Disclaimer: I don`t own Roswell, I don`t own the song "Perfect" by the
Smashing Pumpkins or any of the other songs I use. |
Summary: Max and Liz find their real destinies, you guess the rest, etc.
| Isabel put her tearing face in her hands as she slid to the cold bathroom floor and rested her elbows on the hard counter. |
( Explode by the Cardigans ) Max passed the bathroom and saw her shoulders shaking as she broke into hiccuping cries. "Izzy..."
Max came inside and shut the door behind him. This wasn`t something Mom or Dad needed to see, and they could come home any minute. He crouched down on the floor next to her and put an arm around her shoulders. "Don`t do that, Isabel."
She snapped into her normal self and got a little angry. "Why not?" she asked, turning to him. "We`re alone, Max. We`re alone. They walked out on us. They walked..." The tears came spilling out again. Max put his arms around her and held her to him.
"We`re not alone, Izzy. We have each other. We always had each other and we always will. They got taken away from us but nothing is going to take us away from each other. Nothing`s going to take us and Michael away from each other either. We`re family." He regretted saying that. Tess, family in their pre-life but not anymore. Michael too, but not anymore. He didn`t like referring to that. But still, Michael was family in all ways that mattered. "Yeah, remember, we`re family?"
"So were they!" Isabel sobbed, lifting her head from his chest and grasping onto his shirt tight with her hands in a mixture of anger and depression. "So were they..."
"Shh. I know."
"What am I supposed to do now? What am I supposed to do? Are me and Michael supposed to... I mean, Michael. Michael! My brother. He`s my brother!"
"I know," Max said, knowing she was gradually getting more angry than sad by every moment.
"It`s like someone told me I was supposed to be with you. It`s different with you and Tess. You don`t know each other, you don`t even know her, and that`s bad enough, but with me and him, it`s like...it`s like I feel like it`s gonna ruin everything we had before. He`s never going to be my brother anymore, Max, because I know in some fucking miserable life we had before this one we were going to be married..."
She was starting to just spill things out of her mouth that were crossing through her mind, and some of it wasn`t even making all that much perfect sense.
What are we going to say when Mom and Dad see that she`s so miserable? Max wondered. We can`t say anything.
Max hugged her again when she started tearing non-stop again. She kept switching back and forth: from sad to furious, from broken up and torn apart to frustrated and angry at the world. She was going insane.
Maybe it would be easier if I showed my emotions so much too, Max considered. Instead of bottling up my misery. After all, what was the point? What was the point in hiding it anymore? They were all being ripped apart.
But then he felt Isabel trembling and he knew the answer. If he was still strong he had to stay that way. For Isabel. To remain strong if no one else was going to be. If they all let themselves become victims of their pain than everything would fall apart from there on.
"You need some rest," Max whispered soothingly to Isabel. She shook her head into his shoulder. "Come on, Iz. I`m taking you to your room, okay?"
She took in a long, shaky breath as he stood up and brought her up with him. She lazily kept her arms rested around him and he scooped her up into his arms and lightly kicked the bathroom door open.
He looked at the clock in the hall. It was almost nine. He carried Isabel across the hall into her room and gently put her down on her bed and pulled the covers over her. He whispered to her, "Get some rest, okay?" as he gave her back a soothing rub and turned away to turn the light off.
When Max was heading toward his room he noticed the light was on. Even at a time like this when he was making it important to get the exact right amount of milk in his cereal in order to forget about Liz for a few seconds, he still forgot to turn all the lights off when he was done.
Or maybe not, he realized when he walked in.
"What are you doing here, Tess?"
"Your... mother, I guess... she let me in."
"She was pulling up when I got here."
"What did you come for?" Max asked her as he went to his closet.
"I just wanted...do I need to turn around?"
