FanFic - Max/Liz
"Shades of Truth"
Part 1
by Isis
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Max POV. The aliens left earth. Now what?
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I never thought this story would get written. The “Lying” series, to which this is a sequel, took me quite some time to write and I didn’t really feel as though it needed a sequel. But, feedback demanded it and really a series about the lies the humans tell themselves after the aliens leave can’t possibly be complete until a story tells of the truths those same aliens have to live with. This is the first part of that story. To get a full picture of what this series is saying, it is necessary to read the preceding trilogy, “Believing the Lie,” “Trying to Lie,” and “Needing the Lie”. This story will be followed by “Avoiding the Truth,” “Facing the Truth” and “Half-Truths and Little White Lies.” I hope to hear back from you. Feedback is my drug of choice. Disclaimer – They aren’t mine. I wish they were but, alas, I’m just a poor college student.
He looks at her as she scowls at an uncooperative microscope and knows he’s loved her since the moment he met her. That’s not exactly true. He’s loved her since the moment right before he met her. He’d been walking across the playground with Michael and Isabel when they were about nine-years-old and he’d heard the most incredible laugh from somewhere behind him. The laugh drew him in, beckoned him like a siren’s song, and before he’d even seen her face or spoken a single word to her he’d felt her presence and had known her. He knows it sounds silly, but it’s true. Something in him had known she was the only person he would ever love before he’d even seen her face. He tells her all this and she smiles at him, forgetting her pet science project for the moment. Some girls would be afraid of a truth so huge and binding, but not his Liz. She just looks at him, her eyes fixed on him as though he is the only thing in the room, and flashes a smile that illuminates everything around her. He thinks if the mother ship came that moment and a fellow alien tapped him on the shoulder, he wouldn’t even feel. He’s too wrapped up in her. They are, after all connected, and have been since that day back in the third grade when he heard her laugh and, for the first time, felt like he was home. She doesn’t say it, but he’s pretty sure she knew they were connected back then, too, because, when he did turn around on that playground so many years ago, she’d been staring right at him.

A halo of moonlight wraps itself around her sleeping form and he doesn’t know if it’s even possible for him to breathe much less leave the room, much less leave the planet. She murmurs his name in her sleep and grabs for the pillow that’s taken his place in their bed and his heart aches. Aches for her, for him, for a planet he barely knows and one, by all rights, he never should have. If it meant his life, he’d stay with her. But it doesn’t. It means the lives of billions. And he can’t let those deaths weigh heavy on their soul. His, her’s, they are the same, after all. He told her that once and she believed him instantly. Maybe she knew it, too, maybe she just wanted to believe it. He’s not sure. He told her he’d never leave her and that they’d get married one day, have kids, live in the suburbs. He’d more or less believed that at the time, that they’d make that happen. Now he knows it’s not a matter of where his heart leads him, but where his duty lies. That’s the hard part. It lies with her and it lies with his family and his friends and that damned planet he barely knows, but is supposed to think of as home. He told her once that she was all the home he’d ever need. He’d believed that at the time, too.

He’s alone. He’s with Michael and he’s with Isabel and, unfortunately, Tess. But, he is most definitely alone. He watches as Earth fades away and blends into an array of stars. It’s not something he particularly wants to see, but he can’t draw his eyes away from it. He’s leaving his real home, Earth, her, everything he’s ever known, for a home he’s secretly hoped for years no longer exists. He’d convinced himself it was true. He was wrong. He wishes he weren’t. He watches as Isabel sits in the corner and tries to hide her tears, as Michael looks away from Earth and grinds his teeth in frustration and pain. It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s real and he feels responsible. He’s tired of feeling responsible, but he always has and old habits are hard to break. Earth has faded away with the Sun and any constellations he might recognize. They’ve melded into a backdrop of nameless stars. The ship will be landing on some homeworld he knows will never be his home soon, in less than a day. He dreads it. He feels Tess’ hand rest comfortingly on his shoulder and he winces. It seems lonely now, she says, but there will be millions of people there when they land waiting to greet them. He thinks how strange it will be to feel so alone in such a large crowd.

As she whines incessantly about their “duties” as a royal couple, he decides, for the billionth time, that she is in fact the most annoying person in the universe. She uses the word “duty” just to get to him and he knows it. She might not like him anymore and he might not be able to stand her, but by royal birth and a nasty arranged marriage, they had the misfortune getting to know each other quite well over the past eight years. That’s not quite true. She doesn’t really know him. She realized long, long ago that he would always love Liz and, really, she loved the idea of him far more than she would ever love him. After all, when she’d first arrived in Roswell, claiming to be the love of his life, she hadn’t even known him at all. She’ll never really know who he is, what he’s like on the inside. But, living with someone for that long will teach you a few things about them and the fact that he feels obligated by his duties is a fairly easy thing to pick up on. He tries to block out the sound of her ever-persistent voice begging something about holding the annual ball at court, but he fails. He reminds her, as kindly as he can muster, that he is their leader, their king, and if he doesn’t want a party that’s just tough. She huffs around and whines some more before blurting out that she doesn’t particularly feel like celebrating anything either, after all living in the shadow of someone your husband would rather you were really isn’t all that fun. But, she reminds him, the people need something to lift their spirits after the loss of the southern islands to their enemies. He sighs, knowing she’s right and absolutely hating it. She might not be his idea of a good wife or friend or acquaintance, but she is a good queen and, deep down, a good person. He knows it. He hates it, but he knows it. It would be so much easier if he could hate her, see her as someone who wretched him from the arms of the woman he loved. But he can’t. She has made the best of her life just as he has made the best of his. He might hate it, but he knows it’s the truth.

Their victory was long coming. It had taken them nearly twenty years to beat the invaders and, to tell the truth, Max still wasn’t sure why they had to be the ones to do it. But they had. The war had taken its toll on all of them. Tess had died in a bombing on the palace six years prior and he’d mourned her more than he’d thought he would. Mostly he mourned the life she could have had, on Earth, happy. He’s not sure if he ever saw her happy and he blames himself for that. He blames himself for too many things. Tess’ death, her life, Isabel’s silent misery, Michael’s all too understandable difficulties. After all, it has to be hard to raise your wife’s two children as if they are your own, especially if you don’t love your wife.

He suspects that Michael pretends the twins are his and Maria’s, but Michael has never said anything and he would never dare ask.

The people, his people, his subjects, are cheering in the royal gardens below. They’re cheering for the end of a horrible oppression, for the beginning of a new reign of peace. They’re cheering with no clue that their leaders desperately want to return to a planet they’ve never heard of.

Michael’s face conveys all too well that he expects to be going home to Maria very soon. That’s not entirely true. He expects to be going home to the Maria he left, twenty-six with her whole life ahead of her and an undying passion for him. Isabel’s face is different, as she clings to her two children. He sees in it a fear and sadness that only truth can bring. It’s easy to pretend nothing has changed, no time passed, until he looks at Alexia and Whitney, Isabel’s children. They’re twenty-years-old. A lot can happen in twenty years. Nations can crumble and be rebuilt. People can marry. People can die. He looks down at his aging hands. He’s forty-six. When did that happen? The truth is he desperately wants to return to Earth, to Liz, even after all this time. The truth also is he’s scared to go.

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