|"Strong, Dangerous & Undeniable"|
Disclaimer: The characters belong to M. Metz, J. Katims, and The WB. I'm only gently leading them where I'd like them to go.|
Summary: This story begins with the scene in MITC when Liz does her astral projection thing. It follows along with everything in the show up to that point, and goes on to explore Liz's powers, and to resolve the obstacles in the path of her being together with Max.
|Isabel sat motionless and tense, watching the emotions play across Liz's face. It was easy to read everything she was feeling,
even though her eyes were closed tightly in concentration.|
Was this even working? Was she reaching him at all?
Isabel threw an anxious glance up at Michael standing next to them. His eyes were glued on Liz's still figure, his hands clenched tightly into fists. You'd think that they would be used to being patient while the current crisis in their lives played out, but waiting helplessly never got any easier. It was especially hard on Michael, who was always ready to jump into action whenever they had a problem to solve. But this time there was just nothing he could do. Neither of them could. They had pinned their last hope on Liz Parker.
It seemed ridiculous to believe that out of the four of them Liz would be the one who could reach Max using alien powers, but Ava had seemed so sure. How she knew was anybody's guess, but she'd been right. Liz had been changed.
She and Liz had been able to form a connection after some coaching, and Isabel had fed her some of her own energy through it. Then, without warning, Liz had gone somewhere using a power that had not come from Isabel, but from somewhere inside herself. Isabel had felt the distinct crackle of it in the space around her. Whether or not she had been able to make her way to Max remained to be seen, but the fact that she seemed to be capable of it astounded Isabel.
Max had somehow given alien power to a human. How would he feel about that? She refused to even allow the thought that he might never get the chance to respond to it at all.This had to work! They had to get to him in time to warn him about Rath and Lonnie. She couldn't bear the thought of anything happening to Max. Especially not now, when they had all this ugly Vilondra business between them.
And not when he believed a terrible lie about Liz.
She and Michael both had heard the rumors at school today about Liz and Kyle sleeping together. For the first time in two days she'd been glad that Max was gone so he wouldn't have to suffer through all the speculation and whispers. Michael had said that Max had probably already heard about it and that was one of the reasons why he'd felt like he needed to get out of Roswell and go to New York.
It had added to her own guilt to realize that Max must feel as though he'd been betrayed by everyone around him. But he hadn't been betrayed by Liz.
When Isabel had connected with her, she'd seen disjointed images that told an unbelievable story. She was too worried to put it all together right now, but she was sure of one thing. Liz had not slept with Kyle.
Isabel was jerked back to the present by a gasping cry. As she watched Liz panting for breath, she tightened her grip on her hand sympathetically, only then noticing how cold it felt.
Chafing her friend's hand for warmth, she asked urgently, "What happened, Liz? Did you see him? Were you able to warn him?"
Liz's only response was to continue to breathe heavily, her eyes glassy and wide with shock.
"Liz!" Isabel shook her hand lightly in an effort to get her attention. "Liz, are you okay?" When she continued to remain silent, Isabel looked up at Michael helplessly. He hesitated, then knelt in front of Liz's chair and took her face in his hands. Turning her to face him, he said, "C'mon, Liz. You have to focus here. Tell us what you saw."
When she still didn't respond, Isabel began to panic. The only thing she could think of was that Liz must have seen something really horrible. "Liz, tell us! Was he okay?" She could feel a sob building up in her throat.
Feeling Isabel's anxiety transfer itself to him, Michael shook Liz firmly by the shoulders. "Liz! Listen to me. We need to know what you saw. Did you see Max?"
Liz blinked rapidly and finally seemed to come back to herself. "M-Michael?" she asked in a thready voice, as the face in front of her came into focus. "What happened?" Her eyes shifted to Ava standing behind Michael, her face full of concern, then over to Isabel, sitting at the table beside her.
"You tell us, Liz. Don't you remember?" he answered.
Still disoriented, she struggled to pull her thoughts together. "Isabel? Did we-did we...go somewhere?"
"You went somewhere, Liz. What happened? I connected with you, and then I tried to help you to connect with Max..."
At that Liz gasped. "Max! I saw Max!"
"What did you see?" Michael asked, his voice low and urgent.
