FanFic - Max/Liz
"Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road"
Part 18
by Carol
Disclaimer: I would be the happiest woman on Earth if I owned any of these people, but sadly, only Josh, the Holbrooks, and Paul Hernandez are mine.
Summary: This is the sequel to EPIPHANIES 1: The Ties That Bind. It picks up the evening of the Evans barbeque that ended the first story. Here, Max and Liz must come to terms with a shocking revelation about Liz and her Grandma Claudia. They search the past among Native American ruins and history to find the truth and each other.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: I have done extensive research on the Anasazi for this fic. Most of what you will read is either factual or widely accepted speculation. I have, on occasion, filled in a gap or made an assumption that suits my purposes. The alien connection, of course, is my own Roswell-loving imagination.
Paul showed Max and Liz to their tent, the furthest from the center of camp, no doubt in deference to their "newlywed" status. He gave them an overview of the layout of the area and offered to run them down to the Cliff Palace so they could just look around and get their bearings. They knew there were plenty of people wandering around there, and the troubling feeling they had experienced in the car was gone for the moment.

"I think you'll be safe for now," cautioned Paul as they drove, "but be watchful. I'll be keeping an eye on you, too."

When they arrived, they began to roam in the direction of the large cliff face, a monument to a mysterious civilization from the ancient past. The foreground was dotted with kivas of varying sizes, and the cliff itself was a honeycomb of rooms carved from its face. As they climbed, they were rewarded with a magnificent view of pine-covered hills and gleaming white rock.

Liz turned in a 360-degree circle, arms held wide. "Isn't it magnificent, Max?" She breathed deeply and turned her face to the sun. "Can't you almost feel them here, like in another dimension? Making their tools, raising their kids. This was home to them. Imagine!"

Max was watching her. She was so enthused, so curious. He loved that about her-the way she wanted to know everything, experience everything. She approached the world with the awe of a child and the mind of a scientist. His mouth broke into a half-smile as he watched her taking it all in. When she finally turned to look at him, her face turned wary.

"What are you staring at?"

Max walked toward her, feeling completely happy, sharing her light mood. "The love of my life," he answered, drawing her into his arms. The warmth of their kiss matched the warmth of the bright Colorado sun. In this isolated spot, it was easy to feel the balance of nature, to be a part of it. In this small moment in time, life was good.

The campers reassembled at dinner time around what Liz remembered as a "chuck wagon" from the old TV westerns. Everyone was hungry and the food tasted wonderful. Lots of people congratulated Max and Liz on their marriage, throwing knowing little smiles at them through dinner. It wasn't as odd as Liz expected, being treated as Max's wife. As a matter of fact, it felt completely natural. She beamed up at him, and she could tell he was enjoying it, too. Several people who had known Claudia Parker offered Liz their sympathies and told her stories about her grandmother's escapades over the years. Liz found herself laughing and crying, and Max kept his arm around her, feeling the roller coaster of emotion Liz was experiencing.

After the meal, three men brought out a harmonica, a fiddle, and a guitar. They began playing some hoe-down style music and Max and Liz laughed and clapped to the music as they watched the square dancers in the group swing and turn and shuffle around the camp. Later, the music turned more mellow, and the teens even recognized some fairly recent songs. Soon, just the guitar was playing, and the fiddler began to sing "Amazed."

"Every time our eyes meet
This feeling inside me
Is almost more than I can take."

"Hey, you lovebirds! Get out there and dance!" shouted one of the campers.

Max looked shyly at Liz, but she nodded, and they stood up, turning to hold each other.

"Every time you touch me,
I can feel how much you love me
And it just blows me away."

Soon other couples joined the young "newlyweds" and the cool night was filled with stars and smiles and mellow music.

"I've never been this close to anyone or anything.
I can hear your thoughts, I can see your dreams."

So true, Max thought, as he held Liz in his arms. He really hadn't been this close to anyone before in his life. Their connection was a constant source of surprise and joy to him. He loved the feel of Liz in his arms, her hair swinging over his hands, her arms snaked around his neck as she stroked his hair. He could spend a lifetime absorbing all the love she felt for him. He tightened his arms around her.

"What are you thinking about?" he asked her.

She smiled up at him. "Sometimes I don't think at all when you hold me, Max. I just feel. I wish I could stay in your arms all the time. I feel safe and loved here. I never want to leave."

