|"Revealing the Truth"|
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. No infringement intended.|
Authors Note: To my dreamer sis who wanted an angsty M&L fic
|The alley is dark and gloomy, much like my mood. A breeze blows past me, raising goosebumps on my arms. I rub my
hands on my arms, trying to ward off the cold. Who am I kidding? It wasn't the breeze that chilled me, it was the events of
the past 24 hours. |
That devastated look on Max's face as he saw me and Kyle in bed together, broke my heart, chilled it to the point that it almost became numb.
I walk faster, trying to outrun the memory of that look. "What I did was right. I know it was," I tell myself. "It was for the good of everyone." Somehow those words seem hollow. What good was it doing? Max is hurt, Kyle is befuddled and I'm in agony. Maria doesn't even know. My best friend and I can't even tell her about it. Restlessly, I run my fingers through my hair. The secret is too great to bear alone.
"Liz! Liz, what are you doing? We agreed none of us would go anywhere alone," Max calls out. Oh, God, he's coming towards me. What do I say? Can I keep the truth from him?
"Fine," I reply lamely. I can't look at him, can't talk to him otherwise I know I'll break. Instead I try to walk past him.
"Wait," Max says. Wait for what, Max? Wait for the end of the world, because I'd rather stop the hurt than keep a secret? No, I can't do that.
"Max, look. There's just...there's nothing left to say," I tell him.
"Except the truth," he responds with slight acid. He knows I'm lying. He knows me too well. Keep it together, Liz. Don't tell him. Think about everything Future Max said. Isabel dying, Michael dying. Everyone dying.
"We have already been through this!" I say in a tired, almost impatient voice. I just wanted to get out there. Away from him. Away from the burden of knowing. Away from the hurt.
"So far, all I know is what I saw, and what I saw can't be true, because it means everything I felt in my heart for the last year is a lie!" he rasps out.
God, Max, don't say that. Whatever you think I did with Kyle, it can't wipe everything away, my mind says. But my mouth stays silent.
"Now, you owe me an explanation, and I want it right now!" Max takes on a demanding tone.
He'd never understand. He was Max, the one who always wanted to control everything. He'd think he could probably control the future too. I can't take the chance of him being wrong about that. Because then we'd lose everyone. This wasn't just about us anymore, it was about everyone else in the world.
"Please quit shouting, Max. You're scaring me," I relay to him in a shaky voice, trying to get him off track. Perhaps if he thought I was scared, he'd back off.
"That's a lie, too! You're not scared. You're hiding something," he replies. He doesn't buy it. I have to be more convincing.
"I'm not," I say in a much stronger voice.
"What the hell is going on with you, Liz? We never lied to each other, never kept a secret from each other," he accuses me.
Each word cuts through my heart. He was right. We were open books to each other then. Then, but not now. Now I couldn't afford to be open, to let him see what was really going on. I had to focus on the big picture. A part of me weeps as I tell myself to lie to him once more.
"You know, you have got me up on this pedestal, Max, and...I'm not this perfect person. I made a mistake. Look, Kyle and I made love. The end. I'm sorry," I rush out the words, knowing they would end the conversation.
I look up to see his reaction. He backs away from me and starts walking back towards the house.
I clench my jaw tightly in an effort to keep the tears from spilling. Pain once again is coursing through my body like an out of control forest fire. I give up the pretense of control and let out rasping sobs. I close my eyes tightly and let my head droop down in silent despair.
I hear a shuffling of feet and feel some fingers tip my head up. My eyes, full of tears, pop open.
"Max!" I manage to get out. He came back. Why?
Just as the question arises, his saddened eyes capture mine. I stare at him, unblinking, wondering. His soft hands wipe away the tears falling down my face. I start pull away but find myself mesmerized by his gaze. His eyes reflect a familiar pain, one that was already entrenched in my heart. But mixed in with that pained glance is some kind of light, a shining light that seems to offer comfort. Why would he want to comfort me after everything he thought I had betrayed him?
I want to say something, to come up with an excuse to tear his hands away from my face. Part of me didn't want to be consoled, wanted to revel in this pain because it was almost familiar now.
He shakes his head slightly, as though he knows what I'm thinking. I purse my lips together and look at him helplessly. He catches that look and a glint in his eye forms. He droops his head down to capture mine in a soft kiss.
Flashes course through my head. Oh, God, is he seeing them? Is he seeing the flashes? Can I stop him?
