy."
She nodded, "Right."
|Index | Part 2|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|