"I-I saw him. With Rath and Lonnie a-and Tess." Her eyes widened with fright as she looked at Michael and remembered the scene she'd witnessed. "Rath h-had his hand over Tess' mouth, and he was-he was holding her back. And Lonnie was...she had her hand pointed up at this-this.." her hand motioned above her head as she searched for the right word, "scaffold. It was hanging really high on the side of this building. It was right above Max's head." Her voice choked, but the words were tumbling out in a rush now. "He just st-stood there. Looking at me. I kept screaming at him to get out of the way, but he just...stood there. I tried-I wanted to go to him-to get him out of the way, but I couldn't-couldn't seem to move." Her words came to a sudden halt as her throat tightened and her heart filled with terror. She looked over at Isabel, her face stricken.
"What?!" Isabel cried.
Shaking her head slightly, her gaze returned to Michael, as though seeking strength from him. He seemed to understand what she needed, and placed his hand on her upper arm, squeezing comfortingly. His image became blurry as her eyes filled with tears, and she thought vaguely that this scene felt familiar somehow. It reminded her of when Max had been captured by the FBI at that carnival. Michael had been the one who had offered her comfort then, too.
"What happened next?" he asked softly.
She answered hoarsely, "I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" Isabel asked shrilly.
A tear slowly rolled down her cheek as she desperately searched her memory for just another moment of the scene. "I don't...the scaffold was falling," her eyes closed tightly in fierce concentration, but she just couldn't remember seeing anything more. "He-he could have...he might have been about to move, but...I just didn't see," she finished on a whisper. "I'm sorry."
The room was still and silent for a tense moment, before Isabel burst out hysterically, "Well you'll just have to go back!" She looked to Michael to back her up. "You have to find him again, Liz! We can't just...you-you just have to go back!"
"Isabel." Michael put a steadying hand on her shoulder.
"No! No, Michael. We have to know!" Isabel cried, her eyes wild.
"Is," he squeezed her shoulder to get her attention. When she raised her eyes to his, he shook his head slowly. "She's done," he said quietly and looked pointedly at Liz.
Isabel followed his gaze and made a conscious effort to push aside her panic and truly focus on Liz. Michael was right. Her face was leeched of color, tears continued to fall from her dazed eyes, and Isabel could see her entire body trembling from where she was sitting. It always took a lot of energy to use their powers for anything big, and this was the first time Liz had ever experienced anything like this, and especially something of this magnitude.
But while Isabel understood all that, she really did, she also knew that there was no way she could possibly play the waiting game again. Not now. This was even worse than before. At least then there had been some room for doubt about Rath and Lonnie's intentions. But now they'd been confirmed. They had honestly tried to kill Max. And to not know whether or not their attempt had been successful...well, she just couldn't do it. She'd go crazy! They had to do something!
"Liz," she said pleadingly, "I'll help you. I can give you more of my power this time. I'll even try to go with you. I have a better idea now of what to expect. And we won't have to sustain it for very long. Just long enough to see. Please, Liz. We have to know!"
Liz was almost afraid to find out, but Isabel was right. If Max was...seriously injured(she refused to even think the 'd' word) then they needed to know. She nodded her assent, took a deep breath, and tried to gather herself.
"Are you sure, Liz?" Michael asked. He couldn't help but admire her strength. She really would do anything for Max. So what was this whole thing with Kyle all about, he wondered fleetingly. It was hard to figure her out.
Liz was touched that he would show concern for her, it was such an un-Michael-like thing to do. She smiled tiredly at him in reassurance. "I'll be okay, Michael."
He nodded, then watched as she and Isabel prepared to establish a connection for the second time that night.
The two girls looked into each other's eyes and took deep breaths, attempting to synchronize their breathing. Once Isabel could feel the connection begin to open up, her eyes slid closed, only to fly open at the sound of her cell phone ringing. Everyone froze for a second and Is felt hope grab her by the throat. Max! Please let it be Max, she prayed as she finally shook off her paralysis and scrambled for her phone.
"Hello?' she answered breathlessly.
"Is? Why are you so out of breath?"
"Max!" she cried elatedly, and threw a glance up at the other three as they sighed collectively in relief. "Are you okay? What happened?"
"What do you mean?" Max asked in confusion. "I'm okay. How did you know...Isabel, where are you? I tried you at home, but no one answered."
"I'm at the Crashdown."
"Is--is Liz there...too?"