A flurry of images pour out from my head
<< "I can't tell you too much, Liz...only what you need to know...but 14 years from now, we are taken over by our enemies."
"No one can know I'm here, especially not me...that is, my younger self."
"The closer that you and I grew, the worse it got with Tess, and eventually she left Roswell. And it turned out Tess was critical to our survival. "
"So, um...you want me to help you and Tess get together?"
"Oh, we had a great wedding. At the end of the night, "I Shall Believe" came on the radio. "
"If this works...I'm not gonna have that day."
"If we succeed in changing history, a different version of the future will take place.
"Yeah. Um, Kyle, look...I just wanna make sure that I...I...I made it actually clear that we're not gonna...
"Consummate. I understand."
"From now on, the future is to be determined. It's what've always said to you, Liz. We create our own destiny."
"I wanna have my wedding dance.">>
The flashes end along with his kiss. "Liz " Max pulls back. I see the dawning look on his face. He's seen them, he's seen everything.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he asks softly, slightly shaking his head.
"I couldn't," I stammer. "I just couldn't," I continue morosely.
"You did that for me?" Max asks, almost in wonder and disbelief.
"No, Max," I shake my head. "I did it for us. For everyone," I clarified.
He pulls me into a bear hug. "I'm sorry," he whispers, burying his face into my hair. " I'm sorry you had to go through that," he tells me again.
I close my eyes wearily, twin emotions of shame and relief hovering over me. Why didn't I stop him? Where were all those earlier convictions, those repercussions I so feared?
Was I really so weak that I couldn't even halt his kisses? Was the feeling of Max's lips on mine worth assigning everyone to perdition? I sigh, hating myself even more for making a mockery of all my past actions.
In the midst of my self-loathing, a voice cries out in jubilation. I trap it to hear its words. It says nothing, merely releasing itself. A flood of relief enters me. That's what it was ... the voice of relief.
It is then I realize the absurdity of my words to Max. "You know you have got me up on this pedestal ... I'm not a perfect person ..." But I am trying to be perfect. I am trying to be the perfect martyr, the perfect savior, the perfect heroine.
But Max's kisses show me that I am not this paragon. He shows me that I am only human, that I have feelings and emotions that aren't always perfect. No wonder I feel such giddiness. I let go of the burden of perfection. Now all I have is the truth. And Max. But wait, do I still have Max?
"Do you hate me?" I ask him in a small voice. My breath catches as I wait for his response.
"I don't hate you, Liz. I could never hate you. I hated the situation. Maybe I even hated myself for driving you to that point. But I never hated you," he explains.
With each syllable, my soul lightens. He didn't hate me. He understood. Thank you, Max.
"Liz, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not listening, for all those things I said but most of all, I'm sorry for hurting you," he continued with deep regret.
I touch his face and ease the lines of worry that reside there. "It's okay," I reiterate. "I'm sorry too," I add, still feeling residues of guilt.
The guilt triggers a small dark cloud of doubt and worry. "But Max, what if " I start to say.
"What if the end of the world comes?" Max picks up on my thoughts. "Now that I know what happens, I won't let it," he says with conviction.
"What if you can't? I mean, what if what we just did makes that future real again?" I ask him worriedly.
He smiles. "It won't. I'll make sure it won't. I know Tess is the key. I'll make sure she remains part of the group."
"How? Are you going to tell her?" I wonder out loud. If that's what it took, then I'd stand by his decision. I'd even tell her myself.
"No. But I won't ignore her or make her feel left out. I can be a friend. You can too. We all can. She's not really a bad person. And if we can make her feel like she belongs here, she won't want to leave Roswell," he explains. Is it that simple? I want to believe him so desperately.
I look at his face, his eyes and I find that I do believe him. I nod my head in agreement. What was that old saying? "The truth shall set you free". It does, in more ways than one.
"So I really had gray hair, huh?" Max switches the subject suddenly, teasing me with a light tone.
I grin and answer "Yeah," with a little glint in my eye. After the emotional rollercoaster of the past few days, I welcome his levity.
"So what did you think about me? I mean, future me?" Max asks.
A blush creeps up on my face. "I think you were are going to be kinda sexy," I say shyly.
Max preens, self-mockery evident in his stance. "Guess I'll have to grown my hair long then, huh?" he kids.
"I can't wait to see it," I tell him in half-serious tone.