Max locked eyes with her. "If I had a choice, you never would." He bent to brush his lips against hers, concentrating on every nerve ending, enjoying every electrical jolt that exploded in his body when they kissed. This was what made his life bearable. They sank into a deep, longing kiss.

The song was ending.

"I don't know how you do what you do.
I'm so in love with you.
It just keeps getting better.

"I wanna spend the rest of my life
With you by my side.
Forever and ever.

"Every little thing that you do,
Baby, I'm amazed by you."

As the last notes faded away, Max and Liz became aware of clapping. They looked up to find themselves in the middle of a circle of clapping campers, all smiling at them. They blushed, and Max pulled Liz close, wishing they would all go away.

Paul was among the smiling onlookers, but knew they'd had enough.

"Listen up, folks. Time to call it a night. We'll gather back here at 7:00 a.m.!"

The group began to break up and Paul approached the young couple. "Pretty convincing, I must say," he teased. "But listen, seriously, I know I've put a lot of pressure on you two--about finding the artifact and by putting you in a tent alone." He looked at them meaningfully. "I don't know how to say this to two young people I hardly know, but I had the highest respect for your grandmother, Liz, and she thought the world of you. If you two feel you can't handle this, Max can bunk in with me after everybody settles in. I realize I have put you in an awkward situation, and I don't want to make you uncomfortable. Or, maybe closer to the truth, put you in a position where you'll make a decision you'll regret later."

Liz bit her lip. She wanted Max to stay with her, but she knew exactly what this man was saying.

Max turned to Liz. "I don't like the idea of your being alone, Liz, but I don't want to push you into anything either. This is your decision."

Liz looked at Paul. "I understand what you're saying, Mr. Hernandez, but Max and I really need to be together. For one thing, that's the only way my grandmother can come. For another thing, we've been camping before. We don't . . . we're not . . . what I mean is, we can handle it."

Liz heard Max release a small sigh of relief.

"Okay, kids. I'm in the closest tent, in case you need anything. At the slightest concern, you come get me or just give a holler."

They nodded in agreement and made their way back to the tent.

"Liz, are you sure you're okay with this?" Max asked.

"Max, I thought we had a deal where you were going to quit asking me if I was sure about my decisions. Right?"

He relaxed and smiled. "Oh, yeah. And what did I get in return?"

Liz laid down and opened her arms to him. "I think it was something about keeping you at peace," she grinned.

Max laid down on his side next to Liz, propping his head on his hand. "I love you so much, Liz Parker. I wish you were my wife."

"Max!" Liz breathed. "Oh, Max, I love you, more than I ever thought I could love anyone. You've changed my whole life, you've changed me."

"I wish I could be sure they were changes for the better," Max frowned, not meeting her eyes. "I'm always wondering if I did the right thing."

"Saving me?" Liz asked, surprised.

"No! No, I would do that again in a second. No, what I mean is, letting you in, making you a part of all this."

"Well, as it turns out, I was already a part of it, wasn't I?" Max's eyes lit up. That was true. She had been a part of it all along! And maybe that's why he had felt so close to her all those years. He suddenly felt much better.

"So, what about making me at peace, then?" he asked innocently. Liz pushed him backwards and shifted so she was gazing down at him.

"Well, let's see what we can do about that," she said seriously. She lowered her face to his, keeping contact with his eyes as she hovered right above him, their faces hidden in a curtain of hair. Then, ever so lightly, she began to kiss him, teasing him with her lips and tongue as she left whispers of kisses over his face and lips. She left a trail down his neck and into the V of his shirt, taking pleasure in his barely audible groans. Her hand moved under his shirt to trace the well-defined muscles of his chest and stomach. Max's breathing became ragged as he fought off his inevitable reaction to her touch. He could feel himself losing the battle, and with a growl, he pulled her full on top of him and brought her lips to his, kissing her fiercely, possessively, urgently.

When he had pulled her up, her tank top had ridden up, causing her stomach to come into direct contact with his. He swam in the sensation, her heated skin against his own, making his blood boil. His hands rode up under her top, reveling in the silkiness of her skin and the scent of her all over him.

Tearing himself from her kiss, he grabbed her sides and rolled them over so Liz was looking up at him, flushed and beautiful in the lantern light. His hand shifted as they rolled, sliding up and over her breast. They both gasped, lying perfectly still, eyes locked, shocked into motionlessness by the electricity that shot through them. Once Max could focus again, he looked deeply into the eyes of the love of his life.