"No, don`t turn around. No, I`m not changing clothes. I`m organizing clothes. Just like I also organized my locker today. Just like I organized the food in the pantry earlier as soon as I got home from school. Just like I was organizing the damn salt and pepper shakers and the napkin holder at the restaurant I went to today, which, by the way, was not the Crashdown, for obvious reasons, because I knew if I went there Liz would see me organizing everything under the sun. Just like I sorted out my old baseball cards which I haven`t touched for seven years that are in a shoebox in my closet. And as soon as I`m done, I`ll organize the clothes all over again. I`ll probably clean my locker again tomorrow too. Even though none of these things need organizing, I will. I will until I`ve organized my every possession, organized out my entire life, and even then, Tess, nothing will be organized. Nothing will be tidy or right or fixed. I will still understand nothing. Most of all, I will still be absolutely miserable."
Tess was getting the point. "I just came over here to say that I`m sorry."
"Don`t be sorry." Max didn`t say it sympathetically. It wasn`t a "It`s not your fault" thing.
"Why shouldn`t I be sorry?" Tess asked.
"Because this is all because of you. And if you`re sorry too, hell, what are we doing this for? What I mean you better be happy because this is all you want, this how you wanted it all. Isn`t it?"
"No, actually it`s not how I wanted it. Not like this."
"I see. It`s still not good enough for you. Even though all three of us...no, all six of us, are going crazy."
"I didn`t want anyone to be hurt."
Max turned around. "That`s not what you thought when your car broke down," he commented darkly.
She knew what he meant by that. Her eyes became sympathetic. "That was for you. Not for Liz to see. I didn`t know..."
"Well, let me put it this way: No matter who saw it, no matter who was hurt, no matter what the results were, I wasn`t yours to do that to, and you knew that. You knew that but you did it anyway. What you should have known was that it wouldn`t work in hell."
Max realized then: he was losing it too. First Isabel. Now it was happening to him too. Look at how he was talking to Tess. This wasn`t the usual Max. Not at all. And it seemed to him that the longer Tess was standing there in that room with him, the more he wouldn`t be able to keep himself from losing it more.
Tess opened her mouth to say something, but he just snapped, "Get out."
She looked confused. "What?"
"I`m not going to let you stand here and... just go."
Her eyes narrowed as she slowly turned around and left through the door. Max felt a little relieved, but of course still felt no better as far as being completely depressed.
Liz was filing her nails. Her nails didn`t even need filing. Didn`t matter. Nothing mattered anymore.
The phone rang for the second time. She sighed and picked it up. "Hello?"
There was a pause of three seconds and then a click.
She couldn`t stop thinking that it could be Max. Could be.
It was Max.
She seized the phone. "Max?"
She sighed a mumbled, "Damnit," and put it back down.
She needed a shower.
No you don`t, Liz snapped at herself. You need something to take your mind off Max.
Yes I do.
She went into her bathroom. It was cold. The shower would feel good.
No it won`t. You`ll feel cold no matter what, Liz. You`ll feel cold until he comes and wraps his arms around you and- Don`t torture yourself.
By the time the warm water was pounding down against her shoulders in the shower she had given up. She was already being tortured half to death. It wouldn`t make any difference. She let herself imagine Max with her. She let herself think about the memories. She let herself think about the dreams she`d had about their future.
Because memories and dreams were all she had left. All she had left of him. She couldn`t forget those too.
At school today he hadn`t even been in biology class. But he`d been at lunch. And he`d been in all the other classes with her, but in those they hadn`t had to sit right next to each other. Where had he been? Had he been in the mens` room staring at himself himself in the mirror in the same pool of sadness Liz was in as she stared at the flame of the bunsen burner in class?
He hadn`t come to the Crashdown. She hadn`t expected him to. She still looked up at the door every time the bell rang to say that someone was coming in. Every time, it wasn`t Max. It was never Max.
Things had been so perfect a few days ago, and also things were going insane too. It seemed like so long ago that she had ran away from the compound with him. It seemed so long ago they`d been in that overturned truck they slept in. It seemed so long ago they`d clung to each other every second that they made out their plan to stop Pierce. They`d concluded that they were each other`s destinies. They`d told each other they weren`t going to ever let anything take them apart.
All that had been destroyed in that three minutes that they revealed the message from Max and Isabel`s mother.
Things that their mother had said kept running through Liz`s head. "My son, you were the beloved leader of our people." "I have sent with you your bride." "...I may once again hold you both in my arms." "I love you."
