FanFic - Max/Liz
"Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road"
Part 30
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.
A sense of anticipation hovered over the three hikers as they pulled into the Pueblo del Arroyo parking lot. This was as close as they were going to get to Penasco Blanco by car. Max double-checked that the Criston was in his backpack. Liz had the journals, and Paul carried a light lunch. They followed the path toward Penasco Blanco and its famous petroglyph, maintaining a moderate pace so that the sun and distance wouldn't tire them too soon. Each was lost in private thoughts. Max led the way, conflicting emotions doing battle in his mind. On the one hand, he was excited and hopeful. This was the most concrete lead they had ever had. There was a chance they would unravel the riddle of their past, of Liz's and his past. The thought that they shared a past had a calming affect on his nerves. Whatever they found out would affect them both. On the other hand, what if they found nothing except another dead end? Or what if they did discover something, something that meant he and Liz couldn't be together? That turned his blood to ice water. He turned to look behind him.

Liz was walking head down, concentrating on the rocky path. She felt his eyes on her and looked up, favoring him with a happy smile. She was in her element. She was investigating a mystery, gathering evidence, forming hypotheses, and testing them. She had no doubt in her heart that this would bring her and Max closer to finding out what they needed to know in order to start their life together confidently. She had complete faith in her grandmother's intuition, and she couldn't wait to get there.

Paul kept an eye on the two young figures in front of him. He knew how heavily invested they were in what they discovered today. He hoped they would find what they wanted. He knew that if they found nothing here, or if they found evidence that would keep them apart, it would break their hearts, and he didn't think he could bear to watch. But he knew Claudia felt they were on the right track, and that was pretty convincing, as far as he was concerned.

After an hour and a half, they finally reached their destination. No one else had braved the long distance in the hot sun, so they were completely alone. Max knelt in front of the petroglyph and traced the paintings with his hands. The three symbols could have been points on an isosceles triangle. What historians had concluded was a representation of the Crab Nebula Supernova was at the lower left-hand point, looking almost like a starfish. The handprint was at the top with the crescent moon shape almost directly underneath.

Max looked back at Liz. She nodded encouragingly.

"Go ahead, son," Paul murmured.

Max placed his hand on the handprint. There was no glowing, no movement. Just a hand pressing on solid rock. Max turned around, stunned. They had built this moment up to be so important. Now they had nothing to show for it.

"Wait." Liz came and knelt beside Max. "Together, right?" He nodded. Maybe this was the secret.

He laid his hand over hers against the rock. Again, nothing happened. "Maybe if your hand is on the bottom," she suggested. Max laid his hand on the rock, and Liz placed hers on top of it. Nothing.

They slumped back, staring at the rock wall in frustration. "It's just a painting," said Max, feeling like all his energy, all his hope had drained from his hand. He looked at Liz with such pain in his eyes, she leaned toward him and kissed his cheek.

"That only means we haven't found the right clue yet, Max. It's just a setback. That's all." She reached her arm around his shoulder to give him a reassuring hug, brushing against his backpack. The angular edge of the Criston pushed the fabric of the backpack out at an odd angle, and Liz stopped, momentarily lost in thought.

"Max, get the Criston out."

Max shed his backpack and opened it, pulling out the metal band. It looked much as Grandma Claudia's storytellers had described it. The front was smooth, curved metal about 4 inches deep, with thick eyepieces inset on either side. Over the nosepiece, it dipped, and a deep slot was cut into it. The metal narrowed as it bent around, where it would fit against the head. The sides were adorned with small circles of what appeared to be glass or jewels.

Liz fingered the Criston for a moment, and scooted forward toward the wall. "You know, Max?" she said thoughtfully, and she held it up against the crescent shape. It fit perfectly. Max and Liz locked eyes, and he reached for her hand. Paul watched the change come over them; they were suddenly thinking and working in unison, as if they knew exactly what to do now. As they each held the Criston in place with one of their hands, Max laid his other hand over the handprint and Liz placed hers on top. The Criston came to life; the jeweled stones on each side began to glow and they could hear a soft hum. The handprint also began to glow, and Paul watched in amazement as a 3-inch-thick stone panel began to rise from the desert floor.

It stopped about 8 inches off the ground. The hum and glowing also stopped, and Max and Liz released their hold on the wall. They both put their faces to the ground to peer inside the opening. The drastic difference between the bright light in their eyes and the darkness within the small vault made it impossible to see inside it. Paul knelt down next to them. "I have a flashlight," he offered.

"No need," replied Max. He reached his hand inside the opening and it gave off a soft light.

"There's a pouch in there, Max!" cried Liz excitedly.

Max reached in and pulled the pouch out. The drawstring top was tightly secured, and it took Liz's tiny fingers to untie the knot. When she had it open, Max tilted the pouch over her waiting palm and out slipped a round metal disk. On its face was the spiral symbol.

Liz picked up the Criston in her other hand, and easily slipped the disk into the indentation on its nose bridge. It clicked into place and the Criston began its now familiar hum.

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