"I'm sorry."

Liz was breathless, her eyes blazing with desire. As Max finally began to withdraw his hand, Liz stopped it with her own. "Don't be sorry, Max. Why would you be sorry? You are the best thing that ever happened to me."

Max knew he was almost over the edge. They had to stop this now. They had told Paul they could handle this. Max didn't think this is what Paul meant by handling it.

Max threw himself backwards against the sleeping bag.

"Max?" Liz asked, suddenly self-conscious. "Did I do something wrong?"

Max pulled Liz into his arms and held her tightly, trying to slow his breathing. "No! Liz, no!" How could they keep on like this? "Liz, we have to stop doing this. I don't know how many more times I can back off. I just want to . . . it gets harder and harder."

As his body calmed and his mind cleared, Max pulled them both to their feet. "I want to say something to you, Liz, but I'm not quite sure how to do it, so just let me get through it, okay?"

Liz nodded. She looked up at Max, worry creasing her forehead. Had Max suddenly decided the only way to control this was to be apart? Because Liz couldn't stand that. She would fight him.

"Liz, I've never been sure what my life would bring. I only knew I had to keep a low profile, and trust no one but Michael and Isabel. But you were always out there in the world, enjoying friends, just living life in a way I thought I never could. And I was always there watching you, knowing somehow I wanted you to be a part of my life.

"From the day I first saw you, you've been in my heart. And when you were shot, I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe, I could only react. Losing you was not an option. Since then, you have amazed me every day. No matter what my life has thrown at you, you have been there with me, helping me, loving me."

Liz watched his eyes overflowing with emotion, his face reflecting his struggle to get all of this out. He had always kept these thoughts bottled inside. It was his way. But now the intensity of their feelings had uncorked the bottle; it was erupting like champagne, and was just as intoxicating. Liz stood mesmerized.

"I don't know if you can ever understand what you have done to me, for me, Liz. You have become the best part of me. You have opened up a world I never thought I could belong to. You've shown me more courage and love than I ever thought possible. I need you, Liz. And I want you. I want you in every way it is possible to want another person."

Max knelt, looking up at Liz with so much love and emotion she could barely breathe.

"I pledge to you right here, right now, Liz Parker, that I will love you, take care of you, be everything to you for the rest of my life. As far as I am concerned, you are my wife. The world isn't ready to understand us, I know, but as long as I have you, and as long as you love me, I will be the happiest being in the universe."

He stopped, suddenly spent by his long outburst and the shot of adrenalin from the powerful emotions coursing through him.

"Are you asking me to marry you?" Liz whispered, moved to tears by his declaration. She knelt to face him.

Max cupped her face and looked into her eyes, opening a connection that threatened to overwhelm Liz. So much raw emotion kept in check for so long. His words had only uncovered the tip of the iceberg. But she was aware of his worries, too.

He let go of her face and they sat facing each other. "Yes . . . and no." Liz nodded. She already understood. "Liz, there are about a hundred reasons why we can't be married, or even pretend we are. We still don't know for sure what could happen to you if we made love, and we are still 17. No matter how we feel about each other or what precautions we might take . . . I mean, what if we had a baby?" At this, Liz smiled, knowing he was right, but elated at the very thought of having Max's baby.

"I know, Max," she said softly, taking his hands in hers.

"Liz, we have no way of maintaining a family the way things are. And we know that the alien side of our lives is far from resolved. Right now, we need our parents, the sheriff, the protection that leading our normal lives brings. We will have time, Liz. I promise. And I meant every word I said tonight. But we can't let this happen. Not yet."

Max watched Liz closely, wondering how she would react to what he had said.

Liz looked at him, feigning annoyance, "Didn't I tell you once before that I hate it when you're right?"

He smiled at her, grateful that she understood. Yes, she never ceased to amaze him.

"Then let's go to bed . . . I mean, sleep," he suggested. Liz gave him a reassuring smile and snuggled close to him.

"I love you, Max. No matter what happens, we'll be together."

Now, Max thought to himself, now we can handle it.

Part 17 | Index | Part 19
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
Crashdown is maintained by and . Design by Goldenboy.
Copyright © 1999-2004 Web Media Entertainment.
No infringement intended.