How could Lix have seen that and denied that it was important? How could she have stayed and not allowed Max to do what she had said he had to do? How could she have said their destinies were irrelevant to what they really needed to do when she had heard it out of the mouth of someone who loved Max so much? She`d known it. she`d known she had to leave.
And she did.
Even more than the message she kept hearing Max begging her to stay.
"Everything I told you before is still true."
But that didn`t seem possible. What he`d told her was like a tiny, unimportant concept compared to what that one powerful message from his mother stood for. It meant nothing anymore.
Liz turned off the shower and stepped out and started to dress into her pajamas. The only way to shut off everything she was thinking about was to get some sleep. She had to go back to her room and try to go to bed.
"No," Liz said aloud. "No."
She went into her bedroom and turned off the light. The covers were warm as she pulled them over herself in bed. not warm enough.
"But you mean everything to me."
"Stop it," Liz moaned into her pillow. "I can`t. go away."
"But you mean everything to me."
"Max," Mrs.Evans said. "You don`t look very good. Are you okay?"
"Not really," Max said.
"How about you go back upstairs and sleep in a little longer?"
He shrugged and turned around. "Sure."
"I`ll call the school."
"Sure," he repeated. Since he and Isabel never got sick, the few times they didn`t look well for more emotional than health reasons, they stayed home. Maybe Isabel wouldn`t go to school either.
He went back into his room. The light was off. He hadn`t turned it on yet today. He`d just gotten his ass out of bed and slugged downstairs to eat.
When he got into bed he felt someone else in with him.
"Couldn`t sleep?" he whispered to Isabel. She shook her head. He figured she had come into his room early in the morning and he hadn`t even noticed her when he woke up and left his room.
He put his arm around her and rubbed her back a little. She cuddled in close to him. Max couldn`t tell in the dark if she was crying again, but he hoped not. She just seemed lazy and unwilling to get up and face the world right now. Not as depressed as yesterday.
Still pretty bad. She was laying in his bed in the midst of hopelessness, for God sakes.
"I feel so alone," Isabel whispered.
"I know," Max said softly. "But-"
"Isabel?!" Mrs.Evans called from the top of the stairway. "why are you still up there? You not up for school either?"
"No," Isabel put her head up and moaned loudly in a week voice, like she hadn`t spoken aloud in a long time.
"All right," they heard their mother call back and then go back downstairs.
Isabel rested her head back down on the bed and closed her eyes.
"Isabel," Max whispered. "I just need to tell you that me and Michael aren`t ever going to leave you. We`ll always be here. No matter what happens, no matter who else we have to give up, the three of us will still be together." When he said "who else we have to give up" he sadly thought about their mom and dad. They still had them now, but there was absolutely no guarantee they could stay with them forever.
"I know," Isabel said.
"So don`t feel so alone, Izzy. We`ll never leave you. We`ve shared this secret forever, remember? We`ve been together so much longer than we`ve shared our secret with, you know, Alex and Liz and Maria. We`re like a family. We can`t be taken apart from each other. You haven`t lost everybody, Iz."
He could make out her smiling in the dark room. He knew Isabel already realized everything he was telling her, but it was still making her feel better.
Isabel hugged him tight in their laying position. "I love you, Max."
"I love you, too," Max said.
It was only at a time like this that Isabel could say it. But it probably made both of them feel better. When you`re in so much misery it feels good to know there`s still someone there you can say that to.
For a long time they laid there in Max`s bed, Isabel resting her head over Max with her legs curled up tight beneath her to the side, and Max with one arm around her shoulders laying on his back. It was nice to be close to someone he cared about, someone who cared about him. Because in a way, Max sort of needed to be reminded there was still someone there, too.
It was just like it was before that day in the cafe now. Only entirely different at the same time. He wanted Liz, but he couldn`t have her. It was just him and his sister and Michael. But then there was Tess. The one being who stood in the middle of everything and made the one big difference between how it had been before and how it had to be now.
What would happen with her and Max now? He still wasn`t ready. Would he ever be ready? Would he ever get over Liz enough to...
He couldn`t. What was he thinking? Being with Tess just couldn`t work for him. The thought didn`t seem possible.
