Disclaimer: This is not one of those disclaimers that sucks up to the people who actually
own the show. It`s
not one of those kinds where I say something slightly vulgar but also humorous like "I own
Instead, it`s the kind where I blabber on about disclaimers instead of actually getting to the
Summary: What could have happened if Max was really arrested in the Pilot and what will happen when Liz is the only one that can even visit him in jail before he`s taken away to the special unit.
Authors Note: This is kind of a "way-back" fanfic, you might say. It`s not about what happened after "Destiny" or what I think is going to happen in the next season. I instead decided to take a step back into the earlier episodes. There are opportunities back in there too, other holes that can be filled in with a fic. This story sorta demonstrates a different way that Max and Liz`s relationship could have "flowered" instead of the way it actually did if the show had gone a different way from the very beginning. The message is in a way that no matter what had happened Max and Lizzy were going to get together somehow: it just had to happen.
|Liz had watched helplessly, feeling like her world had just collapsed into pieces around her,
as Valenti shoved
a hopeless, handcuffed Max into his car. Right before he got in Max was able to steal a
glance up where
everyone was watching him and his eyes met Liz. His eyes were desperate and surrendering
at the same time
as the lights atop the car blinked red and blue on his face. When she couldn`t see Max`s face
because he was in the back seat, Liz looked over at Isabel standing beside her. But she did
not look at Liz. She
didn`t take her eyes off of that car, that car that her brother was in, the car that was going to
take him out of
her life forever. There was a glimmer of something on her cheek that Liz noticed. Could it have
Isabel crying seemed like such a metaphor. |
But Liz knew without knowing much about Isabel at all that if there was one person she cared about dearly, it was her brother. There was of course the thing that they shared a secret, but in addition they were family. Even more, Max was the only real family Isabel had on the face of the Earth.
Where was Michael? Liz couldn`t see him. There were lots of costumed teens watching the honor student Max Evans be arrested. He might be somewhere among the crowd, he might be away knowing that they were taking his best friend away and not being able to watch him leave. Anything could be true. Michael was a hard person to figure out.
As Valenti drove away the blinking lights were like Liz`s heart, beating, pounding. Red, blue. Sadness, guilt.
Then Liz felt Maria`s arm over her shoulders. Liz just leaned her head on her and closed her eyes. But she opened them in time to see Isabel run forward and chase the car as it sped away. "Wait, Max, no!" She ran after the car as Max could be seen from the back window turning around in his seat and taking one last sad look at her. "No, Max! We love you. We love you. Max!"
Liz squeezed her eyes back shut and then the tears came spilling out as Maria hugged her tightly. She was saying goodbye. Isabel was saying her last words to Max.
When she looked back up Isabel was sitting in the street sobbing into Michael, who held her as tight as he might a floatation device. The car was gone. Max was gone.
Liz`s breathing was so shaky it was as if she`d just ran through a burning house. At least her heart was beating so fast as well that it seemed like she`d just been running or something. But nothing had happened to her. Only that her heart had ripped out of her chest.
"This is my fault," Liz said.
Maria wrapped her arms around her once again. But it didn`t do any good. It wasn`t her that needed the love or the help or the compassion right now. Max was the one in trouble.
"Liz," Maria said. "You didn`t do anything. It`s not your fault, you hear me?"
"If he hadn`t saved me he would still be fine, all three of them would be fine!" Liz shouted. Her voice echoed in the empty Crashdown Cafe. "Don`t even try, Maria. No matter what you say, Max is still going to be captured. And no matter how much you comfort me, he`s still going to be sitting alone behind bars somewhere reflecting on everything that happened between yesterday when he saved me and an hour ago when he was arrested. And probably fearing for what he`s in for too."
Maria didn`t know what to say. Liz was right.
"I`m gonna do something," Liz said. "I have to do something."
"Like what?" Maria asked. "Liz, you`re one little seventeen-year-old waitress and you think you can do something to stand up against the sheriff?"
"I`m not just giving up, damnit!" Liz shouted, grabbing at her hair. "Maybe I can`t save him. But I owe it to all three of them to find some way to let them say goodbye."