"Neither can I. Because that means we'll be together then," Max replies.
He pulls me into his arms once again, holding him tightly, as though he was afraid I was going to disappear. He lifts his head, pulls back and sighs. "Liz " he cries out just before his lips descend on mine.
I close my eyes, savoring the anticipation of another kiss.
"Liz " I hear a murmur, then feel a slight tap on my shoulder. Startled, my eyes open. Isabel is standing before me. Where did Max go?
"Liz ... What are you doing out here all by yourself? We're supposed to stick together," she tells me.
"I " The words die in my mouth. I look around to search for Max. He is nowhere in sight. ***
I look at Isabel and ask, "Where's Max?"
"Max? He's at the house. He's been there for the past half-hour, waiting for you. We all have. We need to go now," she tells me.
"At the house? But how could he be at the house when he was just ..." I break off as the truth hits me. The last few minutes with Max didn't happen, never happened. It was, to coin the most clichιd of cliches, all a dream. I could have started crying all over again.
"Just what?" Isabel stood before me, a question mark on her face.
"Nothing. Forget it," I reply dejectedly.
"Come on back to the house. We don't know who's out here," Isabel looks at me strangely, then glances around worriedly. "Let's go," she commands again.
"Okay, I'll be right there," I tell Isabel.
My heart feels weighted down again. The relief I felt earlier disappears, trapped back into its stifling shell. Nothing has changed. Everything is still the same. Max stills thinks I slept with Kyle. I am still burdened by the secret, by being the perfect little martyr. Everything feels hopeless.
My feet feel like lead as I trail behind Isabel. Every step seems to jab at me.
A breeze blows past me again. This time, I don't even bother to rub my arms to combat the cold air.
"Liz " a slight whisper is carried by the breeze. I stop. Then start walking again. "Just another figment of my imagination," I shake my head in despair.
"Liz " This time, the whisper has more force. I incline my head backwards.
A glowing figure flows behind me, a bright, ethereal light cloaking it. I turn my head to call out to Isabel but she has already receded into the distance.
I look back at the glowing figure again. My eyes squint as it comes closer to me.
"It's not hopeless, Liz," a familiar voice comes out of that figure. It was him. The same beloved face, yet older. Longer hair, tinged with gray.
"Max! I mean you! Why are you here? We changed the world. I mean, that's why you disappeared, right?" I wailed.
"Yes, we did, Liz. You did you changed everything " Future Max says cryptically.
"Then why am I seeing you? Why are you here if you're not even supposed to exist anymore?" I continue, flustered.
"Search your heart, Liz. You know why I'm here," the future version of Max tells me.
"No, I don't. Tell me, explain it to me," I cry out almost desperately. If he is here, then it means somewhere along the line, I must have done something wrong. Did I finally crack under the pressure of perfection? Did I release the truth and say, "Damn the consequences, I can't take it anymore!"? Did I bring about the end of the world again?
"Let's just say you will have that wedding dance, Liz " Future Max smiles at me enigmatically, not addressing the concerns that floated through my head.
"What?" I'm more bewildered than ever. "What are you talking about?"
"You'll see. Everyone will," he tells me, then starts to fade.
"Wait! Wait! No, don't go. You haven't " I tail off as the vision fades.
I put my hand up to my face to cover my eyes. Am I going crazy? Seeing things? Is the strain making me delusional? Did I just imagine future Max's visit the same way I imagined Max finding out the truth about me and Kyle?
I don't want to know. It's just too hard. I drop my hands down and turn to catch up to Isabel. But a shiny, circular object on the ground catches my attention. It's lying on the spot where the vision of future Max stood.
Slowly, I walk towards it. I pick it up with my fingers and hold it up to the street light. It's a CD, with the label rather worn out. Still, I could make out the words on it. It said, "I Shall Believe - Sheryl Crow. Max and Liz Evans, 2006."
A giddy joy fills me. "Please don't let this be a dream." I close my eyes and open them rapidly. The CD is real. It is in my hands. It is no dream. "Thank you, Max." I whisper silently.
As I catch up to Isabel, I swear I could hear the strains of "I Shall Believe" swaying in the breeze. Relief fills me again. No matter what the next few moments, the next few days, even the next few months brought, I could bear it.
It isn't about secret and lies or even about perfection. It is just about us. Max and I. I just have to believe.
"I will believe, Max. I will believe," I whisper out a promise.
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