And Michael and Isabel. Not happening. Not an option. It would ruin their relationship. It would ruin the great tight friendship they`d had nearly all their lives. not to mention it just seemed...impossible. Impossible in any and every way.
Every time Max was with Tess it was like he couldn`t breathe right. When she was around he felt the worst. When she talked to him he thought about Liz even more. To say the least, he was extremely uncomfortable around her. He couldn`t take having her in the same room with him.
...And I`m supposed to be with her?
I can`t do this, he realized. The first thing I have to do is face Liz. That`ll make things a little better between us.
"Maria, I feel absolutely hopeless," Liz moaned with her head down in the Crashdown, her hair splattered all over the shiny surface of the counter.
"I know, babe," Maria said, stroking her head behind her. "Just keep working. And keep your mind off it. That`s what I do."
Then when the Crashdown door opened and Liz saw Max coming in she sprung her head up in a millisecond.
"Woah," Maria said in surprise. "Did the medicine you took suddenly take action? Oh, I see."
Max and Isabel were both there. They came in and sat at a table. Max caught Liz`s eye. She looked away.
"You take them," Liz said to Maria. She looked up at her with pleading eyes. "Please?"
"No way, Liz, they`re in your section. You can`t stay away from him forever."
"But he`s...err...how can I?"
"Liz," Maria said more quietly. "You took the Liz he loved away from him. Don`t take the friend Liz away from him too."
That helped. Liz sighed and picked up her notepad from the counter and made her way over to Isabel and Max`s table. She just stood there and she and Max`s eyes met for an oddly long time before Liz realized it probably didn`t look quite normal and snapped out of it. She was embarrassed until she realized Isabel hadn`t noticed; her gaze was fixed distantly on the tabletop. Not normal for Isabel. But who was expecting any of them to be acting normally right now?
Had she been like that the entire three days everyone had been avoiding each other and being depressed? Had she been so quietly staring off into space everywhere she went?
"Can-can I get you anything? Um..I mean, what do you want to..." she took in a heavy breath. They had the message before she could conclude the sentence.
"Um...I`ll have a cherry coke," Max said.
Cherry coke. Shit. Of course he`s getting a cherry coke, Liz. It`s his favorite. But him ordering a cherry coke, a cherry coke, like he always did, somehow made her melt apart now.
"Yeah, cherry co... sure," Liz jotted it down. "Isabel, do you want anything to drink?"
She stared at the table.
Max leaned in. "Isabel," he whispered.
She gasped and sprung up. "Yeah. Yeah. I want something... coke. Coke`s fine."
"Okay, a cherry coke and a coke," Liz read off. "Coming...they`ll be coming."
What the hell is up with everybody? I can`t even take Max and Isabel`s drinks orders without everyone getting all twitchy and...
"Sane or still insane?" Maria asked when Liz returned.
"Insane," Liz reported miserably. "Absolutely, rediculously insane," she said a little loudly, slapping her notepad hard down on the table. "God..."
"You need a break," Maria said.
"No kidding. That`s a drink order down, one food order and one delivery to go. Shit..."
"Shit?" Maria repeated. "Liz, since when do you say shit?"
"Since Isabel doesn`t even hear me ask what she wants to drink. Since Max and I stare at each other for five seconds before I realize I`m supposed to be taking their orders."
Maria put an arm around her shoulders. She opened her mouth to say something, but then looked past Liz at the door and her eyes widened. "It gets worse."
Liz followed Maria`s stare to Tess coming inside. "Oh God..."
( Don`t Think Of Me by Dido )
"Hey, girl," Maria said. "Don`t you worry. I`ll take this one."
"No, wait. It doesn`t even look like she`s eating."
Indeed it didn`t. She came in and sat with... Max and Isabel.
"What`s she doing?" Liz wondered in a whisper.
"Don`t look," Maria said. "It`ll just make you feel horrible."
Liz moaned and turned away. There was someone new sitting in her section. Yay. Something else to do.
Liz finished taking the guy`s order and then turned around to the table with the three aliens. "Would you...like something to drink?" she asked Tess.
"Oh, no, I`m not eating," Tess said.
"Yeah. Okay. Right."