Maria took Liz`s hands in her. "Lizzy, just don`t get yourself in danger too."
Liz didn`t say anything. She was willing to go through any danger to get to Max before...they did what they planned to do with him.
Isabel thought Valenti had some nerve to just stroll into the Crashdown the very following day. She didn`t hesitate before she got up form her booth and got in his face. "Where`s my brother?" she challenged. But Michael was already there and pulling her away.
"What the hell are you doing?" Iz hissed as he pulled her back into her seat.
"How do you know how much he`s figured out?" Michael pointed out, talking quietly like her. "He could easily figure that you`re one too and throw you in with Max."
"Max is sitting somewhere probably terrified out of his head and you`re worried about protecting us?"
"He wouldn`t want us to get close to Valenti, okay? He`s dangerous now."
They looked up as Liz appeared at their table. It took a while before anyone could manage to say something.
But Liz did.
"I`m going to try and find a time as soon as possible to sneak out of here," she said quietly. "I`m going to the jailhouse. I think he might be there. Just for now, Valenti might have put him in there, you know."
"You aren`t going anywhere, all right?" Isabel responded instantly. "Why can`t you just stay uninvolved?"
"What are the chances the sheriff will allow you to come in and visit him?" Liz pointed out. "He has to keep this secret. But I might be able to get in. We don`t have very clear connections."
"That`s bull shit."
"Isabel, you`re not going to the jailhouse," Michael shot. "I`m not gonna let you get involved with the police. Not when Valenti could figure out what you are."
"Michael, I don`t care-"
"Listen to him," Liz said. "I don`t want you guys to put yourself in danger. You can`t bring youselves to Valenti`s attention as long as he`s in the mood for throwing alie...I mean, people like you behind bars. Okay?"
After a while that they didn`t answer, she added quietly, "And I`m so sorry."
Liz`s dad left to run some errands around noon and Liz decided that she couldn`t let any opportunity go to waste. So she told Maria, "I`ve got to sneak off, okay? If anyone notices and asks, I threw up and went upstairs." She didn`t waste any time, quickly throwing a leather jacket on over her uniform to leave instead of changing first. She had to be ready when she snuck back to work too, and she doubted she could take a trip to her locker before her dad came back in. She had a feeling it would be a close call.
As she drove her thoughts drifted back to the night Max had made the connection with her.
The images she`d gotten from his mind were still flashing through her mind like they were painted into her brain for all eternity.
Max had feelings for her. It seemed so unlikely and odd. But when she recalled the feelings she`d felt from things he`d felt before, what he thought when he saw her smile, what he thought when he stared at her, she knew that those emotions couldn`t have anything to do with a friendly liking for her. It was way, way beyond that. And it seemed strange that he could feel these things when he barely knew Liz. It was like he`d seen something hidden deep inside her that others didn`t see.
How was Liz supposed to take that? A really nice guy that she`d known for a really long time as a casual friends from school that was a fun science partner had in the last thirty or so hours saved her life, seen into her soul, told her a dangerous secret, and showed her that he loved her. How was Liz supposed to react to all this?
One thing she knew was that she felt so secretive and hiding when she was with him, because she knew this and hadn`t said anything of it. What was really baking her noodle was, had Max wanted her to see what she saw? Had he maybe done it on purpose somehow? O did he even know that she had? And if he found out, how would he feel?
I guess there`s only one way to find out, Liz thought.
She had reached the jailhouse. She took in a deep breath and thought to herself, you don`t have any time to waste. Just get this over with. And that gave her the confidence she needed to walk inside.
The officer at the front desk treated the situation casually and naturally. When she asked to see a Max Evans he let her in unhesitantly, to her great relief. But she got the feeling that if Valenti had been standing there he would have found a way to stop he from seeing him. But this guard didn`t know any better. He probably figured it was a normal situation, and Max Evans was just some kid arrested for vandalizing a cop`s car.
Liz was surprised when she felt her stomach starting to churn as the man walked her down to the right cell.
Why was she nervous? Was she afraid he wasn`t going to be there or something? She couldn`t just be edgy about talking to him...