Isabel could almost hear the wheels spinning as he tried to put the pieces together.
"Yeah, she's here. So are Michael and Ava."
"Ava? Isabel, what's going on? Did Liz..." she heard him drag in a deep breath. "Was she...real?" he ended on a disbelieving note.
She could almost feel his tension transmit itself through the phone line as he waited for her answer.
"Yeah. She was real."
"B-but how? Was it just....How did she do that?"
Isabel chose her words carefully. "Ava said you changed her. When you brought her back after the shooting."
This was met with a stunned silence. Max was lost in a tangle of confused emotions, and he couldn't seem to pin down a single thought firmly enough to know how to respond. How had he changed her? He hadn't meant to. He'd always said that he'd never hurt her. Of course, she didn't seem to worry overly much about his feelings lately. But she had just saved his life. How did Liz feel about all this? Was Isabel saying he had actually given her some kind of power? That might explain a few things.
"The flashes," he finally said.
"What?" Isabel asked quizzically. That certainly hadn't been a response she'd anticipated. Then she realized what he was getting at. "Oh, yeah. Right. That would explain the flashes."
"How did Ava know?" Max asked, trying to get his thoughts straight.
Isabel looked over at the girl in question. "I don't know. She said there wasn't time to explain. We were kind of in a hurry to contact you. She told us about Rath and Lonnie, that you could be in danger. Are you really all right, Max? We've been so worried."
"I'm okay, Izzie. And so is Tess. We're coming home."
"I'm glad," Isabel said fervently. "We have so much to talk about. I want everything to be okay between us again. Between all of us." Her eyes moved to Liz and Michael, who were listening intently. "Can it, Max? Be okay, I mean?" Michael and Liz both shifted nervously.
All she heard on Max's end was silence for a few charged seconds, then he answered gruffly, "We'll see, Is. I want that, too, but...we just need to talk. Tess and I are flying home. I'll call you when we get flight information."
"Call me on the cell. I'm not sure when I'll get home."
She had to strain to catch his next words. "Is Liz all right?"
Isabel's gaze automatically went to Liz, who went completely still, as if aware that he'd asked after her.
"She's fine, Max. Do you want to talk to her?"
"Um..I don't think..." he stopped, and struggled briefly with himself. "Yeah, put her on," he said quietly.
Liz held her breath as she waited for Max's decision. When Isabel extended the phone towards her, she hesitated, then reached for it slowly. Her throat felt tight, and she was worried that she might not be able to get any words out. It seemed so important that she say exactly the right thing at this moment. Isabel gave her forearm an encouraging little squeeze and Liz gave her a silent look of gratitude.
"Um...hi, Max," she said timidly. She wasn't quite sure what to expect from him. He was probably still angry with her, but what had just happened was pretty incredible. She wished she knew what he was thinking.
"Hey. How are you? I mean...are you okay?"
"Yeah...um, a little freaked," she gave a nervous laugh, "but I'll be fine. And-and you're okay? The um..." she hesitated to mention any details of the whole ordeal, but she felt the need to make sure. "The scaffold didn't hit you?"
She heard a quick intake of air, then, "No. No, it didn't hit me. We need...I want us to talk when I get back. Okay? And-not only about what happened tonight."
Liz could feel her heart begin to pound. "Yeah, okay."
There was an awkward silence, heavy with longing and questions that begged to be asked and answered. There were so many things that needed to be said to heal this breach between them, but Liz finally decided that everything they needed to say to each other should really be said in person.
"Just...hurry home. And please be careful."
"Thank you, Liz." His response was fraught with meaning, and she understood that he was thanking her for more than just her wish for his safe journey.
"You're welcome," she replied softly.
"I'll see you soon," he promised. "And get some rest, okay? I'm sure that 3 minute trips to New York must be exhausting."
Liz imagined his lips twisting into the smile she could hear in his voice, and her eyes filled with relieved tears as a sobbing little laugh escaped. She hadn't thought he would ever speak to her with that gentle, teasing tone again. Surely it meant that everything was going to work out. Like Isabel, she, too wanted everything to be okay between them. She wanted that so desperately she ached.
"I-I will," she said, her voice thick with tears. "Bye, Max."
"Bye, Liz." The phone clicked gently in her ear as he broke the connection.
|Index | Part 2|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|