As she walked away she could faintly hear Max asking, "Tess... what are you doing here?"
"Yeah, isn`t it sort of public when the police are looking for you?" Isabel asked.
"I`m not scared of anyone finding me," Tess said. "I`m just scared of having to explain everything. What am I gonna tell the police?"
"Anything," Max said. "It doesn`t matter. It`s the least of our problems that you may have an odd background history to however might eventually take you in. Me and Isabel sure did."
It became a little obvious to Tess then: Max didn`t really care how she got into foster care or whatever, he just wanted her to get it so that that problem would be over.
Tess sat there silently. Max and Isabel carried on with a conversation they were trying to make sound casual, but Isabel wasn`t even looking at him; she was always staring away at something else.
"So..." Tess said to Isabel. "What are you planning to do with yourself now?"
Leave it to Tess to always find a way to remind us of our destinies, Max thought darkly. The thought turned into a reason to run to his sister`s defense. Isabel, who was being torn apart by this horribly.
"Maybe she doesn`t know," Max said when Isabel just stared down at the table. "Maybe she doesn`t care. Maybe she`s sick of thinking about it. Maybe we all want to stop thinking about it for just a few minutes so we don`t go absolutely crazy."
Isabel`s reaction was not what either of them expected. She shot up from her chair. "I`m okay, all right?" she snapped, throwing her chair back in against the table. She took her coat from the chair and repeated, "I`m okay," and then she left the Crashdown.
That had made just a little bit of a scene. Max looked over to where Liz was leaning against the counter writing out something with her back to him, but she had heard Isabel`s reaction and had her head turned around looking their way. Max and Liz`s eyes met once again for that day, with sympathy in both their eyes.
"Damn," Max whispered, turning back to Tess. "Is that what you came here for?" he asked with obvious anger.
"Do you want me to leave?" Tess asked.
His glare said it all. She got up and left.
Max sighed and then noticed a pair of eyes fixed on him. Kyle Valenti was sitting a few tables away looking at him. They stared at each other for one uncomfortable moment.
Did he know? Of course he knew. There was no ketchup story the sheriff could have gotten his son to believe if he wanted to. How else would he have explained the way Max had healed a gun wound in Kyle when he was in the middle of dying?
Max suddenly felt he had to get out of the cafe too. He threw a five on the table and got up. Liz watched him as he went out the door. Then she went to go take a couple more peoples` orders and as she was turning away from one table she bumped into someone. "Kyle!"
"Damn hell right," Kyle said. "Listen, I wanna know what the hell is goin` on with those...those..." Liz watched him, praying he wouldn`t say that word. "Those...four. I mean, why is everybody screwed up?"
Liz sighed. "It`s very hard to understand."
"You broke up, didn`t you?" Kyle asked. "Come on, of course I`ve noticed you`re avoiding each other. Why? It`s like one day you`re together and the next nobody`s together anymore and everyone`s acting like the world`s over."
Liz kept opening her mouth and shutting it again, not being able to decide what to say. "It`s... It`s a... very confusing situation. Okay, see, they`ve just found out some very difficult to gather information about themselves, and..."
"What?" Kyle said, trying to talk as quietly as she was. "What have they found out? Why can`t you tell me?"
"You wouldn`t understand." Liz started to walk away. He just followed her and kept talking.
"Oh, so now there`s all these alien things I wouldn`t understand now. I see. Do you have any idea how complex my life has been lately? I`ve been gathering together everything about you people... that night in that nookie motel, that had something to do with this, didn`t it? What were you doing? I mean, what do you do when you`re part of their group? Shine up their UFO, or... or what?"
Liz spun around and took in a deep breath. "They`ve been trying to figure out why they`re here, Kyle. That`s all I can explain to you at the moment. I have to-"
"You`ve been totally against my dad, haven`t you? You guys have broken into his office, haven`t you? You guys have been into some pretty... well, let`s say illegal... stuff."
Liz smiled. "Yes, Kyle. Us. Miss perfect Liz Parker and little Maria DeLuca and nerdy Alex Whitman... we`ve all been into some pretty tough shit. We`ve discovered FBI agents following us, we`ve planted cameras, we`ve done all the good stuff. And I`ve been totally screwed over by some blonde alien now and all of us are now-"
"Wait a minute.... what?"