"This`ll be it," the officer said, pointing to the next cell down when they stopped by one. Liz couldn`t see into it from where she was. She noticed that this part farther down was pretty much empty. Max was imprisoned away from all the others for some reason. What did Valenti think? That he was dangerous?
The guard had gone back now. Liz took in a deep breath and went forward. She bent over and looked at him, on the cold floor leaned against the bars in a far corner. "Max?" she asked in a whisper.
He looked up, very surprised. "Li...Liz?"
She came forward and knelt down beside him so that they were face to face. Only parts of Max`s face were blocked by strong bars. "I was worried I wouldn`t be able to find you here."
"What are you doing here?" he asked. He said as if he had no slight clue that Liz actually cared about him.
"Why else?" Liz said. "I had to see if you were all right." It sounded so stupid coming out of her mouth. Of course he wasn`t all right. How could he be?
"Don`t let Isabel and Michael come here," Max said. "If they do-"
"I know, they aren`t coming. That`s why they let me come."
"Never mind. Max?" She put her hands around two vertical bars like he had his on the same bars lower down. "Do you know what he plans to do with you?"
Max paused first. "It could be a while. Before I go off to...wherever aliens go. I`m in here until then, I guess."
Liz felt a lump in the back of her throat. No, she couldn`t cry. "How long is a while? How long do you have until they come for you?"
"I don`t know. I could be moved in a week. I could be moved in three days. I could be moved tomorrow."
There was a quiet ringing as Liz slid her fingers down the bar he held and over his clenched fist on it. He looked down at her hand like it was a strange species of insect on the ground that he didn`t understand, eyeing it questionably, confused.
Liz looked down at the floor as she whispered slowly, "How can I just...just sit here and wait till you`re taken away from me...I mean, from us?". Raising her right hand from the floor, she reached her fingers in between two bars and ran a claw down the middle of Max`s chest, and she thought she could feel for a moment the feeling of his heart beating quickly. Max took in a shaky breath and leaned in closer to her.
"You can`t stop it," Max said.
"I know I can`t," Liz said sadly. "You saved my life and there`s not even anything you can do." She waited for a moment and then knew it was time to say it. "Max...you remember when you made the connection with me?"
He said nothing, and Liz knew he was afraid of where this was going. But she went on. "I saw lots of things, Max. I saw you and Isabel. I saw Michael." She paused. "And I saw me."
His expression told her that he had realized exactly what she knew.
"You`ve loved me ever since you met me in grade school, haven`t you?" Liz asked.
Max hesitated for a long time. Then he finally said, "We were in Mrs.Wardol`s class. It was Friday. Show-and-Tell day."
Liz nodded. "I remember."
"I brought in a shark tooth. And Sarah Rickfried brought a book of dog breeds and Kyle showed off his hamster, which bit him twice before he got it back into the cage. But then you brought in a paperweight that belonged to your dad. Of all things, it was a glass ball with a little solar system inside. A solar system. And as you talked about it, I couldn`t stop looking at the paperweight. I was staring at all of the little planets in it, all except Earth. Which one was mine? I wondered if I`d ever know. And then I realized that maybe you standing up in class talking on and on about the solar system was to tell me something. You were practically speaking to me about the one thing that made me different from you. The one reason I would never and could never be as close to you as I wanted to be. I guess it was from then on that I realized I`ll never be able to fit in. And I`ll never be able to be close to anyone but Isabel and Michael. They`re all I`ll ever have. Because I`m too...different. From you."
Liz`s eyes were sad as she stared downward, taking that in.
"Are you going to laugh at me now?" Max asked.
Liz looked up. "No." She shook her head as she looked into his eyes. "No. I`m..." Then she lifted her face up toward his and went as far through the bars as he head would go to plant a small kiss on his lips.
When she parted from him he blinked, confused, and asked, "What was that for?"
Liz just ignored the question and said, "You don`t have any idea how much time you have?"
Max shook his head. "I doubt it will be extremely soon. There`ll be lots of arrangements to be made before Valenti can send me off anywhere, you know?"
"Well, however long it will be till does," Liz said, "can I love you until then?"
This time his eyes were not confused or curious. He understood now. Liz reached through and pulled his neck toward her so that she could give him the kiss. The kiss spoke everything they couldn`t say out loud: that Liz was starting to feel the things he did, how much he needed her right now, and that in that place of imprisonment Max was free for just a few moments as Liz soothed his worries. But it couldn`t last forever.
When Liz finally made herself break away she wondered what time it was. She didn`t have a watch. Liz knew she couldn`t stay here that much longer...
"Max," she said, "Isabel and Michael are really worried about you. They wish they could say goodbye."
"Tell them...tell them I love them," he said. "And not to worry about me. Can you do that for me?"
Liz nodded. "Of course. I promise I`ll tell them." She paused in thought. "Max, I am so sorry..."
"Shhh," he whispered. "It isn`t-"
"It is my fault," Liz insisted. "I`m sorry I had to get in the way, get you in trouble..."
"Liz." He threaded his arms through the bars to hold the side of her face. It was getting hard to have a conversation like this. "I did this to myself. Don`t you see that? When I saved you I was taking a big risk, and this is what happened because of that. You didn`t ask me to heal you. Remember?"
Liz was sure for a second she was about to cry. "But this can`t happen. Not for me." She scooted forward on the floor and leaned her forehead against the bars. "What`s going to happen to you there?"
"I don`t know. They`ll try to find out what they haven`t already found out from other aliens. They`ll do what they have to do to find it out."
"Do you think you`ll be strong enough, Max?" Liz asked so quietly she wondered if he could even hear her. "How long until they break you? How long until they kill you?"
He leaned forward like she was doing so that their faces were so close they could feel eachother`s breath. Liz put her hand over Max`s hand that he was holding her cheek with. "Are you scared?" she asked.
He slid his hand down from Liz`s face and held her hand as he answered, "Very."
"Where have you been, young lady?" Liz`s dad boomed as soon as she walked in. Isabel and Michael were there and when Liz ignored her father and just went right into the back room, they followed her without a word.
"Did you see him?" Isabel demanded.
"He was there," Liz answered. She looked at the clock and wondered if she should stop because her shift was over or work a while longer to make up for bailing out.
"And?" Michael asked.
"He`s okay right now," Liz said. "Safe...for now. He`s thinking he`ll be there for a few more days and then be...transferred."
"To where?" Isabel pressed. "Where are they taking him?"
Liz didn`t think she could answer that. "Where do think, Isabel?"
Isabel`s eyes turned worried and sad. "What did he say?"
"He doesn`t want you to worry about him," Liz answered. "He says he loves you and doesn`t want you to see him."
"Mr.Safety," Isabel mocked in frustration. Liz knew Isabel hated this. She wanted to see her brother. "We can fix ourselves up to look different. We`ll think of something, we just have to get in there. We have to."
"But Isabel," Liz said, "I`ll bet Valenti will find out one way or another that Max had a visitor by the end of today. Maybe tomorrow when you go, he`ll be there this time."
"Listen, girl." Isabel was getting mad. "you can leave this situation to us, all right? You don`t even know Max."
It hurt her when Isabel said that. But what was she supposed to say? "I know him enough. I think I`m falling in love with your brother." The part about her visit with Max that she couldn`t tell them.
"I`d be a little easy on the girl if I were you." Maria had just come in. "She`s helping you, isn`t she?"
"We don`t need your help," Michael said.
"Fine," Liz shouted, "go in there and let Valenti throw you in with Max." Isabel looked away. "Look, I`m just saying that if Max doesn`t want you in there, don`t go," Liz said.
Isabel looked at her with a challenging expression. "You`ll go to him tomorrow?"
"We`ll see what happens," Michael said.
Michael and Maria went out but Isabel lingered behind. Liz said to her quietly, "Don`t worry." Isabel looked at her sadly and just walked out.
Liz was doing everything she could do. But there wasn`t really anything to be done about the situation.
They were taking Max away. And there was nothing they could do about it....but say goodbye.
|Index | Part 2|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|