"That`s the part that`s a little hard to explain, Kyle."
"Tess? A blonde alien? Or Isabel?"
"Oh, my God, boy, Tess."
"Yeah, what`s the deal with her? Nobody seems to like her."
"I have to get back to work."
"But wait... just let me say this, okay?"
Liz sighed and waited for another annoying question. What she got was the opposite.
"It`s just that... if Max is being a jerk to you or something..."
"Oh, no, you have this all wrong. He isn`t..." she looked over at the table where Max had been sitting to find him gone. "Oh... where`d they go?"
"That`s what I mean. Everybody`s all weird. The three of `em stroll in here and then Isabel has a session of freaking out and then the other two leave after her."
"What time is it?" remembering Liz had forgotten her watch today she seized Kyle`s wrist and looked at the time on his. "I get off in... fifteen minutes. Good enough."
"I have to go," Liz glided across the restaurant into the back room to change. She was tired of avoiding everybody. And if she wanted to stay friends with anyone, now was the time to be a friend.
A few minutes later Liz came out wearing a sweater and jeans and Maria looked at her and her mouth dropped open.
"Liz?" Maria asked. "You`re not off yet, are you?"
"Cover for me," Liz called back. "I have to... um... bye."
Max went to answer the door. With that, he felt a pang inside him at seeing that the person standing in the doorway was none other than Liz.
He knew she had to notice some kind of reaction on his face when he saw her. She was wearing a loose white sweater with a V-neck that bore her smooth throat. Black jeans that hugged her legs cozily. Her hair was smooth and perfect as always. Max would think Liz was beautiful is she was wearing clothes as old as Abe Lincoln and standing in the rain covered head to toe in wet cement. On a lovely, sunny day like this with every feature of her gorgeously perfect, she made his heart melt.
Liz must have been nervous too. All she said was, "Isabel?"
"She`s..." Max thought about what she was asking. "I think she`s okay."
"Can I see her?" Liz asked. "Well, I mean... that is... would she want me to see her?"
Max stood in his doorway thinking about that, and got lost in looking in her, but finally said something. "Come in."
She walked in slowly and looked around as he shut the door behind her. "Are your parents home?"
"Nah. They wouldn`t have let us go out to the Crashdown after staying home from school."
Liz nodded. She started walking away from him into the family room. Max wanted to follow her. When she walked away it was like she was pulling away on a string. A string attached on both their hearts.
He couldn`t torture himself. He turned away and went upstairs.
Liz turned around and asked, "Is she in the family room?" to find him no longer there. She shrugged and went on into the room.
She found Isabel on the sofa with her books out. Without lifting her head from an algebra assignment Isabel said, "I didn`t even do my homework yesterday. I guess I should do it before I go back tomorrow.... Did you come for Max?"
I wish, Liz thought. "I came for you."
Then Isabel lifted her head. "I`m all right. Really. I`m in no worse condition than everyone else, that is. I don`t need anyone to look in on me. I`m okay."
Liz nodded. "Oh. I just thought, you know, that I should..."
"Yeah, I know. I`m okay, though."
Liz came forward and sat down next to Isabel. "...What about Max? Is he okay?"
Isabel looked up at her with sympathetic eyes. Liz couldn`t tell if it was sympathy for her or for Max. Maybe both.
As if reading her mind Isabel said, "Can`t you see it in my eyes, Liz? I`m lying to you. None of us are okay. Nothing is okay. Both me and Max haven`t even heard from Michael or seen him for two days. We don`t even know where to find him. He won`t answer the phone and he won`t open his door. And Max? Damnit, he`s doing everything in hell he can to stay up so he can be there for everyone else. Putting everything on himself as usual. Making everything his responsibility." The tears welled up in her eyes as she shook her head. "Everything`s just all messed up. I`m starting to wonder if things will ever be the same again. If not us being friends with you and Maria and Alex, then, you know... how it was before Max saved you. Michael and my brother are all I`ve got anymore, and even they can`t handle this very well."
|Index | Part 2|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|